Friday, February 17, 2012

The brink

I remember many times in my own life in which I've felt like I was on the brink.  The first I clearly remember is feeling too old for the clothes in the "girls" department, but knowing there was NO WAY my mom was going for the stuff in the teen departments.  It happened to me again when I realized I was too old for the teen clothes but couldn't bring myself to shop in the women's department at places like Macy's.

With Stella, I feel like I missed some of the brinks.  Her developmental stages kind of flew up and smacked me in the face.  "Oh my gosh, when did she become a REAL KID?" The feeling was frequently accompanied by tears.

Well, here we are with Lu on the brink of toddlerhood and I'm all too aware it's happening.  We felt her first little tooth on Friday (10th) at 10 1/2 months.  She was late just like her big sister.  I dread first teeth, one of my favorite things is a little gummy smile!  She's cruising so much, communicating more everyday, getting frustrated when we don't understand what she wants.  She definitely knows who she loves and is happy to lunge toward them when she sees them.

One of my favorite things is that she's starting to LOVE to snuggle!  I always miss the snuggling when they get to the stage where they think they're "too big" to lay their head down on you like a baby.  You know that stage?  They think they're pretty big stuff and it's one way they can show some independence.  Then all of the sudden the day comes when they're big enough to WANT to snuggle again and understand that it's a form of affection and comfort.  She is so funny, she'll love on people any chance she gets.  If she's in trouble, she lays her head on your shoulder, if she's tired and you're sitting, she'll lay her head on your lap.  The other day Sheri was standing in the kitchen and apparently Lucy wanted some attention so she crawled over and snuggled her little face right on Sheri's feet.

As much as I'm saddened to see my baby growing up SO fast, I'm also so very excited for the stages coming up.  I'm so looking forward to the day when she can join in the girl fun with Stella and I.  Movies snuggling on the couch, doing our nails, baking, etc.  Right now we tend to do those things while she sleeps and it kind of feels like we're holding out on her or leaving her out.

This looks EXACTLY like the picture of her 3D ultrasound!  The picture that made me think there was something wrong with my baby or that it must be all of the fluid making her face look so fat.  I remember thinking, "surely, if there's something wrong with her the tech would know and tell me!"  Her cheeks really are that fat.  :)

This is from our attempted Valentine's photo shoot.  I may not have gotten great Valentine's pictures, but I do love this little face.  I just want to squish it and kiss it all over.

Daddy got each of his girls a balloon and a flower for Valentine's day.  He couldn't have done anything better.
She doesn't really know her Great-Grandpa, but she was tired.  He asked she'd let him hold her.  I wasn't sure since she was tired and doesn't know him very well.  She more than let him, she snuggled her face right into his neck and went to sleep.  He was in Grandpa Heaven, but my Dad was just a bit jealous. :)

This is another picture from our attempted photo shoot. Probably not the safest thing to let her put a balloon in her mouth, but it's so her and I wanted a picture before I took it away and the Mean One let me know I'm a horrible person.
On Monday we wanted to make some treats for Valentine's Day.  Lu was having a bit of a rough day with a fever and being a little crabby from the teething.  I gave her a little Motrin and then she used the thing as a teether.  She's not a huge fan of the Ergo, I think it makes her feel claustrophobic, but I LOVE it and it was the only way we were getting those treats made.  She just wanted to be held (and I think she wants to be up with us to see what's going on.)
Happy Friday!  Lady and the Tramp is supposed to be delivered today and it's supposed to get stormy tonight so we're planning a family movie night with a fire!  (I'm kind of hoping that we're on our way to spring and that fire weather is coming to an end.  I love them, but I really need us to have a better spring than the last two.)   Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Rapunzel party for a very special 4 year old.

I can't believe that the little girl we waited for for sooo long turned 4 just after Christmas (and that I'm so late blogging about it)!  The four years she's been with us definitely went by much more quickly and were so much more fulfilling than the four we spent waiting for her!  

