Monday, January 31, 2011

Prayers for two Haydens

I'm not one to let anyone stop me from doing what I feel is right so even though the last time I asked you all for prayers I had a very dramatic response (remember?), I'm still going to continue to ask for prayers when situations arise that they are needed. I've been thinking about prayer lately and what a huge responsibility it is when someone directly asks you to pray for them or for a situation. I feel honored that people trust me to pray and it really is a responsibility to send up those requests to the Lord. In asking for prayer, a person is telling you that they know you are a righteous person who will take the time to talk to God on their behalf. They trust you with this important job and it's our duty to actually do the praying! Don't just say "oh my, of course I'll pray for you" then go on with your busy life and not stop and say the prayers you've just promised to say. I'm trying to work on this and am getting myself into the habit of saying a quick prayer right away as the person is still even talking to me and then going again and again to the Lord with more detailed, specific, prayers.

Today is one of those "tough prayer" days. This world is not Heaven. It's not perfect. Things, so often, do not happen the way we think they should. Sometimes life is unfair, unjust, and uncompromisable. Through prayer we have a way out. We can give our worries to God and He will help. Yes, life will continue to be unfair and unforgiving - but God will make it managable. He will give us the guidance and comfort that we need.

I'm asking each of you to take a moment and pray for two sweet baby boys. Both happen to be named Hayden and both have tough situations going on right now.

Through the years I've pretty much met every single girl that Zach's ever dated (and he hasn't met most of mine...yet!). I've despised some of them and liked others. Bobbi is one of the ones on my "like" list. Throughout her pregnancy with Hayden she truly inspired me. She is, by far, one of the most positive people I've ever met and seeing how much she enjoyed her pregnancy made me feel guilt for how much I pretty much hated mine and encouraged me to have a more positive outlook when I go through that experience a second time.

About 7 months ago she gave birth to baby Hayden and he's adorable (which isn't surprising since his mom is about as hot as they come and his dad could seriously be a freaking model!!!). I do not know all the specifics of his situation but I know that over the months he hasn't developed at the "normal" pace. I know he's had some weak muscles that make it difficult for him to hold his head and sit upright and such. I also know he has grown a little slower than most babies his age and sometimes has difficulty following things with his eyes. They have been running test after test trying to determine what's going on. Not knowing "why" is beyond difficult for any family, however, Bobbi continues to be her positive, optimistic self and feels strongly that a solution will be found and that, in time, Hayden will be able to put all of this behind him. Every test they've ran on him has come back negative which is a blessing as each thing they rule out they make the list of potential things shorter and shorter!

Right now they are waiting for test results back to determine if he has a genetic disorder (Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome). If this is what's going on then the good news is that he would have a mild form of it since the symptoms are often webbing of fingers and toes and even extra, or missing, digits and he doesn't have any of that! I pray that if the doctors do say he suffers from this genetic disorder that is is the mild case and that his therapy will continue to go well and in a short time all his symptoms will be gone. In talking to Bobbi's mom (who works with Aflac - I mean at this point who doesn't?!?! haha!) she asked that I pray that it is not this disorder as any genetic disorder is not a good thing. In this case it would mean that both Bobbi and Dean, her husband, would be carriers of the gene and Bobbi told me that it would also mean if they had more children there would be a 25% chance that the child would have the full blown disorder and a 50% chance that the child would be a carrier. Also anything genetic related is not something curable and obviously we want something that can be fixed, am I right?!?! They should have the results back in a couple of weeks so in the meantime please pray for their family, that they can continue to have the positive attitude, and that they will have an answer to all of their concerns - especially an answer that has a solution!

I saw Bobbi's mom, Selena, at the Aflac District Kick-Off Friday night (post to come!) and after our talk I decided to write this post. Then on Saturday I got a text from Ashley Hiott saying that her fiance's nephew needs desperate prayers as well. His name also happens to be Hayden but he is a newborn who has been diagnosed with an extremely rare (like only 30 known cases rare) genetic disorder called Antley Bixler and only has a 20% chance of survival. They are taking him to Shands (a great hospital in Gainesville, FL) this week where he will have multiple surgeries most likely on his skull, nasal passages, eye sockets, arm and leg joints, and heart. His parents are named Megan and Alan. Although I've never met, them my heart aches for them and what they are going through right now.

