Monday, January 31, 2011

Kids Portraits

We had the perfect weather for outdoor photography last week (50 degrees and sunny!) so I was able to get these portraits that my friend wanted of her two youngest kids.

I think the black and white turned out lovely, but I wouldn't normally process them this way so much. These were done to match a portrait she already had of her oldest.

What do you think?  How many portraits of your kids do you have?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dinner Time

I was feeding Noah dinner and he was feeding me his cereal pieces.  Then he shared them with Daddy too.  He thought it was hilarious!

Monday, January 24, 2011

10 Months

I did take these pictures on his 10 month birthday, but it's taken me a week to get them up.  Life has been throwing some curve balls at us lately it seems and the blog/pictures haven't gotten priority.

We've gone entirely to big boy food now, albeit mostly strained or mashed.  Noah loves squash, something that Cory hated so it's fun to see how they are different.  We did get him to sign "more" a couple of times, but now it seems he just wants to squawk for more food if you don't feed him fast enough.  Mommy needs to eat too you know!  No new teeth on the horizon for now.

Noah also waved goodbye to Nana and Papa once, but I'm not sure he totally understands.  Mostly he just smiles a LOT, especially as long as he's on Mommy or Daddy's shoulder.  He has let us leave him in the nursery for Bible study and our Financial Peace University class.  The first couple times he wouldn't let the helpers put him down, but I think he's doing better now.  Cory is such a good big brother, he would rather be in the baby room on Sunday nights with Noah than in his own age room!

I'm a slacker getting out the next size clothing, but he really needs it.  He's barely still fitting into a few of the 9 month things, but mostly 12 months and up.  The next set is clothing Cory wore in the spring after his 1 year birthday and they will all fit Noah now... except for the shoes which were still quite a bit too big.  I guess it's a good thing he's not quite walking yet...

But he has been standing and will occasionally let go of the couch for a second.  He usually falls over quickly though!  At Christmas and since then he has started going from an object - end table, couch, plant stand - to Grandpa or Mommy with taking one step in between.  It's kind of a fall towards the person, but he's definitely taking the risk to go!

This is my bunny, Mommy!

Noah also likes to sing.  He will sing along during church since we keep him in with us.  He sings with Cory and they imitate each other.  He also loves it when I sing at night, just snuggles right on my shoulder and calms down.  It works wonders when he's upset during the day.  Yay for music!

We finally installed our new sink in the bathroom a couple weekends ago (that's another post in and of itself), but what little boy doesn't like boxes!  This one has become a car and also a collector of all the toys strewn about the living room.  Noah loves to climb inside and sit. 

It's the getting out that's the problem... most times it goes face first and he has since decided he doesn't like this so will sit and cry when he wants out.  I pick him up and 30 seconds later he's right back in the box!  He also likes to chew on the edges... oy!

Noah loves to go through my purse, the diaper bag, and any laundry that might be piled on the couch.  He will pull it all out, wallow in it, and then move it again.  It's hilarious, but I've had to hang my purse up since I don't really want him chewing on various receipts (did you know they contain BPA???), my wallet, etc.!

And finally... maybe 10 months was the magic number, but he's started sleeping through the night (knock on wood)!!!  He goes down at 8:30 and has been getting up around 6am to nurse and then usually going back to sleep for an hour or two.  This is much better than wanting to eat between 1 and 3am as well as at 7am!

So, it's time to start taking advantage of this and get to bed before midnight...

Thursday, January 20, 2011


So, I didn't intend for that last post to post...  I spent a good hour the other night writing out all the crazy things that have happened (there was a part 2) and then realized that I was just annoyed all over again.  Instead I intended to write all the reasons I was thankful for those problems.  Only thing is I forgot to un-schedule that post!

So if you will let me start over... and add the ones from the second post...

I'm thankful that we are (mostly) able to afford insurance for me.  I know many people are not.  I'm thankful that we are in good enough health that that insurance almost doesn't seem necessary.  I will be thankful for it when it is necessary.

