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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whine Fest

Can I whine for a second? It's my blog so I guess I can whine if I want to! So you know Rory was sick during fall break. And then took weeks to actually sleep and stop coughing. Then I was sick last week. What I haven't mentioned is that I was diagnosed with a chronic stomach problem a couple of weeks ago. One that is apparently going to keep on coming and make life miserable. So I finally felt better yesterday after nearly a week of a bad cold/cough. However, by the end of yesterday, the stomach problem was back in full force, and today Rory woke up with yet another cough and a fever. Seriously, I just want to get rid of the sickness in this house. It's hard to carry on life as normal when you or your 4-year old don't feel well. And I realize it could be much worse. But it's still not fun.

Okay, done whining for a while.

Two milestones in the last week:

Rory put her hair in a ponytail all by herself. Not that I'm about to let her take over her own hairstyling anytime soon, but she was one seriously proud 4 year old.

Camden got teary-eyed at the ending of a movie. It seems age 7 is bringing about some sensitive moments in our typically not-sensitive child.

And doesn't this face just make you smile?
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh, Christmas Tree

When I was a kid, our family always put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving (usually on Friday after some holiday shopping). We put in a Christmas CD, usually Mannheim Steamroller, and made Chex Mix. And now that I have my own family, we do the same thing. My current favorite Christmas music is Very Merry Christmas by Dave Barnes and Peace on Earth by Casting Crowns, although we have collected alot of Christmas music over the years.

I intentionally did not bother the kids with pictures because I didn't want to get uptight about finding the perfect shot (this decision was helped along by the fact that the tree is in a corner with no light and pictures meant trying to use my external flash which is currently the bane of my existence). We let the kiddos put most of the ornaments up until they started falling and breaking because there were so many all together. :)

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Camden clearly thought this was Rory's first Christmas because he painstakingly explained and showed her what to do with the ornaments. Not that she wanted nothing to do with his help, but he stayed patient.
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Notice all the ornaments towards the lower middle section of the tree.
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And, of course, I couldn't leave the camera put away for long!
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

All I Want for Christmas . . .

. . . are my two front teeth
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

I have been the WORST at taking pictures/documenting our lives this past 10 days or so. Here's a sampling of what I missed:
  • Camden's second front tooth being knocked out during a wrestling match with Uncle Jon
  • Pictures of the cousins together (besides that one quick photo last week)
  • Our actual Thanksgiving meal ( happened Wednesday with Brian's side of the family)
  • Camden's major wipeout that included a nasty bump on his head, lots of blood from the gash, and a very scraped elbow
  • Granny June's birthday
  • Rory mothering Sienna, her 20 month old cousin
  • My winning a Lewis Family Wii bowling tournament for the very first time.
I'm going to chalk it all up to the fact that I spent the last 2 days camped out on the couch with a box of kleenex. I'm feeling some better today so hopefully I'll pull out the camera again. I did manage to get all caught up on my shows on Hulu as well as made major headway in all 4 versions of the 2011 calendar so having 2 sick days wasn't a complete loss.

Generally, Black Friday shopping is a tradition around our house, but this year I skipped out. Brian actually left about 4:30 this morning and was back by the time I got up at 6:30 (bringing Starbucks with him!). I can't believe I actually skipped the 50% off Gap sale, not to mention all those unnecessary gadgets at Walmart and Target, but we'll survive and our bank account will probably thank us.

I'm attempting Thanksgiving Dinner Take 2 tonight for the four of us and my sister and brother-in-law so maybe I'll manage to take pictures of that meal. And here's hoping Rory will get to take an actual nap today for the first time in SIX days. It might get ugly, but I'm determined she'll have a nap.

And just so this post is not pictureless, here is one I snapped of Rory a couple of weeks ago.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful

Today I am thankful for:
 
Camden's recent sweet compassionate spirit

Rory's little voice saying, "You're the best mama evah" nearly every day

Brian's completely silly antics that only those of us closest to him get to experience

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cousins

Our weekend was quite full beginning with family dinner on Friday night, grocery shopping, and filling our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Just as I suspected, the Friday night before Thanksgiving wasn't the best time to visit Wally World, but we managed to survive.

