Saturday, January 31, 2009

Project 365, Week 5

Not much to say about this week other than BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. I seemed to have a slant thing going on this week!

Here are my pictures of the week.

January 24, 2009

January 25, 2009

January 26, 2009
January 27, 2009

January 28, 2009

January 29, 2009

January 30, 2009

PAD 2009
Hosted by Kimberly

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Life

I'm thrilled to introduce a sweet new life to you. Please join me in welcoming her to the world.

Sadie Leigh Lovekamp
January 27, 2009
2:28 PM
7 lbs 3 oz
19 1/4 inches

Sadie is the youngest daughter of Joe and Susie Lovekamp. Her big brother, Noah, and big sister, Maddie, are thrilled to welcome her to their family.

Congratulations, Susie and Joe!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Best Shot(s)

I was asked to do another family photo shoot this weeked. I can not begin to tell you how much fun I have when I'm working with families to capture their sweet personalities. Here are three of my favorite pictures of the kiddos from the shoot. The last is my favorite and my best shot.

Relaxing between the shots. Jennifer and Christopher have done such a great job keeping their children carefree. No part of their yard was off limits. They didn't care that Gaines was romping around in the wet grass in his pristine white outfit. It was such a relaxed experience--for the ametuer photographer and the family!

(I'd love some direction on how to make my black and white conversion a little deeper--a little more dramatic. I feel like I've read some directions somewhere on some of your blogs.)

Sibling love doesn't get any sweeter than this, does it? Sophie and Gaines grabbed each other for a completely sweet hug as we walked from one location to the next. My heart nearly throbbed right out of my chest as I snapped picture after picture of them loving each other.
I've sort of got a few more sessions set up with some more friends. I'm so excited about the prospect of really working on my skills as I experiment with my friends and their families. What an honor to be asked to capture the lives of such sweet people!
For more MBS shots, head on over to see Tracey. There's always some fun times brewing over there.

red BSM button

Only the beginning

"No, M, don't do that."

"But Mommy, lots of other kids do it."

I have a feeling that this is only the first of a million times I will hear that.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Project 365, Week 4

After some public grumbling last week and some very sweet suggestions, I FINALLY figured out how to get more than 4 pictures in a single post! Thank you, bloggy friends, for helping me! It only took me nearly two years to figure out something so basic.

Here is Week 4 of P365. Some of you asked where some of the images came from last week. I'm not too private on here, but I do want to maintain some anonymity, so I avoided your questions. I'm sorry about that. Please understand that I'll give away as much information as possible without sacrificing the privacy of my family.

On another note, Becky Higgins suggested handing over the camera and letting other family members take pictures for P365. YIKES! I'm not very good at handing over the camera. I'll be putting my pictures in a journal, so I need to let someone else show their perspective on this life we are creating together. you are. Week 4 in the life of the Benson family.

January 17, 2009

January 18, 2009

January 19, 2009

January 20, 2009

January 21, 2009

January 22, 2009

January 23, 2009

PAD 2009
Hosted by Kimberly

Monday, January 19, 2009

MBS: A bundle of joy to come

I had the best time yesterday doing a maternity shoot with my dear friend, Susie. With our busy schedules, this was the first time we could grab a few hours together. That sweet baby will be here in 7 days, so she was a bit anxious that she was past the "cute" pregnancy phase. Boy, was she ever wrong. She had a clear idea of what she wanted and had given me some sites to visit (there are some AMAZING photographers out there!!). As she got more comfortable in front of the camera, she was willing to take some risks. And boy was the afternoon worth it. I got AWESOME shots of this precious family. Here are a few of my favorites.

Tried the conversion. Not crazy about it.

Love this one in color. I love how each hand is a slightly different tone, all holding and loving the baby. Normally I'm a black/white addict, but this one speaks more to me in color. What do you think?

This might be one of my all time favorites. Although traditional right now, I just loved how Susie's hands went right on top of Joe's. There was no hesitation in posing the shot. Even though this is baby number 3 for them, this little baby is just as lovingly anticipated as their first born. They are as excited about the arrival as they were with the first two.
Joe and Susie, I can't wait to meet the newest bundle of joy!
For other MBS, visit Tracey.

