Monthly Archives: October 2010

Big and Little

In all of our lives there are big and little moments that make us who we are both positive and negative.  As parents we try to create more positive shaping experiences with our kids then negative.  I don’t know about you, but the negative experiences that happened when I was very young are the only ones that stuck with me.  You know, like right after we moved into our townhouse when I was 4 or 5 a dog barked at me loudly while advancing on me.  Here are a few things we did lately to create positive experiences.

The fair was definitely a Huge one for them, but I’ll put that one in it’s own post.  There were these images I wanted to share first.  I know, talk about eternal teaser…

I’m a blog reader as much as I like to write a blog.  There are people I know in real life, people I’ve met online in mom or photography groups, photography related blogs, design blogs, decorating blogs, financial blogs, food/craft/homemaking blogs and those who I just find interesting {generally with good images!}.  One of my favorite inspiration blogs is Stephanie Nielson’s blog called the Nie Nie Dialogues.    Her family recently had a photo/video shoot with Blue Lily Photography which is a family who travels doing photography and video sessions.  The kids and I watched the video together quite a few times.

They giggled and were amazed watching the fun and love of this family in video.

I’m pretty sure if a feather pillow comes open around my two in the future they will know exactly what to do with it!

I love this serious loving expression Blake gave me as he was touched by this video.

Oh, and the fun!!!   Here is a link to the video we watched for these images.  It is about 3 minutes long.

I found out the kids loved videos when I showed them a video of baby Ella and then one of the Mormon Messages videos.  The Mormon Messages are generally less then 5 minutes and cover everything from how to handle tragedy, everyday events and religious beliefs.

We were out and about running a couple of time sensitive errands last week.

Sometimes when we drive the kids alternate from “reading” a book, watching out the window in boredom, watching in excitement, singing and talking.  We noticed on our way to our first destination Ken’s Corn Maze and decided to stop back by on our way home.   On the way back there we told Blake to keep a sharp eye out his window for something big!

While he was busy looking I was talking to and playing with Madison.

Then he spotted it!

Look Dad and Mom!  Look Maddie!

It’s a monster truck!!!!!

Guy gave each of them a boost to look into the cab.

Blake checked himself out in the wheel.  They loved checking it out and the huge pumpkins.

They really wanted to check out all the festivities by the corn maze down a little hill.  We knew we were all hungry and really needed to eat.  Blake is busy here naming off the reasons we Needed to go down there.

But being the mean parents we are, we knew that we all needed to eat before real meltdowns happened.

In an effort to snap Blake out of his little cry/pout I asked him to show me his pouty face for the camera….

He couldn’t hold onto it for long!

We all happily went off to get some fooooood!!!

This has to be my favorite non chosen image from the Halloween photo shoot.  I just love this adorable little girl amongst all the scary props.  Since today is Halloween it was my last opportunity to share it.  Happy Halloween.

The other day my friend showed me a new catalogue.  This page cracked me up.

Blake is our super clean kid.  He randomly picks things up to put them away as he notices them.  His hands MUST be clean.  When eating anything of potential mess he more often then not asks one of us to help him to avoid being messy.  Of course, this also delays his learning how to use a spoon and fork well.  He is rarely OK with any food on his face.  This day he was happily drinking his first smoothie/milkshake creating a bit of a mustache.

I was all about recording this moment of mess in my boy.

Madison however, noticed his messy face.  She leans over to him and says, “Clean your face.  It’s a mess!”

Here is what my sweet girl looked like as she told him this….  lol  It is also how she often looks when eating.  However, her fork and spoon skills are much better then his are.   We teased her letting her know her face was just as messy.

On one of the first chilly but nice days we headed out to the front porch to snack, enjoy some family time with all of us and talk to Nanny & Poppy on the phone.  Those phone calls to all the far away grandparents are so important.  Even if the kids don’t actually talk during a specific conversation they are reminded of their wonderful grandparents helping them develop relationships of love and trust with all 5 of them.