Saturday, the kids and I went to see Seussical at the Nashville Children's Theater with Brian's mom, a sister-in-law and cousin, who are in town for the week.While it wasn't my favorite play we've seen there, it was fun. Poor Rory, who has serious issues with loud noises, started crying at the very first note and kept her hands clamped tightly over her ears for more than half the show. There was a live band and lots of music that was not even remotely scary, but she really hates loud noises.

We followed up Seussical with lunch at Qdoba, then came home and the kids played hard for the rest of the afternoon. In fact, after everyone had gone home, Rory curled up on my lap and was fast asleep with 60 seconds.

Sunday was church and then lunch with the entire family including great grandparents at my kid's favorite Chinese buffet. Spent some time organizing all the shoeboxes our church is donating to Operation Christmas Child before church, and then stayed after talking with friends and family.

Today is another busy day with a trip to town to deliver the shoeboxes, photo shoot with cousins, dinner with the family at our house tonight, and all the prep that comes with having company. Rory and I seem to have caught the cold that's been bouncing around our house, but hopefully it won't get worse than just a cold.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday

Prepare yourself for a whole lot of randomness.

I made a seriously delicious broccoli cheese soup last night that went really well with my first loaf of whole wheat homemade bread. Okay, actually it's the second attempt (in one day), but I won't count the first one since it never made it to the oven.
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Camden is out of school until November 29. Why didn't we have long Thanksgiving breaks when I was in school?

You can go here for a free download of Sara Grove's O Holy Night Christmas CD.

I am dying to go to Harry Potter tonight. It's been kind of a tradition for the last 9 years and I even re-read the 7th book this week in preparation, but a grown woman with 2 kids doesn't always get to see movies opening weekends. :) Still holding out hope for sometime in the next few weeks.

Rory has declared every day this week "mis-match day" and has been wearing two different shoes. I don't even know how she learned about mis-match day!
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Rory's new habit of reading in bed continued this week.
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No idea what they were playing, but it involved hats and holding a sword to your sister's neck.
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Very excited to take the kids shopping for their Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes tonight.

Rory has played SO well this week. She's a happy child in general, but this week she has been so imaginative and played and played. For instance, she sat on the treadmill for over an hour yesterday with her babies and puppy around her reading to them.
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And I scrapped yesterday.
Lauren Grier: All That Matters
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Never Too Late to Carve Pumpkins

We were out of town for 10 days during the middle of October and when we got back, Brian's schedule was crazy, we had a few illnesses passed throughout the house, and somehow I never got around to buying pumpkins. Now, I don't really care about pumpkins and we all know I'm not Miss Krafty Mama, but Camden always pays attention to those houses that are decorated for each holiday and he really, really wanted pumpkins. About a week after Halloween, I saw pumpkins for .50 at Wal-Mart and so we picked up a few. Then it took several more days before we actually carved them, but the kids had a blast when we finally got around to it.

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He seriously hates getting his hands dirty. We had a big roll of paper towels ready at all times.
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Camden and Rory each drew the face themselves. Rory's is on the left; Camden's on the right.
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Note to self: Camden and Rory really like carving pumpkins and I need to make sure we do a more holiday activities like this.

The Boy

I've heard for years all the challenges of raising a boy. I'm not talking about their character or raising strong men, etc. I'm talking about laundry and bathroom issues. And I always assumed that all I had to do was be diligent in teaching Camden when he was young, and there'd be no issues as he grew up because I had put the time in early. Well, he's only 7 but I'm tired of putting the time in.

