Winter Still Life

Some images from the night I took The Princess outside to play in the snow. It’s been a long time since I’ve photographed non-people (even though in high school I swore I’d NEVER photograph people because I wasn’t any good at it), and it was fun to get back in touch with my artistic side.

DSC_9031DSC_9035axDSC_9050DSC_9058afaded I stole borrowed Larisa’s 105mm Micro lens for these images, and I do NOT want to give the lens back to her. It takes such yummy closeups – both for abstract photography and babies (you should see some of the images I captured of Sparky’s eyelashes – maybe tomorrow). If anyone has an extra 1K lying around and you want to buy me a gift, I can tell you exactly where to purchase my new lens. :P

As usual, these images look much better in any format besides Blogger. I’m still feeling pretty tempted to switch over to Wordpress for the better image quality, but I don’t want to lose all my cute little sidebar widgets (or my few loyal followers).


Snow Day

I know I’m super late posting these pictures, since it snowed a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to share them anyway. The grandparents will appreciate my efforts, if nothing else.

I’m still getting used to this whole snow in the South thing. It seems so strange to me that 2-3 inches of snow can shut down an entire city for half a week. You should see the grocery stores on afternoons when a snow storm is still a mere possibility. You’d think the apocalypse was just around the corner the way people jam the bread and milk aisles.

To be fair, it usually only snows once a year around here, which makes the expense of hundreds of snow plows rather unnecessary. However, since our government doesn’t  “waste” money on snow plows, we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature when the rare snow storm occurs. We have to wait for it to melt to be able to leave our neighborhood.

The Princess was super excited to hear that snow was in the forecast. I was worried that it was going to be another situation where there was lots of  hype about a storm that would never deliver.  So when I looked out the window right before The Princess’ bed time and saw that the snow was sticking, I told her to put on her coat – we were going to enjoy the snow even if it didn’t stick around until morning.

DSC_9040We were pleasantly surprised to wake up the next morning to several inches of snow. Both of the girls were thrilled at the chance to play outside in our wintery wonderland. Unfortunately, due to the rarity of snow, we were poorly supplied in the winter clothing department. The Princess wore her daddy’s gloves and a pair of too-small rainboots that quickly filled with snow (and made her cry when she wanted to take them off 10 minutes later – I thought it was because they hurt her feet, but after the hysterics wore off she informed me that it was because she was afraid I was never going to be able to get them off her feet). After reading the blogs of some more experienced Southerners, I’ve since learned that the proper foot coverings for playing in the snow are bread bags or grocery bags. At least we know for next time.

Sparky wasn’t sure how to walk in the snow. She made it about two steps off the front porch before face-planting a snow drift. I took her back inside to warm up, but she quickly wanted to go back outside and try again. Notice the adorable socks mittens she’s wearing on her hands.







The weather actually stayed below freezing for several days. Church was cancelled (a first for me), and The Princess missed three days of school. We all had a bit of cabin fever by the time the roads were clear again.

While it still seems strange to watch the world shut down at the first fluttering snowflake, it’s kind of cool to enjoy the “magic” of a snowstorm again. It’s neat that my girls get to live somewhere that “snow days” actually happen sometimes, and we’re forced to slow down and just enjoy the day and our time together.


Puppy Love

When Sparky went to Utah with her daddy a few weeks ago she stole adopted a stuffed puppy from Grandma Rosie’s house. This puppy has now become a fixture in Sparky’s life. She insists on taking it to bed with her, and won’t allow you to remove her from her crib until she’s secured the puppy in a death grip snuggle to carry him around the house while she fully awakens. Thank you, Grandma Rosie (and Aunt Lizzy) for allowing a nice Valentine’s gift to become the new best friend of our little redheaded girl.


I really couldn’t decide between color and black and white on this one. I love the contrast of her red hair and pink shirt in the color version, but I adore the vintage look of the black and white. I wouldn’t trust the black and white version to print correctly (for some reason, most brown-toned prints end up with a purple tint when they’re printed), but I think it’s adorable online.




All You Need is Love

In an effort to avoid making a bunch of snarky remarks that I’ll regret later (let’s just say I’m feeling rather homesick and lonely again), I’m going to focus on an enlightening blog post I read a few days ago. Natalie Norton (one of my new favorite bloggers) recently made a guest appearance over at The Coterie Blog, and the things she said have really stuck with me this week (in some ways – in other ways I’m still feeling snarky and sorry for myself, lol).

If you don’t feel like reading her blog post (you’ll be missing out – she’s a great writer), the main gist is about various ways she shows love for herself and her family. Really basic things like doing a load of laundry each morning, sorting the mail on the way in from the mailbox (rather than allowing it to form a pile of epic proportions on top of the microwave – oops, did I say that out loud?), taking care of her body (daily shower, exercise, etc), and making sure to schedule a weekly date night.

