09 May 2010

Family Photos

In case anyone follows this blog but not my Illustrations one, I thought I would share this quick video of some family shots from today.   Happy Mother's Day!

09 February 2010

Finally...Some Snowy Smiles

I know...it's been forever and ever and ever since I've posted here.   I'm doing well on the photography blog though if that counts.?

We had some play time in the 10 inches of snow we got today when the kids got home from school so I thought I'd share a few shots.  Unfortunately, Lilly was inside before I could get out with my camera so no shots of her from today.

And because I didn't want to leave out Lilly, here's one of her from the Winter Janboree festival we went to a few weeks ago:

31 December 2009

Happy Holidays!

It seems as my business has gotten busier, my blogging has gotten very irregular. Sorry about that. The good news is that things are slowing down a bit now so I'll do my best to take some more pics of the kids and to get some more posts going.

We had a really nice, quiet Christmas at home with our big outing being a walk next door for Fondue with the Lyons Family. We all had a great time and it was the perfect end to a great day. Rob and the kids have all been off for over a week now and really everyone has been doing pretty well with the togetherness. Corey has mastered his favorite toy, SuperMarioKart Wii. It was a last minute add and his favorite gift so worth it. Plus Rob and I enjoy it so that's an added bonus. Rob got his ping pong table after years of wishing for one. It's gotten a little use so far but not too much yet. We need Ryan to come over so they can really break it in! Lilly loves her iPod Touch and the only frustrated camper is Clare who really wants Corey's DS or Lilly's iPod to be hers. I can't believe that at 2 she can actually play the DS pretty well...better than me, that's for sure. She thinks she wants one for her bday but that just isn't right, is it?

We've tried doing one-on-one days with the big kids this week. Rob went ice skating with Corey one day and I had a girly day with Lilly on another day. We went out to lunch, then to a little kids salon and she cut about 4 inches off of her hair, got it styled, had her make-up and nails done, and did a craft and then we went to a pottery painting place on the way home. She loved it. I expected her to be a real chatterbox the whole time but oddly she was so quiet. It was a bit unnerving and so unlike her. Not really sure what that was about.... Corey and I are scheduled for the local waterpark on Sunday morning. We're both looking forward to it!

Rob's putting Corey and Lilly to bed now. We celebrated New Years with England at 6pm so we could all partake which was great by me. Our family song at the moment is "I Got A Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas so we donned our silly hats, blared the music, and had a crazy dance around while blowing little horns to celebrate "midnight". Then we Skyped Lisa, Paul and Ryan to have our little party with them. It was very fun.

I keep reading about people being so glad this year is over and really hoping that 2010 is going to be better for them. Rob saw a poll asking if this year was bad, ok or good and after all the people complaining of a bad year I felt guilty saying that I think it was a good year. Our family and friends all stayed healthy, we had minimal stresses with the rental properties or our finances, my business took off out of nowhere, and generally we're just feeling happy. So many small blessings...Corey doing great in school, Lilly adjusting so well to being a Kindergartner, Clare being the little charmer that she is, and Emma walking, talking (a bit) and just being an all around joy. Oh, and as Rob pointed out, we managed to get through the year without getting pregnant again so all in all - 2009 was a good year! And, "I got a feeling....that 2010 is going to be a good year...that 2010 is going to be a good, good year! Ewwww, ewwwwww"

Here's a few recent, random pics:

This is Rob's job every year and one he's very good at:
My attempt at a new tradition...ready Xmas stories under the tree on Xmas Eve. A bit crazy but good intentioned anyway. Maybe next year will be better....

12 November 2009

I'm Such A Lucky Mommy!

Everyone has weeks where they're feeling stressed out about their situation...work, kids, relationships. Well, I have had the opposite effect going on recently and it's been great! I've had so many moments recently where I've been reminded just how lucky I am.