I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to buy cleaner(chemical wise) things for my children to eat out of.  I'm thankful that I have money to spend on some little extra toys because I know they will love them.

I'm thankful that I will now have the opportunity to make ice cream for us with better ingredients.  My waistline probably won't thank me!

I'm thankful I have a camera to document life around me.  I love it (obviously) and I'm thankful I can sometimes even use it to make some money.

I'm thankful for friends who will loan me cameras when mine is being repaired!  And customer service people who do care when you call them with a problem.

I'm thankful for finding a good Christmas present for my brother, even if it did finally arrive after Christmas!

I'm thankful for our house.  That we have our own yard.  That we have more room.  That it's ours (we won't talk about the mortgage company!).

And finally, I'm thankful that we live in a place where if I don't like one store's policies I can go down the street to another store.  And I can support my local businesses!

There:  Now I feel a whole lot better!  Here's to working on the optimism side that I seem to be lacking... at least according to my husband!

Buyer Beware

I've had some pretty awful customer service experiences lately.  If it was one or two I think I'd just brush it aside, but I actually have a crazy list of things that has taken me quite a bit of time to follow up on.  I'm going to try not to be completely negative, but you tell me if you've had similar experiences, please?  I want to think I'm not crazy (let me live in my delusions, okay?).  And yes, be warned, this post will be extremely long so if you don't care?  Feel free to move on!


It dates from October starting with my medical insurance.  My policy was up for renewal with a huge increase in premium so I had to switch to another plan with less coverage.  Unfortunately they charged me for the old policy... on an automatic withdrawal program.  I caught it the first month and asked for a refund of the difference.  Since the check "would take 45 days (!!!) to clear" I just said, well, apply it to next month.  I thought that would do it, but no, the next month I was once again charged the full old premium amount!  This time I said no, I'm sorry, I will need a full refund of all the money you have overcharged me and not in 45 days!  They said it would be mailed the following week.  Two weeks later I still hadn't received it.  3 or 4 phone calls and many hours later I got my money back.

The very last person I spoke with actually seemed to be able to solve the problem and she has since called me (!!) to make sure that everything was straight with the billing and just generally let me know where we are in the process.  Apparently it takes months for them to switch people from one plan to another?  Crazy!  But I'm thankful that someone is helping me keep track of it!

I'm also curious as to know if I would have ever received a refund on that money since it was never applied to my new policy until I called... in December!  I wonder how much money people pay extra that they don't realize if they're not on top of their money accounts?


Next up, some discount membership sites.  I joined these because it looked like they might have things I was interested in anyway... and at good discounts why not?  Christmas was coming...

Totsy is "the private sale site for Moms" and having two small boys I was interested to see if they might have anything I needed.  I placed an order on October 31st for some Green Toys Inc. BPA-free and made-of-recycled-materials feeding stuff for Noah.  I also ordered a couple of cool wooden puzzles made by ImagiPlay.  My order did not arrive at my door until December 14th.  Granted, I did get a couple of emails along the way stating that they knew it was taking a long time and eventually they gave me (and I presume others) a $5 credit towards another order.  A long time for shipping, but I suppose I could understand.

However.  The wooden puzzles were so poorly made that they wouldn't stay together and one of them had a piece broken when I took it out of it's shrink wrap.  Perhaps this is why they were selling so cheaply on this site?  Because they have a no returns policy.  Not for defective merchandise, not for things broken, presumably in shipping.  Lame.  The only thing they will take back is shirts and pants.  NO accessories or anything that isn't clothing.  Buyer Beware for sure on this site.  Make sure you know exactly what you are buying or have the money to throw away.


The second discount site I signed up for was The Foundary (no, I'm not linking to these sites because I've had such poor experiences with them I wouldn't recommend them to anyone).  I found out later it's a subsidiary or partner of The Hayneedle.  Within a few days of signing up they had a sale on Kitchen Aid accessories, which almost never go on sale.  I hemmed and hawed and finally decided that since we had a balance in our paypal account that would cover it I would go ahead and order the ice cream maker attachment that I'd been wanting for awhile.

