Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some favorites...

...from a photo shoot I had a few days ago.

So far I have only taken pictures for my friends and have never charged (although many times they gift me anyway, the stinkers). It's so much fun for me and I have really grown in knowledge and skill because they've let me use them as guinea pigs ;) But, if I were going to bring in some extra fun money, I am thinking maybe, maybe, I could do this. I would aim to be an affordable option for families who cannot spend $695 for a portrait session--this is the exact price of a 45 minute session with a mom photographer whose blog I was looking at last night. I have no doubt that this photographer has the skills and equipment to charge that much, but no one I know has that kinda money to spend on pictures! And I don't have the fanciest of equipment and editing software either. At first I saw multiple moves as a disadvantage, but I changed my perspective on that--it really just means new scenery and location choices for each place I live, right? Like the beach! Cool.

Anyway, these are just things I'm thinking about.

On Friday I get to do a shoot with little boys and a tricycle!!! Yay, I've been wanting to incorporate some props. It will be FUN!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pictures do paint words

He got mad right after they did that. Or maybe he was just acting mad ;)

My camera being my only unpacked hobby right now is proving to be really fun and educational. I just seem to want to take pictures of everything! I know some day I'll be glad I captured these last few weeks in Colorado in such detail.

My sister said that leaving is hard because it signifies the passing of time. It's that passing of time that's hard, but upon Christ's return, there will be no more sorrow over the fleetingness of time. It stuck with me. Thanks, Jana ;)

Monday, August 26, 2013

just keep swimming...

Whenever there's a lot to do, I just quote Dori. "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." ;)

We have a week left until we leave and so we are now just working on house repairs, cleaning, touching up paint and such, while making sure we spend time with friends too. Leaving is hard. And exciting! And hard.

I've been taking notes on what might make future moves go more smoothly. I think not hanging so much on the walls is a good one. I think being even more vigilant about organization and not accumulating more and more possessions is a given. What do you think? If you had to move a few weeks from now, what would you wish was not a factor in your house?

I have been keeping up with my self portraits and it's only getting more fun. I've only missed one day, but some days I take several (the one on the left is my current fave, I love the composition!)

 I really love that pool one too, I think it tells a story. That was a great day.

If you need me, I'll be cleaning...
Actually, that's not true, the cleaning is done. It really wasn't that much, thankfully. It's a good thing I'm a generally clean person and that I've been trying to deep clean for the last month, or I can imagine the move-out cleaning could be crazy overwhelming. Tomorrow I'm moving on to painting. Just touch-up paint, but there were a lot of holes to be filled, which is what led me to my "hang less stuff on the walls" idea.

Leave your make-moving-easier-next-time suggestions in the comments ;)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

play time

Well, while Casey has been at the house every day keeping an eye on the packers and loaders, the kids and I are at Granny's, having what feels a lot like a vacation! I did not expect this week to be quite so relaxing, but it sure is nice!

We have a favorite park close by that has a pretty great little playground, is never busy, and has a stream, with stepping stones and bridges and is super fun to play around. We've been to this park probably 7 or 8 times in the last few weeks. And of course, my camera comes along ;)

After we went there today, we got some lunch and went to the house to eat with Casey.

Our house looks so bare and weird!! And huge without all our stuff, haha! But still, lovely and cute and full of character :)
We said goodbye to our stuff as we left.

And then we went to the pool :) Like I said, it's been nice. But, tomorrow the cleaning and house repairs begin, so ... vacation is over for me!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

what to do...

I have a lot of hobbies.

Ha! I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone. But, as our house is being packed up and I am living out of a suitcase, maybe for another month, it's not likely I'll get to practice very many of them! Today I went to Barnes & Noble for a few minutes and looked at the magazines. There were a couple good sewing ones, some good food ones and a decorating one that looked good, but these are all hobbies that have to wait until we get moved in later.

Sooooo, it's a good thing I also love photography :) It's definitely my most portable hobby. It keeps me busy when I take the kids to the park, when I attend parties (I put myself in charge of photos at kids' parties--it makes them more fun for me and the mamas are usually thankful someone else is thinking about the pictures). and when we go on nature walks. It pretty much gives me something significant to do anywhere and everywhere.

In light of this, the timing for my 30 day self-portrait challenge is pretty perfect. It is SO much fun trying to come up with new ideas each day and trying new things and playing with edits on I am not limiting myself to one per day because sometimes I don't want to pick!

I love this; snippets of my life how it is right here now. It will all soon be different, so I am grateful to have the memories.

I'm already thinking of my next 30 day challenge--30 days of my kids (or just one of them at a time?), 30 days of me with my kids, 30 days of Casey pics (Ha! he snarled at that idea) or 30 days of still life, home life, the options are endless! Any other ideas? Is anyone else up for taking the self-portrait challenge??? Oooh, I could set up a linky party and we can share, it would be SO FUN!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

an unexpected day off

So we worked our patooties off yesterday getting reading for the movers to come at 8 a.m. this morning (we moved to my mom's last night and will be staying here until we leave on the 3rd.) We went to the house this morning, waited until 9:30 to call and see why they weren't there yet and ... surprise! The movers decided they didn't need four days to pack our stuff so they are starting tomorrow. Nobody told us, they weren't really sure who to blame for that, ha!

So, we get a day off! It's kind of perfect because we are wiped out and my back hurts and the kids deserve to have some fun with us today :) We are going to take them to see Despicable Me 2!! And to the pool!! Before then, though, some great "unschooling" is going on. Layla enjoyed some fun science games on, Casey helped our little engineer build a model airplane and now he and Natalie are rolling coins--while practicing money math with her and counting by fives, tens, etc...

