Thursday, April 29, 2010

overheard at our house today...

isabel: "i have my tweet, pweez?!?"

me: "did you finish your sugar snap peas?"

isabel (holding her empty plate): "no ma'am."

me: "well where are they?"

isabel: "them's hiding."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

wordless wednesday (skyping with grandpam and papaw)

don't forget to visit here for a chance at a free photography session with yours truly!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the 2nd annual photography session giveaway

don't miss it!!!!!!!  and tell all your friends, too.  you might just win yourself a little something.  ;-)

enter HERE

Monday, April 26, 2010

it's like disney world...minus the price tag

josh was working at a fundraising event for pearl, and i was supposed to meet him there to hand off the kiddos so i could go shoot a session.  but on my way to where he was, i got a call from my clients that their day had gotten crazy and they just weren't going to be able to make it.  they were incredibly apologetic, but i kept reassuring them that it was absolutely no big deal...i had a backup plan. it wasn't anything that i had thought out ahead of time, but when i had talked to my parents earlier that morning, i had mentioned that i wish we could drive up and see them (they're so sweet to hop in the car to come to birmingham whenever they can but with all the little ones in tow, it's hard for us to go there as often as we'd like).  so when my schedule suddenly cleared, i whipped the car around and headed north.

and boy, am i glad i did.  i enjoyed sweet fellowship with my parents and the kids soaked up every ounce of nanny and pop time they could get.  muffin-baking...

and swingset-playing:

a lovely day was had by all.  ;-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

this weekend is just what i needed

a hoard of excited family and friends descended upon birmingham this weekend as we celebrated two of the super gals in our lives.  we partied with papa john's pizza and cheesecake at our house for bethany's 26th birthday and then raced over to briarwood for abby's ballet recital.  i was too busy running around getting things in order to get any pictures while we were at the house, but when the chocolate cheesecake made an appearance, i can tell you that bethany did a little something like this:

what can i say?  the girl likes her sweets.

it was pouring down rain on saturday, but thankfully i had gotten some cute outdoor shots of abigail in her ballet costume before her dress rehearsal on friday night. 

and here's a little something you all might not know about isabel:  she really, really wants to be a ballerina like abby; therefore, she has worn a ballerina dress or tutu almost everyday for the last nine months.  we listened to her all week long tell us how excited she was for her "cital".  (make sure you check out her face in the right photo -- she takes her art very seriously.)

while we were taking these photos, my wonderful neighbor came out and offered to shoot a picture of all of us together (and i feel confident that her appearance had nothing to do with the fact that we were standing square in the middle of her flower bed).  never one to turn down the opportunity to actually appear in a photograph with my little ones (to prove that i really was around for all of their childhood), i graciously accepted.  however, because of my children's complete and utter disinterest in having just one good picture with their mommy, i now present to you the world's worst picture of a momma and her babies:

but it makes me laugh everytime i look at it.

all of the family who live within driving distance made it here for abby's three minutes on stage, and she was thrilled to have so many people cheering her on.

jack was really into it...
but that's ok because these little cuties weren't much more excited than he was.  ;-)

random side note: i've learned that there are several "five lewis crew" readers that tend to lurk in the shadows and that stay pretty quiet on here.  as a matter of fact, there are many of you that i've never even met.  so if by some random chance one of those girls belongs to you, i loved them, they were too cute, and i got a good giggle out of their, um, anticipation before the music began.  translation: don't hate me.

as good as saturday was, though, it doesn't hold a candle to the events of today.  if i'm being straight-up honest with you, i'd have to tell you that i've really been struggling lately with the non-events of our adoption.  what was supposed to be an 8-9 month process has slowly and painfully stretched into a 17-month (and counting) ordeal.  our baby isn't home.  we haven't held him or seen his picture.  heck, we don't even know who he is because we don't have a referral yet.

i've seen time and time again how god's hand has been evident in this journey as he has used scripture, our small group, and friends and family to encourage us, support us, and remind us of his truths.  but i've just felt different lately.  it's not that i've ever thought god had abandoned us or that he was hanging us out to dry -- it's just been very quiet.  and the few times that there has been movement, it's all seemed to be in the wrong direction.  more money, extra trips, more paperwork.  and in all honesty, i've withdrawn a little bit from even wanting to talk about this whole adoption thing.  i've just been weary of not having anything to share but bad news.

