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.
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.
I’m finally getting around to blogging awesome photo shoots from last fall. Hooray! Nothing like a delayed posting to get through the final days of winter. So here’s a little happy for everyone!
The Wittmanns are some of my favorite clients because their kids are hilarious and love to pose for my camera. We have our own rhythm, one that leaves me breathless because, as you can see, they keep adding kids to their posse. Precious baby Betty—included here in utero—came along in November, so you’ll have to wait until Fall 2015 to see her sweet mug here.
We moved around the country as I grew up but landed permanently in Nebraska when I started junior high school. So much of who I am is molded by those moves. I think I am still surprised with delight by the fact that I’ve called Lincoln homebase for the last 24 years now. One of the joys of staying put is getting to see families—particularly families at Zion and Redeemer—get older and start new little families of their own. Such is the case with the Grossmans.
I remember babysitting Caitlin and Lucas one time and, for some reason, I recall most breaking a pot when Caitlin and I tried to make something in the kitchen. Caitlin was also there when Jeremy and I began to fall in love as youth leaders at the old Covenant Pres (where Grace Chapel resides now). Seeing both Caitlin and Lucas grow older, get married and have children is a beautiful thing. Thanks for inviting me to your family time last fall, Christy! You all are wonderful.
I took Shiloh, our 6 year old Coton de Tulear, to visit his veterinarian the other day. Since we’ve been fostering, I haven’t been on top of many smallish matters of life, so Shiloh was a bit late on his vaccinations. On the phone the receptionist told me to bring in a stool sample. O-kay. All day long I stayed glued to the bathroom activities of the dog—super fun, let me tell you—and finally at dusk his little dog body hunched in that familiar pose. I ran for a plastic baggy and when I came back? He was eagerly waiting at the door to be let in.
Have you ever seen a person act oddly in their yard or out on the street? You wonder what in the world they could be doing? Well, that was me that evening. Not only was the sun well on its way past the horizon but the yard was covered in small patches of snow, thus turning this experience into a real life Where’s Waldo with dog poop. I like to imagine the neighbors saying, “Honey, come see this! What in the world do you think she’s doing??” Because there I was, iPhone held high like a torch shining down on the ground with its capable flashlight app, making circles in the yard. I couldn’t have had more intensity in my pursuit if I had dropped my engagement ring. And you know what? I was successful. I WON! I won the, um, stool sample award? Yeah. Who’s keeping tabs on my awesomeness?
So yesterday was another moment like this one, except more gratifying because there was an end product and less humiliating because it didn’t involve poop. As many of you know I frequently collaborate with Maralee Bradley on columns both for her blog and for Her View from Home. Sometimes Maralee will come to me with a specific need, but more often it involves general ideas and I get to figure out what it is we’re looking for in terms of art. (My favorite example of this was when Maralee and I both received new foster children in a matter of days. She literally ran into my house and mumbled something like, “Now Hulk likes them, now Hulk doesn’t” and that was it. Somehow we made it work and it was one of my favorite shoots because I got to play with toys like a kid.)
I knew Maralee was looking for images of plants pushing their way through snow as they come up in the spring. After searching my archives and coming up with nothing, I went exploring. In the snow. And the wind. In the snowy wind. Snow rarely ever delicately floats to the ground in Nebraska; it usually comes down in a sideways driving-rain kind of maneuver, only it was driving frozen bits flying into my eyeballs. So again, were the neighbors wondering what in the world was going on with Mrs. Tredway yesterday? Kneeling on a plastic Trader Joe’s tote bag, I dug through the dirt and dried hosta leaves and found green gold. There it was: Spring making its way through Winter. Spring! It’s coming. Doesn’t matter that we were having a mini-blizzard on the last day of February or that snow is frozen in large patches on the sunken part of our front yard. Doesn’t matter that we’re still donning hats and mittens to run errands or that my snow boots are encrusted in salt from so many days of winter wear. Spring is coming.
I should’ve gotten on my hands and knees earlier. No matter what the neighbors might say.
There’s no greater privilege for me as a photographer than to shoot a labor. It’s a phenomenal thing to witness the birth of a child! Since Maralee posted a few images on Facebook, I thought I’d let a few photos tell the story of the birth of her youngest, big-little Theodore.
Nurturing in the Tredway household comes in all forms, including this sprouting carrot. Jeremy saved it and Liv has great plans for planting. Spring, come soon! We long to see more growing things.
1) Arranging snow removal prior to a snowfall is probably the wisest way to go because…
2) Scooping snow after paying thousands of dollars for elbow surgeries at Mayo is really not wise.
3) Also not wise? Scooping snow with a back that has suffered a herniated disc.
4) Not all snowfalls are equal, however, so it was feasible for three Tredways to conquer the driveway and walks after the second snowfall last week.
5) As much as I love sunshine and warm temps, snow is so beautiful and peaceful and I love snuggling up at home with my family safe at my side.
6) My ten year old is now old enough to wear my long johns and, if needs be, my winter coat. When did this happen??
7) The Baby liked eating the snow that fell in the house when I opened the back door. So glad he could finally enjoy the tidbits off the floor for once.
8) If you don’t shovel a path to the yard, your small dog will happily do his business on the patio. Or so I’ve heard. Rumors really.
9) Much of our snow melted over the weekend. New England friends, my heart goes out to you! Spring will come eventually.