It's been a good day. Whew, we needed a rest!!

This is the guest room Casey and I are in at my Mom's house. Isn't it pretty?? It's in her basement, so it's nice and cool down here. I like how she off centered the art above the bed to balance the window. Pretty clever!

One last thing, this picture makes me smile. Natalie wrote the top note to me while I was typing away the other day and I wrote the bottom one back to her while she was standing there. Then, just now, I noticed she wrote a similar I love you note with an arrow on her Daddy's school notebook sitting on the desk next to me as I type this. Aw :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

current reads

Despite my mile long to-do list, after a visit from the UPS man, yesterday found me doing what could be considered an irresponsible amount of this...

I got some new books in the mail! Ones I've been anxious to order and waiting impatiently for for the entire 24 hours it took Amazon to get them to me (Amazon Prime is the way to go, I'm tellin' ya.)

The first one is this one:
 I ordered this because I need for the way I am eating to become more convenient. No offense to the more prominent Paleo bloggers, but most of them aren't trying to feed a family and homeschool and have absolutely anything else they like to do other than spend all their free time in the kitchen making burger buns and fruit snacks. Ahem. This book seemed less an intense recipe book and more an idea book. It awesome, I can't wait to try some of the wraps and soups and breakfasts. Yum!

The other book is this one!
A Beautiful Mess is the absolute first blog I ever started reading and the one that inspired me to become a blogger in the first place, almost 7 years ago now! These girls are nothing if not visually inspirational! Their photos are always so fun to look at so I knew this book would have some good ideas. I so love taking pictures, but sometimes new ideas and inspiration is needed to get better and this book fits the bill perfectly. I read it cover to cover yesterday and couldn't wait to pick up my camera and try some new things, which I promptly did. So fun.

I also decided to take the 30 day self-portrait challenge! It will certainly push me to get creative and also learn more about my camera as far as focus and settings. I plan to try some new things, many of them ideas from the book. I will not be sharing these pictures here daily because that seems, well, um, vain. But, let's face it, this blog is half sewing and thus, self portaits are a big part of that so I'd like to branch out. I will put together a mosaic every several days :)  For now, I did snap a couple fun ones yesterday and today...
I wanted to document the Starbucks because right now, a daily iced coffee is how I'm coping, ha! And lately, I've been so thankful I've been blogging for so long because it is the absolute best documentation I have of our lives together. And the little things matter--like the daily Starbucks right before our move to VA. And our hardwood floors, which are so beautiful, but make it so I have to wear shoes always so my feet don't freeze off. These are memories :)

Yesterday, since I had posted Kelby's birthday pics from all five years, the girls wanted to see their birthday posts from over the years. So we looked at those and then they spent a good hour looking through my blog archives and giggling and remembering. It was amazing and made me even happier to have started this blog so long ago!!

But, ANYWAY, I had intended to write about our current reads, ha!

I'll keep it short.

  1. Laying Down the Rails 
  2. Molly Murphy Mysteries
  3. Meet Filicity
  4. The Three R's
  5. The Magician's Nephew
I highly recommend them all :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On making birthdays special when life is crazy

I am excited to share this post, no only because yesterday was so lovely, but because I think I've hit on some ways to make sure a birthday is special, even when life surrounding it is crazy. Even though we have movers coming in a few days, I set yesterday aside to enjoy Kelby and make sure he felt loved and had a great birthday. And he did :)

Instead of attempting a party here at our house, I decided we'd have a little play-group party at the park in our neighborhood at 10:30 yesterday. This way, the kids could play, but I wasn't in charge of cleaning (before or after) or feeding everyone. Each mom brought snacks or lunch for her own family . I ordered cake pops from my talented friend Melissa and brought Capri Suns to share.

Melissa also made just one cupcake so he could blow out a candle :) Cake pops are an awesome idea for kids' parties--the portions are automatically small, they don't require plates and forks and they're no-mess (for most kids, ha!)

 Since we were not looking to acquire a lot of new toys right before a move, I asked the moms, instead of bringing a gift, to just give him a dollar or two in a card. That way, he'd have enough to pick out a Lego set for himself. This idea came from another mom friend a couple years ago. Kelby has some really generous friends because no one stuck to the "dollar or two" suggestion and he ended up with enough money to pick out two Lego sets at Target after his party! And the moms all seemed happy not to have had to shop for a gift.

 I love this pic of Natalie and Kelby. Aw.

 For party favors, we made green slime, which I pinned a long time ago from this site. It turned out so awesome!!!!! You should try it because it was super fun. We quadrupled the recipe to make enough for 12 little containers.

After spending a few hours at home enjoying the new Legos, we had a little family get together at McAlister's Deli. It was the perfect end to his day :)

I made these Paleo Samoa cupcakes and they were a huge hit. I've made them once before and the caramel sauce makes enough for two batches, so this time they were faster.
More Legos. Just the ones he wanted :)
Kelby and Granny

He even got to Skype with Papa in Mongolia while we were there :)

Happy Birthday, Kelby!!! Now, no more growing up! Okay?? ;)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Little Dude is 5!

Today is Kelby's 5th birthday!! My baby boy!! He promises every day he'll stay my baby boy, but I don't think it's working ;)

I will post pics of his special day tomorrow when the festivities are all over, but today I thought I'd get a little nostalgic and take us back in time :)

A couple weeks old:

First Birthday:

Second Birthday:

Third Birthday:
He still loves that dinosaur I made him :)

Fourth Birthday:

And just one for now of Kelby on his 5th birthday:
What a guy! 

I am sooooo glad right now that I have been keeping this blog for so long! It would have taken me an eternity to locate those pictures over the years on my hard drive. Point for blogging ;)