Image by Laura Ketteman

Image by Laura Ketteman

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Days 296 - 302. Thankfulness Challenge, Days 22 - 28.

I have a weekful of thankfulness to catch up on, but probably not enough pictures for each.  That's okay.  I make the rules here.

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my husband's side of our family.  We ate a lot of yummy food.  The kids got to visit with their grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins.  We ate a lot of yummy food.  The boys opened their Christmas gifts from Gma K.  And we ate a LOT of yummy food.  :)

Day 22.  Wow.  That was last Monday.  I'm having trouble remembering back that far.  I remember that I was doing a lot cleaning that day, and I chatted with my BFF in Romania as well as my sister for awhile.  I'm going to say I'm so thankful for the wonderful invention of the telephone.  :)  I'm so glad my favorite people (even when they live in ROMANIA!) are only a phonecall away.

Day 23.  Thankful for sweet surprises from friends.  My neighbor called and asked if I'd like to share an afternoon cup of coffee while the boys played for awhile after school.  "ABSOLUTELY!" I said.  So, we sat and shared a cup of coffee, some cinnamon cake, and a few stories about our upcoming Thanksgiving plans.  She is always a breath of fresh air for me, and I'm thankful for her.  :)

Day 24.  I was packing that day.  I hate packing.  But I'm thankful I didn't forget anything we needed.  I am thankful we arrived to my mother-in-law's house safely.  And I was thankful for the rain that we needed... but glad that the laundry room only leaked "a little."  Ugh.

Day 25.  THANKSGIVING DAY!  I'm thankful for family.

Day 26.  Thankful my boys got to spend time with Grandpa.

Day 27.  Thankful for home-sweet-home.

Day 28.  Hmmm... well, that's today.  So, I'm going to give that some more thought.  :)

Here are a few pictures from our week:

Grandma didn't make it for our "fall birthdays" celebration this year.  So, two of my guys got to celebrate yet again by opening gifts from Gma K.  :)  She gave them some of their favorite books.  KS3 finally has his own "Little Pea" book, so he doesn't have to keep checking it out at the library.  :)  We have read it EVERY night since.  :)

We happened to be visiting Uncle Justin and Aunt Sam the day after Thanksgiving, when they brought home their brand new puppy.  Just look at this little guy!

He was born with this little paw that wasn't formed exactly right.  Aunt Sam says it makes him unique and special.  :)

My nieces absolutely fell in love with him right away.  In fact, everyone did, really.  He was just the most darling puppy I think I've ever seen.

Pretty sure KS3 would have taken him home on the spot.  (So would Mommy...)

Here he is, sleeping in my husband's arm.  He's only six weeks old (the puppy, of course).  Just too cute!

There's another pic of his sweet, little paw.

We see this old car every time we visit, resting in the same place, just up the street from Grandma's house.  This time, I drove KS1 up there, to see it up close.

Gma K. gave the boys their Christmas gifts a little early.  This way, they can enjoy them before the weather gets too cool.

Of course, they tried them out the very next morning.

Last but not least, Grandma's Christmas tree.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 295. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 21

It is no secret that I absolutely love to take pictures... but it all started with taking pictures of my loved ones... many years ago, with my mom's old camera.  Any camera would do, really.  I loved to take pictures of my friends and family.  And I still do.  It's my favorite.  :)  It's natural and easy and there's no pressure.  We just hang out and take snapshots... The hard part is later.  I have a horrible time choosing my favorites.  Even with eyes closed or a half-smile, I struggle to delete ANYTHING.  My objectivity becomes slightly compromised, because I can't help but smile at a goofy expression of someone so close and dear to me.

All of that being said, I had a little session with my brother and his wife yesterday.  This weekend, they told our family they are expecting their first baby.  Oh, it just makes my heart go pitter-pat.  :)  I absolutely adore these two people, and I can't wait to meet my baby niece or nephew.  What an exciting time this will be!!!