We had a gorgeous weekend last week and I only had one photo shoot so I took advantage of the time to (finally) take some portraits of my OWN kids. Imagine that!? I have several I like for each kid so this could be a long post but since I've been busy with the business lately and not posting as much anyway, I guess it's about time. So here they are....my beauties:

Corey continues to amaze us with how smart he is. I had his teacher conference recently and apparently he's in the top two in his grade in math and he's reading two levels beyond where he needs to be at the end of the year. Kinda makes you wonder what he's going to get out of first grade!? What was really nice to hear though was that he's a sort of leader in the class. Rob and I had discussed in the summer that we thought Corey was the kind of kid that could get picked on eventually....smart, not very athletic, sensitive. What do we know? His teacher assures me that the kids tend to gravitate towards him and look up to him. Last week Corey was star of the week and on Friday I went in to read a story to the class and then they asked me about 50 questions that all began with "What's your favorite...?" Really. You name it, it got asked. My favorite country, my favorite shape, my favorite thing to do with Corey, outside. It was very cute and the kids seemed genuinely interested! Go figure. I felt like a movie star for 30 minutes and when Corey gave me a huge hug and kiss goodbye, all I could wonder was: at what age to kids' moms go from being ultra-cool to being a huge embarrassment. If you know the answer to that question, don't tell me! I just want to revel in the moment a bit longer, thanks.

Lilly has struggled over the past couple of years with understanding that she is a year and a half younger than Corey and actually shouldn't be able to do all of the things that he does. She is very harsh on herself and quite insecure about her own abilities. So...school has been an interesting adjustment for her. When she started her daily journals, Lilly worried because she didn't know how to write as good as Corey. When they started talking about taking home books, Lilly worried because she didn't know how to read yet. I assured her that the reason she was going to Kindergarten was to learn all of these things and that it would all come in time. Lilly worried. Ok...I worried a bit too. Well, at her conference I was able to see the leaps and bounds she'd improved on her writing and last week, SHE READ A BOOK! Not a book we'd read a million times but one she'd never seen before. She needed help with a couple of words but overall she read that book the first time she picked it up!! It was rewarding for her and for me! I told Lilly to take it to school the next day to show to her teacher and tell her what she'd done. Not only did she show it to her...she read it to the whole class. And Lilly's teacher took a video of it and put it on their class blog. It's the second video down on November 8th posting. Check it out!

Clare is such a sweet little thing. She's really learned how to manipulate people (in other words, us) by using her tears, smiles, whatever it takes. The best thing about her is that no matter how sassy she's acting at any particular moment, she's always just a tickle or a cuddle away from a huge smile. The big news for Clare this week is that she's moved into her Big Girl Bed. We've had it in her room for several months now and she would nap in it but hadn't wanted to make the jump to nights there quite yet. Well, Tuesday she decided that she wanted Emma to move in the room with her so she's been sleeping in the BGB ever since and doing great! Clare's hair has gotten quite long. She's terrified of hair cuts so the best I've been able to muster is trims to the bangs (fringe) so far. Luckily it's not too raggedy though and she's as cute as can be!

Little Miss Emma is becoming a real toddler now. She's not walking yet (none of the kids did till 14 months) but the big change is that she can really express what she wants now and WHO she wants. She's still very social but she has her moments where the only one that can make her happy is Daddy and times where she only wants to be put down by Grandma, etc. Of course she wants me sometimes too but I actually really like this stage where she can start reaching out to others. I always find that around this point is when the best Daddy-Daughter bonding has occurred and I Love It!! Emma stopped nursing a week before her 1st birthday...right on track...and it was an easy transition for both of us which is always the best scenario. Emma's favorite thing to do is to head outside. I don't blame her...between nap times and the long process of meals, it feels we're pretty housebound most days. But she's easily appeased by a ride in the swing, a sit in the stroller while she watches the other's play or a drive around town to do errands. Emma's quite independent (for 13 months) and just as good as can be. All the kids fight over who's baby she is and I just can't imagine our house without her!
As for the rest of us, Grandma (aka Mom) will be leaving in another 9 days so it'll be a big adjustment around here. She's headed to California, then for a long trip to Vietnam, back to California for Christmas, and then off to Kim's in January. She's planning to be back here in April. We're going to miss her and the kids are already saying how they don't want her to go but I'm sure she's going to have an amazing adventure so I'm happy for her. Rob is adjusting to the end of golf season with grace. He played 17 yesterday so it's not totally over but almost. His soccer league started a couple of weeks ago but they play at an un-godly hour on a weeknight and he's not getting much play time so that may not last. We've been getting out as much as we can while my mom is still here and babysitting is free. Our days are numbered though. Rob has been a huge support to me as I've gotten my photography business going. I do a lot of sessions and work on the weekends and most of my editing at night so it's taken his help to make it happen and I'm so grateful for all the encouragement! I'm having a great time with it. It's funny that I hadn't missed working but I am really enjoying having something that's so occupying of my time/energy outside of the family. Ya know...because having 4 kids just wasn't occupying enough. :-)

