Best Shot Monday – 2/4/08 – Couch monkey

Who’s that monkey climbing on the couch?

Monkey on the couch - 2/3/08 Couch monkey - 2/3/08

Pics taken from our loft, looking down on the living room. Julian was all over that couch on Sunday – climbing on the cushions, climbing on the arms, falling off the arms. Such fun! Also, is it just me or does it look like he’s sprouting little devil horns in these pics – especially in the second one? I know, I know, not my little angel. ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can see more from Best Shot Monday participants over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday

Best Shot Monday – 1/28/08 – Sleep tight

Looking to step outside of the box a little bit this weekend, I took this picture of our reflection in the mirror. It didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped (let me tell you it’s damn hard holding a 25 lb. baby in one arm while holding a heavy SLR, arm outstretched in the other), but I am still rather fond of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Julian sleeping on mommy - self portrait - 1/27/08

You can see more from Best Shot Monday participants over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday

Best Shot Monday – 1/21/08 – Waiting for spring

It’s been bitter cold here the past week (the high is only in the teens today) and we all are dreaming of warmer days for playing outside, especially Julian.
My BSM:
Julian gazes out the window - 1/17/08

In the past I’ve had a few people inquire as to how I put the white frame around most of the photos I share online. A few months ago I said that I was going to type up step-by-step instructions and now I’ve finally done it. Sorry it took so long. It’s very simple once you know what to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

How to frame your photos with a border in Photoshop:

  1. Open the image that you want to frame
  2. Go to Select > All (or Control A)
  3. Go to Edit > Stroke
  4. Choose the width of your stroke depending on how thick you want the border to be right next to your picture. I generally use 1 pixel. Then select the color. I use black. For location, use “inside.” For mode, I leave it at “normal.” And opacity, I leave at 100%. Click OK.
  5. Go to Image > Canvas size.
  6. This is where you adjust the width for how wide you want the border to be. You can play with it until you find the size you like best. I prefer to use the same proportions for the width and height, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Select what color you want the canvas extension to be. I usually use white. Click OK.
  7. Go to Select > All again.
  8. Repeat steps 3. and 4. Again, I usually use 1 pixel and black.
  9. Go to Select > Deselect.
  10. Resize image if you like.
  11. Save.
  12. That’s it. You’re done! ๐Ÿ™‚

You can see more from Best Shot Monday participants over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday

Best Shot Monday – 1/14/08 – First haircut

On Saturday we took the kids for haircuts. It was Julian’s first “real” haircut other than the time I haphazardly trimmed his bangs a couple of weeks ago. He did a lot better than I thought he would (no tears, no need to be held) and was content the whole time. It’s amazing what a difference a haircut makes. He looks like a little boy now for sure. (Sniff, sniff) No more crazy fly-away baby hair. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s my pick (a storyboard) for Best Shot Monday this week:
Julianรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs first haircut - 1/12/08

Here is what was left behind in the chair after Julian was done:

Julianรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs first haircut - the aftermath

And here are the two kiddos Saturday night, just being sweet on each other:

Things that make you say awwww - 1/12/08

Our weekend was a good one. Besides the haircuts on Saturday, we hit up Target for some great deals on kids’ clothes on clearance (for next winter) and got a Baby Trend Sit and Stand LX double stroller also on clearance. It is the first NEW stroller we’ve ever purchased. The other ones we’ve accumulated over the past 3 1/2 years have come from consignment stores/sales and, invariably, ended up having something wrong with them. I’m looking forward to getting some good use out of this one. After Target we went to Costco where the kids enjoyed samples of yogurt and fresh fruit (lots of it), then picked up some lunch and had a picnic on our living room floor.

Saturday evening I met some friends for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was also a surprise baby shower of sorts for one friend who is due with baby #3 due in March. It was great to see everyone and had been too long since we’d all gone out together. I think it’s safe to say a good time was had by all. I know I really enjoyed catching up with them and just sharing stories about life, husbands, kids, etc. We hope to try to get together like that more often. The adult company is definitely needed and enjoyed.

On Sunday, I slept in while Jody got up with the kids. Then I spent some time cleaning and working on the computer while Julian napped and Jody and Ava went out to run errands. My sister came over in the late afternoon and we went out for a walk with the new stroller. Then I made dinner and we all ate together. It was a nice relaxing day.

