Thursday, February 24, 2011

StL area locals--superb photo opportunity!

Last year I was blessed by a string of events that led me to connect with Kim and Jodie at Fresh Art Photography to assist with a special day of photo shoots. I've been following their blogs ever since and loving to see the great photos and cute stories and real lives of these super cool ladies.

Today they posted an AMAZING chance to get to experience their art for a VERY reasonable rate and all the money goes to benefit an adopting family! Win/Win/Win! Oh wouldn't I love to get my girls in front of their cameras, especially the one who just refuses to cooperate with cameras and loves to strike unflattering poses quite frequently when the camera shows up. (Yeah, that's Braska.) Kim and Jodie shoot together, and I'm betting they might could catch Braska off her game and sneak in some nice shots. But right now this probably isn't in the cards for us... someday, though!

BUT--YOU can take advantage of it and get a little mini-session scheduled, and you will NOT be disappointed, I'm quite sure. Check out the post with all the details here and let them know you want to get in on this awesome chance to capture your kids in such a cool way!

You can also donate to the cause and it will go toward helping a family with a "photo scholarship" so to speak... so if you know of a family that could benefit from that, go check out the details!

Thanks, Jodie and Kim. As always, you guys rock!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In peaceful sleep

They’re all down. Sleeping soundly. Including the dog. Don’t anyone make a move.

The blog has once again fallen quiet from neglect, but that’s the way things go.  Life gets busy, days fly by, little girls demand to have books read and want to go to the store.  Kinlee has come to whine, “No, Mom! I don’t want to go home!” as soon as we turn by a landmark building near our house.  Poor thing. 

But we’re here and we’re well.  We’ve decided to add to our family vicariously by letting a little one we’ll call Kidlet come over and spend some days with us each week.  So far so good. Kidlet’s quite a charmer and seems to be fitting in very well.

Shhhhh. Just checked again. Three snoozing cuties. Plus the dog, still.

Having an extra has brought out the little mommy in Kinlee.  She has taken her status as “The Informer” to a new level, alerting me to each (perceived) need.  Be it a binky that has fallen out of the mouth or the fact that KiKi is sure there needs to be music to accompany the little chatter in the bouncy seat.  It’s been so darn cute to see. 

But there is nothing like the quiet when everyone in the house is asleep but me.  No TV on, no music playing, just the noise of the furnace running on a gray February day.  I could get a lot done, but I never want to risk the noise of dishes or such, so I’ll do quiet laundry and see who wakes up first.  My bet is Braska… she’s not one for long naps anymore.  Granted, the kid is 4 1/2 and will someday soon probably let them go.  But I am in NO hurry for that day.

For now I’ll enjoy the peace.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kinlee-isms #4 in request form

To her father, while I was at a lunch with some friends...

While M was feeding Braska lunch. With no contextual prompts whatsover... Kinlee pipes up.

"I have an idea. We go to the park...and we slide...and we swing... and we cute... and we have fun."

I so wish I had this one on video. The reenactment presented by M did crack me up though. Maybe I should get IT on video.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Two down, dozens to go

Today was Kinlee’s birthday. She’s 2. As all parents say… it’s hard to believe she can be two.

But please…don’t tell her.

She thinks her birthday is Saturday, the day of her party. She knows all about it. She is excited about her party. She’s excited about her Snoopy cake. She is just excited about being 2.

We didn’t mention it at all today (save one almost slip by a particular almost-practically-a-sister teen…ahem). We discussed if we wanted to do a birthday today then a birthday party on Saturday, but we decided it might be confusing and it would be more fun to just have Saturday be “the birthday” all day.

All that said…I still felt a few photos were necessary to document the birthday. I mean, we don’t have any guarantees in this mortal life, so why not? There will be more after the party on Saturday, and maybe I’ll do a little mushy retrospective…but don’t hold your breath.

I don’t really like to do au naturel photos, but oh well. It’s what you do when it’s early and you want a couple bedhead pics. She was busy watching Word World, too busy to smile for a picture with Mom.

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So tickling was in order…but that produces a fuzzy, funny-colored image. But of course, it’s still my fave.
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We’ve come a long way, baby girl…
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She’s freshly-2, going on 13. The girl is scary smart, SO expressive, ultra cool (when not ultra dramatic), really funny, and kind of mature for her age already. And those aren’t just Mommy’s brags, those are others’ opinions. We’re proud of our little bug.
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So happy secret birthday, KiKi. I’m excited to see what the next year holds for you!
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Friday, February 4, 2011

Two favorite things collide

I love digital scrapbooking, specifically some fave designers’ blogs that I have in my Google Reader. And I have a passion for the children represented by Reece’s Rainbow. This is not news to any of you who have been around for long.  Two favorite things. Both part of me, but I didn’t ever expect the two to meet elsewhere…

So how surprised I was to see posts on two of my favorite digiscrapping blogs this week promoting a super great collab kit by the awesome designers at Stuff to Scrap!

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It caught my attention because I KNOW that little face on the bottom of the preview pic.  I’ve seen him on the Reece’s Rainbow site for a little while. And now he’s got a family working to bring him home!  Hooray!!