Well.  That was November 8th and I got I can't remember how many delay notices.  Finally a week before Christmas I emailed them to complain and ask about a possible credit and to see just how long it would take since they had already taken the money out of my paypal account... sort of.  The response I got was basically they had no idea what was going on and here was a $5 credit to my account.  This was only because I'd asked and this was a significantly larger purchase than the one I made at Totsy.

Funny thing, the attachment actually arrived on Christmas Eve (maybe since I'd mentioned it was a good thing this wasn't supposed to be a Christmas present?), but they've continued to access my paypal account placing and removing balance payments every week, up until the 12th of January.  I have to make a call to paypal to see about blocking their access to my account since the money is already deducted.

I actually received another delay notice from them after Christmas stating my item would be shipping on January 16th... so perhaps we'll see if I get another one here in the next few days!  What would I do with it?

I think I'm done typing for tonight... but tell me, would you ever buy from either of these sites again???

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Family

This is all of Brian's mom's family at his Grandma's memorial.  This is the family that we spend the most time with.  Funny thing, I actually have many group shots over the years and yet we have never managed to have every single person present.  From our wedding when some of the cousins were missing to Grandma and Grandpa's anniversary when Joel and Allison couldn't come to this picture when Becca and Cameron were off on their honeymoon.  Ah well, we at least have a picture of everyone at some point!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet

In honor of Noah being 10 months old today, let's talk about food!  This kid waited a really long time to decide he was ready to eat and even then I'm not sure he was ready, but I was ready for him to eat.

I tried grinding up various foods I had fed Cory early on, but he was really hesitant with the textures.  Not knowing a whole lot about baby food I resorted to store bought for a couple months.  Now that he's accepting more textures I'm happy to be making my own baby food and saving some money!

Babies don't need nearly as much variety as we do, but feeding him the same three fruits and a couple of veggies gets old for me and I want him to discover new foods.  Where to start?  With this great new book I've had the pleasure of receiving!

The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet is perfect for someone (like me) who needs directions!  It's divided up into chapters based on age and has handy charts showing what foods should be introduced at what age.  Of course you don't have to follow the charts, I didn't exactly, but if you don't know where to start they would be great.

The best part about the book is that it has given me the confidence to buy and cook some foods for Noah that I probably otherwise wouldn't have.  Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocado.   It gives basic directions on how to prepare these foods for babies and many of them can be made in batches and frozen.  I don't have the freezer space for that right now, but I wish I did because it would be really handy!

Besides recipes (and as baby gets older there are entire meal recipes) the book has chapters on nutrition and special considerations like allergies.  The book is written in an easy to read and understand format and all the recipes are standard so you know what you're looking at on each page.  Lots of colorful pictures invite you to try new things!

I think this book might be going on my baby shower gift list!

I was provided this book to review through the Family Review Network and Fair Winds Press, but all opinions are my own.

From the back cover:
Food Made with Love Is Food You Can Trust. 
Preparing simple, homemade food in the comfort of your own kitchen is one of the greatest gifts you can give your little one. Not only does it allow you to nourish your child with the most pure and wholesome ingredients, but it also gives you the peace of mind of knowing what has gone into every bite your baby takes.
Full of recipes to suit every age and stage-from six months all the way to twenty-three months-The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet shows you how simple and easy it is to prepare food your baby will go absolutely ga-ga for. From quick purées like Mighty Tasty Blueberry and Pear Mash and No-Cook Prune Purée, to new and nourishing meals like Sweet Omelet Surprise and Finger-Lickin’ Good Lentils and Potato with Cheese, you’ll find it a breeze to prepare any and all of the recipes you and your little one fancy.

