Monday, February 28, 2011

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog posting...

That's right, I'm back. I think I've semi-figured out our new PC. The monitor is still off, so if my pictures look a little dull and funky to you, that's probably why. Oh to know the ins and outs of photo editing! I'm not giving up! I refuse to give up!
I've spent the few minutes I've had between feedings, diaper changes, and the ocassional temper tantrums reading up on photo editing and I feel like I've acquired a few more useful skills. You be the judge. I'll leave it at that.
And now, several photos from the last few days: *drum roll, please!*

Waiting for Grammy

We love us some good Daddy time!

We still spend a good amount of our day playing in the big pink tent, which is fine by me!

Sarah enjoys watching Hannah's every move. She loves her big sister!
She's just gorgeous!

Chick-Fil-A kid's meal toy. A new favorite in our house these days.

She's been such a good girl for me this past week!

We weren't sure how she'd do with the whole sharing thing, as she's not around anyone her age, but so far she's passing with flying colors!
Before we knew it, Sarah was covered with a few of Hannah's favorite toys.
Even "Kitty" made it to the pile.

We're going to spend the week loungin' as usual. It's cold, wet, and rainy here, but we're making the best of it indoors!

And with that, I'll bid you a goodnight!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Public Service Announcement...

...will return to regularly scheduled postings shortly.

New computer + new editing software + horribly discolored, uncalibrated monitor = photo editing/uploading nightmare.

Good news? I may have figured it out! I hope to have a new post up with a ton of pictures within the next few days, as there has been a lot of cuteness going on 'round these parts!

See you soon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beauty and the Beast-esque.

To continue on with the new "theme" in our household, I've titled this post accordingly. After having watched this movie no less than 100 times since Hannah got it for Christmas (thanks, Mom and Dad!), I can now quote every line in the movie and sing every song. It's quite comical, actually, as I'm not the best singer...or line-quoter, for that matter.
Hannah wakes up in the morning requesting to watch "Beast", goes to bed at night talking about it, and even so much as took the DVD cover to bed with her for naptime today. Thank God we are off the Mickey Mouse kick for the time being. And for anyone whose concerned that I allow my child to sit in front of the TV all day, a disclaimer...while the movie may be playing in the background, we are only techniquely watching it about 25% of the time. Hannah is usually engulfed in a book, coloring, playing with her Mickey figurines, or in an entirely different room of the house. But...shut it off...she knows. Doesn't matter where she is. She knows. So, I leave it on to keep the peace. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't like to watch it almost as much as she does!
Yesterday we were blessed with temperatures in the high 50's, so after a painful trip to the dentist (had a cavity that had apparently tunneled its way under another filling thanks to the eight months I had to wait to get it taken care of due to my recent pregnancy) I ventured outside for literally the first time since we've lived here. Sad, but true. I've become increasingly interested in macro photography recently and wanted to try my hand at it with the newly exposed "greens" of our front and back yard.

During my scavenger hunt, I happened upon a single rose, who, despite the several inches of snow, howling winds, and bitter cold temperatures, managed to hang on to its stem. Yes, it is dead, but doesn't it have such a simple beauty? Plus, it reminds me of the wilting rose in Beauty and the Beast. Bonus points!
And a live one, to brighten things up a bit...
So, since I've now found another love in this hobby, I'm trying to convince Micah that I need either extension tubes or a macro lens (which comes at quite a price!) to better my close ups. So far I haven't convinced him...he doesn't know it, but his time is coming! He can't resist the eyelash bat and pouty face. Hun, you know I love you and I'm teasing, as I'm sure you are reading this!
Can I just say that I am loving my newfound interest in photography? Like, looking at other's pictures and following blogs of photographers whose work I admire makes my heart beat faster. I'm not kidding. It's true what they say, that a picture says a thousand words. It's also true to say that pictures are speaking volumes to me these days. I'm in a whole other world, seeing almost everything as a photo opportunity. Yes, I want new equipment, an upgraded camera body, a gorgeous camera bag, but even with what I have (and my collection is nothing to sneeze at in my eyes!) I am so enjoying this. I think it's safe to say it's quickly becoming, and has become, a passion of mine and I can't wait to see where I'm at a year from now, two years, ten years. The possibilities are endless which is why I love it. Finally a creative outlet that I truly enjoy. I've been searching for this for a long time and I'm so happy I've found something that I love this much.
Not only do I benefit from this, so does my husband...even if he doesn't know it yet. I am capturing timeless images of his beautiful babies. He should thank me...ahem.

