Friday, May 27, 2011

On Forgetting...

Forgive and forget.  That's what they say anyway, but so much easier said than done.

We've been reading a book on forgiveness in our Bible study and I love it.  It talks about what forgiveness really is (and it's not what a lot of people try to shove down your throat) and how at the root if it, it sets YOU free, not the person you've forgiven.  As sometimes they don't even realize they've done anything wrong.

But I digress.  When it comes to forgetting I think it's important.  But not in the way that you let people walk all over you.  It's healthy to have boundaries when someone has repeatedly done hurtful things to you.

On the other hand, I'm so thankful that God has forgiven me and forgotten those things.  Now I need to do the same, especially to those closest to me.  Bringing up, or even stewing on old hurts does nothing, but promote bitterness.

Sometimes it's hard to see a change when you're right in the middle of it.  And it's okay to allow that change to happen slowly, sometimes painfully slowly, as long as there is intention and progress.  No one changes overnight, especially not me.

Now, to forgive and forget for myself.  This one may be the hardest of all.  Aren't we all our own worst critics?  But as the book said, you can't forgive others unless you first start with yourself.  And I would like to be free.

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Perfect Guy Gift?

I don't know about you, but I have the hardest time finding the perfect gift for any of the men in my life.  My little boys, I could buy them a present every day.  My dad, my brother, my husband on the other hand... once they hit about 16 it seems I either have no ideas or they would love something that I absolutely cannot afford.

With Father's Day in just under a month it is crunch time for me!  When it comes to my dad I usually end up getting him some little things that he loves... or that we share a love for!  Cashews and cool t-shirts.  I think I have probably contributed half his wardrobe over the years!

The one thing that my dad really loves to do is fish.  And so while we don't usually go on Father's Day, this is something that I think of when I think of him.  We've gone on many single and multiple day fishing adventures in the past and perhaps someday when I'm not tied to a baby we will again.

The photo here is a fish he caught this winter on a personal guided tour.  And yeah, Cory wasn't so sure about the fish.  He hasn't yet been initiated into the joy of fishing (and fish whacking ~ that was my job!).

So while I have no idea what I will get any of the father's in my life yet this year, I do know where I can find some fun and funky cards. 

Tiny Prints has a new line of completely customizable cards for Father's Day.  You can even add your own pictures.  I spent way too much time there creating mine today, but the process is so fun and easy. Plus, you don't have to fight the other people in the card aisle and your favorite one is always in stock!

Now, can anyone find me the perfect gift for my dad and hubby???

I was compensated for my time to write this post, but all memories and opinions are my own!

Friday, May 20, 2011

When Seasons Change...

In our part of the country it's turning into summer real fast.  I think we'll have to put our air conditioner units in the windows soon.  Last week I needed a long sleeve shirt outside and today I got sunburned in a tank top while setting up for our annual yard sale.  (If you're local, call me, we have hoards of stuff!)

Spring never stays long it seems, or somehow I don't get to enjoy it.  It's not quite warm enough and I'm afraid of the mud.  I'm ready for summer, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready for the heat all the time.

Seasons change too quickly for me it seems.  I'm just getting used to one, into the rhythm and then it changes.  Seasons of life often change too quickly for me as well.  Especially if I have little or no warning.

I'm one of those people who plans things, weeks, months, and even years in advance.  Ask me to plan a vacation for tomorrow and it will happen, but I'm not sure I will be pretty!

I suppose some of it is in the need to control.  The need to know that things will happen a certain way.  When really, I don't control much that happens in life.  I thought I'd learned this lesson awhile ago, but it seems that it's pretty deeply ingrained in me.

What is it they say?  Nothing is immune to change, even change itself?  Or something like that!

I wonder if I would be any happier if I tried to go with the flow a little more often.  I think at the very least it would make my husband happier, he of the no planning variety.  Or maybe the change would throw him off!

Good thing I can count on God never changing.  Otherwise I would be completely lost!

