Monday, February 27, 2012


I hear a lot of talk lately about how blogs are a thing of the past.  It breaks my heart a little since I've always really loved having this record going of our lives.  But I think I'm ok with it.  It was always supposed to be about saving the memories for myself and my family anyway right?  Certainly no reason to stop that-- and no reason that it has to be IN for it to be worth my time.  It sort of takes the pressure off and makes me feel like I can go back to my blogging "roots".  When I just wrote and wrote and never even spell checked because I didn't understand blogger yet.   Although it WAS fun back when we all had time to comment back and forth wasn't it?

Blogging has been constantly evolving for me.  It started as a way to keep in touch with a few close friends from college and keep tabs on each other's lives.  I loved that it gave my family a place to see pictures of my ONE little baby girl, Sophia. (I started when she was 1!)  Then I got into taking pictures and it became more of a hobby too--- to make my blog a little prettier, and have somewhere to share my pictures I thought were so lovely.  YIKES. (still good halloween memories, just really scary editing... and no that's not finn in a yellow tutu--- it's Mila.)

Unfortunately once I started taking pictures for other people, I got a little worse at taking pictures of my own family... and my blog became a little less of a thorough record of us.  I didn't love that turn.  Which is why I've loved instagram.  It's given me an easy way to be constantly documenting the little things... so the memories are SAFE and sound and if I blog them, in the (dreaded but unavoidable) blurb book.  Some day.

But every once in a while, when I pull out the real camera for one of their little faces, I remember why I used to want to post photos of them every single day.  Some things just never go out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A windy night at the park

A recent instagram that makes me happy. Red eyes and all.  I love it when everyone's heads fit in a little square.  Thanks for taking it Ross--- but we wish your head were in it too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My New White Kitchen

This was a bit more of an experience than I'd hoped.  I love my new white kitchen. I love it a million times more than when it was dark--- I pretty much love everything in my home lighter brighter and whiter right now.  BUT I did learn a few lessons that I thought I'd share.  Please don't mistake this explanation for me being negative or ungrateful!  But I've alluded to my kitchen dilemma and figured I should share.  Clearly I would have wanted to know.

I chose White Dove by Benjamin Moore... My painter had it matched somewhere.  He brought in a cabinet door after he sprayed it to get my ok and it looked lovely.  However, if I'm being honest, I wasn't exactly looking that hard. I trusted my research and it looked great.. I wasn't expecting anything else.  But after he took my cabinets and painted, then put them back on.  My heart sank.  It didn't look like that nice thick soft white kitchen.  It looked almost just primed.  Kinda...... blue.

It took me over a week to get up the nerve to call him back.  I figured it was my fault and I'd chosen the wrong color--- and I was just sick about it.  But then I went and picked up a can of white dove myself, painted a board and compared.  It was So so so so different.  The white I chose had some yellow in it--- in fact, if anything, MORE yellow than I thought I'd want.  It looked more yellow than my swiss coffee mantle.  The white on my cabinets looked blue.  It was a totally different color!

Luckily when I called him, he assured me he'd do what it took to make me happy (!!) --- he came back, agreed that it looked like there weren't enough coats.  That must be the problem .  I really considered changing the color completely, but felt like I was pushing, as it was.  And he seemed confident that all it needed was a few more coats.  That it was the hint of dark wood coming through that dulled the white to a blueish grayish shade.

So now it's done.  And it is an improvement from the first time, and I LOVE it.  But I knew right away that it wasn't perfect.   I still saw the hint of blue.  But this is what he ended up explaining to me when he brought them back.  Had I known this I WOULD have chosen a different color.

He explained that they have to dilute the paint with lacquer to spray it on the cabinets.  Depending on the size of the spray gun, they dilute it more or less, so it comes out nice and smooth and doesn't clog the gun. That completely changes the color.  He said it would never match the color painted on by hand.  He didn't feel like he needed to explain this to me before because he sprayed the sample before hand, but he accidentally used a different gun to spray my sample so I got one version on the sample and a more diluted version in my kitchen.  He was the nicest guy--- totally happy to do the WHOLE job again for free to make me happy.  And I would actually use him again--- now that I know this.

My sister had told me that she chose swiss coffee for her cabinets and feels like they just grabbed a can of pure white because it looks too stark.  Now it all makes sense? Is this what happens to everyone who paints their cabinets?

