Thursday, April 29, 2010

NYC - DAY 1

5 am came far too early... especially since one little snuggle bunny found his way into our room in the middle of the night. He (Holden) was wide awake when we left, and none-to-happy to see us go. But we were on the road by 6am. Through security by 7:45am. In the air with java in hand by 8:31am.

The flight went uneventfully. The winds made me nauseous and Shawn stressed, but we survived. It was a very smooth experience overall - no delays and smooth sailing. And we were checked into The Belvedere Hotel by 3pm. Wow! The hotel is lovely and quaint, a boutique hotel not far from Times Square, Broadway, and a bit of a walk to 5th avenue and central park. We enjoyed a long walk checking out the sites. Then an amazing Japanese meal at Sushi of Gari not far from our hotel. We both agree it was one of the best Japanese meals we've ever had -- Udon and Tempura for me, a sashimi assortment and rice with seaweed and salmon roe for Shawn. And two yummy Japanese beers for each of us. Perfection.

We topped off the evening with a long walk throughout the city, taking in Rockefeller Center, A bit of Central Park, and the bight lights of the posh 5th avenue shops, as well as a stop for cupcakes from THE Magnolia Bakery - red velvet for me, carrot cake for Shawn. As with most things, this trip will be all about food for us. And the cupcakes, like the Japanese food, did NOT disappoint. Delish!

I took a few pictures that I'll upload later, probably after our return. As it stands we are loving being in the big city, and enjoying all the sights and sounds and views. We both agree we have missed living in the city, though we'll stick with our small town for now with our two sweet boys. But we're looking forward to the next few days of all adult time and meals that don't involve chicken nuggets or mac-n-cheese. Unless of course, its lobster mac-n-cheese served aside a nice glass of cabernet!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It just dawned on me...

With all the prep and effort that went into planning for this vacation, I sort of lost sight of the fact that we are going to be leaving our babies for 5 whole days. My heart hurts just thinking about it. The boys were both acting out tonight, in theory because they were revolting against us leaving. Sigh... As excited as I am to have some grown up time with my sweet heart, and take in the sights of that magical city, my heart is heavy at the thought of being without my boys...they are what makes my heart whole and it will break my heart just a bit to be without them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Whining

My neck hurts. Badly. I'm in pain. We leave for NYC in 2 days. I've been to the chiropractor three times in the pas week. He usually fixes me in one adjustment. We're at three now and the relief seems only marginally better. Old age is getting to me -- except this is an affliction I've had since college so I don't know what to attribute it to. Stress? Carrying around a 3.5 year old who still likes to be babied? Arguing with an almost 6 year old about what shirt he can or cannot wear to school (why did I buy him new shirts if he refuses to wear them?!?!?) Processing images on a new laptop? Cleaning (nah, can't be that one, ask Shawn, I haven't cleaned in I don't know how long)? I don't know what to attribute it to. I just want it to go away. And I want to whine a little bit more. K?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Patio Chair Make-Over


Recently I was at JoAnn's scouring their bargain rolls of fabric. I wanted some Sunbrella fabric to recover our outdoor patio chairs. They have had a good life - 4 years and still going strong. But they are faded and have some stains, so I decided to cover them rather than buy new. I got the idea from one of my favorite decorating blogs, Centsational Girl. She planned to use Velcro to recover her chairs for easy washing, but used safety pins as a last minute resort. I loved the idea -- easy to do, and also easy for me to wash if they get dirty. Win-win!

Oh yeah, back to the fabric. I found this gorgeous pink and green Sunbrella fabric (meaning it is safe for outdoor use) for 1/2 off of the already discounted price of $6 a yard - so 3.5 yards of fabric for around $10! Score! I then simply wrapped each cushion like a present, and strategically safety pinned it underneath in various placed. I did four chairs, lickety-split. It really was super easy, and the punch of color greets me every day - I love it! They are getting a lot of use now that the weather is turning nice (except for the freaky snow storm that is hitting us as I type!)!

chair cushion and fabric
measured and cut to fit
folding and pinning
final pinning from the under side
tight corner wrap
finished cushion
the pair out front
seal of approval!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baby

This is my baby. Ugh. It almost makes my heart ache to see him so big. With the first you are watching every milestone, waiting for each step that means he is that much closer to being a big kid. You celebrate each little step, word, sound, movement. With this one, my last, I just want him to stay wee. To stop getting big so fast. To curl up in my arms and snuggle with me. Fortunately for me he usually obliges me on that one. He's a mama's boy. MY mama's boy. I {heart} him - big time.


