Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Photos

I had everything set up for a photo session yesterday so I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of my kids in their Christmas outfits. I'm particularly thrilled with Ethan's, but together they're pretty gosh darn cute!

Grace is wearing a Hanna Andersson See You At Seven holiday dress I scored on Ebay in August for $7. I love buying off season!

Ethan's outfit started with the vest I bought brand new (tags still attached!) from Goodwill this fall. We found the gray slacks and matching hat on super clearance at Gymboree and the white Van Housen dress shirt from Value Village (thrift store). The green chucks were bought this summer for $8 from the Converse Outlet and the red and white polka dot tie came from Etsy. LOVE the tie! Totally using it for Valentines photos in a month or two...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grace gave herself a hack job....errrr "haircut"

Today Grace joined the ranks of all the other children in the world who have taken it upon themselves to cut their own hair. Not one to keep the fun to herself, she also politely chopped at Ethan's hair too. Such a kind sister.

I discovered the misdeed when I walked into the kitchen and saw the hair on the ground. And then I saw the scissors. And then I called Grace into the kitchen to survey the damage she did to herself. It really wasn't too bad, she mostly just hacked her half pony tail off. I've seen and heard much worse horror stories of little girls really scalping themselves. And I can bear witness that once upon a time I once decided to cut my own bangs with disastrous results. Cutting half a pony tail off is nothing!

After explaining to Grace the seriousness of the situation and that she would need to say goodbye to her long princess hair and say hello to short hair she was filled with immediate regret. I don't think she had any idea that cutting her hair off was permanent. She also told me she cut it on the advice of Ethan. I told her that next time she should probably think twice before following the beauty advice of a three year old boy.

It was dinner time but instead of eating we jumped in the car to head to the beauty salons in town to find one that might be able to fit us in. Naturally Grace chose the busiest time of year for hair salons but the second one we tried (Envy for locals!) said they could fit us in at 8pm. That gave us time to go home, eat dinner, and try to figure out what on earth to do with Grace's hair. After she was done crying Grace decided that maybe a short rock star haircut wouldn't be so bad. We even looked up some pictures online (God bless Google Image search!) and agreed that a bob might be cute. I've kind of wanted to cut her hair short for awhile but Grace has adamantly refused. I figured that this was the best time to go for it so we did!

The hair stylist was really nice and Grace was enthralled with everything about her. She asked her all about her hair (and whether or not she cut her own hair...a resounding NO) and the hair products next to her. Thirty minutes later and she looked pretty gosh darn cute! As you can see from the following photos, the rock star haircut has received a good reception by the little princess. I might even talk her into keeping it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brian's home!

My brother just finished up his training in Georgia and is home for four weeks. Two weeks of leave and two weeks working with a recruiter (for the extra two weeks home!). We were all excited to find out he'd be home for Thanksgiving! We thought he'd be home on Friday but discovered that was the day he'd get his airplane ticket and instead he got in on Saturday. We found out what time he'd fly in about 24 hours before he landed. The army apparently doesn't think anybody needs to plan ahead.

We wanted to surprise him by meeting him in the airport rather then picking him up at the curb. The kids spent the night with Grandma the night before and made Welcome Home Uncle B signs and they picked up balloons as well. Here he is just after he spotted us waiting for him!

The kids were ecstatic to see him. They told everyone they saw that day that their Uncle B was coming home from the army.

And Mom was pretty much over the moon. Me too :)

I think Mom is going to be floating on Cloud 9 for the next four weeks having her boy home with her! Definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I ♥ Faces Week 46: Silhouette

I haven't participated in I Heart Faces photo challenges in awhile, but when I saw this week's theme this photo immediately came to mind and I just had to share it :)

This was taken last month when I did family photos for a photographer friend. You can see more photos from the session on my photography blog.

To see more pretty silhouette photos click on the I Heart Faces link below:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Costume Photo Session

The weather is changing from lovely autumn sunshine to blah rain and I am sooooo glad that I took 20 minutes to do the kids' Halloween costume photo shoot this afternoon. I think I beat the nasty gray clouds by only an hour or two. There is only one day without rain in the 10 day forecast so this was probably my last chance for decent photos. Last year I never got decent ones of Ethan in his dragon costume so this year I wanted to be intentional about it. I find it's better to do photos of the kids in holiday garb before the holiday hits so that I can enjoy the holidays without stressing myself (and everybody else!) out about getting perfect photos the day of. Plus Halloween is pretty dark so most of my photos from that night are pretty grainy.

The kids and I had a little discussion before taking these photos. In order to wear their Halloween costumes they had to agree to let me take photos of them AND follow my directions. That's a tough one. They agreed because they both LOVE their costumes and would have agreed to just about anything in order to wear them. Including smiling at the camera.

