Category Archives: Family outings

Family pictures Fall 2013

Our family pictures have always happened in the spring around the kids birthdays.  Since all three kids were born April 18-20th it makes it an easy easy time to remember capturing our family in images.  Self times and remote controls are not my thing.  There always seems to be something that goes wrong with a setting or focus, not to mention the obvious lack of an entertaining person to smile at!  We I love having a great photographer capture our family playing and smiling each year.  This was the first time we had a family session in the fall.  Now I am finally seeing from a mom point of view why fall is such a great time to do it!

How many times have you heard someone say {or thought it yourself} how they wished they had a or more pictures of them with their parent/s?  Probably too many times to count!  As parents it is one of our great responsibilities to be in pictures with our kids for them to reminisce and enjoy later in life.  The funny part is…  Later is just a few months down the road.  My kids have now delighted in reliving our family picture day a few weeks ago.  They laugh and talk about it as if they were still there.  It prompts them to offer up words of love with hugs, which is my favorite part!

Here are the pages for an album design of our favorite session images.  Can’t wait to have an album in hand and hang a big collage of gallery wrapped canvas prints on the walls of our new home!!!

My friend Morgan Henderson of Morgan Henderson Photography captured these images for us!!!   We all loved the experience and her great personality!!!


Oh, and happy anniversary to my awesome Guy!!!

It happened. Excitement galore!!


We got a text from Miss Penny at school that said:

“We are sitting at lunch and the kids are asking all kinds of questions…

Then Maddie is eating her apple then, turns around to me and says to me “is this a tooth?””

The text came along with three pictures showing her with her apple and her tooth.

Madison’s loose tooth has finally come out!!!

That sucker has been loose for months.

I took a few pictures of her that totally show her excitement

This week was homecoming week.  That meant Guy worked from 6:30 am until at least 8pm every day completely missing the kids awake time for a whole week!!  After taking her to visit him for a few minutes and show off her new gappy look we had a little conversation.

She started asking me if fairies were real.  I told her they weren’t real like unicorns weren’t real.  In my mind I’m thinking of Tinkerbell and the kids movie we watched recently.  Then she says, “Is the Tooth Fairy real?”  Ughhh, crap!!   So I just asked her what she thought and she wasn’t sure.  Then I changed the subject without giving her an answer.  lol

She also loved the two coins the tooth fairy brought her.  😉

Homecoming week at Garner High School ends with a parade, some other festivities and the big game.  They won the game!   We went to the parade only since the rest is a bit late for the kids.

the kids had a great time visiting with the others by us and giving hugs.

Blake is a little nervous as he waits for it to begin.  He wants to make sure everything goes just so like he’s planned it in his head.  Notice the hand holding onto Maddie’s skirt?

This morning Guy asked Madison what her favorite part of yesterday’s parade was.  She told him, “Seeing you dad!”  That was just what he needed to hear after a long week ending in not only a 19 hour day yesterday but the death of a lady when her car got stuck on the railroad tracks!

Here he is tossing the kids some candy.

Landon, in his typical two year old way, did not really get the whole ‘picking up the candy fast’ thing.  lol   Those kids came home with a huge bowl full of candy.  Awesome, now we have stuff to pass out for Halloween!  Yes, we will be doing that.  With two more candy filled events we’ll have way more then our family needs.

Mama crafting

When the twins were born they had these awesome personal quilts made by a friend at church.  She lovingly made quilts for all the new babies born at church she was unable to anymore.  It was an amazing gift that we love.  The twins used their blankets all the time leaving them looking well loved.  Now that they’ve outgrown that size of blanket we have saved them to give to them as a memento from their childhood.

{Maddie Mia sleeping with her quilt}

After Landon hit a year old, I realized that I was going to feel guilty if this kid didn’t get his own baby blanket.  He definitely wouldn’t be able to use a standard sized baby blanket as it would already be too short.  

Aware moment:    It’s often a good thing to be aware of your own talents and your desires in life.  A quilt would be fabulous.  The only issue is that while I may be ‘able’ to make a quilt, the patience, counter space and lack of portability would make it a forever incomplete project for me.  However, I can crochet pretty fast and there is little else to do when traveling long distances by car.  Guy says he feels like he’s sitting next to an old lady.  :-) Funny how age creeps up on some folks.  According to teens, my age makes me an old lady.