OH!! Since I'm trying to go all techy...if anyone has the code for the MBS button, could you send it to me? THANKS!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Going Back

My poor, precious, beat-up, oft-used camera is going back to the manufacterer for a few weeks. There is something wrong with one of my lenses, so the entire package must be returned.

So, I'm in the market for a GOOD, CHEAP point and shoot to get me through.

We're looking at the Canon PowerShot A1000is and the Kodak Easy Share m1033.

What point and shoot do you have? What do you use? Any advice here? I've never owned a p-n-s. We went straight to DSLR when we made the transition from film to digital.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Project 365, Week 3 (I)

Whew. Again, as I look back over the pictures from this week, I'm AMAZED at how full our days can be. This was a busy week.

On another note, I remember one time Maggie mentioned that she tries so hard not to repeat a MBS and a Project 365 picture. There is absolutely no way I can make that same promise. There are some days I take 50 pictures and some days I'm doing good to take one or two. I will do my best not to repeat a P365 picture with MBS (or a meme as is the case this week), but no promises, okay?

Blogger and I can't seem to work out posting 7 pictures on the same entry. I beat him up a little; he beat me up a little. I'll just have to continue to do two posts every week.

I'm trying out some new things this week. I love taking pictures and I want to get better at doing it. If I'm going to document my family's life this way, I want some fun images showing how we really are. There are going to be some BIG goof-ups along the way (ahem...January 10), but it will be a fun process. I also noticed how often other people are in our pictures. I really, really want to honor the privacy of our friends. So, friends, if you see a picture on this blog and you want it removed, PLEASE just let me know. I'll remove it immediately.

Here goes P365, Week 3.

January 10, 2009

Jauary 11, 2009

January 12, 2009

January 13, 2009

PAD 2009
Hosted by Kimberly

Project 365, Week 3 (II)

January 14, 2009

January 15, 2009

January 16, 2009


I think I'm what should be known as a twitter-twotter. Sort of like a teeter-totter. Haha.

I have no idea what twitter is, but I just joined because it seems all the rage.

Perhaps you have some insight?

My two cents

Which aren't worth much, I know. What does two cents get you in this world any more?

A lot of advice you didn't need, that's for sure.

This post isn't really about advice. It's more just a place to reflect about that miracle pilot in NYC.

Holy cow! Isn't he, truly, a miracle? He saved lives yesterday. Hundreds of families' lives were forever changed yesterday in a way that I can never fathom, but it's not a tragedy.

I'm willing to bet that when he woke up yesterday morning, he never in his wildest daydreams knew what he would do that day.

"Brace for impact," were his calm words to the passengers of the flight. Had he shown any frantic-ness in his voice, chaos might have ensued in ways that would have caused tragedy. Perhaps chaos ensued anyway, but NO ONE DIED. Every single person who boarded that plane will be (perhaps already are) home with their families.


I was just reading an article about ole' Sully.

I'd sure be proud to be his mama. Or his wife. Or his daughter.

Maybe he's got some skeletons in his closet that are overshadowed by his bravery. So be it. The words that I read over and over were humble, hard-working, studious. He began flying at 14 years old. He was a fighter pilot. He's studied the psychology of cockpit crews in emergency situations.

"This is someone who has not just spent his life flying airplanes, but has actually dug very deeply into what makes these things work, and I think he proved it," said Robert Bea, a civil engineer who has known Sullenberger for a year."

His wife said, "This is the Sully I know. I always knew how he would react. So to me this is not something unusual. It's the man I know."

He did not act out of character. His behavior shows his true character. When we're in those moments, don't we all revert to who we are at the core of our beings?

In instances like this, I'm completely reminded that I serve an omnipotent God. One who orchestrates every minute of every single day. God has prepared this man for that job, for those few moments when he was in charge of the over 150 lives. God carefully orchestrated that THOSE people would be on THAT flight, finishing up business meetings, plans for visiting families. This wasn't a happenstance. It was a carefully tuned event with the powerful hand of God in the midst.

