Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pictures. Cause it's been a while.

Something that I miss about blogging- probably what I miss MOST- is the chance to periodically look through old posts and remember the girls and what our family was up to and the dumb thoughts I not only had but shared with the world. Journal keeping is probably one of the best things a person can do. After we die, our written words hold so much value for our loved ones. And I just love having a detailed account recording of these days with little ones.

Do they always hold hands and play joyfully in flowered patches of soft grass?
Um... no.
We go from peaceful loving sweetness to screaming in unison "THAT WAS MINE!" in no time at all.
But here and there I will over hear them address and solve their conflicts on their own and it's really really nice.


 Maddie started 1st grade today. Here she was at 7am, so excited. I admit I am not in the early rising routine myself! For years Seth has had a dark quiet house in which he gets ready and goes to school while I (lazily) snuggle a baby back to sleep in our bed (they don't spend the night there- just get up early for a diaper change and then want some juice and snuggles before a couple more hours of sleep). But today, that all changed. EVERYONE was up.

 Breakfast. Brush teeth.
 Get dressed. Get hair done.
 Do you have everything you need? Don't forget your Bible!

 Don't get demerits on your first day!!! Don't talk out! Don't run! Remember to go potty on break! Don't you want to just stay home with me and be little forever? no? Okay I don't want that either. Get out. Be good. I love you. Bye.

And after all that I may have walked over to the church with the younger girls for a few more pictures. She seemed to be doing just fine. A whole 400 yards from home with her Dad as principle and she still managed to be fine. Impressive, I know.

We decorated with a nautical theme for the beginning of this year. I didn't take pictures of the whole room but there was a photo op with a head cut out that I got a shot of each student with.

And a few non-students slipped in there.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Do you remember me?

So let me introduce myself:

I'm Kayte. I'm a once faithful blogger who has completely forsaken her blog and blogger friends. I feel badly...sometimes. But I also sometimes think it's okay- I keep up with most people via facebook or email. But just in case you're missing random, mundane updates from me, here you go!

  • Very busy summer. I probably always say this but this one really was BUSY. June we had 2 seniors graduate from the church academy and then Seth immediately left for summer camp leaving me and the girls home with a car rental (yeah for a CD player!!!) and more time than we knew what to do with. Something about leaving me home alone with the girls results in trips to all the expensive places we normally don't go to. So we hit up Chuckee Cheeses and Rough-n-Tumble and had a great week but were SUPER glad when Dad got home.

Then we went a family conference in July together and had a crazy great time. Then a couple weeks later, youth conference in CT, which I came along for and drove the girls around CT to thrift stores and IKEA and Starbucks. I also had lots of great fellowship with a certain teenage girl at the hotel and on the car ride.... the car ride during which got trapped in a heavy heavy rain storm on the way home and I couldn't see 2 inches in front of the car. That was not a fun part. Everything else was great.

And in between, we've had sick girlies, revival meetings at church, school record keeping at the church (you should see what 18 years of student work books looks like!), a couple trips to Syracuse (an hour away) for my Mom's doctor, the state fair and Chipotle. I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of stuff but what we did NOT do that we had planned to do:

School work (I really did intend on finishing up the work Maddie stopped half way through at the end of the year.....)

Family camping trip. No time. No money. We're hoping the girls have forgotten. Don't say the "c" word around them.

Visits to the park. But fall is upon us and still a nice time to get outside more.

  • Photography biz growing steady. See for my recent sessions. I love it. It's hard work. It's all the "extra" I can manage right now. Hence the major neglect of the blog.

I think that is all the family has been up to. Seems like a lot more but when you actually type it out, I don't know where the last few months have gone! As usual, I'm looking forward to school starting purely because I love the routine. I love summer too. I LOVE warm weather and all the crazy trips and adventures are fun and break up the routine that does get tiresome by the end of the school year. But I love fall. I'm not looking forward to what comes AFTER fall but we'll just forgot about that for now.

