• ~Psalm 46:4-5~

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
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The Growing Space

Follow our latest adventures over at thegrowingspace.wordpress.com!

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packing it up

Well, folks. I’ve decided to hang up my hat over here. This blog has been like a dear friend that would listen to me day in and day out. I’m really sad to leave this little space of interweb behind. (totally made up the interweb word … gotta love it)

Truthfully, most of my hits over here result from medical school drop out searches. And while I’m happy to offer a ray of sunshine to those who have depressing stories similar to my own, I’ve become overwhelmed with the daily e-mails. I never set out to become the patron saint of medical school dropouts.

In order to move forward with my life,

This blog will remain online until I have time to collect the stories and comments into a book for our family to read and remember. However, I do plan to take it down, once I’ve accomplished that feat.

It’s been an honor to share my journey with you so far. I look forward to many more stories together in the future.

Sincerely,

Spinning

Life feels a little bit overwhelming. There’s just so much going on right now. At school I just got some awesome new equipment that makes me love teaching again. I’m swamped in a good way with wedding photos to edit for my photography business. At home we’re still wading through the terribly dramatic twos. My sister’s getting married soon. Sometimes I feel a little bit dizzy from everything -like that feeling of spinning around until the world looks like a blur. It’s a happy but stressful way to live. The days just sort of blur together.

So I’ve been trying to step back from the chaos. Bri and I have been going for bike rides after school. Hubster and I have been chilling on the couch when I would normally be absorbed by the computer. And I’ve made an effort to reconnect with my girl friends. It’s been so nice to slow down again and enjoy life.

another reason why parenting is awesome

Tonight Bri took a thirty minute long bath. She loves to be in the water. It’s so hard to get her out of the tub. One of her favorite things to do is to put soapy bubbles on her face and say, “Look Mommy. I’m like Santa Claus. Ho ho ho!” It cracks me up EVERY time.

After her bath, we brushed her teeth and dried her hair. Then she scampered around finding a doll to sleep with (she really wanted to sleep with a wooden piece of pizza from her toy kitchen.)

We said bedtime prayers. I prayed for her to grow up healthy and strong with a heart for the Lord. I also prayed for her future husband, that he would grow up healthy, strong and passionate for God too. (You can’t start too early. ;o) Then she said the prayer we’ve taught her to say. “Dear God, I love you. Please help me to be a good girl. And please bless … Mimi, Gampa, Nana, Poppy, Mommy, Daddy, Missa, Josh, Aunt Beth, Lunton, Aunt Holly …” that list gets longer every night it seems!

After bedtime prayers we trade kisses. She’s learned how to make the smacking noise in the kiss and I love it! She giggles when she gets that one right. I leaned in close until our noses bumped. “Good night sweetie. I love you. You’re my favorite kiddo.”

As I pulled away she clapped her hands around my cheeks and pulled my face close again. “You’re my favorite kiddo Mommy. I love you too.”

And then my heart melted into a puddle on the floor. I love being a Mommy.

growing up and other random ramblings

My love for blogging seems to ebb and flow. Some months, I can find a story or a picture to share every day. Other months find me ducking in to share a quick anecdote and a picture. That’s the way I roll. I’m not apologizing for it, or anything.

But sometimes, after lurking on other blogs instead of writing my own, I find that I’ve lost my voice. That hasn’t been too much of a problem here, but on my professional blog, I am suffering from a major case of laryngitis. I find that I either repeat myself over there and just repost things from this blog, or I agonize for hours over what to type. It’s so hard to just let go and throw my personality into it.

I wonder if this is what it’s like to be shy.

Our darling Bri has been growing up during my long silences over here. She’s such a big girl now. Today we went to the mall with my assistant for practice shooting. Before we left, I packed the diaper bag with her sippy cup and some treats. Then I left it on the counter and marched right out the door! Brilliant! Luckily we keep spare diapers in the van, so all I had to make up for were the forgotten treats. Bri surprised me by using the straw correctly on her juice box. I didn’t know she could do that by herself now! Usually she makes a huge mess by squirting juice everywhere.

She also surprised me by climbing up the flower slide all by herself several times on the playscape. Usually she asks for help, but today she figured out how to do it all by herself.

We were delighted to discover that the pretzel shop was giving away free pretzels in the food court. And even though we got booted from Sephora (because I asked if we could take some pictures – harrumph – didn’t even get to take the lens cap off in the store) it’s pretty safe to say that all three of us girls had a marvelous time.