18 October 2009

Birthday Week Recap

Clearly, I am WAY behind on my blogging! I've been so busy with trying to get my photography off the ground and keeping up with sessions that I just haven't had any time to catch up on anything else! I actually have FOUR portrait sessions scheduled for this week (two tomorrow and two on Friday) and will be doing a "portrait party" on Sunday where I photograph 5 families in a row in 20 minute increments. Should be a fun but crazy week!

Anyway, I really just wanted to share a couple pics of the kids so you can see how they've grown. We had a HUGE day yesterday....Corey turned 7!, Lilly graduated to a regular booster seat (you have to be 40 pounds to do that here and she's now 40.4) and Emma moved on to Lilly's old car seat!! No more infant seats for us! Well, I'm not throwing it out just yet but I am putting real far away in the basement. :-)

Emma enjoying her birthday cake:

I took photos at a Halloween event yesterday so Rob stayed home with Emma and I took the other 3 and an 11 year old neighbor to look after them while I worked. It was cold but fun!

14 September 2009

Indian Summer is Here!

What a great weekend!! I know that technically summer is over but I think this was my favorite weekend of the whole summer anyway! The weather has been gorgeous! Even better than summer because it's warm but not too humid and cool at night...perfect in my book. On Saturday, I had some rare time alone with Corey and Lilly. I usually have at least one of the 2 little ones in tow when I'm with them so it was nice to really be able to focus on and enjoy them without that distraction! I took them to Dozer Day. It's a bi-annual event held at a local rock quarry and it's very cool. You get to ride in the back of a huge dump truck, take a tour through the quarry, dig for treasures, hear cannons get shot every 30 minutes, make cement, drive a front-end loader...you get the idea. Very dirty and very fun! It was hot but we all had a great time and even had the unexpected surprise of running into our good friends the Irelands, so that was special too.

In the evening, we found a restaurant on a local lake and ate outside and then came home to roast marshmallows over a bonfire. We only did that one other time all summer and it was nice. Then Corey, Lilly and I camped out in the backyard. Emma cooperated and we all had a pretty decent nights sleep, surprisingly.

On Sunday, we all went down to Milwaukee to see Marquette play. Sadly, they lost and Ryan was still injured so unable to play. We thought that afterwards Ryan was going to be able to go out for a meal with us but at the last minute he/we found out otherwise so we only had a quick hello. We miss him and he's only down the road. :-)

Since we were downtown anyway, we went to a new-ish mall that I just discovered called Bayshore. It got loads of hype when it was built but since I'm a terrible shopper, I never looked for or cared about it. However, I had to go there Tuesday to pick up our new Mac and I fell in love with it! To call it a mall is really a bit of an insult. It's much more of a little village full of shops and restaurants...all outdoor. I can't imagine how they survive in a WI winter but it's great on a beautiful day. We let the kids play around in the fountain there and then had dinner outside again overlooking the fountain. A beautiful end to a beautiful weekend!!

01 September 2009

Happy Anniversary to us.

With all that's been going on around here the past couple of days/weeks, our anniversary hasn't been on our minds. This will be just another day around here...work, school, kids...but it's a day that I'm spending very thankful for having such a great man in my life. It's been 9 very busy, stressful, life-changing and wonderful years. Thanks for every minute, Rob. I love you today and for all our days to come...

That was then...

This is now...