While everything she said made perfect sense, the one that stuck with me the most was the laundry.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a stay/work-at-home-mom. I love being able to watch my babies grow up and being there when my oldest daughter comes home from school each day. It definitely presents it’s challenges, though, and I’d be lying if I said it was all smooth sailing. I struggle a lot. I struggle with feeling like my business isn’t successful enough to allow me to genuinely provide for my family. I struggle with boredom and loneliness and a general feeling of isolation. I struggle to keep my house as clean as I would like, and from there, I struggle with a feeling of resentment that I’m the “only” person in the house who “cares” if anything is clean (this is absolutely not true – my husband and oldest daughter really DO care, and it hurts them every time I say those words out loud – I’m trying to get better about how I vent my frustrations). Which in turn leads to me feeling like I’m not good enough – I’m not patient enough, I’m not easy-going enough, and I’m not doing a good enough job to keep the house clean so that I *don’t* feel bitter about the mess.

Obviously, my perspective is all sorts of messed up. I’ve been looking at things the wrong way for a very long time. Natalie’s comments about the laundry were what really helped me to see the error of my perspective, and this week has gone much better. In her blog post, she states:

“Loving myself means putting one load of laundry in every morning, FIRST THING.

Laundry is the ultimate SUCK, and I HATE nothing more than hearing my husband and my kids say "Mo'om I can't find any clo'othes!"

I've decided that I love myself too much to allow myself to get behind. Having clean clothes to wear everyday, well, it shows my man and my boys that I love them too.”

This was the proverbial 2X4 to the head for me. I REALLY don’t enjoy doing laundry. I don’t mind the sorting or the actual washing and drying. It’s the folding and the putting away that makes it the epitome of tedium in my world. It’s one of the few thorns in my SAHM side. I just don’t enjoy it. And I tend to feel bitter that I’m the “only” one who “has” to do the laundry (again, not exactly true). Especially when it comes to the white load and matching up all the endless pairs of socks (and the annoyance of realizing that half the socks no longer have a match). Laundry is the chore that I avoid more than any other, which causes me to always be behind. The piles of laundry in my house are so big, that I become overwhelmed, and I avoid them even more diligently.

Natalie’s statements about LOVE really helped me to look at laundry (and dishes, and picking up after the baby) in a whole new light. Is laundry ever going to be fun? I’m not sure. But I’ve been trying to do at least one load of laundry first thing in the morning (including folding it and putting it away). I’ve been telling myself that I’m doing it because I LOVE my family, and I want them to have nice, clean clothes to wear. And guess what – it REALLY works. Even the folding and putting away hasn’t been as bad as I’ve always made it out to be. It’s a wonderful feeling to realize that I’m doing my best to make life pleasant for the people that I love – even something as simple as clean clothes makes a difference in the day-to-day routine. If I do one load a day (rather than waiting for everything to pile up for weekly “laundry day”), it’s not nearly such a daunting task.

I’ve been adopting the same perspective for dishes, and it’s making a world of difference. Now to just get the routine down to the point that I can start focusing on other areas of the house – like the bathrooms. :)

I totally agree with the other things she says (date nights, etc). I know Sasquatch and I are much happier as a couple after we’ve spent time with just the two of us. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of a regular free babysitter around here. I have a couple of friends who have been willing to watch the girls in the past, but I don’t want them to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. At one point, I had hopes of starting a babysitting co-op and trading sitting services a few times a month, but that hasn’t ever come to fruition. Paying a babysitter is most definitely out of the question – as is actually going anywhere (it’s too cold to go for a picnic in the park right now). My parents and siblings gave us a “date night” for Christmas (dinner and movie gift certificates), but we’re saving it for Alice in Wonderland (I can’t wait!). However, as soon as Sasquatch’s company is earning a good income, a weekly date night will be a guaranteed happening at our house – happy, sane parents result in a happy, sane household.

Changing my perspective and focusing on LOVE being the reason that I do certain things around the house has made a significant difference in my attitude this week. I’m going to continue to focus on love, and think of my beautiful family every time I start a load of laundry or sweep the floor, and I know it’s going to help me be a happier and more grateful wife and mother.

The Princess just came home from school, and while my house isn’t perfect, I’m going to stop what I’m doing and go spend some time with her. That’s one of the perks of being a SAHM. She had a Valentine’s Day party at school, and we’re going to sort through her bag of treats and read all the cards and focus on LOVE again.



At Least She’s Looking at the Camera

There are a few things I’d like to blog about, but I’m going to take some time to develop my thoughts before posting them. So for now, I’m just going to share a couple pictures of the littlest monkey. She was reaching for the camera – hence the pained facial expressions. I’m trying to get better about looking at the bright side of things, so I’ll just say I’m glad that she was willing to look at the camera for these images. And I’m grateful for bounced flash which provided the nice catchlights (I’m a sucker for a great catchlight) and modeling on her face. ;)

DSC_8970 DSC_8971


Oh, I’m also grateful that it looks like her hair is FINALLY going to start growing. Although I probably need suggestions for easy hairstyles to get her through the mullet phase.


