Sunday, May 30, 2010

Holden's Birthday Party AKA the time Jayci ate too much cake

I promise that I purposely haven't posted in a few days. I wanted y'all to be able to enter my fabulous giveaway. Well that and we are moving, going out of town, leaving for camp, and taking care of a sick almost-two-year-old . . .

Last week (or sometime in the not-so-distant-past), we went to the fourth birthday party of one of Jayci's best friends, Holden. Look at the cute birthday boy. I love him, and his freckles too.
Here's an action shot of the birthday boy spraying the hose and his guests with wild abandon. It's his prerogative.
There was a slip-n-slide at the party, and luckily they had Adam to demonstrate for the kiddos how to use it.
Clearly, Adam taught him well.
Jayci loved the bubbles. She always loves the bubbles.
Holden requested that his friends Zack and Sabo come to the party. Unfortunately, Sabo was unavailable, but Zack was a trooper and showed up to the four-year-old birthday party solo. And look how sweet he is helping Jayci put her "gasses" on. This melts me, absolutely melts me.
Here's Jayci enjoying one of the of many, many desserts she consumed that evening. Note the remnants of chocolate cake and ice cream which are also on her chin.
But what a cute little cake-face she has. I just want to eat her up. Or eat cake. Whichever.
Another cute little face. This one has a much better mama, who is feeding her fruit instead of multiple desserts.
But seriously, there were several times that I caught Jayci eating cake which unsuspecting party guests had left unattended. I have no idea where she gets that from.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dancing Zebras Giveaway

I'm so excited because I have a BIG treat for y'all today! My sweet friend Erica is one of the most creative and generous people I know, not to mention an awesome momma. I mean, just look at her with her little cutie . . .
Want to see how creative she is? She made Jayci this amazing fabric ball for her first birthday. And this face was legit how much Jayci loved the ball the second she unwrapped it.
And this weekend at Holden's bday party, he received this amazing cape that Erica made - and hand-stitched. I mean, that's just impressive. You know what else is impressive (or slightly embarrassing depending on how you look at it)? Adam is having her make HIM one for camp this summer. Don't worry, I'll post pictures.
Because Erica is super-generous, she's offered to give one of YOU guys this amazing owl she made. Can you believe she made this gorgeous creature? Look at all that hand-stitching. And she has two small children. I can barely shower, let alone hand-stitch an owl, and I only have ONE child!
All you have to do to enter is visit her amazing little shop, Dancing Zebras, then come back here and leave a comment with your favorite item. And let me just tell you, good luck picking ONE thing!
For extra entries, visit her blog (and you wont be sorry you did - it's full of creativity and cuteness!) and leave her a comment (then leave ME another comment telling me you did). You can also get an extra entry by following my blog, or by twittering about this giveaway (just leave me comments letting me know if you did).

I will leave the contest open until Tuesday, and I'll announce the winner on Wednesday (because that's when I get back from out of town, plus it gives y'all lots of time to enter and spread the word).

*Please note: Anyone who doesn't have kids of their own is welcome to enter this giveaway and give Jayci the owl if you win. Just sayin.

She thinks he's hilarious

No one can crack Jayci up like Adam can. She thinks he's hilarious. I mean, I totally agree, but I'm guessing that one day hilarious might equal lame/embarrassing . . . Regardless of how she feels about his cheesy jokes, I hope they always share this special relationship, because nothing warms my heart like seeing them together - the two people I love most in this world.
And just so you know, Jayci has the cutest little laugh ever. And I'm not biased in the least.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Picnic and an Almost-Tragedy

For a very long time now, I have been itching to take more pictures for families we work with downtown. I took these a while back, and ever since then have been dreaming, specifically, of taking pictures of April's 6 kiddos (since the older 3 aren't readily available for photo shoots). I quickly realized, however, that I would not be able to pull off such a feat without reinforcements. Anyone who has met Toddrick will understand why.

So when the pastor of our church (One Church) asked us to lead an Atlanta community group outreach, I thought this might be my chance to enlist some unsuspecting victims helpers. We planned a fun picnic in Piedmont Park for a Saturday evening dinner so that I could take the pictures at sunset.

Despite my meticulous and carefully thought-out plan (or not, I'm not much of a planner as it turns out) we encountered a few bumps in the road. I went to Piedmont park that morning for the Multiple Sclerosis walk (have I mentioned that my mom has MS?), and the rain clouds looked threatening, with a nice non-committal 30% chance of thundershowers that evening. I contemplated just rescheduling, but 2 things stopped me. 1-We have no other free weekends or weeknights from now until sweet forever and 2-We already had large quantities of food for all the kiddos.

