Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dear Marley Wren { 9 months }

Dear Marley...

We only have a 1/4 of the year left, before we hit your big 1st birthday... wow. You are a growing champ... there's really not much to say, except that you're getting so big, and so tough...

This month your little bottom teeth FINALLY broke through the gums. Man, those were some tough days, even Tylenol and Motrin weren't able to work (let alone Hylands teething tablets and your amber necklace)... you just needed to work those little guys out, and pop, out they came. Your favorite thing to do, was suck and gnaw on a slice of apple. Oh you could sit there for days, as long as a slice of apple was in your hand. This month, you also started to get up on your knees, ready to crawl. You're not quite there yet, but you've definitely mastered the "butt scoot". One minute you're in one place, we turn around, and the next minute your a couple feet from where you started. We are having to keep a very close eye on you... but we love this new found independence.

You play so perfectly with Charlotte.. you two are a great sister match. She's definitely showing you "the way", and has so much grace when you chew on all her little dolls/toys, and fly them across the room. We think you're definitely teaching her a whole new way with the word "patience". But you adore her, and she loves you... and that's all we could ask for. I mean, just look at the way you smile at her when I'm trying to get your attention with the camera:

You love most fruits and veggies, but strangely, you've started to have a distaste for avocados. You start gagging everytime a piece of one is in your mouth, so I think, right now, it's not your thing. We also introduced you to quinoa and meat, and it ended the same way that the avocado did.... so right now, we're sticking to what you like. You could eat a whole banana by yourself in a sitting if we let you. You love being able to feed yourself... so we're starting to give you simple fruits and cooked veggies that way. You're a snacker... so lots and lots of little meals throughout the day.

Sweet girl, in just a few months, you won't be the "baby" anymore... your little brother will be here... so we're taking all the time we have, now, to breathe in this stage... we will not miss one moment, nor are we taking this time with you for granted. Keep being Marley... the one we continue to love on more and more each and everyday. 

We love you,
Daddy, Mommy, Charlotte and baby brother

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pinwheel IG Sale

Tomorrow, I'll be having a quick IG sale at 11 am CST... you can find details on my latest picture here. There's a giveaway attached to that photo, so be sure to enter!

I just adored sewing with the Sweet As Honey fabric line so much, that I picked some extra up to sew up a bunch of lovelies. I wanted to try the fabric on not just my latest creation of the pinwheel, but I wanted to create mini 2" pinwheels that rest on bamboo skewers, to be used as cake toppers. If they do well at this instasale, then they will be added to the shop in a week or so. They are TOO cute, and would make cupcakes/cakes absolutely adorable... especially for this Spring/Summer season.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Part Of The Story

Yesterday, I shared a little progress photo on how the office is starting to shape up... I think it's time for me to lock myself in this room, and force myself to organize... that's the TOUGHEST part... I do need to find fun ways to organize... perhaps this upcoming weekend. However, this past Saturday, we spent a little time as a family doing a quick drive to Jones, Oklahoma to visit our local saw mill.

Many months ago my hubby picked up barn wood from a friend's barn that he was tearing down. When I say picked up, he really helped de-construct so that he could pick out the best beams of wood that he could find. Originally this was to be used as a desk... but in the end, we decided to keep the wood for the shelves that would be going in this room. The wood needed a lot more work than my hubby was ready for (tool wise), so we brought it over to a local saw mill... who is now in possession of our barn wood and cleaning it up for us. Once we get it back (hopefully around Wednesday or so), we will cover it with a stained wax, and stick it up on those metal pipes that you saw hanging above the desk. It'll be a pretty industrial look, with some raw elements... totally what we were going for in this room. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Back to the saw mill... SO FUN. I didn't know how it was going to be... but really, it's a crafter's little haven with all the wood that you can buy for projects... the smell was unreal (like the freshest saw dust) and it was nestled in this little tree grove area. It was such a fun outing, and it'll be neat to look back knowing that this saw mill is now a part of the story of the office.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Coming Along...

