Spring Affair 2015

The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum hosts this fundraising event every year, and this year Renae Morehead and I had the privilege of photographing it. Plants, photography and Renae on a Friday night? I daresay it doesn’t get better than that. Extra kudos go out to Christina Hoyt who spearheaded the event! Well done, friend! Thanks for inviting us to take part in it.








Thoughts on Having the Last Baby


After Baby Boy came to our house last summer, I began to embrace the idea that this was our last baby. As he grew out of items like the infant bathtub or changing table pad, I passed them off. I gave away the infant carseat. My house appreciated the decluttering, but so did my mind. Making a decision to not have any more babies was simple to make as we had a baby living with us. With a full heart and full arms, I was satisfied.

As it turns out, deciding when your family is complete is a thought process every set of parents has to go through. Whether it’s considered at age 37 or 47, it’s part of living really. Jeremy and I hold loosely to our plans but we make them nonetheless. We’re aware that God is the Author of our story, so if he calls us to be parents to a new baby in a few years, well then, that’s what we’ll do. I have a long-running joke (nightmare) that I’m going to have a Tami Taylor baby, which means we’ll magically procreate a little punkin when Livia turns 16. Don’t laugh; I can totally see that happening, can’t you??!

In the depths of parenting a very busy early walker, I fantasized about having time to myself. Small children can be SO busy—ours certainly was—and time alone was so very limited. Taking a shower felt fairly epic and not at all mundane, and having lunch with a friend became a test of wills and patience as little hands grabbed at our food and threw his own Cheerios on the floor. I kept meaning to make a list of things I’d enjoy doing once he was gone. Though I never did, I’m still amazed at how easy it is to prepare dinner for three instead of three plus a baby. My evenings are now much more relaxed with no visitation workers dropping by twice every night, no baby needing bedtime prep, and would you look at all that free time in which I can shower! Amazing really. We took dessert to a friend’s house a few weeks ago and sat with them until long after the sun set while my big kid entertained herself. Life without a baby has felt remarkably free of time constraints!

In the days after the Baby’s reunification, our friend Sarah and her daughter Rosie came to visit town. Rosie is half a year older than Baby Boy but her very presence reminds me the sweetness of having a little person around. As I prep dinner she squeezes her body between me and the countertop. She says “hold you” and puts her arms up so I can grab her. She sits nicely on my hip and is a gentle hugger. She’s excited to see me (“Bucka!”) and her laughter is infectious. Jeremy and I hear her voice and smile at each other—that’s how cute she is.

The reasons for not having any more babies holds firm. I still have old lady elbows that aren’t going to miraculously heal themselves. We’re now 37 and 44, for anyone who’s keeping track, and that’s on the older side to start over with an infant. And perhaps the biggest reason of all, our daughter turns 11 this week. While she’s a fantastic big sister, the age gap of 10-11 years is nothing to sneeze at. The last nine months we’ve often operated as two families… The daytime grouping of mom + baby while Liv was at school and the evening pairing of mom + big kid while Baby was at visits.

As I work through the emotions of reunification—happy, sad, up and down, back and forth—I am realizing that I’m also grieving this life milestone of having the last baby. It’s a weird one, I can’t say otherwise! But even as I see the end of our family-building years as it pertains to babies (big kids are another matter entirely) I know there are always children for me to love. I’m still a foster mom and goodness knows this world is full of children who need a bit more loving. I have nieces and nephews and I have millions of children at church to enjoy. Literally millions. (Redeemerites love them babies!) I want to be a woman who nurtures children well throughout the rest of my years and I’m reminded that I don’t have to be their mother to do that.

The Magic Frog


Story by Livia Tredway
Collaborative editing by Livia & Rebecca Tredway

Long ago when frogs were magic there lived a frog named Alex. He lived in a puddle and if you caught him he would grant you three wishes. Now our story begins.

One rainy day there was a little girl named Melissa who loved splashing in puddles. She found a really big puddle and wanted to splash in it. A strange croaky voice called out, “You may not jump in this puddle, little one, for it is magic and it is my home.”

Alex the Frog hopped out of the puddle. Melissa, surprised, asked curiously, “What are you doing in this shallow puddle?”

Alex said, “I’m not a normal frog for I can talk and I am magic. This puddle is magic, too. That is why it’s my home. My name is Alex.”

Melissa said, “Oh, I’m sorry, Alex. I did not know that it was your home. I thought it was a normal puddle.”

Alex was indignant. “Why I never! This is a very SPECIAL puddle and if you catch me I’ll grant you three wishes.”

Melissa said, “That would be nice!” She bent down and gently scooped up the frog.

“Now I shall grant you three wishes,” said Alex the Frog.

“Let me think,” Melissa murmured to herself. And then out loud she said, “I wish that you could be my best friend. I have always wanted to be friends with a frog!”

“Wish granted,” Alex croaked.

Melissa smiled sweetly and exclaimed, “Yay! Now I have a new friend!” She tenderly patted him on the head.

Alex sadly croaked, “I never had a friend before. Melissa, can you teach me how to be a friend?”

“Sure, poor Alex! Well, I guess I’m your first friend!” And they both laughed and played together for a while.

Then Alex paused and said, “It’s time for me to grant your second wish.”

Melissa realized she liked having a frog friend but wanted him to stay with her in her own home. “I wish you could be with me forever,” she said.

“Wish gladly granted!” And then Alex asked, “Where am I going to stay?”

Melissa laughed, “Come with me, silly.” Alex hopped onto her curly red hair and curiously croaked, “Where are we going, little one?”

