Its Just Us…..

Things have been really busy here! In fact I have been so busy I almost have no time to really think and come up with fun posts to share. However, I have been taking pictures with the girls and I thought you many want to see a huge blob of photos that we have been taking! Most of these are on my Instagram account, but some are just fun that we have taken! The girls are LOVING my “new” inherited smart phone that allows us to take pictures whenever and wherever! I love memories…..don’t you?

IMG_20141004_190347 IMG_20141006_123203 IMG_20141014_184818 IMG_20141021_125557

20140925_131321 20140926_142926 IMG_20141014_185916 IMG_20141014_190042 IMG_20141016_213538 PSX_20141006_162517 PSX_20141010_212016 PSX_20141012_122214 PSX_20141014_183639 PSX_20141016_115109 PSX_20141016_120330 PSX_20141020_094531 PSX_20141021_110837

Some First Edits

Well as I promised, I have been working on some photo editing. I have a long way to go, but I had fun working on making these photos look more like I wanted them to. Here are the first batch from the park. I have included the before and after so you can see what I did. I don’t know if you care about all of that, but here it is anyway! :) I for one am pretty proud of them……even if there is a lot left to be desired! I used Photoshop Elements 12 for editing and since I have a really crapping understanding of how to work with layer masks, most of my edits were done using adjustment layers, and some actions for the eyes. If you have some feedback on my technical skill, please share! If you don’t know technical stuff, feel free to comment anyway…..I love to hear from you! <3

Sept. 24, 20142 Sept. 24, 20141 Sept. 24, 20144 Sept. 24, 20143 Sept. 24, 20146 Sept. 24, 20145 Sept. 24, 20147 Sept. 24, 20148 Sept. 24, 201410 Sept. 24, 20149 Sept. 24, 201412 Sept. 24, 201411 Sept. 24, 201414 Sept. 24, 201413 Sept. 24, 201416 Sept. 24, 201415 Sept. 24, 201418 Sept. 24, 201417 Sept. 24, 201420 Sept. 24, 201419 Sept. 24, 201422 Sept. 24, 201421

Halloween-y Fun

Sept. 24, 201454

Well I had grand plans of writing a beautiful post yesterday evening, but a migraine kind of changed that plan pretty quickly! So I figure that I will let those thoughts percolate and instead share a fun little craft the girls did today! They have embraced the season of Halloween and I thought that finding a fun project would be good! So after browsing pintrest together, they found a sweet little witch made out of a tiny flower pot. Well, Bunny was so enthralled, she ran around the house checking to see if we happened to have all the materials…..and low and behold we did (those are the benefits of living with a craft obsessed momma). She collect everything and the girls got to work. I helped here and there, but they did all of it on their own. The only thing I had to help with was making the hats out of felt! It just amazes me how big my girls are getting. It seems like just yesterday we were finger painting and making leaf collages out of contact paper. Now they can paint, cut, and use the glue gun all by themselves! The results are awesome too! I guess I taught them well! ;) I love that creativity is such a part of everything we do here. All this creativity seems to build their ability to think, and problem solve quicker then when they don’t spend as much time making things. I think it is such an important things…..plus its fun for all of us!

What about you? Does creativity make it on your list of daily fun?

Sept. 24, 201423 Sept. 24, 201410 Sept. 24, 201415 Sept. 24, 201412 Sept. 24, 201426 Sept. 24, 201427

 

 

Fantasic Fall

This week I had a crazy need to shoot…..in good lighting…..like a professional! So I drafted my girls, cancelled school for the day, and took them to the park at 9 in the morning! Not exactly the golden hour, but pretty close! At least I wasn’t shooting midday like I usually am. The colors in the trees are starting to turn and we found a little bridge in the park, by the lake…….it was just beautiful. So I made the girls play photo shoot with me (with the promise of the playground afterward). We had a lot of fun. We talked about fall and how leaves change color, collected some acorns, and buckeyes, and enjoyed the fall weather! The next day we headed to the beach for an impromptu dinner of pizza. Since the sun was just starting to go down, I brought my camera and snapped more pictures. We had fun, they had fun, and I got to play photographer. Who knows…..maybe I will do this for real someday! Want to see some of my pictures? Here they are. Straight out of camera (because I really don’t know how to photo edit yet.). Don’t worry…..I plan to play around and do some before and after with them later on! I just had to share! :)