Let's take the laundry for instance. Last week (after many complaints that he never has any socks to wear despite the fact that I bought him 12 identical pairs of white socks when school started), I went into his room on laundry day. There were no socks in his laundry basket, but there were socks in the hallway, socks behind his door, socks under a pillow in the couch, socks in the bathroom, and socks on the other side of the bed. His closet stays a disaster despite all my efforts to keep things neat and straight. In fact,every week when I do laundry, I find piles of clean clothes from his closet that he's put in the dirty laundry basket rather than pick them up.

And the bathroom? Now it's not what you'd think. The toilet stays clean; his aim is good. But the toothpaste is ridiculous. When I cleaned the bathroom last week, there was toothpaste in the sink, on the counter, on the mirror above the sink (much higher than he can actually reach), on the toilet, on the floor, on the hand towel. Seriously. I almost took a picture but decided it was just too gross. And so I clean the bathroom, and the next day it's covered in toothpaste yet again. And let's not even get started on what happens to the bathroom every night when he showers.

So how do I get him to take the laundry and bathroom seriously? Calm gentle reminders haven't worked. Not-so-calm and not-so-gentle reminders haven't worked. Making him clean the bathroom himself doesn't work. And I have visions of spending laundry day searching for socks and cleaning toothpaste off surfaces which should never see toothpaste for the next 12 years.

And just so you know it's not all bad, he routinely does little jobs on his own just because he's sweet and wants to help out. He's also in charge of all socks and underwear on laundry day (although he's yet to complete this task without a whole lot of moaning and groaning). And a couple of weeks ago, he gave away all his birthday money to a local missions project. He also couldn't wait to have a visit from the tooth fairy so he could give that as well. And, really, that quality right there makes up for a whole lot of toothpaste and missing socks.

I took this picture back in October when we were in Illinois. It's from the photo shoot Camden declared to be the best pictures he's ever had taken. They're also the last ones I have of him with all teeth still intact.
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50mm 1.4 lens, f2.2, 1/800ss and ISO640.
The better way to have taken this picture would have been to lower my ISO to probably 400 since it was at sunset and then lowered shutter speed to compensate. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two Requests

Two requests from Rory this morning.

(1) Can I "pease, pease, pease, pease" have green hair? Ummm, no.
(2) I "weally, weally, weally" want a pink Leapster with a Princess and the Frog and Diego game. That I might be able to do.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday's Tidbits

Rory's told me several times in the past couple of days that she has a baby in her belly who is 2 years old and her name is Emmalyn (hello, Kari!). She pronounces it "Ennamin."

Camden's little buzz cut which debuted yesterday was actually a mistake. We always cut it short, but Brian forgot to put the guard on the clippers so he's a little more bald than usual. It grows fast so I'm not worried. :) We actually thought about letting his hair grow out and see what happens, but I decided to wait until after Christmas so I don't have a shaggy Camden in Christmas pictures.

And a side note to the haircut, Camden told us last time we cut his hair that he hates getting haircuts because everyone rubs his head and talks about it. We've been cutting his hair since he was barely 12 months old and this was news to us. However, since he's mentioned it, I've noticed he's right - there's a whole lot of head rubbing that goes on.

Credits here
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

So despite now being halfway to 70, my 35th birthday was pretty darn good. Brian and I spent the afternoon shopping for nothing in particular, and it's amazing how relaxing that can be without a 7 and 4 year old along. We stopped for coffee, picked up a few school shirts for Camden, a Christmas dress for Rory (okay, two actually), new make-up for me as well as a new scarf. For supper Brian had arranged for a group of friends from my pre-SAHM days to meet us for supper, and it was lovely. When I quit work to stay home with Rory, I went from spending 40 hours a week with some of my favorite people to seeing those friends a couple of times a year so an evening with them was just perfect.

I had two photo shoots Saturday afternoon (sneak peeks coming soon) and I'm not really sure where the rest of my day went. Sunday was my brother-in-law's birthday so after church we had chili and cupcakes. And just in case there was any doubt, I most definitely did not make these cupcakes! GiGi was happy to help us out in the birthday celebration this weekend.

