Monday, February 28, 2011


Woke up this morning to 70 degrees. At 6:00. In February. In Tennessee. Which definitely means tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings all day. I'm not a big fan of having to leave Camden at school all day when there's severe weather, but I guess school is important. ;) We're also getting crazy rain. There is water everywhere. Since we didn't flood last year when our area received 17 inches within 48 hours, I'm not too concerned about flooding with 3-4 inches, but there are some huge puddles in our yard.

Speaking of thunderstorms (or "thunderthorms" as Rory says), Rory seems to have overcome her fear of storms overnight. Camden, on the other hand, who has never been scared of storms at all, is suddenly terrified. He calls them basement storms (since we've already had a trip to the basement over the weekend). Never a dull moment.

And one picture from the weekend: Brian was snoring on the couch while Camden tried to watch TV. I looked up, and he had his fingers in his ears. I feel your pain, buddy.

94. skyping with a friend who was sitting in the Seoul airport
95. lunch with a friend I can say anything to
96. my cute Rory sassing her way through the day
97. Camden's sweetness in sharing his Valentine goodies
98. for a Tuesday night spent with friends
99. a successful shopping trip
100. the sound of Camden playing in the shower
101. Rory's laughter as she listens to Brian read her a story
102. a family walk
103. safe trip to Missouri
104. Grandparents who celebrated 60 years of marriage
105. Spending time with family we haven't seen in many years
106. A fun day with the kiddos
107. slow days with plenty of time to complete my "to do" list
108. a new lens
109. a cheap fix for our refrigerator
110. Camden's excitement over his first baseball practice
111. for a reassuring first practice and patient coaches
112. for a long slow Saturday
113. for the message from Dr. Picirilli and his simple "you can."
114. for safety through a storm
115. for wonderful memories of Korea 3 years ago today
116. for a new CT gig

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Three Years Ago


Three years ago we were in Korea and saw this sweet face for the first time. It was such a beautiful day.We had arrived in Seoul the night before, got up bright and early for breakfast and coffee at Starbucks and then headed out for our first metro experience (during rush hour no less). We did some shopping and sight-seeing and then we met the social worker at SWS and took a taxi to her foster mother's apartment. I don't really remember being nervous. I remember being excited. I didn't think of the long wait or the unknowns with her health (which turned out to be nothing). I didn't get to hug her. I didn't get to kiss her. I didn't even get to hold her on this day. But when I am old and gray and my memory is far worse than it is now, I know that I will look back on this day as one of the most memorable of my life.

I didn't plan to post the video again, but Camden randomly asked to see it earlier this week and as he watched it with teary eyes in a rare moment of tenderness and said to me, "I just love it when you met her", I decided to just go ahead and show it again. And, really, how could you not fall in love with that giggle?

And 3 years later, she is a complete joy. A few things about her:

She likes to talk. And talk. And talk some more.

Pushing her baby in her stroller with an "ipod" in her hand and a phone to her ear is the epitome of a good time.

She loves to eat, but isn't really a big dessert fan. If you put food on her plate, she is going to eat every single bite. When she doesn't like something, she shivers through it but doesn't ask to quit. (I try to let her off the hook if I notice the shivers.)

And she's still slow as molasses when she eats. We eat, then clean up, then sit and watch her eat.

It may have taken until she was nearly 4.5, but she finally knows her ABC's (this is a whole other post in itself).

ABC's aside, she has a crazy memory. The girl can remember Bible verses, catechisms and small details like nobody's business.

She asked me yesterday if we could sell Camden and get a baby sister.

Loves Dora and Sesame Street on TV, but Fancy Nancy is her favorite book character. She adores all the fancy words.

She quotes "Little brother, don't you dare. Hands off my underwear" almost every day - some free book we received in the mail and made the mistake of reading to her a few months after she came home. It was literally one of the first sentences she said, and she's still saying it. :)

She loves to pray. But not in any sort of spiritual way - it's her way of being the center of attention. She prays and prays and prays, throws in every big word she can think (whether it makes sense or not), copies every prayer she's ever heard anyone say. It's hilarious. And LONG.

She is such a people pleaser and has a very tender heart. In fact, she is broken hearted when she knows I am disappointed and generally is much harder on herself than I am on her.

