This week's theme on I ♥ Faces is "Pouting". We try really hard to teach our little ones not to pout or whine, but Isabel's still climbing the learning curve. And she goes the extra mile to cry these tears that just won't go away! Seriously, she'll get upset about something at 11:00, and at 11:20, the tears will still be stuck to her face. How does she do that?!? Anyway, when I saw this week's theme, I knew I had to post this photo.
We've obviously got a lot of work to do.
I'm sure there's going to be some really "pitiful" photos, so to see the other entries this week, click on the button below:
As I was looking back over the past week, one word came to mind that sums it all up...and that word is contrast.
Let's start with Josh's third post-op appointment last Monday. At the previous appointment, Josh's surgeon had all but promised him he would come out of the cast and into a boot. Now this wasn't going to be a walking boot (he's got a little bit longer of "non-weight-bearing"), but that didn't matter so much to Josh. What really made his heart skip a beat was the idea of being able to remove the boot to take a shower again for the first time in more than six weeks. That was the hope. The reality, though, was that once they removed Josh's cast, they could see that his foot is pointed down and inward. He has a clubbed foot. The doctor said even if his bones were stable enough to come out of the cast, he couldn't actually fit Josh's foot into a boot when it was like that. So what do you do to turn a clubbed foot into a non-clubbed foot? Let's just say the kids and I left the building.
Looking forward to finally taking a shower then coming home with yet another cast... contrast.
Now that spring has arrived, my calendar is filling up with photography sessions. I had two this past week that couldn't have been more opposite in nature. Thursday night, our good friends Steve and Libby asked me to shoot a dinner and informational session that Steve was hosting for his clients. I don't do much indoor photography, and I certainly don't shoot much at night, so it was great practice for me. And Steve gives me full reign with creativity...it's always fun to do sessions for him and Libby!
We're clients of Steve's, and we would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a financial advisor. You can check him out here. (And no, he didn't pay me to say this!)
Less than 24 hours after that session, I got some practice in another area I don't work in very often (and by "not very often" I mean "never before"). My hairdresser is starting her own business and needs photos for her website. She was a bridesmaid in a wedding on Friday, and she asked me to come do shots of the bride and the other bridesmaids (whose hair and makeup she had done). No pressure! So from business suits and portfolios to wedding gowns and tiaras...contrast.
Our next adventure was skipping back over to Atlanta on Saturday morning for a couple of neat celebrations. On Saturday night, we went to a graduation party for Josh's sister's husband (better known to us as Uncle Kevin). While Georgia may not yet recognize him as a doctor until he's finished with his boards, we think we're going to go ahead and start calling him "Dr. Uncle Kevin"!! Then the celebration shifted down a generation as we attended their daughter, Ayda's, baby dedication. And then my favorite part...pictures!!! Ayda looked precious in her little dress, and she was an angel for her photos. Just look at this sweet face... After a little family gathering at Bok and Kevin's house, we hopped back in the car to head home. And as we were turning onto the interstate, we were met with an odd sight. There were a couple of Canadian geese standing in the middle of the on-ramp to the highway. Now we have Canadian geese near our house that we see daily as we're out running errands, but they're surrounded by a lake and trees. They looked a little different surrounded by concrete and "SPEED LIMIT 190" signs. Anyway, I kept driving in their direction (not because I intended to hit them, but because they were still pretty far away, and I knew they had time to move over).
Yeah...that didn't happen.
One very wise goose scooted off onto the shoulder of the road, but the other goose decided to fly. Good idea, huh? Not so much when you decide to fly straight at my car! People, I am not exaggerating here when I say he was literally headed straight towards our windshield, and thankfully, I barely missed him. And that was only because I drove off the side of the road (barely missing the smarter goose)! Click here to experience exactly what I saw. It was apparently a traumatic event for Abby as well because she broke into tears as soon as it happened. Although the more I think about it, that might be from the ear-piercing shriek I let out as I almost flipped the car trying to escape a head-on collision. With a goose. In Atlanta.
Peaceful time with my sweet niece doing what I love to playing chicken with a goose on the ramp to I-285 not even ten minutes later...contrast.
