Thursday, April 29, 2010

Photo Mosaic

Pixable has a great deal going on right now for a photo mosaic. I ordered a 11x17 print for under $6 (including shipping)! Thanks Carrie from Pocket Your Dollars for pointing out this great deal! (go to her site and search "pixable" for the code)

This was a perfect way to use 100 photos from all of our visits to the arboretum over the years. Every single picture in the mosaic was taken at some point in the past three years we've been taking spring portraits by the crab apple trees. I think making a mosaic from a bunch of vacation photos would be fun too, but we never go on vacation so that won't work for us - but maybe for you? Let me know if you make a mosaic - I'd love to see it!

Alphabitty Moments - The letter Y

She was seven months old when she discovered the little yellow flowers that dot our yard each summer.

She's not the only one in our family who likes dandelions. I actually like them too - though I'll admit it's mostly because my kids enjoy picking them so much.

(Left) April 2010 -----(Right) May 2009

Little yellow flowers picked by little hands....some day I won't have Tupperware cups of dandelions on my kitchen I'll savor them while I can!

Thinking about joining the Alphabitty Moments fun? Click here for more information on how to participate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

i heart smiles

especially the one my baby girl offers when she's posing for the camera.

Want to see more smiles entries? Click on the badge below to visit i heart faces contest for this week.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What's doin' the bloomin'?

We have a book by that name that we purchased back when we were park rangers for the National Park Service. We like to pull it out every Spring to learn a new plant or two. Just think - if you did that ever single year, how many you'd know without a whole lot of effort!

I love exploring in the woods with the kids and being able to name the plants for the kids. We record new things in our Nature 365 Journal and track the changing seasons. There's no doubt that Spring 2010 is warmer than average and the result is earlier blooms. Normally I don't take portraits of the kids by the crab apples until later in May like last year and the year before that.

This evening we armed ourselves with some bribes new garage sale toys, carob chips (healthier than chocolate chips) and a few outfits and headed off to see what was doin' the bloomin'....

Funny thing is, as pretty as the scenery was, I couldn't take my eyes off these two cuties!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Keeping it simple for today

Outside my is 65 and sunny. My favorite weather of all!
I am thinking...about what I'm going to wear to the baseball game in town.
I am thankful for...our new DSL line so I can work faster from the comfort of home.
From the kitchen...Nada. We're going to picnic at the park.
I am wearing...purple polka-dot pajama pants and a black tank top (hence the need to find something else to wear!)
I am creating...a CD from a recent photoshoot for a client
I am be done working before 4pm . Wahoo!!!
I am reading...Where is God by John Townsend
I am see lots of great pictures when I look through the 1500 I shot at the wedding on Saturday
I am hearing...the hum of my computer and the kids upstairs getting dressed.
Around the house...things look pretty good! I'm on a cleaning kick lately.
One of my favorite things...finding a coupon to use for a Blurb book order (didn't happen today unfortunately so I am now $160 poorer)
A few plans for the rest of the week: this post pretty much covers it

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...the getting-ready-for-the- wedding photos are some of the hardest ones for me to get because usually we in some dark church nursery with murals painted all over the walls. This time we were in the well lit fellowship hall and I was able to snap this one....

For more simple woman's daybook posts head here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Musings

* This April will go down in history as one of the best ever. The weather has been BEAUTIFUL for almost the e.n.t.i.r.e month! We've been able to enjoy seeing the park come to life right before our eyes. Last night on our walk down to Turtle Pond I noticed baby basswood leaves shimmering in the wind. Savoring the quiet beauty that is BearCountry is such a treat!!!

* Sam started soccer on Saturday. He was suppose to start last week but I plum forgot. (If you think that's bad - wait til you hear what I did to poor Julia at church yesterday!)
I photographed a wedding Saturday afternoon an hour away from home so I was only able to watch the first 20 minutes of soccer. It was a very very painful 20 minutes for this former soccer player to watch. I know we don't pay much for CommunityEducationSoccer, but it's quiet pathetic. In the first ten minutes of practice Sam touched the ball twice. He stood in line the rest of that time. Rather than split the 12 kids into two lines to shoot at both goals, they all stood in one line and waited and waited and when kids cut in line (which happened often) they waited some more.

