Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jake & Judy [wedding photographer, Milan PA]

It was not just another Sunday morning.
Um.. let me rephrase that, because at New Generation Church - there is no such thing as "just" another Sunday morning. You never know what you're in for when you wake up on Sunday morning.

But this was something completely different.
We knew what was coming this Sunday morning.
And it was something - I don't know how many folks have experienced before. Because I never had.

We were going to have a wedding - during our service.

OH yeah.

It's really quite incredible, Jake & Judy's story.
It's special.

Judy started coming to NGC a few months ago.
And it has happened just like it talks about in the Bible.
When it says that someone got saved "and their whole house"? It's happening exactly that way. [And I say "happening" because, it's still going on - but I believe at the end of the day their whole household will come to know Jesus as their Savior]

Judy came and gave her life to God.
And before we know it, so had her daughter Brooke & her son TJ.

Jake would come with them to a few special events the church had, but wasn't interested in coming on a regular basis.
Until he came one Sunday, and was impacted by the gospel and gave his life to God.

And when a family gets saved, things begin to change.
Things that used to be okay to do and say and believe - all of a sudden don't line up with their new life and what the Bible says. So, they began making changes.

And one of the major major changes was: getting married.

Jake & Judy have lived together for 10 years.
And he asked her to marry him -- 10 years ago.
So hurt and wounded by her previous relationship, Judy told him no. And that he would have to wait at least 10 years.
So, he has faithfully stood by her side and waited.

Little did they know that 10 years later, they would be completely different people.
And that they would be getting married, in church, and during church.

We had "church as usual" - whatever that is, during which I snagged this shot of Jake:

And then, we had a wedding.
Judy had her two older daughters walk her down the aisle. 

And, then Joselyn got up and spoke about her Mom and Jake.
She told their story and I think everyone cried.
Seriously, you can't get any more precious than that.

They did all the "normal" wedding things:
Exchanged vows and rings, were encouraged by our Pastor to love God and love each other.
And then we, as a church, gathered around to bathe this new family in prayer.

Because, the Christian life isn't easy.
And being married isn't easy either.
But it's oh so wonderful.

And then, the Pastor, who is also my father-in-law did the unthinkable.
Something that I think I will always dread now as a photographer.
With everyone still gathered around them from praying, he pronounced them man & wife and said that Jake could kiss his bride.

NO, wait ! I can't SEE them !! And I need that picture !!

Yeah, I told him about it afterward. Gave him one of those "don't you ever do that again, mister" talks.

So, we fudged it afterward :)
Thank the Lord of being able to fudge things :)

Anyways, we all celebrated by going out to a local restaurant and completely overwhelming the poor staff there. Oops.
But we still had fun.
We clinked our glasses and made them kiss every five minutes or so.
And we had them cut cake & feed it to each other.
It was fun.

So, here is the brand new family.
Pray for them, will ya?
They need it, just like we all do, but they're brand new at this whole church, Christian, and God thing, so we can't just forget them, can we?

Friday, February 25, 2011

.. snow ..

we finally got it.

All that snow that they've been threatening is going to hit us finally arrived - today.

It seems that every week there has been a "major" snowstorm going to devastate our town - and every week, we get some wimpy snow flurries that everyone worries sick over. [Remember? I talked about this earlier in the month here]

But today, they [those weathermen we all know and love] turned out to be right.
And we got a lot of snow today!

So much in fact: that they closed both the bank and the hospital [where D&I work] down early! WOOT for an early start to our weekend !!

Of course, I think D already knew it was coming and had secretly planned out inviting his best friend over to play in the snow - so when he texted me and said that the Guthrie was closing early, he followed it up very very quickly with "Would it be okay if Adam came over?"

He did.
And they played in the snow like 10-year-olds all afternoon.
And built a grand snow-fort/igloo/tunnel/thing.

Because as it turns out: all the snow we got, was perfect snow-building material.
It was that perfect wet, and heavy snow we all dreamed about as kids when we would get snow and it would be too powdery to make a snowman.

And, somehow that wet and heavy snow made the boys grow several feet longer:

Ahhh, and this is my new favorite picture of my hubby :D
I love you Derrick - and all your girly poses!

[Notice Derrick IN the tunnel]

Best buds.
And to think, I almost said no to Adam coming over today :P

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Emma's 12 years old !

I have lots of photos to edit & share :)

It's fabulous !

But, for today, I wanted to skip ahead of what I was actually planning and write a post about one evening in particular when I was visiting my family over the weekend.

When my Mom found out that I would be coming home for President's Day weekend, she quickly moved some things around and planned my sister Emma's birthday for Sunday night.

I'm sure it made Amy mad - because I have missed HER birthday 3 years in a row now, and somehow I always seem to make it home for everyone else's.

But, I don't think it phased her too much:

Anyways, it was perfect because I was able to visit with my family altogether.