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

14 Months

My little man is 14 months old, and completely independent!  Since he's been walking for 2 months (and mobile for a lot longer) he is now climbing everything and it's very hard to get him to hold still for a "posed" photo! :)

I have some pics from last week that I haven't gotten around to posting yet... he's figured out how to pull out a kitchen chair, climb up, and then climb on the table, if there's something he really wants.  Last week it was one of big brother's crayons and then he proceeded to color with it.  So stinkin' cute!

Well, hello bunny!

We have a little communicator on our hands too!  In the past couple weeks he's started saying a few more words.  The other night I asked him if he wanted to go take a bath.  And while usually he just heads for the bathroom this time he said, "baff?" clear as a bell.  Awesome!
He plays peek-a-boo with us, especially when we're changing his diaper and while it sounds a like like "budge a budge" he has the intonation down so you know what he means.  Actually "budge" is kind of the go to word for a lot of things, like balloons too.  He loves those things and points them out whenever he seems one in the store or anywhere.
He's also started saying "woof woof" when he sees a dog (and pointing) and then when I tell him there's a train when I hear the whistle I usually say "woo woo" and he's started repeating that too, even when I don't notice the train going by (amazingly enough I've gotten used to it!).

He's just talking a lot more in general even though most of it is nonsense.  And of course we understand what he wants fairly easily because we know him!  For example he knows quite a few signs, but anyone else who knows sign language might not pick up on what he wants because he doesn't have the hand motions exactly right.  Still, it's communication!

He makes signs for: all done, more, eat, drink, banana, please, and birds.

I don't sit still!

Mr. Communicator also understands so much of what we say.  He will go get his shoes if I tell him we're going outside and bring them to me.  A lot of it depends on whether or not HE wants to do what I'm asking him to!

His other methods of communicating are mainly pointing and saying "aaaaaaah!" to get your attention to what he wants.  Works, I guess!
And lately anywhere we are he will say "aaaaaah!" to get someone's attention when he wants to wave at them.  Yes, he gets lots of attention!

Bunny love!

Along with the coloring (I think he's going to be right handed too) he has started getting more interested in books.  He will sometimes bring me a book, especially if I ask him too, but he still wants to be in control of turning the pages.  Usually too fast to read all but the simplest of stories.  I've started bringing some in the car with us and one that I got to review has become a favorite of both he and Cory.  It's called Rocket Town and the best page is the count down to blast off! 

 Ha ha, I stole one of brother's cars!

Some final stats... as of last week's surgery follow up he weighed in at 26 pounds and 32 inches tall!  He's wearing almost all 18 month clothes and has a very large head!  ie, some of the shirts have to be put away already because they are too hard to put on!

This month he also got 3 of his 4 new molars and the 4th one is going to come through any day now.

Happy 14 months old my little ham, Noah!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Park Time

Look out world, this playground is all mine!

This was from last Friday, but we also went today (with 2 days of non-stop rain in between!).  And then we went over to my best friend's house for dinner since I had been watching her boys at the park... and then she went in to labor!  And 4 hours later as I'm writing this post the baby is here!  New baby alert!!!  Woo hoo!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Seattle Day

Saturday I had to make a trip to Seattle for Noah's follow-up surgeon visit.  Since I was making a 6 hour round trip for what I knew would be a 5 minute appointment (it was) I planned to do some other fun things along the way.

Like meeting my college roommate and her hubby for lunch!  I don't think we'd seen each other since last summer.  Too long.

Like trying out a pretty good restaurant in Bellevue called the Garlic Crush.  Thankfully they still accepted my gift certificate.

Like seeing the Olympics one way and the Cascades the other way.  Oh wait, that was just the fact that I got lucky and it was a gorgeous day in Seattle!  I drove over in rain, back in rain, and it's been raining at our house all day, but I had lovely sun and t-shirt weather in Seattle!  Which, by the way, is usually the reverse!

