Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Packing up.

And moving! Go to to find me from now on.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How Romantical.

Brady and I celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary last week. FIVE YEARS! Holy crap, where did that time go?! To honor it, we passed the kids off on my in-laws (thank you!) and took a road trip. We went to Oklahoma City for one night and then got a cabin for three nights in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. I know, Oklahoma - not the first destination that comes to mind when you say romantic. However, it turns out that when you're starved for some adult time, it doesn't matter where you go! We had a blast together, totally reconnected and made some great new memories that don't involve babies and toddlers. It was fabulous.

So, I have tons of pictures to share, but I'll start with a short story. From OKC to Broken Bow, we decided to take the Talimena Scenic Drive, even though it was a little longer drive. The weather was awesome, the air felt and smelled so fresh and we cranked up the iPod and drove and drove. One of the first scenic overlooks we came to, we pulled off the road to check out the view.
Pretty, huh? Not sure if the picture does it justice. It was breathtaking. I think I said, "Are we still in Oklahoma?" So we sat and enjoyed it. And even thought it was incredibly beautiful, there was this one dead tree sticking up right in our view. Getting right in the way of perfection.

I mentioned it and before I knew it, Brady climbed down the hill and tore the tree down.

Ah, much better :) Now, that's love.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

This is why I take so many freaking pictures.

I fill my camera. And then I fill my back-up memory card. And then I fill my hard drive. And now my back-up drive is full. Plus, I print the pictures and organize them into page after page of albums, then line them up on shelves. Officially, having pictures is a hobby of mine. Not just taking pictures, but looking through them, editing them, sharing them, reflecting, etc, etc. All the things you do with them after the shutter clicks. Take a lot of time and energy.

So, why do I do it? Good question. I ask myself the same thing. Don't always come up with an answer, but this helps:

Luckily, Lilah (and Jak and Eva) love to look at photo albums. I let them each grab an album from the shelf and they get so excited as they turn the pages, recognizing people and themselves. As Lilah has gotten older, she actually seems to recall some of the memories - or at least I tell myself that. Before we go see friends or family that we haven't seen lately, I always pull out a book and we talk about who they are.

Lilah really appreciates looking at all these photos we snap, and I hope that never fades. I know that I still enjoy sifting through albums of my childhood and talking over them with my parents. Every photo means something different for them than for me. Like, I remember my incredible 5th birthday and the awesome bike I got, while my mom remembers slaving away on my Rainbow Brite cake up to the last minute before the party.

Mmmmmm, cake...

Friday, August 28, 2009

DIYday, Vol. 1

As a far as crafting goes, I am a collector. I collect piles of fabric, jars of buttons, stacks (and stacks) of papers, drawers of thread and notions, rows of ribbons, piles of clippings, etc, etc. Actually, instead of "collect" a more appropriate word might be "hoard". I hoard all these things in hopes that someday I'll have time to do something creative with them. One of my favorite things to hoard is tutorials. Like, free online tutorials where somebody has come up with some cute little sewing or paper project that they explain in photos and tell you how to do it. I seriously have hundreds of these bookmarked on my computer. Hundreds. I know, silly, right? Please don't ask me how many I've actually used.

Anyways, in an effort to bring purpose to all that tutorial hoarding, I want to share some with you. I'm calling this DIYday. You'll see tutorials for sewing, crafting, cooking - just about any kind of making. So, here goes:

Pinwheels by Heather Bailey. My daughter loves pinwheels and I have been wanting to make one of these for her. Hmmm ... maybe with my new SAHM-status, we could do that together. Break out the safety scissors!

Poms by Martha (no last name required). My SIL has made some flowers similar to these, and I keep them on the window sill by my computer, so I see them every day! A little bit of color that never wilts!

Fun stuff, huh? I'm thinking those poms would be great decor for a baby shower, or even a baby's room? And I love that the cookie jars can be customized with a different color for another occasion. Not that the pink isn't awesome.

Okay, now I don't feel so guilty for hoarding all those fabulous ideas!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Even straighter.

About a year ago, I wrote that I was "getting my priorities straight." Well, here I am, taking that one step further. Yesterday was my first day as a professional mommy. I'm out of the office and back in the house for 24 hours, 7 days a week of motherhood bliss.