She rarely disobeys or test me. Now this is a completely different story for Brian - she constantly tests him. I don't mean little things. I mean outright defiance and disobedience for whatever reason.

Really, really loves to sing. Music is definitely not her gift, but she loves to try!

Is still a mama's girl, and I love it. I hear "I love you the mostest" several times a day.

Tells me often that she cannot wait to go back to Korea.

And this picture is really for my grandma who bought her not one, not two, but three fancy party dresses. Rory chose this one to wear today.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2011 Project 365, Week 8

2011_week8 web

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sad Children

I almost laughed when I uploaded pictures from the camera this morning. Doesn't it look as if they're living such a sad life?

f2, 1/200 SS, ISO 1600

f2, 1/125 SS, ISO 1000

Camden was upset last night because his first baseball practice was canceled last minute due to severe weather. And Rory is sick. Not sick enough for the doctor yet, but sick enough to be miserable. And Rory does not do miserable well.

And for my camera-loving friends, notice the ISO on these pics. I'm learning to embrace higher ISO. I used to miss out on snapshots because I knew they wouldn't be great, but I'm choosing to embrace the imperfection (and higher ISO) that allows me to still take pictures at night. I'm slowly but surely learning that imperfect snapshots are so much more important than my selfish photography goals of perfect pictures every single time. Who am I kidding? They're rarely perfect, but they're my family's memories and that's so much better.

Sahlin Studio: Grunge

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our Day in Black and White

Running low on blog material for the day, but I uploaded my pics from yesterday, realized I'd taken quite a few and thought I'd share.

Goofy girl

Rory entertained herself so well yesterday and had a blast tearing her room to shreds.

A big thank you to everyone who bought from Rory and Camden's closet. :)

As we were heading out to pick up Camden right after Rory's nap, she said, "take a picture of my smoochy lips, mama." And so I did.

Walking with Daddy to turn the heat on at church. That stroller went everywhere with her yesterday. And, yes, she is still in her p.j.'s. At 4:00.

After years of not playing with these Lincoln Logs, Camden has pulled them out every day this week.

And the ever present n*ked baby, who Rory has recently named Emmalynn. (Kari, your child has made a definite impression on her.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We've had issues the last couple of weeks with mice (or squirrels?) hanging out in our attic. Brian's made several trips up there (which is NOT easily accessible) and finally left some poison. The good news is that it apparently worked. The bad news is that they managed to get into the area above our family room, which was an addition to the house and there is no attic access. So half of our house reeks. When we got home from school yesterday and walked into the house, Camden made all the appropriate gagging noises and wanted to know what the smell was. Rory replied, "I think maybe it's my breath."


Shabby Miss Jenn: Captured

Lilypad collab: You Make Me Smile

Lauren Grier: Long Time Sunshine

Lauren Grier/Shawna Clingerman: Bestiest

Meghan Mullins: The February Digi Files

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Talker

I'm sure I've mentioned before that Rory is a talker. She talks, talks, and then talks some more. It doesn't even have to be a conversation (although she's pretty fond of those too). As long as she has a listening ear, she rambles from story to story and doesn't stop until you stop her. Believe me, I've tried before to let it go on until she did the stopping. Doesn't happen.

So this morning we spent about 30 minutes folding laundry (she's in charge of washcloths and small towels), and she talked the entire time. I finally decided to grab the camera.

See what I mean? She's a talker.

Hard to Choose

It's hard for me to choose what my Project 365 picture for yesterday is going to be because I have two really fun ones.

First up is Camden. We were unloading groceries, and he was helping me. I carried some bags into the basement and when I came back, this is what I found. Lucky for me, the camera was in the car. Yes, that is a cereal box he's reading.
f2, 1/200SS, ISO 500

And then there's Rory. The kids played hard all morning, and then we spent the afternoon running errands, grocery shopping, as well as making a trip to the theater to see Gnomeo and Juliet (which they really liked, by the way). They played hard again after supper, took baths, and then I let them watch a movie in our bed. Yes, they saw a movie at the theater then came home and watched another. Don't judge. :) Rory apparently couldn't take all the excitement and fell asleep, something that rarely happens - neither of my kids fall asleep outside of their own beds very often. (And look at how sweaty she is - that is typical for her!)
f2, 1/60SS, ISO 1250

Definitely hard to choose my favorite.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy 60th Anniversary

As soon as Brian got off school Friday, we packed up the car and headed to Missouri to celebrate my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. We were there less than 24 hours so it was a very fast trip and made for a busy weekend, but I'm so glad we were able to help them celebrate. 60th anniversaries don't come along very often these days.