We headed out on a trip in December 2012.  Perfect time to make him a blanket.  So I found some yarn on sale and a pattern that intrigued me.  Unfortunately the pattern didn’t get sent to me in time so I was winging it when crocheting his blanket.  Eh, it may not exactly look like the pattern, but it is a great blanket anyway.

{The stash of yarn which ended up not being enough}

Madison holding up what I finished on the first leg of our drive.  This ended up being the softest and thickest blanket.   It has a zig zag or chevron pattern which is hard to see when it isn’t flat.

Landon loves his blanket.  Adores is probably a better word for it.  He likes to feel it, play with it and confirm it is on his bed.  The length will work for him until he’s about 7 years old too.  It was so great to make him a blanket!  Maddie Mia asked me to make her one too.  I think that is a fine idea!  Blake sleeps with one Nanny made on his bed so I think she feels left out.

One of Landon’s images from this week.  AND….

One of Blake at the same age. AND…

Maddie Mia also at the same age.  This is what they would look like if they were actually triplets!  {We get a lot of jokes about how they look like triplets}

Disney Dreams on Castaway Cay

Disney’s private island was great!  The way it was set up in no way did it feel like there were thousands of other people on there with you.  The food was yummy and there was a variety of things to do.  Loved it.  We loved meeting a very poor look a like choice for Jack Sparrow and having Madison ask him where his hat was.  Too funny.  Guy snapped a quick shot of me holding the twins in front of the ship.  Landon stayed on the ship for nap time in the arms of a nice comfy lady he obviously liked enough to settle in with {the baby-sitting was $6 an hour, well spent $12} letting us go play with the twins in the ocean doing bigger kid stuff.  There was the funny way we put the stroller on the tram {carried our gear & then Landon when Guy went back to get him}.  We had a great time on the ocean water slides & both big kids went down by themselves!  Disney even provided the life jackets.  They met a new friend and tried to make sand castles with their gear.  It ended up we are not good at them and neither was their family.  The twins spent a little while playing in the Disney club and I got to play a couple games of volleyball while Guy got Landon.  We all ate a great lunch together then headed over to play in the awesome water play area.  Back on the ship we spent the remainder of the day doing random things around the ship.  Good times!!  I’ll let the fun images speak mostly for themselves.

One of my little photographers.  One of these days I’ll post some of their pics.

And he shows his baby side {12 months old}!  If you don’t look at how big he is compared to the 2 year old behind him he does look like a baby here!

She wonders why he gets annoyed with her..

This is the movie screen in the pool area.  We did this instead of the show.  So fun and the pool hardly had anyone else in it.  There was no line for the cool Aqua Duck slide!

More dreams on the Dream

 Well, for those who asked for more details on the Disney cruise, this is another valiant attempt to share.  Or should I say over share?…  I hope you don’t kill me for sharing too many images again.  This time there are more then the last time by almost double.

Last post we left off as we took shelter from the rain that started within minutes of the ship pulling away from the dock.  We headed down to the main atrium/lobby area where a woman was singing beautifully.  All of our kids are love to listen to music so they headed over to watch with their damp scraggly hair.

Within moments they noticed one of the window seat porthole windows that are everywhere on the ship.

Madison got bored pretty quick while Blake could have stayed there for a long long time.

She found a much more fun activity {to her}.  Dancing to the beautiful music with her daddy!  Landon {in the foreground} was toddling around back and forth from the musician to the window.

I barely turned around to catch this {hence the blurry pic!}.  So delighted with this sweet image of a daddy/daughter kiss.

That look on her face is pure satisfied happiness.


I don’t know who to call Mr. Personality anymore with both Landon and Blake.  They give each other a run for the money on pure imaginative entertainment power.  Those two boys seem to be hardwired to being able to convey meaning and entertainment with the slightest gesture.  Landon is on a mission to ‘tell’ me something here.  It should be extra entertaining when he really starts to talking.

Blake had a great view of the pilot boat right outside his window seat.

I came back to the window just in time to see the area we were watching the cruise ships pass by us the previous day.   {This shot is a little further out}

One relaxed and happy boy.

The sunset a few minutes later was awesome with the perfect lifting of the storm just for sunset!!!