I hope they are comforted in knowing that God is control and that no matter what the outcome He is there for them. I've carried a baby in my womb. I know the feeling of being a new mother. Of going through delivery pains. Of holding that baby for the first time. From what I know, Alan and Megan were not prepared for any of this and did not know anything was wrong until Hayden was born. Can you imagine being a first-time Mom and dealing with all of this? Ashley said she asked me to pray because she knew I really would. I'm asking all of you to pray as well for this same reason. In the post where I asked prayers for Zach and got the rude commenter I saw the amazing faith of my readers and how all of you are quick to defend what's right. In seeing that, I know each of you will lift these families up in prayer. I also know that God will hear our prayers and, if nothing else, pour His love over these families during such unimaginable, difficult times.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Stockings

Last year we waited a loooooong time to open our stockings and this year we did the same thing! My "plan" for the stockings is to open them after we eat breakfast at Big Daddy's and before we go to Mom's to celebrate with her. That way we get to have some type of gift opening tradition among just our little family each year.

We all know our Christmas this year was not "typical" so we just went with it and instead of digging out our stockings from storage we used one Zach won from a men's retreat for Kye's and I bought 2 little ones for $1 each at Target. It worked! Our hope is to take a trip to the Dollar Store each year and spend a certain amount on each other and each child and have each child pick out some gifts for us and each other as well. We did actually do that this year! Sure, Valentine's Day stuff was out but whatever! It was fun being sneaky through the store and not letting the other people see what we had in our buggies and Kye had fun picking out gifts for Mommy and Daddy. Then we came home that afternoon and wrapped it all and opened them up before Kye's bedtime :)

Kye's HUGE stocking!
I wish I could paste Kye's face in the first picture into this picture b/c my bra actually isn't showing here ;)
ready to dig in
Our kid gets the huge stocking and we get mini ones..so typical right?
here's a video of some of the opening "excitement" (along with Zach's wonderful singing)
Getting this Bible was such a great idea, he LOVES carrying it around with him and "reading" from it
Kye tears off tiny little pieces, so cute
Daddy's favorite gifts: an onion keeper and mini magnetic flashlights (neither from the dollar store...Mommy may have cheated a bit)
Zach hooked me up with LOTS of candy but we still kept with a Sedgley tradition of getting each person a new toothbrush in their stocking
last gift for the "Christmas" season (good thing his birthday is around the corner)
wrapping paper face!

a gift for our new home - gray "P" coasters to match our living room
the doggies love presents as much as we do

don't worry we hooked Zeke up too
Kye insists that the new beds are his
our third puppy
It was SUCH a fun day to be together with my family, picking out gifts, and opening them in our new living room. It made it all feel REAL and it's exciting! It's the first official tradition in the new house and I'm looking forward to all the ones to come :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First House Visitors!

Several of our friends have been by to see the house prior to us moving in but it's been fun to have our close friends over during the un-packing phase. Each person who has been allowed inside this house since move-in day should consider themselves lucky. I really don't like anyone seeing it before it's done! However, with our finances the way they are it may be a looooong time before it's finished the way I envisioned it so I just have to get over myself and invite people over, am I right?