Okay, who I am I kidding? Bliss? Pish. I know it's gonna be tough. I know there will be days where I will be calling the agency and begging to come back. I'm quite positive that I will long for adult conversation and advertising talk. And I'm sure that I will want to throw my kids at their dad when he walks in from work and jump in the car, head to the liqour store and never come back. But, the thing is, I think it's going to be better than dropping them at daycare every day and missing so much. Like today when I got to listen to Lilah sneak in to sing Graham to sleep. Or when Graham sat up on his own today for a full 15 seconds - and then Lilah had to show me she could do it, too.

So, it's a temporary tradeoff. I'll go back to work, someday. Fingers crossed, I make it past next week :)

Some random photos from the last month or so:

Digging potatoes with Brady's family in Clay Center. Lilah was pretty excited to get dirty and play with her cousins. As you can see, the adults did all the hard work. Me, I took pictures and held Graham.

My family's vacation to Beaver Lake - in Arkansas. We have friends that have a home there that we borrow and the whole trip is fabulous. We swam, boated, grilled, floated, took walks, toured a local hatchery and ate incredibly well. Tried some new recipes, including my families new favorite, JalapeƱo Poppers. (Please note: I am not a fan of these, but everybody else who eats them is.)

Lilah's first French braid. As a child, my mother did this to my hair A LOT. And one day on vacation, while my mom had Lilah, I was surprised and delighted to come back and see this. I love it and have been trying to master it myself. Would be much easier if she wasn't so wiggly.

And, also on vacation - my favorite picture of Lilah and my dad. It just captures everything - she absolutely adores him. So much so that she would rather chill on a picnic table with him than go play on the beach with her cousins.

This little guy is growing up so much lately. So close to being able to sit up on his own. Plus two teeth now. And the jolliest little fart ever.

Check out those baby blues on my favorite little girl:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Going green. (A new reason to potty train.)

Everybody's doing it, right? A few months ago, we started seriously recycling. We switched waste companies and started getting curbside recycling. In Wichita, you can now get a huge container that you can throw ALL your recyclables into. EVERYTHING. Paper. All plastics. Aluminum. Cardboard. Chipboard. Glass, etc. No sorting. No hauling it to your nearest recycle bin. It feels great and is super-easy. It has really cut down on our amount of waste. If there were no diapers in it, we'd hardly have any trash each week. (But we're working very dilligently to reduce the amount diapers that go into it!!! See photo below!)

I also even started collecting plastic bags to recycle (Not throught the same service.) - Dillon's takes all kinds of plastic bags, plastic packing, etc. Not just your grocery bags (cause now everybody uses those canvas bags anyways, right?), but all plastic. I've been really amazed at how much this has added up in just the few weeks I've been collecting. Seems like everything comes in a plastic bag.

If you're interested, Waste Connnections is who offers the recycling service. As a bonus, you get rewards for how much you throw away - they weigh your bin each week and then you get "points" for how much you've collected overtime that can be redeemed online. (We have over 1600 points already! Pretty sure those are going to a target gift card soon...)

Anyways, the whole point of this post came from this letter I got in the mail today. It was one of those fabulous credit offers where they say you have some crazy amount of credit line available to you and they'll give it to you at some insane pseudo-low rate. I get a ton of these, don't you? What a waste of paper and postage and stuff! I was about to toss it into the recycling bin when I read this at the bottom of it:

You can choose to stop receiving "prescreened" offers of credit from this and other companies by calling toll-free 1.866.567.8688.

Sweet! Five minutes later, Brady and I were both opted-out for the next five years! Even better than recycling! Let's call it pre-cycling! (The process online was super-simple. It recongnized our home phone number and had all our info already. All I need was SS#'s.) Okay, no excuse, go do it now, if you haven't already!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Uneventful and lovely.

Just a few photos from a quiet weekend at home. I can't get over how much I love to just stay home! We spend last week on vacation with my family, so it was greatly appreciated to just hang out in our house and be anti-social.

Right after bath time, which is a favorite for him. And, if I'm being honest, doesn't happen as often as it should, unfortunately. (All you mom's out there with more than one kid understand, right?? RIGHT?)

That's my man. Suckin' his thumb. See, he gets rid of his own germs :)

This evening we took the kids and our nephew Jak to Buffalo Park, which has been recently updated. A great place for the kids to let out some energy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Say cheese.