I AM THANKFUL TO BE AN AUNT AGAIN!  :)  Enjoy the pics:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 294. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 20.

I am so thankful for God's sweet gift of LIFE.  This sweet family has been through a lot in the last several years.  God blessed them with a beautiful daughter nearly ten years ago.  Since then, they have lost two sweet children who are now with Him in Heaven.  A year ago, we had a very special session in a memorial place for those little babies.

These were taken in October of 2009:

It is AMAZING what can happen in one short year, though, isn't it???  These are from the session I had with their family today:

Just look at the happiness exuding from their faces.  :)  What a sweet, precious blessing God has given them... their little miracle.  There's nothing more beautiful than the way a baby looks at her mama.  It nearly brought tears to my eyes to watch along as my friend just loved on her new, baby girl. 

Thank you, God, for your sweet gift of LIFE!!!!  And THANK YOU for your gift of eternal life, because one day, this mommy and daddy will join you and live happily ever after with all FOUR of their babies.

If you would like to learn more about the Angel of Hope Memorial, or even donate to their cause, please click on the link below to find out how!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 293. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 19.

Have I mentioned that I'm thankful for HIM?????

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 292. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 18.

How can you NOT be thankful when God gives you a front row view of his creation???

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 291. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 17.

I am WAAAY behind on my "thankfulness challenge."  The fact is, I'm just TOO busy to stop to think about being thankful!  No, no... I'm just kidding.  :)  I've actually put a LOT of thought into my blessings recently... even more than usual.  However, limiting it to a daily post, AND finding a picture to coordinate... well, that's a different story.

Right now, I'm thankful as I listen to my sweet KS3 sing while he plays with cars.

I'm thankful for the beautiful weather we've had.

I'm thankful for baking soda, and how it makes my laundry smell fresh.

I'm thankful for Pepsi Max.

I'm thankful for my little photography business and the fun I have doing something I love, and being able to share that with others.

I'm thankful for sweet babies.

I'm thankful for the white board on my refrigerator, so I don't lose track of what I'm doing during my days.

I'm thankful for little boys' bicycles and the fun they have on them.

See?  My list can go on and on and on... But it IS true that I don't necessarily have the time to take a picture every time I have a thought (contrary to what some who know me may think!)  Suffice it to say, I AM thankful.  Today, I will tell you that I'm thankful for the times I am able to share lunch with people I love... especially when it's somewhere yummy like where I ate this sandwich:

Mmmmm.  Chick Fila.  SO YUMMY!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 290. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 16.

I'm thankful for MUSIC... all kinds.  And this was a fun reminder.  (I'm forcing my brother to listen to it, because he should give it a chance.  :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 289. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 15.

I am thankful for my health.

The following picture was taken in May of 2009.  That is when I realized something very disheartening... I'm not getting any younger.  :(

We were in Quincy, IL for the weekend.  My husband was in the thick of his busiest running season.  We were there, because he found a half marathon in the area, and he thought it would be fun to make a family weekend trip around it.  Well, anyway, that is a side note.

On the way home, we stopped in Hannibal to take the boys through some of the Mark Twain sites.  The last time I'd been there, was my senior year of highschool.

See these steps?

I think, at this point, I was about halfway to the top.  Funny thing, I remembered being at the top (to see the lighthouse) when I was there before (yeah, at 17 years old)... I did NOT remember struggling to get there.  I was floored how tired it made me to climb those stairs!!!... not my husband... He had just finished running 13.1 miles (I can't leave out the .1.  It makes him very frustrated when I leave out the .1) the day before, and he didn't even break a sweat.  And my children RAN up the majority of them, giggling and laughing all the way.  They thought it was FUN!  Ah, youth is wasted on the young. 

It was the very beginning of an endeavor to become more healthy... for myself, and for my family.  The first time I dragged myself to my elliptical machine, I got through 12 minutes.  And I was proud of that fact.  Oh dear.