We had asked all the grandparents what they wanted to be called since there were so many of them we thought it would be easier for the kids to have individual names for them.  We ended up with Nanny & Poppy for Guy’s parents, Grandma for my mom, and Grandpa and Grammy for my dad & step mom.

I love this one!!!!

I think most families with more then one kid at some point have food competitions.  As if there isn’t enough food they have to stuff down anything given out family style as fast as possible.  It’s a good opportunity for them to learn patience and sharing and how mommy and daddy plan ahead to provide enough food to make them full and happy.

She wanted me to take a picture of her, but only gave me grumpy faces…

We told the kids to put their cheeks on daddy’s for a shot.  This cracked us up.  My mom did something like this for a shot of her and my grandma together.  We both called him Kris for a while.   Madison’s expression is so sweet here.

All three of these last three shots are favorites of mine.  Enjoy them.

Studio Lights are so much fun

I’m loving having studio lighting at home!!!  Seriously.  The kids are helping me work out the kinks of how I want to arrange my lighting for different effects and moods.  They have gone into the studio area several times and yelled for me to come shoot some images of their doll or other toy.  They do lose interest pretty quickly and don’t have a lot of patience for moving the lights around to try something new much less change a background.  I may need to set up a couple friends to come over who wouldn’t mind patiently letting me fiddle with some lights around taking some images.

Here is just one of the cute images they’ve let me take of them this last week while we were cooped up for our sick days.

Check out Madison’s neck in the image.  Guy brought the rash to my attention then I noticed it in some images from a couple weeks prior.  She’s had it for a while now.  The only thing we think it could be from is the dry cleaning chemicals on the ‘Lady Pirate’ dress she tried on and wore for the Halloween shoot, or it could be from the new and resale clothes I’ve been putting on her lately.  So we pulled out everything she hadn’t yet worn from the closet which created a long day of laundry when added to our normal laundry pile.  A thin layer of hydrocortisone cream seems to be helping it go away.

In other news…  We are finally going to be able to see Guy’s family again soon.  The tickets are purchased!  If anyone in Utah wants to schedule a December session let me know.   This includes family members.  We want to have all the sessions I’ll do set up with a date and time.

Pregnant girl signing off.  14 weeks and 4 days done of 40 weeks.

Some favorite things

Maddie and Blakie Boy have been sick since last Saturday.  Guy and I have taken turns feeling good then bad then good then bad.  We thought everyone would be better by today, but Madison is fighting a fever, I have a sore throat & light cough, and Guy has some strange allergy looking eyes & migraine.  Blake is still coughing, but it is the barkie asthma like cough.   We’ve started giving him some breathing treatments at night to help with his restricted breathing since being sick.   The only thing we have to watch is doing it enough in advance of bed that the hyper time after the treatment wears off.  That stuff makes him a crazy man for at least 45 minutes.  Madison is just like me when she is sick.  The girl has a big old appetite!  I guess our bodies go into overdrive and need the extra calories to fight the sickness.  When I get like that I never gain weight though I eat a lot more then normal.

I’ve been working on being a better planner when it comes to menus {what is that?} and cooking.  I made chocolate chip cookies for the first time in my life.  I used the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook breast cancer edition’s recipe.  The dough looked so cracked and dry to me, but the cookies came out well.  By staying on top of the cooking time and decreasing it slightly with additional batches they all came out done just right.  Guy was so nice as to say they were the best ones he’s ever had and bragged about me on Facebook.  A friend who tried one also said they were yummy.  The kids liked them, but are a little like me and don’t crave them or want them often.  I thought they would go bad before they were all eaten, but Guy took a couple to work with him for lunch each day making them gone in about a week.

I love to watch how the kids sit together to watch TV.  They had a babysitter a few weeks ago who got a huge kick out of them sitting like this on either side of her with their pillows on their laps.  Blake would lean over to Alyssa and kiss her arm every few seconds.  She asked him if he was kissing her, he shyly tucked his chin and grinned up at her.  The next day Madison teased him by saying he ‘liked’ Alyssa.  It surprises me the stuff they come up with that I wouldn’t have thought they would figure out at age two.

