Friday, February 27, 2009

It's a Jungle Out There!

This is not a painting for my Preston, but for Emma who won a piece that I had donated to LeeLou's baby blog shower to benefit Baby Mia and Baby Kayleigh (read on the top right of my blog for their inspiring stories). This was really fun to create and I have been wanting to do something with jungle animals from the beginning! So, she said the room it will be for is olive and light brown and then a design for a boy needed to be incorporated. We talked back and forth a bit and decided on this theme. I did get some of the inspiration for the animals from one of my son's books. So, tell me what 'cha think.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Praying for Babies

If you look down the sidebar on almost any blog, you will find the heart-wrenching yet heart-warming story (or stories) of some amazingly strong babies and their wonderful families. I wanted to write a post about these babies because the more that I have read about their lives, the more I have grown closer to and appreciated my own family and my relationship with God. The stories on my sidebar are of babies that have spent a tremendous amount of their young little lives in the NICU and/or at dr appointments. In addition to these stories of baby survival, I have also met some tremendous women who have lost young ones, but have also somehow pulled through with such inspiring hope and passion for God. These stories have truly touched my life and I wanted to say thank you to each and every one of them for sharing their trials and triumphs with us all. All of them have commented on how God has been there with them every step of the way as well as the good in human nature that has been revealed to them. I have seen this in their stories and it has become more apparent in my life as well. Please take a moment (and a box of tissue) to read their stories as well as some of the stories contained in the blogs I follow and the "Creative Women Who Inspire Me". Hold tight to your loved ones because, as obvious as it is, tomorrow is never guaranteed and we only have this moment in our grasp.

Remembering Maui...

If you would like to join Wednesday's Walk, click on the word to visit Lynette's blog for details.

Yes, it is true, I have been back from Maui for a week and half now and am still trying to get back in the swing of things. It usually only takes me a day or two to "recover" from my vacation. You know how it feels when you get back from vacation and whether it's the driving, flying, packing, touring, always feel like you need a mini-vacation before getting back to the "real" world?? Well, this time I am still draggin'! Maybe it was because this vacation was like no other! Prepare yourself for a long post with lots of pics!

Sunday, the flight from TN to Kahului on Maui (via Dallas) took about 14 hours. It was a lot of fun, but tiring as well. When you get to Maui you are 4 hours behind and it takes about an hour to drive almost anywhere, but it is beautiful scenery of course.

First full day there (Monday) we just hung out and went to the beach. Later that afternoon, we drove up the mountain where my friend lives (3500 ft up) and works in the field (7000 ft up). The highest point on the Haleakala crater is over 10,000 ft. We drove through the clouds and watched the sun go down from what felt like heaven. I didn't think anything could top this!

Second day, we kayaked about a mile or so out into the Pacific between Maui, Koho'olawe, and Lani'i. My friend that lives there said she was going to swim once we got out there because she gets sea sick; I told her she was brave and crazy! However, once we got out there it was so calm and clear, I decided to get out and swim too. You could hear the whales "singing" if you put your ears back under the water. Right after we climbed back into our kayaks, a Humpback whale came up about 25 ft from us-it was amazing! After we packed up the kayaks and had lunch, we headed back for some shopping in Kahului.

Wednesday, we got up at the crack of dawn because we had a boat to catch at the Ma'alaea Harbor to snorkel Molokini. Molokini is the top of a volcanic crater that sticks out of the ocean about 3 miles offshore. First, we snorkeled with many different kinds of fish and even saw an eel. At the second stop, we actually snorkeled about 5 ft away from some sea turtles. They are massive and it was so surreal. On the way back to the harbor, a family of Humpbacks came up right beside the boat-truly wonderful! By the way, my friend had the most amazing underwater digital camera-that's me WAY down there!

Thursday, we headed out for the Road to Hana. This is about a 4 hour drive on the most curvy road you can ever imagine with lots of one-lane bridges. We saw so many beautiful waterfalls and some of the greatest lookout points ever! Later we ate sushi in Makawao and went to a little place in Paia that Willie Nelson owns.

Friday, we drove out to Kamaole Beach in Kihei just to relax. My friend and I attempted to snorkel here, but it was pretty windy so we decided not to. We ate lunch there in Kihei at the Pupu (appetizer) Lounge-so yummy! That night we went dancing in Paia at a place called Jacques-my friend previously saw Owen Wilson there-no sightings on this particular night!

Saturday, we did some last minute souvenir shopping and went to 1000 Peaks Beach to relax for a while. The picture below is the West Maui Mountains-you drive all along them while heading to Lahaina. We drove out to Lahaina to eat at my friend's favorite restaurant on the beach-Maui Mixed Plate-so delish and we saw a magnificent rainbow on the way! We flew out that night at around midnight.

Sunday morning I had a good lay over in Los Angeles, so my mom's uncle and his wife came and picked me up and we had breakfast. I couldn't keep my eyes open on the way back to Nashville! Finally, at 5:20pm that afternoon I got to hold my baby boy in my arms again! The trip, while so beautiful and amazing, was bittersweet because all I could think about was Preston and V. They picked me up at the airport along with my mom and I had a fresh flower lei for her and a Macadamia Nut lei for V.

I will never forget this trip as long as I live, but I will never again leave my baby boy-paradise is truly where your family is-I'll never forget that either.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ainsley's Art is Finished!

Here are the finished pieces for baby Ainsley. I hope she and her mother enjoy them for years to come. I really enjoyed making them-I have never really painted "human" characters with faces before, so this was new for me. I especially liked painting the eyes. I really couldn't get very good pictures of them, so these don't really do them justice. Well, tell me what you all think?

I will be out of town for the next 8 days, so I will not be able to post, but I hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day with your loved ones.