Since that time, my entire lifestyle has progressively changed (although it took me quite awhile to actually get the hang of it).  Some endeavors have been more successful than others, but for the most part, we are a much healthier family than we were a year and a half ago.

For that, I am thankful.  :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 288. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 14.

I am thankful for imagination.  Isn't it so much fun to watch your kids play?  I love to just sit back and listen as they make up stories or play with their toys... when they have NO idea who is watching or listening, and they just do their own thing.  In fact, even as I type, KS3 is doing that very thing.  He's creating an entire narrative, based on his little pirate figures.  Oh, the stories he can tell! 

This little Pictionary man was another display of KS3's imagination, in fact.  He sat with a sweet friend of ours, and played with this Pictionary guy for quite some time.  The following is Mr. Pictionary, dressed up to play in the snow.  He is complete with gloves, snowboots, and even a hood on the back of his coat.  :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 287. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 13.

I am thankful for the many reasons God gives me to smile.  I took this photo during KS1's basketball game that morning.  He has shot up in height, even in the last couple of months.  I was noticing that I probably need to buy him a pair of larger athletic shorts!... not to mention his shoes, but that's a different story.  Anyway, I couldn't help but smile when, from across the gym, I looked at his, cute, little knobby knees... He got those from his mamma, I'm sorry to say...  and I guess I got them from my dad... or it could have been my grandma.  Either way, they're in the family.  Looks like we'll keep passing them on.  :) 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 288. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 12.

I am thankful for Trader Joe's!  Yep, I am... and I'm not embarrassed to say so...  :)  I love that there's a grocery store out there that prides themselves in natural ingredients and wholesome foods, and for reasonable prices! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 285. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 11.

I am thankful for red.  It is my absolute favorite color.  It was also my grandma's favorite color, which totally fit her.  That makes me smile.  :)  I happen to think that God must like it pretty well, too.  He saves it for some of the most special things in nature.  He is in control of it all... when the leaves change to red.  Whether a rose grows to be yellow or pink, or His favorite... red.  :)  He saved it for the color of KS3's hair.  :)  Yes, I absolutely LOVE red.  :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 284. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 10.

I am thankful for change.

Well, I'm trying to be.

I took this picture about a year ago.  He was just a little boy, playing with Grandma's dog.  But in the short span of a year, he has grown up SO much, SO fast.  He's discovering who he is.  He's testing.  Challenging.  Learning.  Being.  And I feel like I'm doing all of those things, right along with him.  But we're in it together.  Such a special, wonderful boy.  God is molding him.  And I get the wonderful blessing of having a front row seat along the way.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 283. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 9.

I said I would avoid "the obvious," but then I heard this song for the first time yesterday.  So... I am going with an obvious one for today.

I thank God every day for my husband.  We will celebrate 14 years of marriage a month from now.  I am so incredibly in love with him, more now than I would have ever dreamed the day we were married.  Our story began with a true experience of God's grace and love.  He has blessed us far beyond we could ever deserve.  I want to NEVER take "us" for granted.  I pray that God will protect our marriage ... that it will be a healthy one... a God-honoring one... and one that will last for as long as our lives here on earth.

YouTube wouldn't let me post it on my blog, so you'll have to click on the title below and it will take you directly to the link on YouTube.  :)  Hope you enjoy it. 
Dancing In Mine Fields

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 282. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 8.

Today, I am thankful for birthdays.  I love celebrating birthdays of the ones I love... especially these WONDERFUL people who put up with living under the same roof as YOURS TRULY.  :)  My husband and my boys mean the absolute world to me.  God has blessed me abundantly.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


And, of course, I couldn't leave out a few previews of my 4-wheelin' chauffeur .  :)  What a natural beauty, she is.  We had a great time.  Just loved her!

Day 281. Thankfulness Challenge, Day 7.

