Monday, November 29, 2010

Happiness Is...

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The "To Do" List is a bit overwhelming....it looks like ornaments exploded in the house, along with snowmen, dust bunnies, and knitting projects.  While taking a break from all of that I wanted to stop and reflect on the happiness in my life right now ~ fun and silly too!

two children who are happy and healthy
having a full and filled Thanksgiving weekend
trimming the house from top to bottom with Christmas joy
being "just about done" with my holiday shopping
being "not even close" with holiday gifts and projects:)
shopping days sans kiddos
anthropologie sale items
new boots for me, just because they were 50% off
giddy with excitement for Christmas morning
Bodo's everything bagels with veggie cream cheese enjoyed without kids
the "elf on a shelf" ~ he's the Best!!
Christmas cards that arrived and almost ready to be mailed out
picking just the right paper for wrapping Santa's gifts
having a Christmas movie night
an almost four year old boy who LOVES his gingerbread man pjs
two little teeth popping out of Ellie's smile
garland wrapped around our front porch
a superhero party coming up that is prepped and ready to roll
breakfast with Santa booked with friends in a few weeks
so so much more

off to tackle my huge pile of Christmas projects and attempt to get this house back in order after decorating for the Holidays!!

Tis the Season!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

For the Love of Photography

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Since I had Bradley I have become more and more in love with pictures and photography.  In 2008 Chris bought me my first Digital SLR camera.  I was hooked. I mean hooked.  I spent hours playing with my camera and trying to get better.  Last year Chris gave me a portrait lens and I think I have definitely improved slowly but surely.  Recently I have started to have people on facebook ask me about my pictures, or who was taking them.  When I told them it was me, they were surprised.  Some have started asking me to take pictures of their families for them.   Keep in mind, I am completely self taught, and at this point I do not use any editing software.  All of the photos I take on the blog have only been uploaded into Picasa.  The most re-touching they get are red-eye or some cropping.  I would LOVE to learn about Photoshop or Lightroom, but one, step at a time, right?!

This past week my good friend Sarah told me that she didn't have any pictures of her family together.  This made me so sad, the picture obsessed person that I am.  So I told her to grab some outfits and meet me at the local university campus to take some pictures on Saturday.  What an awesome experience for me.  I LOVED it!  I know , I know, I get on these kicks...stampin, stepping, exercising, crafting, blogging.  Most of my endeavors make Chris roll his eyes a bit, but he is always supportive.  This feels different, I know there is a passion there and maybe a future?  I just still have a lot to learn.  If the only thing I learned from taking pictures of Sarah's family is how much I love photography then so be it.  But, I would love to continue with this passion and see where it leads me.  Enjoy...

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Sarah is one of the first friends I made when I moved here almost five years ago.  We were both at a stampin' up party (imagine that?!) and were sitting at the same table.  I thought I recognized her from college, and we figured out that we majored from the same school so we probably had some classes together.  It is such a small world.  Sarah has been such a supportive friend.  She was great when I had Bradley, and always so encouraging on the phone with me as a new mom.  She knew how long we struggled to get Ellie.  She was actually pregnant with Lexi and didn't say anything about it when I called her to tell her I was pregnant.  She was so excited, full of questions, and truly happy for Chris and I.  It wasn't until weeks later that she told me that she was also pregnant, but didn't want to take away from my moment.  Wow, you know you have found a real jem of a friend for them to cheer you on from the sidelines, when they are also feeling the same excitement and joy that you are.  Thank you Sarah for always being there, and I hope someday I can make you feel just as special!  

I loved getting to see Sarah and Evan with the kids.  They were great, and Lexi is a ham.  She hung in there while we sat her in different places and screamed and shouted for her to look at the camera.  Can you believe all of her hair?  It is that perfect baby softness too.  I love that!  I can't help but love the pictures of Evan and Sarah together, they just seem so happy.  I know they probably think I am cheesy, but once you have kids you never get your picture taken.  We were all laughing by the end of the shoot! 


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I love the pictures of Sarah laughing!  She has the best laugh and is the sweetest person.  I only wish we lived a weee bit closer.  We used to drag our kids to a little coffee shop every Tuesday to meet up and drink coffee.  Bradley was still a baby and her son was in preschool.  Now she has two kids in school all day and is busier than ever.  We still got together a lot, but since Lexi and Ellie were born things have gotten a bit trickier!  The photo shoot was definitely a treat!!
 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

If At First You Don't Succed, Try, Try, and Try...

An attempt at Christmas card photos...this is our story

change diaper
get children dressed
drive to pond
walk through grass and path with whining four year old
find a good spot to take pictures and...

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"tooooo bright mom"
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"hmmm, let's eat this grass!"


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finally find a better spot, but the grass is still yummy according to ellie


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one child is looking adorable and smiling, the other not so much


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hmmmm, maybe I should accessorize and give them a leaf to play with instead of grass?  cute pictures, but I want to see their adorable faces!

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maybe is they lay down I will get the shot I am looking for...?

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I just don't think my plan is working!

someone really wants the grass again, and someone bigger is trying to stop her...

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maybe I will try just individual shots...that's better!

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The best shots ended up back at the house in the front yard with the help of Daddy acting crazy and a container of pez candies...i think we have a winner!

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Feeling The Love

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You have to love sweet Uncles and Aunts who make the trip to visit your kids while running their own companies and working two jobs.  Uncle Shawn and Aunt Rebecca are always a bit hit in this neck of the woods.  They came down last weekend to play, visit, and soak in some yummy baby chubbiness.  We played in the basement.  We played doctor, football, made some cards, and even squeezed in a little Hokie football.  It was a quick visit, but perfect because we are going to see them soon for Turkey Day. 