As is every moment.

It made me reflect on myself. When I'm in a crisis, how do I react? Does my true character reflect a person who loves the Lord? Who wants to serve others selflessly? Or does my evil, sinful, selfish nature shine glaringly for all to see? What would the passengers have said about ME had I been the pilot? What do my students say about me at the end of the day? What memories do they take with them? What will M remember about me as her mother?

How do I react in the moments that are not crisis, just the regular moments of each day? How do I react in moments of despair? Those moments when the words, "no heartbeat" take my breath away?
How do I react when M runs away from me in Our Favorite Place? Or cries because she wants H instead of me?
How do I react in moments of complete joy?

I can tell you right now that I do not react in a way that is glorifying to the Lord. I would not be described as humble, selfless, loves the Lord.

I have a lot to learn from that humble pilot.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Project 365, venting

File this post under "and other stuff"

Well, I'm not sure I'll be able to get the Project 365 kit. I'm okay with that, really. I was looking forward to using it to showcase all my pictures. But I can live without it. REALLY. I.CAN.LIVE.WITHOUT.THIS.KIT.

So, when we were in the big city Tuesday, we went to my favorite scrapbook store. Did I mention it is my FAVORITE scrapbook store? Well, it is. My most favorite, actually.

And I found a sweet journal with 15o pages in it. The dimensions said 6x9. I thought that would be good. I'd get 300 pages (front and back). It does have a spiral, but I figured I could trim the pictures a smidgen to fit on the pages. I know, I know...I'll have 365 pictures. I thought I could do a few pages with double pictures or make some flaps, etc, etc, etc. Because I'm that good, you know.


I ASSUMED the pages were blank.

They are not. They are lined.

Okay, okay. I took a deep breath. I can deal with this.

So last night, I spent several hours decorating the cover.

Tonight I was going to decorate a few pages, get them ready for the pictures, etc. So I got out my handy, dandy ruler. Only to find that the measurements are NOT 6x9. More like somewhere around 5.675 by almost 9.

Still not panicking yet.

I turned my ruler around and tried again. Only the numbers don't really make sense when you read them backwards. So I reverted to the correct way to use the ruler and tried a third time.

Still not 6 x 9.

Now I've got myself a real dilemma. I REALLY like this journal. And I've decorated the cover.

I just wish I'd decorated it for another purpose.

I could still use this journal. Even though it has lines and even though it's not quite what I wanted. I did spend $15 on it and I don't want to waste my money. Probably my biggest problem is that I tend to fill my frame with my image so I don't have lots of cropping room to crop my pictures to a smaller size.

I'm not opposed to creating more of an altered book type of project.

It's just not quite how I'd envisioned this playing out, ya know? I thought I'd have this cool little book with blank snow colored pages filled with my pictures and my words.

I could turn it so that it is almost 9 x 5.5ish. Not to play devil's advocate, but my cover doesn't really go with that orientation.

So I've learned a lesson here. An important lesson.

My plan stinks. I jumped in feet first, thinking I had everything under control. I don't have anything under control.

I thought I knew where I was (am) going to take this whole Project 365 thing, but the truth of the matter is I have no idea what each day will unfold.

Just like this empty journal that is not what I thought it was, this year, this project holds so much potential that I can not even fathom. I have no idea what is coming. What will happen. What will fill the pages of this journal.

So, despite that fact that it is not exactly what I wanted, I'm going to go with it. I will use it. I will alter it and allow it to alter me.

I will trust.

Trust the process.

Trust that this will work out.

Trust that I do not have to be in control because the One who controls is more powerful, more wonderful, more extraordinary than I could begin to imagine.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sharing a laugh

I've been blog hopping for a few minutes debating about whether I should share this story or not. It provides a laugh at my sweet girl's expense.

Then I thought, what the heck. One day I'll remind her of this story and we'll both laugh.

Tonight we were on our way home from Our Favorite Place (aka: Barnes and Noble). Suddenly from the back seat, I heard sobbing. Shrieking, even.