Seth was planning to help us move in but then pretty much his entire household got mega sick and he had to take care of his fam so he couldn't make it. He was so sweet to come help Zach put up some of the heavier furniture pieces and he brought the most adorable cookies that he and Crissy made for us! I know as women we typically get super tight with other women and don't really consider their husbands our friends but I honestly consider Seth my friend and not just "Crissy's husband" or "Zach's friend." He's an awesome guy, the most devoted husband I've ever met, and a great daddy too! Zach and I are so blessed to have both he and Crissy as friends :)
They know how much I LOVE lots of texture and toppings so they used all kinds of decorations for the cookies...didn't they turn out adorable? SO thoughtful! When I think of a having a servant heart, I ALWAYS think of Seth and Crissy and how I need to be more thoughtful the way they are!
Katie is another super thoughtful, sweet friend. She had to miss out on the big moving day because she had to work (but seriously, she deserved not to have to help...our move into the last house it was JUST Zach, Katie, Ashley and I!!!) but she offered to bring us dinner a few days after we moved in. Trust me...when Katie offers to cook no one ever refuses. Her food is AMAZING!!! And she also bought us a sweet card and gift card to Target. I'm telling you, so thoughtful! We had a fun time eating and catching up. We've hung out with Katie and every house we've lived in since Zach got out of high school so I'm excited to see what fun memories we'll make together in this new house :)
I feel mega guilty for this but Crissy also came over soon after we moved in and she brought all three of her kids to play. We talked each others heads off so much that I totally forgot to get a picture to put up here but she was here and we did have a blast! It was proof that the playroom can handle anything because all our kiddos put it to the test :) I love having them live so close as we get to hang out so much more often now!

Since we've become friends with Matt and Robyn we trade off dinners at each others homes. While our old house was in chaos they were sweet enough to take some of our turns for us so now we owe them a few dinners :) Matt was helpful with some more heavy furniture pieces (aren't you proud of Zach for taking it easy? He's been SO careful!) and Robyn and I enjoyed girl talk while letting the kids (well the men and the kids...so basically all the kids!) play in the playroom. We were all having such a fun time that they ended up letting Lorelai stay at her grandparent's house (who live right down the street from us- so convenient) so the adults could hang out longer. We talked, laughed, and played board games until midnight. Good times!
Having company over always makes me more motivated to get stuff DONE around here...so who wants to visit next??? 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photography Workshop: Class 1

Several years ago when Courtney got married I remember meeting her photographer and instantly liking him. He said my nose ring was hott and, duh, flattery works :) Once Zach and I started talking to him we realized that he was our kind of person. He was in a transition from traditional wedding photography to photojournalism type stuff and we just so happened to fall perfectly in line with where he was headed. The DAY after we got engaged we booked him. I didn't know my budget. I didn't know where we'd be getting married. Heck, I didn't even know the date. But Zach and I knew we had to have Javon! It was hands down the best decision I made when planning my wedding. Zach and I love every single picture he took and constantly say we wish Javon could be with us ALL the time to capture our lives in his pictures :)

Another bit of perfect timing happened recently: I have been blogging for awhile now and am constantly taking pictures but never feel like they are up to par with other mommy bloggers. So for Christmas Zach bought me a new camera and told me I need to learn how to use the settings this time around! Then BAM! Javon just so happens to set up his very first beginners photography workshop! Um, perfect timing :) It's meeting for four Tuesday nights and I thought I'd do a blog entry on what I learn each night so I can reference back to it later as well as give you guys some tips that may be useful to you. I'll also show you my assignment pictures for each week, both in raw form and after some tweaking.

The first night was a lot of introducing and learning more about Javon and how he got started. Here's some of the tips I learned:
  • I want my camera set on high quality jpeg 
  • Using Photoshop Elements (which I have but am totally guilty of just using Picasa for everything...) is fine instead of having to dish out the dough for the full version
  • The higher amount of megapixels, the clearer and better quality an image will be (so I'm keeping mine set on the highest even though it takes up more space on the memory card!)
  • Always have multiple back-ups of your data (lesson I already learned b/c I had ALL my pre-Kye images saved on an external hard drive and it CRASHED. So now I'm going to have to spend $730 to recover them!!!!). Javon recommends backing things up using dvdroms as they are more sturdy and hold more than just cds.
Those are just a few of the notes I jotted down (MUCH more to come from Class 2). I enjoyed the class but was very intimidated! Everyone other than one other girl has an SLR camera and pretty much everyone in there is artsy and creative and some people already get paid for their work. I was embarrassed by my lack of knowledge and skill, but got more comfortable when I realized that other people in the room were feeling the same way :) There's another mom in the class who, like me, takes picture after picture of her children. She's as clueless as I am so I feel a lot more comfortable about opening up and asking "dumb" questions :)