Like going to REI to return a hat for my mom and having it be very painless even though Noah was asleep (yay for the Ergo!).  Driving across Lake Washington I was wishing I was the passenger or could stop on the bridge to take pictures or something, it was that lovely!

Like visiting a new-to-me camera store called Glazers and staying for an hour when I'd just planned to go in and get a filter and dust cleaner bulb!  I was drooling over lenses and bodies, but also got a lot of good information.  I had my camera with me (to make sure I got the right filter) and so I got to try out the prime lens that is on my wish list.  55mm 1.8 lens.  Look at this depth of field!

And the very nice bokeh!

It's the length I'm going for for portraits and now that I've tried it I'm more sure than ever that this is the one I want!  Now to get some more clients so I can pay for it...

This was the girl standing next to me also looking at cameras and drooling!

Just random test shots that look good!

And then like stopping for a potty break at the outlet mall... whose bathrooms are located between the Carter's children's store and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory!

Of course there was a sale and so I got some new summer stuff for Cory and *gasp* the first matching shirts for the boys.  I'll try to get a picture when they wear them.  I think they'll be super cute and hopefully not too obnoxious!

Then chocolate for the ride home.  Noah charmed everyone of course and I discovered the most amazing dark chocolate English Toffee.  I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not that there's another of those stores in my hometown...

A super long day, but way better than I expected!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Deep Breath

Deep breath: Don't yell at the children for playing with fighting over the exact.same.toy even though there are 5 hundred thousand other toys in the house.  Relax, separate them nicely.

Deep breath: Don't freak out because you just discovered your income is probably going down next year.  Even though you can't afford to live on what you currently get.  God is in control.  God is in control.  God is in control.

Deep breath: Don't doubt yourself when someone asks you to do something that you think you can do, but aren't 100% sure.  No one expects perfection but you.

Deep breath:  Just go, get out of the house, exercise.  You'll feel better and have more energy even if you're tired now.  Take the boys, go to the park, get outside.  Don't worry about the dirt!!!  That's what the washing machine is for.

Deep breath: Stop, think, pray.  This too shall pass.

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Things I Love: Alba Botanica

Today I want to introduce you to my skin.  Or, more specifically, my skin care line.  As I mentioned last summer I found that there were some pretty nasty chemicals in the skin care products I was using so I went on the hunt for new ones.  I bought this line called Alba Botanica (the Hawaiian version) at the co-op and thought I'd wait to see how I liked it before telling you too much about it.

Well, let me tell you now.  I do like it, a lot!  My skin feels clean and refreshed after washing and moisturizing and I'm not breaking the bank doing it.  I'm not a fan of the eye gel, but I've never found one in any brand that I really like.  I guess I'm just not a fan of the tingly on my face!

The best part about the whole line (and yes, I use the shampoo and conditioner too) is that it can be found at Target, Fred Meyer, a lot of health food stores, and easily online.  I recently stocked up on because I'd never ordered there before and they had a 20% off for first time customers discount.  All of it is cheaper than the old stuff I'd been using and all of it has a way lower score on the Skin Deep database for toxicity.

The biggest things in our skin care that create the toxicity are the very things that are supposed to be anti-aging.  Personally, I think I'd rather have my skin the way God designed it, wrinkles and all, than preserve it with some nasty chemicals that have other potentially harmful side effects!  There's a reason they use formaldehyde as an embalming fluid!

So, what kind of skin care products do you use?

This post is linked to The Diaper Diaries.  Alba has no idea who I am and I was not compensated for this post in anyway.  My love for their products is all my own!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Blueberries

Why yes, Daddy, I do like blueberries!

As you can see, he's pretty much his normal self!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Festival Time

A yes, it's that time of year again.  Where we have parades and food fairs and... the most important thing to a 4 year old?  The carnival.

He remembered the rides from last year even before we got there and corrected me when I called this one a motorcycle.  My bad, son, it's a 4-wheeler.