If you know anything about traveling somewhere where you have lots of friends and family to visit - you know it can be super hard.
If you don't know anything about traveling somewhere where you have lots of friends and family to visit, let me enlighten you: it can be super hard.
Normally, you have a tight schedule, and you have a long list of people you want to see. And somehow, you have to fit that long list of people into your tight schedule.
We'll just leave it at: it can be super hard :)

So, bringing family together for something like a birthday party is ideal.
And wonderful.
And a huge burden lifted.
Because, believe me, I want to see that whole list of people, and when it doesn't work out, I feel really bad.

So, we had Emma' birthday party Sunday night.
But her actual birthday is TODAY.

She has turned the big 1-2.
And next year, oh boy, my parent's are going to have a big year next year :) Amy will be turning 16 and Emma will be turning 13 and Stephen will be turning 10 !! Meaning: permit to drive, teenager, and double-digits - all in the same year!

But let's get over this year first, shall we?

Abby decided that Emma needed some help opening her gifts. Maybe she was thinking there were some treats hidden in there for her?
Probably not, more than likely she just knew where everyone was giving their attention and she wanted in on the spotlight :D

Speaking of Abby, she was my traveling buddy last weekend.
And she was great, for the most part :)
After we got over the barfing in the car and initial meeting of her & Susie & Buster, things went pretty smooth.

And she LOVED all the attention she got from my family.

Anyways, back to the birthday girl.
We got through the presents and then brought out the cake.

She has made plans to re-decorate her room in all ocean stuff - thus the ocean cake.

[And apparently, Ruby thought that there were wayy too many candles and that the cake was going to light on fire or something]

I don't mind bragging a bit here and saying that my sister is the best artist around.
She's super creative. And the walls of her room are filled with her drawings and paintings. She's a FABULOUS painter.
And, I think a lot of kids go through this phase where they want to be an artist - okay maybe that was only me? But, she has really taken that dream and run with it, taking art classes and daily perfecting her work.

She's really wonderful and amazing for a 12 year old. And I can't wait to see what she does in the years to come !!

Alrighty, and one more - because I love it.
My father - playing around with my doggie.
Doing the "stick em up" pose :D

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the new kid in town

I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
read: LOVE

But, there is one person who has me beat on my love of Reese's - and it's my sister Amy.
She is so in love with them, that she's almost to the point of setting up a little shrine in her room and worshiping them.

Okay, maybe she isn't that bad, but she loves them more than me.
She stockpiles hers- and I simply devour mine. Big difference.

This afternoon at work, our mortgage lady gave each of us a package of one of the new Snickers Peanut Butter Squares. 

And, o-mi-soul, move over Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, there's a new kid in town.
And he's really really tasty :D

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day Recap

D&I celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday.
And if you think about it - how could we be any smarter?
On February 14, chocolate and flowers are double the price of any normal day.
But on February 15, chocolate and flowers are 50% off :D


That's not why we did it though - and we didn't even buy any chocolate or flowers yesterday.

Let's just say (for time's sake) - we had our reasons for doing it that way.

The day started off with D waking up early and making us both pancakes :D Fabulous ! He gets an A.

Oh, rewind - I did receive beaUtiful flowers on Valentine's Day at work - the real day.

I love that he had them delivered to me.
(because it made everyone else jealous! hehe)

Of course then after work, I came home, went for a quick run, made dinner which consisted of homemade biscuits, salad, and chicken parmesan (D's favorite!) and fixed up the dining room to be all romantical. 
Think, smaller table, tablecloth, and candles, lots and lots of candles :)

Oh, did I mention that I went for a quick run in the middle of all that?

Yeah, I went running on my new treadmill :D

I mean, we're still newlyweds and madly in love - so him buying me a treadmill for Valentine's Day isn't all that bad - right?
If you read all the "Valentine's Day Do-Nots" on the internet, the number 1 thing NOT to buy your valentine is: a treadmill. Because that automatically means that you're saying they're fat.

Well, I have been wanting a treadmill ever since we moved into our house (because Derrick wouldn't let me go running around our neighborhood, apparently I'm too small and cute and someone might grab me)
I was able to do a little bit of running while we lived in our camper outside of D's parent's house - because they have a treadmill. 
See, about 4 months before we got married, I started running to get in shape. I would wake up religiously 30 minutes earlier than normal, Monday thru Friday and run. Even when my Mom would beg me to sleep in because I had been up late the night before. And I got kind of addicted to it.

Plus, I loved how I got into shape from it and I loved how I looked.

Well, needless to say, since getting married, I have totally slacked off on the exercising thing, but had an excuse - Derrick won't let me run outside.

Well, now, no excuses. And I'm back to running every day.