So although we've had a really busy week, it's been lots of fun. Minus the cast and the suicidal goose.
Josh and I were talking about how crazy things have seemed lately. And after a memory jolt and a little math problem, we think we've figured out why. In the last week and a half, we've been in five states. And poor Josh has been in six (one of which was on the opposite side of the country)!
But we've survived it all, and we've actually come out with some great stories and some priceless memories. Many of those come from our trip to North Carolina last weekend for Josh's grandfather's memorial service. Before I get to the good stuff, I've got a little challenge for you. I'll give you some numbers, and you guess what they describe:
Question: 23 (hours of travel time or number of bags we took)? Answer: We had a grand total of 23 hours of travel time to and from NC. We broke the first half up into two days (from here to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Raleigh), but we did the last half all in one crazy rotation of drive, potty, eat, play, drive, potty, eat, play, drive, potty, eat, play, etc. (And just so you'll know, we only took eight bags...because 23 would be ridiculous!)
Question: 1,205 (miles we drove or number of diapers we packed)? Answer: This one's tricky because that's close to the number of diapers we took, but the real answer is the number of miles we drove. And let me tell you, God answered the prayers of many people (including ours about every 30 minutes of the trip!) in that the kids were precious during our travel. That's a really rough few days for little ones, but with the exception of a few little incidents on the way home, we couldn't have asked for anything better! (On a side note, during one of the aforementioned "exceptions", Josh rolled down his window, looked at me with love in his eyes, and said "I'm sorry, babe, but I'm outta here!" Let's just say we were having a bit of a loud stretch.)
Question: 413 (number of pictures I took or how much I weighed carrying all of our luggage to the car)? Answer: This one's a trick question. Actually both of these answers are correct. I did take 413 pictures throughout the weekend, but I also weighed 413 pounds when I was carrying the luggage in. Keep in mind that's 413 pounds each trip. And I made three trips.
A lot of planning went into the 11.5-hour trip to Raleigh, and one key component of the strategy was "go time". If you're not familiar with that method, it involved stopping the car at a rest stop or a playground, opening the van door, unloading the kids, and instructing them to "GO!" It didn't take much convincing, and at our first stop at the rest area just inside the South Carolina border, they looked like a bunch of rabid monkeys exploding out of the car. They had a lot of pent-up energy, and they were seriously ready to let it out. You'll notice that there aren't many pictures of Jack. It's not because he wasn't playing...it's because I'm not sure Nikon makes a camera with a shutter speed fast enough to catch him!
The second key component of the Happy Travel Plan revolved around food. For anyone who knows the Lewis kids, the little ones love to eat! As Confucius says, "Full tummies make happy travelers," so we stopped for lunch, dinner, and at least one snack in between.
But the cornerstone of the plan involved not only making these important stops, but timing them around the even more important need for sleep. Unfortunately, the kids didn't master Synchronized Sleeping very well, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, right? When you're spending the entire day in the car, you'll take what you can get.
And just when we thought our fifth grade geography teachers had been tricking us the whole time, and there really was no such city as Raleigh, North Carolina...we saw it. Was it a mirage? Were our weary minds playing tricks on us? Nope, it was an actual sign pointing us toward our destination.
Unfortunately, we still had quite a ways to go, but eventually we came to signs for the actual city (not just the teaser-signs we had seen earlier!) And yes, Mom, I did take these pictures while I was driving. I know you're wondering (and worrying)...
I've got an entire gallery of photos from the weekend up on one of my websites, and if you're interested in seeing them, I'll be happy to send you the link and the password, but I really wanted to put this one picture up before I go. It may not look like much...until you know it's Josh's grandmother leaving the memorial service for her husband of 61 years. What wife who has just lost her husband and her best friend can walk out of this kind of service singing with joy and a smile on her face?
A woman who knows her husband is now walking with the Lord.
...you lose track of the days, and you're a day late for Wordless Wednesday? You get Wordless Thursday!!!
(although I guess it's not really "wordless" when I keep writing so much)
I'm working on some new photo techniques, and I just fell in love with this picture of the munchkins when I applied a retro effect: And no, that's not a collective time-out you're seeing. They were watching the birds on the other side of the fence...so, so cute!!