And to make things even more easy-peasy, you’ll find each recipe also contains:
-Two methods for preparation-stovetop or microwave-wherever applicable, so you can whip up recipes in whatever time you have. Many microwave options make it possible for meals to be made in less than 10 minutes.
-An easy-to-spot snowflake icon on all recipes suitable for freezing, so you can make baby’s meals at your convenience, or in batches, to save time and money.
-A complete nutritional analysis, so you can be sure you’re giving your child the best possible start.
Make your own super-delicious, super-nutritious homemade baby food today-it’s guaranteed to be the best thing that’s ever crossed the high chair!

Friday, January 14, 2011

National Delurking Day

So, apparently I almost missed the boat!  Today is National Delurking Day!
Don't ask my why it's today or who actually made this up... but I think it's a great idea!  I know some of you who read my blog and never comment *coughNotNamingNamescough*, but I also know that I get hits from 800 different locations around the world and over 1500 actual hits a month.  Who are you people and where are you from???

Enquiring minds want to know!  So please leave a comment, even anonymously if you wish, and at least tell me where you're from and perhaps why you like reading here!  And if you do leave your blogger profile I can then come visit you!

Happy Delurking!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When it Rains it Pours

We got 3-4 inches of snow last night.  Enough to cover everything and make it gorgeous and white again.  It warmed up during the day so that it became thick and heavy and now it's frozen again.  But tomorrow it's supposed to rain and by Friday everything below 4,000 feet is supposed to have melted and they're predicting floods.  I hope it's not as bad as I've seen in a few previous years.

It seems to be quite literally pouring in my own life right now and I'm trying so hard to trust that God is still in control and we will be okay.  It's hard to see though when everything points to problems.

It started last Friday (this round, we won't talk about everything that's already happened) when my car wouldn't start, no accessory, no recognition that I had even put the key in the ignition.  It hadn't been driven for 2 weeks and it was super cold during part of that time.  We jumped it and let it sit for half an hour hoping that would be enough...  Saturday morning it was dead again.  After multiple jumps and also it idling itself to dead Brian finally drove it into town to have the battery tested.  The guy at Les Schwab said the battery was fine (so of course they wouldn't give us any credit towards a new one) and it was probable the alternator.  Brian drove on up to camp for his buddy's birthday and back.  Since then no problems, but I'm kind of holding my breath...
I also need to get my muffler welded back on before it falls off!  The rattling is horrid!  That and take it in to the tire shop to see why it's wobbling slightly when I drive... ever since they rotated my tires.
I suppose I can't complain too much as it is a 19 year old car with over 190,000 miles on it.  They do make Subaru's good.  We're just not ready to take on a car payment and I'll be sad to give up my first car!  Subaru doesn't make minivans either.  Sad face.

Then on Sunday we had a meeting after church and of course Noah was exhausted so I packed him... on my front, hoping he would fall asleep.  He did, but I killed my back.  It's ever so slowly getting better with hot showers and ibuprofen.  I really need to go to the gym and get back in shape, I know that's the solution.  Of course it's also hard to go to the gym when it's painful to even get in the car and go anywhere.

Next up, our kitchen sink.  Yes, this is a post that even includes the kitchen sink.  Ever since we got back from Christmas it's been acting like we have air in the lines.  Even if the water was just used within the last few minutes it would sputter.  Yesterday Brian was home while it was still light out so he went under the house and found water... drip, drip, dripping from under the sink.  When we finally looked under the sink we found water almost spraying out anytime you turned on the faucet!  He couldn't really tell where it was coming from so that necessitated a call to the plumber this morning.  However, we are only $20 poorer this time around (and feeling a little sheepish) since it was the fitting that attaches the spray nozzle that had come almost completely loose.  We had thought the worst though because this is where we'd had problems even before we bought the house and we know that we have incredibly hard water here (and really shoddy plumbing).

