10 to catch up…

1.  Finally attempting to crawl out from under a rock and rejoin the land of blogging and working again.  I realized today I hadn’t posted a single thing in weeks about what has been going on with me and mine.  Our Christmas was a good one.  We succeeded in keeping things simple this year.  We enjoyed hosting Jason’s parents, grandparents and brother for Christmas.  I gave myself the gift of getting out of cooking by ordering dinner for 10 from Whole Foods.  We may have played a funny, but dirty, little trick on our family relating to the food.  We got them good!  HA!  I think it ended up being cheaper than it would have been to buy all ingredients and cook it all.  Plus that meant I got to just sit and BE with the kids and play and relax and I even took a nap on Christmas day.  It was awesome.

2.  We cut our normal Christmas budget by almost 2/3 this year and you know what, the kids surely didn’t notice.  They were happy and busy and I’m so glad we made the decision to go the simple route this year instead of overdoing it.  Well, Ty would have noticed if it hadn’t been for my mom coming through with a last minute gift she’d been waiting over a year to give him.  But it was still simple.  And simple was good.

3.  In a very, very, very last minute decision we traveled over to see my mom and stepdad the day after Christmas.  We’ve wanted to go for over a year and had to cancel the last trip due to Teagan’s health.  He was doing well leading up to the holidays but we didn’t want to commit and disappoint everyone at the last minute if things changed for Duder.  We literally decided Christmas day to go.  It was j.o.b. getting everyone ready the next day, the whole feeding our family on a special diet on the road thing, taking meds, etc. But we made it work and the kids were beyond excited.  It is 14 hours without stops and we cut the trip over to two days stopping for the night in Jennings.  Teagan had a hard time with all the industrial plants on the way over but we managed to find an area to stop for the night that he was ok in thankfully.  And we were so, so happy to see my mom and we loved their new house at the beach.  It was weird to be at the beach in the winter though!  I love that I can picture in my mind where she is now and it filled my heart to see my kids playing and running and loving and making memories in their new home.  Unfortunately, I got sick about 30 minutes before we got there.  I let it go 2 days before I couldn’t take it anymore and went to urgent care (promptly after a round of putt-putt of course).  Strep, which sent me in to a panic.  Strep is really, really bad for those with neurological issues and we’ve had several strep scares in the past fearing Teagan had been exposed.  Our hearts sank and we prayed.  Later that day he started to get sick, we immediately put him in the van and drove to urgent care, 2nd visit of the day.  They took one look at him and confirmed our fear, he too had strep.  We took the antibiotics and called his doctor immediately the next morning.  I think it took all of 2.2 minutes for them to call me back, they don’t mess around with strep.  Another round of meds for him and we were put on watch for a laundry list of symptoms “just in case”.  We caught it very early in him and that really helped, especially since the night before I caved and went in I had a hard time breathing my throat and glads were so swollen.  The only way I could breath while sleeping was to jut my chin up in the air and to the side.  My face and neck were really swollen, thankfully Teagan’s didn’t get that far.  We are hopeful it is a good thing he had strep without a myriad of problems to follow along with it.  Could it be?!  A properly functioning immune system?!  Nervously optimistic!  We stayed for a week and truly did have a great visit with my mom.  Even though it rained almost every day and even though several of us were sick, it was good to just be together.  She made the effort to have a special date with each of the kids, they played ball and had picnics on the porch, painted nails and took trips to Target.  The trip home was long long long but we made it.  I swear we all ran for different corners of the house when we got home after so much togetherness in the van.  7 hours in one day turns in to double that with all the potty breaks and I’m hungries and gas stops and and and 😉  I am so glad we went, it feels like a success.  Even though the overload hit him by the end of the week, two night of less than stellar food choices, the stupid air quality, toxins from toys and off gassing of a new house, different water and soaps and every other little thing he is sensitive to now, it caught up with him.  But, he bounced back with both speech and physically within 2 days of being home.  And for that we are thankful.  It also helps us feel confident that what we are doing, all the changes we’ve made, all the effort we’ve put in, all the expense, is worth it.  It is working.

4.  I haven’t even opened our Christmas photos, except to post over on my one.frame.a.day.  Which, by the way, I’m kind of proud that I’ve been keeping up with it.  Go me!  I am so happy I started a month early, I feel giddy and like I cheated the system to get an extra full month of real, meaningful, everyday photos of my family.

5.  Pinterest.  OMG.  Pinterest.  Visual bookmarks.  Changing my life and instilling creativity in me multiple times per day.  You can follow me here.  And I promise to follow you right back!

6.  Oh wait!  #4 isn’t totally true, I did pull this shot just because it makes me laugh.  This is my mom’s new laundry room and it made me giggle every time I walked in to it!

