Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Catch Up - My Favorite Gift

My favorite gift this year was not one I received. It was a wreath I made for Micah's Mom. Every year at Christmas I set out making a variety of photo gifts including an annual scrapbooked calendar for Micah's grandma and various scrapbook photo albums, etc for other family members. One year I even made a quilt... Needless to say, in addition to all of the shopping, Christmas is a pretty busy time.

This year I made something a little different as a gift for Micah's Mom. After her hospital stay I collected all of her favorite flowers that she had received and took them home to dry them with the intention of making something special for her to treasure. When I finished her wreath on Tuesday I was so excited with the final product that I had to show someone. I almost blogged about it that minute but I realized that Micah's Mom reads the blog so she would more than likely see her present before Christmas. Well, she has received it now so I decided to blog about it anyways!

I included her newest favorite quote which she repeated often during her hospital stay. We just look at it as a reminder to be grateful and happy that she is better now and we get to spend precious time with Grandma!
The big roses next to the bow were the ones from the Governor so we had to put those front and center :)

Christmas Catch Up - Four Christmases

Have you seen that movie? It is actually pretty funny!! Raider loves to relish in the fact that he gets 4 Christmases every year. (One with my Mom, One with my Dad, one Christmas morning, and one with all of Micah's extended family). I'm not sure if he equates the number of Christmases with the amount of gifts or what but he was awfully bummed last year when we stayed in Sacramento for Christmas and invited everybody over all at once (which really only meant 2 Christmases).

Well this year we resumed our regular routines and did Christmas with each of our different parts of the family and although it wasn't anything like that movie we had our share of chaos and laughs and fun times.

Here are the girls at one of our christmas events:

Christmas Catch Up - Good Friends

It is so nice to have good friends. I have truly learned over the course of my life how important good friends really are and I am more grateful than ever for the friends we have. One of the best kinds of friends are the ones that have known you forever - through the ups and downs - you know from when you were a dorky, giggly, boy-crazy high school girl, through the early married times and now having kids and being able to watch them grow up at the same time.

Before Christmas we had the opportunity to get together with some of those friends and we had a lovely time watching the kids play and enjoying each others' company. I am stealing this picture right off of my friend April's blog:

You can click here to see all the rest of the photos she took. Thanks April!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Catch Up

I can't believe it has been 10 days since I have posted on the blog!! Those 10 days have flown by fast but they were filled with lots of fun. I have written numerous blog posts in my head but haven't had the chance to physically write them on the computer. So over the next day or two I am going to do a mass post with all of the catch-up posts from Christmas around here!

Starting with Haylie's preschool performance...

SOOOO cute. It was one of those really proud parent moments. (sort-of...but we'll get to that). Haylie's preschool had a Christmas carol performance night at school. Haylie had been practicing for weeks and every day we sang her songs together. My favorite was "We wish you a Merry Christmas." She had little hand motions and new verses I had never heard (Let's all do a little stomping, Let's all do a little stomping, Let's all do a little stomping and spread Christmas cheer. Let's all give a little smile...)

So as Haylie's preschool class entered the sanctuary she spotted me in the audience and I waved to her. Wrong move! She was crying and whining the rest of the way down the aisle saying, "I want my Mommy." Then when she got on stage she was totally distracted for the first two songs. She finally got into gear for "We wish you a Merry Christmas."

It was so cute though to watch her up there like such a big girl with all her friends.

Now she's having fun!

James was proud of his sister too
Haylie was so excited that her cousins came to watch her performance

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SOOO Serious

James is our little serious man! Ever since he was born he has always had such a concerned look. One thing I have noticed about him lately, that seems so different from Haylie, is that he appears to be unaffected by any sort of praise. Most babies, or at least Haylie, when receiving a round of applause or congratulatory "good job" will stop what they're doing and soak up the praise. Haylie has always relished in the attention and seemed to really enjoy that Mommy and Daddy are proud of her. James, however, continues on about his way, whether it's taking steps or putting legos together he never reacts, even when I explode into clapping and whooping for his job well done, he is determined and focused on the task at hand. I have no idea what that says about his personality but it's so funny how different they can be!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taking Turns

Haylie loves to play with her baby brother...
and she is even learning to take turns!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa and Noah

One of Haylie's favorite Bible stories lately is Noah's Ark. I think she is finally starting to understand about Noah's obedience to God vs. just the story about the animals. She has a little felt board that she got as a present last year; she can stick Noah and the animals to the board and move them around on it. She used to like to play with the animals but lately she just loves to carry Noah all around with her in the car, to the store, etc.

So, the other day when we were unpacking all of our christmas boxes, we found a little talking Santa doll that we picked up at some White Elephant gift exchange. Micah pulled it out and asked Haylie, "Who's this?" Well, by now you can probably guess her response, "Noah!" No Haylie, "that's Santa." "Nooooo," she said with a tone that meant silly Daddy - you're mistaken, "That's Noah!"

