Tuesday, June 28, 2011

wordless wednesday (who needs swim diapers?)

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sugar's newest fan

while abby was visiting at my parents' house over the weekend, she and my mom set their baking skills to work and made a slew of cupcakes in honor of micah's first birthday.

unsure led to like led to love led to carnage.

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and a nice glass of milk to wash it all down.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

june 27

we landed in ethiopia the second time on a beautifully bright tuesday morning.  we gathered our luggage, loaded everything into the driver's van, and he drove us through dusty, rocky, people-filled streets to the gates of acacia village.  the bald, toothless baby that had met us there just three months earlier now had a head full of hair and two darling teeth peeking up from his gums.  but something else had changed, too.  his smiley, go-with-whatever character seemed different.  by this time he had spent more than three months with the nannies at acacia, and he knew them, he loved them, and he wanted them.  
 
the first tears i ever saw my son cry were as the social worker, helen, placed him into my arms.  
 
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after a couple of meetings with the nurse and a counselor for some here's-what-he-likes-and-doesn't-like training, the gates closed behind us and we left with micah in our arms.  he didn't smile.  he didn't even want to look at us.
 
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he cried in the bath...
 
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and even when we were playing, he sucked his finger continuously for comfort.
 
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when we landed back in the states, his sheer exhaustion and the overwhelming excitement of our homecoming proved too much and he fell into tears over and over.   (photos courtesy of my sweet friend and fellow photog, lacey, of LB studios)
 
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but then we saw it happening.  we saw his expressionless face begin to grin.  the grins turned to smiles.  the smiles turned to laughter.  and after six weeks of having our sweet baby home, he knows the love of a family...
 
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he no longer cries in the bath...
 
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and his tears have been replaced with belly-laughs of joy.
 

happy first birthday, micah alexander lewis.  we love you, we pursued you, and we thank the lord continually for the gift you are to our family.

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"god settles the solitary in a home."
psalm 68:6

Sunday, June 26, 2011

june 26

one year ago today, our lives changed dramatically.  funny thing is, we had no idea it was even happening.

june 26, 2010 - the day that a painfully small baby was born into the arms of his mother in ethiopia.  as most women there do, she labored and delivered him in the difficult conditions of her home, and after naming him after her father, she quietly walked - son in her arms - to the local orphanage and asked them to care for the child she called eyoel.

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the world would say that this baby came into existence wrongly by an unknown man who forced his way, took what wasn't his.  but i know in my heart that it's so much more than that.

"for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made."
psalm 139:13-14

four weeks after his arrival at the orphanage, eyoel's paperwork was finally processed and he was given a new family.  a new name.  we began the final steps in the process of adopting judah alexander lewis as our own.

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the lord numbered judah's days at forty-nine here on this earth and the rest will be spent in an eternity with him in heaven.  

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scripture tells us that god has a plan for each of our lives, but how much can a small, sickly baby really accomplish in a few short weeks?  ask these ladies...i bet they've got the answer.  we met them because of judah.  we love and serve them because the lord graciously ushered them into our lives through judah's death.

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as we sang songs of praise this morning at church, tears formed in my eyes as i remembered the immeasurable joy our family had on the day judah was birthed into our lives.

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but even more than that, i wept with comfort and anticipation of the promise we also sang about:  "hallelujah, he has saved me.  sin and death shall reign no more!"  

come, lord jesus!

"...weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
psalm 30:5

Friday, June 24, 2011

confessions

somewhere along the road i let things start getting out of control. 

this blog became more widely read, we left the country a couple of times, my business close to quadrupled, and we added a baby to our family.  in turn, my "mismanagement" of those four situations led to these four issues:  i began writing as much (or more) for others as i did for us, i returned to the US exhausted, my clients saw more of me than my family did at times, and i wasn't sure i was investing the time i wanted and needed to into our sweet chunkers. 

sooo...under the gentle and loving leadership of my fantabulous husband, a couple of things are changing around here.

1.  i'm going to do a lot more photo posting and a lot less writing on the ole blog.  yes, there will be times that i'll get all gushy and want to say something, but as a rule this is, in essence, a picture scrapbook of my little people's childhood years.  so that's that.

