Thursday, March 10, 2011


Last Thursday, Ian received his yellow belt in karate! When he got the letter in the mail inviting him to test for it, I could tell he was nervous even though he would never admit it. Then we went away on vacation and I think he forgot about it; as did I, honestly! The day after we returned, I delivered him to the dojo and watched him from the car as he demonstrated what he has learned so far; I was so proud of him! The next week, we watched as he threw his purple belt over his shoulder and tied his new yellow belt around his waist with a very subtle grin on his face, never wanting to wear his emotions on his sleeve. I know he was pretty proud of himself though. It was evident in that he asked to go to karate on the following Saturday even though he had already attended the two classes we ask him to go to a week. Ian often has a hard time getting going to things, but he was up and ready to go that Saturday, with the usual complaining and carrying on we usually encounter. I'm so happy he is seeing what hard work and determination can earn him, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it!

Here he is trying to be serious....Lord forbid he let that smile come out! Here the instructor is about to snap the belt to "put the spirit in it":

Receiving his belt:

Taking off the old:
(I didn't get a good picture of him throwing the belt over his shoulder unfortunately)

putting on the new:

My proud boy!:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ana's New Do

We've just returned from a trip to NY. We had a fantastic time visiting with my cousin and aunt in NY city, then headed upstate to visit my best college friend in Auburn, and our recently moved and sorely missed neighbors in Farmington. There's plenty of pictures, and I'll put those in a separate post. So why am I talking about our NY trip when I'm supposed to be talking about Ana's new hairdo?

Ana, at our old neighbor's new home, decided to give herself a haircut. She came down to Greg and said "I sorry daddy. Don't worry daddy, it will grow back." Greg sent her to me and she said, "I sorry I cut my hair mummy, I wanted it longer like Elizabeth's". We quickly went upstairs to find the scissors so we could prevent any more damage and found that she had trimmed a little bit in the hallway, a little bit on the bathroom floor, and a few really good chunks that she decided to cut directly into the toilet. I was a little sad since I had just found a website that had tons of really cute braids, and other fancy little girl's hairstyles. Mostly though, I was pretty amused! I know so many little girls who have done the same, and it struck me as humorous! Her hair doesn't like to stay in any style I put it in anyways because she is so active and constantly touching her hair so it really wasn't a big deal to me! I think Greg took it harder than I, but he's a champ. Honestly, it could have been so much worse! The hairdresser said she could save the length by tapering the front, but she really wanted to have a haircut like her friend Elizabeth, and like Mummy (how could I refuse that?!), and it's only hair! So we were off to the salon on Friday and we went for it. She let the hairdresser shampoo and cut her hair and almost fell asleep as she was working, it was so funny. I didn't have my flash with me, so the pictures leave much to be desired, but they give an idea of the experience. They took 8 inches of beautiful shiny black hair off my baby's head, and the result, I think, is positively adorable. Even daddy admits that she looks pretty darn cute with her new bob, and she absolutely adores it so there's happiness all around!
The damage:

The evidence:

Loving getting her hair shampooed

Look at that length!

The first snips

All done!

I tried to get a nice picture at home, but she was so tired, and just wouldn't stay still! It all made sense later when it was ceremoniously revealed that she had become victim to the souvenir gastro bug we brought home with us. Looking back at this picture now, I can really see in her eyes that she wasn't well. Poor thing, less than 12 hours later we were sitting in the ER waiting to be checked out for possible appendicitis. No worries though, she was just victim to the same bug that claimed every one of us at the tail end of this vacation; her body just chose to accompany the awful stomach pain with a 103 fever which is what bought us the 3am ER visit. I'll try to get another picture when she's feeling better.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ummm, yes......

I did fall behind on my picture a day project.
I have missed four days so far.
I am moving forward anyways.....

which is a big deal for my perfectionist self who is battling to delete my 365 account and start over from scratch. It's something about myself I'm working on. So forward on I will press! Of course this means that to have one complete year of pictures I will need to continue longer than January 1st of next year but that's okay; I was probably going to try and go longer anyways! My trouble has been finding the time during the day with the little ones to actually get the camera out and play. Greg was in the hospital a couple weeks ago, then spent the week recovering. Ana became ill over the weekend and has needed round the clock nebulizer treatments, and Cooper is just coming down with it. There has been little sleep, and lots of crankiness all around and the last thing I've been inspired to do is take out my camera on many days! It is what it is though. I'll continue what I've been doing, taking pictures when I can. It's far better than the no pictures and blogging I was doing before! Greg just restored the connection to the computer that houses my photo software, so prepare yourself for my catching up!

January 9th
"Running Out of Time"

It was one of those days I hadn't even thought to touch the camera!

