Alaska has been having a record year for snowfall! Even though it was January in a snowstorm we braved the elements for 24 minutes at Ocean View Park to capture Nichole & Kristjan’s engagement shots. It was a beautiful Winter Wonderland, complete w/ millions of snowflakes!
The day after Thanksgiving, from 9:30am to 6pm in 7-12 degree weather, my husband, his twin brother & a friend made around 130 blocks of snow to create an 11 foot igloo for my kids to play in. They got everything finished but the entrance, which my hubby carved out the following morning. This labor of love also included an hour or two where 10 kids got to come help with the first row. The igloo is one of many reminders to me that I have an amazing family. My husband works hard (even on his days off), to not only build our kids the raddest snow fort ever, but include them in the process. Teach them that good things take hard work, families help each other out. I also love that they can have fun w/ dad outside & I can stay inside by the fire.
I am on the procurement committee for the New Direction Resource Center fundraising auction. This auction takes place every October to raise funds Alaska’s at-risk youth to complete their high school education. You can visit the NDRC website here to learn more about the program & hear some amazing testimonies. Our last benefit auction was on October 15, 2011…& I’m just getting around to posting about it. I was blessed to see how God provided for us. The event was a huge success & I feel privileged to be a part of it. Seeing people support teens in Anchorage who need extra help, was amazing. The success of the event was a culmination of many volunteer hours, the generosity of hundreds of donors, corporate sponsors and of course the enthusiastic bidders who attended the auction. The result was $35,000 raised to benefit the rising stars of the NDRC for the 2011-12 school year. Without this generous giving, New Direction, a private, non-profit organization, could not continue to offer its services to local teens in need of educational intervention.
Here is a pic of my husband & I with his twin brother & his wife, all dressed up at the auction. I have posted about the NDRC before, you can read that here. If you are interested in supporting the NDRC feel free to contact me.
This weekend the crisp fall weather was sunny & perfect for a backyard, family wedding for Bethany & Tim. I was impressed how smoothly everything came together & relaxed everyone was. The whole family made the event intimate & fun! I really enjoyed photographing this wedding! Here are a few of my favorite shots.
*Also, this was the first time I have seen a rice crispy wedding cake & it was awesome!
Last Sunday was sunny & beautiful so we loaded up the mini van & drove up the hillside to Shangri-La to take fall pictures. Shangri-La is a subdivision up the mountain in Golden View, that is stunning! You can see down all the way to the inlet & all the way downtown. The fall colors are breath taking. It’s one of my favorite places. Corralling all the kids & trying to get them to smile was tough but I got some shots of each kiddo that I felt was ‘so them’. While wrangling my tiny goofballs I realized that my “shangri-la” was shepherding these little ones that God has entrusted to me. Watching them run around the hillside picking flowers & laughing brought joy to my heart, I spent a minute resting in the contentment of my earthly, mystical happy place…then I loaded them back in the car cause we’re in Alaska & it had begun to rain. Here are some pictures of my kids in true goofball form.
I haven’t been taking many pictures lately but I have been busy. My husband & I are both now in our 30s. I’m not quite sure how that happened but I can tell my kids keep getting older so I must be too! At this age, I figured that our diets could use an adjustment…cause we both love to eat! So, I have been “doing my homework” on food. I’ve been devouring blogs, websites & cookbooks about healthy food. I have been menu/meal planning like a maniac. I have been learning how to make our families favorite recipes but now with healthier ingredients. I have found 100 days of real food to be incredibly helpful in many ways, it has been my favorite resource so far. I especially loved their kid food ideas.
Other sites that I have found some fun recipes & good information from are Deliciously Organic, Easy Peasy Organic & The Fresh 20. If you sign up for the Fresh 20s mailing list they send you a ‘free mini week’ menu plan that is awesome!
I am not following a specific diet lifestyle. I’m not going all organic or gluten free at this time. I am just making little healthy changes (not just cause I am getting older & more squishy) because I want to give my family & kids the best in life. As a stay-at-home-mom I can take the time to do a little research on healthy alternatives. Hopefully, I have given you some things to chew on, helpful resources that fit for your family. I have been having a ton of fun rounding up my favorite recipes from friends & family too! Please feel free to pass on your favorite recipes.