Pretty sure Uncle Michael was not thrilled to have his picture taken while the kids sang Happy Birthday to him.
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Rory was convinced that you were not supposed to put a birthday cake candle in a cupcake.
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And a quick one of the kids on our way out the door to school this morning.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Celebrating

I'm not a huge fan of birthdays, starting with my 20th birthday when I was convinced life was over. My friends had a 20 dead roses delivered to my dorm room and then threw me an Over the Hill party. While I'm not dreading this one quite as much, Brian did remind me that I'm halfway to 70. Surprising, since I still feel as if I'm barely halfway to 40. 

Life has been so crazy for Brian, not to mention the cold/cough he's had for 3 weeks now that I managed to convince him to take the day off work in part to help me celebrate but mostly because I wanted him to have a little down time. He took Rory on a little breakfast date to Dunkin' Donuts this morning, is surprising Camden at school for lunch, and then we're dropping Rory off at the grandparents and shopping, eating dinner, and headed to a surprise event. It should be a good day.

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Gina Miller: Flashback
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Scooters

Riding scooters has been the favorite afternoon activity this week, especially since it's been in the upper 70's. I've been telling the kids they need to take advantage of the nice weather because eventually cool weather will arrive (although I'm starting to wonder at this point).

Racing down the sidewalk is the most exciting thing to do . . .
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(50mm 1.4 lens, f2.2, 1/640ss, ISO 500)

. . . but it doesn't always end well (he's completely fine, by the way).
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(50mm 1.4 lens, f2.5, 1/640ss, ISO 500)

And Rory actually crossed her arms and asked me to take her picture. Believe me, I'm as surprised as you because she is very anti-camera these days.
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(50mm 1.4 lens, f2.2, 1/400ss, ISO 500)

And Camden did not want to be left out. I'm always happy to oblige.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Weading"

Things got quiet yesterday morning so I went searching for Rory and found her in bed "weading." She stayed there for more than half an hour so I joined her and read to her and then left her to "wead" another 30 minutes or so. Reading in bed is one of my favorite things to do (although not something I get to do much of these days). Glad she's taking after her mama!

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(50mm 1.4 lens, f2.8, 1/100ss, ISO 640)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

4

Rory's 4 year check-up yesterday went well. She told every nurse and doctor she ran into that she was 4 and that she has a panda bear. They were all appropriately excited. She also insisted on answering all the developmental questions herself until they got to the "how many poopers a day" questions, and then she just dissolved into giggles.

The consensus is that she's very healthy and developmentally on target (except for those pesky ABC's), but quite small. At 28 lbs and 37 inches tall, she's dipped even further down the growth charts (as in she's barely on them) and the doctor said if she dips any lower, he wants to do some growth hormone testing. Of course, our feeling is that she's just petite! I decided to look up Camden's stats at his 4 year check-up, and he was 34 lbs and 40 inches tall (and he was considered small). As far as that nasty cough (which showed up at 3:00 this morning yet again), he put her on a regular inhaler schedule for 2 weeks and if that doesn't take care of it, she'll have a round of steroids. Not looking forward to that one! Oh, and the girl did not even flinch when she had to have the finger prick, but she more than made up for it with her screams once the nurse came back with the needle for her shot.

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(50mm 1.4 lens, ISO 320, /500 SS, f2.2)

And it's possible I spoke too soon about a successful daylight savings transition because the kids walked into the computer room at 6:00 this morning. Although, I am willing to blame it on the fact that they slept together last night because my sister worked late at school and spent the night in Camden's bed.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Daylight Savings Time

I think my kids are now old enough to adjust to Daylight Savings Time with minimal effect because aside from a 6:00 wake time yesterday (6:20 today) and being hungry all day, they survived the change pretty well. Please don't hate me.

Brian had several extra church and school activities/responsibilities this weekend so he was gone most of the time. The kids and I had pizza and watched How to Train a Dragon Friday night. Saturday I had a photo shoot, a quick shopping trip to Gap to take advantage of the secret 45% off sale and then back home so Brian could leave for his school's fall festival. He's becoming well-known at his school for his goldfish booth. As in, all the parents hate him because they have to bring home goldfish (which die in the first week) and the kids love him because they get to bring home a goldfish. :) We joined him for a while and Camden helped out while Rory and I people watched.