Sept. 24, 2014219 Sept. 24, 2014194 Sept. 24, 2014365 Sept. 24, 2014375 Sept. 24, 2014398 Sept. 24, 2014422 Sept. 24, 2014451 Sept. 24, 2014559 Sept. 24, 2014578 Sept. 24, 2014592 Sept. 24, 2014633 Sept. 24, 2014657 Sept. 24, 201488 Sept. 24, 2014100 Sept. 24, 2014114 Sept. 24, 2014152 Sept. 24, 2014181 Sept. 24, 2014216 Sept. 24, 2014245 Sept. 24, 2014281 Sept. 24, 2014299 Sept. 24, 2014303 Sept. 24, 2014393 Sept. 24, 2014398 Sept. 24, 2014529 Sept. 24, 2014542 Sept. 24, 2014548 Sept. 24, 2014552 Sept. 24, 2014555 DSC_0085 copy DSC_0101 copy DSC_0097 copy DSC_0226 copy DSC_0227 copy DSC_0233 copy DSC_0231 copy

Tell me what you think! I would love some feedback! :)

 

Celebrating the Bucket List

DSC_0021 copy

So I am sure that many of you have been introduced to the amazing story of the Bucket List Baby…..Shane and his family. It is a quite a story that has gone viral a while ago. This amazing, loving couple found out that their baby had a birth defect and he would surely not live for more then a few hours. And they decided that, instead of terminating the pregnancy, they would love and live life with their baby as long as they could! So they went to the zoo, to baseball games, and many different things that they would have done when he was born. Shane was born Thursday and passed away a few hours later. In the words of his parents: “Shane spent his entire life in the arms of people that loved him unconditionally and I don’t think you could ask for a more beautiful life than that,”

This story touched my heart with the love, the deep love, of family. Love is something that spans the pain of death and the joy of life. It never ends. And this family was offered a huge, painful experience on a plate. They could have mourned and lived their time with overwhelming sadness…..and honestly they had every reason to. But instead they took hold of the joy of life and lived it to the fullest with their baby! His short life brought joy to his family and also to the world. Together they showed us all that love transcends sickness, pain, and even death. They celebrated life and their son!

What an awesome lesson for us. Celebrate life! Honestly we have no idea how long we have to live in this world together, so we should celebrate. Not just birthdays or holiday or large life event, but everyday moments! Celebrate the fact that we have love in our life, that we have our family, that we have been given our very own moments that are just ours. Some are bad, or unhappy, and some are amazing, simple or just plain ordinary. Yet they all can be celebrated. Light candles for dinner, take a trip to that local beach that you keep saying you will go to, hit the zoo, see a game at the big stadium, heck, just make a cake…..for the heck of it! Do something to celebrate! (Ps. this is a pictures of us having pizza on the beach the other day…..celebration of the sun that finally came out after three days of gray!)

What do you think? Do you ever celebrate life just because?

An Apple A Day

Sept. 24, 2014220

Today ended badly……really badly. It was one of those days that went down in a flaming glory of tears and yelling. After much crying (by them) and much yelling (by all of us), we hugged and decided that tomorrow would be better and that we were all sorry! So instead of telling you all about that…..I will share all the fun we had yesterday. (It was a better day).

Yesterday, our friend invited us to go to the local apple orchard for s festival they have there! It was wonderful! The weather was cool, but not freezing and it wasn’t raining! There was fair food, rides, ponies, and apple picking! But the coolest thing there (in my opinion) were the camels you could ride! Yes….read it again…..camel rides! AWESOME! All in all it was just a fun family day…..and those are the best kind right? Plus we did pick a very large half bushel of apples too…..there will be lots of yummy thing made from those! Here are some pictures of out fun (a very real happily ever after moment)DSC_0108

Sept. 24, 201439 Sept. 24, 2014127 Sept. 24, 201471 Sept. 24, 2014114 Sept. 24, 2014131 Sept. 24, 2014146 Sept. 24, 2014147 Sept. 24, 2014171 Sept. 24, 2014167 Sept. 24, 2014175 Sept. 24, 2014232 Sept. 24, 2014259 Sept. 24, 2014263 Sept. 24, 2014280 Sept. 24, 2014235 Sept. 24, 2014292 Sept. 24, 2014306

Looking for Beautiful!