Then they were told to pick a partner so they could pass the ball back and forth. These kids are 4 and 5 years old. They don't know how to pick a partner! Like I said, it was painful. They didn't do anything in practice that we couldn't do at home. I was really looking forward to Sam learning to play with a bunch of other kids, not how to stand in line.

It's my fault though, I missed the deadline for the more advanced team. So until Fall he's stuck at the preschool level. At least it will build his confidence and team spirit. "Our team scored 5 points Mommy!" he said excitedly. Bless his heart - HE scored all the goals by himself.

* Julia is constantly saying p**py and under*wear and then laughing uncontrollably. I have no idea why. Sam didn't' do this, though I think I heard somewhere that it's normal. I just hope this phase passes quickly!

* I got contacts on Friday. My eyes hate them. I wear them anyway so I can enjoy sunglasses. I've worn glasses every day for a year and not having to worry about the kids knocking them off is worth dry itchy eyes.

* I have become addicted to cleaning. I can't stop myself. I blame my new Dyson and the Norwex cleaning cloths I bought recently. I'll have to write a whole post about these products and another gem I found - they have been life changing. (Don't laugh. It's true!)

* My FIL turns 70 this week as my grandma turns 90. We are looking forward to birthday celebrations with both sides of our family later this week.

* We sent a letter to our church today. It was very hard to write and even harder to send.
We were married there and both our kids were baptized there so telling them we are switching churches was so sad since they've been our church home for a decade. It just got too hard to attend on a regular basis when we don't live in the same town anymore. We tried for two years to make it work, but we want to be more involved than our schedule allows for.

* I switched out clothes in the kid's dressers/closets. It's a huge project because they have to try on much of what is already in there drawers to determine if there's any chance that it'll fit in the Fall in addition to trying on all the Summer clothes from last year. In the case of Julia, 75% of her summer clothes don't fit. I guess three years is all I'm going to get out of those beloved dresses she's worn every summer of her life. Sam, on the other hand, still fits in 75% of his summer clothes. The pile of outgrown clothes that I've not-so-carefully mounded in Julia's closet is as tall as me. I miss being able to have a garage sale every year!

* Speaking of garage sales....this is the week of The Big One. There aren't as many things on my 'wish list' this year since I found SO many great deals last year, but there are enough to make it worth the hassle of traffic that comes with 150 garage sales in one town.

* Sometime in the past month Julia has acquired about 25 new freckles - all along the bridge of her nose. She didn't have them last Summer and if she got that many already this year I've deemed this summer, The Year of the SunHat. Is she too old for a bonnet like this? If so have you seen any cute ones for every day wear?

* And last but not mom fail of the we were getting back into the car after church on Sunday Julia made the comment that she didn't have any under*wear on. Now normally this would just her being silly and coming up with another reason to say her new favorite word, but my heart instantly stopped. When I took off her night time under*wear that morning I only had her dress and sweater in the room, not her daytime under*wear. I figured I should at least get her mostly dressed while I had her standing there. (She's a runner and likes to make getting dressed as much of a game as she can. Lucky me!) As most moms can attest to, I only had the final 15 minutes before we needed to leave to get myself ready so I got busy finding something presentable for church, completely forgetting to finish getting Julia dressed.

Her dress was long thank goodnesss! BUT she used the bathroom during Sunday School which means her teacher took her my three year old commando daughter to the bathroom.
*sigh* So much for making a good impression at our new church.

And on that note...I'll bid you all goodnight....Here's to a great (fully dressed!) rest of the week!

let them be little

Let Them Be Little*

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand.
You felt so good in it; no bigger than a minute.
How it amazes me you’re changin’ with every blink.
Faster than a flower blooms, they grow up all too soon.

So let them be little,
‘Cause they’re only that way for a while.
Give ‘em hope, give them praise,
Give them love every day.
Let ‘em cry, let ‘em giggle,
Let ‘em sleep in the middle,

Oh, but let them be little.

