Sunday, September 30, 2018

Kicking Off Fall Break

Lest you think I don't do anything for my children, let it be known I crawled around on concrete chasing a cat with a camera today. October first is her first birthday and Erin believes it should be a national holiday. The girl spent $40 in craft supplies in honor of the special occasion. We Baughmans are nothing if not half crazy.

We had a special visitor this weekend. Benjamin and Ty really do act like brothers, even after all this time. His story still breaks my heart and I pray the way we love him makes a difference in his world.

I got photograph some special "super sisters" this weekend. They loved dressing up and playing in the creek while Kate kept them safe and I tried to capture all the fun. This is the best "job" ever.  And when we returned, I gave Anna her first knitting lesson. These girls will always be a part of our family despite the end of my childcare providing season with them. 

Greg realized it had been a few weeks since he last ran the truck so he took it for a spin. A few cute side kicks were eager to ride along. Layla loved off roading in the field just outside our neighborhood.

In other news, we have had a break through. For one afternoon, the cats liked each other. Typically, this is not the state of things.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Celebrations and Kick Starts

Greg entered a cook-off at work and won this sweet apron and oven mitt with his brisket and smoked pork tenderloin rubbed in bourbon and wrapped in bacon. We were the lucky taste testers before he took it to work. As Lauren says, "there is nothing more American than a BBQ cook-off in the parking lot of Cummins." She is not wrong. And this weekend? Smoked chicken thighs he first brined overnight. My refrigerator looks like a science experiment gone wrong when he takes on a weekend project but I am not complaining.

I decided to step out on a limb and advertise myself as a photographer on Facebook. I am calling my business She's Chasing Light Photography. It's essentially what I do. I chase light and seek it in the world around me. I am hopeful this will be a business I can use to bless others and feed my creative energy.  The fact I refuse to use photoshop has kept me from starting a business for a few months, as most professionals rely on it. I think most over-edit their images and I prefer the simplicity of natural light. There is beauty in real, organic life.

Fall is finally arriving here! Goodbye nineties and hello seventies! I am so glad to see you again. My house has been ready and my soup pots too. It is time and I couldn't be more thrilled.

The amount of joy this little sign in the kitchen brings me is ridiculous. The candy corn in the basket below it brings the same happiness to the kids in my house.

The neighborhood is growing again. We now have a dozen new homes behind our house. We don't love this change but we knew it was likely when we bought our house twelve years ago. One of the new streets is Kate Circle. Ty wants to know when a road will be named after him. As if we are somehow responsible for street names or that the latest developer actually named a street after our Kate, a child he has never met. But we have invited several neighbors over for a soup party this evening. Nothing says welcome fall quite like a house full of familiar faces and a variety of breads and soups to sample while getting to know one another better.

One morning this week Kate got up early to curl her hair and apply makeup. "Dress well, test well" she said. It worked. Of course she has straight A's but usually leaves here with a pony tail and tee shirt. Not having gym class that morning and a big test that day was the perfect excuse to wear fun clothes and look a little more enthused about school than usual.

I don't know if you heard but we have an adorable grandson. Every video chat and photo breaks my heart a little. Anyone have any contacts we could use to persuade the Army to move them closer to home?

I surprised Ty with some sweet little Halloween spider lights this weekend after he lamented his friend's decorations. He is delighted with the results. Happy fall ya'll. I know I am delighted to see it arrive.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dare to Dream

So many people have asked what I plan to do next. After I help Lauren paint her house so she can move to Texas (tears will totally be involved), I honestly don't know. I have a list of criteria I would love to make work. The dream job has me serving a need in the community, would allow me to work from 8-2 every week day only and not have me planted behind a desk. Ideally,  I would have flexibility to also work out being Ty's classroom mom and have time off when the kids are in town. I want my cake and I want to eat it too which is pretty funny when you consider I don't actually eat cake. Well, unless it's Kate's carrot cake made from scratch with her incredible cream cheese frosting. I totally cheat on my diet and eat a small piece of that with a healthy dose of motrin to help ward off the pending headache that is sure to follow. I pray my lack of willpower is not a sign of character weakness because there are some treats I am willing to literally make myself sick indulging. But I digress.......