WHY wouldn't they just explain it all before, so you'd choose the color accordingly.  A more saturated warmer white?  OR why wouldn't they have a formula where they buy your color at a higher opacity to compensate for the diluting process????  Why wouldn't they tell you that while you spent hours researching and sampling to choose your white, you'll just be ending up with watered down elmers-glue white?  I just don't get it. But in case you're in the market for having your cabinets painted... I would ask your painter if this will be an issue... and how you can be sure to get your color.

Hopefully you saw the photos and thought... what is she complaining about? And don't see the blue and just think I'm obnoxious.  Or maybe you're impossible to please and see every flaw like me. :)

So, do you remember the before? Of course this is all I could come up with.  The one I snapped with my phone after they took  the cabinets off.  I realize it's not a fair comparison since it's under construction, and there's junk everywhere... but you get the idea.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I've decided I'm a fan of Valentine's Day

So we planned on making these cute cookies from 30 days blog... but we made them way too big... so we bagged the sandwiching idea and just kept them like this.  Then we still didn't have enough.. so we did some cut out rice crispy treats too...
These are the tags we used for the top of their cellophane bags.

Finished product.  Not as cute as Mique's heart oreos.... but cute enough.

This is the extent of a valentine gift for Ross. We don't do gift gifts.  Which I'm grateful for since it's hard enough for me to pull his birthday together in January so soon after Christmas.  So I did a little picture banner.  A look-at-us-we're-so-in-love token above our bed in case it's a go-to-bed angry kind of night..  Whoa... way too much work to put that many hyphens in a sentence.  Another lesson learned.

 I just made a super simple little fake polaroid template as a 4x6 in photoshop (it's down below if you're into that sort of thing and want to download it. Open in photoshop, drag your photo on top of my gray square, right click, create clipping mask, ctl-T if you need to resize your photo to fit, hit the infinite sign above so you don't stretch it to weird proportions.) Then I printed them at Costco as a 4x6's and trimmed the bottom.  If you want, you can write things like "I love you more than Hula Pie" because your photo's at the Cliffhouse and you REALLY love hula pie, or "I think you're nicer than all the white people in Maui" because you were surprised at how many white people were on Maui and how unfriendly lots of them were... really romantic things like that.

Cookies and pictures for Valentine's Day.  Sometimes I'm just so innovative I feel the need to share.

Also chocolate.  I suggest chocolate.

Here's my genius polaroid template.

fake polaroid.psd

PS. Can you tell I finally switched the newer blogger interface and can't figure it out.  It's AMAZING because I don't have to edit the html for 15 minutes to make my pictures bigger... but I can't figure out how to make my photos stay lined up and keep my text the same size with the captions etc.... 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I remember the first time I saw this photo, thinking it was terrible.  Eyes closed, no make-up, stringy hair.   Recently the girls dug out some old albums and I sifted through a bunch of old photos and this one made my heart melt.  After being in hiding for all these years, it turns out, I love it.  

We were in the airport on our way home from our honeymoon in Cabo.  I can still remember the kind of happiness I felt.  I didn't think it could get any better.  How could it be so easy? How could we be so lucky, that from that point on, we got to live in the same house, make food together, watch Friends reruns all night and be together ALL the time!? Way too good to be true.  Life was sweet.

And it really was sweet... and it really was easy.  

Having kids changes everything--- they always said so.  And it is true. And this is where I sound so super-cheery-blogger-annoying.  

Life is so much BETTER now.  And not just because I discovered make up and that eyelash growing stuff and Ross shaved off his sideburns.  It's so much busier and maybe lots more challenging and maybe I don't look quite so carefree-- but I love my husband SO much more today than I did back then.  I have so much more adoration, admiration, respect, attraction ... all of it.  I think my love back then was based a lot on that feeling of being wanted and loved--- still young and narcissistic.  It was all about me.  

I don't think I ever could have known what seeing him as a father could do for me.  Everyone wants a man who's good with kids.  And you do the best you can to watch for signs and hope he likes playing with his nieces and nephews--- if only that really said much.  It takes a man who genuinely loves his role as husband and father and puts it above all other roles.  He finds his pride and joy in those things... so it's not some internal struggle for him to try and keep his priorities straight.  He wants to be home.  He wants to be a part of what we do and what we talk about and no matter how tired he is, he wants to give his time and attention and silly voices to those kids at night so that every single day they know he loves them.  

When he pulled out the musical handwritten cards for the girls this morning that I didn't know he'd brought home, I had this glimpse of what it would be like for them as teenagers-- with this dad.  

