Saturday, January 28, 2012

finding my style {in photography}

In October I had the opportunity to meet Sharon of Sharon Johnson Photography, and I got listen to her talk about her passion for photography.  It was that day my whole idea of what I wanted to capture with my own camera changed, and what also changed is how I was going to hire a photographer in the future.

Sharon was showing us (the Sassy girls) some of her work, and I specifically remember getting a little choked up looking at a birth story she had done. I could feel the emotion in each and every picture that she took of that couple experiencing the birth of their baby. Her work was powerful, and made me wish for a birth story for each one of my own children. I don't think that there was one woman around that table that night that didn't either say "I wish I could have had this done" or "I wish I was having a baby so that I could do this!" All the pictures are just that amazing.

That night Sharon took some head shots, and I didn't think much of it.  She had us just sit on the couch, and snapped a few pictures while chatting it up in between shots.  It was as casual as it sounds...and I loved the experience.
Now lets flash back to when little Devin was a fresh one.  My friend Kimmie (and fellow Sassy) offered to come to my house and take newborn pictures of him. Seriously...these are my favorite pictures I have ever had taken to date. I love that they are so very personal.  Devin is laying on my bed, in my bedroom, with sunlight from my window. I didn't even get ready that morning (or clean my room), and yet the pictures of me holding him I am absolutely in love with.  I look at myself and remember how exhausting those first few days are with a newborn, and the shirt I am wearing was maternity.  They have so many memories attached.
When Savannah was little I was all about props for the photos, dollin' her up, making sure she looked absolutely perfect, I may have even made her practice smiling. But guess what?  Savannah hates this. Savannah likes wearing cozy clothes, and can't stand having her hair done. I realized why am I making Savannah do something that she doesn't like, and guess what kind of memories she is going to have when she looks at all of our pictures?  I am sure the memories will be something along the lines of "Uh, my Mom was crazy, and always made me be someone I wasn't for those stupid things!"
So guess what I have done since October?

I don't just take pictures of my kids when they are in their Sunday best.  I don't delete those pictures where they aren't looking directly into the camera.  I don't delete those pictures where I didn't catch the moment fast enough, and Devin has a blurry hand. I have learned those are my favorite moments.  Those are the moments I want my kids to remember.
Also, when Sharon was offering little mini Valentine sessions, and offered me a spot...I jumped at the chance. I didn't spend hours picking out their outfits. Savannah's hair looked just like it does every day. Sharon let them jump on the bed, throw confetti, eat cookies, and just be kids...and she captured every moment.  I sat back and was so very thankful I finally realized what my photography style is before my kids were all grown up.

Disclosure: I was not paid by Sharon or Kimmie to write this post.  I truly just love what they have done for me. If you decide to hire them, tell 'em I sent you...because that is awesome. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

valentine cards.

December 2011 was not my month.  I usually send out Christmas cards, but I just didn't have it in me. I had looked up New Year cards, but then we found out we were actually having a baby...and the New Year card idea quickly seemed like more than I could take on.
At Savannah's school they do not do class parties, which means no Valentine cards are exchanged at school. Since Savannah still so desperately wants to give them, our new tradition was born.
Remember those cheesy boxes of Valentine cards you buy at the grocery store?  Well, after I received an email from a photographer friend offering to her past clients adorable Valentine cards, I knew I had to step up my game! I mean, I can't be sending out cheap Sponge Bob Valentine cards if I wanted to be taken seriously.
With the stress of the holidays behind us, we really enjoyed putting together our cards. We have come up with new people to send them to every everyone will be getting them in "waves". Oh, and the lines at the post office are short, making this Mommy a happy one.
Have you thought about mixing it up, and sending out Valentine cards instead of the traditional Christmas? Or maybe just being an awesome person and doing both! :)

*All images are off of Tiny Prints, and link directly back to their website.

*Before ordering your cards off of Tiny Prints check measurements on the card you are ordering.  Some of the cards are the itty bitty ones...and I don't want you to be disappointed!

*Disclosure: Tiny Prints offered me free Valentine cards for posting, but all opinions are my own...and the Valentine cards that I have sent out already are not from Tiny Prints.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

i'm totally diggin'.

I am totally diggin' that Devin loves his big boy underwear, and spends hours in the bathroom sitting on the toilet. I think I need to add a basket full of books to the back of the toilet for his viewing pleasure.

I am totally diggin' berry sherbet with sprite. Think root beer float with totally different flavors, or just think baby shower...because that is what it reminds me of.

I am totally diggin' all the itty bitty baby girl clothes hanging in the closet.

I am totally diggin' our Wii, and how much fun Savannah and I have getting to new worlds and levels. A big high five to Santa Claus for giving her a gift we all enjoy.

I am totally diggin' that we have a mini vacation planned...totally spur of the moment, much needed, and should be a blast.  I am thinking no bed times, lots of junk food, and watching kids swim is in order for this vacation.