I still haven't decided if we are going to do the whole "Santa" thing with our kids yet but that was too funny of a story not to blog about :)

And to go with it - a couple pictures of silly Haylie:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hello, Who's There?

James talks on the phone more than Raider!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Who's The Boss

Everyone has their good qualities and their bad qualities. I have struggled with one impossible personality characteristic all my life. However, I have learned to accept this innate quality that comes barreling out of me at any opportunity it gets: BOSSINESS! That's right I'm bossy! :) Everyone else knew it - just ask my younger sister - she'll happily tell you, since I have played mother to her most of her life.

Well Haylie is going to have to learn the same thing because it appears to be in her genes, passed down from her Mommy. Every chance she gets Haylie is bossing someone around - she mostly does it to James because he can't talk back, but every now and then I hear Haylie scolding Raider for something or telling him what to do, and trust me that is hilarious. I am laughing just thinking about it. Raider gets this look like, "who do you think you are?" and Haylie continues on, "Do you understand me Raider?" The other day Haylie was bossing James, telling him he needed to sit in his chair and eat his food, when I gave her my look of disapproval, to which she dissapointedly replied, "I know, I'm not the boss."

Then today, she was once again instructing James where he could and could not play when I told her, "Haylie, you don't need to boss him around. You are not the Mommy." The following conversation ensued:
H: "I will be a Mommy in a little bit."
M: "When?"
H: "When I get 5 and older, then I will be a Mommy...(thinking pensively)...and I will be the boss. That's what I will do."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Simply Put...

video

...Haylie really likes the Christmas Tree!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Hunt

In search of the perfect one...
Bring in the hounds.... Not that one!
At last - Raider found the winning tree:


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Miss Manners

Haylie has finally learned her manners, or rather how to use her manners to get her way :)

Please - When Haylie wants something and Mommy or Daddy says no, the instant reaction is of course a little mini-fit. However, recently I have been explaining to her that is not how to get your way. Tantrums only get you in more trouble. The appropriate response is to say please Mommy and we can have a discussion about it. Now, whenever I say no - Haylie gets this adorable puppy dog look and says "plllleeeeaaaase Mommy." Oh man - it is really hard to say no after that nice response!!!

Sorry - This is Haylie's new favorite word. In the last couple weeks she has started sayng it all the time. If she bumps into be, "Oh, sorry Mommy." She drops her fork on the floor, "Oh sorry Mommy." It is funny how often she says it - I'm not even sure where she picked it up from! The best incident was when Haylie was taking a nap in Mommy and Daddy's bed. I came in to check on her, only to find her sitting in a pile full of crumpled pages from the book I have been obsessively reading lately. I started in telling her she CANNOT rip pages out of Mommy's book, only to be cut off by a very sincere sounding, "I'm sorry Mommy." I continued on..."Mommy really doesn't like that, because now I can't read my book because it is broken..." And then she reminded me, "but I said I'm sorry Mommy...." Where did she learn that?? Well it is just the sweetest thing - it is very hard to discipline her when she says sorry so quickly and looks like she really means it.

Here is a cute picture of Miss Haylie being silly in James' Bumbo seat:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thankfulness

I waffled about posting the requisite "Thankful For" list on my blog for Thanksgiving this year. And after thinking about it enough I was just overwhelmed with all the things I am truly thankful for in life. I just don't think life could get much better these days. I am so blessed to have more time to spend with my family, fabulous friends, a career I can be successful at, a hobby I am absoutely loving, and a God who loves me and wants to have a relationship with me. Lately when people ask how I am doing I can't help but say I am just loving life. Things are working out so well in every direction I am just praying it never ends! I am thankful though that God gives us seasons of life and allows us to experience the highs and lows so we can trust in Him and rejoice in Him.

One of Haylie's favorite Bible stories is the story of the ten men who Jesus healed and only one of them returned to say Thank You (she likes going through each of the men - he didn't say thank you, he didn't say thank you, he didn't say thank you....he said thank you!). I pray that I would remember to be thankful to God each day for the things I have in my life and impart that onto my children.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Little Things - Dancing Machine

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

James -
Dancing Machine - James can't help but feel the beat now whenever he hears music. It is so fun to watch him actually recognize the music and understand what to do - he loves to bounce and sway.

video

James has been getting more and more interactive as well. Sometimes he will even repeat the words Mama and Dada. One of his most favorite things lately is his walking toy. Haylie played with this a little when she was his age but never had as much fun with it as he is.