7.  Santa brought Ty a mustache for Christmas.  For real.  Ok, so it probably isn’t a true mustache, more like peach fuzz of the upper lip, but it is there and he’s awfully proud of it.  I don’t want to talk about it.

8.  The little kids seem to be noticing the mood swings of aforementioned mustache toting teenager.  In the last two days I’ve heard Teagan tell Ty to “drop your att-i-tude Tyyyyyyy” and “Ty, why you so ornery TY?!”  HA!  Do you think he’s heard us say those things a time or two recently?!  It’s so funny to hear it come from the fit throwing 2 year old though!  Thankfully Ty thinks it is funny too.

9.  The little kids got Plasma cars for Christmas and I can’t even tell you how much fun they have been.  I got them at a super low price via an online black friday sale and I’m so glad that I did, they LOVE them.  Taryn named hers “Sting”.

10.  There is a lot of fun stuff coming up, I just need to find the time to blog about it all!  Much more soon….

2011-01-07T21:49:29-06:00January 7th, 2011|My Family|

One Frame A Day

Erin Cobb made me do it.  She drew me in with her shiny press printed book and talk of real moments and real memories and day to day photos with meaning and simplicity.  I can’t resist any of those things.  Especially since on the day she posted, I had been looking through my strikingly empty personal photo folders.  It hit me.  Hard.  Yes, I have a good reason for not photographing my family all that much this year.  Yes, we were busy, we were struggling, we had dark days.  But you know what, there were shimmers of hope, even on the darkest day and I cannot convince myself that I couldn’t have found one single beautiful moment to embrace and capture.  Even if it was the quiet at the end of the day, or a hug, or the light hitting someone or something just the right way.  No, I didn’t have time for quite a few months.  But we are steady.  And much like after we lost photos to hurricane katrina, I feel the need to capture new memories, to make up for lost time, to capture those I love in a real, meaningful, simple, imperfect way.  I thought about doing a 52 weeks, but I wanted more.  365 sounded good, but why waste a day.  Why wait until January 1st?  Why not start right away?  So I did just that, several weeks ago.  They may not all be in focus or exposed properly.  I can guarantee they will not be perfect, but neither are the people in them, and that is just what I love about them so very much.  Both the photos and the people.

Lyndsay Stradtner’s One Frame A Day

Here is my post for today.  Ty worked so hard on lighting the house this weekend.  We spent so much time outside, cleaning out the garage, having a garage sale, digging through outdoor decorations and getting them up.  The little kids were literally outside every second of the day that they were not sleeping or eating.  He and Jase did the front and Ty even did the back porch.  It looks fantastic and finally puts us in the mood for Christmas.  It has been a difficult year for us with so many changes.  It turns out Christmas is a pretty toxic holiday….which means the inside of our house is less than jolly or cheery.  I’ve had a hard time with that and I am struggling to come up with ways to compensate.  I had a great big pity party the other night and then shook it off knowing that there is nothing more important than Teagan’s health.  Yes, it is hard, it sucks, big time, but we can deal.  I’m trying to come up with ways to make it warm and inviting without all the normal stuff.  Crafts with the kids are helping!  We may not be decked out with Christmas cheer inside of our house, but the outside is now nice and spirited.

I LOVE blow up Santa.  It does NOT bother me at all that he deflates into a depressing pile of dead lump of santa during all daylight hours.  And my husband did NOT complain at all that I dragged him outside with me in the freezing cold to take these shots.  He did NOT make inappropriate jokes about my cool bokeh shot relating to my bad eyesight.  And he did NOT belch in my ear while I was shooting (ewww).  Nor did he grumble, gripe or complain at all when I asked him to move the cars for a better shot.  And he most certainly did NOT complain when he had to move said cars back again while I was defrosting inside.

None of those things are true.  All lies.  Santa bugs me to no end, I tolerate him because the kids love him and because it gives my (aforementioned grumpy) husband something to poke fun at me about.

Speaking of poking fun, you know what IS true??  There was no level involved in the hanging of any of these lights (scroll down to #’s 8-10).  To that I say hallelujah, Merry Christmas and thank you Ty!!!

2010-12-12T23:15:17-06:00December 12th, 2010|My Family, Our House, Uncategorized|

10 on Tuesday and 2 mini session openings!

1.  I am thinking about opening up 2 last minute mini session spots for this coming weekend with guaranteed Christmas delivery.  Any interest?  Email me at [email protected] for details!

2.  My kids are so addicted to these right now.  Especially Teagan.  Obsessed.

3.  This morning I stopped at my desk to pick something up and noticed there was still solid ice in my favorite cup that had been sitting from the night before.  First, I thought to myself, wow, this cup really IS awesome.  Second, I thought to myself, I wonder what time I actually went to bed….  Third, I thought to myself, I wonder if Ty did this to be sweet, he IS always bring me water refills.  Turns out the third one is the charm.  Love that kid.