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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jackson's First Art Show


Last night was Jackson's art show. I cried. Yeah, I did. We are so, so, so proud of him. But not just because he was chosen to participate (though we are proud of that - he was the only Kindergartner from his school chosen), but we are proud because he put his heart into something -- quite literally actually -- and made something beautiful from it. We're proud because art is not his favorite subject at school, but he still gives it 100%. We are proud because he had no thought of being accepted into an art show when he created the piece below. He just did it because it came from his heart -- the color, the composition, the feeling. And I cried because he was so proud of what he did. He beamed. We love you Jackson, with all our hearts.



Jackson and his masterpiece
Jackson's teacher gave each of her students a rose and a certificate of achievement.
Jackson and his art teacher Ms. Pam
Raising the roof for art!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Artiste!

We received a call this morning from Jackson's art teacher (she is a-mazing!) letting us know that one of his pieces was selected to be displayed at the Douglas County School District Annual Student Art Show! Very few pieces were chosen from each school, and his was one of the ones that was selected for display! Can I tell you how freaking PROUD I am of him???!! I am. And slightly in awe, too. While I think he's a very creative young man, doing arts and crafts isn't his favorite thing to do. But I know he likes Ms. Pam's class, and he's come home with some really beautiful pieces over the past year. We are thrilled for this special honor, and can't wait to celebrate with him at the reception later this week.

Good job sweet boy. We are SO proud of you. We always are. And we always will be.

ps - I haven't seen the pieces that was selected, but will put up pictures from Tuesday's gallery reception. I'm told by Ms. Pam that it is a beautiful heart with amazing color and composition. Wow!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Vintage Me


I love most things vintage - clothes, furniture, cars, jewelry, home chotchkies, etc. As a child I started collecting vintage hats and the obsession kept on all the way through high school. I was even nerdy enough to wear a few of my hats on social occasions. Yeah, that was cool.

The furniture pieces that I treasure most in our home are vintage -- the old slipper chair that we found in my Granny's storage shed 18 years ago that I made my mother save for me; the beautiful hutch and Tiffany-style lamp that were Aunt Janis's and given to us after she passed away last year; the copper jello mold hanging up in my kitchen that was my Granny's. That kind of stuff. I don't have a huge collection, but the things we do have I treasure.

Creating vintage style portraits is a newer-ish (that is a word, I just made it up) passion of mine. I love the look of them, and making something "new" look older and time-worn. I like throwing in a vintage style portrait with my clients' collections. There they are looking through their vibrant color shots, and subtle black and whites, and then there is an image that doesn't really have a time and place. It could be taken anywhere, anytime, recent or in the far past. A little treasure from the past.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

M is for My Mama

Happy Birthday Mama. Thank you for being born. Thank you for being such a giving, caring, selfless, and loving Mama, Grammy, and friend. I hope you have a wonderful day, and we can't wait to celebrate with you, a bit belatedly, in a couple of weeks. WE LOVE YOU!! XOXOX


(ps - everyone else, your taxes are due)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sweet

I have two sweet boys. They call me mom. That's cool.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Putting Myself Out There

