Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hi/Lo For the Week

This post is part of "Hi/Lo Thursday" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check out their blog to read everyone else's "Hi/Lo" posts and get your link on their site.

Check out my previous post for my "Hi" this week.

My "Lo" was reading about Kayleigh Freeman. So sad.

The Pledge Heard Around the World (or at least OUR little corner of it)

I posted twice in March about my daughter, Shelbi, who has Selective Mutism. If you missed those, read them before you read this one or you might be totally unaffected. Go here and here.

About 400 people in our local high school witnessed, or least heard, a miracle today! Shelbi led the pledge and "moment of prayer or silent meditation." She had her entire high school in an uproar. The office staff, teachers, and the principal were all crying. Kids were whooping and hollering. It was amazing! A few minutes later, she went around the school to each individual class and said "hi." What a testimony of the goodness and grace of God!! Her principal got on the intercom after her and told the kids that Shelbi was the one they had just heard and made the comment that with faith and love anything is possible! How well I know that! When the principal attended an administrators' meeting later that day, he shared with them what had transpired in his office that morning. He told me that even people who didn't know Shelbi were in tears. Her elementary principal came by her school after that to talk to her. Other people's reactions to her speaking have always amazed me! I'm in total awe of what God has done in Shelbi's life and how she is being used to spread His message!

Now, I'm the one searching for words when I use this to witness to people. You have to start from the beginning for people to really grasp what a miracle it is for a 17 year to get on an intercom. =)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Red-Headed Stepchild =)

Today is Leslie's 27th birthday! Leslie is my youngest stepdaughter. When her Daddy and I got married, Leslie only lacked 16 days from turning 8. Our relationship is a little bit different than most stepmoms and stepdaughters in that I've known Leslie since before she was born. For those of you that didn't read my post on how my husband and I met, Larry and I met ten years before we dated. My family moved next door to his parents when I was 14 and his younger sister and I quickly became friends. Larry was married and had a two year old and a newborn. Less than three years later, they were expecting Leslie (their third baby girl). I actually felt Leslie kicking in her mom's belly. How many stepmoms can say that?! LOL
So, even though Les was almost eight when we married, I have watched her grow from a newborn into a lovely young woman.

When we got married, Leslie's two older sisters were 13 and 10 and my girls were 5 and 2. Since she had been the baby in the family for 8 years, I expected her to have a really hard time adjusting. I was also afraid she would end up resenting my girls/feel threatened by them. I know there was some jealousy, but I was amazed at how easily Les adjusted from being the baby to becoming the middle child overnight.

Leslie is full of compassion and wisdom beyond her years. She does her best to follow God's will for her life. She really loves her family, which includes her husband of almost 3 years, Joseph, four parents, five sisters, four nieces, three nephews, and other extended family members. She is a good listener and is usually the one all her sisters call to vent or use as a sounding board. (Poor thing, that's a LOT of listening. lol) She is also a wonderful aunt! Her nieces and nephews are always on her heart and mind. I know she is going to make a great Momma one day. =)

Here she is with the youngest niece and nephew, Harlee and Leon.

Now, doesn't that look natural? =)

I wanted to post a picture of Leslie at eight. Of course, there were no digital cameras 19 years ago. After turning my house upside down, I was unable to find the box that the pictures are stored in from that long ago. So, I'll just leave you with a recent one where she's acting eight. lol


Happy Birthday, dear Becky! Happy Birthday to you!

Today is not only my stepdaughter's birthday, it is also my baby sister's. Becky is 37 today! It's also Becky's first birthday as a "Nannie." So, here's a picture of my sister with her husband, Greg, and their first grandchild, Talon. (Talon is Greg's daughter, Kelsea's baby.) Talon is my first great-nephew! Isn't he precious? And Becky and Greg are the cutest grandparents ever! Becky decided to be called "Nannie" to honor our grandmother. Aww!

Becky has a teenaged daughter, Hayley, and two stepchildren, Kyle and Kelsea. (And a sister named Penny.)

