Favorite Photo Friday {Reading with Daddy's Flashlight}

BLOG reading with light on head without flare

Last week Lily began asking me if I would read to her "in Daddy and Mommy's bed".

BLOG wide eyes

One night as we were getting ready to read, she grabbed the small flashlight Michael keeps beside our bed and started to explore.

So I grabbed my camera thinking it was a perfect opportunity to see what I could do with just her flashlight illuminating the dark room.

BLOG looking down at book

She had fun re-telling the story of The Very Hungry Catepillar.

BLOG sitting up reading

I had fun watching her through the lens and trying to capture the little details.

BLOG looking up with flashlight

This is my favorite from the series...I love how her little feet are crossed as she is exploring the cause and effect of the light on the ceiling.

BLOG just one eye

Even in the darkness, her eyes still sparkle.

BLOG just one eye looking up

You can tell by this look that our night-time reading with a flashlight is not over yet :)

"Even darkness is not dark to you and the night is as bright as the day.
 Darkness and light are alike to you." Psalm 139:12

Linking up with my friend Lisa's Favorite Photo Friday.  
Be sure and stop by to see her amazing photography.  

Happy Friday!  
the long road


Hearts, stickers, and love...

BLOG pouty face

Lily has been sick since last Friday and we have seen a lot of this face in recent days.

I came down with the same thing a few days later and after a string of days at home, dreary weather, and my husband being out of town for a few days, the walls were beginning to close in on us.

Yesterday we got some fresh air and made a trip to the grocery and Target. I saw this foam heart craft on the isle as we were leaving Target and decided it would be something fun she might enjoy.

BLOG looking for sticker

In true Lily fashion...she checked out all the details of the project before diving in to get started.

BLOG looking through the heart

She is very methodical so I often get a more serious side of her when we are doing crafts.

BLOG lily looking through heart

Slowly her personality started coming out...

BLOG daddy heart

We made a heart for everyone in the family...I think she was missing her daddy because she kept favoring this one.

BLOG big smile holding heart

Then the smile and laughter that we see so often finally came out!

BLOG double focus on feet

She took a break from art and had bowl of apples for a snack...

BLOG just feet

BLOG lily kissing sunset b&w

Then our dog got sick so she offered up some hugs to "help her feel better".

BLOG heart up to face

It was good therapy for both of us...she had fun creating and I enjoyed being behind my camera practicing with low light.


We made a banner with all of the hearts she created and she knew exactly where she wanted it...in her room.

BLOG smile in the kitchen

This is the smile that brightens up my day and makes even the hardest days all worthwhile.


Welcome teenage years!

BLOG spencer in grass

Today we welcome the teenage years and celebrate Spencer's 13th birthday!

I met Spencer when he was 3 years old...the age Lily is today.  Hard to believe so much has changed in the last 10 years I have had the privilege of having him in my life.

His eyes are captivating...so much to be said behind these eyes.

a gentle and caring spirit.

a personality full of life and a great sense of humor.

a gifted musician and bright young mind.

a loving and affectionate young man who lights up any room when he is in it.

a young man growing in the Lord.

a brother who is loved dearly by his little sis.

a son who we love and adore.

It is a joy and honor to be his step-mom and I am so thankful God put him in my life.


In honor of his special day, his little sister (with a little help from someone who loves Spencer too) has a special gift she wanted to share...enjoy watching the special bond and love that God is writing in their hearts...
(if the link below doesn't work on your mobile device click here)

Happy 13th Birthday Spencer!!!
We love you more each day!


Birthday eve...last days before the teenage years...

BLOG sweet ceces group pic

Spencer kicked off his 13th birthday celebration today after school with a sweet treat from his Aunt Lizzy at one of his favorite spots ...Sweet Cece's!


He is really into wearing Nike and sports gear right now and as you can tell from his expression he was super excited with their gift!  One of the first things he did when he came home tonight was put on his new sweatpants!

BLOG double jumping

After some sweet cousin love I snapped a few shots on the way back to the car.  
He informed me that he wants me to do a sports themed parkour photo shoot of him downtown so you may be seeing some more crazy stunts like the one of him jumping over the metal pole in the days ahead!