January 10th

Another one of "those" nights. The SLR battery was dead so I grabbed the point and shoot. Messy kitchen, dead on flash, ugh! The only thing I like about this picture is that it is of Ana learning how to catch a ball!

January 11
"Izzy's Toesies"

We had a play date at Auntie Shelle's house on that Tuesday. My niece Izzy loves to play with her toes so I had to get a shot of her in action.

January 12
"Gone Sledding"

This was during one of the many snowstorms we have had recently. This particular week, Ian only had 1 day of school due to the snow! It was a crazy week, but Ian sure loved having some time off! Here he was pulling the family sled through the deep snow to go sledding at a friend's house.

January 13
"First Lollipop"

Okay, it may not exactly be his first lollipop (thanks to Halloween), but it was his first treat from the grocery store. It helped ease everyone's crankiness so the shopping could be completed!

January 14
"kissing cousins"

Izzy and Cooper are only three months apart; they are so cute together! I hope they continue to have a close relationship as they grow!

January 15th

I love how ice forms on the windows in the winter.

January 16th

This was the afternoon after Greg was admitted to the hospital; I was waiting for him to be discharged. He had a severe case of vertigo and couldn't even stand up the night before! It was so scary! Anyways, I took advantage of the waiting time by reading from my Nook that Greg bought me for Christmas, I love it!

January 17th - missed day

January 18th

Ana and Stevie. They have a special relationship and are very much like siblings! Stevie spent the majority of the days of his first year with us, which has since been reduced to two days a week. I hope they will be close when they grow up...right now they are either fighting, or conspiring together!

January 19th

Ana has always had a fascination with shoes! Here she is sharing her passion with her little brother, helping him try on her tap shoes. Cooper was more than happy to oblige! I seem to remember dressing my sister and I doing the same to our little brother; and having no arguments from him either!

January 20th
"tossing snowballs"

Ana adores the snow. She will stay outside until she turns blue, and still want to play some more. It always makes me giggle that my little Guatemalan girl can tolerate the cold better than my two New England born sons (and myself for that matter!). She must have spent a good 20 minutes just tossing snowballs around, so I tried to catch the action!

January 21st
no title

This was one of those days I just couldn't be bothered to pick up my camera. I don't remember why I was grumpy, but I did manage to pick it up, and press the shutter release. It's merely a shot of the menu board in my kitchen which is currently covered by a picture of a bird drawn by Ana a little over a year ago, and a picture of Bumpa with his brother (It's sadly leaning forward so you can't see it very well in the picture). It's been this way for a while and is not likely to change, at least not the Bumpa picture. Ana looks at it almost every day and says, "Dat's Bumpa!".

January 22nd - missed day

January 23rd

Ian's current passion is origami. He absolutely adores making things out of paper and has taken several books out of the school, and public library looking for new creations to make. He has also taken a liking to using YouTube (supervised of course!) to watch tutorials. I think this one was called a magic ring or something; anyways, he was very proud of this creation. I loved the color combination he chose!

January 24th
"knitting again"

I picked up the needles after a LONG hiatus recently. My first project was an earflap hat by Knitting Pure and Simple (a designer suggested by my friend Amanda) for Cooper. I like the way it turned out, though it was a tad small because I neglected to do a proper gauge swatch (I hate doing that!) and I'm a really tight knitter! Anyways, Cooper's head and ears stay warm and he looks so darn cute in it so I guess it was a success! Next up is KPS slippers for the kids and at some point my first attempt at a sweater by the same designer. I was lucky to discover that they have recently started selling their patterns online (at patternfish), and was so excited!

January 25th

These were some very cool springy bracelets my mum bought for Ana for Christmas but never gave to her. We happened to be hanging out at my mum's house and we discovered them in the china cabinet. They looked pretty all stacked up, so I thought it might make an interesting picture. I'm glad I got the shot because shortly after it was taken the kids had them all bound up together in a tangled mess! Well, they were fun while they lasted!

January 26th
"ice feathers"

Okay, more window ice, I know! But, I just think it's so neat! I find it especially interesting that different windows in my house have consistently distinct designs that form on them. This window always gets these soft feathery swirls while the one on the attached wall gets what you saw above, the straighter lines. Is it air patterns? Temperature differences? It's cool no matter what causes it!

January 27th
"a moment of calm"

Don't you love those moments when the kids are getting along? It doesn't always last long, but it lingers in my heart for sure! Here Ana had opened up a book and beckoned Cooper to come sit beside her so she could "read" to him. He sat right down next to her and listened to her stories for a few minutes, it was a very sweet moment!

January 28th

I had tried this once before and didn't love the end result when I got them on the computer. I was very pleased with this one though. It's from an icicle on the front of our house; there's a LOT of them right now! Anyways, you probably can't see, but I noticed in my photo program that if I enlarge the drip, you can actually see the upside down reflection of the trees in the distance. It's pretty neat!