Grandpa and Grandma

Rory was a Grandpa's girl this weekend

Have you ever tried taking good group pictures inside a restaurant? Clearly, it's beyond my photography skills.

Check out William in the front.

Once again, Uncle Matt proves to be the best family member to have along on a trip. He is so good with the kids and keeping them entertained. Apparently, he can draw the best super heroes. He pretty much single handedly entertained them for 3 hours. Well, except for the break when Cousin Natalie took all four of them out for ice cream at once. She's a brave girl.

And finally Camden and William (any idea how to deal with Camden's glare on his glasses?)

We're all pretty exhausted today. Brian actually has school today since they have a snow day to make up, but the kids and I are at home. I've promised to take them to see Gnomeo and Juliet, and they've promised to not act like hooligans at the grocery store. Enjoy your Monday. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2011 Project 365, Week 7

2011_week7 web

Friday, February 18, 2011


Yesterday I got a glass of water from the faucet and Rory giggled and asked me why I was drinking fake water.

Our fridge and freezer died Wednesday night (and we had to throw away ALOT of food because we didn't notice it happening until everything was very thawed out). Luckily we have a spare fridge in the basement, but until we have time (and man-power) to move it upstairs, it is more than a little inconvenient.

We are horrible parents. Camden's progress report came in several weeks ago and as usual, his grades are nearly perfect. Here comes the horrible part: we've become so accustomed to it that we didn't even acknowledge it until this week. Seriously, we are horrible. Resolving to not let that happen again.

The kids have both LOVED having warmer weather this week. Camden is practicing baseball every night and Rory tries to play baseball with him. Key word is try.

Survivor started a new season this week and Boston Rob and Russell are back. Am I too old to cut out a picture of Boston Rob and tape it to my wall? 

And speaking of reality TV: anyone else loving American Idol this season? I am enjoying J. Lo and Steven Tyler so much more than expected!

And a few pictures:

I stepped out of the kitchen for a minute during lunch and came back to this. Completely cracked me up.

Rory spent an hour one morning using her "ipod" and walking the stroller around the yard.

Rory hasn't quite mastered swinging by herself yet and Camden sometimes helps her out. I talk alot about the things I'm looking forward to in Texas, but something I'll miss from Tennessee is our huge front yard and this tree swing.

Watch out for the tree!

And I know I showed a smaller version of this earlier this week, but I just love this picture of Camden.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Family Walk

We try to make Thursdays family night, usually in the form of game night. But tonight Brian got home after a crazy day at school (he is having one seriously bad year) and needed some exercise and fresh air to relieve the stress. It's significant because it's the first time we've had a family walk in months (hello, cold weather) and it's also the first time Rory has walked instead of riding in the stroller. (And despite how much she begged to leave the stroller at home, she didn't last long and ended up on Brian's shoulders for most of it.)


Young Man

Last night I filled in for the children's teacher (a.k.a. Gram) at church, and honestly I've been dreading it ever since she asked me. Teaching is not my thing. Kids are not my thing (except for my own, of course). There is a very good reason I didn't choose teaching as a profession: entertaining kids terrifies me. But it was actually kind of fun. I enjoyed listening to all the chatter among the boys and girls as they did their worksheet, and I enjoyed seeing them learn something. I also saw my 4 year old try to boss everyone else around while simultaneously repeating literally every word that came out of the other kid's mouths. And the 7 year old in our household had a running commentary for everything. Serious motor mouth. At one point, I asked if he would like to just teach the lesson himself, and then I addressed him as "young man." He looked at me like I was crazy, and I thought, "I've finally turned into a crazy old adult."


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Joy of Love: Playing Catch-Up


I started off strong, but have let the daily assignments get away from me, so here are a few that I've completed. And, yes, you'll notice I've skipped a few. I hope to make them up before the month is over.

Day 05: Love to Hate
Brian is notorious for turning the wrong burner on the stove and ruining things. Exhibit A. :)

Day 06: Who They Love
Poor Aunt "Wiz" has always been second to Uncle Michael, but the last few weeks, she's been Rory's favorite.