“To my home,” she replied happily.

At home, Melissa prepared a cozy bowl with a little bed for her frog friend Alex.

He said, “No one has ever been this nice to me before. They just thought I was a gross and disgusting slimy frog.”

She patted him gently on the head and said, “I like having a frog for a friend.”

“That’s the nicest thing anybody ever said to me,” Alex croaked happily.

“Well, you are my best friend and I love you,” Melissa said.

Then Alex pointed out, “If you want me to grant your third wish I can now.” But she said, “No, I don’t need anymore wishes. My wish is right here with me.”

Alex thought to himself that Melissa was the sweetest girl in the world.

Melissa told him, “Our friendship is my most treasured possession!” She swooped down and kissed him right on the lips. Alex blushed a little and then they both laughed.

This is the story of the frog and the girl who loved him.

The end.

Tree Buds & Flowers




The Last Baby

I was going to type “The Baby” and then injected “Last.” Wow, that sounds kind of intense! But really, I think this will be the last small nugget we foster around here. There are loads of reasons why, but you have to take me to lunch to hear them all.

So I’m going to show you some pictures, okay? Because this baby boy is SO DANG CUTE. Boy, blog, have you missed out. Ready?

Here’s a shot of him climbing into an extra carseat in our living room. Isn’t he funny? Can you tell he’s proud of himself for conquering it?

Here’s another. He’s towering over the dog, who has his ears back as he wonders if the Baby will squash him. Baby is a solid 10 pounds heavier than Shiloh, and as you can see in this shot all those pounds are in his tummy.

Oh and this one! He’s chugging a sippy cup of milk. In a minute he’s going to throw it down the hallway. Cute. And strong. Never forget, this boy likes to throw things!

Oh and this one kills me. See him all cuddled up in Jeremy’s arms? The boys. They do love each other. The Baby hasn’t always liked to cuddle, but now he does. Every single time Jeremy walks in the room the Baby expects a daddy snuggle. Man, what that does to a woman’s heart!

Did you enjoy my foster baby photo album? I hope so. I’m sorry if this was confusing to you! Foster babies—though real flesh and blood—are pretty much invisible online. You can imagine how fun that is for a photographer mom, right?

A Love of Mud


If we could throw off convention, if we could dismiss the need for schedules and cleanliness, then my child would spend all day outdoors digging holes and making mud houses and capturing little critters that live in the soil and in the water. Lord, why did you not make us farmers? Alas, we don’t have what it takes physically to work on the land and frankly I don’t have what it takes to live far away from neighbors. So here we dwell in the city, suburbia to be specific as we can no longer keep up with an old house. But you know what? Even in this neighborhood of houses that sit side by side and in this area of yards that are so neatly maintained, my child finds what delights her.

Last week this girl was done—DONE!—after a day of obeying a school schedule. She walked out the back door and was gone for almost two hours. I knew where she was the whole time, but you can bet I didn’t let her know I was keeping an eye on her. She sat under some trees, contentedly playing by a little stream of water that serves as a runoff culvert during storms. She had pulled herself out of her funk by digging in the mud and applying it gracefully to her forearms and boots. I can’t pretend I was thrilled with this. All the things that go through a mother’s mind definitely went through mine: Ask first to play in the mud! Don’t track dirt in the house! Now you need a bath! So on and so forth. But goodness, this kid was made for the mud. She was built to dig her fingers into the dirt, to garden, to create, to feel, to play.

If I had a farm, I would give it to her. As it is, I can let her roam and be free when the opportunity arises. And then I can always photograph the results.







The Springly Springing of Spring


Baby Seats & the Foster CARE Closet


It looks like a theater for the toddler set in my living room. Five convertible carseats face my coffee table, marked and waiting for foster families from my foster mom support group to come pick them up. You see, I have the luxury of serving as a foster parent in Lincoln, Nebraska, which means that I can utilize the Foster Care Closet. It is my understanding that the typical foster family in the United States has to run out and buy new clothes—and everything else a kid might need—every time a new child comes through their doors. But in Lincoln we’re blessed with the Foster Care Closet, which means we can get five sets of clothing, diapers, winter coats, carseats, strollers and other miscellaneous items for FREE when a child enters our home.

Leigh Esau is the big heart and hard worker behind the Closet, which she began in her basement. Leigh’s got a fascinating story all her own. She has not only opened up her doors to foster children in Nebraska, but she’s adopted several as well. Her passion for children is now funneled into the Foster Care Closet where she and other works do their very best to serve kids in the system.

Today I don’t have to buy a carseat for our always-growing foster son. And neither do 12 other members of our foster support group. What a HUGE blessing this is to our families! Our foster children can ride safely in our cars and we don’t have to bear this financial burden as we seek to love these kiddos who need an extra doses of safety, permanency and security.

The Foster Care Closet is looking for folks to partner with them to the tune of $120 a year. This could be a one-time gift, or it could come in the form of $10 each month (aka two Starbucks lattes). Every bit of money that goes to the Closet will help support the needs of children who are wards of the state. Not everyone is called to have extra kiddos come live in their homes, but certainly there’s something each of us can do to help the children in our own cities. Supporting the Foster Care Closet is just one awesome way you can help.

Foster CARE Closet
643 S. 25th St. Ste 8
Lincoln, NE 68510


*Mention my name when you make a donation and… I’ll be really proud of you. Yeah, nothing else will happen.

Roses from My Love


This big bouquet of beautiful sat on my dining room table for a few weeks making me pretty darn happy. Thanks, Jeremy. You know how I like to be loved.