Our assignment for the week was to photograph something that means love to you. I was pretty nervous about the whole idea of someone critiquing my images - especially a legit world famous photographer! So I didn't try as hard as I should have with the assignment. I LOVE to take pictures but feeling made to take them made it less fun (kinda like how I enjoy pleasure reading but when I was made to read for school I hated it). After class 2 and sharing the critiquing process with everyone else I feel WAY more comfortable with it and have had more fun this second week already with the assignment :). Here's my 5 pictures from assignment 1:

1. I always feel a sweet love feeling whenever I see Zach and Kye playing together. It's a mom thing I guess but seeing my husband be a natural, fun, AMAZING dad is a great thing to experience!
The goal is always to have the focus on the subject and to remove as much other junk as you can. In this picture I wish I had taken a second to get rid of the pillow beside them as well as the one in the chair and I wish Kye's shirt was pulled down. I did a little editing by cropping it in closer and lightening it up a bit.
2. Pretty much the same picture as #1 but I had to include it because I love how Zach and Kye are making matching faces :)
We talked about how black and white can really help focus be on your subject because it minimizes other distractions. In this picture Kye's outfit is a little loud as are our bed linens so I think some cropping and converting to black and white helped
3. After months of working on our new home I feel like it's part of me. I wanted to specifically get a photo of the door because the color. We are in a back and forth battle of sorts with the HOA about it (post to come whenever things get reconciled) and I know that most likely it'll be changing in the near future so I wanted to capture it while I still can!
In a perfect world I would have gotten a step stool out and made myself taller so you wouldn't have that feeling of looking UP in the picture. If I was level with the numbers I think the feel would have been better for this. I did a little cropping as I don't like how you can see the doorknob in the original and I played with the tuning of it as well (pretty much my editing go-to is just to mess with the fill light, highlights, and shadows until I think it looks good haha). I wish the lighting had been better as I don't like the shadow on the upper part of the image either.
4. I knew this wasn't amazing or anything but it's tough to get a cute picture of a toddler...especially with him looking at the camera and looking happy so I included it
The thing I really, really can't stand is the shadow on the left edge of the picture. And you can't crop it out or you lose part of Kye. I also don't like the obvious use of flash with the bright spots on his face. I edited them out of his eyes and also edited out his dark vein on his nose (I edit it out of basically every picture..it's not noticeable in real life but for some reason in pictures it often stands out). I cropped it closer to really make sure the focus was on his face and I edited out the random string hanging down from the gray stuffed animal. Can't do anything with that dang shadow though which pretty much ruins the picture for me!
5. This is the image Javon put on the board as the class critique. I'm probably more critical of it than everyone else was! They liked how the tube framed my subject and made it clear. Javon talked about how the rest of the circle is assumed even though we can't see it. I do think it shows what love is to me because Kye was having so much fun!
I felt like the attention wasn't as much on my subject as it could have been because there were so many balls in front of him so I cropped it in closer and I also didn't like my obvious use of flash so I edited it out of each ball. I also wanted Kye a little brighter so I played with the tuning of it again :)
I'm really excited to learn more about photography! I take SO many pictures, I might as well learn how to take the quantity of images and turn them into quality ones right? 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Many Faces of Cookie Eating

I've always been told that I have an expressive face. That you can read my emotions just by looking at me. Kye also has many different expressions and I love it. As a mom anything you see of yourself in your child makes you excited (especially when your husband looks exactly like his father so you assume that your son will probably end up looking exactly like your husband!). For some reason this day I allowed Kye to have a couple animal crackers while on the potty - we had a blast snackin' it up while poopin' it up :)

Pretty much every picture I ever post on the blog has some editing done to it even if it's just cropping and adjusting the lighting. When I went through all of these pictures to edit I had a tough time deleting any of them. Each one made me smile and I happen to think he looks simply adorable with each different expression...so you get to enjoy them all! No captions even needed :) Any favorites?



















Can he just stay this sweet and adorable forever, please? :)
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