Monday, January 17, 2011

2010...A Year in Review

Well, it's already the middle of January and I wanted to get this posted sooner, but life happens...and that's a good thing.

2010 was an amazing year for our family! We adopted precious Sam, making us a family of six, and Matt's book was published. Our trip to pick up Sam in Ethiopia changed us. It's realigned our priorities and helped us to see that our time here on Earth is NOT about us! It's about allowing God's spirit to lead us in the plans He has for us. Plans to be a light to the world of His amazing love.

2010 was also an amazing year for Selah Studios Photography. I feel like God uses photographs as little love letters to us. Reminding us of all the things He's given us to bless our lives. Helping us to stop a moment in time and savor it's gift. Something we often forget to do in our face-paced American society.

I am so grateful for the precious families God has brought to Selah Studios Photography. I have been touched by each one of you and feel so privileged to have been a part of your precious memories!

Here is a glimpse of each session we had this year! Thank you and I'm looking forward to 2011 and all that God has planned!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Your Pain Has Changed Me...

A precious little girl that God has used to teach me so much about Him!

Your pain has changed me

Your dream inspires

Your face a memory

Your hope a fire

Your courage asks me

what I'm afraid of

And what I know of love

And what I know of God

(lyrics by Sara Groves)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year's Eve...


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas Day...

Christmas day, to be honest, was quite the blur. I hosted over 20 people Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and Christmas Night. I am glad I did and it went well, but it went by quickly too!

Christmas morning we walked the girls over to the boys room while covering their eyes so they wouldn't see what Santa had left (of course we've gotten oh so smart in our old age and covered the Santa gifts and stockings with a sheet...we've learned we have a couple cheaters in the family). Then Mom, Susie and Darel, Casey and Jimmy, Jaxon, Jayce, Joey and Xio came over (I think around 7:30). Once the mishap with the cinnamon rolls was fixed I let the kids eat a little breakfast. Of course being the practical mom that I am I couldn't have a bunch of overexcited kids eating sticky cinnamon rolls on the carpeted bedroom floor and leaving trails of sticky goodness all over everything, so where did we put them all? The bathroom of course. Ewww...I know, sounds unsanitary, but I promise it was cleaner than the boys room! After breakfast it was time for the kids to come out youngest to oldest and behold their Santa gifts. Once the Santa gifts are done it's kinda a free-for-all in our family. Everyone is up handing out and opening gifts, paper is flying, oooohs and aaaahs are being spoken and lots of hugs and "I love yous" are doled out. I guess with that many people that's the only way to do it, but I think next year we may try to open our family gifts before we do the big family gathering. I am a sucker for watching the excitement of my kids opening their gifts and enjoying the moment.

Then it was on to our traditional breakfast burritos. YUM!!! We definitely have that down to a science! You won't see any pictures of this and from here on out I was pretty much on the go so I didn't get many pictures. :( But, trust me that it was a wonderful time of delicious food and family...oh, and a little Wii Just Dance II.

Christmas Eve...

We got to attend our church's Family Friendly Christmas Eve service this year. A couple of our CG kids were in it and it was so adorable! Besides almost losing an angel off of the bleachers and Mary not wanting to touch baby Jesus, it went off without a hitch. We "lit" glow sticks instead of candles...too fun!!

Cookie Decorating...

More fun with the Koehlers. Each year we also invite our sweet friends to come and decorate cookies. We've almost gotten it down to a science, but it's still a work in progress. This year we were rushed for time because we got the opportunity to deliver some presents to a Christmas Wish Family. It was so worth rushing through the cookies to see the looks on the faces of the sweet family who was a part of KLTY's Christmas Wish! So many people had stepped up to help turn a terrible situation into a blessing!! So love how God does that!

Madison's masterpieces

Prairie Lights...