I started with Grace. Mostly because her entire face lit up the moment we pulled the peacock dress and wings on. She absolutely loves being a Peacock Princess! I was shocked she agreed to the costume since she originally wanted to be a flamingo. We did some looking around for costume ideas to make a flamingo costume and found this Gymboree Peacock one on sale for $30 for the entire thing. Sold. Grace doesn't even care that it's not pink and insists that her $2.99 plastic purple shoes match perfectly. She's in seventh heaven.

Ethan saw this hamburger costume at Old Navy and it was love at first sight. The kid refused to entertain any other costume ideas and insisted that this was the one. Lucky for him Old Navy had a Baby Sale and the cashier was nice enough to give me the 40% off one item even though Ethan lost our coupon. We later found it in the Tonka Truck. It cost me $10 which is well worth the joy and excitement that Ethan has for his costume. Even if I probably would have picked something else. Anything else. What's wrong with Batman?

I'm not sure what Ethan is doing here...does he think he's tasty because he's a cheeseburger?

Do you have any idea how hard it was to get a photo of my children's feet? Ethan wouldn't stop stepping on Grace's toes!

"For heavens sakes just look at mom and give her a cheesy grin so she'll stop taking our picture."

Such willing subjects.

"EEEEEEKKKKKK! There's a bug! I can't work under these conditions!"

Bug crisis averted. How about you give each other a hug?

I said a hug! Not tackle each other!

I give up. Just look in my general direction. Perfect.

The End.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Baking with Kids

Yesterday at MOPS we talked about our mothering styles. It was an interesting discussion and made me think about what my style of mothering is. I think one of my strengths is teaching my children to be independent. Unfortunately, when it comes to messy activities it can be hard to step back and let them have at it. Why? Because I tend to be a perfectionist and it's hard for me to give up control on things like making pretty cookies.

I had some spare time yesterday afternoon so the kids and I baked some sugar cookies to help use up some of the orange frosting leftover from Ethan's birthday cake. They helped me dump the ingredients in the bowl and I even let Ethan help me roll the dough out even though he tended to smash it more then roll it. I let the kids cut all the cookies out which was a great exercise in patience on my part. I resisted the urge to redo all of Ethan's half cut out scraggly looking leaves because he was SO proud to be helping. It helped to remember we would be frosting them which hides a multitude of blemishes.

Once our cookies were baked I did all the frosting (I'm not so good as to allow THAT mess to happen...I get a panic attack just thinking about it!). We did the pumpkins orange and tinted the frosting with more red to get darker orange for the leaves. I did give up all creative control to the kids to decorate with the black gel frosting. Grace did a GREAT job on the pumpkin faces. They really turned out cute! Ethan has a ways to go in the leaf decorating department, but he was so proud of himself that I just let him roll with it.

Baking cookies with my kids is definitely time consuming and messy but I hope it will help them learn to enjoy it. It was a good reminder to me to be better at stepping back and letting them do things their way even if it's less then perfect. Perfection isn't the goal right now, good memories and learning to enjoy time in the kitchen is what I'm after. I hope I'm accomplishing it. At any rate we did accomplish a very dirty kitchen floor and 26 beautifully decorated cookies that taste heavenly. It was worth it.

And here's a link to the sugar cookie recipe that I posted earlier. It's seriously the best sugar cookie EVER!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My baby turns THREE today!

I can't believe my baby is three. I don't think I'm ready for this. It's definitely bittersweet watching him grow up because he's most definitely our last child which makes me wish I could hit the pause button every now and again but he insists on continuing along his quest to become a Big Boy. I reminded him this morning that now that he's a big Three Year Old Boy he really shouldn't pee or poop in his underwear because that's just not something Big Boys do. He agreed and so far today we're back on track so that's a good thing!

He's sooooo looking forward to his party this weekend. He keeps asking when it is and is pretty disappointed it's not today. He's obsessed with the party decorations we've purchased (Dollar Store and Target's March Madness clearance rack last spring!). He hasn't really had a real party with friends and the whole bit so this is a pretty big deal to him. I'm glad David pushed me to throw him a party because if it was up to me I probably would have called last weekend's Blazer Fan Fest trip good enough and I wouldn't be enjoying his birthday party obsession this week.

We kept with tradition and piled Ethan's birthday presents on the kitchen table for him to find this morning when he woke up. His eyes lit up and he opened them all in no time flat! Grace picked out a Zhu Zhu pet with a basketball outfit for him (so they can play Zhu Zhu together since she got one for her birthday). His big gift from us was a Buzz Lightyear skateboard with the safety pads to go with it. He thinks the pads are uber cool because they make him look like a Skateboard Boy. This is a pretty big deal if you're a three year old boy.