Prior to being a full time mama (going on 5 years now) I worked full time in "corporate America" for over 8 years. Not a lifetime, to be certain, but enough time to work my way up from lowly receptionist to slightly-less-lowly-marketing manager. It was a good 8 years that treated me very well, and gave me a wealth of experience and knowledge. That experience has had very little part in my past five years of raising our two boys. But as I've made my way from full time mama to full-time-mama-part-time-photographer, I've started pulling from those previous experiences more and more. Time management. Budgeting. Marketing. Selling (the toughest one for me thus far). But the hardest part of all is putting myself out there. Exposed. Excited. Empowered. I never ever pictured myself starting my own business, even a wee one such as this one. But here it is, and I'm out there, hoping for success, doing all I can to make it a success. More so than I probably ever did when I worked for someone else (sorry IBM & Real).
Lately I can't even seem to turn my brain off. I'm thinking and thinking and planning and designing and thinking some more. I have a lot of work ahead of me. But I'm ready for it and excited about it. And most important of all I have a very supportive spouse who cheers me on, and is the major (ok the only) financial backer of my business as well. He's the whole reason I found my passion for photography. I asked him for a nice camera for Christmas, and it snowballed from there. So no matter how exposed, excited and empowered I feel, it is never just me in this. It's me and my sweets, and our two mini-sweeties as well. With that kind of backing, how can I fail?!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Refreshing

Ahhhhhh...here it is 5:00 on a Friday evening. Jackson is outside riding his bike (no training wheels thank you very much) and I'm actually out here watching him while I type away on my fancy new laptop. Such freedom! I even just cracked a Woodchuck Cider 'cause it is 5:00, and I'm expecting Shawn home any minute now. I {heart} Fridays big time. It just promises so much in the whisper of those two awesome little days called: The Weekend.

There are taters roasting in the oven, fresh asparagus ready to join them soon. And Shawn's picking up our new grilling obsession - organic steaks. They are a-mazing. For reals. We have a fun little weekend planned. Food. Family. Friends. Perfection.

So happy start of the weekend to you. Hope you've got good food and good friends on your planner for the weekend, too.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Turkey Mac

A few things.

First. I made this last night with ingredients I had on hand. How awesome is that? Very. It was yummy. The boys did not eat one single bit. I ate two bowls worth. My scale was down 2 lbs this morning. Coincidence? I think not.

Turkey Rice Soup with Tomotaoes

A turkey rice soup recipe for the crockpot, with tomatoes, carrots, celery, and cooked turkey.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups turkey broth, or chicken
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup diced or matchstick carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or less if using purchased broth
  • 1 to 2 cups diced cooked turkey
  • (I added a liberal dash of poultry seasonings, a bit more Kosher salt, and a lot of ground pepper.)

Preparation: In a crockpot or slow cooker, combine turkey broth with tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, rice, and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Add the diced turkey; cover and cook an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Second. I have a new baby and his name is Mac. He is precious. I love him. My husband thinks I'm crazy for personifying an inanimate object. He doesn't have "womanly" hormones so he can think that. I know that the love in my heart is real. And I thank him for getting it for me. I love him, too. Shawn that is. Smooch!



Third. I can't wait to show you my "Homeschooler Picture Day" pictures. You can see a few of them on my crib tales photography Facebook page - click here.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Vanilla Milk and a digression

It is no secret that Holden is a skinny boy. He's not that interested in food. He's fairly picky as well. He also is a big drinker of juice and milk. He does not like water (kinda like his Mama). It is a conundrum we deal with daily. How to get good, nutritious food into him, and limit his drinks. He's also three. Which is -- in my opinion -- the hardest pre-teen age of all. Forget the "terrible two's," it is the "@)*&(&*%$# three's!" And thus, the conundrum.

Now I obviously don't shy from the occasional trip to McD's (have I mentioned my first job ever was as a birthday clown for McDonald's? Probably I have.) I don't tend to think of Mickey D's as the evil empire it is made out to be. While yes, it is not the healthiest food out there, it gets the brunt of criticism because it is the biggest fast food joint out there. And yet when we go my boys eat apples with their nuggets, and get either milk or apple juice... anyway, I'm digressing... We're not perfect when it comes to nutrition. We like pizza. We like Red Robin. We like the occasional Mickey D's. But I also do a lot of cooking at home, and "healthifying" less than healthy meals like making homemade baked chicken nuggets, sneaking carrot puree into mac-n-cheese, and always having lots of fruits and veggies on hand. It is all about balance. At least for us it is. We like to eat!

