Ripley’s Birth | Lifestyle

On April 1, 2016 I had the absolute pleasure and blessing of being able to photograph the birth of my beautiful niece Ripley.  My sister-in law did amazing.  She made childbirth look easy.  With my own two children, I had to have c sections so it was amazing getting to experience childbirth in a different way.  Ripley entered this world at 1:45pm.  She was 7 pound and 1 ounce and was 20 inches long.  Ripley is also the spitting image of her mother.  I mean it is uncanny how much they look alike (Sorry Cody).  I was so thankful that they allowed me in the room to take pictures.  Seeing the love and joy on their faces was priceless.  Please scroll down to see their beautiful story.

If you want to see more of my work got to my website http://www.raisingarrowsphotography.com.

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Easter Fun | Celebrations

Our church is amazing.  This last Sunday was palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday is very important for us as Christians.  It represents the start to the holy week before Easter Sunday.  Jesus entered into Jerusalem a week before his crucifixion knowing that he was going to be making a sacrifice.  When he entered Jerusalem, the people waved their palm branches symbolizing goodness and victory while shouting Hosanna which means save, rescue, or savior.  On this particular Sunday every year, the children in the nursery at our church wave their palm leaves around at the beginning of the big church service before the preaching starts.  Of course the children don’t quite understand the meaning behind it, but it is still important for the adults.  Drew carried Reagan while she waved her leaf (more like stared blankly at all of the people looking at her), and I carried Sadie.  It is really great for all of the elderly members of our church to get to see the children.  They really love it.  After, the children waved their leaves they went back to the nursery until church was finished.

Now, every year the weekend before Easter, we have a huge Easter egg hunt for the kids.  They create little areas for the different age groups that way it is pretty fair.  Reagan and Sadie were both in the two and under section.  I held Sadie while she hunted eggs.  It was pretty windy so she pretty much just stayed bundled up in her blanket the whole time.

Drew watched Reagan run around. Last year, she only wanted specific colors, but this year she understood that eggs have candy in them.  Needless to say, she was grabbing as many as she could.

She very quickly filled her basket, but when we went to give her sister’s basket to fill she was not very happy. She wanted her green basket.

We also had some very nice members bring a bunny rabbit for all the children to pet.  Reagan kept going to touch it, and when she would finally make contact she would jump back and squeal.  She melts my heart!  img_1311-1

Her best friend came so of course we had to get a picture of them together!  Myia is always very stylish.  She is a little Diva.  I love her. She even managed to get the special prize egg for the second year in a row!  You see, Myia loves img_1281-1sparkly things, so if the prize egg is wrapped in foil she will definitely go for that first!  She is so very special and precious to our family.  Her and Reagan always have so much fun together.  You may wonder what kind of fun and trouble can 2 two year olds get into, but let me just say they keep us on our toes constantly.  We will sometimes hear them in the living room.  You see, we have a few electronics.  Reagan knows she is not supposed to touch them, however, when Myia comes over we will often hear Reagan telling Myia that she should touch the buttons and turn them on….Yeah, my kid is a handful.  Anyways, I love that they are able to partake in this tradition every year with our church.  It’s very special.

After the kids hunt all the eggs, our church has a huge lunch for all of the members.  The church provides the fried chicken, rolls, drinks, and desserts while each family brings a side dish.  It really is such a fun time of fellowship.  We are blessed by having such a strong and generous church family.

I love that we do all of these fun things the weekend before Easter.  This allows us to actually focus on the true meaning of Easter, which is celebrating the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ.  Hunting eggs is so much fun and we all love to see the joy on our children’s faces (or husband’s) when they get so much candy, but Easter is meant to celebrate so much more.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that our sinful hearts could be saved by God’s grace.  Hug your family members and share in God’s love this Easter, but don’t forget who we are really celebrating and why.  Happy Easter!

 

Wedding Bells | Celebrations

   

  
Last night my baby brother (I guess technically he is Drew’s baby brother, but I call him my brother none the less) got married. When he was standing up there waiting on his bride, it was hard for me to imagine him married. I mean I can still remember when they would call his name over the intercom at school to go to ISS (In school suspension). So, imagine this same little boy getting married 😳…..Yeah, it was hard for me too. Anyways, as I watched him say his vows I realized I was very proud of him. I am proud of his morals. I am proud of his independence. I am proud of his stubbornness. I am proud of his love for his wife. And I am proud of his relationship with God. His momma did an outstanding job of raising him and he has done just as outstanding in keeping to her and the bible’s teachings. I loved looking at his three brothers’ faces while he was talking. You could see how proud of him that they were. It is such an amazing gift to witness. The bond they all share is truly something special.  

  

  
Now, I haven’t known Stacey (the bride) quite as long as I have known Isacc (my brother), but I will definitely say that he chose very well. She is kind, funny, smart, and faithful. Her strength is amazing to see. She is a nurse in one of our local nursing homes, and that job suits her exceptionally well. Her kind heart allows her to care for others, while her strength allows her to set boundaries. I admire her for having those abilities. 