That family, the Hartmans, knows Shelby at JeNaSiS DeSiGn (one of my favorite designers!) and she and the other designers at Stuff to Scrap got together to do an adorable kit, from which ALL proceeds will go toward Brady’s adoption! I sent a note of thanks to Shelby and Andrea, the two designers whose blogs I saw the post on, both were involved in the kit. A cool added thing is that Shelby asked about possibly volunteering her scrapping skills for making RR buttons, which is a HUGE need.  I have had to step away from helping with the buttons due to other demands. God does amazing things in the most unexpected ways!

So if you’re a digiscrapper, please go over and check out this kit! It’s HUGE as collab kits go, and what better reason to get some great papers and elements!

If you’re not a digiscrapper, but you would like to be, I’d be happy to let you know how I got hooked. This kit would be a GREAT place to start!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Look at the eyes

Sometimes we look at people and don’t really look. We glance. We might offer a half smile in an attempt to look polite as we pass.   I’m especially good at that, but I have to often remind myself to look people in the eye. It’s hard. It’s intimidating, and it can make us feel vulnerable, in a sense.  What if they look away?  Ah, insecurity is a bitter companion.

The same is true when we see stories or pictures of children who have less-then-ideal situations in their lives. I admit, it’s not my favorite thing to watch the news or hear of stories about children suffering. I tend to avoid it.  But yet I’m instructed to pray for “the least of these,” so I need to be aware of them in order to do that more effectively.

I don’t know anyone who looks forward to reading the next “bleeding heart” plea for needy children, no matter what their “need” is.  But can I ask you to take a few minutes to read about three little cuties? Just read. That doesn’t take much effort does it?

Lately there have been a few little ones who have been on the hearts of some blogging friends.  And they are doing something about it.  Advocating, spreading the word, pleading for prayers on the behalf of these children.  And there is always the request for money. Is it about the money, really?  As far as it is necessary to rescue these precious ones from a future that would make us all turn away in discomfort, yes. It’s about the money. It’s a tangible way we can help.  But it is also about sharing the story of these children so that a family who might be waiting for just this suggestion, just this prompting to take the next step, may see a face and feel the surety that NOW is the time to act.

Stephanie has been praying and pleading on behalf of Masha for a while. And the time is now very short.  She is in the same orphanage that our sweet little friend Dashlyn was in.  And I have heard from those who have been there that it’s not a pleasant place overall. It has become clear via info from a family who is there right now that she will be transferred to an institution probably next week.  A place where she might get one meal a day. And the conditions there… it would make you wince.

She has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Does that make her less valuable?

It makes me sick. I have to say.  I’m not an overly emotional person, but this really breaks my heart. It’s not right.

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Look at those eyes. You see they’re crossed?  Of course. Just like my daughter’s eyes.  When Braska doesn’t have her glasses on, her eyes cross strongly.  But Braska gets to have glasses. And she gets to have parents who see to keeping them on her and that they fit. You see the short hair? That’s just another sign of the lack of care she gets.  It’s easier to take care of that way. She doesn’t get one-on-one attention. Time to play in a bath. She doesn’t know what it’s like to laugh with her mommy while splashing, or singing the “now it’s time to comb my hair” song, like my girls do. 

Could you be Masha’s forever family? She has over $17,000 in grant money, almost a full grant!  But she still needs a family to step forward and rescue her.

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This is Olga.  Cute little bean, isn’t she?  Again with the short hair. Oh how I wish I could see her playing, long hair bouncing, big pink bows, smiles for all who get the pleasure of getting to know her. She’s also on borrowed time.  She’s had a family plan to get her, but they’ve not been able to go through with the adoption. So now she is at risk for a transfer to the institution very soon.

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Look at those eyes. The little slant. The sweet little flat spot between them, which I know from experience provides a super nice place to smooch.  I can just see the smile that came to light right after this picture was taken. That’s always the way it works.

She has Down syndrome. Does that make her less valuable?

Olga would be welcome in my home. More than welcome. But we don’t have that option. Could you be Olga’s forever family?  She has over $13,000 in grant money as well, thanks in large part to the work Patti’s been doing to spread the word about her. But who will bring her home?

UPDATED:  Olga has a family!!!! Praise God!  Please pray that they can get to her BEFORE she gets transferred to the institution!

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And Peter….ah, little peter.   He’s been listed on Reece’s Rainbow all his life, and there’s never been an inquiry for him. How can that be?  Patti is advocating for him, and she’s made it her goal to raise money so that Peter has a full grant.  When she started, earlier this week he had about $200, I believe, and as of right now, it’s over $6500 and growing!!!

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Look at those eyes. His eyes get right to my core. He’s never known a cuddle from a parent. He rarely gets a cuddle at all. Most of his life, almost 3 years, has been spent in a crib.  So I’m asking you to consider little Peter.  Think about him. Pray for him. Pray for the family who will go and get this little man. 

Patti is offering the most amazing giveaway to raise funds for Peter.  Lovely people have donated ALL kinds of things…from an iPad (!!!), to a beautiful Nikon D90 (Pardon me while I drool!), to adorable kids accessories, clothes, jewelry, and so much more. Please go over there and take a look at all the cool stuff.  Make a donation and enter to win something wonderful.  But most of all, be a part of the miracle that will be the day that Peter meets his mommy for the first time.  I can’t wait to hear all about it.

If you are interested in learning more about adoption, international or domestic, I have lots of friends who have done it and are in the process right now.  Please let me know and I’d be happy to hook you up with people who can answer any of your questions.