I am officially signed up for an online photography class today! And not just any photography class. One that I am super excited about. It's taught by my dear friend, Karen Russell. Okay, not my dear friend, but a blogger that I've actually never met before. But because I keep up with her day-to-day life on her blog, I feel like we are buds. 

Each 8-week class she teaches has 100 openings - and when she opened registration today at 11AM, it filled up in FOUR MINUTES! But thanks to my lightning-fast typing skills, I got enrolled during those minutes. Kinda dorky, but my heart was pounding so hard while I typed! I guess that's what it feels like to be competitive??? (I don't have a competitive bone in my entire body.)

The class doesn't start until January, unfortunately. But that's okay, cause I don't even own an appropriate camera right now. (But I'm working on it!) I'm really looking forward to learning how to take some better shots of the fam. 

Thought I'd share some of her photos. She has the cutest little girl that always reminds me of my daughter. (Wonder if there's a lesson in the class on how to get your toddler to look at the camera and smile?) I think one of the reasons I find her so intriguing is that she is a self-taught photographer. Before that she was a self-taught designer. And before that she was a dental hygenist for 10 years! And this chick isn't even that old. Pretty inspiring to come so far and find what it is that really makes you happy.

and one of my absolute favorites:

Sidenote: I've had many friends discuss with me which camera is the right camera for them. Well, I have no idea, but this blog post that Karen wrote is going to help me decide. Lots of money, so you better choose wisely! 

So, until January, I apologize for the lack of skill in my photos. Know that they will get better!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy birthday to me.

Tomorrow is my 27th birthday. I think the older you get, the faster time flies by. Especially when you start watching your own kids grow. 

Anyways, I always try to stay positive when my birthday comes around. I've got a lot to be thankful for, so why should another year make me sad? I decided to compile a list of 27 things that make me happy:

1. Catching a great smile from my kids on camera. Sadly, this doesn't happen often enough.
2. The song Sideways, by Dierks Bentley + the fact that Lilah calls it by name within the first few beats.
3. The BBQ grill. It can make anything taste good. And how fun is it to hang out on the deck while your man is cooking you dinner?
4. Diet coke.
5. My big, gigantic king-size bed. I love being a grown-up and having such a great place to rest.
6. The three days in July each year when I get to be three years younger than my husband.
8. Jumping in my car and being just minutes away from the home I grew up in. Feels so right.
9. Lynchberg Lemonade. 
10. The notes my husband leaves me on the counter in the morning before I even wake up. Simple and sweet.
11. Lakes. Swimming, boating, skiing, floating, etc. Such a great way to spend some downtime. Water is so soothing.
12. The fact that my husband and I share a dream of living on a lake someday.
13. Stationary. Love the tradition of handwriting notes on beautiful paper. Makes me sad that it is a lost art.
14. Medium-sized styrofoam Sonic cups. Perfect for a wide range of drinks (see #4 and #9). They don't sweat all over the table + they keep my drink super cold.
15. Sunflower seeds - a lifelong weakness. When we were kids, my brother used to tell me that I'd never find a husband because of all the sunflower seed chewing/spitting I used to do. Good thing he was wrong! 
16. Dropping my kiddos off to daycare at their Aunt Jenny's. They love it and I know she loves them. What a blessing. (Hope she feels the same way!)
17. My Mac. When it's behaving.
18. A good sunburn. I know that one's kinda weird, but I just love the way you feel after a day in the sun. Isn't there a vitamin you get from the sun? Vitamin K or something? Maybe they named that after me :)
19. Fabric stores. I love all the colors and textures in rows and piles. I could shop all day. Usually buy some just for the hell of it. Leaving me with stacks of fabric at home and no time to do anything with it.
20. The feeling after a good workout. Or even a not-so-good workout. When have you ever left the gym and thought "man, I wish I hadn't done that"?
21. The blue eyes that my husband has, and my children have inherited. (It's why I married him.)
22. The hot dog dance. If you know what this is, you would get along with my daughter. And when Lilah's happy, I'm happy.
23. A Lot Like Love. Or any good romantic film. But this one in particular always leaves me with a smile.
24. The way that Graham's smile gradually appears on his face. I love the transition. Seems so honest.
25. Bud Lime
26. Traditions. For instance, my family's annual trip to Beaver Lake. Bunco on the second Tuesday of every month. Grey's Anatomy every Thursday night with my friend, Linds. Burger Binge at work every Wednesday at lunch. There is something about that predictability and commitment that feels so reassuring. 
27. And of course, this blog! A great place for me to air my thoughts and feel like somebody's listening. Thanks!

