Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall Fun

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I love the crisp cool air (all though fairly non-existent this Fall); I love fall colors, I love leaves, and I love all the fun activities to do in the fall. Here are pictures from some of the "Fall" things we have been up to:

Trunk or Treat is a carnival our church hosts every year. I love seeing all the cute costumes and Haylie gets sooo excited that people are giving her candy.
For Hallowen this year Haylie wanted to be...whatever Kiley wanted to be. Matching Care Bears they are.
The whole gang...
Raider joined in the fun with his Cowboy gear.

Apple Hill is a must-do for the Fall. Our playgroup went there last week and we were lucky enough to have Daddy and Raider tag along with us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No Shame

I've never been afraid to ask for help. I don't mind one bit stopping for directions and admitting I am completely lost. I always raise my hand in class if I don't understand how to do the work (I know - I hate those kids!) And I certainly don't mind emailing a great photographer and asking for ways to get better either.

I was SO excited this past weekend when I met with an amazing photographer, Kristin Eldridge. I have been following her blog ever since our friend Melissa left a comment about some of the photographers she loves. A few weeks ago I saw that she was coming to the Bay Area for the weekend so I emailed her to see if I could book one of her session times for mentoring instead of photos. She agreed and we left last Saturday at 7 AM to meet her for one of her early morning slots (thank you to my family for tagging along with me - you are the best!). Kristin was SO gracious and so helpful, letting me drill her with questions for almost an hour. I had an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet FULL of questions and she answered every one of them. She really helped me with tips about dealing with difficult lighting, getting the right focus, shooting in RAW, good camera equipment and post processing. She even let me take some shots with her Canon 5D and her 24-70 mm lens. I was drooling!! She was the nicest person and I am so grateful for her time.

I just saw this post she did and I can't believe she even got some great pictures of the kids while she was showing me how to do things. Here is a quick shot I took of her. Hopefully she doesn't mind me posting. She was so great!

Only Boys Stand Up

I knew it would happen... After watching her friend Jack go potty by standing on her stool and aiming straight for the toilet, it was only a matter of time before Haylie tried the same thing. A few days ago she did just that and then Haylie and I were cleaning pee pee off the floor. Now, every time she goes potty she reminds me, "Only boys stand up. Girls don't stand up or they get pee pee all over." Yes they do! :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Dance

Everybody needs a Happy Dance...

Normally I join in but I thought I would spare everyone that level of excitement today. This particular Happy Dance was initiated by Haylie, as a result of James making it to the top of the stairs all by himself. Gotta celebrate the little things. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

James - 9 months

We have been so busy lately I completely forgot about James turning 9 months old. I like to record how much he has changed and grown over the last month and this month he is up to all sorts of new things.

He got his first black eye...Poor guy! He loves to pull himself up on everything and sometimes he slips. This picture was taken several days after the black eye - I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture sooner.

He is eating real food now. He is a big fan of grabbing and shoving food into his mouth! And he LOVES to eat!!!
He is actually getting big enough to participate in playgroup. We went to Bounceopolis and James got to crawl around on the mat and play with his friend Emmitt. He even loved bouncing in the jump houses.

He is crawling all over the place now and his favorite thing is to go up the stairs. Whenever I set him down he heads straight for the stairs and he can make it all the way up by himself.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monkey see, Monkey do

This week we got together with Eli Tyler for a little photo shoot. He has been dying to hang out with Haylie all week so it was perfect. He was so happy to see her so it made an easy time taking pictures. Plus, I have decided Haylie will be my new photography assistant. Anything we wanted Eli to do we asked Haylie to do and Eli followed. Grant and Jaime call Eli their "little monkey" so as I was posting this pictures I thought that was too cute - "Monkey see, Monkey do!" It was great! Here are my favorite pics of Eli and a little slideshow of some of the others:

I totally copied this idea from many other photographer blogs that I watch. I really love how they get the flare from the sun in the photo. It washed out my picture quite a bit so I still need to work on the technique but I love the effect. I told you I was a wanna-be :) Unfortunately I couldn't get any good shots with the soccer ball but I really liked this football one!
I was loving the black and white photos for this shoot.
Doesn't that just make you smile?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That's How I Roll

Haylie got her first set of wheels this week. A real bike, not like the low-rider plastic trike she had already; she got a real bike that has training wheels which can actually be removed. (It was a great deal too - I found it at the Thrift Store for $10. It is in great condition and very cute!)

