Monday, June 30, 2014

Project 365 - June

There are a few missing from this collection as I haven't finished editing them to get them in here - but they were taken!   I think this month I actually captured some of my favorite black and whites and perfected the style that I like in post processing them with a little bit of a matte to them.    The one of Ace sleeping with his tiger is one of my favorite. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Project 365 - May

What a great month!  Travel the world taking photos for over a week!   Yes please!   Loved all the blue waters and the fun that the kids had.  I also got to test out my underwater camera on our cruise so at least a couple of those shots made it into the 365 collection. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Freedom of the Seas Cruise

In a whirlwind of fun our family set out on a last minute cruise to the Caribbean!   In less than 5 days we booked tickets, rooms, and our adventure began by flying to Florida to board the Freedom of the Seas Royal Caribbean cruise-line.     Our family of four was joined by Uncle Kai and Auntie A.   It was a great time to spend with them.     

Our adventure began out of Fort Lauderdale and we started our cruising on Mother's Day.    Couldn't beat that!  The ship was amazing.  They had a great children's program and how our children's ages fell they were in the same room together so it was perfect!   They both enjoyed the program which gave mom and dad probably the most babysitting we've ever had!     

Day 2 we were at sea and we enjoyed  spending time with the fun the ship had to offer.  We kicked it off with a Character Breakfast and the kids had a good time with that - then enjoyed the pools, an ice skating show, and relaxing.   That night was the first formal night and the kids enjoyed getting dressed up and eating the fancy meal.   Though after that meal we got smarter and we elected to feed the kids around 5:30pm, drop them in the kids area for the evening and the four of us adults enjoyed a later dinner by ourselves at 7pm for the remainder of the cruise. 

Our first stop was Labadee, Haiti.   It was beautiful and as it turned out - our favorite port.  We spent a few hours at a beach with the kids and played with them - and then we took them to childcare beach area that is provided by the cruise ship and the 4 adults went to another beach and enjoyed swimming and relaxing in some shade for another couple of hours before we gathered the kiddos and headed back to the ship.

Day 4  was a stop at Falmouth, Jamaica.  I spent the morning not feeling great so the family headed off the ship and walked around the shopping areas.  After lunch time I was feeling back amid the living and we all got off the ship in search of a beach.  We took an overpriced cab and found a local bit of sand and spent a couple of hours splashing in another beach.  It rained on us a bit and back to the ship.

Next up was the Grand Caymans where we got to enjoy swimming with the dolphins and more beach fun!

There was a final stop in Cozumel, Mexico but our family of four decided to stay on the ship and just enjoy the fun that was offered around the ship.     However Uncle Kai and Auntie A did get off the ship and had much fun! 

The other fun feature that we utilized throughout the cruise was the babysitting that was for a large fee - but you got 2 babysitters that would come to your room for about $19 an hour (steep, but worth it!)   So the adults on several nights were able to go out all together and enjoy the various shows, bars, etc., while the kids slept happily in their beds.  We had a good time hanging out - going to the club on the ship and generally enjoying the kid free time.  :)      A and I had met one morning Sergio a bartender who introduced us to Ocean Mimosas and aside from his tasty mixology he was really fun to hang out with - and at least once each night we found time to stop by and hang out!

Overall it was a great great time with family and a lot of fun!   We'd certainly love to do it again! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

10 on 10 - April

Better late than never, right?  ;)   I did actively participate via Instagram in 10 on 10 this month.    Did you hear?  I recently joined the already-well-in-progress party that is known as Instagram. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

To My Children

 Dear Ace and Mae,

It's been a while yet again since I last wrote a letter to you.   So much has changed in just one year.     The phrase the days are long but the years are short is the mantra that we live by around here.     Your giggles fill the house, as the piles, forts, and imagination spread throughout it as you play and run and chase each other.    You are so loud and yet (most of the time) so happy.   

Spring has arrived and so has the sunshine.  Trips to parks, walks, and playing in the backyard has returned as possibilities without frostbite and being soggy from the rain.   I am so looking forward to more of the fun outdoor adventures that we'll have as the spring turns to summer.  

Mae, since my last letter where you were telling everyone you were three (yet you were two)  you have turned three, and yet now  you tell people you are five (like your brother.)   You are constantly are informing us, with your hands on your hips, that you're a big girl now (and you nod in affirmation in case anyone had doubt that should help cement that as fact.)    Sometimes we will refer to you as Baby Girl - and you are quick to respond with your arms out to either side and sort of looking down your nose "Yah, but I am not a REAL baby.  I'm a big girl."   Yes, that is true.     You love to snuggle, you are constantly requesting more hugs and kisses before bed or before I leave.   

Ace,  you're growing up - you're set out on some personal brave adventures recently - and I'm so glad you're seeking independence, I hope you learn the best way to express that independence though and exercise bravery that doesn't leave me hyperventilating.   You're killing it at school and you're doing so well.  You're reading so well, and I most especially love to hear you read to your sister.   I hope you continue to love and protect your little sister every day.   

