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Photo memories

It's 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning.  I'm supposed to be doing school work.  It's state testing week and I really need to catch up with my grades. . .but. . .somehow I got sucked into going through pictures on my laptop.  Pictures on this device are really random because it's not my "main" computer but I do download pictures here once in awhile. . .they go back seven years or so!
Miss Margaret (on left) may still be in diapers here?
This is the oldest picture I have on this computer.  We were really behind the curve getting a digital camera so it's probably one of my first digital picture too.  "Aunt" Jenniey is in the middle.  My girls are on the end.  In the middle are two little girls adopted from somewhere in South America (I can't remember).  Hope and Katie.  They are my former stepmother's nieces.  Their mother died a couple of years ago.  I wonder how they are doing? 

Frederick - December 2004
I love taking pictures and capturing random moments.  I think other people get sick of it, but to me these memories are so important.  I'm not trying to capture something "fake" or pretend.  Just life.  Because it is so precious and special.
Jenni & John
One of the most influential people in my life. . .someone whose life was cut short.  John was one of my all-time favorite people.  But most people who knew him would probably say the same.  This was a Christmas gift I made for him one year.  We had many special Christmas Eves at my mom and John's house.
Tom & John

This is not a Christmas picture. . .just another one I came across. . .these two were grilling buddies.  And John was always in awe of Tom and his abilities to fix anything. . .John so respected and loved all those close to him, something that made him so unique and unforgettable.  He was a perfect example of who Jesus wants us to be. . .he would do anything for anyone. . .his biggest ministry was painting.  It didn't matter who you were or how well he knew you. . .if you needed help painting he would be there in his paint clothes and with his paint light, painting away.  And if he finished and you didn't like the color?  No problem -- it would be redone ASAP.  And if you parked a dirty car in his driveway?  It wasn't dirty when you left. . .
Grandpa Foster, Frederick, Susan, Brian

Christmas Eve-Eve.  The date-stamp says December 26th though.  Maybe that year we did Christmas the day after instead of the 23rd?

The picture to the right are these two a month or so ago. . .my heart overflows with love.

And Uncle Brian has a little less hair now. . .
Christmas 2011 - looking better with age :)
My photo tag says "family picture early 2005"
This is one of my all-time favorite family pictures.  It was taken on a random Sunday at our former church in our hometown.  This picture speaks so much to me I could write for an hour. . .but I'll spare you my rambling :)
Is a caption necessary?  Thomas and Margaret. . .I don't know when.  I'm assuming we were going somewhere since they both have heavy coats on?  It must have been somewhere that I was not planning on taking Margaret out of the car since Thomas is helping her with her glass slippers.  This is an absolutely authentic picture. . .it is the heart that God blessed Thomas with.

Yes, Marie (on right) was once a ballerina!  Ha!  She was actually pretty good. . .so much so that her dance studio moved her up to the next class the following year and she didn't like the pressure of being with the older girls and that was that.  Margaret took her spot (in a lower class) and danced on-and-off for quite a few years.  AVJ (in middle) also danced for several years.  They are all three now, today, at the very top of their different sports for their ages -- Margaret all-star cheer, AVJ swimming, and Marie soccer
"New Camera test"
Ha!  We have arrived in the digital age by the tag on this picture :)  I'm not asking Thomas for permission to post this but I also don't give out my blog address to students at school. . .hey, he had two little sisters and a female cousin that he spent all his days with.  Ironic I would come across it. . .no, he was never a ballerina -- ha!
Nana & Thomas March 2013

Here's a picture of him from Easter a couple weeks ago. . .he has grown into a very (tall!) and handsome boy.  And he's certainly not done growing.

Still our favorite family activity!!!  That is Margaret on Grandpa Fred's lap, Marie in the background.  This summer Marie will *finally* be allowed to not wear her lifejacket at all times. . .what she has been waiting forever for :)  And we will be heading out to the lake in this same boat in just a few weeks, Lord providing.

This is the boy (man) that spent Christmas Eve with us this year.  Wow.  His family (my best friend) had just moved to FL at this time and we went to visit them.  I think he's in 7th grade here?  Today he is graduated with a culinary degree, working on a bachelor degree in business.  And his family is now getting ready for a move to Hawaii in a few months. 

How lucky I am to have these memories and friendships in my life.

This was at the zoo (I'm sure I was with my dad that day). . .we used to get memberships to the zoo or Children's museum for Christmas gifts.  We loved that because it gave us an opportunity to make memories instead of receiving "stuff" that would quickly get used up, broken, lost, or worn out.  These are the absolute greatest kids in the world!!!  I was abundantly blessed to stay home and be a full-time mom to them for so long (12 years).  And yes, I knew I was lucky and didn't take it for granted -- we had way more "good" days then bad.  And way more "hard" days then "easy". . .worth every minute.

AVJ & Marie
My sister and I used to host birthday parties for one another -- this year I gave AVJ a cheerleading party at the YMCA.  I hired some local jr high cheerleaders to teach the girls a cheer.  Since AVJ's birthday is in January I had bought all the girls cheerleading outfits for Christmas. . .this will be the only time I ever see Marie in a cheerleading costume I'm pretty sure :)

This one is our current cheerleader:
Susan, Fall 2013
 And, of course, our all-star
Cheersport Atlanta 2013

Here we all are this past December, plus three.  Life today was unimaginable back then :)

Margaret, the year she "took over" for Marie in the dance studio.  So happy to have these pictures of my girls.  And, truthfully, happier to sit through all-star cheer competitions and soccer games then ballet recitals.  I have tremendous respect and admiration for dancers and their art but the life we live now is more "us".

Margaret would have been four in two months from the date on this picture.

Easter 2006

Easter 2013
They obviously don't let me pick out their outfits any longer. . .but they do let me buy them new clothes -- ha!  New shirts all around (except Margaret. . .she chose new shoes).

Now it's after 6 a.m.  Guess I really need to get to those school papers. . .thank you for letting me share my life with you.  I want to live every day in the present. . .living and taking advantage of every breath I have. . .these memories just make life that much sweeter to me.

These are the people I grew with and who shaped me into the person I am now. . .although we live hundreds of miles apart now their influence in my life is still paramount.
Brad, Jodi, Jenni summer 2012
Someday I'll have to scan some pictures of the three of us when we were little :)

With a full heart,


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