4.  Duder’s new favorite activity is swiping the water bottle we use to tame Taryn’s hair each morning and tormenting people with it.  It drives me nuts and I’m constantly getting squirts to the leg, back, face, whatever is within his range.  Getting it away from him is always a battle that involves running and wrangling a toddler who insists on screaming “NO IT MIIIIIIIIIINE”.  I started putting it out of his reach but he’d just grab the step stool in the kitchen and move it to where he needed it to be to get it.  It was driving me (and the dog) nuts.  This week, I finally gave in, I handed it to him and we headed outside so he could squirt whatever he wanted till his little heart was content.  He was thrilled.

$0.99 water bottle = hours of entertainment.  Unfortunately, I too, fell into the category of “whatever he wanted”.  Stinker.  (Update on duder here)

5.  Taryn has her first crush.  And he is not in kindergarten.  MUCH to her daddy’s dismay.  Dismay isn’t a strong enough word for what he’s going through.  Anxiety ridden ought to begin to cover it.

6.  Add her first crush to the fact that she asked for a “green ipod” for Christmas and my husband is not in a very good place right now.  His little girl is growing up quick and he’s soooooo not ready.

7.  I absolutely LOVE this.  And this blog is also one of my new favorite places to check out.

8.  Bob has been very busy trying to keep up with all the goings on around here and all 3 kids.  First though, he had a little bit of ‘splaining to do about that whole ‘borrowed rocket thing’….

9.  Then the next night, just before bed, Jase and I got a good giggle at the expense of my friend Jodie and her elf.  We laughed it up, then went to bed.  Ironically enough, forgetting to move our elf because we were too busy laughing at Jod for not moving hers.  Karma right?!  So, Bob hung out on the TV for 2 days.  The kids were concerned, but not being nearly as creative as Jod, we just blew it off and said Bob likes to watch TV a lot.

10.  The next morning they found Bob had gotten into the cereal.  Thankfully, he was picking up after himself with the dustbuster.  We’ve been working with the little kids and picking up their own messes so it was super nice of Bob to be such a great example 😉

2010-11-30T21:41:31-06:00November 30th, 2010|Austin Photographer, Elf on a Shelf, My Family|

jesse & woody

These two are something else.  Partners in crime.  Duder was not in the mood for photos and spent most of our time yelling “no!”  The only smiles and moderate cooperation were thanks to Taryn hiding behind me and popping up to surprise him. I love my sassy Jesse and my grouchy little Woody.

But thankfully, even after a really rough night for Teagan last night, he had a much better day and we all had a blast today.  A few things I always want to remember about this Halloween….

  • We’ve reached the end of me choosing or having a say in their costumes, this was all them.  Thanks mom for picking them up for the kids!
  • Teagan insisting we play Monster Mash on repeat all day long and that we shake our booties.
  • There is a string of iphone videos of these two in costume that is hands down hilarious.  I need to merge them all together and share them.  Soon.  Ish.
  • Taryn was permanently attached to our legs, absolutely unwilling to go up to a door at first, and then when she did she refused to speak.  When I asked her why she looked at my like I was totally crazy and said “I don’t talk to people I don’t know!!”  But midway through she was good, just had to get there in her own time and in her own way.
  • Teagan, on the other hand talked to every single person he came in contact with.  He marched right up to the first house and every single one after it, said “trick-or-treat” and “yee haw” and “thank you”.  He even threw in a few “see you later guys” for good measure.
  • Crazy they are from the same gene pool right?
  • Taryn asked me tonight about all the costumes she has worn over the years.  I had to really stop and think….a ladybug, a monkey, a pig, a dog, a buzz lightyear and now a jesse.  Teagan has been a monster, a karate kid and Woody.  I wonder if I could recount Ty and 13 Halloween costumes.  Maybe, but I’ll need some coffee first!
  • We got to hang out with and visit friends, so thankful for them.
  • Our ‘trade your candy for junk I would never normally buy store’ worked like a charm.  They loved it and happily traded their candy for the prizes!  My mom rocks.
  • I didn’t take one photo of Ty in his costume.  Total bummer.  He ditched us like hot potatoes.  Ah well, I can’t blame him for wanting to be with his friends.
  • Duder was really upset when he figured out Ty wasn’t going out trick-or-treating with us.  He laid it on thick, cried, pouted and demanded (not so nicely) one more “hug and tiss” before Ty headed out.  And then scowled some more.
  • Thank you to my dear friend Sara for the red glitter boots!  She got them for T for her birthday this summer and I’m so glad they still fit her for Halloween.  She has been stomping around in them for months and she got a lot of compliments on them tonight.
  • Duder’s candy bag got a lot too.  I can’t wait to start using it as my trinket and goodie bag at sessions.
  • The green nail polish on T….leftover from when my mom was here last week.  So not something I would do.  But I’m the mom and a stick in the mud.  The gee is fun.  And the gee said yes to green nail polish.  I’m glad she did because now that she’s returned home, it makes me smile.  Miss you mom!
2010-10-31T22:45:10-06:00October 31st, 2010|Austin Photographer, My Family|

