Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lerch Life: Reflecting on 2016, Nora Edition


Another year has come and gone.  Just like that.  It's it strange how time is relative.  As a child, the days seems to go so slowly as you are always looking forward to the next "special" day.  As a busy adult with a challenging career, lovely little human babe, and fun hobbies, I find that the days seem to fly by.  

So, here we are, the last day of 2016.

Just like every.single.year. 2016 was full of new challenges and countless blessings for the Lerch family.

Let's talk about our "little" Nora Lane.  Well, she's not so LITTLE anymore.  That is for sure.

What a GROWING year it has been for her!  I'm not just talking physical growing, although she still continues to be in the 90th percentile for her height (where she gets that DNA, I am not sure...)  2016 has been THE YEAR of her speech and communication EXPLOSION.

This was the year that she absolutely BLOOMED into the creative, hilarious, witty, and sweet as sugar little girl.  I truly believe all of these wonderful and unique qualities were just waiting to be shared with the world, and God decided that it was finally time to let her awesomeness out!

Nora accomplished so very much in this monumental year.  Here are just a few of the highlights!

*  She finished her first year of dance and performed on a stage for the first time as a cute little "penguin" (we had some tears at the end with the crowd clapping, but she powered through it)
* Finished her first full year of speech at RBES with Mrs. Eggemeyer (who she ADORED)
* She really started to COMMUNICATE for the first time (not just repeating what we would tell her)
* She showed us that she really could full on READ (I'm talking way beyond sight words)
* Started "real" preschool at Trinity Lutheran with Mrs. Ill and Ms. Angie (she LOVES her school and new friends so very much)
*  Started her second year of speech at RBES with her new teacher, Mrs. Poston (who is teaching her new techniques that are WORKING)
* She had her first vocal performance at Trinity for Thanksgiving and Christmas (she said she was PROUD of herself and so were we)
* Is FINALLY starting to produce her "S" sound through her mouth and not her nose (it's her toughest speech challenge)

This momma couldn't be any PROUDER of all Ms. Nora has accomplished this year.  It's never been an easy path, but what in life is, right?!  One thing is for sure.  Nora is LOVED and SUPPORTED more than she probably will ever know.  We will ALWAYS celebrate each an every accomplishment to its fullest because we are THANKFUL for each and every day with this little babe.

Even though we are ending 2016 with a sick little girl, I constantly remind myself that we have SOOOOO incredibly much to be thankful for.  Nora is a true gift from God, and through it all, she is the absolute light of our lives.

As Nora would say, "Adios 2016 and Hola to 2017"

Peace, love, and happy reflections on 2016


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sesame Street Live 2015


On Friday, Memaw, Pawpaw, Mommy, Daddy, and Nora Lane packed up and head to the Peabody Opera House to attend Nora's second Sesame Street Live experience.  Memaw knew that Nora would love to see "Sesames" as we call them, so she told Santa that live tickets would be just perfect for our little lady.  


Although it's hard to tell by the look on her face, we knew that Nora would love the songs, dancing, and best of all, the characters!  You see, Nora LOVES characters that she can see in books, in toys, on tv... everywhere!  Dave and I say that she must be able to make a "connection" with her toys.  HaHa!  She just so much like her momma, it amazes me.  Even though we went to SSL last year, we knew this would be the first time she actually recognized the characters on stage.



Before the show, we loaded up on the necessary Sesame Street gear, complete with a flashing Elmo light, mini plastic characters, Elmo/Cookie Monster balloon, and little stuffed Zoe (because she doesn't have a Zoe yet!).  Yes, we are those crazy people.  We have come to peace with it, so you can think it!





Nora is such an amazing little girl.  While we waited for the show, she played with her toys and was just perfect, like always.  Just looking at her sweet little face melts my heart.  We are so blessed to have been given her as our daughter!




As the show began, Nora had to take it all in for a few minutes.  She wasn't quite sure... Especially when the characters came down the aisles.  She wasn't scared, but it took her awhile to figure it all out.



Our seats were right on the aisle (good job, Memaw), so Nora got to "meet" Zoe, Grover, and Ernie.  Pretty cool!!


Overall, she LOVED the show.  By the second half, she was in the aisle jumping and exploring (as much as mommy would let her).


After the show the whole fam went to Delmar and ate at the famously yummy, Fitz's.  Nora got to eat her favorite, fried pickles, Memaws french fries, and delicious ice cream from Mommy's orange soda float.  Not really the most nutritious meal, but hey, at least she filled her belly.  That tends to be our thoughts lately.  Feeding a two year old isn't always the easiest...


All of the fun and food made for a WORN OUT little girl.  She handled the day like a champ!  She didn't fuss one bit, but as soon as Mommy gave her cuppie and blankeys, she was O-U-T!

What a great day with our little biscuit!

Peace, love, and precious memories...

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Future Mr. and Mrs. Kilongkilong

June 27th, 2015.  That's the big day for Marco and Kady.


It's hard to believe that the same "little" girl that I met all those years ago (she was in 8th grade-crazy, right?) is getting ready to begin a new chapter in her life with such an amazing young man.  It's been the family joke for like ever that Kady doesn't keep boys around for too long.  We all knew the truth though... she just hadn't found the RIGHT one yet!  Fate has a funny way of working out, and God put his master plan to work in bringing Kady and Marco together.  And now it's clear to see that Kady and Marco are truly made for each other, and we just couldn't be happier to welcome Marco to our family!


I love Kady not only as my sister-in-law, but also as a TRUE friend.  So, when she asked me to be her MATRON of honor (fancy words for old lady...hehe), I was honored!  I knew that I wouldn't get to photograph their big day, BUT she and Marco did ask me to shoot an engagement session at the same location where the wedding will take place.  Yay!!