Bri still says cute little things that I hope I’ll never forget. She likes to say Mumby instead of Mommy and at night when we draw up her bath she asks us to “put bubbles known it.” We have a plethora of baby dolls that she adores. Her most recent treasure came from her Daddy for Valentine’s Day.

We were all sick last weekend and didn’t get to celebrate. So Thursday afternoon, when we arrived home from school, Hubs had a vase full of roses and a new Dora doll on the kitchen table for us. He’d also cleaned the house and bought me dark chocolate. Each of us had a sweet card with his love to us. It was so much more special than the expected commercial holiday! We loved it!

It actually snowed. Miracles do happen.

All photos copyrighted 2010 by Cindy Streams Photography. All rights reserved. Don’t steal without permission.

Bring on the Bagpipe Music

Bridoodle received this adorable kilt from her aunt M and uncle J for Christmas. They lived in Scotland for a year as missionaries and brought this home for a present. Today, she rocked it out in the church nursery.

Her favorite lovey these days, Baby, gets to travel everywhere with her. We take Baby to daycare every day and to church. (Although this morning I forgot to grab Baby on the way out the door and since church had already started before I’d finished buckling Bri into her safety harness, I didn’t go back. I think the whole neighborhood could hear the wails for “BAAAAAAAAYBEEEEEEEE” on the way to church.)

After church, I wanted to grab some pictures of Bri in her new kilt, so she and Baby modeled for me.¬† Baby’s pretty good at sitting still. Bri – not so much. She did enjoy showing Baby the view from our window.

Then she hopped down from the couch and brought a favorite DVD over to me. “Watch Elmo Burthday?” She tilted her head and batted her eyelashes at me. I snapped the camera a few times hoping to catch that expression. She turned away annoyed and marched over to the DVD player. Then she pushed the open button, removed the current DVD and put her Elmo Birthday DVD in the slot. I sat there open mouthed before I realized that I should take a picture. (Hello? Nobody would believe this otherwise!)

She was so proud of herself. And so was I. My baby girl is growing up!

a day in my life

There are so many little moments that escape me as they slide by. I thought I’d try to capture some of them today.

4:56 am – Hubster came in to kiss me good-bye before leaving for work. A few seconds after the door slammed it occurred to me that I should have asked him if the snow came.

5:01- Fell back asleep.

6:30 – Alarm clock radio turns on and our friend the DJ announces that snow did not fall last night. (No surprise.) My school is not delayed. So I have to get up.

6:45 – Bri wakes up and calls for me. She scampers around the house using her favorite phrases. “I watch Sesame Street?” “I eating.” “Want buh-nah-nuh.”

6:56 – I’ve now tried on three different outfits involving multiple layers. I finally settle on two layers of pants, a long sleeved shirt and a sweater. The budget cuts have seriously impacted the school’s thermostat.

7:00 – Start dressing Bri for the day. The laundry needs to be done! Cute pink dress with long sleeves, thick white tights and a pretty sweater.

7:23 – Run outside to start the car. Bri freaks out, thinking that I’m leaving without her. Load up the supplies for the sweet tea lab. Then back inside to make my lunch, Bri’s milk and the pot roast for dinner. (Love that crock pot!)

7:30 – Finally heading out the door.

7:45 – Drop Bri off at daycare. Give her milk and a banana to eat in addition to the toast and grits that the daycare serves. Get a sloppy banana kiss from Bri before leaving. (Best part of my day!)

7:48 – Realize that I’ve left the ladle at home and will definitely need it for lab today. Head back towards the house. Gonna be late.

8:02 – Pull into my parking space at school with ladle and lab supplies. Spot a kid from third period. Wrangle him into carrying lab supplies to the classroom for me.

8:15 – Pledge of allegiance. Moment of silence. Announcements.

8:21 – Begin teaching Chemistry students. Go over homework.

8:35 – Notes on ionic bonding. Oxidation numbers. Electron dot diagrams. Naming ionic compounds. Practice problems.

9:10 – Class changes.

9:15 – More Chemistry students. Lather, rinse, repeat.

10:05 – Class changes.

10:10 – Physical Science kids arrive. Spend twenty minutes reviewing the mixture station labs from yesterday. Discuss terms like heterogenous, homogenous, miscible, immiscible, concentration, molarity, colloids, suspensions and emulsions.