Dinner for us in our regular life is not generally a fun affair.  Being on the cruise ship didn’t change this fact at all.  In some ways it was easier with lovely wait staff who would cut up the kids food for them and the distraction of the people and the restaurant itself.   In other ways it was harder with people around to stare if our kids got whiny and pouty because the ‘had’ to eat, were bored or didn’t like something.  So dinner was not really photographed and will not be mentioned until the last night gets blogged.  The food was good.  It was cruise ship food to me.  Overall tasty and an opportunity to try things you wouldn’t normally.  I got a few fish dishes to try with a regular backup dish as well.  Worked great.  About 50% of what I tried was yummy and the other 50% not so good.

The one evening show we attended was the first night.  It is touted as the best and not to miss show.   I enjoyed it and we almost made it through the whole thing.  Of course, this means we also beat the crowd exiting at once too!  This allowed us to have a great leisurely exit and some wander time with few people around.

The premise of the show is like a academy awards show with a staffer stuck hosting due to a no show.  The old Disney dream to be the impossible kicks in and the staffer accomplishes the impossible.  This was the ‘red carpet’ before show part.


It was amazing how many cool and different sets they did during this short show.  Loved it.  A dreamy Snow White.  {This reminds me….  If we had named Madison snow she would have been both Snow White and White, Snow.  lol}

The incredibly buff Tarzan.  They did a great arial trick with those ‘vines’ hanging in the background.

The Mulan character was super tiny!

They really made Jessie and Woody look WAY bigger then the other toys onstage.  Cool costume tricks.  Blake was really at attention for this part!

And then we get to Madison’s favorite princess, hands down, Repunzel.  She was almost in tears excited to see her here.  She also was completely crushed beyond words that she couldn’t meet her on the cruise ship when so many other characters and princesses were there.  Anytime we saw any of the princesses she made sure to bemoan the fact that Repunzel was not there to us.

After Repunzel, I was busted for taking pics during the show.  It must of been my super bright LCD screen that gave me away.  It could also have been the increasingly restless Landon.

In the morning we went right from the tasty buffet breakfast to get in the princess greeting line early.  The kids played in the lounge area with Guy while I waited in line.  There were some other kids over there off and on as well.  It broke Guy’s heart to see our shy and very tenderhearted Madison try and get in on some play time with the other kids.  Many times they don’t understand she wants to play with them by the way she acts.  But sometimes she will boss around or correct kids behavior which turns them off of her.  She is such a little bossy mama.

Everyone started getting really excited and the kids ran over to try and get a good look at the princesses as they approached.  They are avidly watching the stairs here.  Then we looked up to their left…

…To find princesses right above us!!  Oh the delight.

Then shifting quickly back to the stairs we see the other princesses descending the stairs.  Madison had that breathy excitement thing going on.

Snow White was so sweet to have a conversation with the kids.  Really, most of the characters had conversations with the kids.  It felt so personal and like a real meeting instead of just a picture op.

As a parent, this face right here is what makes spending an extra grand on a Disney cruise verses a regular one worth it!

I wish we could just tell their photographer to bugger off so the kids wouldn’t get confused at who to look at.  Well, I never even checked to see if we could.  Next time we go to Disney I plan on it.

The kids like to call her Beauty and the Beast instead of Belle.  So funny.

Our kids are so perfectly normal when it comes to smile on cue image ops.   Not so much looking at the camera or smile or do it at the same time if they do.  Not sure if being a photographer helps or hinders.

It was about this time Guy remarked to me how Blake kept looking at one of the princesses down the line and had been since Snow White.  Both of us thought it must be Tiana.  The angle seemed right.


Maddie is like me.  If clothes have scratchy tags or seams she wants them off immediately.  Socks were my biggest issue growing up.  Those seams had to be just right.  It dawned on me that I’ve never heard Madison complain about them.  Oh yeah that’s right, I’m totally obsessive about getting them just right the first time when putting them on them!  lol    The reason I bring this up?  Notice how far away from Cinderella she is?  She is still talking about how scratchy her dress was.   Maddie loves princess dresses, but she can’t wear so many pretty dresses she loves since they are scratchy.

And then we arrived at Tiana.  Both kids rushed in to meet her.

She got in there first.

Then he got in a good hug while Madison giddily looked on.

Hmmmm, maybe this wasn’t the princess he was all about.

He sure got in there first for Sleeping Beauty {who kind of resembles Taylor Swift}.

Blake’s body posture definitely looks a little like he’s looking at a crush.

