Portrait Session | She’s three? How can that be?

This little girl is growing up way too fast. She’s a ball of energy with a lot of sass and a lot to say. She couldn’t be any cuter! I’ve had the pleasure of taking her photos since she was an infant, so I love looking back to see how she’s changed. Since she has a late fall birthday, we utilized our newly remodeled church, which has great natural light.

2 Year Photos
1 Year Photos
6 Month Photos

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Portrait Session | Miss M’s Family

I had such a great time taking portraits for this energetic family yesterday. My husband teaches with “Miss M,” and I joke that I didn’t know her first name for at least a year, since he tends to call his coworkers by the same names the students use. Despite the chilly temperatures and brisk wind, these two feisty, fun kids did a great job posing and being themselves. (Mom and Dad did pretty well, too.) I’m so happy with how these turned out – I can’t wait to edit the rest!

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Nicaragua Mission Trip – Day 4

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Tuesday, July 21 – The women and men split up today. The men went to the village to work until sometime in the afternoon, when a few of them visited a jail (that housed about 75 men and 2 women crammed into a few cells), and all of them went to Furia Santa, which was a rehab facility. They played the Furia Santa guys in a game of baseball, and I hear they lost because the Nicas cheated. 😉 The women started the day with a very scary/bumpy bus ride to the House of Hope – an organization trying to help women get out of prostitution, which is legal in Nicaragua.

Road to House of Hope
Road to House of Hope

Although they are technically supposed to be of-age, I believe they said the average age of entry was 11. (Two years younger than the U.S.) We had the opportunity to purchase jewelry and cards made by the women at House of Hope, which they do every Tuesday during a weekly spiritual program – for many, the crafts are the only “honest” income they get. I think there were probably 80-100 women there. For those who want to enter the program full time, they offer basic housing to stay in for 4 years with very strict rules. They receive training and a small microloan to begin a business. If they are still in the program after those 4 years, they are given a bigger microloan and a home off-site, and they have slightly less strict guidelines to follow. If they stick with it 5 more years, the house is theirs and they graduate the program. We got a tour of the facility and watched a bit of the morning sermon, then gave out sunglasses and just hung out with some of the younger girls. And when I say young, I mean really young. They were covered in makeup and wearing slightly more provocative/feminine clothing than all the other Nicas I had seen. But they were joking around, acting like typical teenagers – it breaks my heart to think of what they’ve already had to endure.

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A woman walking along the outskirts of the dump

Next we went to the dump, where people actually live. I was expecting to see homeless people around the edge of a landfill, but we stopped a couple of blocks out, because it can get quite dangerous the farther in you travel. There was a group of kids already at a building (which was recently purchased by Project H.O.P.E.) having Bible study, I think. We played music with them with Sariah’s musical instruments, and not a single piece walked away when it was time to leave. Amie and I served them lunch – one ladleful of rice, and one spoonful of soy protein mix. It didn’t smell appealing at all. They all had old bowls (sibling usually shared one), and ate it with their fingers. After serving lunch, we headed back to basecamp for our own lunch of sandwiches.

Small education center near the dump
A small education center near the dump
Playing music at the dump
Playing music at the dump

In the afternoon we visited the women’s cancer hospital, adjacent to a women’s hospital in Managua. As an employee of the American Cancer Society, I was really looking forward to this experience. I have to say, I’ve never wanted to end cancer as much as I did while I was there. It was hot – there was no airflow whatsoever. The women were all laying around aimlessly in a room full of beds lining the wall, but when we got there, they began to rise and graciously accepted our hugs, and their eyes just lit up. Claudia, one of the Project H.O.P.E. staff/interpreters, created a really fun and energetic atmosphere with games and music. While we were doing games, 4 women from our group went into rooms where women were getting chemotherapy and prayed over them. They said it was really emotional. We finished off our time there by painting their fingernails and toenails. One lady wanted all her red nail polish removed and French tips added, which took me quite awhile. It was a rewarding experience.

Housing at the women's cancer center
A room for about 40 women to stay at the women’s cancer center. Makes me appreciate the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge!
These men were peaking in the window watching the activities at the cancer center
These men were peeking in the window watching the activities at the cancer hospital
Music and dancing at the women's cancer hospital
Music and dancing at the women’s cancer hospital
Painting nails
Painting nails

Back at basecamp, we cleaned up and ate meatballs, rice, and mushroom sauce for dinner. We stayed up late and played Phase 10 with several of the others in our group.

I forgot to mention that on Sunday night we tried to Skype with Lil’ Miss K, which was a complete disaster. She started bawling when she saw us, so we decided we’d better not attempt it again the rest of the trip. Luckily we had Wi-Fi at basecamp so we were still able to hear from the grandparents each day.

Photo of the Day: Christmas Kitty

This is the first time our cat Esme has made the blog in quite awhile. After taking some photos of Baby K with Christmas lights and putting her down for a nap, I returned to the living room to find Esme snuggled up next to the lights. Silly kitty! (Take Two of Baby K and Christmas lights is scheduled for the near future.)

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Photo of the Day: Post-Christmas Blues

I don’t know about you all, but this is exactly how I feel after Christmas and New Year’s. After all of the celebrations are over and the decorations are put away, it’s still freezing outside and it still gets dark too early. After January 1, I’m always ready for spring!

The post-Christmas blues is part of the reason I haven’t blogged much in the last week. It’s also taken me quite a while to sit down and sort through all the holiday photos. This year, in an effort to not make blogging become chore, I’m not going to set any goals about daily blogging or photography. I’m merely going to blog when I’ve got something good to share. Some of those posts may be quality photos that my loyal blog followers will enjoy, and other posts  will be snippets of my life that my real-life friends will enjoy seeing. (After all, the top blog posts of the year where about purchasing our house and re-doing our dining room – neither of which produced great photos.

Happy New Year!

Thoughts on Having Babies (Click for photos)

I have really mixed feelings about posting “belly” photos. I have lots of friends and family whom I don’t see regularly and want to see the progress of my pregnancy, but I also have friends longing for babies themselves that may find the photos hurtful. Some of them long for a spouse, some of them are struggling with infertility, some of them have reasons I’m completely unaware of. I told God before we got pregnant that I would be ok with adoption if that’s the path He wanted for us. We tried for several months to get pregnant, and even in that short amount of time, I felt my heart ache a little more each month. I know it’s nothing compared to what others go through regarding infertility, but I do get what it’s like to long for a child. For some reason God has blessed us with a growing baby, and I will not take my pregnancy or my baby for granted – we both thank God for what we’ve been given.

I know that once our baby is born, I’ll want to post photos of him or her on facebook and my blog all the time. Yet I want to be sensitive of those around me, so I’ll try to limit my posts. Please know I never mean to boast about what’s going on in my life, nor do I mean to hurt anyone when I share my photos.

With that being said, please click here if you’d like to see my most recent “belly” photos. My husband and I did an impromptu maternity photo session near midnight in front of our Christmas tree right before the holiday.