I almost drove off the road trying to figure out what in the world was wrong with her.


"What ring??? What is WRONG???"

"Mommy," sobbing intensifies, "my fingers broke my ring!!!!" (oh, this is one of the cheapest plastic rings...purple with a little foot on it)


Shrieking, sobbing, honest-to-goodness tears, "MOMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY, MY FINGERS BROKE-DED MY RING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I'm still trying to figure this out.

"Honey, stop crying and tell me what in the world is wrong. Do your fingers hurt?" Please note that I am still driving at this point.

"No, my fingers don't hurt. My fingers broke my ring. Here! FIX IT! *exaggerated pause* You CAN'T FIX IT. IT'S TOO BROKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" sobbing resumes as an escalated level. I'm sure the passing cars are wondering what in the world is going on in the van.

"M, honey. How exactly did your fingers break your ring? And where did you get this ring?"

"My fingers did this. (I think she was putting her fingers together and pulling them apart, but it's PITCH BLACK OUTSIDE AND I COULDN'T SEE HER!) This is my specialist ring from the pizza place. Me and Daddy had to play VERY hard to get it!" SOBBING again. I'm trying not to laugh out loud.

"Let Mommy have the ring." She hands it over. It obviously can not be fixed. "M, I don't think we can fix this ring. But we'll ask Daddy to take us to the pizza place and you guys can get another one." Uh, oh...major mistake. She doesn't WANT another one.

No lie. This is what my kid said.

"MOMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!! I don't think I can have another one. What if my fingers breaks another one????????????????????????????????????" I'm surprised her dress wasn't soaked at this point from all the tears.

"Here. Why don't you try to fix this one?" I should have just exited the vehicle at this point.

"AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't fix it. I AM NOT A GOOD FIXER."

I'm not sure what was louder. Her sobs or my laughter.

All I could say was, "Oh."

So we have a date tomorrow for the pizza place where M and her daddy can play very hard to get another cheap plastic ring. When I called H to share this story, he laughed as hard as I did.

Then we both decided that this is what you get when you have an exhausted three year old who hasn't had a nap in at least 3 days.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two down, none to go

Right now I am listening to thumping on my roof. And an air compressor. There is also some sort of sand papery sound.

We're getting a new roof.

Just wanted you to know what I came home to today, after the second trip to the big city in 24 hours.

There are virtually no pediatric specialists in this town, so we have two choices. We can hope one makes a trip down once a month or so and try to get an appointment at the children's health clinic. Or we can drive to the big city to see the specialists we need to see.

I feel sorry for parents with significantly health-impaired children. Luckily, M only has two specialists--a urologist and a orthopedist.

We're VERY lucky that her orthopedist comes to our town once a month and sees children in a very nice doctor's office. Not the children's health clinic. We've gone that route before. Not fun.
It's unfortunate that the times she's needed to see him just prior to the surgery and post-operative did not coincide with his trips south, so we had to drive to the big city. Not a big deal. We really, really like him.

We did not so much like the urologist. In fact, we didn't like him at all. I don't think I've ever been in a doctor's office where I was treated so poorly. He interrupted me, smirked at my questions. When I asked if she would have another VCUG, he said, "Oh, she WILL have another VCUG." I was tired of being condescended, so I said, "Well, WHEN she has her next VCUG, I want her sedated." His response? "I'll conceded to that." As if we were in a battle of M's health care!!! He was aggravated because she couldn't produce a urine sample--I won't get in to the details on that one. She COULD have given a urine sample of the receptionist had been on top of things and realized what was going on. His nurses were nice, thank goodness. But not nice enough to make getting on the road at 7:00 am in the dark worth it.

My friend encouraged me to call our ped to let him know. I thought about just waiting until I saw him again, but decided this morning to go ahead and call. M and I were shopping in the big city when he called us back. I usually deal with his nurse, who I like a lot, so I was surprised when he actually called me back himself. I felt vindicated when I told him about the appointment. I told him that I didn't really mind if that was M's urologist because we don't have to see him that often. The ped assured me that he would refer us to someone else. He said, "You should never go to a doctor and feel that way." I love our pediatrician.