Happy Birthday, Becky!

Love, your favorite sister! (No, the other favorite!)

My little sister also has Multiple Sclerosis, so when you read this birthday post, please say a prayer for her and all who suffer with this disease. Thank you!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Big, Beautiful, Bald, Blue-Eyed, Bouncing Baby Boy!

I hope MckMama doesn't mind if I did a little alliteration of my own. (Like she'll ever see it. LOL)

Shelbi and I went to visit Sarah and Leon last week since we had Good Friday off. We stayed Thursday night and left Friday evening. It had been almost 3 weeks since we'd seen them! It was a short, but sweet, visit. Leon was SO good and we just ate him up. He smiled and even cooed at me a little bit. The only time he cried was when he was hungry, dirty, or sleepy.

I only took about 90 pictures. Sorry to disappoint Leon's fans, but I'm not putting ALL of them on here.
Mimi, look how BIG I've gotten!

Wow! pictures with his eyes open AND uncrossed! ;)

Loving on his Aunt Shelbi.
I love his little "elf" ears and his chubby cheeks.

We took Leon his Easter basket. My Poppa (the one Leon's named after) made five of these baskets when my kids were little and I wanted Poppa's namesake to have one.
The Easter Bunny came on Good Friday.

Sarah had to go shopping for some new work clothes. Yes, she got a job! She's hosting/waiting tables at Cracker Barrel starting Monday. (I LOVE that restaurant!) While she was gone, Shelbi and I dressed Leon up and had a little mini session. Sarah thinks all babies look like little old men, but they really do when they wear sweater vests and dress pants! =)

Then we "un"dressed him and finished our little session.

Talking to his Mimi. Awww!

Are you serious? The Easter Bunny brought me a basket?!

SWEET! Let me at it!

Wait a minute! No CHOCOLATE?! What kind of
Easter Bunny is that?!

Mimi, you tell that Bunny he better bring candy next year, ya hear?
I'll have teeth by then! =)

Did you notice the one eyebrow cocked up in every shot? I think it means he's super intelligent, don't you? LOL I love that expression!
Wednesday was Leon's first day at daycare. The ladies there said he was an angel and only fussed for a bottle. He only had to go one day this week while Sarah went to orientation. He'll start going full time next week when she starts work. Sarah hoped she'd have 2 months at home with him and Thursday he turned 2 months old. How's that for timing? Leon is doing great with the nursing--- gaining well and not spitting up much. (She's pumping and freezing bottles for daycare.) I'm thankful he seems so healthy and happy. What more could we ask for?

Friday, April 17, 2009

What Terrible Two's???

Everyone talks about how "terrible" two year olds are. I guess I really am nuts, because that is one of my FAVORITE ages! Yes, I've been through three of my own and we're on the fifth two year old grandchild. (Leon is next.) I LOVE the independence of this age, the curiosity, and the ever increasing vocabulary! They're like sponges between one and five and it amazes me! My oldest, Mallory, was so funny and charming at two. I don't remember her ever throwing a fit/tantrum. She was pretty much a laid back, sweet baby, and child. :) My middle child, Sarah, was the typical two year old. Her vocabulary wasn't developed enough to get her wants and needs across, so she would have her little "meltdowns." We actually have her on video throwing toys down and crying. Her fits were usually over in five minutes, though. Then there was Shelbi! I'm not sure if she would have been an easy toddler or not. Let's just say that being on the steroid, Prednisone, off and on between 16 months and 3 1/2 years, definitely messed with her moods. (The steroids were used to help control her blood disorder.) When she was on the medicine, she was miserable and the least little thing could cause a meltdown. She would disolve into tears and literally roll on the floor crying for hours. Nothing and no one could console her. When she wasn't on it, she was the cutest, smartest, funniest, most charming child you'd ever meet. She'd count for you, play games, sing songs, and was SO affectionate!
As each of the first four grandchildren turned two, I held my breath. For the most part, they were adorable, with some of the mild "terrible" moments few and far between.
The youngest granddaughter has, so far, been just like Shelbi (the unmedicated version)! She is delightful and I don't think I've EVER enjoyed a two year more--- and like I said, it's my favorite age! Unlike Shelbi, she NEVER meets a stranger and charms everyone. Look at that face!
The weekend before Easter, we took her to the Catfish Festival in Winnsboro, LA. Everyone knows you DON'T strap a two year old into a stroller for hours, during her usual napping time, in a crowd, and expect her to be good. This child was an angel! I'm not kidding! On the way there, she talked and sang a few songs, then fell asleep in the carseat for the last 30 minutes. I thought, "Oh man, she's going to be tired and awful!" Don't they love to prove us wrong! We strapped her in the stroller and she laced her fingers together and sat there like a little lady for about an hour. She never cried or even asked for anything! She didn't even cry when she dropped her sunglasses and a man stepped on them! :( She looked cute in them while they lasted. See?

