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! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Playing with Photoshop

A big part of learning photography has also been learning Photoshop. When I work on my pictures I have mostly stuck with the basic color brightening tools and every now and then I get brave and try a b&w or sepia tint. This weekend I took Haylie out for our first official photo shoot "on location" and got several cute pictures. So I decided to get a little adventurous in Photoshop and try some different looks. They don't work for every photo but I kinda like them!

This is an Antique Tone.

I added texture on this one - that's the first time I've done that - it looks neat :)

This is a little color variation on the b&w, plus some softening.

This is straight b&w.

This is straight color - pretty hard to beat! She came up with this pose all on her own! Too cute!

Anyone totally bored hearing about photography?? Sorry - I am just having so much fun with my new hobby; I love to talk / blog about it! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Little Things

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

Haylie -
"Three because I'm three" - Ever since Haylie turned 3, she now wants everything in 3's.
Ex: When she gets a chocolate for going potty, she wants 3. When we tell her "No, you can only have one." She gives a puppy dog face and says, "3 because I'm 3." She likes to take a toy to bed with her and we usually let her take one small thing like a ball. Now she absolutely needs 3 toys, giving the same response, "3 because I'm 3." She uses "3 because I'm 3" for basically anything she wants more of. I have tried using it back on her and it works pretty well. When I need her to eat her dinner I tell her 3 more bites "3 because you're 3." She thinks about it but decides she can't argue with that.

"Sometimes I do, Sometimes I don't" - Another common thing Haylie says lately is "Sometimes I do, Sometimes I don't" When talking about something like dogs she will say, "I like dogs." Then follow it up with "Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't." Or going real high on the swings..."I like to go real high on the swings; sometimes I do, sometimes I don't." It's like she catches herself and wants to make sure she is being completely honest about it.

"Can I drive?" - Lately every day when we get into the car, Haylie asks me if she can drive. I let her sit in my seat and play with the steering wheel while I buckle in James and then I go around and buckle her in. The other day as I came around to put her in her seat she kept asking me if she could drive (she didn't mean pretend this time, she actually wanted to drive the car). I told her no, Mommy has to drive because you don't know how. She said, "yes I do" and then motioned as if she had her hands on the steering wheel and moved it back and forth real fast. She's only 3 and already she thinks she knows well enough to drive!


James -
James has gotten to the point where he is old enough to know what is going on around him. And he is very aware of what Haylie is doing. Whatever toy Haylie is playing with, is the next thing James wants in his mouth. This has caused a little angst and Haylie can often be seen hunkered down over whatever she is playing with, shouting, "Mommy he is trying to get my ..." I'm sure it is just the beginning of this sibling fun!


Raider -
I think Raider is starting to bond with little James. He is excited for when his litle brother will be old enough to play sports. He continues to be such a great helper, taking initiative to take care of the kids, feed them, strap them into their car seats and lend a helping hand whenever necessary.