Sunday Rory woke up with a fever yet again so the two of us stayed home from church. I already had Rory's 4 year old check up scheduled for this morning so maybe he can help us out with the never-ending cough and occasional fever.

P.J. picture after the movie Friday night
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And for my photography friends, I took this with my external flash which I bought almost 2 months ago and then haven't used because I kind of hated it. I've decided I better try to conquer it since we're headed for several months of indoor photos.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Project 365/52 - Week 37

I am more than a little behind on this whole Project 365 thing, and if you look not-so-closely you'll see I don't quite have a picture for every day of week 37. Actually, I am missing quite a few pictures from week 37 until this week, but trying to get back on track.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Change of Plans

Rory had an appointment for dental work this morning and there happens to be both a Target and a mall nearby (two places I don't see nearly enough of these days) so we were planning a little shopping trip followed by a trip to the dentist, but Rory woke up with a fever to match her nasty cough and runny nose so I guess we'll be camped out on the couch today.

Camden completed his first official project: a book report for Thanksgiving. For some reason he informed his teacher yesterday that he was going to turn it in Monday instead of today (it's due today). We quickly set him straight on due dates and what they mean. :)  (unfortunately, it was nearly dark when I snapped this so I didn't do a good job of documenting his first book report)

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And in honor of International Digital Scrapping Day (tomorrow), I actually scrapped a page. In fact, my plan had been to set aside all photography business for the weekend and only worry about my own pictures and scrapping, but I scheduled a last minute mini-session for Saturday morning so I've only been partially successful in my plan.
Credits here
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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Homework

This is the setting at our house every night after supper. Camden gets to work on his homework assignments (usually only 15 minutes or less) and Rory works on her "homework." Brian is typically in charge of homework. I mean, he is a teacher, right? I take care of it occasionally, but his day job gives him a completely different perspective than mine. On this particular night, Camden was working on his very first book report and they'd been sitting there for over an hour (and I think Brian was just about d.o.n.e. - notice the hand on the head). Rory, who during the day can hardly be bothered to ever pull out a coloring book and sit long enough to color, will "work" as long as Camden does and the other night she actually wrote her name for the first time. Completely surprising since (a) we have not practiced and (b) shouldn't you be able to actually say your ABC's before you can write them? I guess I need to move on from the increasingly frustrating task of teaching her to say the ABC's and go straight to writing sentences.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday's Tidbits

"Hey, mama. You want to hear my Chinese English? Uno, dos, tres . . . " from Rory.

Rory's story yesterday morning: And once upon a time, there was a little man named God. He loved everybody. Even his enemies and a little girl named Rory.

Somehow forgot to mention Camden's first 1st grade report card: 100, 100, 99 and two Pass+. Sure wish he'd try a little harder.

So we let the kids watch the new Karate Kid movie and any guesses as to their new favorite past-times? Camden's is kung fu and Rory's is being the mom and bossing Dre around. So not kidding.

When Camden lost his top front tooth, he developed a little lisp. It is hilarious!

Because it's election day, Brian's school is closed and he's home with Rory and I. We're dragging him to the grocery store after we vote. We used to always shop together, but then Camden came along, and then Rory. Then he picked up a second job and I dropped one so it's a rare occasion to have company on my grocery shopping trips these days.

There are two new sneak peeks up since last week. :)

And this is what my desk looks like these days with two computers that are both giving me fits. I need computer recommendations, and don't just say a Mac or PC. I need specifics, people.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Monday

I stayed up late editing a photo session Thursday night specifically so I could scrap during naptime Friday. I think this is my first page in 3 weeks which just might be a record for the least amount of scrapping. Hoping to get back into a regular scrapping schedule soon!

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And one more up close and personal picture of Rory from last night.
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