10:30 – Break up into lab groups. Each student gets a small concentrated cup of tea and each student gets a large diluted cup of tea. Groups have sugar and individuals are instructed to add the same amount of sugar to each cup. We discuss concentration, dilution, and the kids get to drink the tea. They record their results and conclusions.

11:00 – Clean up and wrap up.

11:05 – New class of Physical Science kids. Lather, rinse, (lunch) repeat.

12:30 pm – Planning period. Begin typing up lesson plans for next week. Research testing requirements for continuing certification. Realize once again that we have a four day weekend next weekend. Happy dance.

1:22 – Run to the potty. Won’t have another break for two hours!

1:25 – Class changes. New set of Chemistry kids.

2:30 – Class changes. New set of Physical Science kids.

3:20 – School day ends. Clean up sticky wet desks and spilled sugar. Realign desks. Finish typing lesson plans. Post them for parents to see online. Make copies for Monday. Empty splash bucket from lab. Clean up lab supplies and stack them near the door so that I’ll remember to take them home. Lock laptop up.

4:35- Finally leave the school. Head over to the daycare.

4:45 – Chat with the ladies in the front about the photos I took for the Chamber of Commerce. One of the photos is the cover image for the new community magazine.

4:47 – Find Bridoodle playing near the door with Baby (her baby-doll) and a wooden stove. Poor Baby. I squat down to talk to her at eye level and instantly find myself surrounded by two year olds. One little girl hugs me from behind. One little boy plays with my hair. Two kids crowd in to say, “Hi!” Bri becomes protective and jealous. I scoop her up and away from the crowd. We collect her things and head for the door.

5:00 pm – Walk into a cold house. The pot roast smells heavenly. Turn on the heater. Turn on the TV – 40th anniversary of Sesame Street. Sit down to check e-mail, facebook, Twitter, etc.

5:26 – Hubster calls to tell me he’ll be a little late getting home. Nothing major. (I love it when he calls me like that!)

6:03 – Put some rolls in the oven.

6:26 – Prep the table for dinner. Bri sits on her stool chattering away. “I color. I color Mickey Mouse. See? See Mommy? I coloring.”

6:47 – Sit down with Hubs and Bri for pot roast, carrots and potatoes. Yummy!

7:03 – Spontaneously decide to make honey toast for dessert. We all eat a piece. Deliciousness.

7:18 – Hit the shower while Hubs cleans up the kitchen.

7:32 – Dressed in PJ’s with a towel on my head, I find Hubs on the computer and Bri “reading” books.

7:48 – Time for Bri to go to bed. We say prayers together as a family. Bri’s feeling pretty silly tonight. She gives me really long kisses where she wipes her mouth back and forth across my cheek. We laugh hysterically.

7:55 – Start typing this post! Edit photos. Watch mindless TV. Wait for Hubster to fall asleep on the couch so that we can head to bed.

asking for “mowh”

The other day Bridoodle and I were eating lunch together, while Officer Hubster was out chasing drug dealers and writing traffic tickets. We were at home in our jammies. I’d whipped up some boxed mac ‘n cheese (with a handful of cheddar added in for extra yumminess) and we were happily munching on plates of steaming cheesy goodness. It was a beautiful mommy-daughter moment. Bri was examining each bite with a “Yummy!” and an “Mmmmm” thrown in frequently for good measure.

As I neared the end of my plate, Bri stopped and looked up at me. “Want mowh.” She waved her fork over her macaroni.

I smiled but upon closer inspection realized that she still had four or five bites left on her plate. “Sweetie, you have plenty. You don’t need any more. Eat the bites on your plate.” It was heart warming that she liked my cooking. (Don’t laugh at me for calling Kraft mac n’ cheese cooking.)

However, a tiny familiar voice piped up inside me. “That’s just like you, Cindy. Aren’t you always asking for more when you already have plenty? Didn’t you just ask God for more money, more time and more funness?”

I listened to the still small voice. I held the thought close to my heart for a few days. It reminded me that I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams. That I have an awesome family and plenty of toys. That my job lets me stay home when one of us is sick and then I still get to spend all summer by the pool. That I get to explore the world of photography almost unhindered except for my own habit of spending money too quickly. I really have no reason to ask for more.

I’d almost forgotten about the incident until tonight. We sat down as a family for a simple dinner of buttered noodles and green beans. We had crescent rolls set aside with local honey for a semi-dessert. Bridoodle got a surprise glass of chocolate milk, much to her delight.