If You're the Praying Type...

Last Saturday, this family experienced a tragedy in their home when their youngest baby boy was found unconscious in the bathtub. I cannot begin to fathom the fear they're experiencing as they watch their little boy fight for his life at PCMC. If you get a chance to read the blog - I highly recommend it. You'll need kleenex, for sure, but your faith will intensify 100-fold.

I read all of these amazing stories about the angels who work at PCMC (and every other children's hospital), and I pray daily that my husband's company will take off SOON. We have some ideas for ways to utilize the program that would really help the families at PCMC and every other children's hospital as well. I can't wait for the day when this company is more than just a concept, and we have the financial means to donate certain aspects of the program to various children's hospitals in order to help the families of the children staying there.

In the meantime, I'll continue to pray for baby Bronson, for my cousin's little boy Carter (who will be going in for major heart surgery next week), as well as Natalie Norton and her sweet family.

If you would like to help a GREAT cause and get a beautiful handmade keepsake in the process, be sure to check out my friend Brae's Etsy Shop. They are selling "Spoons for Scarlet" in order to earn money to donate a tree to this year's Festival of Trees (the proceeds of which benefit Primary Children's Medical Center). The spoons are fun and whimsical, and you won't regret checking out the shop.


Sparky's New Word

Sparky still doesn't say much. She definitely communicates, but most of it is non-verbal right now. Her pediatrician isn't worried about it - she makes eye contact, and she definitely understands what we're saying (her ability to do the exact opposite of what we ask her is uncanny!). She plays "pretend" amazingly well (you'd think she constantly had something in her mouth the way she eats pretend food, and she can turn anything from an actual cell phone to a shoe into a phone and have long pretend "conversations).

Besides, her big sister was a late bloomer in the verbal department as well. As much as I wanted her to hurry and grow up and learn how to speak (for some reason I thought this would magically make tantrums less severe - ha!), there are times now that I wish she'd stop talking for just a moment or two. (I'm sure that once she's a teenager and never wants to talk to me, I'll be wistfully looking back at the days when I was hoping for a little peace and quiet).

Sparky says a few words, and signs a few more. She's quite adept at saying "Da-da," she'll occasionally say "Mama" (although she knows how much I want her to say it, which makes her less willing to do so unless she's in just the right mood), and she's attempted to say her big sister's name a few times. Sasquatch said that while they were in Utah, she took a huge liking to her Uncle Joe and would try to say his name in the middle of all her babbling.

She's very skilled at signing "please," "more," "food," "milk," & "finished" and she's created her own weird little sign for "juice." She also loves to wave "bye-bye," and it's quite adorable to watch her blow kisses to everyone she meets.

Her very favorite word right now is "touch." She loves to be picked up, and then she'll point to various objects around the house and say "touch" so that you'll take her up to said object and allow her to touch it (she's particularly fond of light switches, thermostats, and anything else with buttons - just don't tell her it's a button, or she'll lift up her shirt to point at her own little "button"). Her second favorite word is "downstairs" (although it sounds more like "Dolce," or "dont touch" and Sasquatch makes her mad by saying "Dolce & Gabana" every time she asks to go downstairs - which is about every 30 seconds if you dare to attempt to keep her upstairs in the loft with all the toys).

She learned a new word today. I was making her the only thing she'll eat for breakfast (waffles), and she was getting impatient for the toaster to finish. I pointed to the toaster and said "waffle" and then she pointed to the toaster and said "waff-uh." We did it a few more times to verify that she was actually saying the word, and she said it every time.

We've also been practicing saying "baby." The first time we tried it (she was in the car with me running errands and she was getting tired and fussy) she repeated it every time I said it. Now it's more hit-and-miss. Sometimes she'll say "baby" and point at herself. Other times I'll say baby and she'll just sort of wave at herself.

She may not have a full vocabulary yet, but I'm trying really hard to just enjoy her babyness and allow her to grow up at her own pace. I should probably be doing alphabet flashcards or at least working on colors or something, but somehow I'm just not structured enough to do that at her age. I guess she'll just have to settle for a regular preschool rather than a genius preschool if that's in our budget by the time she's old enough for preschool.


More Valentine’s Pictures

Here are the rest of my favorite pictures from The Princess’ Valentine’s Day session. I didn’t really like the tutu after I finished making it, but it photographed better than I expected.



DSC_8877vintagecoolI edited out the graffiti on the image below, and left it there on the next image.DSC_8888aDSC_8897pool The color on the image below looks a little off on here, but it’s cute in Photoshop. :)DSC_8928brighta




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