Tuesday, September 13, 2011

a note to my oldest dude


tonight we had one of the most precious talks we have ever had. not really because of what it was about (a girl) but because of how we talked. you were so open and transparent with me. showing so much wisdom. we talked about integrity, honor, wisdom, discernment, graciousness, God's plan to prosper and not to harm, not understanding why GOd may close a door to something in order to open one to something better, about seeing God's hand of protection...and SO much of it was YOU talking to me, instead of the other way around.

i have often wondered when i talk (sometimes tirelessly) if you hear anything i say. if you can hear that i am really on your side. if you trust me and my advice. if you know and see that God is truly in control of your life and what happens to you. if, when i am vulnerable with you, and tell you about my mistakes and failures-you really listen and hear my heart's desire is that you do better than i did, that you will make better choices. if ANY of it actually soaks into your head and more importantly you heart.

tonight, i know that even if just a little bit, you do.

i am so grateful that God has seen it fit to bless me with you. not just to be your "mom" but to be a trusted confidant. i so don't deserve it. He is SO good. He is good to hear my prayers as i pray so fervently for you. He is good to answer my prayers, not always with a "yes", but sometimes a "no",  and sometimes a "not yet." He is good to know what is best for me and for you, even when i don't. He is good to give me just a little peek into your heart and to let me know that i am not completely spinning my wheels and that there are days, that i do in fact get it right.  oh i am so grateful for those days.

you are 15. i know that everyday, not even every week, or every month we will not be on the same page. you will roll your eyes at me, rebel, argue, bicker, whine and fuss. but today, i am resting in knowing that you love me, you trust me, you hear me, and you know God is at work. it will be days like today, that will get us through the mess of the other days when we are "off"

i am proud of you. you are a joy. you are a gift. you are one of my greatest delights. and i am SO proud to be your mom.

i love you peanut.

Sunday, September 04, 2011


a little short slideshow...nuthin' fancy :)

maverick was born on may 12, 2010....14 years to the day that his big brother was born....
it is a very special day for this momma. my first and my last baby born on the same day. that doesn't happen very often. we had been so worried that our new little man would come on a day that might keep me from being able to celebrate chandlers birthday and also have me laid up in the hospital while he has his 8th grade graduation from middle school. the thought of that was just so hard for me to be ok with. of course, God had it under control
 (i have found that he usually does, if we would just stop and allow it). on the morning of the 12th we went to the amazing Dr Beverly Wood and begged her to let us have this baby today. she said that ONLY if i was dialated and that she felt good about it, she would consider it.  i crossed my fingers and willed my "girls parts" to do what they were supposed to do...actually i may have threatened them, that's beside the point. DR checked and indeed my pep talk worked--- DR  "wanna meet back at 1 to have this baby?"  ---me, "is the pope catholic?!?! let's do this!"

we got in the elevator, squealed, and began calling all of our people to let them know what was fixing to happen.  since it was ALSO chandlers bday, we had promised to come eat with him at school and bring his favorite lunch....instead we got him out of class for the day, took him to out to eat for birthday lunch (at chili's of course) and straight  back to the hospital. 

having a baby by c-section is a WHOLE differnt game. it's very calm and easy. no huge dramas. the family is all there in the room when we wheeled out in our gowns and hats. and wait there until we come back with our new bundle of love.

as soon as they wheel me into the delivery room (alone, they call for randy later) i am freezing. it is so cold you can hardly stand it. between that and my nerves, i laid there shaking like leaves on a tree...almost uncontrolable (which was embarassing). getting an epidural while shaking like your in an earthquke is no fun. but they did it, cause they were great and amazing...then that darn sheet goes up. i know it is to protect me from something that would be sure to scar me for life, but i am dying to know what's going on down there. finally randy is in and at my side. tells me that he loves me and that he's proud of me. and then he does what only any good "Cheeks" man does-small talk and chatter with the staff. sheesh. this makes me crazy. DON'T DISTRACRT THE PROFESSIONALS THAT HAVE YOUR WIFE CUT OPEN IN HALF!!!!! it will make your wife feel better if everyone is paying attention to their job. (just a little advice to those who may need it) and then just like that after a little pulling, and stretching, and discomfort, and wierdness, your baby's face appears over that white sheet like magic and everything changes right that second. i have another new baby, and my heart just filled with so much love and joy, i worry that it may explode and they will have to admit me a as a cardiac patient.   bliss.