How was your weekend?

You can see more of Best Shot Monday over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday

Best Shot Monday – 1/7/08 – Colorful fun

This weekend we went to a birthday party at an indoor children’s amusement park. There was a carousel, ferris wheel, train, bouncer, ball pit, slides, and much more. The kids had a blast, and I dare say the parents enjoyed themselves as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Who do you think had the most fun in the ball pit?

Ava?
Ava in the balls 1/5/08

Julian?
Julian in the balls - 1/5/08

Or daddy? ๐Ÿ˜‰
Jody in the balls - 1/5/08

Lastly, here’s my pick for BSM – Julian in a sea of balls:

Julian in a sea of balls 1/5/08

You can see more of Best Shot Monday over at Mother May I.
Best Shot Monday

Best Shot Monday – 12/31/07 – Enjoy the silence

This shot is from our recent roadtrip to Kansas and was taken with our new point and shoot camera (that Jody picked out) – the Canon Powershot A720. The kids did really well with all of the driving, but I’m definitely glad that we decided to break up the trip into smaller chunks (about 4 1/2 to 5 hours each day). The times that they both slept were particularly nice for Jody and I to catch up and talk without interruptions. Ahhh. That was nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sleepyheads on our trip to Kansas - 12/23/07

The first person to correctly identify the band who the sang the song used in this post title wins! Wins what you ask? Oh, nothing really. But you’ll be a winner! ๐Ÿ™‚

You can see more of Best Shot Monday over at it’s new home at Mother May I.

Best Shot Monday

Best Shot Monday – Merry Christmas

We’ve arrived at our destination in southern Kansas and are here for the next couple days to spend the holiday with Jody’s side of the family.

Since I finally got my cards in the mail on Friday, I figured it was now safe to post the finished product here. The picture wasn’t exactly what I was going for (I don’t think it ever is when more than one child is involved), but I still liked it.
Our 2007 Holiday card

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekend wrap-up : Nutcracker and an early Christmas (and BSM)

A weekend wrap-up with a Best Shot Monday thrown in for good measure ๐Ÿ™‚

Dressed up for The Nutcracker - 12/15/07

On Saturday, the fam and I drove down to Denver so that Ava and I could go see The Nutcracker Ballet (thanks to the tickets I won from Mile High Mamas).

It turns out that when they recommend that you arrive two hours before the performance, they weren’t kidding around. Traffic was a bit crazy and, since we’d never been there before, we didn’t know exactly where Jody should drop us off, etc. We got into Denver an hour before the show was to start, but by the time we figured out where we needed to go and I got to the ticket window to turn in my voucher for actual tickets, it was only 30 minutes ’til show time. Unfortunately, that meant that the really good seats were already taken. The seats they had available were for the second balcony and were honestly still quite good, but had we been earlier we could’ve had great seats. C’est la vie, live and learn, and all that jazz. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course we hadn’t yet eaten lunch and with little time to spare, we dashed over to the nearest coffee shop and ordered a couple sandwiches which we scarfed down in record time, before a hurried walk back to the opera house. Ava and I said goodbye to Jody and Julian and headed in to get to our seats just minutes before 2 o’clock. The show ended up starting about 5 or 10 minutes late, so we had time to sit there and catch our breath before the curtain rose.

Another problem with arriving at the last minute is by the time we got to our seats they were completely out of booster seats, so Ava sat on my lap for the show. It was actually kind of sweet that it worked out that way (other than the time she tooted on my leg – doh!) since she and I were able to whisper back and forth in each other’s ears throughout the performance. She, asking me questions or making observations – during the Christmas party at the beginning: “I wish I could be down there,” – when Clara was dancing with the nutcracker doll: “I wish I could be Clara” – and me explaining parts along the way. It was also nice to have my baby girl sit in my lap for that long. It’s been a long time since we’ve had that kind of closeness for such a long period of time.

