Friday, November 30, 2012

Way late... our thanksgiving

So, I know Thanksgiving was, like, SO a week ago, and like, everyone has like, moved onto Christmas... 

But I couldn't get photos to upload onto my blog this past week, and I don't care if it's over now, I still want to remember it. It was wonderful. I have been trying to still find the magic in the holidays that I did as a little kid even now as an adult. And waking up knowing it's a special day full of family and love and specialness and tradition and just being together made it perfect. We turned on the Macy's parade and the boys watched and snuggled (or wrestled, whatever you want to call it) while I made food, then we all got ready and headed over to my parents around noon. 

They were busy in the kitchen when we got there. Each taking charge of their own masterpieces. 

Beautiful table. Delicious dinner. 

 My mommom's pies!!! Pecan, Key lime, and deep dish apple, her specialty! 

While the boys took their naps we made the bigger boys turn off football and play scattergories with us. It was so fun :) I beat Shaun by one, a point on which he will disagree with me, but definitely believe me and not him... We posed with our scorecards at the end and I held up an "L" behind his head... he caught me, and the series of photos my mom snapped afterwards are hilarious... this is one of them: 

Girl pictures.

And it was so nice we went outside for some thanksgiving-y photos too :) 

Then we went down to the farm where my dad keeps his horses. I think Rembrandt is sniffing my dad's neck or something in this photo.... idk...

When we came back the boys made us lattes :) 

And we ended the night with Elf. :)
"Six inch ribbon curls." "That's impossible..." "SIX. INCHES." 

I think part of what made Thanksgiving so special was that it is the first time we ever spent a holiday at my parents with just our family. I love my extended family too, and it's always great to get together with them, but all through growing up we always left home and went to one extended family or the other. So it was neat to spend the whole day just us, and see what that was like. I really love them a lot. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pumpkin Snowman

*This post is from two years ago, but I thought I'd share it again this week before you all toss your pumpkins the day after Thanksgiving. :)

The front of our home is all decked out for Christmas. But as of yesterday morning, a little stack of pumpkins still sat in the corner of our porch... I had already tossed all of our jack be littles and now I SO wish I had kept three of them to make a tiny version for inside... Anyway, I was feeling a little behind not having de-pumpkinized our whole house yet, but all of the sudden I had this idea... It came from two different inspirational sources. I was driving by our neighbors house and saw she had spray painted her pumpkins silver and had greenery and ribbon tucked in between them here and there and they kind of looked like big silver ornaments... Then I thought of how at our fall festival at church I saw a girl paint a pumpkin orangey-yellow and sprinkle silver sparkles all over it and how pretty it looked... and then it hit me "what if I painted them white and used silver and white sparkles on them!? They could become a snowman!" 

So I spread out some trash bags in my garage, spray painted the pumpkins white and dusted them with white and silver sparkles while the paint was still wet. Fortunately the spray paint only took an hour to dry, cause I get impatient to get projects finished sometimes and he could have ended up with finger prints all over him from me trying to carry him out to the porch prematurely :) I hot glued on the button eyes and nose, used a sharpie for the mouth, and used leftover red fabric for the scarf. 

This whole idea made me so excited, not just for the cuteness of it, but also for being able to re-use my pumpkins instead of throwing them away. And I think this little guy will be staying up well through January even after my other decorations come down, that is, if he lasts that long. We will see!  

 One very excited little boy seeing mr. snowman after his nap. :) 

I wish I could have thought of this and shared this idea sooner, I'm suspecting many people have already tossed their pumpkins this year... But there's always next year! Now you can tuck this little thought away in the back of your mind and buy your pumpkins next fall knowing they will serve a purpose a lot longer than in years past :) 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shaun & McKenna

 Such a fun shoot!!! McKenna and Shaun are cousins, and I used to work with McKenna's mama (Melissa) doing ultrasound. It was great to see her again :) We spent the afternoon picking berries and flowers, exploring, kicking leaves, playing hide and seek... I was along for the ride taking pictures of the little moments :) It was so sweet watching Shaun interact with his little cousin, and seeing them all play together... I got lots of sweet shots, but I thought I'd share a few of my favorites :) 

McKenna has some seriously amazing baby blues. 

love this one.

Making wishes

Giving kisses

LOVE IT!!!! 

Playing hide and seek :) 

We took a few football shots of Shaun, and McKenna wanted in on the action :) 

little doll baby surrounded by leaves. 

Absolutely love little smiles :) 

Thank you so much for asking me to do these photos for you Melissa! Hope you enjoy the memories they represent for years to come :) 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

it gets messier before it gets prettier....

Title taken from a slight tweaking of a line from the wizard of oz... "it gets darker before it gets lighter..."