randy takes my new tiny man down the hall and to our room where his already adoring fans wait for his debut, i stay in that cold room and thank the drs, nurses, and God for making this go well and taking the best care of me they could. and then i close my eyes and take it all in....i thank God for my new little guy, for the big brother and sister, i pray for my marriage and that we can be strong for our children and teach them to honor Him. i praise HIM for his grace and mercies that pour over me. thank him for another chance at the life that i had always dreamed of. 

then i make the ride back to my room and i just lay there in my bed and watch. i watch how randy shows him off to all of our guests, how chandler BEAMS when he sees and holds his birthday buddy, sterling fascintated by his tiny nose, how he is introduced to his fantastic grandparents, how the nurses and technicians come in and out,  new people are arriving , i listen to the ooooh's and ahhhhh's and laughter---it's music that reaches down to the very depths of my soul. these are the moments that i will never forget  the rest of my life. sitting and watching those that i love experience and rejoice over the birth of my new baby. my cup runneth over.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

cheeks, party of 5

these were our first "family" pictures with all 5 of us.  they were so fun.
this session, i finally took my own advice...
as a photographer, i always tell people to NOT stress out about what they wear,
the location, or to over think it. when our sweet photographer, Karyn Kelbaugh
showed up to our front door. i was LITERALLY in my pajamas still, the babies asleep 
in their beds (with not a clue as to what we were wearing),
 and i had NO idea where we would go to do the shoot.
clearly, i had taken the "don't over think it to a new level"
we threw on some clothes (whatever they wanted to wear-nothing "matched")
and headed to our back yard that was full of dead grass, branches, and nothing pretty-
when were done there, we headed up the street to a train track, unsure of what would be there.
this was the most relaxed, un-stressful, and fun family shoot ever. 
no tears, no crying, no fighting, no eye rolling...nothing.
and the result-was a set of images that beautifully reflect each member of my 
family and each of their precious personalities. 
i love them. they will forever be treasured.

when i look at these pictures, i am overwhelmed by how much i love the people in them.
that THIS is actually MY family...and i can't believe that they are mine.
i can't believe that God for some reason, saw it fit to let me have them. 

this is maverick kirby------
he is 6 months old. he is happy. he loves to suck his left thumb, loves it.
his eyes are the most beautiful blue i have ever stared into. 
i want to soak him up with a biscuit and gobble him up. 
he is was a precious and treasured surprise 5th member of our family.

sterling maye-------
she is 2, and all that comes with it. she is a MESS that you can't help but love.
she is silly, but at times super shy and clingy (which i kinda love).
she has personality beyond her years.  she is ornery. she is beautiful.
she calls her brothers "bubba" (chandler) and "buddy" (maverick) and 
is quick to correct you if you interchange their "names."
and she thinks they are both fabulous.

chandler garrett------
he is 14 and a freshman in high school (i have no idea when this happened)
he is smart. he is funny. i enjoy just hanging out with him and listening to 
his opinions of the world around him. he's super talented and creative.
he thinks his parents are embarrassing, but secretly he thinks we are hysterically funny...
at least that's what i tell myself. i totally have a crush on him and think he's fabulous!

randy & tomi-----
he's my hero. i am a crazy nut case. he's smart and a hard worker.
i am a photographer and mom and a wife. 
he loves his job (regional director of operations for a really great long term care company).
he loves to hunt. i love road trips with just he and i. we make each other laugh.

 i love how they play together. it sends me to the moon to watch them and makes me super happy!

she wears these wings every where. and i can barely stand the cuteness. 

 someday we are gonna be best friends....after she's a teenager. :)

oooh. these 3. precious.

my boys. they share a birthday-14 years apart. 
the first and the last boys i will ever fall in love with.

randy is such a great dad. he is crazy about these kids and about me.
and that is one of the BEST feelings in the whole world!