This is the first year she got to pick the theme totally on her own and she wanted Rapunzel.  I didn't get very good pictures (I'm always too busy trying to enjoy it to take pics).  For her birthday we got her a Rapunzel dress.  We ordered it from Etsy and she did such a great job.  We did a small cake and cupcakes with Rapunzel rings to decorate.
Opening presents:
Being silly posing by the table with her cousin:
The fam:  (there were multiple people with cameras and we didn't get a single picture that turned out with all of us looking at the same camera.)
She got an Easy Bake Oven!  I think this was my favorite gift - I've been waiting to have a daughter to do this with for YEARS!
Her cake (that she bumped up against):
We made lanterns!  They turned out pretty cute and didn't look nearly as lop-sided as they look in these pictures.  Our flameless candles fit in them perfectly.

This girl amazes us every day.  She is so funny, sassy, bossy, smart, and compassionate.  I'm blown away by how good she is to Lucy which makes me the happiest Mama in the world, and I'm so proud of the little person she's turning into right in front of us.  She's not allowed to move away.  Ever.  I'm already planning the commune we'll live in when they're grown, it will be a pre-req for any guy that wants to date them. :) 

Now I have to start planning Lucy's first birthday party.  I need a good theme, any fun ideas?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My latest attempt at editing pictures

Though I have and really like Photoshop, I am TERRIBLE at using it!  I see all of the amazing things that people do with it and all I've ever been able to figure out is how to use actions that others make to edit my pictures.  While it's great to be able to do that, I've always wanted to be able to do more.  I'd love to be able to use layers/masks/etc.

We don't have Photoshop on our computers at work.  I used to be able to use Picnik, but since it's days are numbered I was looking for another option.  Someone recommended Pixlr to me so I tried it out today on the pictures I took of the girls for Valentine's day.  Before we get to the edits, a bit about the picture taking process with our girls...

I tried to take pictures for Valentine's Day cards yesterday.  I'd gotten suckers and balloons to try to keep their attention and it was a nice day (and I was running out of time) so I decided to do it after school yesterday. I knew it wasn't great timing, but I didn't really have any other option this late in the game.

Jim was home and tried to "help", but it was pure frantic chaos!  Moving furniture, blowing up balloons, and trying to get two girls to be still, look at the camera and maybe even smile was NOT easy! In fact, we didn't get a single picture where they were both looking at the camera.  Lucy spent most of the time crawling around after balloons.

I did get a couple I liked, but nothing I loved.  This is the one that I think I like the best.  But... something about it kept bothering me.

I finally realized that it was the red balloon "floating" behind Stella.  I've seen pictures where photographers remove something from a picture, but I've never done it and have VERY limited Photoshop skills.  Still, something made me give it a try.

Here's the "after".  It's obviously FAR from perfect and you can tell where I messed with it.  I still like it better than the original though.  Of course pictures of them smiling sweetly at the camera would be wonderful, but this look between them is priceless!

Once I got a taste of it I wanted to try it again.  There was a little bit of table showing up in this picture so I thought I'd get a bit more practice in.  Again, far from perfect, but I think it's passable if you don't know I did anything?

 Here it is without: Not a huge difference, but I like it better without.

I'm just including this one because it makes me happy.

And... I think this is our final Valentine's Day card!  Every time I try to make cards I make a ton and then can't pick one.  The final choice is usually left up to Daddy.  This is his pick.  (Though there's supposed to be blue chevron in the middle...  I'll have to check that out.)

I really like this one, but Jim wanted both pictures to be on it.  I did have it printed for myself though.  :)

Do you have any editing tricks for me?  What software/site do you use?

Monday, February 6, 2012

It doesn't take much

I'm sure that Jim and my students would say that it doesn't take much to annoy me sometimes.  Luckily, I also think that most of the time it doesn't take much to make me really smile.