Haylie -

The Name Game - a couple weeks ago Haylie learned how to write her name. I am so proud of her. She has had the H down for several months but we couldn't get much further. Now she wants to write her name all the time. I still have to coach her through the Y because she tends to write the top part upside down but she is doing so good! She has been really interested in the alphabet overall lately. She loves to come in Mommy's office and send "emails" which essentially consistent of letters for all the people she loves: H for Haylie, K for Kiley, L for Lea, A for Auntie Nicole, U for Uncle Brian, B for Bubba, J for James, D for Daddy and M for Mommy. Since we started sending emails she has learned how to write half of those letters and recognizes them all over town. The other day we stopped at Kohls and when we got out of the car Haylie proudly anounced, "K for Kiley, O, H for Haylie, L for Lea and what is the last one Mommy?" K-O-H-L-S

Raider -

Letterman - Raider completed his cross country season and attended his team banquet this week. He came home very excited about receiving a varsity letter. We talked about buying a Letterman's jacket to put the letter on but apparently he is too cool for that!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

So Proud

You know those moments when you sit watching an event where the guest of honor is receiving some award or completing a momentous achievement in their life and you start to well up little tears of pride and excitement for them? We had the great opportunity of experiencing that sensation earlier this week when we attended an event for Micah's mom's retirement from the State Assembly. After serving 6 years, she is now termed out and many of her colleagues held a celebration in honor of her service during that time.

It was filled with great speeches from the mayor of her town and fellow Senators and Assembly members. Micah gave a little speech and read a letter from his sister who couldn't be there because she is out at sea with the Coast Guard. Haylie soaked up the attention while sitting on Grandma's lap in front of the 200 or so people that attended.

The best part about the event was how everyone shared about Sharon's character as an individual. She is incredibly caring and generous person who is interested in everyone around her and makes it a point to get to know people and what they care about. We are very proud of her and thankful to have such a woman of God in our family!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm So Excited!!!

I haven't posted much this week because I have been busy at work on a new PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITE. http://www.sandyrunner.com/ I am so excited!! I can't believe I actually have enough pictures to make a good gallery now and it is the most amazing thing to see it all in an official website!!!
After much thought I have decided to turn my photography hobby into a small business. I really hate charging people for something I LOVE to do but I have had so many requests for photos I decided for the sake of my family I needed to start covering the cost of my time and equipment purchases. I have tried to keep the prices at a bare minimum.

I want to thank all my friends for the un-ending encouragement and spurring on to keep going with photography. I absolutely LOVE doing it and I learn something new every time I take pictures.

Please feel free to share my website with friends and family. I have a lot more work to do on it and soon will have my own logo to add to it. In addition, I created a separate photography blog. http://www.sandyrunnerblog.com/, which already has a first post about cute baby Fox! Make sure to add it to your Google Reader because there is lots more to come - it is in the very rough stages and will soon be completely customized to my design but I couldn't wait any longer to tell all my friends about it. I am excited to have a place to post about photography stuff and also be able to get back to our family life on this blog. Thanks for the support and let me know what you think about the site!!!

What is a post without a picture right? - here are a couple I just took of Haylie this week that I can't get enough of. (Click on the picture to make it bigger)

Monday, November 17, 2008

When They Teach Us...

I absolutely love the opportunities when I get to learn things from my children. Right now I am sitting at my computer at the kitchen table. James is sleeping and Haylie is supposed to be taking a nap.

Instead she is in there praying for herself and all of her friends. She hasn't been feeling well the last few days so she is praying that God will help her feel better and help all her friends not to get sick.

The real story is from the other day though. In the morning James woke up with a terrible whooping cough (not sure if that is a real condition but it's that really deep cough where it sounds like he can't breathe). I raced into their room and proceeded to comfort James and worry over how he was doing. Haylie watched us for a moment then got out of bed and said, "We should pray for him." "Right, yes of course we should," I muttered out - acting like that was my first response as well... Haylie then prayed for him to feel better all on her own. I couldn't stop telling her all day long what a great big sister she is and how proud I am of her.

Thanks to Haylie for a great reminder this week:

"Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Little Things

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Raider -
Face Time - Raider has been feeling a little left out lately with all the photos I have been taking of Haylie and James. I even had some frames up in the house and Raider's frame was empty forever because we kept having to reschedule our photoshoot. I felt terrible but he is a busy guy and I don't have opportunities to take pictures of him all the time. So this weekend we finally worked it out and spent some dedicated time in a photo-shoot all his own. We had so much fun wandering around Folsom looking for good locations. We will have to hang out like that more often! Here are some of Mr. Cool Raider's pics:


James -
Big mouth kisses - James has gotten very interactive lately. He responds to us and mimics the things we do. One of his favorite things is giving kisses. He opens his mouth really wide and closes in. Daddy is a little weirded out but Mommy will take kisses any minute of the day - no matter how slobbery they are!

