Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

A sunset walk in the woods...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

52 weeks of me and my children #4

My youngest nephew got married on Friday! This was a photo my husband took before the wedding. I was their wedding photographer, and just before it began I traded my husband my camera for the baby so I could nurse him. Max is not in the picture b/c he had a meltdown and a sudden case of shyness, which is rare for him. He was seriously hiding behind a giant planter crying that he did not want to go in. After some bribery and allowing him to bring the gameboy into the ceremony, he was ok. But my husband had to get up and leave the sanctuary 3 minutes after it started b/c Sam then had a meltdown over something and the baby started crying...

Here is week #1, #2, #2.5 and #3....

It's been a busy busy week! Other than editing photos, I have had hardly any computer time...but this is a good thing. Although I have not blogged, I am enjoying being on here less and less and prefer to spend time in the yard, garden, at the pool, park, etc, etc.... :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

52 weeks of me and my children #3

Here is week #1, #2 and #2.5...

so I was hoping to post these each Sunday, I am behind already on week 3... this is the only new image of me and one of the kids, Sam (4) took it yesterday :) then he took 50 pictures of the cat and his cantaloupe....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Truthful Tuesdays

I like this idea :)
I am borrowing it from Little Acorn Learning's Blog.

"I challenge you to take one day a week to get real and let the perfectionism go. A photo - a confession - a truth... the not-so-perfect of your life."

"Truthful Tuesdays: a new weekly challenge. One that reflects the realness and truth of the lives we live. There are so many beautiful and inspirational blogs out there reflecting all of our beautiful moments... But there are other moments too. The moments we are all less likely to take photos of. The baby that just won't stop screaming... the messy house ... the dishes overflowing... the way too many to-do's on our lists.... the fight with our spouse... and much bigger truths that we all deal with. Just one day a week I ask you to share a Truth... a photo - a confession - ... the not-so-perfect of your life."

So here goes...

My refrigerator is my dirty secret of the week. Hey, I am starting off small here...So maybe you cannot tell from this photo, but it really, really, really needs scrubbed down, inside and out.

I can blame my mom, who used to scrub hers twice a week with kinda made me never want to clean mine...and boy oh boy does it need it. I use the excuse that we need to get a new fridge, but I have been using that excuse for far too long. I use that excuse for my whole kitchen, we have been planning to remodel it for years...

Currently it is packed full of veggies and I am not a fan of side-by-side doors, there is never enough room...and then my husband brought home a case of Synergy Kombucha to clog it up even more...

I shared my lovely mess before...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer solstice, green smoothies, three months and baltic amber...

lol....too much for one post? nah!

Summer Solstice Blessings! It is the 1st day of Summer! We started our summer off with a morning dance party in the living room, because my boys love to dance, and what better way to start the day!

Then we had green smoothies for breakfast... (strawberry, banana, spinach, spirulina, bee pollen)

And now I am preparing a big salad of lettuce from our garden for lunch! I think I will add strawberries and walnuts and home made strawberry vinaigrette! I have a flat of strawberries that needs to be used asap!

I am so happy my kids love salads! And they really devour it if I make it with a sweet dressing and add some fruit :)

Also, my sweet baby Silas is three months old! Weighing in at 16lb and 13oz! Technically he was 12 weeks last Tuesday and was born on March 23rd...

He is such a happy baby, smiling all day long. He sleeps all night, most of the time, but since we co-sleep if he does wake up I just roll over and nurse and we both fall back asleep. He likes riding in the car, loves to be worn in a sling or carrier, but also likes the stroller when I am not able to carry him.

He is already rolling from belly to back and back to belly. He has a super strong neck and enjoys his tummy time! Sadly though, we can no longer just plop him on the couch or bed for fear of him rolling away. I already gave our swing and bouncy away (he was no longer a fan and it was nice to rid ourselves of them) so when I am not carrying him he is on the floor playing under his gym thing.

I am going to post separately about our adventures in EC'ing, but I am really learning how simple it is to follow his cues and have been doing pretty good at catching his pee in the potty! His brothers think it is hilarious and my husband is getting good at following his cues too!

A couple of days ago I received his baltic amber teething necklace from here! They were offering 50% off to first time baltic amber buyers. I think they are so cute!

"Baltic amber is a natural resin, not a gem or stone. Its key ingredient, succinic acid, enables the amber to warm to the body’s natural temperature whereupon it releases it healing and pain relieving oils. Easily absorbed into the skin, the amber then continues its passage into the blood stream where it provides the child’s own immune system and provides calm and peace."

You can learn more about them here!

We will be spending our day playing in the little pool in the yard and running through the sprinkler. I am going to make a light dinner of sauteed spinach, zucchini and mushrooms with some marinated tofu. And later we will be taking a barefoot, moonlit walk on one of our favorite trails in the woods!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Final Homecoming...