Now that I've rambled on, I've made myself hungry, which reminds me that I have company coming for dinner and that I should probably move from my normal position on the couch and make the house somewhat presentable for her arrival. Then again, who cares about the house? If I pick up the array of toys strewn all across my family room now, they'll be back out before she arrives anyway. So, why bother? I'll sit for a few more minutes while Sarah sleeps and Hannah throws a temper tantrum next to me because she can't get her puzzle pieces to fit properly. Guess it's time to intervene!

Until next time!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Well, I got my Valentine's lunch...a day late! We took advantage of the gift card that's been burning a whole in Micah's wallet for months, nap time, and Grammy (ahem) and headed out for a good meal. I ate like a pig, big suprise. We ate so fast, as we are so used to having no other choice. Our waitress laughed when she came back five minutes after she had placed our food in front of us only to find it was gone. Oops!
We got the works, pasta, dessert...okay, that was it, but it was SO good! I'm still full from lunch, so I think I'm skipping dinner!
Hannah is currently refusing to eat dinner, and Sarah is contendly hanging out in her bouncer...and she just blocked a sneeze and made the most adorable noise! I love her!
Well, I have baths to give and a family room to pick up, so I better get scootin'. Just wanted to drop by and share a few thoughts, and a picture of course.
I shot this on my way back from our mailbox this morning. I should have waited until later in the afternoon to catch a more optimal lighting situation, but you'll have that I suppose. We certainly have a gorgeous view!

That's all, folks!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be Mine.

As everyone knows, today is Valentine's Day. Although I didn't get to go out to a fancy dinner with my love, I still had a decent day. Maybe next year we'll be able to do that fancy dinner I had in mind! Instead, I stayed home with the girls. We made the best of it, playing with anything and everything Hannah could pull out of the toy box. We spent time in the living room where we get all of that great sunlight (we didn't have much today, though!). Hannah played in her giant pink tent.

Gram and Pap are officially back from Disney World. They arrived home to dreary, gray Pennsylvania yesterday afternoon. After spending eight days in 60-70 degree weather with blooming flowers and palm trees, the shock of the Pa climate this time of year was just that...a shock. Nevertheless, they ventured out in the cold to come and bring gifts for the girls.
This is a set of all of the Mickey Mouse characters. They are quickly becoming a favorite in our house!

Hannah clearly had gone through Gram and Pap withdrawl. She sat on top of Gram last night when Pap said it was time to go home. She didn't want them to leave. It was telling today when I informed her that Gram was on her way over. Hannah parked herself in front of the window in the living room and waited for her arrival.
Can she be any cuter?!

In other news, Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Gene stopped over for a bit this evening. It had been a little while since they had visited and wanted to spend some time with the girls. It took Hannah a little while to warm up, as she had thrown a huge tantrum five minutes before they walked through the door and had just woken up from a four hour (yes...she really did sleep that long!) nap. Once she did, though, she chatted and hugged, and showed off! She's been saying some form of "Cheryl" all evening while looking at the picture I took of Aunt Cheryl and Sarah together.
Sarah was very comfortable with Aunt Cheryl and warmed up right much so that she promptly dozed off...
She is so precious!

Since Micah and I couldn't go out to dinner this evening, he stopped at Chick-Fil-A on the way home from Costco. Nothing says "I love you" like a fabulous fast food dinner...and no, I'm not being sarcastic. I love me some Chick-Fil-A! Doesn't do much for my wasteline, but that's a whole other subject that I'm just not getting into. If only I could get my jiggly rear out of bed to exercise in the morning, this wouldn't be as much of a problem. Soon enough, soon enough.
Anyway, back to Valentine's Day and all things romantic. Micah suprised me (along with the fabulous dinner) with a dozen red roses! I love him! I tried my hand at close-up flower shots and quickly realized that I have neither the talent or correct equipment to obtain these types of shots. So now I have yet another thing on my camera "wish list"...a nice macro lens. I think I'd actually use it more than I originally thought, so perhaps that will be one of my next big purchases. Ugh. I think I need to pick up a second job to pay for this hobby, as my list of wants grows almost daily. Yikes!
Anyway, here's one of the better shots I got of the beautiful flowers. Not exactly what I was going for, but not a complete tosser...

Well, that's about it. It's getting to be bedtime in these parts. Micah has Sarah slung over his shoulder, and Hannah is running circles around a pile of toys in the family room. It appears it is time for Mom to intervene. ::wink wink::

And I wanted to say thank you to all of you who read my blog religiously. It is so nice to know I'm not just writing for myself, but also for somewhat of an audience. It encourages me to write better, think more creatively, and take more pictures (well, okay, I'd be taking just as many regardless, but you know what I mean!).
Happy Valentine's Day. May you spend the last few hours of the day with the one(s) you love most! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My "To-Do" List...