Hope something on that list left you with a smile! 

Here's to 27 more years.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What has chocolate done for you today?

Every girl needs a little chocolate in their life. But I am not every girl. I need more than just a little chocolate in my life. Like, truckloads more. But since truckloads aren't feasible (where would I park a semi?), I'll have to deal with a couple of doses each day.

And when trying to lose weight, chocolate is (contrary to previous beliefs) NOT a girl's best friend. Darn it.

In my opinion, there are very few truly yummy, slightly lite chocolate foods. One of which is the Reduced Fat Oreo (thank you, Nabisco!) and the Skinny Cow (if you haven't tried these, now is the time). And yesterday, I added one more to my chocolate-you-can-have-while-losing-weight list.

I was doing some weekly grocery shopping at Aldi, my cheap-store-of-choice, when I happened upon these little gems:

Pretty freakin fabulous. Three dollars worth of pure, chocolaty, creamy heaven. I've had these before by other brands, but had forgotten them (probably because they were overpriced?) In the dorms at K-State, they used to serve these and would would hoard them in our mini-fridge.

My advice? Fill your freezers now, gals. These things won't last long with me in town!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Babies and paper.

Had some free time this weekend. Free time? What? What is that? I can't seem to remember. Anyways, I wanted to do something crafty and just for fun of it. But after the 10 or 15 minutes I spent trying to decide what to do, I decided I was wasting my precious "freetime" and had better just get to it. So, in an effort to be productive AND creative, I started working on some invitations for an upcoming baby shower I am helping host.

Turned out pretty fun, huh? Hard to tell from the photos, but these are stitched together on my sewing machine.

This is just the prototype. Now, the fun part is finding the right papers, etc and getting to work on production! I'll keep you updated on the finished product.

While I was brainstorming ideas for the invite, I started thinking of all the others I had made in the past. And all the other cute ones we had recieved over the years. (Yes, I do keep them. I'm somewhat of a pack-rat when it comes to unique paper things.) Went digging and decided to share some of them with ya. [P.S. Some of these are baby announcements]

Maybe someday I'll have some more free time and I can share the collection of wedding invitations I have stored away...

And a shot of Lilah and me, before we went on a hot and sweaty walk on Saturday morning.

Best part of the walk was about 10 feet away from the house when Lilah said "Mom, I love walks! Thanks, Mom!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Man Life Vol 1

In order for all of the female readers out there to better understand the life from a man’s perspective I am going to be a guest writer on the blog. I have made a pact with Kylie that if I write once a week she will try to “learn” how to fish and give it a try. Feels like a win/win for both of us.

So out of this pact I have created Man Life. A look into my life as a man. The name came to me last week as a vision when I was mowing in glorious Kansas sun. The vision had corporate sponsors and a cult following and then eventually having Kylie become the guest writer. The vision may have been something like a mirage since I was dying for water or freshly squeezed lemonade that day (which Kylie never brings).

So this takes us to one of my last projects. Building my daughter, Lilah, a playground set for her birthday. Sounds pretty easy, right? I could have done the easy thing and purchased a kit and built it in a day, but in the theme of doing things the tough way, I decided to build one from scratch. I felt like I had looked at enough of them to know what to do.

Just deciding where to place the playground took me 3 hours and 4 beers. About 3 weeks later and lots more beer, the playground was finished for Lilah’s birthday party. It did require some finishing help from my bro-in-law, father-in-law and dad. The playground is equipped with 3 swings, double-swing, rocket-fast slide, and a military-style rock climbing wall. I almost forgot to include the lookout tower that sounded real easy in my head, but was a pain to build. It seemed like every time I went to work on the playground it started raining 10 minutes into getting all of my tools out. All and all it went pretty well. If I had to do it over again I might have just bought a kit, but what fun would that be.

The fruit of my labor:

Stay tuned next week to the Man Life view of “Gardening” or as I like to call it Landscaping.