And finally... remember the snow?  Well, this morning on my way to Bible study the traffic was moving slow.  The three lane one way gets the middle lane filled with the plowed snow so traffic was doing 20mph in what is usually a 30mph zone.  Which means that the timing for yellow lights is off... which means that when the light turned yellow, yes, that camera controlled light, I could either slide through the intersection while trying to stop, or give it just a bit more gas and hope I made it.  Nope.  I was smack in the middle of the intersection when I saw the flash in my mirror.  My only hope is that 1) there was enough snow still on my bumper that my license plate was unreadable - it's possible, when I remembered to check after Bible study almost 1/3 of it was covered or 2) there is an actual human checking the videos who will realize that it was a snow day and give a little grace.  I know I wasn't the only one caught as there was another car just even with me in the other lane at the time the camera went off too!  Now just begins the frustrating waiting period to see if a ticket comes in the mail.

So, I suppose none of this is earth shattering, but when all the little things come at once it's easy to get down.  And I won't even talk about not being able to find nursing bras that fit... in a town this big you'd think more than 2 stores would carry {a very small selection of} them!
Perhaps this is the pessimist that I seem to be.  Or "someone" trying to discourage me from the good start I've got going in my Bible study and scripture memory.  But I don't really want to give any credit there.

Here's hoping for a fun day with my baby since Mom's got Cory for some Grandparent time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Door

I loved the doors on the church where Cameron and Becca got married!  All the people showing up must have thought I was a little crazy taking pictures of them...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Family Wedding

I apologize in advance for the number of pictures in this post... but I had a lot of fun looking through them and I will attempt to keep it to as minimum as I can...  However if you know me, you know I like pictures so that might be kind of hard!

I'm going out of order here because I just want to post the pictures for the wedding we went to on January first.  Becca is one of Brian's cousins and the first, other than he and his sister, to get married.  We met Cameron two Christmases ago and thought he was pretty swell right from the start!  I couldn't be more happy for them!

 This is my favorite picture although I did not take it.  
A relative that took some awesome ones at our wedding took it 
while we were all gathering for a family photo.

I won't go into the whole story of the week preceding the wedding... suffice to say that Allison was the caker baker in the house we were all staying in... and she was delayed getting in because of the weather back East.  So she lost an entire day to work on the vegan wedding cake!  But it still turned out amazing... all 44 pounds of it!  You try making a cake without eggs and see how dense and heavy it is!  

Allison made her own cake for her wedding and this one was super yummy too!

Dark chocolate with raspberry filling on the bottom.  Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on for the middle.  Vanilla cake with lavender vanilla frosting and lemon curd filling for the top!

Trying to get a family picture when your family has 5 children, spouses, 10 grandchildren, some spouses and some grandchildren... and then Cameron's whole family too!  Yikes!  I'm glad I wasn't the official photographer!

 They did a walking singing processional with guitar and drum that was really neat.

And then her brothers, Mark and Jon, had to go out to walk her in.   
Her father was killed in a car accident just before I met Brian.

Part of the ceremony was a foot washing, talking about how they would serve each other.

They also gave each other their rings at this point.

One of the best wedding kisses I've seen in awhile...

And they were so excited they forgot to let the pastor announce them, they just walked out!

Some random hooligans... I mean cousins! at the reception.  They had fun snack foods including pistachios, Cory's favorites.  Grandpa is helping him here, but he can crack them himself.  We had quite a pile on our table when all was said and done!

They played nice and didn't get cake/frosting everywhere!

Aunt Cris, mother of the bride, hadn't met Noah yet.  He was enthralled with her necklace!

It's not playing favorites, but Aunt Cris is the sweetest lady ever!

The newlyweds actually got to enjoy a bit of their food...

A cousin picture!  With 3 in the next generation and 3 spouses now.

The best babysitter for Cory for the reception and the memorial the next day.  A freshman in college cousin with plenty of energy!

There was birdseed to be thrown and it was thrown in heaps.  I'm sure they were picking it out of their hair and clothes for days, not to mention the car!  I happened to be in the line of fire and found it inside the sling I was carrying Noah in and could feel it in my boots.  The next day I took off my coat and a sleeve flipped up and some even fell out of my cuff! I was also picking it out of my hair all night!

Congratulations Cameron and Becca!  Many happy years ahead!
Yes, all the white spots in this picture are birdseed...