Maddie is going into 1st grade this year and is very much looking forward to getting back to school work. She asks several times during the summer to do school work but I just didn't follow through. ={ She will get to join the other academy students at school 3 days a week and then will be home with me 2 days. I'm thrilled for her to get to do that- she's so excited. And I'm looking forward to more time to devote to Eden's pre school.

Eden is her same girly silly self. She just learned the meaning of the word "emotional" the other day. It was ironic to Seth and I that the word the suits her to a tee was one she wasn't familiar with.

Leila is 22 months and talks really well. She gets frustrated quickly so I'm working on training her to use that new found vocabulary to express herself rather than yelling. Although I have to admit it's humorous to listen to her scold her older sisters. She's like a little {impatient} parrot.

Me: Maddie please come here. 
Leila: MAD-DEEEEEEE!!! NOW!!!!
As for me, I'm like most moms of little ones: tired and not sure I'm doing anything well. =) I'm on a(nother) organizational kick. I give myself an A on keeping up with the daily stuff like dishes and laundry. I'm like a laundry freak. I do it constantly and never have a pile looming over me. But I'm totally slacking on the deeper cleaning things and find myself with items hanging around with no place to go. Can you believe I JUST bought a mail sorter? All this time I've been annoyed at the pile of mail sitting, getting shoveled, lost, etc on the kitchen counter. I needed an hour long session on pinterest to finally realize- DUH. Mail sorter. So I bought a cute magnetic one at Target for $10 and feel enormously victorious every time I see it and the bills nested safely in it.
So that is all for now. Am I talking to myself at this point?




Monday, June 4, 2012

Book reviews: The Heavenly Man & Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

My husband came home with these two books recently and we both enjoyed them so much, I wanted to share them with ya.

The Heavenly Man is an autobiography of a Chinese man who came to know Christ through remarkable circumstances. An account of modern day miracles, it is humbling and shocking to read of the extreme persecution he and many, many other Christians endured in China. When you consider that all these things took place in modern days, you'll realize anew the privilege we enjoy here in America to worship God in freedom, and I for one, realize anew how much that precious freedom is becoming in jeopardy. If you (as I embarrassingly admit) ever feel like you've sacrificed for God... if you ever feel like woe is you for what you've endured for His name, then you can read this book and like me, can evaluate your life and know you have known nothing of real sacrifice. My life is really quite luxurious. My burdens are really very light. And the attitude toward the burdens we do have!! Oh my goodness. We ought not pray for God to remove our burdens, but pray for stronger backs.

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret is a biography written by his son. I cried my way through this one. I don't want to make it sound like a depressing book, because it isn't. But it convicted me. Really, both these books leave me feeling like all my STUFF- worldly temporal STUFF does not add to my life but rather detracts from it. Only what's done for Christ will matter. As I flipped the last page of Hudson Taylor's biography, I really was burdened about my duty as missionary here in NY. All the silly things we devote our energy to.... *sigh*

Hudson Taylor was called to a very difficult field of service. China is still a hard mission field (of course, I don't know if there is an "easy" one!) but during the days of Mr. Taylor, the suspicion of foreigners and political instability, added to the physical difficulty of the land and times, made China a place where he risked his life, his family's lives and the lives of every co laborer with them. And as history records, many many missionaries, and their children, have been martyred in China, particularly during the 1800s. and early 1900s. (But as you can read in The Heavenly Man, Christians face martyrdom even today!) Hudson Taylor buried a wife and 3 children on the soil of China. Yet, he was known for his joy. His quite peace. The "Spiritual Secret" the title implies was that of learning to rest in Jesus. Though his life was filled with labor and burdens so heavy, I almost wanted to stop reading of it all because I could feel how heavy they were just by description, yet his heart was light and free, as he simply would abide in Christ. For many years, he struggled and strove within himself, constantly frustrated by the distance he always saw between him and his Saviour. Never gaining the victory over self. A life of spiritual failure despite every human effort. The more he grappled after holiness, the more it eluded him. When this conflict threaten to depress him and bring him to defeat, he received a letter from a dear friend with a phrase that changed it all for him. "But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One." And at this, his demeanor all changed. He rested in the promises of victory through Christ, no longer leaving success to his own efforts but leaving it all on Christ.