And I feel like such a baby because I used to be able to warm up and simply run for 20-25 minutes straight. And now, I can't even run for 1 minute without wanting to keel over dead.
So, it's back to where I started last year, on my "couch to 3k" plan - and yes my body is kind of hating me, but I'm loving it :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Youth Group Valentine's Dinner

Tonight, the youth group hosted their first fund raiser of the year - a Valentine's Dinner.

It was originally my idea, so I felt like it was my little pet project.

And so, when things began to go wrong, I began to stress out.

And when I start down that path, and things continue to go wrong? I can simply lose it.

I'm so thankful for a wonderful husband, who deals with me when I lose it :)

From money issues, to finding out that several of the older teens were not going to be able to make it, to food items being forgotten, and reservation issues, things just seemed to keep mounting up, and all I could see was my vision of this nice romantic dinner crumbling.

Walmart is only a few miles up the road, and the younger members of the youth group stepped it up a few notches and totally rocked the night out !!

A ton of work went into the evening, but we did end up having a good time.
And I believe everyone who came out had a wonderful time as well.

D&I arrived at the church around 2:30 to begin setting up.
He thought I was crazy - the dinner didn't start until 6, why show up so early?
Well, let me assure you, we used almost every spare drop of time between 2:30 & 6 :)

Everyone seems to underestimate how much time it takes to simply set up tables - a lot!
Plus, decorating the tables, and prepping the food - it all takes a lot of time.
But the results were lovely!

It was a lot of fun though to plan a dinner and be in charge.
I've helped out at so many "food" events, to actually plan one was so awesome.

And it was fun to hear the kids complain at the end of the night;
"My feet hurt and this is a lot of work, but it's FUN waiting on tables."

Yep - decorating all romantic for a dinner and cooking is all green grass & flowers, but it's the people-factor that makes the sun shine. 
If it wasn't for the people to eat the food and sit in the romantic atmosphere, what good is anything? They are what make the whole experience enjoyable.

So, a huge thank you goes out to the happy couples who came out and supported the youth group!

And also a huge thank you to the youth group - specifically all the younger members who really stepped up their game and rocked the whole night's socks off :D

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

romantic and special

Okay, I'll admit it.
I have the day off from work today.
And I was a wonderful wife this morning: I got up the same time that I usually do, but instead of spending 25 minutes getting myself ready to go to work, I came downstairs and made my honey a nice, yummy breakfast :)
And then did all the dishes.

But after taking D to work, I came home and went back to bed.

That's allowed, right? It's my day off !

So then, I got up and ran over to the good ole Salvation Army to see if any inspiration would strike me - see, the youth group is having a Valentine's Dinner for the couples in our church this Saturday and I really want to make the place romantic and special.

Romantic and special - with about a 5 dollar budget :P

Seriously, I could spend more, but it's a fundraiser and I'd rather the kids be able to keep the money and use it to go to the Youth Retreat they want to go to, instead of me using it to buy "romantic and special".

I was soo excited to find a bunch of red taper candles [and a lone white votive] brand new & still in the plastic - for only .29 !!

I almost broke out in a celebration dance in the middle of the store, but I contained myself :)

So, if you aren't doing anything this Saturday night, why not bring your honey down to New Generation Church in Milan, PA for dinner? It's only $25 a couple and we're going to have some fabulous food ! 
[oh and of course romantic and special too - don't forget that!]
If you're interested, just let me know and I'll have a table reserved for ya :D

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Our Abby-Girl

Can you believe it? We have had our Abby for over a month already ! [we got her one month ago yesterday]
D&I can't believe it.
It feels like we've had her forever.

She's adjusted soo well to us and our daily habits and routines. She knows that after I take Derrick to work in the morning, I'll come back for about 45 minutes and then she has to go into her crate and [with the exception of one time where she hid under the bed] she has been excellent at doing that :) She also knows that when I get home from work, I let her out, and then feed her. And believe me, she knows that she's supposed to get fed at that time - because she'll run inside and immediately go to her food - just in case I could forget :)

Oh, she's also found a few "favorite" spots in our house.
One is lying by the woodburner - which also happens to be one of MY favorite spots, but we share like nice little kids :)
But the other is: she loves to sit up on the guest room bed and look out the windows. If we ever don't know where she is - she's there. Just watching cars and people go by.

This is her spot: [except, she should be turned the OTHER way around - haha - when she heard me come upstairs she turned around to see me :)]

And in honor of her being with us a whole month, here are a few more:

Doesn't she look like she could be on a post card here ?? Or, like those mugs that you can buy with your dog-breed on them? :)
She looks soo grown up - she may still act like a puppy sometimes but she's definitely maturing into an adult dog.