Unfortunately, there will be no pictures today. I have about three hundred pictures that I need to upload onto the computer and I haven't had the time to do it. Well, I have had the time, but our Toshiba laptop has been less than cooperative. It's frozen, shut down, ran slowly, exhibited the "blue screen of death", and gotten on my nerves far too many times the last few days. We are in the market for an iMac (yay!!) and plan to upgrade sometime this month. I can not wait to have a real desktop once again. It's been two years!
Today has been rather productive, and I'm quite proud of it! Hannah's 2nd birthday is next month (sniff sniff) and I hadn't planned a thing for it until today. I waited too long last year and ended up spending double what I should have because things needed rushed shipping to arrive. I'm not making that mistake this year!
I've decided our theme will be "Winnie the Pooh". It was a tough call between that and Mickey Mouse, but I figured Pooh is a tad more "babyish" and this may be our only chance to use this theme. I'm pretty sure she'll still be into Mickey for her third birthday.
I went online and found a few things I liked on Birthday Express. I got a tablecloth, cake topper, a mylar balloon, and birthday invitations with the Pooh theme. Everything is adorable, was on sale, and should be here by the 17th. I'm way ahead of the game.
This whole process than got me thinking about her birthday outfit. Last year I found an adorable tutu set with a "1" onesie and hairbow. Although it was cute, it was expensive and she only wore it once. I have intentions to pull it out and let her play dress up with it, but I'm not even sure the tutu will fit around her waist. I suppose I'll be saving it for Sarah's first birthday.
I bought a sewing machine last year that has embroidery capabilities, and I'm interested in learning applique as well. I'm planning on making Hannah's birthday shirt this year. I found some awesome deals at Joann's online, scoring several yards of colorful fabric for $1.99 a yard. Awesome! With that, I also got my interfacing, stabilizer for embroidery, some new dressmaker's shears, pinking shears, embroidery scissors, and all with free shipping and $30 off. Not too shabby! I'm so excited to get started as soon as all of my new craft stuff arrives!
Other than internet shopping, there wasn't too much else that was accomplished. Notice a trend?! The house somehow remains somewhat organized from the little I fit in at night when Micah gets home from work. As long as there aren't dishes piling up in the sink and our bathrooms are clean, I'm okay with a little being out of place for the time being.
Well, I'm off to relax with my girls!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I have no original name for this post...

...and so it shall remain nameless. I'm fresh out of wit and humor for the time being...not that I'm all that humerous to begin with, of course.
Nothing exciting going on here today. We have nothing on the agenda. My parents leave for Disney World tomorrow for a "second honeymoon", so we'll be getting together with them this evening as a last "hoorah" before they leave. My Mom hasn't been away from either of the girls (or me for that matter) for more than a few days. This is going to be really hard for her and I'm a little concerned she may break down tonight when she has to say goodbye. Mom, if you're reading, I'm saying this all out of love!
This fall, we vacationed together, then Micah, Hannah, and I had to attend a wedding in North Carolina. My parents were headed to a retreat in northern SC and were going to be gone for a week. Let me just say that our goodbyes that day were hard.
I was pregnant and emotional, and my Mom was just being a Mom and Gram. We cried, hugged, kissed, and then repeated multiple times. My parents never ended up going to the retreat, and we had the most horrid time at the wedding. Let's just say we were both glad to be home...and I'm sure, although my Mom was disappointed about not attending their retreat, she was happy to see Hannah after her two days without her.
So, we shall see how this week-long trip to Disney World goes. I've jokingly said I was packing up the girls and heading down for a day or two, leaving Micah at home to work and "bring home the bacon". Obviously that is both financially and physically impossible at this time. However, I'm quite certain that my Mom may suggest this very arrangement at one time or another during their trip. Daily phone calls? Yes. Phone calls multiple times a day? Most definitely.
So that's where it's at. I've spent the day coloring, feeding and burping babies, and kissing boo-boos. Life is good.
Hannah got a "boo boo" and needed comforted. My brave girl.
And with that, I bid you farewell. ;)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Living my Dream.