Grace had the day off from school today so the three of us went in to Salem to ride the carousal a few times and hunt down some party stuff for this weekend's birthday party. This was the first time I've shopped for a pinata and I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a boy one. The first party store I stopped at had diddly squat for boys but a TON of overpriced sports themed party goods which we left on the shelves. Walmart had a zillion princess and pink pinatas and only a few Spiderman ones hanging too high for me to reach. I found an employee to climb up a ladder to get me one and I'm calling it good. Ethan held it the whole way home and wanted to know exactly how it worked.

Actually that's something I hear a lot from Ethan. "How does this work?" is something he asks me a hundred times a day. He wants to know!

Another birthday tradition in our house is choosing what you want for dinner and Ethan has chosen Macaroni and Cheese. It will probably be served with hot dogs, the dinner of champions. We might make a trip to Dairy Queen for a birthday cherry dip as well.

The photos I've shared here were taken yesterday during a hastily put together photo session at the park. He's looking so grown up!

Here's a few to look back to see how he's grown...

Ethan as a newborn...

The first birthday cake smash!

As a ball loving two year old...

And finally my happy smiley three year old BIG BOY!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Neglected Ethan

I realize I've barely posted anything about Ethan in awhile and I thought I'd make up for it a little. He turns three in about a week (!) and I think I may be in denial. That is until he starts acting like a three year old and then I remember how the so-called Terrible Twos have nothing on the Terrifically Awful Threes. Tantrums, hitting, calling me Poopy Mommy, and all around grumpiness has turned my sweet baby boy into an alien. I think I want my baby back!

Of course he's also developing some positive skills and traits so all is not lost. He's halfway potty trained, having the peeing in the potty part down but still skeptical that pooping in the potty is the way to go. I can't wait for him to decide that pooping in his underwear isn't all that fun. He loves to help me and thinks helping to fold the laundry is the most fun thing to do. He can be very loving and tells me "I like you Mommy" about 100 times a day. Makes all the less pleasant parts of the day kind of melt away doesn't it?

By the way I took these photos yesterday to try out my new photography prop I scored for fifty cents at the church rummage sale. It's an old wooden chair from the nursery and I wanted to try it out with a model. Ethan is still my easiest to photograph subject so naturally his photos turned out great. I did photograph Grace but those turned out a little different. Let's just say she has developed a "look" for "why are you taking my picture AGAIN?" and it's not quite as pleasant as Ethan's willing grin.

And yes I know he needs a haircut. David told him he looked like a hippy and Ethan thought that was hilarious.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Soccer Diva

I brought my long range zoom to Grace's soccer practice on Tuesday and I'm glad I did because I have a feeling we're going to have a lot of gloomy rainy practices from here on out. The clouds and rain have arrived. I took a zillion photos and I'm in the process of uploading 60 to Snapfish as I write this, but for the majority of you that don't want to see all 60 photos I thought I'd do a slightly condensed version. I had a hard time picking favorites so bear with me!

We knew when we signed Grace up for soccer that this was going to be a bit of a stretch for her. For one thing, you can't wear a dress to play. You have to wear scary "too tight" shin guards. You have to run. For a girly girl like Grace these things are terrible. She's been doing a decent job chugging along and seems to enjoy it for the most part. She told the coach she'd rather play with her pink ball but he told her to get used to playing with a white and black one because that's what she'll have to use for games. Tough cookies.

That last image above just cracks me up. I have like 20 more with similar expressions. I kind of doubt Ethan will have that day dreaming look to his soccer photos in a few years. No, I'm pretty sure I'll get way more action shots with him. But with Grace I'll take what I can get.

Like this one where she is actually running.

However most of her running shots look like this one. Yes she runs like a girl. She also walked on her tiptoes 90% of the time until she was 4. I'm pretty sure she still thinks she's a ballerina.

Here's some more semi-action shots. The coach had her practice throwing the ball in one time and I think it may have been one of two times she actually touched the ball the entire time they scrimmaged.

Here's the second. This is an uber-rare shot of Grace attempting to kick the ball.

I'm not sure what she's doing right here. Probably practicing her dance moves.

This is what Grace usually does during the game. She turns her body away from the action in a purely defensive position. Even when her team is playing offense. In fact I don't think she knows the difference between offense and defense.

But look how adorable she is! And paying attention! She may or may not grow up to become a soccer star (highly unlikely but you never know) but at least she's giving it a try. I'm proud of her for that. My hope is that by the end of the season she will think soccer is fun.