Haylie -
Little Miss Sunshine - One of Haylie's newest favorite sayings is: "Oh, I Like (Fill in the blank)." She seems to be very positive and optimistic lately which I am quite enjoying. Throughout the day she will randomly say "Oh, I Like That," to almost anything I say. Examples:
H: Where are we going?
M: Target
H: Oh, I Like Target
H: Who is here?
M: Raider
H: Oh, I like Raider
H: What are we cooking?
M: Chili
H: Oh, I like Chili
M: Haylie, do you want a bowl?
H: Oh, I like bowls.
I hope she stays this positive forever!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Encore

We've had several requests for new singing videos and Haylie sings all day long so there is plenty of material to choose from!

video

Caught - singing in the mirror!

video

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Connor-Boy

Shelley and I have been friends since college. We met at work, clicked right away, and became fast friends. She was a brides-maid in my wedding and though we don't see each other as often as we used to, I'm so glad we still keep in touch. She asked me to take some pictures of her adorable son Connor, who she afectionately calls "Connor-boy."

Connor has the biggest, bluest eyes. They are just gorgeous! Since her husband Ken was available we decided to do some family pictures as well and then at the very last minute I grabbed a couple of shots of just Shelley and her cute belly (I wish we had time to do something more creative - I haven't done any maternity photos yet). They are expecting their second little boy soon.

We had such a fun time running around at a park near their house. Connor was not too sure about the camera lady at first!! His Dad, Ken, calls him "Blue Steel" when he gts this look. I thought that was a very fitting name!!

But then I brought out my toy helicopter and he started warming up. Once we found a dog in a nearby yard, it was smooth sailing from there!
Their whole family is just adorable!!
And of course, Shelley is just the cutest pregnant girl!!

This was my favorite of the session: See the slideshow below for more from our time.
Slideshow:


Take Me Out To The Ballgame

This weekend we had such a great time for our anniversary. It was the first time we spent a night together away from the kids. We almost toook James because we were worried about leaving him behind, but my Mom thankfully convinced me he would be fine.

Micah's parents flew us to Arizona for our aniversary, where we met up with lots of other family to watch Micah's cousin, Casey Fien, play baseball. Casey is part of the AAA team for the Detroit Tigers and he was in Arizona for the "Fall League." The Fall League is made up of a select few of the best players from the Minor League teams throughout the country. It was a great compliment that Casey got to attend and he said 75-80% of the people in this league make it to the Majors within a year or two.

We had so much fun watching Casey pitch and hanging out with family. We stayed in a beautiful house and slept in every morning. Just what we needed!

It was fun watching Casey pitch. He is a "Reliever" and he did a great job. He came in at the end of the game and quickly got them all out for a save!
Casey's proud parents!!
It was very cute watching Casey sign autographs for all the kids. Someday, Casey is hoping, these will be flocks of cute girls!!
Micah even bought a Detroit Tigers hat to show his team spirit and faith that Casey will make it to the "Bigs."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Grow Old Along With Me, The Best Is Yet To Be

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband. We have been married for 9 years as of today and I could not be more grateful for the life God has blessed me with. I could go on and on about what a great husband Micah is and how lucky I am to be married to him, but here are a couple quotes that sum it up for me instead:

"I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but what you are making of me." This is an old favorite that I have said probably too many times, but I can honestly say Micah makes me a better person. He enables me pursue my dreams, to follow God's calling in my life and grow into the person I was created to be. He is my constant support and always my hero! I am so grateful for who he is and who he is helping me become.

"To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine; to Him be the glory forever" (Eph 3:20) This is my "life verse" and it became my life verse when I met and married Micah. God blessed me more than I could imagine when I married my best friend. Just after we got married 9 years ago I made a scrapbook from all the photos of our wedding. I was looking through it today and on the last page I wrote our "love story" of how we met and I had concluded it with the following: "Everything was greater than I imagined. Perfect wedding. Perfect flowers. Perfect dress. Perfect guy! I always tell Micah how it's so true that God's plans are greater than our own. Even in my wildest dreams, I had not dreamed up a guy as amazing and wonderful as Micah. To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. To Him be the glory forever, Amen."

I still believe every one of those words today and even more so than I knew before! Micah will probably hate everything about this post because he hates attention but I LOVE YOU honey!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Toe Talent

Not everyone has it. Only a select few are born with this natural ability. Haylie is among the lucky ones to get it... She is able to pick things up with her toes!

From when she was very young she was able to do it, before I think she ever realized that I do it on a regular basis. Maybe she learned it by watching, but maybe it was just innate.

I think bending down to pick things up takes too much work, so I simply use my toes and bring the object up to my hands. I can lift a pretty decent amount of weight with my toes and do a host of other things as well including write, etc. (they can function almost like hands - pretty weird!). Haylie's power is still weak but she will develop it over time. Micah and Raider can't do it, James is still to be determined, but Haylie and I have the gift! Maybe we should join the cast of Heroes! :)