but thankfully, the lord doesn't turn his back on me when i go in my room, shut the door, and bust out the droopy balloons for my one-person pity party.  he pursues me even when i check out.  and today was such clear, encouraging evidence of his compassion, provision, and presence.  at church this morning as i was casually chatting with a precious friend, she told me that god had put it on her and her husband's hearts this week to do something for us related to our baby.  i know they would prefer i not go into the details, but an hour or so later when i realized what they had done, i ran out into the parking lot and fell sobbing into her arms, thanking the lord for his goodness and for their willingness to serve the lord by serving us.  the day could have stopped there and i would have felt refreshed, encouraged, and renewed.  but the lord continued revealing himself to me as we went to church tonight.

after watching a video project that i had done some work for recently, david asked families who were currently in the process of adopting or preparing to be foster parents to come to the front.  josh and i slowly stood up and walked forward with several other families, and as we were nearing the altar, i whispered, "this is really awkward" to josh as i wished to myself that we could go sit back down.  but then a gentleman (who happens to be the director of the agency who did our adoption homestudy) began praying over each of us.  i held tightly to josh's arm and listened as he prayed through many of the exact issues we're dealing with right now -- the anxiety, the wait, the finances.  slowly, that uncomfortable feeling i had as we walked to the front of the church melted into thankfulness for god's perfect timing.

he is always, always faithful.  even when i have little faith.

Friday, April 23, 2010


i've got about a bajillion photos sitting in the "to be blogged" folder on my computer with many more to come over the next week.  soooo.....with that said, grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and prepare yourselves for more pictures than any one human being should be subjected to in a single sitting.  (but at least this won't be really time for that.)

somehow it's almost four weeks after easter, and i've yet to post anything beyond this one picture.  well, that's all going to change right now.  in the spirit of few words, our easter day in photographs can be divided up into three categories: all dolled up before church, hunting easter eggs in jammies after church, and a pathetic attempt at getting a good family picture at church. 

the girls' dresses were a gift from their sweet cute did they look?!?

this is the first year izzy's been big enough to really hunt for eggs, and she wasn't that impressed at first...until that is, she realized that she could wear her basket like a purse. 

and when the fact that each of the eggs had a goldfish or marshmallow inside was made known to her, we didn't see her for the rest of the day.

i did learn something that i had never known about jack before:  he's perhaps the world's worst easter egg finder ever.  with the exception of a couple of eggs that he literally tripped over as he ran through the backyard, he needed some real hands-on help with everything else he found. 

now let me go ahead and stop you there.  you're probably thinking, "oh, but he couldn't see that one because it was up so high.  it just wasn't really obvious."  yeah, that clearly had nothing to do with it.  (please note how abby's finger is literally touching the egg, but jack is staring straight into the fence like we velcroed it to the wood or something.)

it's pretty rare for all of us to look presentable at the same time.  on any given day, someone's missing their shoes, someone's in at least part of their jammies, and inevitably, i'm in jeans with one of the knees blown-out.  because we had morphed into "fake family" that day with our dresses, brushed hair, and heels, i was hoping to get a good family shot of us.  unfortunately, izzy didn't share my photo op excitement.

i had a little chat with her (while josh had a snack)...

and this is what we came up with.  it's not perfect -- but it's us!!!

stay tuned for part II (and a fun announcement)!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

an open letter to our parents

dear mom and dad,

we did lots of fun things as a family back in the day when it was just "richard, mary, and the girls".  but without a doubt, some of our favorite memories are from the countless musicals and shows you took us to in atlanta when we were growing up.  family time in the car, the two of us singing "phantom of the opera" songs until your poor ears were bleeding, and eating lunch at that little corner deli by the fox.  we loved it all.

so when you called us to ask if we would like to go with you to the celtic women concert last night, we thought, "ooooohh...."

"...this sounds like fun."

and soon, we started getting really excited about a blast-from-the-past-music-extravaganza-with-our-parents.
now we'll be the first to admit that there was a time back in the day that we might not have been quite so thrilled at the prospect of a date night of this sort.

but we're mature enough now to admit that we were in the wrong back then.  we were ill-tempered teenagers who thought we had better things to do.  but now that we are parents, we realize how valuable our time with you really is.

and speaking of being parents, i would be remiss if i didn't thank you particularly for giving us the opportunity to slough off our mom jeans and don sassy little heels for a night out. we were pretty jazzed when we realized we were going to get to dress for the evening out of "that part" of our closets.

in fact, we were really, really, really excited about a night out with you.  really.

actually, bethany was so pumped that she almost laid an egg.  (i'm so sorry, honey.  that was just too funny to pass up!)

we can't thank you enough for such a fantastic night.  the food was good and the concert was great -- but the company just couldn't be beat.

