21 Jul 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday Elias!

It's hard to believe that 2 years have passed since this little man entered our world, and yet i can't remember life without him. While sometimes playing second fiddle to his older energetic brother, he is introspective, observant, kind, has a streak of naughty and is a great big brother and a ton of fun! These days he loves trains, bananas, cars, swords, balls and puttering around, moving objects randomly around the house. He can nap for up to 4 hours at a time, could eat all day, and loves to put his shoes on and go for a walk. We love watching his personality emerge and can't wait to see more of who God has created him to be!










17 Jul 2014

Dump Truck Races

Summer days around here... 


we love our new lawn... last year it was mud. the sun stays up 'till 10, so after the big boys went to bed we enjoyed time with #3 this summer eve.


oh, i just love him! he wasnt' around last year either ;) we love his easy going and joyful personality!



dad was washing the van, after the car wash in town broke and we came home with a soapy car! big boys were "helping daddy" and little man was just hanging out



when they got bored they hit the dirt road for dump truck races...


one day he'll race too... but for now he's a spectator and a fan of his big brothers! 


middle man working hard to keep up with his big, fast & full of energy brother!


taking a break... he loves his truck!


my favourite photo of him from last night... it captures him at this stage perfectly! 


setting sun & time for the bath (dirt roads = dirty boys!) and bed!

8 Jul 2014

On Motherhood :: Kids Character vs. Pre-School Success


This post comes from a battle that has been going on deep in my soul. It began as i attended our 3 year old's preschool official year end meeting, upon receiving his "report card". Now to be fair, the teacher told me it is hard to evaluate him because he is bilingual...  she emphasized that the evaluation was based only on what he can do & say in Polish. But still... it's hard to see an evaluation that is "low"for our little guy who i love to the moon and back.

My immediate educator reaction was that he needs to be in preschool more. That he needs to learn Polish better so he can succeed here, in this foreign land in which we live. The message whispers in the back of my mind... "if you were a good mom, you'd send him more".

But wait. This is the same kid that the day before bit another little boy over a toy dispute. Yes, our kid bit someone else's kid and i was almost too embarrassed to even go to the parent meeting over it. When he came home that day we told him that his behaviour was disappointing to us and made us sad. We forgave him and told him we love him but that we didn't want him to do that again. ever.

Well the next day i saw the ugliness emerge... a violent reaction to a timeout which displayed itself in him attempting to head butt me first with his hat, then with his forehead. Oh dear. This is a problem. After thinking, reading and praying. I decided that we had some work ahead, that we were going to work on together... 3 character areas that are essential for life.

1. Obey

2. Focus

3. Self Control

I started repeating them with him every morning, reminding him of what we were going to work on. Throughout the day when something would come up, I would remind him that he needed to have "self control". I would also explain what that meant. A three-year-old needs some concrete boxes for these abstract terms. For example self control means that if you feel angry that your brother took a toy from you, you don't hit him, you come and tell mommy... or you go find another toy.

And you know what? It's working. Not even a week later he can list the 3 things we're working on and i've seen MAJOR improvement in his anger outbursts. 

The focus thing is huge. Our little guys naturally won't look at me much when i'm talking to them.  I realized this was problematic while watching that show 19 kids and counting!  Mama Duggar is talking about character and says, "If i can't get their eyes, how will i get their hearts?" Wow. That really hit me.

Today our 3 year old shared his cookie with me. It made my heart smile... but what brought me even greater joy was that his younger brother saw, and did the same thing! A heart that shares is a 360 from one that bites. Thank you Jesus.

So back to the debate going on deep in my soul. Does he need to go to preschool more? Is it more important that he learn his ABC's or that he learn to be honest, obedient, kind and self controlled? Honestly, I think the average mom has been duped by the lie that someone else can offer their child more than they can. Let's be honest - he will learn his ABC's... in English and in Polish too. He will learn to do math and science.... but in the long run, in life, character matters more than success in preschool, in university, in business. And the eternal direction of our children's souls must be preeminent in the forming and shaping of our little ones.


Start children off on the way they should go,

    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

I've had to embrace the reality that while preschool may teach our kids Polish (and multiple other social and academic skills), it isn't going to teach them character. It's not their job. It's mine. Mom's your kids need you. They need the security of a home where they feel loved, and known, and cherished.  They need YOU to start them off on the way they should go.

May God's grace and strength guide you. It's not an easy journey but God sees you and will give you everything you need if you simply trust Him.

Blessings.

****

I've found this great resource for character that I look forward to using with our kids. I think our oldest (3 1/2) is finally at the stage where a lot of these activities/lessons would work great!


