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Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I've already uploaded the full album here, but I can't resist sharing atleast a couple of photos from my mini session with Jack.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughts on {being married eight years}

If you've read my posts recently, you might think I listen to too much Christian radio. Well, here I go again quoting a Christian pop song, but it sums up my thoughts on my upcoming wedding anniversary. Here are the lyrics from the chorus.

Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone

Here's the thing. It's been a long time since I've felt alone. What a sweet testament to the man I married.

Our two toothless wonders!

So this one just lost some.

And this one is still waiting on some.

And this book suggests we should recycle them.

Kids say the darndest things...

We were walking home from Scotty's Brewhouse the other day with a friend. Someone passed by and said, "Look at all the little cuties!" Julian looks at me and says, "Mommy, why did they just call me a cutie?" I shrug. He continues, "I'm not a cutie. I'm awesome."

On another day, Julian gets in the car and asks "Mom, could we listen to the song that goes 'Are we human or are we dancers?'" Later he says, "Turn on that song, you know, the one that starts 'There's a fire starting in my heart, Reaching a fever pitch and it's mumble mumble mumble.'"

He was right, he is awesome.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coupons are for the birds. (and for organized ladies like Kelsey)

Do you remember this post? I had resolved to be more realistic about what I could accomplish. Then I went to MOPS one day, and a lady talked about couponing. She gave an impassioned, convincing presentation on how to use couponing to save money for your family. She talked about stacking manufacturer and store coupons on top of sales to get great deals on all kinds of items. She talked about a way to organize your coupons to see everything at a quick glance.
I decided to give it a whirl on sort of a small scale. I was only going to look for deals at Kroger and Target. I was only going to buy things that I knew we would use. So I bought a small binder and some plastic sheets to slip coupons in. I drove by the dollar store on Sunday to pic up a paper or two. I cut coupons. I started looking at websites like to get ideas on how to turn my coupons into savings.
Fast forward six months. I'm in the grocery store with four kids. I've got the big cart. Maggie is in the basket in her car seat, Schroeder is in the front seat, D'arcy and Julian are both in the added big kid seats attached to the front. I'm pulling them around occasionally having to say, "keep your hands off your brother" or "if you ask for anything else...". I'm also getting stopped several times to hear "are these all yours?" or "you have your hands full!". Oh, and with every item I'm adding to the cart, Maggie is becoming less visible.
I also have four focuses. Number one- Menu. I have a menu for the week usually consisting of five meals that I plan to make. I'm usually making at least one newer recipe and four other easy or routine recipes that I need to buy ingredients for. Number two- Weight Watchers. I recently joined Weight Watchers not really to lose baby fat. I've lost all the baby fat. However, I still have what I like to call SODA fat. I'm tasked with finding healthy snacks and breakfast items that will help me lose this extra ten pounds. Now, you might just say, "Melissa, just don't buy SODA." Yeah, ok. Number three- stay in budget. I've been trying to stay under eighty dollars and instead of using a calculator, I just sort of add in my head as I go. That works wonderfully with one kid. Ok with two. Not well with three. Not at all with four. My brain is something the kids won't be longing to play with, though. Number four- buy items with coupons. I'm buying these items not necessarily because we need them this week, but because they are on sale and we'll eventually need them.
Yesterday, I went to Target and was going to get Secret Deoderant. I had a manufacturers coupon, a store coupon, and the deoderant was on sale. Well, I had the coupons, they were in my purse. However, I was unable to produce the coupons from my purse when it came time to make my purchases. Why, because I haven't taken the time to organize them ahead of time. Which is crucial to couponing and is, frankly, boring.
But when I picked up Stephen, he said, "Hey, did you see Kelsey on the news today?" Kelsey is a good friend, an awesome mom, and obviously better at this couponing thing than me.

500 Ways to Save: Grocery bills:

I'm not comparing myself to Kelsey. She and I are different, we respect one another, and gain ideas from one another. I thought it was pretty ironic, though, that the same day that I'm sitting at the Target check out counter sorting through my stack of miscellaneous coupons with kids crying in the cart, she is showing the world he beautifully organized coupon book. It made me laugh. It reminded me of that post I wrote six months ago about abandoning the idea of being the jack of all trades (at least in the house management department).
Did I mention that I just planted a tomato plant?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thoughts on {Easter & turning thirty}