Instead we moved our festivities to Centennial Park, so we could go into the CNN building and at least eat with the kiddo in case of rain. Luckily, the weather turned out beautiful. However, we encountered another snag in the plans because April's phones had been shut off earlier in the week and we couldn't get a hold of her. And we couldn't find the kids. They weren't at home or at their friends' house . . . In defeat, I finally told the drivers/volunteers to just come eat a very large picnic with us at the park with my sister, her fiance, and the two kids they mentor. Thankfully, while driving back to Centennial, they swung back by April's apartment and found them all walking along the street!

After much ado, and a good-long-while filled with wrangling small children, they arrived at Centennial. Adam and Hash went to go help carry food and children to the park. Unfortunately, while they were unloading the goods, some guy made off with the tray of watermelon. I know right? Who grabs a giant tray of watermelon and runs? At least take something good like the cookies or cheese. Adam, the champion of justice and stupidity bravery that he is, chased the guy down and retrieved said watermelon. Hallelujah.

Eventually, we enjoyed a fun picnic and fellowship in the park. The kids even ran through the fountains, watched the music/water show, and saw a couple getting married. Unfortunately, Sharonda wasn't able to make it, and by the time the kids got there it was getting dark already, so I wasn't able to get the idyllic, beautiful family portraits I was envisioning. Someday people, my hopes and dreams will be realized, someday.

This one, however, captures the kiddos' personalities perfectly: Crazy, tough, cute, and sweet.
Brothers photographed in Atlanta Centennial parkConsidering that this post is already ridiculously long-winded (what else is new?), I'll stop there and just leave you with more pictures from the evening.
Atlanta child photography taken downtown Atlanta
Baby photography in Atlanta
Photographer Brother and Sister in Centennial Olympic Park
Photographing relationship mentor and mentee in the park in Atlanta
Sweet baby girl in Atlanta park

Night-time photography in Atlanta park, high grain
Atlanta photography, children playing in the fountains at Centennial Olympic Park
"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Matthew 19:14

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One of my Favorite Families

I may have mentioned a time or two that my best friend is moving to Texas. I took some family pictures for her extended family before she leaves, and I wanted to share a few of them with y'all. They're so sweet and precious and all of them are some of my dearest friends. I keep wanting to write a post on here about Courtney and how I'm going to miss her, but then I start ugly-crying. And everyone knows you can't blog while you're ugly crying. You can eat lots of ice cream, but not blog.

Also, I have a question for all my wise blog-readers. I'm struggling big-time with Jayci right now. I'm convinced she's entered her "terrible twos" early. It's ridiculous really. For the past 9 months or so, we've simply brought Jayci upstairs and laid her in her crib, where she would happily go to sleep for her naps and for bedtime. For the last 3 days, however, she has screamed "mommy hold-you' and "daddy hold-you" alternately, every single time we put her down. She did it for over an hour yesterday (with me going in to calm her down - and the second I pick her up, she's fine and falls asleep on me) and never fell asleep (which led to a pretty miserable afternoon/evening behavior-wise). For the last three nights, we've resorted to rocking her to sleep -- but that's a time-consuming process that we wont have the luxury of while we're at camp. So what do we do? Help, seriously y'all. I'm a hot mess.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Let the Camp Countdown Begin!

As it turns out, Camp starts in 20 short days! Which is both exciting and terrifying all at once. See, we're going to Canada for a family reunion for 5 days before camp - which means the # of days I have to pack my mess and move it out of here is approximately 15 - Yikes!
However, only 20 days til camp means I'm also super-excited about how quickly camp is approaching. This year, Adam and I have been able to play a bigger role in the planning and preparing for camp (which has been tiring, time-consuming, and ridiculously fun). This year's theme is "Jesus is my BFF" -- we're going to talk a lot about what it means to be a friend, what your friendships should look like, how to deal with mean friends, and how to practically understand and live out a life where Jesus is truly your best friend. I'm so excited to get to talk to our kiddos about this - I think it's something they really need to hear, and that could potentially transform their lives.

Here's the logo I came up with for camp this year, I wanted to share it with y'all so you could be praying for the Lord to be working in the hearts of all the kiddos as they get signed up for camp.
Here's some more ways you can be praying for us and for camp this summer:

1 - For the finalization of staff and for all our counselors and leadership team - that the Lord would be preparing our hearts and drawing us close to Himself. That we would look to HIM for our strength and wisdom in working with the kiddos all summer.