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Brother's New Babies

For those of you who know him... they're not human!  My brother's dog, Mara, had 6 baby Golden Retrievers on Thursday.  We got to go see them on Saturday.  Super cute as only baby puppies can be!  Of course they will be even cuter in another week or so when they get their eyes open!

Noah was thoroughly fascinated by them.  He petted the one my mom was holding, but then wasn't so sure for awhile and wouldn't even touch it.  Then he started "patting" it and was being a bit rough so that was that.  Later he just stood at the edge of the box and petted Mara, who doesn't mind his "patting" as much as newborn puppies might.

Cory held a puppy until someone mentioned it might poop on him.  Then he was done and was more interested in the treadmill and rock climbing wall.

This is Kevin's new seat in the house.  Reminds me of when our dog had puppies when I was in high school.  We have pictures of Kevin sitting at his desk in his room with a puppy on the desk or in his lap while he did his homework.  Here I think he's working, or he might be checking out movie times.  Either way, my guess is he spends a LOT of time in this chair in the next couple weeks!

There are four girls and two boys, all doing well it seems.  Mara is a good mother.  Here they've finally finished eating and then crawled all over each other, got comfy, and went to sleep.  So precious!

Friday, January 07, 2011


Not too long after I wrote this post and went to bed, my Grandma passed away.  My dad called me at 8am on Wednesday and as soon as I heard his ring tone I knew what had happened. 

 Grandma's House ~ 1999

We just barely made it back in time on Monday night for me to see her on Tuesday.  I went by myself knowing that she probably wouldn't be awake anyway.

Summer 2001

I didn't want the boys to see her like that and it was good.  I needed the time to just sit by her side, talk to her a bit, and reflect.

Freshly painted and stenciled kitchen

I held her hand, but she looked so bad and sounded so wheezy that I just didn't want to remember her that way.  So I looked up at the pictures on the bulletin board above her head.  None of them are these, but they were good pictures.

Thanksgiving 2002

These first ones are all photos out of my scrapbooks that I've taken over the years. (so please excuse the poor quality as they are pictures of pictures)  This is how I want to remember her.


Pre-grad party ~ 2003

She was pretty much the only Grandma I had.  I remember her coming to visit us a few times when we lived in Oregon.  I remember the looooong drive to Spokane to visit her.

My family at graduation

What I remember most is the relationship I got to have with her after high school.  Going to visit on my own at spring break and in the summer.

After grad celebration!

Although I have one special memory from high school.  She came over to watch me be in the Junior Miss Program (basically a pageant without the swimsuits) and spent the day with me while everyone else was in school/working and I was getting ready.  I don't remember what stories she told me, but I do remember learning a lot about her.  More than I had known before about who she was as a person.  It was a very special day.

My new apartment in Seattle after graduation

She was the only one to make it to my high school graduation, my college graduation (the first one anyway!), and my wedding.  College was the last big trip she took and just a few weeks later she fell and broke her hip.  We thought we'd lose her then, but it's been 7 1/2 more years!

Our wedding ~ 2005

She moved over near us so we got to see her a lot more often.  She was more a regular part of our lives even as she started to remember less.

Christmas 2006

She got to meet both her great grandsons.  I hope Cory will remember her some.  Especially how she made the shrimp noises at him (don't ask!).  He loved to play with her necklaces and stuffed animals.

First Great Grandson ~ March 2007

Mostly what I want to remember is that family was important to her and she loved us.  She wasn't perfect, but none of us are.

Cory's First Birthday ~ March 2008

She had a lot of character and maybe I don't want to be just like her when I get old, but I hope I have a full life too.

November 2008

Grandma, I've missed you for awhile.  I'll see you again someday!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Baby's First Christmas

I just realized that I haven't blogged about the week before Christmas... an extended family gathering at a hotel, a fabulous Christmas party that resulted in some sort of food poisoning for me so no Christmas Eve, and then Christmas at my parents.  It all got lost in the sick and then the leaving on the day after Christmas for Oregon.  Guess I have a lot of blog fodder this week...