I was taking some images at the end of the day for my 365 project.  The kids took turns standing in front of a door close to a wall that I could bounce some light off of with my flash for more interesting lighting.  I love that they don’t pose and say cheese very often instead act naturally in front of the camera.  They don’t mind doing it most of the time.  Here are some of my favorites.

When I was showing the kids the images the other day we got to one just before this one that looked pretty much like all the others just standing in front of the door.  Blake says to me, “I’ll have my milk in it next.”   Sure enough, there was his milk sippy in the next image.  His memory amazes me.

We were talking on the way home from the movies yesterday.  Our kids are constantly pointing things out while we are driving.  It’s a lot of fun to have the running dialogue with them.  We also point out many things to them as we are driving.  It gets us talking to each other and teaches them to recognize the world around them.  They have definite opinions on which way we should turn onto the main street {Cornwallis} whenever we leave the house.

Madison is showing off my Nikon lens cap here.

I love this image so much.

And this one.

She is sharing her glasses with the baby.

Madison is sitting on my lap helping me type her name and she started talking about how much she loves her sunglasses when she saw this image.  So cute.  We also have been talking about how long it has been since we went to see family in Utah.  Since the kids turned two the price of round trip tickets jumped from being able to get them for $500-$700 to $1400-$2100.  We just haven’t been able to save up that much to make the trip.  Since Guy worked so much off duty time recently we are thinking we finally have enough to make a trip.

This morning we were playing with all the puzzles.  Guy sang Old McDonald with the kids holding up various farm puzzle pieces.  When we were playing with the transportation puzzle Blake was asking to go on a cruise ship when picking up the ship piece, going in a taxi around “Your Ami” {they think Miami is Guys “My Ami} and the driver takes money, grandpa’s school bus {he drives one}, and all of us flying on an airplane together.  Guy and I started talking about going to Utah again since it had been so long.  He asked them if they wanted to go visit anyone.  Madison yelled, “I want to see Grammy.   I LOVE Grammy!”

We scored an awesome girls bike someone wanted to donate since it wasn’t in good enough shape to sell.  Since the bike we got for Blake is still too big Guy took the training wheels off it to put on her bike.  She loves it.  I think she’ll learn how to use it pretty quickly when we can get over this sickness getting back outside.

Blake still doesn’t really get actually riding the tricycle.  But I really haven’t gotten outside much to work with them.  They both get frustrated very easily when it doesn’t go their way screaming instantly.  It takes a lot of patience and calming them down to get them to work it out.  Our driveway is also sloped so they have to work extra hard to try and peddle uphill.

The movie yesterday was a funny experience!  We decided to go to an earlier one when they woke up early from their nap.  The last couple movies we’ve had an issue with them running around.  Both times it was an almost empty theater and we sat in the front row of the upper section.  I think all the space in front of them was just too tempting for them.  This time we went up a few more rows.  We also had a talk about staying in your seat {they have these cool plastic Velcro boosters for the kids}.  The movie we decided on was Secretariat which neither Guy or I were excited to see.  Because of our recent experience at the state fair {more about that later with images} it was a great time to see a horse movie.  We all love it and it captured the kids attention though most of it.  Right when the movie got quite we hear this massive echoing fart.  I immediately start giggling and see Guy is too.  Blake calls out, “Who Farted?”  Madison just continues eating her popcorn with a big grin on her face.  That plastic seat caused her fart to echo!  In another quiet part of the movie Blake all of a sudden bursts out singing Ba Ba Black Sheep.  We quickly shooshed him!  This was all in addition to going to the potty twice during the movie.  At the end of the movie our very loud Blake starts yelling at the people around us, “It’s over people!  Move out!  It’s over, get out!  Time to go!”  We were so embarrassed.  Then we were coming down the steps when a man {thankfully with young kids} had to go back up to his seat.  I mentioned we needed to move over so he could come up and Blake loudly tells him Sorry.  It gets even more embarrassing and funny.   The kids love to visit the two race car video games on the way out.  Blake asks Guy if he can go to the cars game as we were exiting to which he told Blake yes.  We got out into the main hallway behind others leaving the theater.  Blake starts saying there are people in his way.  I told him they were not in his way and he needed to walk instead of run to the game.   A nice lady stopped to tell us how adorable they are and to just enjoy them and how she does that with her 12 grandkids.   The family with the young kids also expressed how cute they were.  Lucky us they were the ones sitting closest to us in the theater.