On the 1st of the month... we began the journey of focusing attention, on one of the last rooms of the house, the office. It was in dire need of some love, and that's just what we've been up to... The desk (12 feet long with castor wheels) was painted, and brought back in... the design of the shelves was figured out (going to be a MAJOR focal point above this desk), and most of what's left, is dumping and donating- major organizing of all of my craft supplies and Charlotte's school supplies. It's taken quite some time, but we're getting there... and I couldn't be more excited. Here's an updated look:

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

School Sessions: Chapter 8

There have been quite a few weeks, where I've missed capturing/documenting our homeschooling journey... last week being one of them. Rest assured, we pretty much school each and every day, with the exception of last Thursday... we took the day off (she hasn't had a break in a long time)... and boy did it feel good for both student/teacher... and really, she just doubled up on work on Friday to make up for Thursday (Charlotte really is an EXCELLENT student).

With the start back up of my etsy shop, it's been a little hectic around here... hectic in a good way. The way, that when you look at the clock, you really can't believe it's 2pm, and you're still in your pjs kind of way. The weather has been so beautiful as well, that we're trying our best to be outside during the peak hours... playing with friends, taking walks, Zoo trips, etc. We cannot get enough of this beautiful Spring ( but temperamental at times) Oklahoma weather.

This week Charlotte has mastered counting by 2's (barely missing numbers), "half past the hour" clock work, and understood the concept of "apostrophe s" or "apostrophe after s"... subtraction was introduced, as well as more money counting... She gets SO confused with money. She also started counting by 3's and had an excellent review of "plurals".

I've been able to keep up with etsy orders, while Charlotte is schooling and Marley is napping. I usually package up orders on review days, so that I'm able to be a present body if she needs me... it's been super productive. The only down fall... that's usually the time/day when I get housework (dishes and light chores) done... so I've had some messes lately (see previous post). 

Lets talk about pencils... we have had our share of doozys with pencils. I love the Dollar Spot at Target, and Charlotte loves picking up the 1.00 pencils that usually have a fun pattern/design... but I'm CONSTANTLY sharpening them... as in, every couple of seconds the tip breaks and we have to sharpen. It's a bid absurd. So, we invested in a 10 pack of Ticonderoga pencils... and I have to sharpen 1 pencil every week... quite the difference. I never knew the power of a pencil... and now I do. I think Charlotte is won over, because she doesn't get frustrated with broken tips all the time.

Charlotte's biggest school fan, is her sister... Marley could watch her do school for hours...well, maybe only minutes. Then she always feels the need to steal her books. But it's sweet to see them interact during this time. Charlotte usually says, "Shhh Mars, I'm supposed to be doing my work..."

This week's highlights:

-  Charlotte is reading more and more each day/week. She LOVES to just sit down and practice. During last night's date night, the hubby and I stopped at Barnes and Noble and picked her up some "I Can Read" readers, and a new book about the Human Body... she'

-  Subtraction was introduced in the last 2 weeks, and she's taken it on like a champ.

-  Continually remembers to start her day off journaling. Only has a hard time thinking of topics to write about.

-  Lots of fresh air and play with friends.

This week's lows:

Nothing really sticks out as a low for us for 2 weeks of schooling... that's a win in my book!
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Let Go

Remember that "mess" that I mentioned in yesterday's post... sometimes it's emotional, and sometimes it's a physical... and lets just say, lately... I've been surrounded by it! Seriously, I don't know where my days go half the time.. Piles upon piles of laundry... toys everywhere (even minutes after Charlotte just cleaned up)... cluttered countertops... and then there's myself... oh dear, I'm lucky if I'm out of my pajamas before noon. But you know what, it's a season. We are spending so much time outside and away from the house, that it's just natural for it to be neglected a bit. I can't help but finish projects during the day (like painting our huge chalkboard, or working on our office)... I can't help but see my girls play together... and want to play with them...

so I ignore the laundry (or at least get to it once the kids go to bed)...

so I ignore those countertops (there's always tomorrow)...

so I ignore the toys on the floor (they will just get played with over and over again)...

I will try and remember to "Let Go" and not get all control freak on my house... and I'll enjoy the mess... because one day when I'm old and grey, I'd much rather remember the playtime with my littles, than folding each and every piece of laundry.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Photography and Blogging

There are SO many moments throughout the day where I just randomly pick up my camera, and snap a photo... It's my idea of capturing "The Little Things".  The little things that make my heart happy/sing... the things that I never want to forget... sometimes the photos are such a hodge podge... that my photographer side of me, doesn't want to post them on my blog... so I hang on to them. You see, when it comes to blogging, for me, there must be some sort of "order" to my photos... It's more eye catching. I don't blog for you (not entirely at least)... blogging for me, is a way for me to have my photos in one organized location (so I can EVENTUALLY print a family book/reminder of our year). It helps remind me which photos to print out, what days we did what... etc. It's sort of like a reference guide... or a "look book" throughout our year.