Today I took part in the final homecoming of a fallen soldier. Robert Fike was killed 10 days ago in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber and today our small community came together and lined the streets, flags in hand, to welcome him home.

Although I did not know this man, or his family, I still wanted to show my respects and give my thanks. Robert had a 12 year old daughter, I am sure this Father's Day will forever be etched into her memory. I wanted her to see the support and love as she rode in the line of cars.

I took this photo from where I stood up on the hill...and I must say being a "photographer" at such an emotional time was not easy. I only took one photo, out of respect for the men and woman surrounding me, who stood crying. And although I did not know him, I could not hold back my tears.

Today I'd like to remember those Father's who are serving our country and remember their children and wives who await their safe return.

We Love you Daddy!

My husband and our boys.

(My Dad who died after a hard battle with Cancer 10 years ago, this was a few months before he passed)

From 2000 to 2003, Father's Day was really hard for me, all I could think about was the death and absence of my father...I could only replay that moment in the hospital where we held his hands and told him it was ok to go...and then he did...

A few years after his death, my 1st son was born and Father's Day brought on a whole new meaning. I began remembering the good times when my Dad was alive...not focusing on his pain and death and I got to celebrate my husband and the wonderful Father he was and is....

So today, rather than writing in words all the reasons my husband is so wonderful, I will just share photos that really touch my heart. He is truly amazing and I am ever grateful for my babies Daddy :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We have club houses!

Ok, more memories of my childhood! My family never bought new appliances, but we had neighbor's that did! And when they would unload them we always got to take the big boxes to play with. With a good imagination these boxes were houses, ships, buses, planes, puppet stages, or in my case, a TV that we would get in and act out shows :) My brother and I would play in here for hours and days until they were destroyed and we had to toss them.

Well we had a fun coincidence this morning, while I was unloading the washer in the basement to hang out the cloth diapers, my son Max was nosing around the basement and wanted to gather scraps to build a playhouse. I was sad to tell him it was not going to work and maybe we could get out the play parachute and old sheets and make a playhouse or teepee in the yard. This was not a good idea according to him. So then I said maybe we will come across a giant box to play in and his was response was an "uh-huh, sure mom...."

Well just a few hours later when I came home from the farmers market my neighbors were getting a delivery of new furniture, and there in the street were two HUGE boxes! The power of positive thought in action!

They are big enough for them each to have their own clubhouses! So I ran up my steps and asked my husband to help me get them. The delivery guy was more than happy to not have to break them down to put into his truck. And my neighbors thought it was so wonderful for us to let the kids play with them. We chatted about how her girls, now grown, LOVED boxes :)

First I had to tape the flaps open to make them bigger and then I cut out working doors and windows. I let the boys decide where and what shapes the windows and doors should be. They are out there now with markers decorating them and we are going to get out the paints and paint them too! Max created these security access cards (id cards he had made at a Chuck E. Cheese party :) that he passed out to those who are allowed into his secret clubhouse.

I just love seeing their faces light up as their imaginations spark with new ideas! Between these and the pool and slip-n-slide, we should keep pretty occupied on this hot Saturday!

Wishing you all a creative and fun weekend!

New fun activity with my kids!

Please tell me you remember this show! Well today something made me think about it so I had to youtube it and show a few clips to my kids. And then my 6 yo son says, "oh, is that what Wipeout was like in the olden days!?" Very funny kid.

Well, this turned into hours of fun in our back yard creating obstacle courses! My kids were pretty creative setting them up, and my husband and I both did all of the courses :) They did not want to stop and talked about it while I tucked them in.

I forgot how much fun I had doing this as a kid! My brother and I would run the courses and time each, we spent hours making them. When he was busy I would make courses for my collie to do!

I do not have any photos because this was just one of those times where I had to leave the camera in the house. I have been making an effort to really live in the moment with my kids and not view it through a lens.

But I think Max used the Flip to tape his Dad and I doing the course, I will post that later...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crayfish, Salamanders and Dragonflies, OH MY!

Today, after going to the grocery store for food for our picnic in the park, and after going in the $ store for cat food, [b/c I managed to forget it in the grocery store...something to do with a baby flipping out in the sling and Max running the cart into the back of my leg and Sam having to go pee twice in 15 minutes (he never went the 1st time, according to his brother who went in with him, he played in the sink instead) I managed to forget catfood]... and after the cartwheel in yet another store incident, see last post... we went to the park and I let it all go and regressed to a seven year old and taught my children the joy of wading in the "crick" (thats how we yinzers in Pittsburgh call it) aka, stream or creek. We have done this quite a few times in this same creek, but today was just different for some reason...

It took me back to childhood when we would play in the woods and creek by my grandparents house ALL DAY!

I taught them how to s-l-o-w-l-y turn over the large rocks and to look for crayfish and salamanders.