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I am totally in love with this picture!  Two cuties!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Guess It is Possible?!

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My best-ist mama friend, Cali had her baby Haven a few weeks ago. With her hubby out of town, I asked her if I could watch the kiddos for the day. It was a sight to see, me pulling away from her house with four kids in the car.  Amalie in the way back, Larken sandwiched between Ellie and Bradley. We trucked down the interstate talking about addresses and if we lived in Africa. The day was a blur, wow, four children is a lot. Cali and I were talking about how it could be possible to have twins, larken and bradley, a two and a half year old, Amalie, and a baby. Moms have the craziest jobs in the world!  We had a blast together, lots of playing with "boy toys" like...

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baseball!!

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Then some crafts were in order...do you remember these iron peg crafts?  I did them as a kid and Bradley loves them!

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Then off to take the jeep for a spin

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Wow, time flies.  I remember Cali and I walking our old neighborhood with Larken and Bradley as babies.  Just brand new moms trying to figure this all out.  Now we have five kids between the two of us!  They are growing up fast!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Naptime Novels Goes Viral

Before I talk about going viral I wanted to mention that a little somebody woke up on Monday morning with the beginning of her first bottom tooth poking through.  She was in pain in the morning, but has handled it fine since then!  What a rock star!

We have finally gotten into the 21st Century, and by that I mean we purchased a Kodak Flip Video Camera...we actually got the sport one, and I really like it! After spending hour upon hour for a few days transferring all of my video of Bradley from those annoying little tapes to an actual DVD we can watch I decided I was DONE with our old camera. I am loving how quick and easy the Kodak Flip is, and without further ado...


I know you are so excited...


more and more stuff about my kids...


Bradley riding his bike!!!!!!!



In other news I am still LOVING my knitting class.  I have enough projects lined up to keep my hands busy for the next few months, but I am hoping some of it gets done by Christmas.  Once I master all of these gifts I am making a cable knit scarf for myself, and then a million knit toys and hats and booties for Ellie and Bradley.  This is the best knitting book with so many fun ideas for knit toys.  I want to make one of everything in the entire book.  Without giving too much away, here are some of the yarns for my projects!!!!!!!!!!

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I have also decided to stop using my cleaning people.  We used to have cleaners come every other week in our old house.  It was just too much for me to handle by myself.  But, I am feeling like our new house is more doable.  So, starting every other Monday will be my designated cleaning day (I like the whole house to be clean at the same time...totally OCD).  It took me a good majority of the day yesterday, and I had to vacuum the basement today, but I did it!  And I feel like I did such a better job than the cleaners anyway...getting all of the baseboards, mopping the floors, washing all of the bathmats, oh how I love a sparkling home!

So much other stuff to blog about, I need to get busy!!  Babysitting four children, birthday parties,  family visits...off to upload photos! My cleaning day is throwing me off of my blogging game, lol!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Post You Have Been Waiting For...Projects Revealed!!!

I felt like a crazy lady, hunched over the sewing machine for the past week night after night, but finally they are all finished....

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the superhero capes, being modeled by Bradley!  They were actually a lot of fun to work on, and helped me really learn how to sew basic straight stitching.  I wouldn't have been able to finish it without my Mom, thanks Mom!!  First she helped me make one cape so I could figure out what I was doing (and learn how to work the sewing machine!!!) Then she came over on Sunday with her awesome sewing machine and zig zag stitched around every star and every letter.  We were a little sewing team!!! 

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Another project I just finished are these gloves I made for Bradley.  They were so simple!  I bought the gloves and hat from Old Navy, and then sewed on the felt shark fins, eyes, and rick rack for the mouth.  Bradley has worn them to school a bunch of times.  I also purchased a red set of gloves that I am turning into a dragon.  For Christmas I bought some pink sets that I am going to make for our friends.  Not sure what I will do with those...any ideas?  I was thinking butterflies or flowers??  FYI, I waited for these fleece sets to go on sale, and they were on $6 for the gloves and hat!

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I saw these "Blessing Rings" on a blog recently and I decided I HAD to make them.  They are SO easy, and I have been wondering what to do with all of the kids cards they received.  Just hole punch the edge of the card and slip in on a  large sized binder ring.  Then I just tied different colored ribbon every once in a while to spice them up!  I made them a little different than the ones I saw by adding their initial out of wood to the front of the ring.  I just bought the wooden initials at the craft store, painted them, and taaa daaa!!  You are done!  I also made a family blessing ring with Christmas cards, but I forgot to snap a picture of it.

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Originally I bought a bunch of burlap to make a cork board (see below).  But I had a lot of leftover burlap, and it is super cheap.  Since I getting more confident with my sewing skills, I zipped it through the sewing machine and tied some ribbons to the end to leave them a little frayed looking....what do you think?  I love it! 

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I didn't make this chalkboard, I bought it from Etsy, just had to share it with you!  It matches the kitchen cabinets, and is perfect for sweet little notes.  Gobble, gobble!

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I was inspired by this burlap cork board I saw in the Pottery Barn catalog.  It looked so simple, and I decided that I could make it with Chris' help.  We just took a regular cork board and covered it up with burlap.  So fun!!  I love the way it looks in my office craft space....makes me feel inspired!

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I guess Bradley has been getting in on my crafting action.  He came up with this dog bed idea himself.  He took this old box and asked us to cut a door in it.  After some decorating, it became "Hershey's Dog Bed."


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Doesn't she look comfy??
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My mom and I went to our first knitting class on Monday night.  It was really fun!  I am making a knit hat for Ellie, yay!  I can't wait to learn more:)