I think it's fairly obvious that he loved the canoe ride again...

The trucks going around was a new one this year, to replace the helicopters.  I'm not sure which was a bigger hit!

We rode this one twice!

The best bang for your buck was a climbing house that had a ball pit at the end.  He spent many minutes "swimming" around in the balls and jumping off the edges.  Super fun!

We just won't talk about the black substance on his clothes when he finally came out... Mama doesn't want to even know what was in there.

Then we faced the mighty dragon ride... Last year he wanted to go, but was screaming and crying the first time around so the operator stopped and let him off.  This year he wanted to try and was super excited before it got started... but then not so sure.

The little boy next to him put his arm around him and was talking to him the whole ride and by the end he at least was smiling.  It was so cute, we told his parents afterwards and they said he'd been in the same situation last year and another little boy helped him out.  Next year I guess it will be Cory's turn!

And unfortunately Noah was too short to go on any of the rides, I wanted to put him on the first one in front of Cory.  I know he would have loved it!  Next year!

Then on Sunday Mama got to go to the food fair by herself and work in the Young Life trailer.  She was reprising her 16 year old self, being a barista.  It was cool and rainy so not too busy, and unfortunately (or fortunately for my waistline) their donut machine broke just as I got there so no donuts for me.  But I had a good time anyway and yes, I remember how to make espresso!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Noah Update

Well, our little guy did really well in his surgery yesterday.  The nurses were all charmed (of course!) and they said he was one of very few babies who don't cry when they wake up either.

We had to wait quite awhile before the previous surgery was done and he never complained about wanting to eat or even was fussy.  The hardest part was having to put the mask on with the gas to put him to sleep.  He's "practicing", but playing in the photo below, but really didn't like it forced on his face.  Thankfully it only takes a short time for it to take affect.

We were getting a little worried when the 45 minute time they had given us turned into almost 2 hours, but finally a nurse came and told us they had simply mis-scheduled him and the procedure actually was supposed to take an hour and a half.  Then the doctor came in 2 minutes later and said he was done and it all looked good.

We were on the road home by 1pm and other than the fact that he peed through his diaper and so was uncomfortable on the ride home (we didn't realize the IV fluids would do this to him) he's been fine since we got home.

Yay baby!  And thanks for praying, it really helped me stay calm!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Pray for Us

This morning at 8am Noah is going in for surgery at Children's in Seattle.  He has a birth defect so this has been planned for awhile, but that's not making it any easier for this Mama's heart.
It's not a major surgery so barring any complications we should be home tonight.  Please pray that this is the case.  And for everything else to go smoothly.
Thank you all.

It's almost that time of year again...

Can you believe it?  June is right around the corner and that means graduations!

For me it means reminding students that are seniors they need to get their pictures ordered now and next year's seniors need to start planning to get their photos taken.  But that's because I'm a photographer!

But when I think graduation I first think of my college graduations.  Yes, there were two of them and they were both unique and special.

I graduated for the first time in 2003 with my Bachelor's degree and the world was ahead of me.  My best friend and her family came, my Grandma came, and of course my immediate family.  You can see some of those pictures here when I posted about my Grandma passing away this past January.  This trip to see me graduate was actually her last big trip before she fell and broke her hip that summer.  Bittersweet memories a bit, but I'm so glad she was able to be there.

In 2005 I graduated with my Master's degree and this time I added a whole 'nother family.  My soon to be husband's family were all there because we were in the same class.  And let me tell you, a master's graduation takes all week!  It was particularly fun to have our professor announce our engagement at the hooding ceremony because very few people in our class even knew we were dating!  (towards the end of the program you don't spend as much time with your classmates as you did in the field, or classroom, as was our case)

Each of these were days worth remembering and celebrating.

Most of you already know of my love of tinyprints products so you won't be surprised to find that they've branched out yet again to offer all things graduation and paper related.  Probably the most important one of these?  Thank you cards.  I remember writing literally a hundred of those the summer after I graduated from high school!