I think this one is my favorite tho' - 

She's our baby and we love her to death !!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jake & Judy Sneak Peek !! [wedding photographer, Milan PA]

I don't want to go too far into Jake & Judy's story - even though it's a truly awesome story. 
I want to wait for my full blog post to tell about this really cool couple.
But to whet your appetite, here's a little teaser of their special wedding that happened at the end of our church service this morning :D
[how cool IS that? go to church Sunday morning and oh, yeah two people are pledging their lives to each other at the end of the service - that is SUPER awesome :D not too much pomp & circumstance, just a simple and very sweet ceremony - SO cool!]

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mark (&Avon) [[company review]]

I always knew my Mom was the luckiest lady in the world.

Back when I was younger and before I had so many siblings, my Mom sold Avon for a few years.

I remember getting the big cardboard boxes delivered to our door. And then my Mom would have to sort through everything and figure out who got what. I looved helping her put the different items in the small, medium, and large bags we had. 

It was all grown-up stuff - make-up - that was something I would use someday.
And it was soo cool.

And once a year my Mom would go to a meeting for all the Avon ladies in the area, and for 4 or 5 years in a row she won the limited edition, porcelain Avon lady. She was about a 12-18 inches tall, all dressed up in a fancy dress, usually with a big hat and awesome purse.

And I knew my Mom was the luckiest lady in the world.

I mean, who else could win routinely every year?

Well, I say all that to say, I am now grown-up and use that make-up stuff. And I have never found make-up that I like better than Avon. [maybe I'm prejudice?]

A few years back, the Avon company decided to branch out and try to reach the younger female population. Same great products, but marketed in a different way.

Which is where Mark comes in. Because that's what Avon called their branch out :)

After my Mom stopped selling Avon, she "gave" all of her clients to another Avon lady who continued to give the Avon catalogs to my Mom. I remember looking through one once and seeing the new Mark brand stuff and really wanting to see more, but never knowing how to ask for it. [I was dumb back in the day]

Well, fast forward a few years [when I'm a little smarter :D]

A friend of mine from my time in Disney World picked up the Mark products and is now selling them !!

So I wanted to give Santana a shout-out for doing a fantastic job at getting her new business off the ground. I know it's really hard to start out and she's trying so hard.

For example, she has a facebook page: Mark. Beauty by Santana and she's currently running all sorts of fun offers: like free shipping on certain things and give-aways !! Ohh, she does give-aways !! Anndd, I won one of them :D She was giving away a really cute pink-striped make-up bag and I won :D So she sent it to me and it's fantastic :D

So, I'm telling ya'll that you should pop over to her facebook page right now & "like" her so that you can get hooked up with all her awesome stuff too :) [and I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you placed an order or two while you're at it too!]

Like I said, I have never found a brand of make-up that I like better than Avon/Mark. It's simple and just really nice stuff!
Anndd they put stuff on sale! So, if you keep an eye on their catalogs, and can be patient, they do specials and things on their eye-liner and lipstick and stuff. So, it's fabulous!! [because we all know that I love a good deal]

So, pop over and visit Santana: Mark. Beauty by Santana give her some encouragement and let her know that I sent you :D

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow-Poloclypse 2011

Remember how I said yesterday we were supposed to get all this snow ??


That was a major fail.

I think I would like to enter a new profession - forget the bank and photography - I want to be a weather-woman. Because as it appears, you can predict anything you want and you can even be wrong - it doesn't matter. Anndd - you have the power to throw people into sheer panic over this "huge" snow storm that's coming - that will never arrive.


I was very disappointed when I woke up this morning and peeped out my bedroom window to see - nothing. There was a little bit of ice on my car, but nothing major.

And now, if you look at the weather forecast - it says we're done with the snow thing. Well folks, I'm here to tell you that it's snowing! It has been snowing pretty good for the last 45 minutes with no sign of stopping :)

Conclusion: weather forecasters are a joke and that seems like a fun job because I don't know about you, but at my job it's pretty important to be deathly accurate about everything and there is no room for error. So, being a weather-woman sounds kind of fun :)

Oh, and did everyone hear? Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this morning so - early spring here we come :D I'm ready for it !

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

part of this complete breakfast

So Derrick & I are settled in and prepared for the "big" storm.

Apparently we could possibly get 12-18 inches of snow and a little bit of wintery mix and ice thrown in just for the fun of it, sometime between now & tomorrow afternoon :)

Ahh yess.

Derrick has already been warned that his job may be closed tomorrow.
And, if he gets a snow-day, I hope I get one too.

And if I don't get a snow-day, and Derrick gets to stay home from work while I have to go in? I'm going to be mega jealous.

But there is one happy thing about waking up tomorrow morning [going to work or not] -- it's that I get to wake up and have THIS for breakfast !!

Because, seriously -- who WOULDN'T be excited about breakfast when there is a box of Life Cereal available for the eating ?? :D

[It's my favorite cereal, by the way, and my Mommy was wonderful enough to bring it for me when she came last week, and even more wonderful for leaving it here!]