Of course, I don't do this experience justice. And in all honestly, I'm inspired by this thought but don't claim to fully understand it yet. I know we shall not attain unto a sinless state here on earth- and that is not what Hudson Taylor was professing. But he did gain a victory in this life. Perhaps in our current terms we would say he had a filling of the Spirit at this time? The book never puts it into those terms, however. A quote from the book:

I saw not only that Jesus will never leave me, but that I am a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. The vine is not a root merely, but all- root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit. And Jesus is not that alone- He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wish for or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth!
That, my friends, is worth pondering.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Magnetic Chore Chart


A while ago, I was inspired by the project Maria shared on Raising4Princesses, and when I finally decided to get my crafting act together and make it, I was so surprised to realize it had been well over a year since that post!

But better late than never, some people say! Those people have obviously never waited for a pre-schooler to bring them a tissue for the snotty faced baby, I imagine. Because if they're late with that tissue, it's all over the couch and your shirt anyway. This has nothing to do with chore charts. Unless snot clean up is one of your children's chores. Which it very well may be.

In actuality, I don't think of this as a CHORE list in our case. There are chores like laundry and cleaning the bathroom that the girls do help me with that I did not list here. The purpose of this chart was to simplify their daily routine. These are not necessarily chores, but responsibilities that are to be done every day. My hope is that I give the same redundant instructions a little less. But you can customize with any list that is helpful to you, of course. I almost made one for myself! =)

I had seen a similar tutorial on Pinterest that started with sheet metal from the hardware store. I looked for such a thing, but what I found was very heavy and a lot more money than I was willing to pay (about $10 a piece). So, in keeping with Maria's idea of the cookie sheet- she used a large cookie sheet for 3 girls, I bought 2 small (13 x 9 in.) cheapo cookie sheets at WalMart for $1 each. Much better price and the perfect size.

Depending on what craft supplies you have on hand, that may be the only purchase necessary (and if you happen to have a grungy old cookie sheet- use it!) The cookie sheets I have did not attract the magnet. Maybe because they are air bake? Who knows.

1. Select, measure and trim scrapbook paper to fit the cookie sheet. My 12x12 scarpbook sheets needed to be trimmed to a scant 9 in., and then I cut about 1 inch strip to make up the extra inch for the 13 in . side. If you look very close you'll see the seam, but I really don't feel like this project requires perfection.

2. Cover the entire surface with Mod Podge, place your scrapbook paper down, and apply another coat of Mod Podge. This is pretty simple. Maybe step-by-step directions are insulting your intelligence! lol
The kiddos can do almost all of this project for themselves!
3. Type your list of chores and print on colored, regular weight paper. Cut out and apply with more Mod Podge.

4. Trim with ribbon. Mod Podge holds in down quite nicely!

5. Decorate magnets with whatever your heart fancies. Again, mod podge it up!!

6. Attach ribbon loop with hot glue.

7. Find a place to hang it where the 18 month old won't destroy it.

8. Explain each responsibility to the girls and put it into practice the next day. Instead of listing each thing for them to do 5,00 times until you feel like a broken record player, simple say to take care of their responsibilities. Black are morning duties, and pink are night time duties. As each one is accomplished, a magnet is placed by it. Magnets hang out on the top or bottom "handle" until being used.
Maddie selected this mod print with blue strips. Good combo I think!
Eden found the pinkest paper she could. =)
9. Take a picture and blog about it.

10. Make up a dumb step so that you can end on a nice even number like 10.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The latest bitty baby

Just sharing the link to my latest newborn session.

I just really REALLY like this newborn photography stuff.

I love the newborns themselves.

I love the soft light falling on them and highlighting their squishy features.

I love coordinating blankets and accessories.

I love the newborn's parents with excitement, fatique, nerves and love evident on their face.

I love the prospect of a big portrait that came from MY camera could eventually hang on a wall.