We also watched some gorgeous green and blue luminescent dragonflies all around us. We also learned a bit about the bird-n-the-bees when they kept mating and an older kid kept pointing out how they were "doin-it"....thanks kid.... but I must say, it was quite interesting to me and my mom-in-law too, we found ourselves being quite the voyers into their private moment :) and if that was not bad enough I had to take pictures of it...

(they almost form a heart when her tail end goes over his head and his tail end...ok, yeah, you get the picture :)

My mother in law met us at the park and tended to the baby so I could really spend some time with my older boys.

The boys got to see their first crayfish, which Max insisted were scorpions, and we also spotted salamanders, watched water spiders and their cool shadows, chased after little minnows and rescued a few caterpillars stranded on the rocks...

It was also quite refreshing to submerge my toesies in the cold waters!

After playing in the creek we had our picnic lunch of watermelon, nectarines and BING cherries! The boys also played in the water fountain to cool off more.

Cartwheels! In the store?

Ok, I was that kid, the one doing cartwheels down the isles of the department or grocery store. My mom was the mother who yelled at me to "stop it! Your going to hurt someone!"

So today, my boys were attempting cartwheels down the isles, just as I was about to correct them...ok, I was gonna freaking yell, I was out of patience at this point, the end of the shopping trip to 3 elderly man came up the isle chuckling, "Ahh to have that energy again! I think kids should be kids and think it is wonderful you did not yell at those fine boys!" I had to stop and smile, and remember the joy of doing cartwheels anywhere, anytime. I was a bit obsessed with them when I finally perfected them :)

Granted I don't want to pick up a knocked down display or pay for damaged merchandise or apologixe profusely to someone they may kick...but none of this happened. And yes, it could happen, easily, but the place was Big Lots, and it was almost empty of customers....and sometimes I just have to let it go! I can;t be the mom who yells about everything, yet I find myself doing that some days...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments.

Inspired by Soulemama

Thankful Thursdays

Today, I am thankful for...

~sunset walks with my family. We take them almost daily.

~lunch dates with dear old friends.

~finally getting our organic CSA farm share box every week.

~wild edibles! We have been enjoying mulberries and tart cherries this week! (we made cherry juice, yum!) Nature provides us with so many free and wild treats! I can not wait until the wild berries are ready!

~my home. Although we have many regrets about buying it, and are ready to sell it, I have made this house a home and will kinda miss it.

~our local library.

And lastly, I am ever grateful for this man, he seems to make appearances on almost all my Thankful Thursdays :) He is just that great.

Wordless Wednesday

I normally post for Wash Wednesday, but I kept forgetting to shoot the laundry!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

52 weeks of me and my children #2.5

So a few nights ago I spent 5 to 6 hours sorting through and transferring over 7,500 images to my external hard drive. It was a fun and emotional trip down memory lane, my how my babies have grown...

I came across this image I thought I lost and was so happy to find it :) It is four years ago, me and my Sammy and Max standing beside me ...

I created a huge folder to have prints made...pretty bad when I realized I had not added to the family albums in over two years!

52 weeks of me and my children #2

Me and Sammy Pickles. This moment means so much to me for a few reasons. First, my husband took it all on his own without me even asking or even knowing...capturing a real moment. A moment where my spirited, bull headed little guy was being sweet and tender.* Second, because Sam's hand is on my neck. Since he was a baby he has always put his soft chubby hands on the back of our is a comfort/security thing for him.
And also, it shows my new hair cut! I think I like it, it is feels different.... But the 24/7 decade+ ponytail had to die. A big thanks to my sister who is a hair stylist!

Here is week #1

*A good friend of Matt's was riding his bike out of his job at our local food co-op and was assaulted by a group of 8 men and ended up in the hospital. He is in good condition, but he is one of the nicest and peaceful men I know, his personality is very much like my husbands. (my husband happens to commute home on his bike in the same neighborhood) When Sam heard us talking about the unfortunate incident, he said, Mommy, we haf to go to da hops-i-able to visit Ryan!" And kept asking how he was. It then reminded my Sam that yesterday, his cousins Daddy was life flighted to the hospital after he fell 30 feet from a roof. Thankfully he only suffered a shattered heel, he could have lost his life or ability to walk...
But it made Sammy want to talk about him too and ask how he was.

I keep trying to blog about my Sammy's spirited personality, I am not sure what to do with him some days...I don't know where the anger is coming from and our peaceful parenting and gentle discipline is failing us....I will blog on this later...It's not all the time, but lately like half of the day..the other half he can be his sweet self...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Conjunctivitis!? Seriously!? Glad I am lactating.