Sept. 24, 2014202

Today I was at Church and there was reading from St. Paul (to the Philippians if you are wondering) that really touch my heart! So I will quote it for you:

“whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worth praise, think about these things. Keep doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the peace of God will be with you.” Phil 4: 8-9

Wow! What a message. To me, hearing that we are to look for the beauty, joy, and goodness is life is a lesson in letting go. Letting go of fear, of guilt, and of comparisons to others. Good things come from God and we are constantly being blessed with moments of goodness, but so often those moments are swallowed by the fear we encounter in life and online. Do you ever read an article online that just makes you feel like we are all going to die and there is no way you could ever protect your kids? (Yes? Me too! Hello Ebola). When I start to focus on these things, they grow to crazy HUGE worries that start to cripple me. I just want to take my husband and kids, hunker down into a hole, and never leave (kidnapping, sickness, fire, gunmen……the list of worries way too long sometimes). But what does that do for your life, for your faith, for your peace…..NOTHING! When we find something horrible it is crazy easy to hang onto it.

However, I have noticed when we find something amazing and beautiful, we are quick to see it and move on. Why? I know that this is not just me. Take a look at anything in the media. The nurse that adopted the son of her cancer patient and took them both to live with her family while the patient is sick…….beautiful. We heard about her and then she was gone. But the Ebola scare…..while real……is EVERYWHERE and endless. It gets in your head and never goes away. Now every time your kids sniffles, you are certain they are going to die! (Ok maybe not you…..but me maybe) ;) How much would life change if we merely acknowledge the bad things, and focus instead on the good. I am not totally unrealistic. It is good to understand, and analyze the bad things so we can move past them and even end them. It is good to understand the dangers that are there, but there comes a point where those things can be over exploited. Why don’t we hear more about how the doctors are working to find new ways to try and end sickness? Why don’t we hear more about the deeds of the soldiers who are stopping attacks in the Middles East? Why don’t we hear more about the good? And why do we not look for it?

We should and must see the good. We need to find the blessings and joys. Find Honor and Justice and Excellence! What a change we would all feel! I believe that the word in the bible was PEACE. Don’t we all want that? Peace that God is overseeing it all and has his hand in all parts of life. He is protecting and guiding, even through the bad things. When we can look for the beauty, we can better see God and when we see God we can allow ourselves to be free. And with freedom comes peace. We are enough, we are safe in his care, and we are loved. This is the legacy I want to leave my kids. Educations is important, money is necessary, but the knowledge of how to find beauty, to find God, in every part of life is the best thing I can think to pass on to them. I want them to find beauty even in the hardest, most challenging part of life. There is always some tiny scrap of beauty to find, even in the darkest places. So look for those things, think about them, reflect on them and find peace!

What about you? Do you think that good is found everywhere? Is it something we need to focus on more?

When We Feel Things Deeply

20141003_125455

Last October, my brother broke his ankle. Not just a little bit……like shattered it! He needed surgery and got a plate and seven screws! It took months to recover and lots of family support. Well recently, he was having pain again, and after some investigation, the doctor discovered that the bone was growing around the plate and causing pain! Ugh. So he got to have another surgery…..and that was today. I was at my mom’s with the kids (substitute teaching…..homeschool style) and helping make sure that everyone had help where they needed it. And the day was just a little crazy……seriously! Everyone was having issues randomly! And I just couldn’t understand what was going on. Even Pup and my little sister (who is the same age) who usually run off to play, just weren’t. Then, my brother got home and people went nuts…..it was like a celebrity was returing home ( yes I had my camera and was the paparazzi)! There was a flurry of activity and excited chatter as we got him on the bed and stuffed with pillows and packed with ice. All the while, the little girls were sitting near by watching him very intently. When the activity calmed down, my mom looked at the girls and told them that they could hug my brother. They were scared at first, but they did! When my little sister hugged him she burst into laughing tears (you know…..where you are laughing and crying at the same time?). It was then that I realized that the poor buggers were scared, unsure of how he would be, and worried about what would happen. Suddenly it all clicked. The kids were all worried……and when people are worried they don’t always operate at their best. And I think that was going on. Even at young ages kids can and are very capable of understanding when something is not right. They pick up on the tensions and the stress that flows around difficult situations. They don’t often tell us their thoughts and so as adults we think that they live in the happy bliss of not knowing. In reality, they do know, even without total understanding. Kids often don’t have the words to express their feeling so they just let it out……in ways that we don’t always appreciate! :) It is always interesting to me to see behavior is a new way…..or to see it for what it is. I was really frustrated with my kids (and siblings at some points) and now I see that they were all waiting and worried…..not just being a pain. So here is a lesson for me…..sometimes bad behavior is just deep feelings, being felt deeply, by deeply beautiful people!