When we saw the bikes at the store Haylie quickly jumped on them and began riding up and down the aisles, running over objects and people in her path. I had no idea she even knew how to push the pedals but watching her zip around the store she was shouting back to me, "Look Mom I'm going real fast." We decided we should take this dangerous activity outside so we took the bike home and Haylie enjoyed riding around on her new bike for at least 30 minutes (that's a long attention span for a 3-year old).

Our street goes downhill one direction so when she got home she was surprised at how REAL fast she actually went. I was running along side of her taking pictures (and trying to make sure she didn't fall of course) and when I got back and looked through the photos I noticed she had her tongue sticking out in all of them. Click on the photo below to enlarge it:

Watching her ride her big-girl bike is just another realization of how big she is getting. Today we were riding in the car and she was reminding me that she is 3 now . Then she said "And in 5 minutes I will be 5." Boy, doesn't it feel like that!

Her cute little "Chug-a-bug" bike.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Have Grass!

As we walked outside a friend's house this weekend, on the way to our car, Haylie veered off of the stone pathway onto the grass, then turned around and proudly announced, "I have grass!" Our friends gave a soft chuckle with the standard "oh... good for you, " but I felt like chiming in right along with her, yes "I have grass too!!!" We could have started our own chant of excitement about our new grass. But, instead I lifted her into the car, got into my seat, calmly closed the door and then the squealing began. Both Haylie and I hit new octaves when we are excited. "Haylie, do you have grass now? Yay, do you like your grass? Mommy likes it too."

Our yard has been dead for over a year now since we moved into our house. However, between fixing up the inside then having a baby it has taken us awhile to get around to it. In an attempt to make our neighbors hate us more than they already did for the dreadful appearance of the front of our house, this summer we gutted the lawn down to the dirt level. We thought we would get to the sod very soon but instead we spent the summer looking at brown dirt in front of our home, rather than the semi-green weed mess that was there before.

Last week the sod truck pulled up and we all did our happy dance as they layed down the grass in our front and backyard. Here are some shots of James and Haylie enjoying the new grass.

Apparently it's been so long since we had grass they forgot what it was for!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Baby Bryce

Sarah Jumper was my best friend all throughout highschool. We have hilarious memories of all the silly things we used to do together and we love to get together and reminisce. Her name is Sarah Dillard now (we had to laugh when she finally ditched the last name "Jumper" and I picked up "Runner" - too bad we didn't have those names at the same time throughout highschool - that would have been too much!) and she is married with an adorable little family. It is so funny when we sit and reflect on our highschool days and the fact that we are both mommies now. We can't believe how fast life moves and I know we have a mutual appreciation for each other and how far we have come from those silly highschool times. I am so glad that we have managed to stay friends over the past 15+ years.

I had such great fun taking photos of her newest addition Bryce Michael Dillard and his big brother Jack! Bryce is so adorable with deep eyes and lots of dark hair. We didn't have much time since Sarah was in town visiting from Seattle and had many people to see while visiting, but here are some of my favorites.

I love cute baby feet.
Poor Bryce was done by the time we got to taking pictures with Jack but Jack was a good sport about it. Look at that big smile!

This Weekend Is Not My Own

This has been Micah's quote all weekend long. We had an activity almost every waking moment this weekend - most of which Micah had to be coerced into. On Friday night we had a church event, then I was at the scrapbook Expo all day Saturday (8-5), then we attended a friend's "trailer-trash bash" on Saturday night; Micah had to take apart and transport a new play structure all day Sunday and then we went to one of my old highschool friends' house on Sunday night. It was a fun weekend but it sure was busy and I think poor Micah is actually happy to go back to work tomorrow! A couple of pics from the weekend:

The Scrapbook Expo. This is an annual event that we count down for all year. It is SO fun!