I was crabby on this day.  Do you just have those days when you're irritable, and you don't even know exactly why?  It could be a thousand little things, just getting on your nerves.  Maybe a lack of sleep?  Bad hair day?  Nah... I don't really care about those so much anymore.  Either way, I was irritable. 

Without going into a long, drawn out story... the end of my day was much better than the beginning.  And my thing to be thankful for, I decided, was SIMPLICITY.

My husband works with this sweet lady who lives out on farmland in Illinois.  She asked if we could come out her way and have me do a senior photo session with her daughter.  What a delightful time we had.

It is no mystery that I am a city girl, wholeheartedly.  My mom grew up in North St. Louis.  My dad grew up in South St. Louis.  I grew up, right in between.  As an adult, I enjoy living within a 5 minute drive to the nearest grocery store.  I'm GLAD to know that my nearest neighbor is closer than a soybean field away!

But I am no stranger to a more "rustic" way of living.  My dad may have grown up in the city, but his roots were as country as you get.  :)  All of my growing up, we visited my grandpa in a tiny, rural town in Missouri.  I had a great uncle who lived on a farm, and we would be just elated to go visit and hang out with our cousins who actually owned their OWN horses.  Yes, this born-and-bred-city-girl has actually ridden a horse a time or two... on my own... but I was young, and I didn't really recognize a true meaning of fear at the time.

My husband grew up in a similar, rural town.  I've told the stories of taking my boys to the lake to skip rocks, or to their uncle's house to play out on all of their land (next door to soybean fields, I might add).  I suppose the thread will continue to weave its way through our family's history.

When I am reminded of such a way of life, I am always completely breathtaken by the beauty of it.  The young girl I had the session with, drove me around on her four-wheeler (which my husband thoroughly enjoyed chuckling at) and took me on a tour of their family farm.  My boys jumped around on hay bales to pass the time, and took walks with my husband and "Miss Stephanie" as she showed them fun things like COWS.  :)  After I finished the session, she brought us back to the house and FED us!  Oh, did she feed us!  :)  Mmmm... :)  Homemade blackberry cobbler.  Need I say more?

The experience was JUST what I needed... a reminder to step back and take joy in the simple things:  God's creation.  Little boys' laughter.  The sweet, adventurous spirit of a teenage girl.  :)  DIRT!  :)  ...even cows.  (Who doesn't enjoy a steak once in awhile???)  I am thankful for God's gentle reminders.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Days 279 & 280. Thankfulness Challenge, Days 5 & 6.

Oddly enough, I'm actually finding this to be a challenge!  Yes, I realize it's called the "thankfulness challenge," but I truly didn't expect it to actually BE one.  I think I'm making it more difficult than it has to be, because I'm trying to avoid the obvious... I could give you a new reason EVERY day why I'm thankful for my husband and children alone.  I want to attempt to think of something new that I don't often think, "Gee, I'm really thankful for that!"  But, then, to take a picture to go along with it????

Yesterday, my post was as follows:

Today, I am thankful for shampoo. Yes, that was one of my first thoughts this morning as I hugged my little KS3 and could smell his freshly washed hair from the night before. His red, tousled mess felt soft against my face. Sweet morning moments. I LOVE that. :)

Today, it was this:

Thankful for little boys' basketball games. Thankful for KS2 who surprised me by making my bed this morning. Thankful to crawl back into it for a cozy, 30 minute nap this afternoon. :) Now, I'm trying to force myself into being thankful for my elliptical machine. :/

OK, so I could have taken a picture of my bed, or even of the lovely mixed blessing of the elliptical machine.  I feel my creativity is STUMPED.  :/
So, for now, I will catch up on pictures by adding some from this morning's session.  And, yes, it DOES count, because trust me... I AM thankful for my sessions!  I love taking pictures.  And I am thankful to have the opportunity to share that with others.  :)

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ilLaurastrations Photography began in Spring of 2009.

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