2 - For Jayci's little heart as we transition to living with 75 other people all summer (and she has to share her parentals with 50 other kids). That it will be a smooth transition, that she will feel secure, and have a fun and safe summer. I am so thankful that I have several sweet girls coming down to help me out with Jay this summer - pray that they will be blessed for their willingness to serve, and that Jay would love them all!
3- For every single kid who will be coming to camp. That God would be preparing and tilling their hearts in preparation for what He wants them to learn from the camp experience. That He will give us sensitivity and grace and mercy for even the toughest kids, recognizing where they're coming from and how we can love them best.
4- For the kids to have open heart and a willingness to experience new things, and hopefully to even accept Christ this summer. And that the Lord would provide people to mentor every kid who makes a decision to follow Him this summer.

Thanks for your prayers! Send me a quick email or leave me a comment if you're praying for us, because I'd love to lift y'all up too.
Also, because some of you have asked, here are a few practical ways you can get involved or help with camp this summer.

1- We still need to get kids sponsored. Remember, our camp is ONLY for kids who can't afford it, so every kid has someone else pay for their experience at Camp Grace. It costs $360 to send a kid to camp for a week. Or you can pay $180 and pay for a half-week (we'll get 2 sponsors for 1 kid that way, so they'll still come for a full week). You can sponsor kids on our website (
2- Live in Atlanta, or anywhere close enough to make the trek up to Roberta (near Macon)? Come visit us! We'd love to show you around and have you meet some kids. Just send me an email if you're interested. If you have a group of people (small group, people you work with, group from church, a tennis team etc) who might want to all chip in and come down one day, you could bring a "snack group." What this means is that you'd come up as a group and bring snacks for 75 people (granted, this could be something like freeze-pops, it totally doesn't have to break the bank). The kids have time every day that they gather as a big group and eat an afternoon or morning snack, so bringing a snack group is a great way to have a chance to interact with the kids, serve them a little, and maybe (if you're lucky) even see a few of their sweet dance moves.

3 - Have another idea how you can help? Or just want more suggestions/information etc? Just email me and I'd love to talk to you about it!

**I love all of you and your support, prayers, and encouragement mean SO much to me! For realz.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flowers and Faces

The theme at I Heart Faces this week is Flowers and Faces. I actually have a lot of pictures of Jayci with flowers (what? they're two of my favorite things) so I enlisted Adam's help in selecting this week's entry. So if I win, I take all the credit; if I lose, however, it's totally his fault.
I'm sure there will be lots of gorgeous entries this week. To see them all, head over to I Heart Faces!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Too big NOT to blog at midnight

Let's be honest, I'm not usually up this late. But I'm feeling a little too excited to sleep (well that and I drank some coffee far too late in the evening).

Side note: I'm officially old.

Anyways. Here it is, the news we have ALL been waiting for.

We sold our house.

Well, technically we lease-purchased our house (um I have a feeling that's not the correct way to say that, grammar-wise). Luckily (or, you know, because God's showing us His power and favor) that's exactly what we needed to do financially. Wohoo!

Seriously y'all, if anyone can doubt what a BIG God we serve, try selling your house with really bad timing and getting more than what you expected for it. True story.

I'll be back soon with more updates and details. Just wanted to share the good news with you guys and thank-you for your prayers -- y'all are the best!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Kiddos

Last week, while we were out of town at the beach, one of the ladies we work with asked us to help her out by watching her kids for a few days. Since we were in Florida, we clearly weren't able to; luckily, we have some pretty fantastic friends who are supportive and involved in what we do - so we called them and they totally stepped up to the plate, opening their home to 6 rambunctious kids. We arrived home on Friday night, and spent the day on Saturday hanging out at their house to "help." Although, I'm not sure how helpful we were considering Adam just basically stirred up more trouble.

Here's Adam in Lee's crosshairs. . . I should have warned Lee that going up against Adam probably wasn't a good idea.
Adam retaliating. All of Adam's shenanigans prompted Emily (our friend's real daughter) to declare: "new rule; no more Adam."
I love having the chance to hang out with my kiddos, especially when we can give them the opportunity to just be kids. To play in the sprinkler and shoot water guns in a big back yard. Then cool off and maybe even sit down to a family dinner before being tucked into bed. And all of that without any sirens, without any police arresting the neighbors, or any drugs being sold in your front yard. Without hunger pangs or water getting shut off. . . . Because look at this precious little face. Doesn't he deserve that just as much as Jayci does? Just as much as every single other kid you know?
On Sunday we took the kids to church before bringing them home. At Metro Kidz, we gave the kids construction paper and crayons to make their "caretakers" mother's day cards (because they're often watched by aunts or grandmothers). We had already had the kiddos make cards while they were staying with our friends. But I saw Ray Ray working furiously on a card, carefully drawing and forming his words. When I went to give him a hug good-bye, he handed that card to me.

Here's what it said: "Happy Mother's Day for Becca. I love you. I love the thig that you bin doing for me." I gave him a fierce hug, with tears in my eyes, and told him it was the best Mother's Day card ever. And then I melted.


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