Taking one of the scrapbooking classes
At the "Trailer Trash Bash" Check out Micah -a little too authentic looking!! We were cracking up all night!
The party was very well done with tons of props and decor. Not sure why we took a picture with the tent...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Continued Attempts at Being a Real Photographer

I continue to soak up knowledge wherever I can get it in attempts to be better at photography... reading, spending hours looking at other photographers' blogs and practicing!! My poor kids : )

I really love taking pictures and learning new things about how to get better. Recently I had the opportunity to take some pictures of my friend Sara's new baby boy Isaac. He is about 6 weeks old and SO adorable. He was such a good baby during our whole little photo shoot. He was wide awake almost the entire time and he was so good. We waited around to get some sleeping shots and he finally dozed off just as we were packing up. I'm so glad he did because I love his adorable little sleeping poses! Here are my favorite pictures from our time together with a slideshow of the rest of the pictures! I have 3 more shoots planned over the next couple weeks so lots more practice in store! :)


Monday, October 13, 2008

Dress-Up Fun

Haylie waited in eager anticipation for her birthday party over the last several weeks. She was so excited when it finally came - mostly just because she couldn't wait until all her friends came over, and then there was the cake part too...

We had a "dress-up" party so all the kids wore dress up clothes and we had a bunch of extra ones that they played with as well. Here is a group shot with almost all of the kids.

We also "dressed up" gingerbread men with lots of candy. (Below is Haylie's friend Jack from Seattle. She was so excited that he was in town and could come to her party)
Most of the kids were caught eating more candy than actually went on the gingerbread men. I stopped Haylie in the middle of shoving a huge handful of chocolate chips into her mouth. Regardless, she was in a sugar daze for most of the day.
The kids were so cute trying on various hats and shoes, etc! We had baskets full of Haylie's dress-up clothes and things I picked up at the Dollar Tree.
OK us adults decided to play a little dress up as well!
All in all it was a great day. Haylie absolutely loved her birthday. She keeps telling me about her birthday party when all her friends came to her house. She loves to be with people and play with her friends more than anything. Thank you to all for making her feel so special with your presence!

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Favorite Girl

Dear Haylie -

I just don't think I could love you any more than I do. Today you turned 3 years old! As you said this morning when we all gathered around your bed and sang Happy Birthday, you are not two anymore. You waited and it finally came. It is October and you are 3!

I can't believe it has been 3 years and I can't imagine what we did with our life before you came into it. You are the most amazing little girl and your Dad and I love everything about you. You have the biggest heart and you love other people more than anything (especially your cousin Kiley). You are a great big sister and you always make Mommy and Daddy proud. You are so smart and have a wonderful, silly sense of humor that I didn't even know you could have at 3 years old. We thank God every day for the gift that you are to us!

You have been so excited for your big birthday #3, from helping mommy and grandma make cupcakes for your class to preparing for your party where you can see all your friends. I hope to savor these moments forever, seeing your eyes fill with excitement and anticipation and watching your smile spread across your face.

Nothing in the world will ever compare to how much we love you and your brothers. You are Mommy's most favorite girl!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finger Physical Therapy

Micah's finger is now in the healing process. For those that missed it you can check out the background here.

He went to the doctor this week where he got his stitches removed and learned all sorts of new things about what happens when your bone comes out of your finger.

First he got a nice new little pinky cast...

Next, he will be going to finger physical therapy for 6 weeks where he will practice bending his finger with the doctor for 30 minutes. He even has pinky excercises to do every day. Apparently he needs to re-learn how to move his little finger. The pinky finger stabilizes the hand for gripping and it is essential to get it working again. Try holding your pinky finger stiff and gripping something without bending it or using it... He also learned about the "buddy system:" soon he will be able to remove his cast and strap his pinky to his ring finger (the one without a ring anymore), which will serve to stabilize the pinky and help it move.

We never knew this would be such a big process of rehabilitation for his pinky. We have gotten a kick out of it though!