Crap. It seems my Max has pink eye. I assumed it was pink eye and googled the symptoms and this seems to be what it is. My 1st thoughts were, how can I treat this naturally? We rarely go to the DR., and we choose to treat illness natually with herbs, etc. rather than calling the Dr immediately or picking up an OTC drug.
Now, I know breast milk is medicinal, I have used my milk in the past for my boys when they each had ear infections or diaper rash. However, this factoid managed to have escaped my mind momentarily when I googled 'conjunctivitis natural treatment'. Then the light went on and I said out loud, "I knew that!"! The first three sites I pulled up all mentioned breast milk as the best remedy for bacterial conjunctivitis, which I am pretty sure Max has.

So I expressed some in a baby food jar and used a dropper and decided to not tell Max it was bm. Max freaked out at the thought of drops in his eyes. I had to have Matt come and help, we calmed him down and he agreed to one drop. When I squeezed the dropper he screamed like I put acid in his eye...which was kind of funny because it actually landed on his cheek. So then Matt and I demonstrated by putting a drop of my milk in our eyes and then he let me. He agreed to a drop every hour or so and in exchange that he got to have a Phineus and Ferb marathon. I agreed if he would also hold a chamomille tea bag on his eye too.
Now, it's 2:03 am and I am still awake! (been busy transferring 7,000 photos to my external hard drive) I have been putting drops in his eyes every hour and now mine are itchy! Crap! Hoping it is tired eyes and not pink eye for me too!

Anyways.. I was going to go into the medicinal powers of breast milk, but I need to go to bed!

Silas's 1st bottle....

Last night I let my mother-in-law feed Silas his 1st bottle (of pumped/expressed breast milk). I am not a fan of expressing my milk, it is never easy for me.

I was happy and quite sad at the same time. It is nice knowing his Daddy can fully care for him if I need to be gone longer than a few hours. It is peace of mind in that I can shoot two upcoming weddings and three newborn sessions in the next two weeks, without worrying about bringing him along with me like I have been doing. I had been stressing these weddings and sessions knowing they will last for hours and wondering how I would work it out with nursing him. Now I know I can leave him home [in good hands] with my husband, but it makes my heart ache as I have never left him longer than fifteen minutes, let alone 3, 4 or even 6+ hours for a wedding. I contemplated turning the jobs down, but honestly right now we need the cash. I have a feeling both of our 1995 cars will not easily pass inspection this week...

It was a huge feeling of disconnection seeing him vigorously suck down a bottle, making me sad knowing he could get nourishment other then straight from my breast. I only pumped and bottle fed a couple of times with my 1st son, otherwise my husband brought him to my work. My 2nd son wanted nothing to do with a bottle. Not having my photography business then, or another job that required me to leave the house, (I sold on ebay and did childcare in my home) I did not have to worry about it. I've written about this before...

I guess I did not expect this to be such an emotional thing for me. It obviously weighed heavily on my mind because I dreamed of sobbbing to my husband about the baby not needing me.

I know there are so many woman who pump their milk to nourish their babies and be able to work at the same time. I worked with quite a few woman in the past who spent countless hours and breaks in the bathroom with a pump. And to those woman I praise you and give you a ton of credit.

Deep down I know this roly-poly baby will be just fine with his daddy, and that him taking to a bottle is a good thing...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gone Fishin' and a trip to the Farmers Market

What to do on a hot day and your kids are sick and you don't want them running around or playing in the pool or watching videos all day? Well yesterday we created a new game. Which was exciting to them mostly because they would love to go fishing...however Matt and I do not fish.

I cut out fish, eels, alligators, crabs etc. out of cheapo felt and we went on a calm walk in the park in our neighborhood searching for the perfect "rods". I sewed some velcro to washers and tied them to the string on the stick. Hours of fun...I should add that this then turned to fighting, tangled lines or a stick hanging from the ceiling fan... :)

I also cut out some boots and tires to learn about pollution...they didn't get the felt puddle of oil, but now they are educated on the greatest ecological disaster ever.

And then today everyone was feeling better so we took a trip to the farmers market...Mommy needed to get out of the house....and an iced coffee was in order, whew was it humid today!

The cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries (think I got enough?) and a-spar-a-gus (which I can only say to the tune of that song A-QUAR-I-US!) are all local! Eat local! Eat Fresh!

At the market I attempted to talk to the kids about supporting locally grown produce and lightly educated them on where other produce comes from, like the peaches and apricots Max chose. I explained how it is transported here and the energy used to do so. I want them to understand this process. (amusingly enough I educated a couple next to us who assumed it was all local...)
After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I have become even more aware of things like this.
Max wanted to come home and see on the map where GA and CA were, to see where his fruit came from.

Sam picked out peanuts for Tango the squirrel, who went missing for 3 weeks when they cut down his house, but he's baaa-aaack! Tango likes to get into my house and will eat nuts right out of my hands. Maybe I should not feed him pecans, brazil nuts, walnuts...