I love that the baby in these pictures is cherished. Because every one should be.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Loving the Little Years {Book Review}

On a day when I was feeling run down and less than successful in life, a friend posted on FB about this little book and how much she liked it. It has been some time since reading a parenting book so I went ahead and asked my library if they could get it for me. A few weeks went by and now I have the book in my hands.
I LOVE love LoVe LOVE love love LOVE ♥ love this book.
It's a different kind of parenting book- for one thing it is very short. Each chapter takes about 5 minutes to read and is a little gem. The general theme is about attitude- ours and our children's attitudes. It's not a book that will make you feel like you and/or your children will never match up and be like the author and their children.
I repeat: This book will not beat you up.
I am only one third of the way through and I feel so ENCOURAGED.
If I could buy this book for every friend of mine with small children, I seriously would. I literally considered that for a moment. It's a thought that I've never before contemplated but I want all my mommy friends to feel the encouragement that I feel right now.
And it's not encouraging the way of "your kids are bad because that's what kids are so just accept that and life will be a lot easier". It's encouraging in the way of "God has given us a tremendous job to do and by His grace, we CAN do it."
A quote from the author, a mother of 5 children, ages 5 and under: "I didn't write this book because mothering is easy for me. I wrote it because it isn't."
I am reading this book in small pockets of time here and there, which is not how I prefer to read. I'm afraid I don't retain as much without sitting down and digesting a book from beginning to end, so I have stuck a piece of paper in as my book mark and am jotting down phrases to help me remember some key thoughts. These are the things that have spoken to me, and addressed issues we have in our family, so I'd really encourage you to get the book for yourself, because I'm not giving a thorough review here. And as I said, I'm only 1/3 the way through.
- Attitude is everything. An organized mental state goes farther than an organized pantry (or whatever)
- Celebrate the progress.
        This was big to me. So often our children struggle with some bad habit that we deal with over and over and over again and when they finally do gain victory in that area, we've already moved on to fixing the next problem area. They go from one issue to the next without any break so we forget to say 'hey, You no longer color on the walls at every chance! That's awesome! We made PROGRESS!'
- Repetition is normal.
        She didn't exactly say it that way... her point was that everything from Bible verses to math facts to tying our shoes is learned through repetition. I don't know why I ever got this crazy idea in my head, but I used to actually be under the impression that if I gave a clear rule and consequence, enforced it 100% and followed through 100% of the time, my children would only need to be trained to do or not do something a couple times at most. It was a huge source of frustration for me, especially with my first toddler. The fact is, we ALL have to learn through repetition. It's not a sign of failure on my part or my child's. Some children or some lessons need more repetition than others. It's not permission to slack off and just let them get away with bad behavior and maybe my tactics need stepping up if it's really not getting through, but I'm not going to be shocked and discouraged when they need to learn the same lesson again and again. I had learned that the key to learning is repitition in college when getting my education degree but had failed to transfer that principle to the obedience and character traits I want my chidren to have.
- Use stories for explanation.
       This is one of those things I know but wasn't putting into practice! Children love stories and if you use a story to illustrate good or bad behavior, they can almost finish the ending for you! One example the author used was with likening horses with emotions. I'll try to explain:
With 3 daughters, there are emotions galore in our house, and they are still young!! When people start talking to me about when these girls are all teenagers at the same time I want to stick my fingers in my ears and sing the alphabet. The all go into hysterics on occasion, especially when overly tired, but one of my little girls is extra prone to emotional meltdowns. And once she gets going, it's sooooo hard to put the breaks on. 
Rachel Jankovic, the author whose 5 children include 4 girls and 1 boy, told her daughters a story about some lovely ladies who were given beautiful horses to ride. They wanted to ride their horses to the wonderful castle with flowers and rainbows and all that girlie girl stuff. But sometimes, the horses would decide they wanted to go to the yucky muddy swamp with bugs in it! The lovely ladies had to learn how to steer their horses to go to the right place. The horses, of course, are our feelings, and sometimes they want to get carried away and take us somewhere we don't want go. The horses (feelings/emotions) aren't bad.... they just need to be controlled.
I thought this made perfect sense to me, and for Heaven's sake I do not want to see my daughters grow up to be women with no control over their emotions. Those women, whom we are all thinking of someone like that right now, are miserable and so is everyone around them. I was skeptical that my young daughter could follow a metaphor but gave it a try at the next emotional episode about to happen. (I didn't have to wait long to test it out!)
Just as I could see the tears forming and the corners of her mouth getting heavier, I told her the story of the horses. Not only did she follow along but added to the story, with bits and pieces from Beauty and the Beast where the horse in that story takes them to the dark scary castle. Did it instantly shut the hysterics off? Well, we had to really work on getting that horse to go where we wanted but I could see her actually trying and actually feeling a little bit successful about not getting into the depths of despair where there is no turning back. She enjoyed having control. And it surely worked better than the standard "Stop. Crying. Right. Now!" So I'm hooked and will be utilizing stories as often as I can.
- Thanksters and Cranksters
     A fun way of consciously choosing to be thankful instead of cranky- and it's not a game for just the kids. Ahem. Pointing to myself right now.
I feel like I stumbled on this book at just the right time. I needed it's encouragement and practical little tid bits.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Photography aspirations as of now