Ava enjoyed the first act tremendously, but grew a little bit restless towards the end of the second act. Overall, she did really well though and said she loved it and wants our whole family to go back next year to see it. ๐Ÿ™‚ She told her grandma and Aunt Carrie that her favorite part was “when they went up on their tippy-toes like this” and she did her best ballerina impression. My favorites parts were not of the show itself, but of when we went to the restroom during intermission and saw so many little girls trying to walk on their tip-toes while saying, “I’m a ballerina.” And when Ava whispered, “Mommy, I love you” to me as we watched the first act. ๐Ÿ™‚

After the boys picked us up, we all went out for a tasty Italian dinner, then headed home. Jody and I got the kids ready for bed, then wrapped presents. Even though it was a bit hectic getting to the Nutcracker, it turned out to be a fun and memorable day.

Ava, Amy, Jody and Julian in our new aprons - 12/16/07On Sunday we decided to do an early Christmas celebration, which really boiled down to opening presents. Since we will be out of town for Christmas this year (we’re driving the Kansas-Oklahoma border to spend the holiday with Jody’s family), we thought it’d be nice to let the kids open most of their presents from us, and all of their presents from Grandma and Grandpa in MI, Sunday morning so we’d have the full day to just hang out and play. We’re taking a few smaller gifts with us on the trip for them to open there, and will have the bigger items from Santa (doll house and train table) ready for them when we get home. (I’ll need to blog about how we got started on saying gifts were from Santa another time because this is a first for us this year and not something I was really planning on doing. But like I said, that’s a story for another time.)

Anyway, we had a nice lazy day. We opened some presents, ate a late big breakfast, opened some more presents (Check us out above in the groovy new aprons my mom made us! Ah, the family that bakes together. By the way, I’m counting that as my Best Shot Monday pic.), and ate a late lunch. Julian had a nice nap and Ava and I stayed in our pajamas until nearly 4 o’clock. The kids played and enjoyed their new toys. Jody and Ava did a jigsaw puzzle together. Aunt Carrie came by for a visit in the evening. It was a good, leisurely day and a nice end to our weekend.

We have a busy week ahead of us – packing for our trip (we leave on Saturday), a preschool tea, parent-teacher conferences, a possible dinner with my sister AKA Aunt Carrie, baking, painting a bird house for Ava’s teacher’s present, getting my holiday cards ready to be sent (late, I’m sure, since they won’t even be here until later in the week). It’s going to be good practice for me to just breathe, slow down and, like the Tees for Change shirt I love says, “choose happiness.”

If you didn’t catch it, my Best Shot is the picture of the 4 of us above. See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
little bsm button

Best Shot Monday – 12/10/07 – Holiday pictures

After receiving a couple of Christmas cards in the mail this weekend, I realized that if I was going to pull off my plan of having Christmas cards printed with a picture of the kids on it and actually get them in the mail, I needed to get crackin’ – like actually taking a picture! So on Sunday, with the help of 8 inches of snow on the ground translating into a lot of natural light reflecting back into the house (I need all of the help I can get in the winter), I attempted to take some pictures of the kids.

First I did Julian (while Jody bathed Ava – i.e. kept her out of my hair) and got several cute ones of him.

Next I did some of Ava, and, again, got several cute ones of her.

And finally, enlisting my trusty assistant’s Jody’s help, I tried to do both of them together. I’d like to say I got lots of cute ones of the two of them, but that’s just not how it went down. By that time Julian was tired and ready for a nap and Ava had to be bribed with chocolate chips. I don’t use bribery often, but to get a good picture I will pull out all the stops. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I did end up with two decent shots of them together, but they weren’t exactly what I had in mind. (Isn’t that always the way?) Anyway, I’m not sharing those captures today, but I am sharing the only other two that I’ve edited – one of each of them individually that I am rather fond of.

12/9/07 - Ava 12/9/07 - Julian

I would love to try again for a great shot of the two of them, but I’m a realist and I know that probably won’t happen for this year’s Christmas card. So I will be happy with what I did capture. And one of these days, when I’m feeling incredibly ambitious, I need to try for a family picture with all four of us in it, since we haven’t done that again since Julian was 15 days old. It’s time.

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
little bsm button

Best Shot Monday – 12/3/07

Nothing spectacular to share this week, but here’s a family pic of us that my mom took at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park while we were on vacation last week. Too bad the kids were looking in opposite directions. hee, hee.

Our family at the Stanley Hotel - 11/30/07

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
little bsm button