I was also happy & surprised to find that Super Walmart is offering more healthy food items for a good price (:
We had so much fun at the Alaska State Fair yesterday. True to Alaska’s crazy weather we left just before lunch & it was cloudy, sprinkling rain but throughout the day the weather got better & better, by 5pm it was hot & sunny! The kids all got their faces painted & enjoyed games, rides & junk food. Fun was had by all! Also, my bunny picture got 3rd place in its division at the fair!
My son started 2nd grade & my baby girl started kindergarten. I am amazed that we are at this stage in life already. I feel like I just had my son, that he should still be a little baby in my arms. But now I see this little boy, where my baby once was. I looked over at Gideon in church the other day to see him singing along to a worship song & I realized that he isn’t so little of a boy anymore, I was able to get a brief glimpse of what I imagine he will be like in the years to come. It made me want to cry a little bit.
Mia has always been tugging at the heels of her brother, who is 17 months older than her. She reached all of her milestones early to keep up with him. She has always hated any separation from her best friend & constant playmate. Now she is beyond excited to go to the ‘big kid school’ with her brother. The only thing she dislikes is that she doesn’t get to spend more time with Gideon while she is there.
When we registered the kids for school the principal came to say hi to Gideon and to meet Mia. He greeted Gideon saying, “Hi, Gideon. I see you have a sister this year.” Gideon look perplexed that a grown-up, the principal no less, could be so foolish. He answered politely but somewhat indignantly, “Mr. B, she will be my sister for my whole life!”
Mr. B & I had a good laugh over this. Gideon is funny. Many of the school staff tell me how much they enjoy him & are looking forward to getting to know Mia. As much as I’ll miss my kids during the day, I take comfort in knowing that they are at a good school & the staff keeps a good eye on my precious babies. I know that this new stage of life will be equally as amazing if not more, as the last.
A few weeks ago we took in 3 more foster kids. These kids are older than our last pair. (I really miss my “littles” by the way. Thankfully, I get to keep in touch with them). Our current batch of cutie-patooties won over my heart within minutes. They seem to fit in well with our family & have settled in quickly & easily. With this tiny trio comes a whole new set of worries & a whole new list of prayers. Little things they say & do seem to simultaneously make me happy & break my heart. They like being with us but miss their family. It’s hard for the kids to understand this transition & equally hard to explain it to them, so we end up giving lots of hugs & wipe away a few tears. The biggest challenge for me personally, so far, has been learning how to manage the amount of work that comes with having 5 kids under 8 years old, figuring out how to still get housework done & dinner on the table.
While navigating this challenge, I have been amazed at how my friends rally together when new kids come into our home. They have brought over mattresses, clothes & an entire trunk of groceries! I am extremely thankful for God’s provision for my family & the community that He has placed us in. A community that puts value in investing in the lives of others. Not only are my friends investing in the lives of the tiny trio, they are doing it in their communities as well. They “adopt” families around them & include them in their daily life. Invite them over for dinner & holidays, take the kids school shopping & drop by with groceries. They get to know people in their community & fill the needs that they see. Other families I know have invited teens that had ended up homeless to live with them, invited single mother’s & their children to live in their homes & come along side a young single adults struggling to get life figured out. Investing in people is not always something that comes in an easy , convenient package. Usually, you find your self elbow deep in things you may have never dealt with. I often find myself not knowing what to say. I pray that God would give me wisdom to share, and that I would know when to speak and when to just listen. I pray that whichever it is, they could see Christ’s heart to love and serve them through me.
As I type this I am watching the movie Robots with my kids. The theme of the movie is presented in the beginning by Big Weld is “See a need, fill a need.” Which is what helping people is all about, filling the needs of those around you. I know of many organizations that you can get involved in, I’ll list a couple that I actively support, but really sometimes it just means coming along side people you know & helping out. I can’t help but wonder, if someone would have come along side my tiny trio’s family & helped them along, would they have remained out of the system?
Today I got in some quality time w/ my sister, taking pictures of her & her pup Hamish. Hamish is a skye terrier. He looks like a little bear w/ big ears, he likes long walks by the creek and dislikes grumpy old chihuahuas that don’t want to play w/ him. You can read about Hamish’s adventures here.