Fearfully and wonderfully made

Last month, just before Christmas, a dear friend of mine got promoted to Nana. I’ve watched for more than 20 years as her daughters have grown into beautiful young women with lives of their own. The birth of their first grand girl was cause for celebration and, since the family is so dear to me, I simply couldn’t help myself.

The words just sort of tumbled out of my mouth when I offered to take newborn photos. I quickly cautioned her I was not one of those awesome, professional newborn photographers, but I’d do my best to try and capture her new baby daughter’s first days of life. I later found out she was deeply touched by my offer since the hospital photographer didn’t do a very good job. This was my gift to the family and it warms my heart to be able to give them these moments. Moments that are gone in, seemingly, a split second.

I’m sharing them with you for Thankful Thursday to highlight how awesome and precious life is when we stop and think about what it took for each of us to get here. I swoon every time I see newborn photos and bow in awe to those who do this for a living.

I know just enough to be dangerous. It’s a goal of mine this year to become better at reading light, selecting poses and paying attention to small details in my photography. It’s more trial and error at this point. Will it grow into anything other than a hobby and a favor to those closest to me? Who knows.

For now, hope you enjoy pics of a precious baby girl, born a bit before schedule, but a miracle none-the-less.

The heartbeat of a human fetus begins around three weeks after fertilization. Doctors are able to detect it around 6 weeks.

At 9-10 weeks, the baby sucks his thumb and unique fingerprints form.

At 12 weeks, the end of the first trimester, a baby is completely formed and many body functions are already developed and working.

A baby can hear her mother’s voice while in the womb around 24 weeks.

Around 24 weeks, the lungs are forming substances that will allow him to breathe outside of the womb.

Eyes open and close, and produce tears around 27 weeks.

At eight months, taste preferences develop and she will physically react to loud noises from the “outside.”

In the last nine weeks of pregnancy, a baby’s brain doubles in weight.

A firm hand grasp is seen around 8-9 months.

Women are amazing. When a female fetus is born, she has all the eggs in her ovaries that she’ll have in her lifetime. That means, if you are a woman, when your grandmother carried your mother, you were a tiny egg inside both of them!

The development of a human baby, from embryo to fetus to birth is an amazing process. And, the ability for a baby to successfully live outside the womb as early as 25-30 weeks is changing perceptions on viable fetal development and survival.

There is a reason why the birth of a child is called a “blessed event.” The journey this child took to get here is as fascinating as it is complex.

Sweet dreams baby girl. When you wake up, you’ll move mountains.

For You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. ~Psalm 139:13-14

Linking up with Brian’s Home and Thankful Thursday.

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Almost Wordless Wednesday

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.
~Joseph Addison

I amend this to include granddaughters as well. There is simply nothing this man would not do (or try to do) for his daughters and grand girls.

Linking up with Wordless Wednesday and, of course, breaking a few rules.

 

Seas the Day!

Some of you know our family went on vacay to Cancun, Mexico in early December. It was long overdue since the last few years have been a struggle with Entrepreneur’s brain surgery, recovery and chemo schedule. A 90-day reprieve from chemo allowed him to enjoy the holidays and this much-needed getaway with those he loves most.

While I, personally, took gigabytes of photos, we contacted the photographers that took our family photos in 2015. Surprisingly, they remembered us and we spent more than two hours on the beach capturing family memories.

Of course, we had many obligatory, formal poses of everyone and individual family units.

Once those were finished, well…..the “adult children” had a little fun with the photographers. And, judging by the laughter while shooting the photos, I think the photographers had a lot of fun with them. Hope these make you giggle a bit. All of these were spontaneous poses with no pre-planning what so ever.

Who is Daddy’s favorite?

Appropriate or Inappropriate?
These engaged lovebirds can play to the camera better than anyone I know……

…..and this sequence with the newlyweds made everyone laugh. First we have a lovely shot and very “appropriate.”

Then, it goes downhill from there….literally.

As you can tell, there is no shortage of entertainment when we get together. I’m linking up with Thankful Thursday over at Brian’s Home today because words cannot capture how thankful and grateful I am Entrepreneur was able to eat and drink his way through Cancun for a week. I’m grateful we were able to all be together to relax and decompress from life’s stress. And, I’m thankful we’ve been able to financially make this happen. No one knows the future. We may all be together for another updated photo in a few years….or not. This year could be a banner year for us…or it might hold devastating events.

But, whatever 2019 holds, these memories will live forever in my heart, and a few on the walls of our home!
Entrepreneur and me 2018

 

Photo Challenge: Feliz Navidad!

I missed PJ’s photo challenge last month so I wasn’t about to miss this one. After all, the theme is Feliz Navidad! And, there’s no shortage of photos for this time of year. Shortage of time. Yes. Shortage of photos. No.

December is always a mixed bag of activities. This year, along with gift shopping, we also were getting ready for a much-needed family vacay to Mexico. Add to that, the usual Christmas season activities, and you get a very. busy. month.

So, here’s my Feliz Navidad five.