I've used this curriculum for my kids called Godly Play. It's a Sunday School curriculum created for Episcopal churches. As holidays such as Easter and Christmas approach, the lessons ask the children to prepare their hearts to enter the mystery. Jesus coming to earth as a human is a mystery. Jesus' words are mysteries. Jesus dying on the cross as a sacrifice for the whole of human sin is a mystery. Jesus rising from the grave is a mystery. I desire to both wholly understand and wholly appreciate these mysteries. That's hard to do.
I didn't have much time prior to Easter to prepare my heart. I had hoped to prompt our family to give something up during Lent. Instead, I spent much of March and April moving into our new home. But the week before Easter, I began to pray simply that God would prepare my heart so that as I celebrated Easter, I might have a new understanding and appreciation for what Christ has done for us.
Several weeks before Easter arrived, a friend of ours delivered her son. He had suddenly died in the womb. It was tragic. I wondered and worried if I would have to encounter something extraordinarily tragic in my life.
Worry is always something I struggle. This April I was busy worried about the investment we had just made in a very old home. I was worried about Schroeder's height, saddened that he didn't seem to get any of his dad's normal height genes. I was worried that Maggie wasn't getting enough to eat. I was worried that my sister's pregnancy would end with difficulty. I was overwhelmed with it somedays.
As I was driving in my car, my mind vascillating from worry to prayer, this song came on for the hundreth time. The chorus says this.

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

These words prompted me to remember the truth that worry is not only useless, but harmful. With worry we begin to dig our own grave in our mind. Come awake just as Christ came awake because he has provided a way. He has brought the Kingdom of Heaven here to earth, not in it's fullness, but here nonetheless. Come awake and choose to live out the Kingdom of Heaven by our actions and our thoughts.

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He's alive! He's alive!

He's alive, and therefore, we can be also.

Turning Thirty.
There are inevitable moments in life when you mourn your lost youth. I've already had a few. Like when I was engrossed in reading the Twilight series and I was mourning the fact that I will never fall in love again (barring any unfortunate circumstances). It's too bad that this pity party happened to coincide with Stephen's and my trip to Rhode Island. It was sort of a second honeymoon and all I could do was sit on the porch and read and relive our courtship through the imagined lives of a high school girl and a one hundred year old vampire who sparkles.
My thirtieth birthday was not a day of mourning youth, though. Instead, it was a day to celebrate and remember the past decade. It's been eventful...a couple of graduations, a wedding, four kids, a marriage, two houses, several jobs, a small business, a couple of big moves. But beyond the big mile markers, there have been lots of small but beautiful moments...moments when we resolved to take a risk...moments when we were still and quiet and waited...moments of being humbles and learning. Many of these moments were difficult. I don't want to relive them. I just want to remember them.
I have regrets. I've said mean things. I've made some poor decisions. But as a whole, I'm turning thirty having lived a life worth remembering which made my birthday a joyous occasion.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Caitlin & Michael are Engaged!

Had a chance to meet up with Caitlin and Michael yesterday. They will be getting married this December in what is sure to be an elegant, beautiful affair. I always wanted to get married in December. Do you remember Father of the Bride and how lovely a cold day can turn out to be? Stephen couldn't be convinced that it was a great idea and practically it didn't make sense (not unless I wanted to wait an extra six months to get married which WAS NoT happening). So I'll be living vicariously through Caitlin's wedding. But enough about me...

This might be my personal favorite.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Melissa + Joy : Saturated - May Black

I procrastinated this month. Black is surprisingly hard to find! I stopped by the local coffee shop trying to get an interesting photo of the chalk board to no avail. I stopped to take a picture of the large, metal construction signs that flash arrows. I liked that one but wasn't quite sure. I went over to a friend's house to take some maternity photos. Another friend was leaving on his bicycle and he had a black basket. "Could I take your picture, PLEASE?" I think it reflects the beauty of May in Indiana...the desire to get outside on a lovely day after being cooped up in the house all winter and then all spring while it rained. Check out Joy's story here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Doug and Lindsey

Doug and Lindsey are growing a baby. Doug and Lindsey like to bowl. So I suggested we go down to the Shelby Bowl to get some maternity pictures. It seemed rational to me. These pictures make my heart happy.

Friday, May 13, 2011


All I can say is that this is a sweet family. It was a beautiful night in Indiana, and I got to spend it with capturing the sweetness of Evangeline and the joy this family has by having her to love.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I hate it when there are too many good ones to choose what to put as a preview! We tried for three weeks to make this session happen but it kept raining. Finally, we got some pictures of Corie just as her senior year is coming to a close.

This is where she came from.

And this is where she's going.

This might be my favorite.

Love the sunshine and bare feet.

It was her idea to twirl :P.