Check out these for:

2 Jul 2014

Kids Were Here :: July 2014

this morning i was motivated and inspired again by this project ~ kids were here and the AMAZING photographers who post monthly. here is my collection from the past few months...








read more about my photography journey here.
see my facebook photography page here.

26 Jun 2014

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Veil


So you remember that movie called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? It was about these 4 high school friends who were parting ways for the summer. A pair of pants magically fit all four, and so as a way to stay connected they sent the pants along with a letter literally around the world.

When I got married in 2010, I really wanted to wear a veil, but as we looked in the bridal stores they were more than I wanted to pay. My bridesmaids and friends were with me and two of them said, "we could make that!" So they did. Natalie (Price) Ballmann and Rebekah (Frazier) Gorrell bought the material and hand stitched both a long and a short veil for me. It was such an honour to wear them at our wedding, because they were beautiful, but more so because they symbolized friendship, a deep friendship that we had formed at Dallas Theological Seminary.

It seemed only fitting that when Natalie got married 6 months later, that she also wear the veil(s)... and not long later Caitlin (Conneally) Woodlief who was also one of my bridesmaids wore them! The only one left was Rebekah... but as she waited for the man God was preparing for her, the veils set off on a longer journey.  They were worn by several girls who are in some way connected with one of us... Katherine (Reid) Alumbaugh, Amy (Frazier) Rodgers, Erin (Claxton) Brindley, and most recently Nicole (Grazier) Megli (June 15th, 2014)! This coming fall Jessi Morris will also wear the veil...

and so it continues...



In an amazing way the veil has connected us. It was our love for Jesus that brought us to Dallas Seminary, and there our friendship with one another blossomed. In our first year, our friendship was forged through a 6am Tuesday morning prayer group for the world. Our heart for God's name to be made great in the world was a catalyst in our relationship with one another.  In various capacities we were roommates, workout partners, classmates, accountability partners and best friends. These were the women I poured out my heart to, who prayed with me and encouraged me to trust God in all things, including my relationship with the love of my life. We were part of one another's love stories... but more so are all committed to a greater love story.  One of a redeemer and bridge groom that is one day coming back for His bride...

Revelation 19:7 says, "Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” What a beautiful picture is painted of the church, made bright and pure by the finished work of Jesus! Ephesians 5:27 adds, "So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."

And that is really the desire of our hearts, that the church, throughout the world would be ready for the bridegroom's return. That future church includes millions of people around the world who have not yet heard or called on the name of Jesus.

Many of the girls who wore the veil are serving the Lord and his kingdom to this end! We are all now wives, many are now mothers, seeking to love God and love others where He has led us.

Weddings: 

Krista Davis + Ben Taylor                             January 2010
Natalie Price + Matthew Ballmann              June 2010
Caitilin Conneally + Jonathan Woodlief     October 2011
Amy Frazier + John Rodgers                          September 2012
Katherine Reid + TJ Alumbaugh                  February 2013
Rebekah Frazier + Dan Gorrell                   September 2013
Erin Claxton + Richard Brindley                December 2013
Nicole Grazier + Joel Megli                          June 2014
Jessie Morris + Joe Fraccaro                         October 2014

{names in bold indicate Dallas Theological Seminary graduates}

23 Jun 2014

clickin moms & awesome dads

I thought i'd share some of the 'behind the scenes' photos from our recent wedding photo shoot.
You see, i'm a mom. i have 3 kids that are 3 & under... sometimes i wonder how i manage to pack the camera along with the mass amount of other baby supplies needed when travelling anywhere! Yes, it often ends up in the diaper bag (at least it's padded well, eh?!)

I realize that this is a phase in life... but one i don't want to miss. I love capturing our kids adventures, innocence and childhood. Their particular ages right now make it a little difficult to be able to photograph others, unless that is my amazing husband is willing to come along and be with the kids...

This time it was particularly fun because it was Uncle Marshall + Aunt Kasia's photo shoot!

dad doing triple duty! 


 LOVE how he is kicking up dust chasing the boys

 yup, they wanted to climb out there too

 hugs from ciocia kasia

 dude pack

'ta-da' little man literally jumped out from behind a post to photo bomb this one! 

he's a good man and a GREAT husband & dad

22 Jun 2014

marshall + kasia {married}

This amazing couple also happens to be family. Marshall is my brother-in-law and Kasia is one of the girls from my youth group in Katowice. She quickly became a close friend and i even had the privilege of baptizing her! She came to our wedding in Canada which is when this magic began...

They were married April 5th, 2014 and it was so fun to do their wedding photos (they do them after the wedding here in Poland). This castle, Kórnik, is near their hometown of Poznan. You may remember it from this photo shoot