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Under Construction!

Welcome to the new site!!  Things are a bit screwy around here—blank sidebar, huge photos, huge photos that spill into the blank sidebar, etc.  And if you didn’t notice those things, well…oops.  While I’m working out the new design (speaking of new design, I’m rather proud of the photo header–did it all myself.  Yep.) and cleaning up the old posts, I’ll be getting started with sharing new posts.  I’m excited to have you visit–browse–maybe find some ideas–and maybe even leave some comment love?!  Thank you for being a part of this life journal that will keep working itself out just like life keeps working itself out–one day at a time.

Click below to check out some recent posts or see the links above if you’ve come to check out some specific topics.

October Kickoff

October in the Central Valley. It’s so deceptive. Usually it graces us with a few cooler days at the start of theView full post »


Camping is a bit crazy. Especially tent camping with kids and a dog. Difficult and time consuming to pack. Difficult andView full post »


Oh Rowan, you have no idea what you’re in for!View full post »

Neon Jog-a-thon

Yesterday we had too much fun watching Ethan and his friends run their Jog-a-thon.  Neon colors always add an extraView full post »


Here we go.  Today we start Kindergarten.  As Ethan learns tons of stuff this year, we’ll also be learning withView full post »

The Color Run-San Francisco

Be prepared for a blast of color in the coming photos!  A few weeks ago I spent a girls weekend in San Francisco forView full post »

Heather B - LOVE the new site! Can’t wait to see what awesomeness you come up with! xoxo PS that header is AH-MA-ZING!

Behind the Camera

A year ago we plunged into the DSLR camera world when we bought a Canon Rebel T2i.  I can say, without a doubt, that every single penny spent on our camera and lenses has been worth it…so worth it.  The day I opened the box, I vowed to keep the camera on manual mode so I would be forced to learn how to use every feature and button.  This has resulted in capturing beautiful memories over the past year of our family and our lives.  When I was pregnant last year I thought a lot about how I wanted to put all my rookie-newbie-amature (you get the point, I’m no pro!) camera skills to use when our baby boy arrived and do a photo session at home.  I will forever be thankful that Nick and I took the time to take newborn photos of Rowan (shown in the 73 Days post) when he was 10 days old.  They are truly a priceless treasure to me.

BUT, I wanted to tell some of the details that took place behind the camera while trying to get these shots.  Because, well…it’s hilarious.  The final photos are so beautifully peaceful but the process of getting those photos was so NOT beautifully peaceful!  Before Rowan was born, I found (via Pinterest) a post on Inspire Me Baby by guest-blogger Arden Prucha Photography giving a generously detailed look at her newborn photo sessions.  This article was simply wonderful and a fantastic gift to an amateur like me.  She detailed everything–props, equipment, lighting, posing, calming and soothing the baby…and so much more!  We managed to come up with most of the equipment we needed by rummaging around the house and bought a few cheap things like a space heater to keep the baby warm and car sunshades to reflect light and fight off shadows.  And a note about the space heater:  we now crank that baby on high right before a shower and it’s like a warm and toasty bathroom heaven when we step out!  Just a thought if you think buying a space heater just for one newborn photo session is silly.  So, back to some of the real deal details of what went on!

First off, we needed to keep Rowan warm.  Really warm.  We used heaters and blankets–our favorite cozy blankets that he peed on several times while getting those sweet naked baby shots.  I’m sure his tiny, clothes-less, newborn body must have been warm and toasty.  But for Nick and me–fully clothed adults confined in the small space of our dining room with our house heater and space heater blasting–it was like a sweating, photo session hell!  And when things aren’t going as planned (like your baby is crying) and you’re HOT, then everything that’s going wrong becomes your spouse’s fault.  Really, it was Nick’s fault that Rowan was irritated from being moved around so much.  It was also his fault that Rowan was hungry and we had to stop to feed him.  It was his fault that I’m the one with the proper anatomy to feed a baby, rendering Nick useless at this task.  And most of all it was his fault that he had a problem with me telling him that everything was his fault.  I’m sure I’ve made my point…being overheated and frustrated makes me a bad wife!