I worry that because they are big and appear much older {3-4} then they actually are that people will not be as tolerant of their behavior which does match their actual age of 2 1/2 much of the time.

Great week

We have had a great week.  We were so happy to have Guy not working the crazy hours he was last week.  Guy and I are a bit different about our approach to things coming up.  We both knew the week of WORK {oh, and I mean work…  Try 33 hours of off duty time for him!} was coming.  We both knew he wouldn’t be able to come home most days between work and work.  Guy likes to visualize the time and how good or bad it will be before he even gets there sometimes getting stressed out before the hard times even hit.  I like to just wait until I experience it to find out how good or bad something is.  For me this works well.  I’d much rather just feel the pain at some point when it gets hard, and really the same for joy on the good times, as it comes naturally.  But really, I’d say  we both flip out equally despite our different approaches when the times get soooo hard.

This week was one of do nothing and do the things we had to get done.  If there was a chance to just sit, we did.  The previous week he was working so much I also sat on my bum most of the time trying to recover from the weekend of hard work and save my energy for the kids needs.  It was two consecutive weeks of bum Shannon.  Sometimes we just need to do it.  I also noticed I’m on the computer only about 1/3 of the time I used to be with the move of the computer back into the spare room we turned into an office.  There is still some work to do to it to organize.

The organizing needing to be done keeps getting bigger…  This week we purchased some studio lights!  I’ve been feeling drawn to them for some time now.  We finally built up the photography balance we don’t have to use to support us enough to afford some.  This is going to be soooo cool.  Back to organizing.  Right now I have some photography props not sensitive to heat and cold in the garage.  I have some hanging photography props in my closet along with baskets, blankets, backdrops and the backdrop stand.  Also in our bedroom is a large shelving unit that houses the blankets, wraps, some backdrops, hats, cocoons, bloomers, bows, flowers, umbrellas, paperwork, random props and the packaging materials.  In the kids room are a couple blankets and the beanbag used for newborns.  That brings us into the office…  Here there is a lot of stuff.  There is the computer, some paperwork, loads of negatives and photo albums from my lifetime of shooting {all heat/cold sensitive…  GET those things out of your attics & garages!}, fine art prints ready for sale, more packaging items, my sample products, and general office supplies.  The office also holds our other computers {one stored}, sewing items {machine also in my closet}, random craft items, two desks, a couch, all our books, personal paperwork & other random stuff.

With the addition of the studio lights and backgrounds ordered I really need to get in there to reorganize it all again to make more sense.  Stuff like putting the packaging and paperwork in the office were it belongs, figuring out how to hang the wrinkle prone backgrounds in my closet to keep them from wrinkling by being folded {so much extra time to edit out wrinkles}, and removing more of my clothes to make room for photography and craft stuff.  Thankfully, I am pregnant so that should make it easier to remove more clothes for now.

The kids have taken to singing duets at least twice a day.  They do not want Guy or I to sing with them, though they often want us to listen.  Madison will sing much more then when they do duets, and she loves to be ‘caught’ singing by one of us.  If we suddenly look at her smiling while she is singing we see her whole body light up with joy.  She isn’t our most transparent or emotional child.  We taught them the song, Families Can Be Together Forever, this week.  Guy and I sang it as part of our nightly ritual of singing, reading, praying and into bed.  Madison tried to join in throughout the song and often sang the last part of a word just after us.  Blake appeared to not really be paying attention.  We both thought Madison was the one picking it up faster.  Not so much, Blake sang the song yesterday as he was playing surprising me by knowing most of the words to the first verse {all we sang}.  Tonight both of them did a great job of singing it with me.  It amazes me those two year olds can pick up a song that fast.