What memories do you have of your graduation(s)?  Anything really crazy happen to any of you?

I was compensated for my time to write this post, but all memories and opinions are my own!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Life

Brian took this the other night when both boys wanted to be in my lap.  Their faces just crack me up!  And yes, that is the mess I live in, sheesh, I think I need to get organized!
Shout out to Missy, whose blog is showing on the screen!

WFMW: How to get rid of hard water stains

Do you have hard water at your house?  Stains that you just can't get rid of?  Vinegar is your friend.  Let me tell you how.

We have hard water in our house.  Very hard water.  This was our sink before we replaced it.
That was after lots of scrubbing, with a wire brush, soft scrub with bleach, etc.  You can't really see it, but there was actually a couple millimeters of built up calcifications.  Needless to say?  Gross!

My bathtub wasn't quite as bad, but where the water pooled in the bottom there was a definite ring and I just never felt like I could get it clean.

Then somewhere online I stumbled upon the answer.  Common household white vinegar.  (If this is you? Buy it in bulk at Costco!)  I already had plenty on hand because we use it as a water softener and stink remover with our cloth diapers.

The directions said to put a cup of vinegar in a toilet bowl to get hard water stains out.  So I figured 2 cups in a couple inches of water in the bottom of my tub should work.  I let it stand overnight and in the morning...

You might have to click to really see it

Great, now you can see the line!  I had a pretty clean tub bottom, but the rest of it now looked grungy.  So I did it again with about 4 inches of water (and attacked the stain in the hand hold area too).  The bottom was getting cleaner, but... new line.

So Monday I filled the tub up as full as it would allow and just dumped in about half a gallon of vinegar.  I went back every hour or so and rinsed the walls above the water line as well.  Now?

I don't feel bad about letting guests take a shower in my bathroom! (And while it still sort of looks like there's a line in these pictures I think it has more to do with the curve of the tub.)

And I didn't actually believe it would all come out of the tub bottom, but after 3 soaks there's absolutely no discoloration left!

The best part about this???  Completely non-toxic!  I didn't feel bad about rinsing the tub a little and then sticking my boys right in for a bath.

And now for the really geeky part... how do you know your vinegar is working?  You'll see little bubbles on the surfaces where the reaction is taking place.  Sweet, a chemistry reaction in my bathtub!  See vinegar is a weak acid (CH3COOH) and all these buildups are bases, usually calcium carbonate (CaCO3).  The acid is actually dissolving the calcium carbonate and the bubbles you get are carbon dioxide.  You can see the reaction here.

So, if you have hard water, try it!  I also soaked my shower head in a bucket because I forgot to just put it in the tub when it was full.  Now, a shower that doesn't spray off in wonky directions!

What works for you today?

Blog carnival hosted by We are THAT Family.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Desperately Seeking Inspiration - and a whole lot of random

Wow, it's been quite the weekend it seems.  No 2am Royal Wedding watching here although I did check out some pictures.  This one in particular just cracks me up, if you click on the picture to enlarge it then look at the flower girl on the far right...

We've all caught a lovely hacking chest cold so we're laying low.  The back yard field has been mowed and I have made an amazing discovery with vinegar (come back on Wednesday when I tell you all about it, it will be riveting fascinating interesting).

And then tonight... watching the news literally stream past on twitter... Osama bin Ladin dead.  I wonder if it will make any difference to al Qaeda in the long run?  I mean don't they have deputies and other leaders too?

Anyway, what I really want to know from you today is: What does a "married life" theme look like to you?  If you heard that a blog was titled Welcome to Married Life what would it look like?  I need to update this blog because my design won't let me use some of the newer features like pages and a nicer comment form.  But I'm poor and trying to design it myself.  I can do it, but I have no inspiration.  So I'm asking for your input (but nicely please???)

Here's a mock-up that I'm working with to give you an idea the direction I'm headed.  Any other suggestions are welcome!