Emelia // One Year Old

Tomorrow my baby will be one.  On Wednesday, just before a cold front came through, making us pull out our winter sweaters once again, we snuck out for a few one year pictures.  There was quite a bit of leaf eating, crawling away and looking at anything but me, but I absolutely love this age.  I love watching as she absorbs the world.  And just to commemorate some of her favorite and not so favorite things, here's a little list:

Likes: Brother and sister, teddy bears, bananas, broccoli, clapping, dancing, smiling and snuggling.

Dislikes: Sippy cups.  

That's right, she likes just about everything in the world except sippy cups.  In fact, she gets downright angry when I hand her one, especially if it has milk in it.  Sometimes she'll sip water, but absolutely refuses milk in a sippy cup.  It's pretty funny.

So here she is.  Baby girl at one year. 

And if you'd like to see sweet girl as a newborn, click here, and at six months here.

Starting the School Discussion

Yesterday, my kids, along with countless others, started their first day of school.  In reality, it's a 5 hour, one-day-a-week Mother's Day Out program that we're calling "school", or as I have deemed it "mommy-gets-a-break-day".  And while our kids are still a few years away from the traditional kindergarten age, we've recently started the discussion about how our kids will be educated.  It is a decision that we do not take lightly, and one that deserves a fair amount of discussion.

We live in a country where education is highly valued and pursued.  In the US, we pay taxes so that our children can receive 13 years of free public school, a privelege not experienced in a large part of the world.  We have several friends that work in the public, private and charter school systems, so we know there are men and women who would invest well in our children.  But are those reasons enough to make a decision on how, why and where our children will be educated?  In these most formative years of our childrens' beings, what should be the source of their understanding of the world as God made it?  There isn't a simple answer.

Instead, we have made a list of questions to help us begin to navigate the waters of this decision, knowing that more specific questions will need to be answered as well:

  • What does the Bible say about knowledge, wisdom, and education?
  • What is the role of knowledge/education? What is it's purpose and/or intended outcome? 
  • Does the ability to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a godly life depend on a certain level of education?
  • What role, as parents, do we play in raising up our children in knowledge?  What are our biblically appointed duties in that regard?
  • Thinking outside of the traditional classroom setting, what other sources are there for gaining knowledge?
  • What feasible options are there for education?  {Taking into account the cost of tuition, time, and location.}

In order to answer these foundation questions, we plan to consult a few resources from sources far more knowledgeable than us on this topic.  As publically educated parents who were not raised in Christian homes, Brandon and I need outside opinion on this matter.  In future posts, I plan to share our answers to these questions as we move along in the process, in case there are others who may be facing the same decision.  In the meantime, here are a few of the resources I've been recommended:

Excused Absence by Douglas Wilson

The Case for Classical Christian Education by Douglas Wilson

How Classical Education Shapes Us as God Intended by Bradley Green {via the Gospel Coalition} 

Think by John Piper

If you have a resource you would like to share on the topic of schooling, please leave a comment below.  I would especially love to hear about homeschooling resources. 

And finally, a picture of Eisley and Easton on their first day of school:

Ducks and Swings | Summer at the Park

If you take a peek at what I post most often, you'll learn one thing very quickly.  I photograph my kids often, usually while they're simply living their little lives.  And although I'm honestly not sure how interesting the pictures are to those who may be reading this, they are very special to me.  I get one chance to watch my kids grow up. One chance to pour into them the things my husband and I feel are important and know to be true.  Simply taking them to the park, talking about how God made all the trees and the bugs and the ducks is a responsibility I don't take lightly.  I've fallen in love with them and grateful that I've also fallen in love with photographing them while we explore the world together.

This particular evening began with a walk through the woods of a lovely little park near our house.  We brought animal crackers along as a snack, which soon became dinner for the ducks instead.

Then we finished up the evening on the swings, full of sweat, bug bites, and smiling faces.

Bum Eyes and Trolley Rides

Today marks 7 years that Brandon and I have been married.  That's roughly 2,555 days, not accounting for leap years.  A lot can happen in seven years, and a lot has.  A move to Dallas, completion of a seminary degree, the loss of three grandparents and two babies due to miscarriage, and the joyful births of two more.  Though we've definitely seen some difficult days, the good far outweigh the bad.  And sometimes we need the bad days to remind us and make us aware of the good.  I have much more to say about the sanctification that marriage and parenthood brings, but for now I'll save it for a future post.  

Instead, I'll share a few pictures from our family date night last week.  Our family has seen it's fare share of eye ailments over the last month, including styes, infections and bug bites {as seen on Eisley below}.  Somehow, I've been the only one unaffected.  We took the kids for a Trolley ride in West Village, followed by dinner and gelato.  And sometime soon, I'll make sure to be included in some of the pictures, rather than just taking them :0)

Diaper Cream | Friend and Foe

Perhaps there was a bit too much giggling coming from their room.  Perhaps I was naive to think their laughter was the result of tickles and other sorts of friendly sibling play.  Perhaps I should have peeked into the room just a few moments earlier than I did.

Because as much fun as they were having, and as funny {and cute} as it was, there is a purposeful use for diaper cream and use as a hair styling product is not it.  You see, the purpose of diaper cream is to block moisture from the skin--it's really quite helpful to keep a rash at bay.  However, it also means that it is nearly impossible to wash out of hair.  It's like it was just sitting on top of Easton's head as he sat in the bathtub, laughing at my feeble attempts to remove it with baby shampoo and a comb.  And although it was a battle, I do proudly proclaim I won.  That little boy is now sleeping soundly with a clean head of hair.  It only took about 30 minutes and 20 rounds of shampoo to accomplish.


It was one of those moments when I just had to laugh, grab my camera and take a picture because this is one of those "someday it'll be funny" sort of things; maybe not today, but someday.  Like, maybe tomorrow.

After the Rain | Eisley and her boots

A few days ago after a rain-filled morning, Eisley strapped on her rainboots and we went for a walk.  Our adventure started out simply.  I let her play in a puddle, which is usually a no-no.  She enjoyed herself right up until her foot slipped into a hole in the neighbor's flower bed and she landed thigh-high in water.  Here's a taste of our outing before it met its unfortunate, water-soaked end...

A Quick Before and After | 2012 Yearbook Project | Life at Home

I want to share a quick before and after of an image I took of Eisley a few days ago.  The first image seen below is the SOOC {straight out of camera} image with no adjustments made.  I had my camera set to JPEG, though I typically shoot in RAW, so my camera made some slight adjustments to the image for me in-camera.  I may talk more about that in an upcoming post, but for now let's keep it simple.

I didn't really need my ISO set so high because I had ample window light in the room, but I was a bit too excited about my new room arrangement so I didn't really look at my ISO before I started shooting.  Anyway, here is my SOOC image; camera settings were: ISO 1250, 50mm 1.2, 1/5000.

I started by using the spot healing brush in Photoshop to remove the scratch on Eisley's nose.  My general rule in editing is to remove or alter only non-permanent blemishes, unless for some reason that's a part of the character of the image.  Since Eisley doesn't always have a scratch on her face and because I don't want that to be distracting, I went ahead and removed it.  I then ran two different actions in Photoshop, the first is a film-like shift and the second is a Black and White conversion.  An "action" is simply a series of recorded steps in Photoshop that can be repeated on any given image.  There are several talented PS Action creators out there and if you'd like more information about the actions I used here, simply leave a comment below or send me an email.

So, here are my two finished images:


And if you're wondering what some of the photography jargon used in this post means, you might consider attending one of my upcoming CLICK: Photography Basics Classes.  Email me for more info!