Here we are waiting for our funnel cake. What's a festival without one of those? She looks like she's trying to decide what else might be good.

She was so good on this little trip, even when I had to change her diaper while she stood on the lid of a port-a-john. LOL

I said, in a previous post, that this one has her Poppa wrapped around her finger. Here she is motioning at him and telling him, "Mere, Poppa." She calls us to come to her all day long! She wants you sitting right beside her or in her lap. She pats her legs and tells us, "Sit in my wap." So funny!
She constantly cracks everybody up. From the time she was 8 or 9 months old her daddy called her "comical." She is indeed! She makes the funniest faces, sings her favorite songs, and has crazy "conversations" on her toy cellphone. Here's you a cheesy smile!

She is so loving, too! Just a few minutes ago, she walked up to me, rubbed my leg and said, "I love you, Mimi." Awwww! Lots of times she has hugged me for no reason and tells me, "Mimi, you such a sweetie." We wondered if she would be jealous of Leon after being "the baby" for over two years. Well, sharing "my Shelbi" with him was the ultimate test and Harlee passed with flying colors. She was loving all over this baby, playing with his feet and hands, and rubbing his little head. She was so gentle with him and kept saying, "Awwweeee." How sweet is that?!

Monday, Shelbi, Noah, Mason, Harlee, and I went to McDonald's for lunch and play time. This is the silly face she makes when we're teasing her. After eating her nuggets, she "ordered" her big brother, Noah, to stop spinning the balls and "C'mon." She wanted him to go in the tunnel with her. He obliged. Way to go, Miss Priss! Poppa's not the only guy she has wrapped!

However, she did show a little bit of the typical two year old when we had to leave the playground! We had a snot slinging fit thrower on our hands for a few minutes, then after a good nap, she was back to her normal, happy little self. =)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Today my baby is 17! Wow! Shelbi is the youngest of six girls and the only one my husband, Larry, and I have together. When we married, we had five daughters by our first marriages. Larry and I decided we wanted ONE child together. Of course, with five girls, we were hoping for a boy. LOL I asked God for twin boys (figured an only boy after 5 girls would need a buddy.) Shelbi was born three days after our second anniversary. We fell in love with this dimpled, little clone of my husband. Her middle name is Layne. That is a combination of Larry's and my middle names--- Wayne and Lynn. This little baby (little? yeah right, 8# 15 oz!) became the center of our family. After all, she's the only one of the eight of us that is related biologically to ALL of us. The jealousy involved any time you bring a new baby home, paled in comparison to how much the other kids loved her. I don't think she could have been loved more if she had been twins. We were blessed! She has been such a joy, too. Well, after she outgrew colic. =)
Shelbi is a great teenager! How many parents can say that?! Honestly, I mean.

The most important thing is that she is a Christian! =)

On top of that, she's almost always on the Honor Roll. So far, only one "C" on her entire high school transcript! Yay for smart girls!