When it comes to my own personal blog... I like order. I'm a sporadic girl by nature, but I tend to stick away from posting "hodge podge" photos. If there is no rhyme or reason to a photo, I put it aside, and wait for others to join it, or I retire it all together. I enjoy "collections" of photos. I don't think, at least in the last 2 years... that there is one blog post that doesn't have a photo in it. I am a photo driven blogger. That doesn't mean it's for everyone... and trust me, there are some great blogs out there, that have absolutely NO photo, but AMAZING content. I am not bashing those blogs... not one bit. However, I DO love a great photo(s) to go along with great content. Those are the blogs that draw me in, and hold my attention, and keep me coming back for more... and therefore, I try/tend to blog post in that way.

When it comes to my own personal blog... I love bright and vibrant photos. I hardly ever post black and white photos. When I do, it's for a dramatic effect (pretty sure that's only happened once or twice on this blog... like Marley's birth photos, or the day we brought home Charlotte from the orphanage). Obviously, there are times when something happens, worth documenting, but the light is not ideal... in that instance, I try my darndest to execute the best picture possible... or edit them in a way to help them out... or they get shuffled to a folder on my desktop that just "contains" them, but never uses them. Bright, natural light is ideal for shooting. Somehow, don't ask me how, I tend to flock to photographing between the times 8-11 am and 2pm -sundown. I think it's because the light is so "hard" on my eyes from 12-2... or possibly because that's when I'm busy getting other things done, like changing diapers, feeding my little ones, and getting ready for bed. Our adventures, usually revolve around Marley's nap time, so I tend to not take out my camera until the sunlight is near "golden" or first thing in the morning while schooling Charlotte. I also use prime lenses, which bring in MUCH more light than other lenses that have more range. With a prime lens (I use my 50mm OFTEN), you can manipulate the lighting so well by changing your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. I'll be sharing on other posts (soon), what equipment I use and how I use it. I am by NO MEANS an expert at photography or blogging... but I know my personal style, and what I like... and am open to share it with you.

When it comes to my own personal blog... I try and make it as personal and real as possible. The everyday can be messy, so at times I show you my mess... the everyday can be fun and adventurous, so at times I share those moments with you... the everyday can be filled with a constant need for God's grace, so I try and be as honest with you as I can, especially in my writing. That being said, often times, I try and capture those moments that show the "everyday". Yes, I don't always have my camera handy... so you get a phone photo... those can be just as beautiful. In fact, some of my most treasured photos, are from my phone.  For example, the other day... I had my phone on me, as I walked by Marley's room... she just woke up from her nap, and was playing with her stuffies in her crib. I didn't have my camera nearby, but I HAD to document the occasion... it was the FIRST time she sat up all by herself in her crib. She went from sleeping on her tummy, to sitting criss cross applesauce playing sweetly with her toys... and was so happy with her newest accomplishment. Picture needed to be snapped, and the phone was all I had (as show below). Don't be scared to share those moments, just because they weren't captured with a DSLR... they're just as important.

I'm going to be sharing some "tid bits" with you regarding how I capture, how I edit, and how I organize my photos over the next few weeks... but I just wanted to kick it all off, with this blog post... sort of as an overview. An intro to how I mix photography and blogging.

Back to "The Little Things"... they are some of my favorite moments/details to capture, but often become mismatched photos... Until there's some rhyme or reason to them, I stick them in a folder, until I'm ready to "unite" them all together... In the photos below, I documented "my everyday"... those moments that I HAD to capture, or the things that make me "oh so happy". Looking through the folder of this month's photos, I noticed a trend. It just so happened, that there was a lot of yellow involved. That's probably because yellow is "my jam". So, I grouped them together, in a way that created order amongst my photos. Order in a way, that if I were to print them, they'd be hung on a wall together.... But blogged, so that I could always go back to this post, and smile.

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