Yesterday we decorated our house for Christmas. I absolutely LOVE this time of year, and I especially love getting our house christmasified with my man. I think my primary love language is usually touch, but I'm thinking more and more that quality time must be pretty far up there too. Doing things side by side with my husband makes me so happy. And he has lots of opinions when it comes to decorating for Christmas, it's quite cute :)

But anyway.... sometimes when I see someone's beautifully decorated home I don't consider the process it takes to get there. Things don't just jump up onto the mantle in the right arrangment, there's some trial and error, some pulling out and putting back, running down to the basement to bring things back up that you thought you were putting away... And man, you should have seen our living room yesterday afternoon! Boxes on the floor, on the sofas, strings of partially working christmas lights draped over the chairs, garlands tangled up all over the place, our kitchen table was covered with stacks of... I don't even know what.... but it was covered. And our basement family room!! Train track pieces scattered all over, more boxes, empty ornament boxes and tissue paper floating here and there... If someone would have come into our home at about 2:30 p.m. yesterday they would not have called our house "peaceful" "cozy" or "organized." BUT! by last night, the last of the boxes had been unpacked and re-packed, our tree was lit up and the train was running smoothly around the bottom, the outside of our house was lit up with all working lights, the mantle was transformed, the nativity sitting peacefully on top of our tv cabinet, my little live tree glowing with white lights on the buffet in our kitchen, wreaths and stockings all hung... And man! As the light outside faded and the twinkling lights and candles inside glowed brighter, cozy is exactly the word I would have used to describe our home. Peaceful and warm and cheerful and festive... and slowly but surely, organized once again.

My point is, that sometimes we see a beautiful end product but we are afraid of the mess that it takes to get there. That gorgeous painting hanging on someone's wall? I bet the artist had smudges on their smock, maybe some paint on the floor, a cup of muddy looking water sitting nearby, a palette full of partially mixed and messy colors as they created. It took a little mess to make that pretty. I could have let myself get a little crazy at the chaotic half-doneness all over our house yesterday. But instead I just went with it, climbed over a box or two, and knew that when it was all said and done it would be well worth it. And I enjoyed the process. Sometimes we just need to let our hair down and give ourselves permission to make a worthwhile mess. :) ;) Have fun Christmas decorating everyone!!! :)

(p.s. I had hoped to post some before and after photos of our mess but am having trouble uploading today... maybe later!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

my mama

Today is my mom's 50th birthday. 
(happy birthday mama!)

There is no one in all the world like a mom. She knows my life story better than I do, I think. She was there for every single up and down, cheering for me through every sport, every success, praying me through every trial, loving me unconditionally. She sleeps with her phone nearby so she can be available to all of us twenty four seven. (Some of us are needier at, say, 2:00 a.m. than others... Randi, you know who I'm talking about... :-P) She is our peace-maker, our go-between when needed, our prayer warrior. She cares SO deeply. She can do it all. She is my example of what a mom should be. Her style, taste, organization, and dependability are just... yeah. Awesome. 

Last night we had a little surprise birthday gathering for her when she got home from Florida with my dad. The pictures are all from that. 

love this :)
Opening her "little latte maker" from us kids.
Lovin' on her grandbabies. 

 With each of her three kids.

 So, before I had kids, I had never in my life had to tell my mom what to do. The transition into doing that once I had babies and had certain ways I wanted them to be handled was hard. Sometimes we both got all emotional through the changes taking place and how our relationship was in unchartered waters for both of us. But I love how after three years of parenting & grand-parenting later it's really starting to settle into a "new normal." (thanks for that term, mom)
Mom, I just want you to know: I couldn't do all this with out you. I cannot imagine having kids, responsibilities, doing the photography thing, without having you there to consult, help me with the boys, advise, pray for me through it, and depend on. Thank you for being available to talk to anytime of day or night. Thanks for picking up random groceries for me when I need them. Thanks for loving us so much. I think about all you mean to me and it makes me cry. I love that you can be serious and responsible one minute and the next minute you can be laughing so hard you're crying and can hardly stand up. (Always at your own jokes :-P) I will always treasure our chaotic family memories, laughing and fighting and making up and being sarcastic and quoting all kinds of random things (including the grinch, each other, and random kids in airports: "I hate cinnabon!")
Random words that come to mind when I think of my favorite memories with you: 

Little Women.
Pride & Prejudice.
Early morning talks on my way to work.
Lunch dates when I was in college. 
Planning my wedding.
Coffee. (for you, not me)
Sugar Plums and tea.
Tea parties when I was little.
Homemade bread.
Coming home and finding surprises on my bed.
Those times when you laugh REALLY really hard. :) 
"Why am I part of this stupid, crazy family??"

I love you so much mama.
Happy Birthday!