Both of the kids love the park.  Any park.  I’ve realized I am much more of a home body then my mother is.  She was always happiest whenever she was/is out and about.  It generally doesn’t matter where as long as it is out.  Most of my childhood weekends were spend at the local malls.  I loved it.  We were always off on some adventure.  Now, I am perfectly content to spend most of my time at home.  Going out can be much more of a hassle then it’s worth.  It also seems whenever we go out so does money.  Most of the time the actual cost to drive anywhere goes through my head at least once.  When you pay $4 in gas just to to a park, more often then not I’m out.  We have a great time at home.  My kids also LOVE to get out just like my mom.  :-) Darn gas prices…  Enjoy some images from a recent outing to the closest park to our house.

Modern merry-go-rounds are pretty interesting.  I like how they work with physics which is interesting to me, and will hopefully be a great teaching tool for my kids later.

It was really crowded this day.  The kids had fun with the other kids while learning to wait and take turns.  I love the concentrating looks on both kids as they navigate the jungle gym.

A quick snap of Maddy in action.

I wonder what he was thinking here.  Maybe nothing as he takes a breather from all the activity and heat.  They were being forced to drink some water by me.  Madison’s expression reminds me of one of my aunts here.  It is the exact same face she makes.

New blog and first OB appointment!

I’m so excited to share my new blog with you all!  It’s in a format that is super easy to maintain, make design changes and create posts.  There will be a few more features like the products we like and recommend coming soon as I get those little bits together.   I’m also thinking it would be great to come up with a cool graphic logo for White House III.  We’ll see.  I’m also planning on doing some regular features that include photography tips and crafts now that the kids are getting old enough to have some crafty fun with.  Let me know if there is anything specific you want to see included in this blog other then more images with Guy in them.  I say fat chance on that happening in the next little bit.  One of these days he’ll be brow beaten into loving himself in images.

Now onto the news many are anxiously waiting for.  We Finally had out first OB appointment which we were so lucky and grateful to be able to get insurance coverage for.  We first met with a really nice nurse who happens to be an identical twin!  She also disproved my identical twin theory.  Every identical twin I’ve met since reading an article saying, they generally do not have any self confidence issues with their looks, has confirmed that both they and their twin are happy with their looks.  Our nurse said both her and her sister have some doubts and always think the other looks much better or skinnier even when the same weight.  Sorry for the sidetrack, but I know a lot of moms who read my blog with identical twins!    After a while we then went to get my labs done.  Nuf said.  She took us into the doctors office.  It was sooooo full of stuff and so much of it was breakable.  The kids were not in the mood to be calm or hands off in the small office.  He came in after knocking and calling through the door if it was safe…  lol  He mentioned it sounded very loud when he came in.  We talked to him for a couple minutes.  He mentioned I’m a great candidate for a VBAC {vaginal birth after cesarean}, and baring no issues at the end of the pregnancy I should be able to labor for a vaginal delivery.  Nice.  He also said we’ll definitely do an ultra sound {u/s} to confirm my due date.

All in all he was really nice and we both liked him.  After waiting a little bit, it was our turn in the exam and u/s room.  In no time he was telling the kids the baby would look like a gummy bear on the TV.  He started the u/s.  My first thought was, “hmmmmmmmmm.”  He immediately says, that is certainly not a gummy bear on the screen as he is moving the u/s around.  As he is taking a measurement he says, “It looks like there is only one in there.”  Ha ha to all those wishing more twins or even trips on us.  We would have done it, but wow that first year is a ton of work.  So he gets done with the head to rump measurement and says I’m 11 weeks 1 day along!!!  My due date is April 21st just 3 days after the kids birthday.  That means I just totally “lost” almost two weeks of my pregnancy thinking we were in the 9th week and finding out it was the 11th week!  Bye-bye May 1st due date!!!  I’m so excited to fe further along then we thought.  At my first OB appointment I find out we are basically done with the first trimester.  Love it!