Things have been relatively calm here at our house. With the chilled air, snow, and freezing rain that comes with winter, we are still stuck inside. To break up the day, Hannah and I have been retreating to our front room. Micah cut down the overgrown hedge (see previous post) that was overtaking the front of our house, thus blocking most of the sunlight from sneaking into our windows. Now we have glorious, golden rays shining in from early morning to late afternoon (when we have a sunny day, that is!)
Our front room (aka, the "formal living room", which, in our home is anything but formal) is full of toys, a comfy, old loveseat with oversized pillows, our piano topped with every Willow Tree figurine I own, and Hannah's large pink princess tent. I'm not kidding. This thing is massive, and as much as I hate the way it looks and the amount of space it takes up, she adores it. So we leave it up.
Yesterday, she read books in her tent. She peeked out of the meshy windows at me and waved. She ran in there to hide when I called her name. She even took her play broom and vacuum cleaner and "cleaned" her castle. It was adorable. This kept her busy for some time, and I was grateful, as Sarah was having a rather fussy day.
Our front room provided us with lots of fun. I sat Sarah in front of the big windows to allow her to soak up some rays. I so long for the spring where I can expose her to the great outdoors! I can not wait to take both of my girls on a walk around our new neighborhood! I'm in the market for a double stroller. Any recommendations?!

I've been thinking a lot lately. I have so much time at home with my babies. It allows me time, even amid the noise and chaos, to really think. I love to be home. I haven't once in the past several weeks, felt stir crazy or as if I was locked up. I love to be here with my girls.
My thoughts swirl from photography, to what I'm going to sew next, to all of the things I want to get accomplished before I return to work...and of course there are deeper thoughts that I can't even put into words. I think about how much I love my family. How I'd do anything and everything for them. How I want to give my daughters the world, and then some. I want them to experience love so powerful and unconditional from Micah and from me. I want them to know know His voice. I know He speaks to them, and I know they hear. I want the absolute best for them in everything. I can't express how much I truly love these two precious beings that God has so graciously entrusted to my care.
It is in these moments of deep thought that I realize. I am living my dream. This is what I've always wanted. This is what I hoped and prayed for. This is what I'm called to do. I'm a mother.
I'm so thankful for this new, gorgeous home we live in. It is so much my dream home. I love everything about it...down to the outdated border that adorns most of the downstairs. I'm so thankful that I have a loving husband who is going to fix this home to our taste over time. I'm so thankful for two beautiful little girls who fill this home with the noise and chaos that I mentioned above. It is good noise and good chaos. I'm so thankful that I'm able to be home with them as they grow. That I am able to work just two days a week during the school year and take the summers off to enjoy the goodness of those summer months with my girls.
I am truly living my dream.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Short on creativity...

Being stuck in the house for over a month is definitely cramping my creative style. I've taken more pictures of my kids in the last few days than I think I've taken of Hannah the past year. I can't venture outside, even for a few minutes, so there isn't much to photograph nature-wise...minus a few house plants that are quite possibly on their last leg. I never said I had a green thumb!
I stuck my camera lens as close to the glass on the window as I could without interfering with the focus to sneak a quick pic of the ice that has molded its way around our bush. That stupid thing needs cut down to next to nothing to make it look half decent...but I didn't so much mind it today, as it's grown close to the window making it a little easier to sneak a shot! Just for the record, we didn't allow the bush to get you know if you've been following my blog, we have recently moved and inherited a TON of repairs on our new home...including but certainly not limited to landscape maintenance...which the previous owners obviously knew nothing of.
Yes, this picture is overexposed...

I feel rather accomplished today as well. I got up, made the bed, got Hannah dressed, her hair done, and her teeth brushed before Micah left for work. I also have chicken cattiatore simmering in the crock pot for dinner. Not too shabby, since it's only a little after 1:00 in the afternoon. Other plans for today? Perhaps I'll vacuum and sweep, and maybe, just maybe I'll have the motivation to do a load of laundry. Probably not. I'm not making any promises.
We've watched Beauty and the Beast twice today while playing with a Little People dollhouse and our Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Learning Home. Hannah enjoys standing on it and performing daring stunts that usually result in boo-boos. Still fun, though. There has been a lot of laughter here today. She's a silly girl! I love it!
Sarah is quite content in her baby swing at the moment. With a full belly, a receiving blanket, and a little background noise courtesy of our swing, she's set! I love that girl so much, words can't describe. How do you describe a mother's love?
My best friend (since the first day of Kindergarten!) is expecting her first child in May. I don't think I've ever been so excited for something (other than the arrival of my own children).
Today I went to her registry and ordered her gift. I can't wait to see her as a mother. I know she'll be so great. I'm so excited for her to feel her heart swell to a million times it's normal size when she holds her baby for the first time. It'll be such a grand day...and I'm so glad I get to witness it! You really don't know how much you can love until you hold your newborn baby for the first time. And just when you think you can't possibly love anymore, you do. It's never ending, and it's wonderful.

Me holding Hannah

Both of my girls
It certainly is a wonderful life!