I will continue praying God opens the right door and have faith He will. And to all my friends telling me I need to take time off to just husband objects because he knows I can't and will drive everyone crazy with my creative energy. More than a few days off will equal rearranged furniture, painted surfaces and most likely a whole lot of shopping.

I have started hearing from friends and acquaintances who have seen photos I have taken and think it might be time to start charging for that service. Since I refuse to use photoshop, I don't consider myself professional so I feel a bit like a fraud for charging. I am just a mom who likes chasing light with her camera. But just maybe this is part of that dream job God is still revealing to me. Time and God will tell.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Childhood Cancer Awareness

When Ty was born, he was sick. He spent his first six days in the hospital and came home with his own personal tanning bed. A week later, we were told needed a blood transfusion for an unrelated issue. In total, Ty received three blood transfusions that first month of life and also endured daily blood work for three months. It was stressful but we had every reassurance our son was going to be healthy once his red blood cell count normalized.

The detail most don't realize is where we spent our blood transfusion days. We were on the oncology floor at Kosair Children's Hospital. Given the duration of our twelve hour days waiting on the process to be complete, I often took Ty and walked the halls to pass time. I have never been good at sitting and those God forsaken ugly pink walls in his assigned room was enough to have me considering a paint order to better utilize our time there.

During my walks, I saw kids attached to iv poles playing in the toy room and one little girl, literally no bigger than an eighteen month old toddling alongside her iv through the hallway. I felt guilty. I knew my son was going to be okay and here was this beautiful little girl and it was no secret her parents didn't have that same confidence.

But the memory that stands out the most was another mother. On an otherwise quiet night, all of the sudden there was a commotion around a corner I was passing. This mother started yelling for vanilla pudding. She was frantic and screaming and slamming cabinet doors. Her son wanted vanilla pudding. On the surface it looked like a temper tantrum but I immediately recognized it wasn't. This poor woman was trying to control ONE thing. It was a small thing but it represented so much more. Her baby was sick, very sick and he wanted a simple vanilla pudding. Surely a mother whose job is to protect and provide can find a damn pudding.

I rushed toward Ty's room to deposit him with Greg so I could offer to help but before I could, she slid down the wall in uncontrollable sobs and a nurse quickly slipped into place beside her. That amazing nurse held the broken mother in her arms as she rocked and cried. I returned to Greg and the truth is, I never again left our ugly room. I couldn't. My heart was broken and the painful reality of what so many on that floor were enduring was more than I could face at the moment.

In the United States, less than 4% of all cancer research funding goes to pediatric cancer research. Please re-read that statement. Less than 4% is devoted to finding cures for our babies and that needs to change. The lie pushed through media and pharmaceutical industry is that childhood cancer is rare. It is not rare and treatment options were designed for adults, not kids. Children are enduring painful, brutal treatments because our government doesn't see the value in providing alternatives that were created for kids. We know first-hand families who have lost their babies to cancer. They have been in battle and have the emotional scars as proof. No parent should have to watch their child suffer and lose them anyway because with less than 4% devoted to finding solutions, there isn't much hope. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Without awareness, change won't occur. How aware are you willing to be?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"Baby Aaron"

Once upon a time a friendship was formed under unique circumstances. I had dated Jill's husband. Lest your brain read, "scandalous", note we were in high school and neither of us was yet married. But we dated none the less and remained friends thereafter. Meeting his girlfriend turned wife a few years later was icing on the cake as I gained a true friend I would walk alongside through a serious of journeys over the years. As I welcomed each of my unplanned babies into the world, my dear friend lost hers and it broke my heart every time. No one can imagine the joy I felt as I got to celebrate the birth of her one and only child. I was is blessed to meet this exceptional young man the day he was born and could not be more honored to have been invited "home" to take his Senior photos. He represents in real life what it looks like to have a momma's heart walking around outside her body. It was a delight spending the day with you, Aaron and I am beyond excited to see what mark you make in the world as you have already made such a difference in the hearts of those who love you.

And since we were there, we took some family photos too. This day was special. 

I text Jill this gem this morning. I think we have their Christmas card photo!