Have you ever noticed something like this with your kids? Do they seem to get mean when things are hard?

20141003_131948 20141003_130057

Time to Stop Gawking…..Seriously!

DSC_0020

Sometime too much of a good thing is bad and sometimes too much of a bad thing is good! Everything in life is all about balance. Balancing out the good things with the less good things and making it all work out. Sometimes I find that without the proper balance in life, things seem to get really hard……really stressful. And that is something that pulls everything down in your own little world. And when your own little world is a hot mess, everything else seems to be too! The schedule doesn’t work out, the kids seem out of control, and laundry……well it never seems to get done unless someone needs jeans RIGHT NOW! (Not that I have any experience with this at all). It is just so easy to sit. Sit on the computer, sit on our phones, sit in front of the tv…….and all this sitting is good…….but too much is bad. On top of that, when people get stressed they tend to jump into some unhealthy things……..like overeating (again I am sure there is no personal experience here). Sure, this all very old information and pretty common knowledge right? And yet don’t we all keep doing it to a certain extent?

Ok……maybe not you, but I do. In fact I am sitting here right now. When did I decide that this is how I wanted to spend my days? Oh it’s not that I don’t do anything or that I am somehow not busy, but it seems that I am so busy that sitting feels so good, and I can sit my whole free day away. Yikes! When that happens, I inevitably feel the pull of guilt later in evening of all the things I meant to do or wanted to do but didn’t. I wanted to clean out that cupboard (you know the one with the containers falling out every time you look at it funny) or I wanted to take a walk with the girls (even if they didn’t want to go anyway) or even to do that craft project that I found on pintrest that looked amazing (if I am really honest I should do some exercising too). I find so often that I sit. The girls tell me I do it all the time, “Mom you are always on the computer”. And my excuse is that everyone is posting new things and awesome thoughts that I just have to read…..but do I really? No (not that all of you bloggers out there aren’t amazing and totally interesting). When did my happily ever after become reading about someone else’s?

You see, I love to see what friends are up to, and what insightful post that blogger wrote, and those things are good……but too much of it is bad. Connecting is powerful thing, but only if the connections are personal. Reading about someone’s day or seeing someone’s pictures is fun, but it can only be called connecting when you comment or talk or somehow share your thoughts with the person whose work you are viewing. Otherwise it is just gawking. And unfortunately most of my viewing is that. I don’t comment much (I am lazy people…….seriously! I love you all, but sometimes I am lazy) and I am notorious for following a blogger and never saying a word (and being a blogger I know that this is really rude……even when there is like 100 comments, you still appreciate comment 101). So I am not connecting with the world. I am too busy gawking to connect with my kids. And what does that really give me…….not much. I am becoming a passive observer of life rather than an active participant. Bottom line is that I need to change how I am……no more random sitting and not staying focused (see the post before this one on that) and more real connecting. If you comment, I will answer. I will like photos you post, and share love on posts I read! I will talk to my kids more and watch the computer less. I will make sure that they see me loving and connecting with them. I will get up and be an active part of my happily ever after and a less passive observer of it all! This our one chance to be everything that we want to be, so why waste it all gawking? Connect…..for real time……not just screen time!

What do you think? Weigh in! Is internet making us more or less connected?

A is for…………

Today is the first day of the Photo a Day Challenge over at Fat Mum Slim. This month she is doing one letter of the alphabet a day. I love this idea! It not only fun for me to get me taking pictures everyday, but I can do it with the girls! We are all going to do this together! What a fun way to connect and play together. My goal is to finish and have fun with it…..with my girls! I will not post all of them here! Follow along on Instagram to see them all!  Here are the pictures for A:

IMG_20141001_135915A is for ART

Here is Bunny’s Picture:
A is for Apple Cider and Apple Pie

IMG_20141001_220129

truman@mailxu.com crook@mailxu.com