She happily ate her noodles and her green beans. We both held our breath watching our picky eater chow down on a GREEN vegetable. (Usually she turns her nose up.) She chattered away between bites. “Daddy eat beans. Mommy eat beans. Bri eat beans.” After eating about half of the green beans she looked up at Hubster. “Want mowh. Want mowh beans.”

I quickly counted up the beans left on her plate. “There’s still …” A movement across the table distracted me.

Hubster picked up the bowl and looked at me grinning. “What kind of father would I be if I denied my little girl more green beans?” He doled out another spoonful onto her plate.

The message slammed into my heart like a baseball bat connecting with a ball. Tears welled up in my eyes. Hubster’s grin fell off his face and he stared at me like I was crazy. “Are you okay, Cindy?”

I squeezed my eyes closed and bowed my head a little, for just a second. I figured my husband could chalk it up to PMS. Father, my prayer was silent, please help me to ask for more green beans and not more macaroni and cheese. Forgive me for seeking things out of selfish desires. I want to ask for the things that will help me grow spiritually. Help me see the green beans that You’re eager to give me. Thank you for this message. Amen.

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! ~ Matthew 7: 8-11

Twenty Ten

I blinked and it was over. 2009 has come and gone. There was a lot of stuff worth remembering but personally, I’m ready to “Keep Moving Forward.” So rather than re-cap the year, I’m going to re-cap the last few weeks and then move on.

Our Christmas budget was about $200 short of last year’s amount. So I didn’t send out Christmas cards this¬† year and I was super careful with my spending. As a result, Bridoodle had an ENORMOUS stack of gifts under the tree. I found some great deals. Seriously, there were so many gifts for her that she couldn’t open them all on Christmas day. We had four left over when she went to bed. Best. Christmas. Ever!!!

Hubster’s family came over to our house for Christmas brunch and he went to work that evening. So he got to see all of the unwrapping and eat yummy food before working. It was perfect.

Our daughter’s most treasured gift was the kitchen set that we assembled on Christmas Eve with parts strewn everywhere all the while watching The Christmas Story. (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”) I loved being in our own home for Christmas Eve and Day. We usually travel. It was so much fun to fill stockings and pile presents in our own living room. (We might make this a standing tradition!)

Bri’s second most favorite gift was a foam puzzle of the Disney princesses. It cost a whopping $1 and she pulls it out every day to play “puzzah.” She knows all of the princesses by name too. “Snoh White, Cinewella, Kasmine, Awiel and Sleeping Cutie.” (My favorite is Sleeping Cutie.)

For New Year’s Eve we went to a 1920’s themed mystery party. It was the sequel to one we’d done for Halloween and it ROCKED. I had so much fun! The hostess and I have been dreaming and scheming together for a couple of months. I call her the Ethyl to my Lucy. She’s awesome. So when I suggested a slideshow in addition to my regular shooting for the party, she was totally on board. It was a big hit and I feel confident that I can do it again for a wedding reception. I’m stoked!

After the party we went home and put Bri to bed before jammying up to watch the ball drop. We sipped sparkling white grape juice (a tradition that we’ve kept our entire marriage so far) and flipped channels. Unfortunately the sight of J.Lo in a skin tight unitard pushed us over to the Letterman show. We watched it and giggled deliriously. Hubs had been up since 4am for work. We kept flipping the channel so that we wouldn’t miss the ball dropping but somehow we did. At 12:09 I finally turned around to check the clock! So we laughed and headed off to bed. Apparently we missed the first nine minutes of the year!

We spent New Year’s Day on the couch recuperating. Then we went out to dinner at Outback. Bri could not handle the ten minute wait (so glad I called ahead because otherwise it would have been forty minutes easy) and we sweated though a couple of her meltdowns before being seated. Other than that though it was fabulous!

The next day we started a diet/excercise regimen. We bought a chin up bar and real dumbells so that we can do P90X together. The first workout kicked our butts! It was actually really fun. I can’t believe that Hubster can do 12 pull ups! He’s amazing! I can’t wait to see what we can do at the end of the program. Our reward for finishing it will be a trip to the beach this summer.

Looking ahead to the upcoming year I have two goals. For my business- I want to do three weddings this year. For myself- I want to be a better Bible Study leader and connect with my girls more often and on a deeper level this semester.