Mommy loves you both so much and it's hard to believe that time flies go by so quickly.    You might drive me crazy on the day to day life - but every gray hair and mess it well worth it.    As you continue to grow and stretch your world views please hold onto your budding faith in Jesus and lean on him to know right from wrong.  

All my love,  

Your mom

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Project 365 - February

This month I seemed to have some challenges picking up my DSLR more than the previous months - there were at least five days that I used my cell phone to grab a picture and only one of them was intentionally chosen to use it.  There is one day that I took a picture of near blackness - simply because I was protesting taking a picture at all.   I suppose it's 'poetic' when I piece together my book for this project to have a near black page.  It was the day Loving Husband returned home from a deployment - I wasn't really thinking about the camera, just having him home.  I snapped the shot just before bed with my cell phone.    There were other creative days though, plenty of them really!   There was the frozen lake day where we went out to see the lake JUST to take the picture - the kids enjoyed throwing rocks onto the frozen surface and the noise that it made.   In February we also hit the 100 Day milestone!   It was overall a great month!  I also finally started compiling all of my shots (in their full sized form) into a folder so that come November 1st of this year I can order my 365 book! 

My goal for March also includes some backlogged blogging (Mae's birthday party being top of that list!)  So hopefully you'll hear a bit more from me between now and the end of March!  :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Project 365 - January

The third month of picture taking and there was much fun to be had.  Many events surrounding Mae's special day turning three including taking pictures again in mommy's wedding dress.   Mommy herself got to venture out and away from the kids this month for a girl's get away!  So exciting and I was able to capture this night shot!   All in all a great month and a good month for photo taking!

Three Years Old

Mae is three (+1 month)!   She is so excited.  She wants to be bigger, older, taller, and sassy-er every day!    She's adorable and we love her.

Favorite things of M's quirkiness in the last few months have included:  she refers to Gatorade as Alligator (see convo below,)  she loves to hear stories about chipmunks - you'll be hard pressed right not to get away with a story that she doesn't at least throw a chipmunk into - but often she'd prefer the main staring character to be a chipmunk (we have no idea where this fascination came from.)    She loves for me to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow to her at bedtime, she doesn't seem to have a favorite book - and the girl can't help but interrupt every 3 words with something to say (related or otherwise) during a story.   Summertime seems to be when the end of naps happened (whimper!)

M: "Can I have more alligator?"
Me: Excuse me?
M: "Can I have more alligator to drink?
Me: Blank Stare
M: "More crocodile?"
Me: Um... what?
M: "More Gatorade!"
Me: Oooh I get it now. Yah you can have more of that. lol

Mae and sleep in these last six months has been great - better than her brother if I am being honest!   She might have a few off nights where she pops up and refuses to go to sleep right away, but after the initial bedtime routine (that still requires mommy's tummy to be touched) she is happy to go to bed and rarely wakes up.   

The biggest change since the last report has been POTTY TRAINING!!!  Yes, little Mae in October began her journey toward bathroom independence.   She did great and after a week or so she got to have the ceremonial jaunt to the store to purchase her underwear! And while she officially was three for 5 days - I would also like to say that she was pull-up free at night by January 15th! No accidents yet at nighttime.   Mae Mae is officially potty trained!!   This mommy couldn't be more ecstatic.

Mae is doing so well on language and talking.  She recognizes most of the alphabet - and honestly she probably knows it all, but she's too stubborn to show me.   She can count to 12 pretty easily and can count objects up to about six and then she just starts saying random numbers.    She loves to play on her leappad that we got her.  She is a huge fan of Doc McStuffins, chipmunks as mentioned, and princesses.    She's enjoying Calico Critters a lot and loves to build (and destroy) things with blocks.  She still is 100% attached to her bear and takes it everywhere - and it gets into the same antics and excitement that she does. 

You see once upon a time on Halloween when Mae was having quiet time - she was overly quiet for a long time - I assumed she had fallen asleep... but then a long time went on past brother's quiet time and I decided to look in on her to see if she was getting in a good snooze... upon entering the room I found her like this...

Yes, at some point in her quiet time she had managed to sneak across the hall into my room and found (THANK GOD!) a dry erase marker.    She went to town and every inch of her body was covered... every last bit...  I'm not exaggerating.    I have to give her kudos though her face design was very nicely done - she explained that she wanted to be a tiger for Halloween and had given herself and her bear (and other friends) tiger stripes.   Along with her mirror,  her dora doll, nearly every FP Little Person...  Brother was a big help and went to work with some wipes and cleaned up all of the plastic items that were drawn on - the easiest items to clean.   Never mind on on top of it all I found her IN her sock drawer (something I hadn't seen her attempt before, nor is she sanctioned for such locations!)     Mae got a bath, the neighbor loaned me her rubbing alcohol and I got underway scrubbing stuffed animals to get them clean.   While dry erase marker comes of plastic and people pretty easily - stuffed animals - not so much!     Bear and her bunny both have some scars and the other two friends I didn't even really try to get clean.     Upon finding her she said that it made her happy!    It was really impossible to be mad at her.  ;)

There is so much I could elaborate on and perhaps I'll come back and add more to this post - but I feel Mae can say it best.  ;)   So below are some conversations and then her debut interview (which I did do on her birthday, I'm just woefully behind on the blogging!) I memorialize conversations and silly things that she says on the social networking site - so a few gems and musing that I captured this past year I've jotted down here.  
December 3, 2013
Mae was awake when I went to check on her just now, so I snuggled into bed and let her touch my tummy (her comfort thing) and I ran my fingers through her hair and laid there for a while and then gave her a hug and a kiss and tucked her in and said good night and she whispered as she was falling asleep "You're a good mom." So sweet!

