Friday, September 30, 2016

The Nashville Zoo

This fall break we choose to head north instead of south to the sun and sand.  Summer was great, but by the time it came to choose where to spend fall break, I was ready for some cooler weather and that we found in Nashville.  It also happens to be that in Nashville three of the families who adopted at the same time as we adopted Ivy also live there. Thankfully, fall break also fell on the six month date of our receiving our children in China.  I have said it before and I will say it again I am so thankful for those we get to share this adoption journey with as they have become such wonderful friends.  Adoption Rocks!  We spent the day at the Nashville Zoo which is such a great small zoo!  The kids had a blast!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Family Portraits

Funny but my family hasn't had a complete family portrait since the boys were little.  Sure we have had lots of snap shots either on vacation or holidays, but we haven't done a professional photo of the children in years.  Partly that was because my kids can be a little wild and I was terrified that if I hired someone they would goof around and the second reason was because I always thought I was too fat.  Now I look back and think gee I was skinny back then and I am kind of sad that I just didn't hire someone and let the chips fall where they may because at least we would have the moments captured. Probably would have a good laugh too at some of the boys antics.  Well that is going to change because we are finally going to have our photos taken this coming October.  I booked the photographer months ago.  I mean time is running out my oldest son graduate this spring and we wouldn't have a family photo of us if I hadn't booked.  And who cares how much I weigh.  It is what it is!  I mean I have had for babies, lost one baby, adopted two, and lived life with illness now for the past year that has effected my weight.  Anyway, this whole rant is kind of a digression, but the point is that you should never put off getting photos taken as you just might not have tomorrow.  I was looking through my photos and found these photos from a photo shoot I had done last fall.  I am looking forward to getting my camera out again this weekend.  Hopefully the weather won't get in the way as it had this past weekend.  Have a great weekend!

This is a family I shot last year! I just realized I never shared their photos. I can't wait to take their photo this year!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Baby G

My photography business has been picking up and I am booked all through the fall.  I can't believe I never posted these photos of this sweet boy and his family who I shot back in May. I guess that goes to show you how busy we have been the last couple of months.  He was a miracle baby and after years of hoping and dreaming and lots of prayer he finally made his debut.  These were taken in celebration of his first birthday. Happy Birthday sweet boy!  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


It is hard to believe I am 45.  This past weekend was my birthday and while my husband was out of town and could not celebrate it with me, my children did a fantastic job in making me feel special.  The boys bought me flowers and wrote really special cards.   My mom made a wonderful taco and enchilada dinner and our friend from Austria Nadja was here to celebrate.  It was also special because I got to celebrate it with my father who turned 76 earlier in the week. He has Alzheimer's and he is going down a lot quicker than we expected.  I am just grateful this birthday he still knows who I am. It is the little things that mean the most.  After we got the children to bed, we went to the movies.  It was a perfect day.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Avery turns 5

And just like that she turned 5, it seems like yesterday we watched from afar you turn 2 in China, but were grateful we were able to send you a cake.  Now you are home in our arms almost 3 years come this January.  We feel so blessed that we get to be your parents.  You are truly a blessing.  Thank you for being apart of our family.  You love the color blue, dressing up, coloring, singing, and playing with dolls.  You are sweet and kind and  a very good helper.  You are a good sister to your brothers and sisters.  I love how you are the only one who makes their bed each morning.  We love watching you grow and learn and we know you will go far.  Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Whitewater on the Ococee River

I am so grateful that I belong to a church that has such an awesome youth program.  I know lots of churches have youth programs, but I really feel like ours goes above and beyond for our youth providing them with a variety of good experiences.  Knock on wood we have been pretty lucky with our children that they have made good choices up to this point.  Harris and a group of 60 other youth from our area went whitewater rafting on the Ococee River this past Saturday.  He had so much fun! I am grateful to the leaders who gave up their Saturday to make this activity happen.  I feel so blessed at the moment.  How was your weekend?  We also celebrated my 45th birthday (pictures coming soon).  Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2016

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

September is flying by!  Every time I turn on the computer I see some count down until Christmas. Thankfully the decorations for Christmas haven't hit the store, but it won't be too long before the shelves are full of Christmas items.  I love fall though!  I mean who doesn't like pumpkins, hot apple cider, doughnuts, apple picking. Now only if the weather would reflect the season. We are still in the 90's every day and to be honest I am getting sick of wearing shorts.  I am ready to put on some pants and a sweater or even long sleeves.  We have had a busy week, and our weekend is just as busy.  Last weekend, Harris participated in his first electric car race of the season.  I am not sure how many races they will have in total, but they came in third place.  He and a group of other students built this car and raced them against other like cars.  I love that the school has such great programs.  Well, I am off to bed.  It has been a long day and I am tired.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Camping at the Lake

Every year our church host an annual camping trip which my children look forward to without abandon.  You would think it was Christmas day when you see how excited they get when the announcement is made at church.  Thankfully, I haven't had to spend the night the last couple of years because my mother is happy to stay.  Why spend the night when there is a nice comfy bed down the street.  I mean as my husband says, "man has been fighting for years to get out of the cave, so why would you sleep on the ground."  I kind of agree!  The kids had a blast.  Thank you Nana! Until next year!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Jetzt geht's Los

And just like that another year at German School has begun.  I am so grateful that my city has this resource and community where my children can go every Saturday and learn how to speak German and about it's culture.  There was a time when it was a chore to drive the 23 miles across town, but now that our oldest child (Harris) has passed the AP German exam with flying colors I am grateful for all the effort we put into making it a priority.  Roman is also going with the girls this year, while Winston is continuing his German through his high school.  Roman just didn't want to be in the picture (little stinker).  