January 29th
"choco baby"

Greg was working almost all day this past Saturday so I took the kids to the mall so Ian could get some origami paper at AC Moore, and I could check out a big sale at Old Navy. They were so well behaved, I was so proud! I picked up some ice cream at the grocery store to have a special afternoon treat. Here is Cooper after enjoying his bowl of chocolate ice cream. He really has a sweet tooth, just like his mummy!

January 30th

After Greg worked all day, he was back on the computer late that night and worked until 6am the next morning. He was exhausted! Here, he had volunteered to rock Cooper to sleep at nap time, and had fallen asleep himself. This is not the first time this has happened though. Daddy has a tendency to do this often! I wonder who fell asleep first this time?!

January 31st - missed day
February 1st - missed day

February 2nd

So, since Ana has been sick (and now Cooper too) there's been little sleep, and a high grump factor in the house (all around!). I did miss those two days, and February 1st was the first day of an online class I signed up for through called the Joy of Love. All of February, participants receive photo assignments centered around our loved ones. The first day is "what they do"; I missed that day. The second is "how they look" so I chose to, at the last minute last night, use Ian as my subject. It always strikes me how his hair and his freckles match so closely! I love that about how he looks, so that's what I photographed. It was under his room lamp, with a longer than desired shutter speed, but I think it came out pretty good anyhow.

So there you have it! I'm as caught up as I can get for the moment! I'm hoping to hop right into the Joy of Love assignments with a little more preparation, but I might have to accept that it might just be too much for me to keep up with at the moment. If I can do that without getting upset at myself, that would be progress all by itself!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


So I decided to play around a little bit tonight with food coloring. I chose blue only because the theme over at is blue this week and I thought I might as well try my hand at entering a theme photo. I love the way food coloring disperses when it is added to water so I thought I would try and get a shot of it. I do like the pattern in the photo I used, but I'm not totally satisfied with it. The focus isn't what I wanted it to be, but I was too tired to play too much. I will definitely be trying this again during daylight hours!

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 6 - Rainbow Bright

Ana is such a silly little monkey! Yesterday she dressed herself in a summer dress, an apron, a play silk cape, her stripey Christmas tights, and sneakers. She completed the look with a marimba mallet "magic wand" and transformed herself into the "bwah ha ha lady" which I believe to be the equivalent of a villain (I think she looked more like Rainbow Bright or Punky Brewster, but what do I know?). She then climbed up onto the kids table in the kitchen (or her stage as she called it) and proceeded to throw her arms up in the air yelling "bwah ha ha ha!!!" and something about finding "the power" over and over again then jumping wildly (I guess she found the power). She was just too funny! So I got out the camera. This girl just oozes sass, can you tell?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 5 - Toss Up

So, after I got the littles in bed tonight, I challenged Ian to a game of Toss Up, a dice game he received for Christmas. Neither of us had played before, but it was pretty easy to figure out, and we had a really fun time! The basic idea is that there are 10 dice with red, yellow and green faces on them. The goal is to earn points based on the number of greens you roll (1 point per green) and to be the first to get over 100 points. On your turn, the 10 dice are rolled, and you have the choice to take those points rolled and end your turn or to set the greens aside and roll the remaining dice to try for more points. You can keep rolling as long as you want, and should you roll 10 greens, you can start again by rolling all ten again, thereby adding to your score, there is no limit. The catch though is that if on any roll, you don't get any greens, and you roll one or more reds, your turn is over and you lose the points you were accumulating on that turn. I only explain the rules to the game so you will better understand this picture:

He had wracked up 49 points and had decided to risk rolling that last dice to try for 50.
He was devastated!

While I would love to use that picture for my 365 project, I promised Ian I wouldn't, so I won't.

So here's the one I will actually use, even though I don't love it. I had to break out the flash, and set the camera to auto to get the shot (I really need to read that flash manual!); and it ended up overexposed anyways. I'll probably try this again in natural light, maybe with real numbered dice and in black and white? We'll see.

One thing's for sure, there will be more Toss Up competitions for us!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 4 - Bewwies

Ana is a berry-holic. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, you name the berry and she'll eat a pint in a sitting if you let her! Today we had some raspberries at lunch time, and she, Stevie and Cooper when through an entire pint between them in about 5 minutes flat. The conversation went a little like this:

Stevie - "My want bewwies!"
Ana - "Me too, me too! I like razzbewwies!"
Cooper - "Dat, daaat!!" (this is his most common word lately; he uses it for anything he wants; anything from food, to toys, to at bedtime he'll pull on my shirt yelling, "ont dat, daaat!" which is his oh so subtle code that he want's to nurse!)

So I divvy out some berries between the three of them, saving a few (read 5!) for myself. They absolutely devour them!