I never felt so much in one little tender touch.
I live for those kisses, your prayers an’ your wishes.
An’ now you’re teachin’ me how only a child can see.
Tonight, while we’re on our knees, all I ask is:

Please, let them be little,
‘Cause they’re only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give them praise,
Give them love every day.
Let ‘em cry, let ‘em giggle,
Let ‘em sleep in the middle,

Oh, but let them be little.

The so innocent, precious soul:

You turn around, an’ it’s time to let them go.

So let them be little,
‘Cause they’re only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give ‘em praise,
Give them love every day.
Let ‘em cry, let ‘em giggle,
Let them sleep in the middle,

Oh, but let them be little.

Let them be little.

(*Written by Billy Dean)

These photos were taken on January 29th - right in the thick of Sam not sleeping in his bed. Sometimes he could fall asleep in his bed, but every night for three months he'd make his way to our room before long. It would wake me up and make me crabby until I realized that as long as he crawled in without waking me, I didn't mind him sleeping in our bed.

When he'd have trouble falling asleep I'd let him crawl into our bed and it wouldn't take long before he was off in dreamland. I've always loved the words to this song and have no regrets about this regression in Sam's ability to sleep in his room. In the long run it doesn't matter how we get the sleep we need as long as we're getting it.

Eventually I put a crib mattress next to our bed and he'd crawl into a sleeping bag on the nights he woke in the middle of the night. During this three month stretch he only slept in his bed three times. Now that we figured out that he preferred to sleep on just the fitted sheet (similar to how he was in his crib) he's been sleeping in his bed for two weeks straight...until last night, but that's OK because as the song says, he's only this way for so long!

And if all he needs is to be close to me to sleep better, I'm OK with that!

For more Momentous Monday posts head over to Tiffany's blog...


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter X

We have lots of maps in our house. I'm a geography major after all. ( Just don't ask me to navigate using any of them!) They are of South American countries, the Inca Trail, National Parks, and of the Boundary Waters. They are stored in large pottery jars that flank our fireplace.

The kids love to pull them out and look at all the places that PapaBear and I have traveled over the years. They also love to sword fight with them, use them as guns, and use them as walking sticks - all activities that we discourage of course. least they are using their imaginations right? Some day our maps won't be torn and crumpled because of their childhood games. So I am trying to let up a little and let them use the maps more.

One of our favorite ways lately is to read the names of the lakes out loud. Kiwishiwi River? That names begs to be changed to Kawishi-wishi-wishy-washy. Makes them giggle every time. And that friends, hits the spot!

In the case of Julia's Alphabitty Moment's X marks the spot.

Now it's your turn! What X word do YOU want to remember about your children? Don't want to jump on board at the end of the alphabet? That's OK too - we'll be starting back at the beginning of the alphabet real soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday's Walk - 6 months at a time

I do my very best to make the most of every day with my kids. Celebrating half birthdays is just one of the ways we do that. Way back in 2007 we celebrated Sam's very first half birthday by going out to eat. In 2008 we were preparing for the big move to BearCountry during April so we celebrated half birthdays in the new house...on the floor, with picnics.

Look how big my baby boy is now! His smile melts my heart and makes me want to wrap my arms around him forever. He wouldn't mind and has even told me that he wants to snuggle forever. He's my sensitive one, my thinker, my builder, my teaser.

He looks at me with his dark blue eyes and all I see is love. He is sweet, kind, considerate, and long as he's gotten enough sleep. In need of a nap and then it's a whole new ballgame.

He's grown two inches since his 5th birthday back in October. He's worn at least a dozen holes in his pants. He doesn't like veggies much anymore, but will eat them S.L.O.W.L.Y if it means he gets to have a treat.

He loves to read his Bible and talk about Jesus. I love hearing him relate something he learned at school to a situation. He loves Star Wars (even though he can't watch the movies anymore because of nightmares), Legos, Dinosaurs (STILL after a YEAR!), candy, Land Before Time movies, baseball, soccer, and tackling with daddy.

Sam I am so blessed to have you for a son. I love you to the angels and back baby boy!

I love your heart, your zest for life, and your smiles...all of them!

For more Wednesday's Walk posts head over to Jenilee's blog....

Wordless Wednesday - Cheers!