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Finding Hope in the Lantern Festival of Atlanta and Remembering September 11th

The significance of today has not been forgotten, the events of September 11th will always be etched in my memories as are they of millions of people around the world. While we haven't experienced something to this large of a scale since then, it seems like the news is reporting similar type violent attacks on innocent people way to often.  I often wonder are my children numb to these events because of the frequency?  I think they are and it breaks my heart because they think this is just normal despite my efforts to explain that this isn't the way we are suppose to walk through this journey called life. The words seem hard to express.  I have been sitting here at the computer and have really struggled for words. I do know something and that is I don't want to give up.  I want to fight and I do not want to except the events of that day or any of the events following that day as just normal.  I believe in humanity.  I have seen the good. There is so much goodness and love in this world.  We can't let them win. I have hope that one day we will all say enough is enough.  Love one another and respect one another. Yesterday, we attended the Lantern Parade in Atlanta.  It was so much fun and when you attend something like this it is easy to believe in hope as in attendance there where people from all walks of life.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Back to Work

After years of being a stay at home mom, my friend is going back into the work force.  While she loves being a mother she is excited to learn new skills, make friends, and help contribute to their family budget.  She came to me to help her by shooting head shots for her professional web pages, and I am finding this something I like very much as it is a lot easier to work with adults than wiggling children.  Don't get me wrong, I like taking pictures of children, but you earn your money when you do family shoots.  Anyway, I am digressing.  I am so excited for my friend and the new opportunities that are coming her way.  Wishing her all the best!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Eating Clean

9 months ago I was diagnosed with Lupus.  What is Lupus?  Lupus is a chronic disease that effects the skin, joints, or organs inside the body.  Chronic meaning it can last weeks, months, years, or a lifetime.  Mine effects my joints.  It started 5 years ago when I gave birth to my daughter Adelaide.  I could barely pick her up at times and I felt like an 80 year old woman.  My doctor sent me to a Rheumatologist, but he did not know what was wrong and did not believe I had Lupus.  The symptoms went away for a time, but then 2 years ago they were something fierce.  I was constantly tired and beyond normal tired for a mother of 5 soon to be six children.  My doctor sent me back to a new Rheumatologist  and he made a few blood test and sure enough I had the markers for Lupus.  I knew it wasn't all in my head which by the way is the worst when maybe you think you are making it up all in your head or no one believes you.  He started me on some medications which have helped tremendously, but now I want to take it to a new level by eating clean.  He has advised me that if I changed my diet that I would feel much better. I have been asked to limit sugar, red meat, and gluten. Very hard for this girl who loves food and loves sweets, but I am tired of feeling sick.  So wish me luck !  And say a little prayer because I know it isn't going to be easy.  I am addicted to sugar!  I will be posting my progress over the next couple of weeks and months.

BBQ Chicken Salad ( serves 2)

1 chicken breast grilled salted and peppered.  BBQ sauce is optional
2 hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped
1 cucumber chopped into bite size pieces
1 large tomato
1 avocado chopped into bite size pieces
1 head of romaine lettuce washed and chopped
1 ear of grilled corn
Toss all ingredients together.

dressing 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
1/4 cup of mayo
salt and pepper to taste
a teaspoon of vinegar
a splash of milk
3-4 basil leaves washed and chopped
salt and pepper to taste 
A couple sprigs of chives chopped
1 teaspoon of dill 
whisk all ingredients together and thin out with additional milk if dressing is to thick.  Spoon on top of salt.

Enjoy!  So refreshing on a hot summer/fall day!  

Do you eat clean?  If so what are your favorite recipes?  I really trying to eat the paleo diet,but mostly just gluten free.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Weekend

The weekend was an untypical weekend for our family as it was Labor Day weekend and instead of traveling somewhere we stayed home. It turned out to be a good decision as we had our house painted last week and they didn't finish up until the last rays of sun departed the sky.  On Saturday, I worked editing some head shots I took of my neighbor while the children rode their scooters on our back porch.  I discovered my garage was a brilliant place to shoot as the floor worked as a perfect reflector. By looking at the shots, you would never know at the time I took them the sky was grey and gloomy. When I finished the children and I went grocery shopping and brought home ingredients for a tasty BBQ lunch which Frank was happy to grill up.  Afterwards, he treated me by taking the children swimming while I went to see the movie The Light Between the Ocean.  A thought provoking movie that was as equally beautiful as it was sad. The story is set on the coast of Australia at the conclusion of War War I, and tells the story of a man named Tom who after serving the war becomes the next lighthouse keeper on Janus Island.  The story does not end there as Tom falls in love with a beautiful young woman but life does not prove to be easy for them and as they progress along the journey are forced to make some very morally tough decisions.  What follows one could say they would have never chosen that path, but until we are in the position could we honestly say that.  The story we are given is anything but Hollywood cookie cuter formula story line and was a breath of fresh air not to know the ending before the movie ended. Sunday, I took the children away after church and we played in the city at a local park with my mother and father.  The play ground we went to used to be an old Navy Airstrip during WWII, but today is used for small airplanes and private jets.  Whoever came up with the idea to also build a small park adjacent to the airfield was brilliant. The children had so much fun watching the planes take off.  Today we spent the day playing at the zoo where we road the train, ate dipping dots, viewed the new baby pandas, and rode the merry-go-round. Afterwards, we stopped to eat at Shake Shack on our way home.  Loving their Chicken sandwiches is all I can say! Well, it is very late here and I have a coupe hours before I need to get up for the little kids.

Here are just a couple of the head shots from my shoot on Thursday. How was your weekend?  Did you do anything fun or did you just hang out at the house and relax.