we love you so much,
allison and bethany

p.s.  anytime you're wondering if we'd like another family-of-four date night, here's our answer:

editor's note: josh lewis is the most precious man alive.  not only was he excited for me to have a quiet evening away, but for some of the night, he single-handedly kept the above-mentioned six children safe, healthy, and happy.  by himself.  one of him, six of them (ages 5, 3, 3, 2, 2, and 7 months).  
thank you, babe.  i love you lots and lots and lots! 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a lesson of a different kind

abby was doing some independent schoolwork up on the deck while i was pushing the little two on the swings.  suddenly, i saw something brown and fluffy hopping through the flower bed (aka "the weed pile").  i went over for a better look and found this precious little guy:

look really close.  can you see what my kids call his "crazy hair" sticking out of his head?  how cute is that?!?  anyway, we spent the morning -- really, the whole morning -- watching the process of him bouncing around the yard, getting lost, cheeping for his mommy and daddy, them finding him, feeding him, and then starting all over again. 

we talked about nests, hatchlings, fledglings, and all things science.  it was a homeschool mom's dream.  for most of the morning, i couldn't have pried the kids away from their new little friend if i tried. 

at one point while we were up on the deck, two pairs of birds took advantage of the fact that the baby bird's parents were off looking for more bugs and worms, and they started to dive down and peck at the tiny ball of fluff and feathers.  his parents must have heard him crying, though (and trust me, he was making all sorts of terrible sounds), because they came flying out of nowhere to boldly and loudly defend their baby.

and maybe, just maybe, they got a little help from a broom-wielding crazy lady who kept screaming, "go away, red bird!  go away!!"

anyway, despite the onslaught, the little guy settled down and eventually started hopping around the yard again.  we finally came inside for a bit but we kept a close eye on the back yard to make sure the bird's mommy and daddy were still taking good care of him.  at one point, i started noticing that they had been gone for a really, really long time, so i headed back out to check on things.  after a few minutes of searching, i found the tiny bird laying under a bush and his breathing was really fast and labored.  his mouth was open, his eyes were closed. 

i jumped on the phone and called my friend, angel, because i was sure she could tell me what to do.  she reminded me about the wildlife rehabilitation center at oak mountain state park, so i gave them a ring and asked what i should do.  they told me to go ahead and bring him in because it sounded like he might have been injured. 

i raced around the house gathering up the needed equipment to transport a baby bird the size of a tangerine, all the while barking out orders related to tying shoes and visiting the potty.  i wasn't really sure why i was panicking the way i was, but i felt an enormous urgency to get out the door.  we live right across the street from the back entrance to oak mountain, so we booked it the few miles back to the center.  when we got there, i threw the car into park, frantically unbuckled everyone from their car seats, threw izzy on one hip, the little bird's basket on the other hip, and we took off as fast as we could toward the door of the "ER".  i peeked into the basket as we walked in, and my heart sank when i saw that the little guy was laying over on his side.  and i couldn't see him breathing anymore.

we rang the bell to get someone to help us, and when the girl i had talked with earlier on the phone came out, my voice cracked as i said, "i don't think he's alive anymore."  she took the baby bird in his basket back to another room, and we sat there and waited anxiously for several minutes.  again, i thought, "seriously, allison?  this is certainly sad, but your heart is racing.  you're about to throw up.  you have got to settle down." 

finally, she came back out and said, "he's barely alive.  i don't think he's going to make it."  we filled out some paperwork and left.

on the way home, abby kept talking about how upset she was that the baby bird had died; then at one point she said, "i bet his mommy and daddy are going to be so, so sad."  that's when i lost it.  why, you ask, was this whole business about a little bird so upsetting to me?  yes, i love a fluffy animal as much as the next girl, but i finally realized that it was about a lot more to me than just a bird. 

yesterday i found out about a family here whose two-year-old daughter was killed in a terrible accident at her house this weekend, and my heart has been so heavy and burdened for those parents ever since.  and just hours after i learned about their story, something eerily similar to the situation that ended their daughter's life happened to us. 

and it involved two-year-old isabel.

the whole thing just makes me sick to my stomach, so i haven't talked much about it to anyone.  but my mommy heart has been in serious overdrive ever since.  last night i couldn't hold izzy close enough as i thanked the lord for her and prayed for his protection over her and our other children.  and as hard as i was praying for izzy, i think i prayed even more fervently for that grieving family. 

because i know that they're so, so sad. 

i've been praying psalm 34:18 over them: "the lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" as i've asked god to hold them up through their unimaginable pain. 

this is one of those blog posts that probably sounds somewhat erratic and meaningless to those of you who are reading it, but i'm not writing this one for anybody else.  i've learned a few things over the past couple of days, and i want to remember them whenever i look back on this little story.