So our trip to the big city yesterday resulted in lots of frustration and hurt feelings and feelings of helplessness. Some retail therapy helped alleviate those feelings.

Our trip to the big city today netted much better results. (Oh, the thumping on the roof just got louder. They must be directly above me now. Only one of them speaks English, so when I offered our bathroom, there was lots of confusion!!!!) M is cast-free. She was all smiles and giggles for the orthopedist today. He did not roll his eyes at me once or smirk at my questions. M even tried to take a few steps for him. There was lots of hugging and tickling between patient and doctor. When he left, he looked at me and said, "This is why I love pediatrics."

And that's why we love him.

Thankfully we're done with scheduled doctor's appointments for a while.

Two down, none to go.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Best Shot

Sneaking a bite of H's birthday cake icing!

For other delicious MBS, check out Tracey's place!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Right now...

This is what I look like.

My sweet friend Colleen tagged me in this meme. YUCK! But I try to play along when I'm tagged, so this is what you get.

So here are the rules...

1) Take a picture of yourself right NOW!

2) DON’T change your clothes, DON’T fix your hair… Just take a picture.

3) Post that picture with NO editing.

4) Post these instruction with your picture.

5)Tag 10 people to do this.

I'm debating right now about my ten tags. Hm...who won't hate me for tagging them AND who will play along?

Here goes.

1.) Susie (C'mon, along)

2.) Ally

3.) Maggie ('Cause you don't have anything else to do and you've NEVER done this before)

4.) Lolly ('Cause you haven't posted in forever and a year)

5.) Arizaphale

6.) Andi

7.) Rose

8.) Melody (I'm missing you TOO much)

9.) Kyla (Again, I know you are just looking for something to do...)

Well, 9 is the best I can do. If you play along, just let us know. We'll come check you out...right now, as you are. And love you for it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Project 365, Week 2 (I)

This project is truly reflective for me this year. As I was looking through my pictures from this past week, I'm amazed at how much STUFF we cram into our days! I want the pictures I select for this project to really reflect our family life...what we do, where we go, how we live.

Without further ado, here is week 2:

January 3, 2009

January 4, 2009

January 5, 2009

January 6, 2009

Project 365, Week 2 (II)

January 7, 2009

January 8, 2009

January 10, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Best Shot

I know you're tired of seeing this picture, but it is my FAVORITE from last week, so it's MBS. Sometimes the subject just makes the shot. Even though she's three, she looks like she's on that brink between babyhood and big girl-ness, doesn't she?

Be still my thundering heart.

For other (better) MBS, visit Tracey.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Defining 2009: Trust

Last year I chose a word to focus on for the year. More of a concept, really, than just a word.

I spent a good portion of the year focusing on simplify. In some ways, I accomplished my goal. In many ways, I have SO much more to work on as I still strive to simplify my life. I will not let go of simplify. It has sort of become part of me. A quiet whisper that I hear in this chaotic life of mine. I don't want to let it go because I want things to be more simple; to enjoy those quiet, easy moments in life.

Yet, a part of me is ready to work on another aspect of my life. So, contrary to simplifying, I'm going to focus on another concept this year. TRUST. There are so many areas in which I need to learn to trust (and accept). Trust that I am NOT in control. Trust that someone far greater than me is running this show. I need to learn to let trust run much deeper than it does now for me. Not only does my trust in the Lord need to be strengthened, but I need to learn to trust H in a deeper way. I need to learn to trust that God will give me what I need to be a good wife, a good mother, and a good friend.

So, simplify is moving aside to the wings this year. Trust will take center stage.

Project 365, Week 1

I'm attempting Project 365 again this year, mostly due to the really cool scrapbook kit that Creating Keepsakes (Becky Higgins) has created. I was online at 11:00 am Saturday to order my kit, but they were so slammed that their server crashed. It was sold out before I was able to order it. I'm going to be watching to see when I can get it and I'll post the information for you then.