Snoop doggy dog played over and over again while they opened and closed their puppy cards and had us read the adoring words of their daddy.  I pictured bad-news-teenage-boys, and confused young teenage girls from school, and all things this generation that TERRIFY me for when my kids get older---- and I thought--- those things don't stand a chance.  Not against these kids.  Not with this dad. 

And that's when I'm certain I could never love a person more.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Dear Finn,

I know the first one's blurry... but I love that little-man-grimace you give me while you breath so deliberately through your teeth, and that hole in your knee, and your herniated belly button.  That's a first for us.

YOU are 13 months old.  Or you were at the end of January.  Where does the time go? I can not keep up these days.  Let's blame you.  You're a busy guy right now.

You still nurse a little bit.  It's just here and there.  Maybe just once a day. And I'm mourning that coming to an end.  Those will always be some of my most precious moments with you.  First thing in the morning is my favorite, when I plop you next to me in bed and you roll on your side and I pull my knees up to cradle your warm little body.  I get to wrap my arms around you so you're almost all enclosed-- I feel like a mama-kanga.  When else would you lie still with me in bed for minutes at a time?  Hundreds of seconds? Heaven. You use your free hand to try and play with my hair.  You can't buy moments like that.

However, you definitely like food too.  Like food food.  We didn't do mush for long.  It's too hard to find the time to sit down and spoon feed you.  Sorry.  I think you like to control your shove-it-in-your-face pace anyway.  Your favorite foods are pasta, pancakes, turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, melted ham and cheese sandwiches, cuties (little oranges-- you eat these faster than I can put them on your tray) and blueberries.  You're awfully impatient when you've decided you want to eat and I usually end up trying to prepare something with one arm while you're on my hip rather than listen to you scream with that grimace (see top photos) from your high chair.

I think if I kept track, you've had more midnight wake-ups than your sisters ever did.  And there's been weeks here and there where you consistently get me out of bed.  And we're usually not in bed 'till after midnight, so I'm tired.  But for some reason, it hasn't really bothered me like it used to.  More than a little part of me was happy to steal those quiet, tender sleepy moments with you.  Is it because you're my third and I'm less terrified that I'm creating a monster and more like --- "eh- he's a baby?"

But for the most part, you've been a good sleeper since you were a couple of months old.  And your naps have seemed so easy and consistent.  You often still take three in a day, -- sometimes two.  Depending on when you wake up.  If you're up at 6, you go right back down for an early one.  If you're up at 7, we'll wait 'till after gym and maybe just fit two.  You don't like to be awake for much more than 3 hours at at time.  And (unless your sick or teething) you're happy and easy and then the moment you're not, I put you down.  And you don't fight it one bit.  You look up at me when I lay you in your bed as if to say "ahhhhh..... it's about time." you love your bed.  Is this boring to the future you? Somehow it seems significant to me.  And it's my blog, look at the title.

You're not walking yet, but this last week, you made some serious progress in that arena.  You love to walk with me and then push my hands away.  You stand there, with Kelly Slater -like balance, and then get so excited that you start breathing all hard through your teeth again, flapping your wings, and clapping for yourself, until you sit or bend over and fall.  You SORT OF maybe kinda took a couple of your first steps two days ago, a little shuffle left.  We all cheered. It's coming.  You're going to be a professional athlete.

Words? For sure.  You say "mama" and "dada"-- I'm certain you know what they mean.  I remember when your sisters were babies, I didn't feel convinced that their first words had meaning.  But I'm sure you know who's mama and who's dada.  I think you tried to parrot me saying "i love you' the other day too.  Oh and you do "uh oh" -- and when you're calling for the girls.... it's consistent, but just "uhhhh?!! uhh???!!!" all over the house.  sophia? mila?! where are you?! 

You don't watch anything on screens yet.  Your sisters did.  Sorry... the lot of the third child, there is plenty of entertainment around here.  So you have to miss out on watching bunnies jump and caterpillars creep to classical music.  You watch the GIRLS watch movies on our phones, but all you want to do is stick that phone in your mouth.

Here's a normal day for you at 13 months: 
7:00 am -  wake, nurse, get dressed, play on the floor in our room, back and forth to the girls room and ours, or crawl downstairs alone like a big boy to play in the toyroom.
7:45 am- we join you downstairs and you have real breakfast
9:00 am- you play at the gym while I workout for an hour or so.
10:20 am - we race you home and into your bed--- where you sleep like a
12:30 you wake up and have lunch, then play in the backyard usually, with Sawyer and Mila.
2:45 We go pick up Sophia and you drink lots of water and Mila feeds you snacks if you get cranky.  Big sisters are the best.
3:30 back down for anther nap. "ahhhh..... it's about time zzzzzz"
5:30 up and ready the last few minutes of light outside with your sisters, then dinner, bath, DAD, play...
7:00 and back to bed.