We took a little trip across the mountains to see my grandparents.  I don't get to see them nearly as much as I'd like and cherish the time my girls and I get to spend with them.  There something so very special about grandparents.  It's crazy that the entire time we were there I only took 1 picture.  It was such a special one though and I'll definitely post it as soon as it's off my camera.

Here are a FEW of the things that have made me happy over the last few days.  (Of COURSE they don't include the big life things...  just little day brighteners).  If I could post a picture of the amazing weather we've been having lately that would definitely make the list as well.

Since when did Starbucks start having Valentine's day cups?  Seriously - good move, I LOVE them!

It's not too often anymore that my little miss falls asleep while someone holds her - I treasure those moments!
Just TWO of the fun new nail polishes I got while away this weekend.  Who'd have thought Yakima would have an Ulta?  I seriously loved it and will be dragging either my sister or a friend to Southcenter as soon as I can to waste a few hours and do some damage with the good ole debit card!
This is how we do prayers at our house.  Sadly, Daddy is missing from this picture, but the rule is "everybody's touching everybody".  It's one big cuddle pile of family love.  Stella always has to be laying on Lucy and Lucy is usually patting Stella's head.

Just a glimpse of the sky a few mornings ago.  What I'd give if we could have this lovely spring weather from here until summer, it's amazing what a bit of sun can do for your spirits.

I hope you all had a great weekend and are finding lots of little things to make your hearts happy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

She's me

I'm sure I've said it before, but my "baby" 4 year old is so much like her Mama.  (She's like her Daddy in some ways too, but that's not the focus today.)

A week or so ago Stella wanted to decorate for Valentine's Day.  She's very into holidays and is always talking about what's coming up and is disturbed when the St. Patrick's Day stuff is out before Valentine's Day.  She was pretty bummed when I informed her that we don't have Valentine's Day decorations.  I spared her the lengthy discussion about Valentine's Day being forced upon us by Hallmark and various other merchants.  Someday we'll have discussions about wanting to spend your time with someone who does nice things for you just because rather than because the holiday dictates it.  We'll also talk about how red roses and candy are the lamest of all gifts and how much more meaningful it is to get something they put some thought and effort into even if it's the smallest/least expensive of gifts.

While I was out the other day I got her a couple of things to decorate with thinking she'd be so excited.  I didn't quite get the reaction I was hoping for.  She excitedly opened the bag and then said, "Mom.  This is it?!?"  After having another little chat about being lucky and having a grateful heart (which is a talk we seem to be having a lot these days), we moved on.  She put up a few window clings but the rest of the decorations are still sitting where she left them.

I thought it would be fun to make another yarn wreath.  I LOVED my Christmas one and I saw an adorable one on Pinterest.  The wreath is done but we're currently having a bit of a disagreement over the color of the hearts.  I want red AND pink, she wants it all red.

She's me.  When she decides something should be a certain way she digs in those little 4-year old heels and fights for it.  I love that about her, but it's also already the cause of some little battles and I can only imagine the wars that will ensue when those heels get a bit more force behind them.  There will come a time we'll talk about how important it is to know when to keep digging and when to just let go.  I think it's especially important with those we love.

There are times that as a Mom I feel I MUST win.  She needs to know she is not in control and I admit she needs reminders of it from time to time.  I also know that there are things that just do NOT matter and it's important to me to let that sweet little spirit shine and her creativity bloom.

I think we'll finish the wreath up tonight.  I need to cut out a few more red hearts. ;)

 Here's her forced laugh.  Others might not notice it's not quite authentic, but Mama does.
 It's turned real here...

 Purposely trying to ham it up.  A little real, a little act.

We're headed out of town in the morning.  We get to spend the night with my grandparents.  I love seeing them and letting the girls get to know them.  I only wish they lived closer!  I'm taking her finished both of the girls' finished sweaters, hopefully the weather will be nice enough for me to get some pictures of them modeling!