10

1.   My sweet husband turns 33 today.  Happy Birthday Jase!

2.  He got P90X for his birthday and I have a feeling we’re about to get our butts kicked.  Ty, Jason and I have all lost weight with all the changes at our house (me 29 lbs, Jase 25ish and Ty 30ish) and we want to run with it.

3.  The little kids are actually gaining weight.  I swear I did a happy dance right there in our pediatricians office.  Duder is still in the same clothes he was in last fall and has been between 26 and 28 lbs for well over a year.  We are thankful he didn’t loose much while being sick but for he and Taryn to actually gain weight this month was huge, happy news at our house!  And they look healthy.  The dark circles under their eyes are disappearing, their skin and coloring looks better, they just look so healthy and I love that!

4.  I picked up my camera to take a photo of the kids for the first time in awhile tonight.  It has been too long, I must remedy that.

5.  This weekend will be a great opportunity – we’ve dubbed it “Grandparent-Palooza”.  My mom is coming in to town and we will also see Jason’s parents and grandparents!  So excited!

6.  We’ve decided to move Teagan and Taryn into the same bedroom.  We are taking it nice and slow, Teagan has been sleeping in her room all week at night and at naps and they are doing great with the transition so far.

7.  This blog post was just interrupted with a very loud THUD.  I stopped to listen because all 3 kids are sleeping and Jase is in the other room surfing the web.  I yelled out and asked Jase what that noise was….no answer….so I yelled out again, “hey, are you ok?

8.  Someone fell asleep at his desk and his forehead did a faceplant into his keyboard.  Awesome.  So awesome.  I can’t stop laughing.  He’s fine.  I did get up and check.  While laughing.  I totally can’t stop laughing.

9.  33 is gonna be a great year, I can feel it.

10.  Seriously, I can’t stop laughing.

2010-10-22T22:37:11-06:00October 22nd, 2010|My Family|

10 on Tuesday

1.  I woke up to a rude awakening of toddlers yelling directly into the monitor over who called who stupid at 5:03 am.  Maybe room sharing was a total dream…..sigh.  For the record, it was the duder.  We’re working on ridding his vocabulary of the word “doo-pid” and it makes me crazy.  I don’t like that word at all.  It went something like this:

Taryn:  MAAAAAWWWWM!  Teagan called me stupid!!
Teagan:  No I didn’t!
Taryn:  Yes you did Teagan!
Teagan:  No I didn’t!  Doo-Pid.

5:03 am.  Sigh.

2.  I made homemade, from scratch, banana bread on Monday with the kids only to leave it in the oven too long and burn it.  It smelled soooooo good.  And it was in the shape of little pumpkins.  Total bummer.

3.  Duder ran up to me when I got home from errands this afternoon with a big “I miss you SO SO much mommy!”  God, I love him.  Being able to talk again rocks.

4.  Had Taryn’s parent / teacher conference today.  I adore her teacher, absolutely adore her.  She gets Taryn.  Taryn is complicated, fabulous, yet complicated, so I really love that her teacher gets her.

5.  I really want to make these cute little guys.  And maybe a robot or two.  Duder likes robots.

6.  I also want to make these.  My kids love bubble wrap.

7.  And especially this.

8.  Last year Jase did all kinds of fun fall crafts with the kids.  I keep hoping he’ll pick that up again this year.  They did some cool stuff last year!

9.  I’m kind of bummed about the kids Halloween costumes this year….they are just so….typical.  Oh well, gone are the days I got to choose I suppose.  I wish we could do a family theme but I gave up on that idea when it was suggested I go as Little Bo Peep.  Not a chance.  Although…..if I agreed to it I would get to see my husband dressed up as Rex the dinosaur and run around saying “I don’t like confrontations!” and “my little arms” and “rhhhhaaarrrrr….were you scared?!”

10.  This totally cracks me up, I love it.  There might be one tucked away in my house somewhere.  And I might even share it with one of the children on Halloween.  Might being the keyword.  Cause I might keep it to myself too.  I think it makes the perfect grab bag for treats or little trinkets at the end of a session.  Much, much better than the brown paper bag I’ve been using!

Happy Tuesday!

2010-10-11T23:10:11-06:00October 11th, 2010|My Family|
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