K & M will be getting married at Chaumette Winery, which is located in the rural area outside of St. Genevieve, MO.  This area is GORGEOUS, and it's known for its wineries.  As I said on the trip down, "This is like the redneck version of the Napa Valley."  I know, I'm weird.  ANYWAYS... the venue is the bomb diggity!  Seriously, it's perfect.  To top it off, we had sunny skies and 50 degrees in January!


Perfect weather, perfect location, perfect couple!


We had such an AWESOME day!  We shot photos first, did a tasting of all the wedding food options, and then enjoyed some relaxation outside with a "few" bottles of wine.  Thank you, Kady and Marco for allowing me to take your photos.  Really, it was a fabulous day.


As much as I'd like to talk all day about how much I love my family (and future family), I'm sleepy after a long day at Sesame Street Live with Ms. Nora Lane.  I'll leave you with a few more photo shares of my favorites from the day.  I have to tell you though, every shot is a favorite because you can feel how much these two love each other.  









Kady and Marco, Dave, Nora, and I love you both very much and we just couldn't be any happier for you two!

Peace, love, and wedding bells...


Friday, January 9, 2015

OMG... It's been FOREVER (and a day)

Why hello there... Let me introduce myself.  I'm Stephanie.  Mother, wife, teacher, photographer, and aspiring (slow) runner.  Put all of these together, and this is the reason I haven't written in FOREVER (and a day).

Nora and Mommy @ Great Grandma Mary's Birthday Lunch
Where have I been?  Well, since you ask, here's the gist of it all.

Being Nora Lane's mommy has taken the majority of my time.  Nora is getting dangerously close to being 2 1/2 years old (already)!  She's an amazing little girl, but boy oh boy, she keeps me busy, busy, busy!  Who would have thought that my child would be one who literally never (EVER) stops moving?!?  We've learned that her body actually craves and needs movement, so our little bean is constantly on the go.  It's all good though.  We've started to figure out what works for her, like her favorite, the trampoline!  One things for sure, no matter how crazy (or busy) the day, my heart constantly tells me that I'm the luckiest mommy in the whole world because I have the most AMAZING little girl.

RBES 5th Grade Teachers in Their "Nice List" Tees

One of My Amazing Students Hard At Work In Science Class

Another important part of my day to day life is teaching.  I'm in my 8th year of teaching fifth grade at RBES.  I consider myself to be a professional educator, so therefore I take my career and commitment to my students extremely seriously.  I read, I research, I constantly am striving to be better for my students.  My personality does not allow me to settle or get to "comfy".  Add in high (and always increasing) curriculum standards, evaluation demands, law and regulation changes, and all the regular teacher "stuff"... that means another huge chunk of my time and energy is gone with the wind.

Mommy and Daddy Enjoying Our "Date Day" in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

Mommy, Daddy, and Nora Enjoying Family Time at the Park During Summer Break

Let's not forget about my darling husband, Dave.  Being a two teacher household gets a little crazy at times.  I know some people believe that we've got it made in the shade because of our "work hours".  Well, I'll tell you that we both are working everyday.  Sometimes I think we need days "off" work to actually get work done for when we are actually at work.  HaHa, does that make sense?  My husband is also a dedicated basketball coach, so when he's home with his girls, we love to spend our family time together doing a whole lot of nothing!  Some of my favorite family moments are those where we are playing and cuddling on the floor with our missy lou!  Thank goodness that Nora and I have our rock.  Even though I know he may not always feel it, he's the glue that holds our crazy together.

Mommy, Daddy, and Nora @ the Red Bud Parade

Nora's Face Says It All... "I LOVE Chick-Fil-A!"

One of the parts of my life that used to be take a lot of my time that I've recently put on the back burner is photography.  I knew at the end of the summer that it was time to give up shooting for others... at least for awhile.  My head was constantly spinning and the overwhelming feeling took over.  The craziness of life took over, and I just wasn't happy when I was shooting.  For my own happiness (and sanity), I decided it was time for a break.  Life is feeling much more settled now, so hopefully sometime I'll feel like it's the right decision to come back to shooting.

Nora Can Rock The Mohawk

Well that's all for now.  I can't believe how good it feels to blog again.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll be back soon to share.  For now it's time for N's bath, which always proves to be an excellent form of entertainment!

Peace, love, and blogging,


Monday, February 17, 2014

17 Months on the 17th

This is our little princess, Nora's, favorite video right now...

I had to share because it describes our Nora perfectly.

Sweet & Just a Little Bit Sassy

Well today our little princess is 17 months old!  She is becoming such a special little girl.  I can't believe the journey our family has been on in the past 17 months.  Every moment has lead to today, and I wouldn't change anything one bit.  The love I have for this little girl continues to grow minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.

I can't imagine this world without her sweet little grin...

Elmo and Sesame Street now have a place in our hearts...

It's amazing how we look at the small things so differently now...

Where will these little feet take her in the future?

She has filled our home with so much love (and chaos at times) 

17 months ago, I had only been a mommy for a few hours.  Now, 17 months later, I can't remember what my life was like without my Nora.  I don't want to remember...

I know that I'm not a perfect mom, teacher, or wife.  I do know though that our amazing Nora Lane has made me better at all of my "jobs".  It's amazing how one little active red-headed girl can change all parts of my life.  I don't know how she does it, but she has changed all of our lives and won all of our hearts.  She is amazing in every way, and I am honored to have been chosen as her mama.

Love you, Nora Lane.  Happy 17 Months!!  Mommy and Daddy love you to the moon and back!

Peace, Love, and Princess Snuggles