Day 09: Passions and Hobbies
Camden loves to draw, and will spend a long time drawing very intricate Star War's figures and various army scenes and then spend an even longer time describing them to you.

Day 12: Their Eyes
(you just might see more from this photo shoot later)

Day 13: Routines

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Camden LOVES to think he's scary, and his current obsession is dressing like a ninja. I won't tell him that it makes me laugh instead of scared. Who knew a 3 year old Batman cape could have so many uses.


Valentine's Recap

Since I literally left the house ONE time last week (and that was only to drop Camden off at school, while still in my p.j.'s), I decided that yesterday I needed to get everything done outside the house that was left undone last week. So Rory and I dropped Camden off at school then proceeded to hit the bank, drove to Nashville for a Target run (a little dangerous after not being outside the house last week), went to not one, but two libraries (because the first was out of Magic Tree House books and I want to keep feeding Camden's reading addiction to them), a stop at the mall, then lunch with a friend, moving on to NAFWB (the organization behind our church plant), rushed back to pick up Camden from school, and then spent 30 minutes at the post office. Tired yet?

(Side note: Cannot wait to live in the city. Living 45 minutes away and with gas more than $3/gallon makes what should be fun trips so rushed because I'm trying to get it all in)

(Another side note: Rory spent the day charming the pants off of everyone we came into contact with and acting as if she were 15. Seriously.)

Camden had a Valentine's Day party at school and he was so funny sitting in the middle of the floor reading word for word every single card. He started pulling favorites and handing them out to Brian and I - so sweet.

We did not really have Valentine's Day plans mostly because things have been busy and no available sitter, but we cooked these steaks and I made this dessert (yum!), put the kids in bed early and ate our dinner while watching Chuck. So romantic I know, but it was a good end to a very busy day for both of us.

And when we asked the kids what Valentine's Day was all about, Rory promptly answered "gifts." A girl after my own heart. :)

And my three Valentine's.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day


63. the sincere apology from Camden after a long trying day
64. for a strong cup of good coffee after a sleepless night
65. for the sister who brought that coffee on Sunday
66. for a new book that challenges me in how I parent Rory
67. for good discussion with friends on parenting
68. for finishing my 2010 Project 365 book and all the good things it reminded me of
69. sunshine!
70. late night strategizing about our new church
71. unexpected blessings
72. days that are warm enough to play outside
73. for a solid week of schedule
74. fun birthday parties with friends
75. time to scrap
76. fun Superbowl evening
77. the beauty of an unexpected snowfall
78. fun snowmen
79. another snow day, which means more family time
80. for cold rootbeer in a bottle
81. for several days in a row with no stomach problems
82. for early dismissals
83. for high speed internet
84. for 8 hours of sleep several nights in a row (!!)
85. for sleeping in on snow days
86. for fun new scrapping supplies
87. for really good soup on a cold day
88. for the sound of Camden's laughter as he plays baseball with Daddy
89. for Rory's funny baseball stance
90. for church family
91. for photography challenges

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 Project 365, Week 6


Friday, February 11, 2011

A New Dishwasher

Is this what you were expecting? This would be me taking full advantage of the fact that Camden thinks it's fun to wash dishes. It's a good skill to learn and he feels helpful (even though our real dishwasher is fully functioning).

Totally cracked up when I uploaded this picture to the computer. I *think* this was right after naptime one day this week. (probably Wednesday since Camden is in school clothes and that's the only day he attended)

And yesterday I pulled out a couple of old pictures to scrap.

Gina Miller: Haberdashery

And because you definitely need to see this one close up (I just might have let out an audible "awwww" when I opened it). Camden was exactly 4 years old here and only wanted to drink Gatorade at his soccer games. And totally unrelated fact, I'm DYING to sign Rory up for soccer but because our spring is going to be so full (you know, TEXAS!) that we decided that one kid in sports is all we can handle. But when we hit Texas, there is going to be some sort of sport/gymnastics/karate, something for her (and for me to take pictures of).

And another old picture - this one's from 2008 and Rory had been home 3 months.

Sahlin Studio: I'll Love You Forever

P.S. Yes, we're having yet another snow day #14. Not that I'm counting.