I missed Monday (where was my mind???), so I'm going to do Tuesday-Friday for you now. Next week will have an entire week.

December 30, 2008

December 31, 2008

January 1, 2009 (HATE using the flash!!!!)

January 2, 2009

Okay, I must do a little editorial for this picture. Just because the story is SO funny (NOT!). Thursday morning, M found some of my nail polish and asked what it was. I told her and then painted her toenails after we did her "beauty parlor." (aka: sponge bath on the kitchen counter) It was a dream come true for me--painting my little girl's much more "girl mommy" does it get than that? Fast forward to Friday morning. M woke up and we were snuggling in my bed. She got out of bed and found some linen spray on my dresser. She wanted to wear it like perfume, but I presuaded her to try some body splash instead. I THOUGHT all was well and I was safe to take a shower. As I was getting out of the shower, I smelled the overwhelming smell of nail polish. Oh, how my heart did pound. I rushed, dripping wet, into my bedroom, only to discover M completely covered in nail polish. She'd found my nail polish stash in the same basket with the sprays. This picture does NOT do justise to the job she did. I'm sure she started out trying to paint her toes, as all of her prettily polished toes were covered in burgandy nail polish. There was polish on her hands, on her face, near her nose. Since she can't have a bath, she was SCRUBBED from almost head to toes with cotton balls and polish remover. She kept saying, "This stinks, Mommy." Yeah, well, sorry kid.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ringing in the New Year

Happy New Year, dear friends!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's Eve. Ours is certainly one that will not be forgotten. Nope. In fact, it probably goes down as one of the funniest events of my life. It involved twelve friends, all over 50 but not quite 60 (and these are some of my dearest friends), two little girls under the age of ten, a box of fireworks, and two patrol cars. are dying to know, aren't you???

We gathered together around 8:30. M and B were safely snuggled in at B's house until the sitter would bring them to us around 11:00. The men gathered around the large screen to watch football, the women were safely gathered in the kitchen enjoying each other's company. There was a hotly debated game of almost-beer-pong. There was breath-holding suspense as we watched that idiot in Las Vegas ride his motorcycle and jump on top of the Arc. He survived, much to my complete and utter surprise.

We headed outside to set off some fireworks, which are illegal in this state, but most Georgians do is safely and are able to enjoy their own private show, if small. As the men set up the box, we assembled outside in our coats and gloves, with blankets to keep us warm.

Someone jokingly said, "I hope the cops don't come."

As the men were getting ready, we watched a few shows going on in other parts of the neighborhood. One of the men lit the fuse and our own show began. It was really rather pretty, but only the beginning, as there were several more boxes to light.

One of the men noticed the headlights coming our way and said, JOKINGLY, "Uh-oh. Here they come."

Insert flashing lights.

(Please remember that H and I are the YOUNGEST of the party-goers at 31 and 38.)

Yes, that is right, my friends. My party of very mature partiers was busted up by the police.

"We've had some complaints." said the deep, faceless voice inside the patrol car.

"About US???" asked the incredulous host, who is over 50, by the way!!!

"We've just had some complaints. Y'all need to break it up. And don't you know that fireworks are illegal in this state?" the officer replied.

Sighing, we gathered ourselves together and headed back inside. Not long after that, we brought a very tired M home and all climbed into bed.

All in all, a night that won't be forgotten. At least none of us had the harebrained idea to ride our motorcycles on top of a building and then free fall off of it!

I really want to know what you did for New Year's Eve. Leave a link or tell me a story. Maybe not from last night. Maybe you have a party story. Let's talk!

PS: What do you think about the new design? Need to make any changes?

PPS: I'm trying to add my signature using these directions. I got everything done except the very LAST line that says, "Change the capitalized IMAGE to the actual URL or DIRECT LINK for the image you want to use." Does anyone know exactly what the means? I tried typing in the folders to the signature (C:Public, etc. etc. etc), but I'm not sure that's right and a funny little thing shows up whenever I preview the blog. I deleted it for now. Any help would be appreciated!