Wordless Wednesday - Cheers!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Five and a half years of sweat loving from this son of ours. We are blessed. More pictures to come from his half birthday photoshoot, but for now I'm off to enjoy the rest of the day with my family! Hope YOU are having a great day too!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Rainbow Train

Friends from church gave us a set of Tupperwear stencils. I had some as a kid and loved them. Now my kids have had the pleasure of creating masterpieces with a set of their own.

They come in a great carrying case that holds crayons too.

Julia likes LOTS of color in her pictures. Lots and lots of it. One day this past winter (1/18/10) I sat and watched her while she worked on a picture.

She asked me to make her a train from the stencils, but after that she took over.

I watched as she worked...

Noticing the way she concentrates, how serious she takes it, how she only has one finger dimple left...

how her curls have a mind of their own - even when her hair is in braids....

How she is rarely without a 'baby'. This time it happens to be pound puppy watching...

How different she is from her brother when it comes to fine motor skills...

wondering how she decides which colors to use...

Wondering what she thinks when she sees the finished result...

wondering what other creations our creative daughter will come up with in the years to come...

but for now, cherishing the memento of the rainbow train and an afternoon spent with my daughter.

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Mommy & Me Monday - Magic Mirror Edition

I love that I'm self employed and have the freedom in my schedule to go on family outings with the kids. We get to do fun things like visit museums that have fun mirrors:

Because who wouldn't want to spend more time with this little cutie & her brother?

For more Mommy & Me posts head over to Krystyn's blog...

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn

Sunday, April 11, 2010

on the upswing

I'm in a good place right now and I wanted to make sure I took a moment to write about what it feels like. To be able to provide for my family, to hear "I love you all the way out of space Mommy", to be healthy, to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, to be filling my soul with His Word, and to be loved by the man I married almost 9 years ago.

We had a lovely Easter weekend and this weekend is proving to be just as lovely, albeit a little quieter with no school program or family gatherings.

Our 2nd annual review and house inspection is behind us as of this past Wednesday. Can you believe we've been here in the park for 2 years already? Seems like only yesterday that God led us down this path. Not a day goes by that I don't think of how He's provided for our family by blessing us with this life. We've recently purchased a new vacuum and a steam cleaner that make cleaning this big ol' house easier to clean. We can finally play on the floor without getting covered in white dog hair. I can't tell you how GREAT that feels! For 12 YEARS we've had to deal with dog hair and now our vacuum sucks it all right up.

Yes, life is on the upswing.

Spring is here. The grass is green. There aren't any bugs yet. Life is good.

Yes, life is on the upswing!

There are two family weddings in the next few months and my grandma celebrates her 90th birthday in April. I am so blessed to have two wonderful families!

Yes, life is on the upswing...

...and Julia isn't the only one with a smile on her face in BearCountry!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Alphabitty Moments - The letter W

Yes, you are at the right place for Alphabitty Moments. I just opted to skip the scrapbook page for today since this isn't the actual photo I'd use in Julia's book anyway. It would pretty much shoot our privacy out of the water if I were to post a picture of with our town name displayed on our water tower now wouldn't it?

Why the water tower for the letter W? Months ago my kids decided which water tower in town would belong to them. They don't point out their own towers as much since we make so many trips to town for school right now, but when I was working on this picture this morning Julia said, "That's my water tower!" so they definitely remember. The nearby town where our friends Karen and Aaron live in has two water towers as well. Sam and Julia shout out "There's Henry's water tower!" whenever we drive by. Julia even remembers that Henry's little sister has a water tower now. Is that "Caroline's water tower Mommy?" she asks.

So you see, we can't drive anywhere without them asking who each water tower 'belongs' to. It's actually kinda fun to be able to think of friends and family as we're passing by their neighborhoods even if we don't get to see them very often.

What W moment do you want to remember this week?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's Walk

I love the opportunity that holiday photos provide for taking a walk down memory lane. Each Spring we find time to make a trip to the mall and visit the Easter Bunny. This post from last year is a good one to compare to because it provides links to posts from previous years. We've come a long long way from this.
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School Spirit Beanie Crochet Pattern

Beat those winter blues and cold winds with this a FLEECE lined brimmed hat! It seems like everyone is wearing a beanie these days - me in...