Ana - "Oh, look mummy! Dey have hairs on them!"
Me - "Yes they do Ana, isn't that cool?"
Ana - "Yup.....oh, and look mummy we can stick our little thumbs in them! Dey like puppets! Take a picture!"

So I did. I took a picture of her puppet raspberries; then I wondered if I could take a close enough shot to do the "hairs" justice. So I laid my three remaining raspberries on a piece of white paper and shot away, while Stevie and Ana circled me waiting for me to be done so they could grab the "bewwies". Don't worry, I handed them over when I was done with them!

Anyways, here's my impromptu shot of Ana, Stevie and Cooper's favorite bewwies:

And of course here's a picture of Ana enjoying her bewwies; as puppets, and as food!

365 Project - Day 3

Cooper took his first steps shortly before his first birthday, but he still preferred to crawl; it's much faster you know! Well, over the past week, he has decided that walking is pretty cool after all, and now spends more time walking than crawling. I love new walkers; the look of determination mixed with absolute pride on their face; the way they look like they are walking a tight rope with arms out extended sometimes stopping to weeble and catch their balance. I know too soon these shaky steps will become a sturdy run, so for now, I'm going to enjoy every unbalanced step!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

365 Project - Day 2

I've been taking pictures for years, but have not ever delved deep into the technical aspects of it. While I'm quite happy with many of the images I have captured over the years, I admit that I've largely kept my camera set to "auto" mode. I started a New York Institute of Photography course years ago, but got busy, set it aside and never went back to it. I really want to learn more about how to really use my camera in it's manual mode so with this 365 project I have set the dial to manual and will be shooting away! Well, I encountered some technical difficulties today. I've been having some problems with my cards and have been losing pictures on and off which is so frustrating! Anyways, it got much worse today and I was losing about every third image I took. I think I was able to sort that out, but while I was dealing with it, my lens started to malfunction; it turns out, the focusing ring is jammed. Luckily I do have another lens but at the closer end of the zoom range the maximum f-stop I can get is only 6.3, and doesn't lend itself well to the subjects and lighting I was dealing with. I had to ramp up the film speed which brings up other issues. Anyways, I'm not thrilled with the quality of the pictures I was able to get today, but I do like the way Cooper is crouched watching Ana play in the one I've decided to share. Shortly after the picture was taken he moved in to steal some of her peg dolls I made to go with her dollhouse and took off with them. He loves her peg dolls!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Challenge

It's hard to believe we have put another year behind us! Our family leaves 2010 and looks on to 2011 with mixed emotions. There were many fond memories made in moments with our children, and good times spent with friends and family, but the year is largely overshadowed with the devastating loss of Greg's dad in August. The kids continue to work through the loss in their own ways, as do Greg and I. We've made it through the first Thanksgiving and Christmas, and know that 2011 will hold it's own difficult milestones, but I look forward to the blessings that 2011 will hold as well!

I did an exquisitely poor job at blogging in 2010, managing a whopping 14 posts the entire year! That's really pitiful, and I do hope that I will be able to do far better in 2011. The state of my year's pictures is almost as pitiful, most still sitting in their raw format just waiting to be converted to jpegs and shared. I've had an intense desire to get things in order over the past couple months, and am looking forward to being a more organized me this year. Today, I have been working through last year's pictures and organizing them into their monthly folders. I'm feeling good about the progress I'm making! In fact, I've already downloaded the pictures I took this morning, converted them, and placed them into the new 2011 folder, hooray me!

This is all in preparation for something I've decided to take on this year after being inspired by a dear high school friend (thanks Amanda!) who is doing the same. The challenge I've chosen to face is the 365 project, where you document a year of your life by taking a photo a day. Now, I cannot promise that you will see a picture every day here on this blog, but I do promise that I am going to do my darndest to TAKE at least one picture every day. I also cannot promise that there won't be more than one picture a day, because it just so happens that I'm pretty crappy at making decisions and will likely not be able to choose just one! Anyways, on with it!

Today was crazy. We woke up to a shredded poopy Cooper diaper courtesy of the dog. We then discovered that poor Ian was suffering from conjunctivitis and croup. Then, just to keep us on our toes, he threw up this afternoon on the freshly groomed dog who he was cuddling with, and into the torn living room chair (yes, into, meaning the guts of the was not salvageable). However, between bathing the dog, again; steam cleaning floors and ditching living room furniture, I was able to steal a moment away to build blocks with Cooper this morning. We hadn't had the blocks down in a while and I was amazed at how well he can stack!

At one point he steadily stacked six blocks with his pudgy little hand.

And he was so proud of himself!

Of course we couldn't get through the moment without a little sibling rivalry...

Because Ana wanted to show her skills too!

There you go, 1 day down, 364 left to go!