I dream of making a video that shows a day in our life.  So that I won't miss a thing.  I can feel it right now--- that we're in a sweet sweet phase of life.  Not like a, 'I bet I'll look back on this and wish I enjoyed it' phase, but like 'I wish I could freeze time RIGHT NOW and enjoy it longer.'  It's a good one.  And I think it has a lot to do with the fact that you still let me hold you as long as I'm willing and squish my face in your cheeks to my heart's content.  That's powerful stuff.  

Please don't grow up.  Ok but do.  At least 13 months is recorded.  And if you're horrendous next month, I'll always have this post.  Check.  

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Because I didn't have time to post but hate when I open my blog to no photo. And because--

look at him.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Collage Template... still waiting for some genius to tell me what to do...

So I still haven't figured out how to make something available for download-- so anyone can just grab it whenever... (isn't that possible?!) But in the mean time, I'll shoot out an email for you girls who said you'd want a template for an "instagram" collage. I'll include a 20x30 template and a 19x27 option (which is what I ended up needing for my new ikea frames.) You could obviously make it bigger or smaller, but if you need different proportions, you'll have to do quite a bit of maneuvering. Unless you don't mind the edges getting cropped in the frame etc... hopefully it helps somebody else with a little project!

Just send me your email address here in a comment (*updated since I've realized it's a lot easier to not miss you if it's in a comment instead of an email.)

Also, I posted more of sweet Will with his amazing head of hair over on my photo blog. Check him out.

*UPDATE* I think (thanks to Ainsley!), I finally figured out how to make the file something you can just download. Let's see if this works! I think it should just download right away for you when you click on it. Watch for it in your downloads. You might not see anything happening.

There are a few people that I haven't emailed with it yet, and a few who for some reason, the email didn't go through for. Hopefully you see this and it works! (Someone let me know if it doesn't??)

instagram collage 20x30.psd

Tips for instagram collage.docx

It's all about the presentation

I've always struggled with regular family dinners where we all eat at the same time. My kids are starving and begging for dinner at like 5, and Ross is home and ready for dinner by 6-- at best. I can't figure out how to make it happen! It works out sometimes, but it's hit and miss, and I'm not creating that regular conversation-around-the-dinner-table setting that I've always planned. Everyone's remedy is to give them a snack before... but in my mind, that meant I was busy and letting them fill up on crackers (bleh) before dinner. Not the goal.

So I was having this conversation with a friend the other day and she said the rule in her house is just fruits and veggies after 4... 'till dinner. I like it.

But will they? That's the question.

No. That's the answer. ( I think to myself.)

I'll have a revolt.

Can I handle a revolt in the middle of the 4:30 -6:30 night-time rush?

Mmm... I'm thinking not. I'm weak.

But then she recommended the cupcake tin. A fun way to make your own veggie (fruit.. and whatever else is healthy enough to feel ok about before dinner) tray. Put it outside for a picnic and you're pretty much mother of the year.

Beat them to their out-of their-minds hunger craze and they don't even know that what they really wanted was a baggie-o-empty-calories.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Collages framed ??

So I really like them--- but I really wish they could be crazy big like the pinterest inspiration. They look even smaller than I thought they would. And even SMALLER in these photos for some reason. They still make me so happy when I pass them since there are so MANY fun moments and memories tucked in there. But I'm thinking I should print them larger and take out the mats.?? Which I'd thought about, but Costco doesn't print any larger than these 20x30's and the price goes WAY up to do a 30x40 at the printing labs I've used. Hmm...

I've had a few people ask about how I did the collages. I made the template in photoshop and then plugged in my photos... of course I've saved the unmerged file without my photos. If someone can tell me where to upload it so others can download it, then I could get on that-- in case anyone else could use a simple grid template for their photos. You'd have to have some understanding of layers in photoshop or elements. I think it would work just fine in elements too??

Anyway--- anyone know how I make a PSD file available for download?

UPDATE--- I learned how! here are the links--- someone let me know if it doesn't work.

And PS. There are easier ways to make a collage through picasa for picnik... etc... I like being able to customize and have a bit more control. But it is a lot more work.

instagram collage 20x30.psd

Tips for instagram collage.docx