Please pray for our family today as we begin the first leg of our trip to North Carolina for Josh's grandfather's memorial service. It's going to be a really, really long car ride, and the cherry on the top is that the littlest two are fighting colds. Why didn't we fly, you ask? I've got one number for you: $1,500. Road trip it is!
We've decided to spend a full day on either end of the service traveling...we're going to take our time, stop when we need to, find fun places to let the kiddos run and play, and make the best of our time together.
Our really long time together.
Josh's grandfather was a spectacular man who leaves behind an equally remarkable wife. All kidding aside, we're thankful to get to celebrate Grandpa's life with the rest of the Lewis family. And even more, we get to celebrate the fact that he's healed, he's in heaven, and he's walking with our Lord. Praise God!!!
In honor of St. Patty's Day, it's Green Week over on I ♥ Faces. And while my photo this week doesn't have much to do with St. Patrick's Day, it definitely has some fun green in it! These are the boots that GrandPam gave Abby during her last visit there, and she's worn them pretty much non-stop since she got home (including last week with her tutu to ballet...it was super cute!) They really came in handy this particular day when we got several inches of snow.
Make sure you visit I ♥ Faces to see all the fun green photos this week!
With all the chaos surrounding the week Josh had his accident, I never got around to blogging about the great weekend we had had a few days earlier. Josh's dad and stepmom live in Connecticut, so we don't get to see them very often. But they decided to fly down in early February to meet the newest addition to their growing group of grandchildren, Ayda... ...so we took that opportunity to buzz over to Atlanta to visit with them as well. Uncle Greg decided he didn't want to stick around the house by himself, so he flew down, too. And not to be left out of a fun family trip, Aunt Jaci managed to convince Joe and Lori to fly her down from her college in Boston. Needless to say, Rebekah and Kevin had a packed (but very fun) house when we all arrived!
I don't know what I was thinking that day. My camera was the first thing on my packing list, and I did take it. But I only had it out for a few minutes! So I (the photographer) have a grand total of about ten pictures from our day together. Arrrgggghhhh! Oh well, here are some of my favorites from the few photos I got... As you can see, Jack really had a great time with Papa Joe. Here they are when Papa Joe came to meet him for the first time... ...and then when Papa Joe and Aunt Jaci flew down to meet Isabel... ...which happens to be the same day that Aunt Bok and Uncle Kevin announced that Ayda was on her way! (I had obviously gotten a little advanced warning, and I had the camera ready!)
But back to the trip, I was playing around with some new settings on my camera, and Jaci was kind enough to do a little modeling for me. Isn't she gorgeous?!? We love you guys, and we'll see you this weekend.
I don't really know where to start with the explanation other than to say this week has been kind of all-over-the-place. It's been good. It's been not so good. It's had celebration, and it's held sorrow.
Maybe I'll just pick up where I left off...
Elderly has been a delightful place, although I have to admit that I'm a little homesick for our old house. We're so very thankful for everything Elderly has to offer (good doctors, a whole host of medical equipment, etc.), but we're hoping to move back home fairly soon. Josh has done wonderfully in his progress. He's done so well, in fact, that he went ahead with a business trip this week to Colorado that he had planned before the fall. With some helpful airport staff, handicapped-accessible hotel rooms, and Josh's very devoted assistant (who probably felt a bit like a pack-mule), the trip was a success!
As for me, I visited the urologist this week, and I was privileged to meet many, many other residents of Elderly during my several-hour appointment. The doctor got held up because of his surgery schedule, so I sat with a few other patients and chatted while we waited. Once the doctor arrived, things really started moving. First, Ernest got called back. Next were Mildred and Ethel. Then Horace. And finally, it was my turn. The doctor ended up sending me to the hospital for a CT scan to check on a kidney condition that I was diagnosed with as an infant, and after a few details that I'll keep to myself, I was released with some follow-up instructions and the hope that I never have to deal with kidney stones or infections again!