They had the longest conversation with her.

Talking about the broken arm here.

Madison has been practicing doing her hands like this.  “Princess Hands.  Ummmm Hmmm.”  Said with a little know it all smile.  lol  Blake looks a little left out.  Definitely crushing here!

Wooing her back to him.

Little mama policing her brother.

Finally we got to Ariel. m These two were all over getting in super close.

This is also where we realized Blake is a sucker for red heads!!  Check out these shots.  If that isn’t a major crush, I don’t know what is.

His eyes are glued to her.

Then he shyly looks down when she talks to him.

As soon as she looks up he doesn’t take his eyes off her and is giving her a totally adoring look!

We headed up to go play in the kids area during the family open house.  It was the perfect time to go in there and play with the kids.  I wish we had been more aware of these open house times so we could have made more of them.

Princess Mini was also a hit with Mad.  She thought she was gorgeous.

In the kids area there were two huge groupings of rooms each with its own center area where shows, group activities, story time and character events happened.  Durning open houses only one of the two groupings would be open to the parents.  The floor lit up in the section we were in this time.  Before sitting here we explored Pixie Hollow where Madison fell in love with the crayons and coloring pages.  lol  Thought I’d say something more exciting?  At first she wanted to put on all the dress up clothes, but the first one she tried was scratchy.  Blake fell in love with the more exploration themed room including Nemo’s sub.  Andy’s room was also really cool!

We didn’t tell the kids, but Mickey and some friends were about to come see them!  They just loved the lights.  The colors are freaky weird throughout this space making all the images look weird.

Two fun ladies got the kids going and led the adventure.

We solved riddles and puzzels to see who was coming next.

The Goofster came out first.

He got the kids to do a bean bag toss.

Then we all got into our groove with some dancing.

Maddie did her best to figure it out.

Guy was her biggest cheer leader!   She’d also look over at me to make sure I was watching.

Then Pluto came out.  Pluto must have been a super stocky dude with massive thighs.  You could see those suckers even with the costume.

Blake loved getting down like a dog.

All four of us were having fun dancing around.

Then it was Mickey’s turn!

Madison is checking back to make sure Blake joined her in the congo line.

Back to Pixie Hollow for some coloring.

We were happy for two things on this heavily rainy and pretty windy day..  1. We had already decided we were staying on the ship at Nassau.  2.  We weren’t at sea with what would probably be not so calm seas.

These kids ended up celebrating their birthdays for more then two weeks.  Guy is giving them their birthday buttons from Disney.

So excited to once again be a special birthday girl.

All three kids were all over the place when we saw Donald Duck.

I finally got the flash dialed in and decided on just an image of Donald would be fine.

After seeing Donald we let the kids spend their $100 birthday money from Grammy and Grandpa in the Toy Store!  These are all the goodies they got.  Landon was happy to play with the kids stuff so the two big kids just split the total.   With a little appropriately exclaimed steering towards items we thought were both a good fit and a good value they ended up with a Car’s car launcher & car set, Woody doll, Jessie doll and a cool Tangled set.  The car launcher and Tangled set get the most use here at home, but the dolls are out every day too.

Oh, I also forgot to mention we went on the slides again this day.  Landon went to the nursery for his morning nap.   Lunch was really tasty.  I normally Do Not like buffets, but the Disney one had great food every time we went there.  The pizza, chicken strips, panini’s and fries were also good.  My only complaint about the pizza was that they had two pre-made of each kind.  If you want a pipping hot one then you pretty much have to go with pepperoni since they are ordered most often.  The other ones had been sitting too long for my taste.  We also took the opportunity to take an afternoon nap as a family each day.  It gave the kids renewed energy making dinner less miserable then it would have been and we got to stay up later at night.  It also gave me a chance to do a basic edit on all of our cruise ship images which wouldn’t have gotten done otherwise.

The ship also has a great movie theatre that shows first run and other favorite movies during the cruise.  The perfect touch would have been some freshly popped popcorn.  I’m a sucker for some good popcorn.  They had some bagged popcorn like you can buy in a gas station that just didn’t appeal.

We got there pretty early so Landon got a chance to wander all over the place.  The twins met a little boy their age who had a great set of Star Wars figurines {like her Tangled set}.  They made fast friends and had those figurines scattered all along the middle front row wall.  They loved playing good guys and bad guys.