OK, so the point of my post besides getting really sidetracked is Vanilla Milk. Holden loves Vanilla Milk. Here's my quicky "recipe" for his favorite drink treat:

In a kid's cup fill 1/2 way full of vanilla yogurt -- I like Fiber One because it's got added fiber in it, which I'm all about. Fill the other half up with milk. Stir. Drink. He's getting sneaked in yogurt, and less of the milk that he tends to fill up on. Win-win. You could add pureed fruit to this, but he's against the little tiny seeds that come with pureed fruit, so he eats his fruit whole on the side.

On that note, for juice I fill 3/4 full of water and add a splash of apple or orange juice on top. Since he doesn't like water, this gets him more of the water and less of the juice. One day he's going to figure out my tricks, but so far he hasn't figured it out...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter Re-Cap

We had a very mellow, chilled out Easter at our house. The day before Easter I had a big (and totally fun!) photo session for 10 gorgeous kiddos aging in range from 16 months to 15 years. It was an exhausting day, and didn't leave much room for Easter planning. But of course the Easter Bunny still came and delivered a plethora of marshmallow-filled-Easter-eggs. I made a turkey with a few of the trimmings. I didn't manage to get to the grocery prior to our meal so we ate from what we had on hand - turkey, stuffing, gravy, fruit salad and rolls. It was simple but tasty. The boys enjoyed re-hiding all the eggs, pretending to be the Easter bunny. Then we went on a family walk at the same park I had my photo shoot at. Festival Park is such a beautiful park here in Castle Rock. It has lovely walking paths and a creek running through it. The boys stomped around in the water in their boots. And of course the day ended, naturally, with someone (Holden) falling into the water. But it was a lovely day, and we ended it by watching a little bit of E.T. - courtesy of the Easter Bunny. 'Cause nothing says "spring renewal" like aliens.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Spring


It's finally here...

flip flops. grilled fish. fresh greek salad. sunset over the mountains. tiny buds on last fall's plantings. rosy cheeked boys. wind. walks to the park. bike rides. soccer practice. iced coffees. trips to baskin robbins. photo shoots. organic steaks. shaved legs. sunglasses. sunscreen. brightly colored eggs. capris. birds warbling. Spring.

Friday, April 02, 2010

April Fools is April 1st

My mom called me today to see when I was going in for my boob job. She apparently didn't scroll down to see that yesterday's post was a JOKE! I repeat, I am not getting a boob job. I have about a 1000 other things I would spend that kind of cash on before I went under the knife on purpose (though a little perk wouldn't hurt)! So let's resume life as normal, with the knowledge that the only augmenting I'm getting is from eating this slice of leftover pizza from last night that is likely to go straight to my hips.


On that note, I will add that I did sew together all of Shawn's underwear and watched as he pulled out a long strand of undies from his top drawer yesterday morning. He was beyond perplexed. Then I started giggling and the gig was up. But it was pretty darn funny stuff. I'm a middle child through and through, so I do not take jokes well. But I planted a few funny ones yesterday that made for a mightily funny day. Including sending a picture of my "bloodied" finger to my sisters and my good girlfriends, telling them I'd sliced my finger off. No one fell for that one. But apparently mom does think I'll be needing her assistance after my breast augmentation next month.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

BIG life change...

Well, after much thought and deliberation, I have made the decision to make a HUGE change in my life. I don't take this lightly. I have given it a tremendous amount of thought. And with my husband's blessing, i have decided I am getting breast augmentation. Yes, now I know what you are thinking -- that's soooo not me. And you're right. But after having two children, and nursing two children, the girls just aren't where I want them to be. I've never cared about the size of the girls. We are not a family that is blessed in that area. But a little lift and little extra somethin'-somethin' there wouldn't hurt. 'Cause right now they sag too low, they wobble to and fro. I can almost tie them in a knot and time them in a bow....

















April Fools.