2.  i'm reworking my business a bit.  allison lewis photography isn't going anywhere, but as you'll see when my new site launches, i'm taking a decidedly "bridal turn" because a) i LOVE LOVE LOVE wedding photography.  b) even more importantly, though, that business model fits much more appropriately with where i am in this season of life.  i desperately want to return to my roles of wife, mommy, and photographer.  in that order.  but not to worry - what this does NOT mean is that i'm dropping all of my children and family clientele.  in fact, i hope to continue working with my existing clients, but i'll only be taking a very limited number of new clients and will be shooting a limited number of sessions per month.  (on a very important side note, THANK YOU to the many, many of you who have supported me so much on this crazy photography journey of mine.  i really, seriously, completely adore the time i spend with you, and it's wonderful to be trusted with some of the most precious times in your lives!!  i'm not complaining at all about the business boom over this last year - just need to make sure my job doesn't take the place of my Job.)

**vulnerable moment of the night:  i'm kind of freaking out about putting this out there for everyone to read.  my brain is swimming with thoughts of, "what if you lose all your business?  you've got to make something!"  but this is an issue i've been prayerfully wrestling with for a while now and after talking with josh, my parents, and a couple of trusted friends, i know this is the right move.  i'm stepping out in faith and trusting that the lord will help me to reorder my priorities while continuing to provide for our needs.**

speaking of wedding photography, i'd love for you to take a peek at two of the couples (now sweet friends of mine) that i worked with earlier this month HERE and HERE

but because i'm moving to "less words/more pics" (not that you'd know it by this post), why don't you cast your eyes on these darlings?  you know what they say...a watermelon a day keeps the doctor away!

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and because i don't have any pics of him with his face buried in a watermelon, here's a favorite of micah...

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and now...GOOD NIGHT!  (sleep is part of my new plan as well)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

overheard at our house today (the girls edition)

izzy (singing praise and worship music at the top of her lungs):  here i am to worship, here i am to bow down, here i am to say that you're my mom.

abby (to me while both standing in the bathroom):  mommy, do you hear that? 
mewhat, baby?
abbylisten (then talking talking talking)
mei'm not sure what i'm supposed to be hearing, honey.
abbycan't you hear my gecko bouncing off the walls? 

mecome here, sweet little girl.
izzymommy, i'm not little.  i'm tall feet long!!


Friday, June 3, 2011

when "scorching" is the forecast...

our family loves playing outside in beautiful weather.  hiking, biking, paddle-boating - we like just about anything outdoorsy.  in the spring and fall, that is.  100+ degree temps, on the other hand, are one way to ensure that we keep our feet firmly planted on the floors of our usually air-conditioned house ("usually" because our upstairs unit pulls a once-a-year summer shutdown on us just to make sure we appreciate it).

but a few days ago the kids and i were climbing the walls and josh had developed a tic from spending the whole workweek in his windowless basement office so we waited until the sun dipped down a bit then we treated our lawn and our kids to some sprinkler time. 

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one thing i've loved most about this past almost three weeks of having micah home is watching him experience almost everything for the very first time.  it's all new and novel, and it's encouraging me to see things in a new light as well.  i couldn't wait to see what he thought of the sprinkler.

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what?  he doesn't look impressed??  he certainly had strong feelings about it...just not the kind i had expected.

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jack tried to console him...

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and while that did stop the crying, what he really needed was some momma and daddy time.

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then he was happy to cheer his siblings on from the sidelines.

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i didn't notice it at the time i was snapping these photos, but even the older kids' "sprinkler jumping technique" tells of each of their personalities.  take abby, for example.  abby is a rule-follower, and she loves to make a beautiful production out of almost everything.

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izzy, while she can dig up some huge worms in our backyard, is our girly-girl.  she's delicate and sensitive, and she does everything with a sweet touch.

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then there's jack.  i'm not even going to try to explain him...i'll just trust that you fellow mommas-of-boys understand.  :-)

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but back to micah's "new and novel" time at home.  one of the first things we jumped on when we took custody of him was trying to facilitate some communication abilities between each of us.  not only were we trying to overcome a 10-month-old's lack of expressive language, but we were also trying to bridge the gap between the amharic and english languages.  here's a short video i took of him at lunch time today that just warms my heart.  (thankfully i'm a much better photographer than i am videographer)

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HAVE A SUPER WEEKEND!!!!