For the last couple of years we have enjoyed driving through the "Prairie Lights" in Grand Prairie. They are light displays along the road at a campsite that you drive through. The last couple of years we have made it a tradition with our close friends, the Koehlers. At the end of the lights is a mini carnival with a carousel on speed. It is seriously so fast and a spinning ride called "Dizzy Dragons". Amber took Sam on the carousel and he LOVED it! Every time he came around he had this giant smile on his face. I was worried it was going to scare him, but no way...he is going to be my little dare devil! No pictures because they all came out blurry...I told you it was fast!
Amber was the only one brave, or crazy, enough to ride the Dizzy Dragons ride. It's kinda like the tea cups at Disney Land to which I would also never grace my presence.

Ethiopian Family...

We are so very blessed to have a few close friends in the area who are also Ethiopian/American families. What a wonderful Christmas celebration with our fellow America World Families. Two of the girls I have grown very close with and two more are brand new friends and I am so happy to get to add them as friends and fellow adoptive mommies! When I look at this picture I see God's beauty in the children He so dearly LOVES!!!

Snowman Donuts...

This was one of the cutest little Christmas creations we made this year. They are so easy and make breakfast so much more fun!

A Visit From Santa...

We are lucky enough to have get a personal visit from Santa Claus every year at Paw Paw's Christmas party! The kids expect it now and wait excitedly for the doorbell to ring. I LOVED Max's response this year. He was so happy to see Santa and couldn't stop smiling or get close enough to him! Sam, on the other hand, was fine with Santa, as long as he was at least five feet away! Mean ole mommy made him sit in Santa's lap and even made him stay there for a picture...I think I heard her laughing too!

Polar Express...

Another tradition is watching Polar Express as the first Christmas movie of the season. We started the evening at the Mansfield Christmas tree lighting. Well, actually my family hung with our homegroup while Madison and I stood in line for about an hour (or so) so we could order over-priced, cold ham sandwiches and then head home...but I'm not bitter or anything!
But, we were able to salvage the evening with some yummy hot chocolate and Polar Express. That movie is so of my favorites!! The kids made a pallet and were mesmerized! Even Charlie wanted in on the fun!

And the Countdown Begins...

I'm going to attempt to catch up on our Christmas fun!

Our first Christmas as a family of six! magical and exciting!

I love decorating the tree. Each year we break out the new Christmas pjs (I'm way too practical to wait until Christmas Eve) make the kids hot chocolate, turn on the Christmas music and I hand out the ornaments to Daddy and the kids to hang. You'd be so proud of me, I didn't rearrange a single ornament this year! Go mommy!!

I was a bit worried about Sam and the Christmas tree. I even considered not putting one up this year knowing how curious my precious baby is. What was I thinking? I'm so glad sense returned and up the tree went. I bought one of those handy, organized, easy to use (or so I dreamed) tree bags on wheels to make it easy to take the tree down and store it in the attic. Ha...we actually broke the tree last year trying to get it in the bag. But a little creativity and some clay and it was fixed and ready to decorate. I just loved seeing Sam's reaction to the tree. He said, "What's that" about 50,000 times in the month of December. We were smart and only hung soft, non-breakable ornaments down low. But, funny enough, he only touched a couple of them. He loved the tree but was a little nervous to touch even the branches. There was one ornament with a bell on it though and by the end of December he was ringing that bell several times a day...too cute!!

Max brought home a count down chain from school at the beginning of December so we decided it would be fun if Madison and Abby made one too so they could each tear a chain as the days got closer! It was fun seeing the chains getting shorter and shorter!

We also started a new tradition this month. We ate dinner by candle light (you'll probably remember that was Jingle's elf!). We plan to continue candle light dinners often!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Can't Believe She's Eleven...

I've always known my kids would grow up, but the selfish part of me imagined they would always be in a stage of life where they would need me more than they relied on themselves. I know...really, really selfish. Because I love them so much, I do rejoice in their growing independence and I trust God, their ultimate father, creator and the One who loves them more than I could even imagine.

Madison, you are more than I have words to describe. God has gifted you with a selfless compassion. You have a wise old soul that I learn from daily. Your calm demeanor and desire not to just please others, but to love them, is an inspiration to me! I can not believe God has chosen to bless me so in having you as my daughter, but I am grateful!! You and your sister and brothers and daddy are priceless gifts!