Next, we had to reposition him over. and over. and over. and over again.  And then again.  Newborns have a special ability to stay perfectly still as long as your warm hands and arms are holding them tight.  Then as soon as you let go, their arms and legs flail wildly.  This leads to an immediate self-startling effect followed by an awake and wailing baby.  Not the best series of events when your goal is photos of an angelic, peaceful, sleeping little one.  And if overheated and frustrated makes me a bad wife, then the repositioning-flailing-wailing-baby calming-blanket peeing routine makes me a bad mom.  Nick took a break from the session to pick up Ethan and his buddies from preschool while I kept working on different shots.  When three preschoolers busted through the door there was no “Hi guys, how was school!?”  Rather, they were greeted with, “Shhhh…go straight outside with your McDonald’s lunch, DON’T TOUCH baby Rowan, shhhh, not a peep…OUT!!”  Wow, nice homecoming greeting, huh?!  I’m telling you, it was intense.
And lastly in the moment juuuussst before it’s time to capture the shot, comes the game I like to call “Pulling the Pacifier.”  It’s a heavenly scene with a warm, fed, cozy, soundly snoozing, perfectly positioned baby.  Nick keeps his hands holding Rowan in place while I fire off all the test shots, tweaking my camera settings to find good lighting and focus.  Then when all is right, we take a deep breath, I hold the camera still and ready, Nick slowly pulls his hands away, aannnddd Pulls the Pacifier.  What happens next?  The shutter fires away at the command of my trigger finger and, well…the photos speak for themselves.

It was pure drama in the moment and it is pure comedy and fun looking back on the whole experience now.  Hopefully you got a little laugh out of all of this too!

Just the Guys

A few weeks back, Ethan spent the day at the Castle Air Museum with Daddy and Pop.

They had an all boys day while Rowan and I spent a quiet afternoon together at home. Nick took our camera and shot some great pictures.  He was bummed they only got about one third of the way through the museum before the batteries died.  I was secretly glad because he tends to fire away on that shutter button like no one’s business, usually leaving me with hundreds of photos to sort through no matter how big or small the event.  Sorry Nick, but it’s true!

I loved that I wasn’t there because Ethan got to sit next to me as I edited and tell me all about each photo.  It made it his day, his stories.  It was like he was reading to me from a book.  He retold everything Pop taught him that day.  And Pop knows a lot about these things after a full career of working with military aircraft.  Ethan forgets nothing, he amazes me with the information he retains.  I now know which airplanes are for cargo, attacking, spy missions, bombing…could there be any better place to take a boy?!

I had fun editing these and spent some time becoming familiar with new blog photo templates I downloaded from Pugly Pixel.  I’ll pause here for some praise for Katrina at Pugly Pixel: I loooove her blog accessory designs.  They are original, quirky, and fun.  She shares tons of freebies and tutorials, and you can purchase super awesome extras for a very slim price tag!  Her goodies will probably have my blog looking like a big mismatch of design fun while I try out new stuff with each post.  Now, back to the air museum.  Here’s their day told by Nick’s shots.

A little FYI side note:  I wrote this post in my recliner with one hand while cuddling Rowan with my other arm.  Good thing I’m right handed and he prefers a left-side cradle!

Margarita Cupcakes

These cupcakes were made last spring for my sis-in-law’s very fun, very festive, fiesta birthday party.  They’re the real deal!  Made with tequila, margarita mix, and lime juice added to the cake mix.  Vanilla buttercream frosting, green sugar crystals for a ‘salt’ rim, and a lime slice top them off.  They turned out so festively cute!

A Black and White Affair

A few months back Nick and I went to a friends black and white themed birthday party.  My lovely sister-in-law and her close friends planned and designed this party.  And they did an amazing job!  The decor and ambiance was beautifully chic and everyone looked stellar in their party attire.  I did contribute 1 thing to this party: Black and White Cupcakes.  They  were white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and an oreo cream center.  The fondant flowers are handmade with an edible pearl in the center and white sugar dust for a bit of sparkle.  The outer black elegant cupcake wrappers are from Michaels.  I just love the way they turned out–perfect for this party and even for a wedding too!

And now on to the party.  Here’s the gorgeous dessert table.

~Nothing better to go with dessert than wine~

~Oh-so-Chic decor~

~Everyone had tons of fun all night in the masquerade photo booth~

And the best part of any great party  ~The Company~

~Fantastic party~Fun night~Cheers to the birthday girl!~