  
I was honored enough to be chosen as one of her bridesmaids. It was so special getting to share in this blessed time with her. I was extremely grateful for being chosen, but I was also wondering what I was going to do with my girls since Drew was also in the wedding. You mothers out there can imagine the stress that comes along with that worry. Thankfully, we have some pretty amazing friends that took that worry from me! They were absolutely amazing. My good friend Laura watched Sadie and Reagan the whole day while I got ready for the wedding. Her husband was the photographer so she came early with him. This was not an easy task for her. First of all, she is pregnant and due in June. Again, those of you mothers out there can relate to the frequent urination, exhaustion, and uncomfortableness of being pregnant. And secondly, my two year old is two. I repeat, my two year old is two. She has got her momma’s charm and her daddy’s energy. 

  
During the ceremony it was a group effort with our lovelies. My best friend D’Lancye and her husband Jo came so when Reagan didn’t cooperate (because let’s face it, what two year old is going to stand up in front of a crowd for an entire wedding?) D’Lancye took Reagan for a walk. Before the wedding started and at the beginning of the ceremony, they helped Laura out by giving her arms a little bit of a break. 

 
My friends are huge blessings in my life. I am so thankful that God gave me such loving, giving, and kind people that love Jesus to call my friends. And yes, I’m a horrible mother because I didn’t get any pictures of Reagan on my phone. We were so busy I didn’t even get a picture of my little family!! I was pretty bummed when I realized that.   We did get a picture with the bride and groom though and I guess that’s the most important part anyway right? Congrats Isaac and Stacey! I’m so proud of you both and I pray you have such a blessed marriage. 

  

  
   

   

Paint and Praise | Celebrations

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Sunday afternoon I got to have an amazing afternoon with some pretty amazing young women.  My brother-in-law Isaac is getting married this upcoming Sunday to a fantastic woman named Stacey.   They have been together for several years and met at a young age much like Drew and I.  I am so excited to celebrate their marriage and love.  Sunday we got to celebrate Stacey and have her bachelorette party!

I’m sure many of you have heard of painting with a twist?  Well, what we did was very similar, but we got to study the word of God while we did it.  It made for a fantastic afternoon.  Living Love with Kelly Paint and Praise is where we went.  Kelly taught us how to paint a beautiful scripture painting and shared some of her favorite scripture with us.  We learned some new painting techniques and got to have an awesome time of fellowship.

If this looks or sounds like fun to you, check out Kelly’s website at http://www.livinglovewithkelly.com.    She is such a fantastic woman and she is very good at turning a mediocre artist into a professional.

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Camp Ripley | Celebrations

My brother, Cody, and his wife, Courtney, are expecting their first child in April.  Well, April 1st to be exact.  They are going to be bringing a sweet little girl into this world.  Her name is going to be Ripley Happ and she is going to be extremely adorable.  All the little boys better watch out because my family is becoming overrun with girls.  Anyways, on February 27th we had an amazing baby shower to honor them and the upcoming birth of Ripley.  What originally started out as a forest creatures theme quickly changed into a camping theme.  Now, you have to understand that my family kind of goes all out when it comes to parties.  I mean like cut down trees and put them in your living room crazy.  Yes, you heard me right.  My dad cut down two trees and put them in their living room to hold a hammock.

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We had a diaper raffle, in which each person had to bring a box of diapers to get their name in a drawing for $25.  The diapers were placed under the hammock (those are only a few of the diapers).  My dad made the “Camp Ripley” sign.  My sister actually hand painted the “ripley” sign.  My mom saw a picture on Pinterest that gave her the idea for the table decorations.  She did such an amazing job.  They hung a sign over all the tables that said “Dining Hall”.IMG_1168

The main dining table was decorated to display the cake.  I actually made the cake.  I layered yellow cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting.  My mom found some plastic deer toys and we placed them on top with a banner that she made out of scrapbook paper.

My mom found some fabric online that had a colorful tent scene, so my grandma surged it together and made a tent for all of the children to play in.  My dad made a “fire pit” for show and it added so much to the overall look of the party.

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We had a table set up with a picture of Ripley from the movie Alien.  There were also pages stacked up.  Each paper had a letter from the alphabet on it.  Each person from the party got a paper and had to draw a picture that corresponded with the letter.  For example for the letter “A” someone might draw and apple.  My mom is going to take these pages and get them made into a book for Ripley.  And while we are on the subject of books.  My dad took a tree stump and carved it up to hold some stuffed animals and books.  It was a major centerpiece on their bar.

My sister and I were camp counselors so we helped to keep the games running smoothly.  Guests came in and registered at the registration table where they received a wristband that corresponded with their team for the games.  My parents turned their kitchen into the “Mess Hall” where brunch was served. ( yes, my husband is creeping in the background on one of these pictures….what a weirdo, right?)

Cody and Courtney got so many amazing things!  They had such a great time opening gifts.  It was amazing to see how much they are loved and blessed.

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We had such a great time showering them with love and gifts.  I CANNOT wait for this sweet baby girl to get here.  She is actually projected to be around 8 pounds!  She is super strong and healthy and she got some great things to keep her parents busy for awhile.