I know I've slacked off with my Project 52... what you don't know is that I have been diligently trying to win the award for the most Sporadic, Inconsistent Blogger in America. I think I've got a real chance! But just because I'm not sharing as much doesn't mean I have been shooting less. Well, technically I may have been shooting slightly less since it's been pretty busy around here and my children have starting running and hiding from me when they see me with a camera in hand. =) Thankfully, I have a few "practice" sessions coming up soon. Two such sessions are with newborns that are soon to be born. In this post I'm sharing some images from the last two newborns I had, about a month and a half ago. Photobucket

I am still forming my plan to go into business at one point... I think possibly this year but I'm not going to rush anything. I really really enjoy newborn portraiture, both looking at other photographer's images and taking my own. I have a lot to learn, and have read that it takes about 15 newborns to get the hang of it. I'm at 3 (I took some of my newborn nephew last fall, even though I had my camera for a grand total of a week! Those are less than great!)


There are many things I need to sort out... a need a better website and branding, I need a few more equipment staples and much more experience before I can call myself a professional. And of course, I need to accomplish these things with limited time and even more limited funds. But the wonderful thing is I feel no pressure. I'm not looking to support my family with this so I can take my time and keep my life's priorities in tack.


BTW, I love pictures of mommies and their babies. Most mommies don't feel very photogenic a week after birth but I think these are treasures.

I also love naked babies but have learned that not everyone does. Crocheted diaper cover is on order.=)

I also like a few shots featured the umbilical cord stump but got a "ewwww!" from a young woman (not a mom yet) so maybe it's not for everyone. =)


Everyone agrees that cute hats are good though!


The cutesy prop stuff is a big hit with moms and snubbed by fellow photographers. Funny huh?


Personally, I really enjoy baby on black images... it reminds me of babies still in the womb. Unposed and natural.

  Photobucket Photobucket

But I'm not opposed to giant gift tags either.


And this next one was mom's favorite:


Seth is completely supportive of this endeavor. He commented that a diversion is good for me. =) I feel like this will work really well with our life, both family and ministry. I only need a sitter for a couple of hours to shoot and then can do the rest of my work during naps or after the girls go to bed, or during the occasional "Daddy Date". And I enjoy it. I can get a little frustrated if I'm trying to learn something and it's not clicking but the funnest kind of fun does involved some sort of work. Ie. playing golf, though a challenge, is more fun than non-challenging fun like watching TV. And I also have to say I've realized through this what a incredibly supportive network of family and friends I have! They've let me take their photos, or their children's, even though I have not exactly known what in the world I was doing. They've been so generous with their time and just made me feel like they actually think I can do this. I was not expecting such a positive response, and felt a little embarrassed at first but have been quite overwhelmed and feel very grateful.

So there is the run down of my photographer aspirations. We shall see where it goes!

Oh btw, that first image with baby princess is featured in a youtube tutorial with a talented photographer/photoshopper in Ireland using it to demonstrate some photoshop techniqes. Click here to see it. Kind of fun to have a complete stranger like an image enough to ask to use it. And I did re edit using that method but didn't take the time to upload that one!