I can trust Shelbi to do the right thing. Unlike many other girls her age, she dresses modestly and is praying for God to show her the person she is supposed to marry. She has committed herself to waiting on Him (and him) and not date until that time. That amazes me!

She's compassionate and loyal to the ones she loves. She loves God, her family, and her friends wholeheartedly. Her nieces and nephews are crazy about her (especially Harlee) and vice versa.

She absolutely adores babies (any baby) and wants to be a NICU nurse one day. Seeing our pastor's 2 lb. preemie granddaughter in the NICU last year really reinforced what she believes her calling is.

This past year brought a LOT of firsts in Shelbi's life. Shelbi got her first stitches from a fall with a friend. Somehow, she and her best friend thought duct taping themselves to each other back to back would be funny! We spent a couple of hours in the ER getting stitches in the side of her head. Not so funny to me!

She had her first surgery (gall bladder) last September while we were vacationing in Memphis.

After struggling with Selective Mutism for years, she has established several new friendships and participated in family gatherings in ways she hadn't been able to before. She even gave her first ever on stage performance during a youth revival (video on blog titled "I Believe in Miracles" and the next night gave her testimony. So brave!

She watched a baby (Leon) being born! Again, a brave thing for an almost seventeen year old that's never had one of her own. Thank God! LOL

One of her best friends had a baby in March and Shelbi got her first namesake! Guess it's a good thing her middle name is unisex, because little Brayden Layne is a boy!

She got her driver's permit. Then got her license last month! (No picture of that-- too much info on it!)

A couple of weeks ago, she was allowed to go out of town with a friend and no adult chaperone. (It was just a day trip, people!)

It's been a busy and exciting year!
Happy 17th Birthday, Shelbi Layne!
You'll ALWAYS be our BABY!
With all of our love,
Momma and Daddy
We can't wait for the rest of the story!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How Do You Like Me Now?

I decided to change the "Valentine's" background. It did fit with the "grandkids are my heart" theme, but I wanted something different. I haven't blogged much lately, not much blog worthy going on and I've been a little busy.

I know I've mentioned my photography hobby, but I also do it some on the side. (Private school teacher pay doesn't go very far. ;) People saw some of the pictures I took when I first got my camera and asked me to take pictures of their kids.

Now, I am fully aware that I am NO Jami, Van, or T. G. (awesome local professionals) by ANY means, but you don't have to be when the subjects are as beautiful as these two little sisters!
Here's one of my kindergarten students from last year.

And her beautiful little sister!

I've also done several Senior portrait sittings so far.

I'm editing some more I took this past weekend.

I've been blessed to meet several sweet new babies.
Have I mentioned I LOVE babies?

My one (and probably only ever) wedding.
Tiffany made a beautiful bride! (Her mom looks okay, too.) LOL
Love ya, Lenie!!!

I wish my two oldest granddaughters (and Leon) lived close enough to get pictures more often! Their visits are SO rushed. I did get to take Christmas pictures of the older girls the year before last, but this Christmas they weren't able to visit until after the holidays. I also took some pretty ones of Lauren last spring, but Rebecca wasn't here that weekend.

We're so lucky we live where the flowers bloom early, there are a lot of nice public parks, antebellum houses, old churches, and the Mississippi River right in our backyard. (Well, practically!) So many beautiful picture locations to pick from!

I'm going to start another blog soon, just for my photographs. I'm open to taking pictures at events that the professionals may not have time for (reunions, parties, etc.). But, please, NO wedding picture requests. I need more experience (and better meds) before I EVER think of tackling one of those again. Even if it did give me one of my favorite pictures of all times!

These are the hands of the bride (Tiffany), mother of the bride (Ellena), and grandmother of the bride (Mary). Mary is my aunt and Ellena is my first cousin (and one of my best friends on this planet). There are very few people I would photograph a wedding for and she is number one! And maybe the last! LOL

I hope you'll peek at my new blog! I'll let you know when it's up and ready--- might be a few weeks or so.