While Josh was gone, my parents spent a lot of time with us. Josh and my dad have been finishing our basement to make a playroom for the kids. Since his accident, however, Josh obviously hasn't been able to pitch in much, so my dad took two days off this week to come work on the house. We actually have a couple of walls down there now! My mom did an equal amount of work, but hers was more of the childcare and housework variety. She has a servant's heart like none other, and she worked tirelessly to help me catch back up from a wild few weeks in Elderly.
One fun event that's taken place since I last wrote is Josh's birthday. It didn't start out with much of a bang (since he was in Colorado, and I was at the urologist), but we celebrated with chocolate chip muffins, cards, and gifts when he got home. But if Josh's birthday was the top of the roller coaster, the day after was the bottom. Josh received a phone call while he was in Denver that his grandfather had passed away that morning. The only word that accurately describes hearing that news is "bittersweet". The bitterness comes in knowing that he leaves his wife of 62 years, three children, 15 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren behind to miss him. But there is much more sweetness in knowing that he loved the Lord, and he is now walking with Him in heaven. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
There's more to share, but I'll go for now. Please be in prayer for Josh, our family, and the rest of Josh's family. This is definitely one of those times that is somehow equally full of joy and sorrow. Please pray also for everyone traveling for the memorial service next weekend.
We had only been in this location for about three years, but I guess change is inevitable. We didn't think this would happen quite yet...we thought we had a little longer here.
But it's official...we've moved.
Want to come visit? Then get out a pen and paper to write down our new address:
Josh and Allison Lewis 2 Geriatric Lane Elderly, AL 35222
To be honest, the move kind of snuck up on us. We first visited Elderly about three weeks ago when Josh was released from the hospital. Some very kind residents brought us several enticing gifts like a walker, a bath chair, and some sort of odd potty contraption. But we weren't quite sold yet...
Then this weekend, we decided to revisit the town once more. I had a bout with kidney stones (my third, for anyone who's counting), which eventually turned into a full-blown kidney infection. To help remedy the pain, I pulled out one more of the lovely gifts...a deluxe heating pad.
Then last night as Josh and I were going upstairs to go to bed, we looked around, saw the walker, the heating pad, the various and sundry assistive chairs, and it hit us...we had already moved!!!
I would love to chat more, but I have to go find a good urologist and call those nice home health people about the wheelchair they sent.
Who would have thought that we would wake up this morning to this: The kids went into orbit as soon as they saw all the snow outside. We're not exactly well-stocked with snow clothes, though, so I dressed them in about 14 layers each, and we hit the slopes.
Isn't that what you're supposed to say when you're going skiing? Not that we even have a hill, much less a mountain!
I'm gearing up for spring photography sessions, so I took advantage of our exceptionally happy children to 1) document the incredible rarity of this much snow in Alabama and 2) practice some new photography and processing techniques I've been working on. I took over 200 pictures, and I obviously can't post them all here, so here are some of my favorites (I've totally got print preparation down, but I'm still struggling with preparing pictures for the web, so these look pretty bad on here)... These next pictures had us cracking up! Abigail is so not a diva, but she sure looked the part when she put on her sunglasses to try to keep the bright light out of those beautiful blue eyes... Remember Abby's snow angel struggle at Stone Mountain? Well I think she's finally got it down... I think you could say Jack was in awe of the world of white he saw when he first went outside... ...but he's just like his mommy. When he gets too chilly, he says it's time to head in! While these little creatures aren't quite as cute as the ones you just saw, I thought I'd give wildlife photography a go... And last, but of course not least, since neither Izzy nor Josh can walk right now, they held down the fort inside while the kids and I played outside. Here's Izzy seeing snow for the first time... ...and here's Josh watching the fun from the front door. Sad. I thought it was saying a lot to note that we were wearing shorts about this time last week, and now today (on March 1, mind you) we're playing in several inches of snow... But that no longer seemed that ridiculous impressive when precisely three hours after I took that picture above of Josh, I took this one: Same for these, too... Only in Alabama, people. Only in Alabama.
And not to leave on a sad note, but unlike Jack, Abby would be happy as a little lark if it snowed every day. Here's what happened when she realized the snow was melting... If you want to see some more of the photos from today, check out the online gallery HERE.