Feliz Navidad One
We hadn’t had a family vacay since 2016 due to Entrepreneur’s brain surgery and chemo regimen. His 90-day chemo holiday was coming to a close and he was very much looking forward to enjoying himself before the next set of scans. I’m conflicted about vacationing during the holidays. It seems to add that much more to an already busy schedule. But, it was now or nothing so we rolled the dice, booked it  and, by the grace of God, were able to all be together for a week of sunshine and fun. We contacted the same photographer who took our family pics in 2015 for an updated one.

Feliz Navidad Two
For the past few years, I’ve taken a photo of Peanut and Twix in Santa hats under our tree. The days drag but the years seem to fly.

Feliz Navidad Three
After returning from the warmth of Mexico, we jumped into Twix’s Christmas program at preschool. Sporting Mexican braids, she fully embraced the performance, singing the loudest and overall enjoying herself, sort of oblivious to what was going on with the other children. I think her eyes were on Papa the entire time.

Feliz Navidad Four
Peanut’s 4th and 5th grade Honor Choir performances hit a week later with caroling visits to two businesses and a veterans home.

Feliz Navidad Five
It was nip and tuck, but we finally visited the jolly elf before he took off for the North Pole for his Christmas Eve ride. Peanut figured out Santa this year, but went along with everything so Josie could enjoy the magic. The look on Twix’s face is a precious reminder of the magic and wonder of the season.

There’s my five for PJ’s December photo challenge. This monthly photo challenge is very easy; PJ selects a theme, we take five pics during the month and post. That’s it! Won’t you join us in 2019?

I hope everyone’s holidays were merry and bright. Don’t forget to visit the others over at A ‘lil HooHaa for more of the month’s festivities.

Autumn memories

Just before the death of flowers and before they are buried in snow, there comes a festival season when nature is aglow.
~Author Unknown

Well, I may have missed my opportunity for this post since it SNOWED a few days ago! Middle Missouri broke her previous record of .3 inches of snow on November 8th. We clocked in at a little more than an inch of the white stuff. It was magical….and gone from most of the trees by afternoon as the temps warmed to the upper 30sF.

I have shared some of our autumn color in weeks past, but haven’t shared my most fun day of the season. Every autumn I try and take the grandgirls to one of our city parks during the cooler weather. Of course, the camera comes along with us. This year we went to a nature area before going to the traditional park setting. While I love autumn color in the trees and flowers, it just can’t compete with these two!

At ten and four and a half, these two are growing up so fast. And, I believe their personalities are growing faster! Can’t you just see the sass in both of them? Peanut is now in fourth grade and Twix is having a blast in Pre-K.

I fully realize I tend to get a bit carried away when sharing pics of our grandgirls. I would apologize, but I’m really not that sorry!

Unfortunately the trees had not yet given up their leaves for a colorful carpet, so we had to rely on some different color for these last two shots.

Now, we’re hunkering down for winter, which evidently is coming early this year since our temps are now falling into the teens at night. I’m thankful we had the opportunity to take these when we did. They warm my heart.

I hope you’re having a wonderful autumn and sharing the warmth of the holiday season with everyone around you.

Blended Beginnings Part 2

Last week (or so) I shared with you all some pics from our oldest daughter’s recent wedding in June. Because of a few issues during the day, the bride and groom didn’t have the opportunity to have the traditional “formal portraits” done after the ceremony.

Add to the chaos the fact that Peanut and Twix were leaving for their six-week summer visitation with their dad the following week. Because of that schedule, we had to postpone photos until (ugh) August when they returned. Hot, sticky August in middle Missouri. Perfect.

We chose the local botanical garden and I went and scoped out backdrops a few weeks before the shoot. Because of the August heat, we decided on a 9am meet time to try and finish before the heat and humidity set in for the day.

First, we began with the bride.

Then, we added the groom.

A base of love and commitment established to begin the art of blending.

The rest of the brood is added.

Blending a family has been quite the challenge with five children. Yes, count them…..f.i.v.e. all between four and (almost) ten years old; three girls and two boys. No chaos or drama here, right?!

Getting used to the new “normal” for blended family kids can be a little unsettling. It takes a while to establish trust and stability with the new parent and situation.

So Peanut and Twix now have two brothers and another sister. Each of these children are uniquely different so finding balance in a new family situation can take some doing. Boundaries are being set as well as expectations and responsibilities.

It’s been quite an adjustment but they are working on making the transition as smooth as possible…as smooth as you can with a (almost) 10-, 9-, 8- and two 4-year-olds!

Two children is enough of a handful.  Three can be challenging. Keeping track of and up to speed with five is completely beyond my comprehension. Patience will need to multiply exponentially.

It’s estimated one third of all remarriages form blended families.

Sibling rivalry, attention issues, discipline challenges will all be things these parents will deal with as they present a unified front and lead by example. Bonds won’t grow strong overnight, but as they do more things as a “family,” relationships will strengthen over time.

Expect conflicts. Extend grace. I hope and pray this is the attitude adopted by everyone as they experience these growing pains.

The only steps in this house
is the staircase, and
the only half in this house
is the half&half creamer.

~Al Hodson