BLOG lily holding spencer's hand

This picture really captures the way Lily loves and adores her big brother.  She really looks up to him and misses him when he isn't with us.  She has a special gift for her "Ge Ge"'s birthday that I will post more about tomorrow so stay tuned...

Michael's parents came over for dinner and we had Spencer's birthday menu of choice...grilled steaks with Mrs. Carrie's famous marinade, corn casserole, grilled veggies, rice and chocolate lava cake for dessert!  Thank you Nan and Lewis for purchasing the yummy steaks for us! My sweet hubby of course grilled them to perfection which is always an added bonus :))

Tomorrow is the big day...we welcome the teenage years and hope that I have enough grace and patience to parent a teenager and a 3 year old in the same year :))

Of course, we will start the day with his favorite breakfast...buttermilk pancakes.

Linking up with my friend Lisa's Favorite Photo Friday.  Be sure and stop by her blog...you will be glad you did!

Happy Friday!!

the long road


Catching up on memories...

My hope for the future, rises and falls according to my level of gratitude for what God has done in the past.

Our pastor spoke these words this past Sunday in a powerful message about having a grateful heart.

What if I woke up tomorrow with only the things for which I gave thanks today?

As another year begins and I ponder these words, I want to stop and give thanks for the memories that were created with family over the past several months.

BLOG thanksgivng pics

These were taken over Thanksgiving where, every other year, we spend time removed from the business of life at a retreat center with my sister's family and our parents. It was an added blessing to have my Nana with us.  She is a beautiful reflection of God's love.  

The last time Michael and I made the this trip, we took our referral picture of Lily and worked on finishing paperwork for our adoption. Let's just say Lily in the flesh is so much sweeter!!!

BLOG train storyboard

My brother-in-law planned a train ride with Santa and rented out the entire caboose for us complete with Starbucks hot chocolate that he made! The night before the ride, he showed The Polar Express to Lily on a big screen and she sat mesmerized during the entire movie.

She woke up that morning with a bell and note from Santa. She still talks about the special memories that were made that day.

BLOG storyboard 2

While she didn't want to sit on Santa's lap, she was happy to tell him that she wanted a Tinkerbell cake (which later changed to a Fancy Nancy cake and a Hello Kitty Umbrella).

BLOG santa hats with gaga

Another highlight from our time together was cooking with Gaga making Santa hat brownies! 
 Lily loves to help cook so this was right up her ally. 
 She had a great time stirring, pouring and taste testing along the way.

BLOG kindness advent collage

We started off our Christmas season by making a kindness advent calendar. Lily was eager to help me glue the paper on each envelope that held our random act of kindness for each day in December.

I saw this last year on Pitter Patter Art and loved it so much we decided to make a calendar we can use each year. This has quickly become one of my most favorite things we do together each Christmas.

BLOG decorating cookies collage

We decorated the tree together as a family which always makes my heart full. 
 This was the first year in awhile that we didn't use the glass balls and hung the ornaments that we have collected over the years...such fun reminiscing about the stories that lie behind each one.

Lily and I tried our hand at making and decorating sugar cookies using these recipes I found from Pitter Patter Art
Although ours were not nearly as artistic and beautiful as hers...it was totally worth the effort to see the fun she had decorating each one.


Christmas would not be complete without the beauty of light.  
I am taking another photography class and had fun playing around 
trying to capture some bokeh with our lights.
I especially love the one of Lily playing the piano.

BLOG christmas day collage

While not the greatest (due to grey, rainy weather we had all week) these are a few snapshots from Christmas day. We had a quiet morning with Lily who was super content with her Hello Kitty umbrella. Later that day, Spencer joined us and Lily was eager to bring each gift for him to open.

That night, we celebrated with Michael's family. His mom cooked a yummy meal, we sang happy birthday to Jesus and it is always fun to see the joy light up in the eyes of the kids.

My parents came in town after Christmas...they bought an electric train for Spencer and Lily that came complete with steam, a whistle and a chuffing sound! Needless to say they were in awe.

I am thankful for the shared memories I have of our time together with my parents. 
 It was simple and quiet but certainly filled with much love.

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BLOG christmas collage

The King of Kings, who took off his royal robe, removed his crown, and entered into this world in the fullness of a little child, reigns today and every day of the year.

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