November 26, 2013
"I know everything in the whole world."  - Mae

November 22, 2013
Writing cards on what we are thankful for and Aiden wrote 'For God' and said: "I'm going to give this to God." To which Mae grinned, held up hers, and said: "And I'm going to give mine to Egypt!" 

November 12, 2013
"For Christmas I want to give Barbies! Pink and Purple ones. I'm going to give one to Grammie and one to Mr. C!" - Mae  

August 16, 2013
A: There was a scary noise downstairs!
M: Don't worry brother - Jesus will protect you with his powers.
A: Sister come down with me.
M: I'm not Jesus! I'm not going down there!

July 2, 2013
"We love Jesus more than lollipops and lemonade!!! ... and I love lemonade.... a LOT!" - Mae

June 14, 2013
My daughter says "I'm disney" or "Woah! I'm so disney!" whenever she feels dizzy. I love it!

April 2, 2013
Scene: Aiden trying to get one egg from Mae's Easter basket hooked on her arm.
Me: M, who does everything belong to?
Mae: Jesus
Me: And what do you think he'd want you to do?
Mae: Hug my heart.
Me: ::giggle:: and what else might he want you to do?
Mae: ::SIGH:: share with bruder and be kind.
Me: It's true! Is that what you want to do? (Fully expected a confidant "NO!")
Mae: (Gives brother her whole Easter basket, smiles, and skips off to something else.)

January 11, 2013
"One, two, free, four... six, seven, eight, nine, bast off!" - Mae  

See bunny cleaned up pretty well, although he's much more dingy than he used to be!

 Mae's Interview:

2. WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST?  Umm.. Pickles!  (No you didn't)  Tuna sandwich, and bread, and tuna is my favorite (Yes, but what for breakfast this morning?)  Um, um, a smoothie and oatmeal! (Yes, yes you did!)

3. WHAT IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME? Said first and middle name together... claiming it was her first name!  ;)

4. FAVORITE FOOD? Pickles  (When have you ever had pickles??) Tuna sandwich (I'm sensing a theme)

5. WHAT FOOD DO YOU DISLIKE? Pickle juice (Well that's perplexing)

6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?  Purple! (Yes, very true!)

7. FAVORITE LUNCH?  Jamba Juice!

8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO? Watch Daniel Tiger (You sure?)  I like the Party Game its my favorite game in the whole world.

9. IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD ON VACATION, WHERE WOULD YOU GO? With Uncle Kai and Aunt A (Yes, but where with them?)  to the movie theater.

10. FAVORITE SPORT? I played soccer once with my dad!

11. WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY? On January, mom!


13. PETS: I have Pixel, that's our pet, mom!

14. ANY NEW AND EXCITING NEWS YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?   Playing hippopotamus when brother's gone.  

15. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP ? I want to be um superhero uh the Green Lantern.  The Marshmellow Hunter.  (That sounds exciting!)

16. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY? Um donuts!  I mean oreos. 


18. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?  Tinkerbell story?  I mean the lion story (She's just listing movies....) The princess!  (That is book.)

19. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?  "You building the hardwood floor  (But mommy didn't build it)  who builded our hardwood floor (the installers... what are YOU most proud of about YOU?)  I am most proud of my bear.


21. WHICH CAME FIRST, THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? The Egg.  The egg, mom.  (Why?) Because it IS! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Eve of Three

I'm not sure why three is such a significant capture of time for me along the milestones of my babes - but it is.   Maybe it's the way I categorize their photos - one for each month of their lives... until I stop counting in months... when they turn three.  Whatever the nostalgia of it - it is once again happening.  Mae is turning three tomorrow.   I still have until 2:53pm before it's official, but no one really counts that.   When she awakes tomorrow she will be three.  

18 hours old

As I did with Ace I have compiled a collage of Mae from Month 1 through Month 35 in a collage.    It's hard to believe she was so tiny, and yet is still so tiny! 

36 months have past since she entered this world.  She's had many adventures, so many on her own path differing from her brother's.   She's her own spunky spirited self and a mirror of me in many many ways.   I look forward to the coming year.  Mae will finally get to start school (in September) she's been wanting to since she understood that is where brother goes.    She has much excitement yet to come.  Happy Birthday Eve, Sweet Mae!

Our mother-daughter journey continues.  I hope that it only can grow stronger and greater as time presses forward.   May she continue to love Jesus and grow into the amazing person that I believe she is destine to be.