This isn’t a steller image of the baby, but it shows the rump on the left then back and the head disappears to the right.  He was nice enough to print off three copies so the kids could each have a picture of their baby.

Ultrasound 11wks 1 day Oct01 2010

We played in the rain several days this week.  The kids loved it as much as I remember loving it.  In this shot I was moving the camera with Blake to grab the action.

The kids thought the dolls needed some water!  Still laughing at this one.

Guy really has gotten onto me this week for not taking before images.  Duh!  Next time we do something drastic I promise to.  This area was completely grown together where we had to contort and move bushes aside to get to the spigot to the left of the electrical box.

I love all the lines of toys that appear in random places around here.  It seems like everyone else with kids about this age is experiencing the same thing.

It seriously rained most of this week.  I loved every minute of it.  In fact, after being so disconnected from the outside the last few hot humid months it feels like nature and I are totally one again.  Stopping to listen through the open windows to the breeze move the tree leaves has sidetracked me a lot this week.  Here is a shot of one of our cars with the new Lifelong Impressions advertising.  I love it.  It’s a product called window perf which you can see through from the inside.

Another example of the kids happily playing in the rain with their ‘bats.’

Madison enjoyed licking the water off the fallen leaves.

Then Blake asked to try it.  Check out the spider bite by his eye.  This is after the swelling mostly went away.

He thought licking it was pretty cool too.

I often let the kids play on the front porch where I can see and hear them.  It’s huge.  We love it.  Well, one morning this week I asked them to come in and Blake exclaimed how he wanted to go play in the rain.  I informed him it wasn’t even raining so he couldn’t.  Later after their nap I went into the kitchen while they were on the front porch again to do a few dishes.  The next thing I see and hear is Blake over by the garage {right in front of the sink window} yelling at the top of his voice how it is raining and he is playing in it.  I guess he thought my earlier explanation was permission to go play in the rain when it began again.

I used the kids as models during a private photography lesson this week.  Madison was thinking up some devious way to be silly or something here.

She has  the sweetest expressions sometimes.

They’ll always hug.

This little guy is all about quick movements and little moments of laughter and connection.

He’ll actually listen to instruction every once in a while too!  I love this soft natural look with no agenda.

He’s showing us how well he sweeps and can wield a broom.

Madison is just chillin with Guy in the next three shots.  I love to watch the kids cuddle up to their dad.

So love this one.

She started acting silly as I was talking to her.

The kids are obsessed with vitamins.  Really, truly obsessed.  They ask for one at breakfast plus at least 2 more times each day.  They get half a Flintstones or generic equivalent.  Sometimes we give them half of a vitamin C like they are holding here.

The really weird part is how they eat them.  They savor them and lick them as they hold onto it with two fingers.  Blake does this with any candy, popsicle or other treat whenever he can.  He even did it with a dried apricot this weekend!

Sometimes we just have to tell them, him especially, to just bite and eat whatever it is.

This was the first project we started on Friday!  Guy got the absolutely brilliant idea to cut a hole in our detached garage’s ceiling to install an attic  access as well as put some boards down to allow us to utilize the space.  We didn’t know, but thought there would be some great space up there.  Just prior to this shot he stuck his head up there and was able to confirm we had LOTS of space.  YIPEEE!

Here is a shot from the front showing how tall the pitch is.  When we were loading it up I was able to stand up in the exact middle.

Here’s Blake with his 3D glasses from watching the Owl movie currently out.  Great movie.  I think he looks so funny in these glasses.

And here is Madison featuring some of our mess that went up into the attic behind her.  There was three times as much on the other side of the garage since we park an SUV where she is standing.

The kids were helping Guy get the trim for around the access door.

That’s all for now.  I’ll have lots of after pictures from all our projects this weekend.  Right now I need to go be with the family!