I am totally diggin' that I can still fit in my regular jeans.

I am totally diggin' conversation hearts, because when Savannah gets one that says "marry me"...she someone just really asked her.

I am totally diggin' life right now.

What are you totally diggin?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

a medical update of sorts.

Today was my first prenatal visit.

I was a bit nervous...of course, I was thinking all the negative things the Dr. could tell me instead of positive.

My Dr. is lovely, and spent ample time explaining what actually happened to me.  Up to this point we had been assuming and going off of what the ultrasound tech had thought might have happened.

The idea was that I had a cyst rupture.  This was not the case.

All the hemorrhaging was coming from baby, not cyst. Right now I am still on pelvic rest (laugh it up, it's a funny term). No vacuuming, no hanky panky, and try to lift Devin up as little as possible. I am doing a pretty good job, because I have had no bleeding for almost two weeks.  Go Von!

do have a very large cyst. It is about 13 centimeters in width...which is a little over 5 inches. I had hoped that they would be able to remove my cyst when we were in the delivery it a two-fer, but no such luck.  My cyst is much too large, and will require them to put me under, incision, and an additional overnight stay in the hospital. Oh, and depending on what the cyst has done to my innocent ovary, that may be removed as well. The Dr. would like to see this surgery take place in the next 6-8 weeks, before my 3rd trimester. If I don't get it done now, I will have to go back in for surgery when baby girl is 2 weeks old.  Both are not options I want, but are reality. We will make a decision hopefully soon.

On a high girl looks good. She is shy, and doesn't like people prodding. She doesn't care for food much, because I have successfully lost 6 pounds in 2 weeks. Right now if she does want any food it is fresh fruit, Mexican food, or any and all dairy.

I could not be more excited to meet this little girl, and Savannah is excited to wear matching outfits. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

making friends.

If you haven't stopped by Vanessa's blog this week, I think you should.  Women are sharing how to make friends as a grown woman...I have learned so much. So enlightening.

I can always come up with a million excuses as to why I don't try harder to get to know people, or why I don't find the time to connect with my already existing friends. The truth is, I have been a lame friend, and I am going to repent and try harder.  In trying harder that doesn't mean I will magically be able to have a night out with my lady friends every other day, or a play date every day...but I can make improvements. I am that girl with good intentions, and poor follow through.  It is a trait I am most desperately trying to change.
{this is Cathy, after being internet friends FOR-EVER, I finally made the time to meet her for lunch yesterday. so I introduce to you, my newest IRL friend. she is lovely on her blog, but even more so in person. I just couldn't get over how short I am compared to everyone. so, go say hi.}

Since I am mostly failing at my goal of waking up 6 AM, maybe I should make it a goal to be a better friend. I am already feeling pretty good about this one, since I met Cathy this week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

spelling bee

Savannah has been working hard on a list of words this past month, because her school is having a spelling bee. Her and I didn't know that Daddy had a secret weapon for learning the words quickly until last night...and then she cried that she was going to embarrass herself and not spell something right.

I didn't realize how important this spelling bee was to her.

Lesson learned.

We were in the car a few days ago, and she was really stressed about only having a few days left to practice. Then she went on to say...

"Mom, if I win I get to go to that place, ya know, the one where Obama lives!"

I must have said something, oh wow.

Then she said...

"I really need to win, because we need a family vacation, and that could be it!"


Today as she hopped out of the car, I yelled "Good luck on that spelling bee Savannah...either way it will be okay!"

And she smiled.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

semi wordless wednesday: when we're helping, we're happy.

I am learning to love every day of the week.

Wednesday is looking better and better. 

I love Wednesday, because it is pizza day for Savannah...I have to pack a lunch every other day, but Wednesday is my break.

Wednesday means I have made it through half of the week.
Wednesday, I think I will keep you around. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

our baby.

I usually don't feel overly religious, it just isn't me.  I wanted to jot this story down even if it feels awkward for me, because I think it will be great for our new baby girl to read.

Paul and I always knew we were going to have two girls.  We joke that we just didn't know there was a Devin for us.  If Devin would have been a girl, we would have been done. I have never felt so strongly that we needed to have another baby than the day we brought our Devin home from the hospital.  I had such an awful pregnancy with him, and yet the feelings were so strong that I needed to do it just one more time.

After everything that happened in his first year of life, I went up and down on wanting more. That depression stuff can do a number on your emotions.

We were surprised when we found out we were expecting baby #3.  I cried, and Paul was the glue that held us together.  I have never had an easy pregnancy, and I was scared to do it all over again...especially after just having such an ugly period of time.

I knew from the very beginning this was "our girl".  My boy pregnancy and girl pregnancy were very different, and all signs pointed to this being so much like a girl pregnancy. It is hard to explain that feeling of just knowing.

After all the crazy stuff went down, and we thought we lost the baby...I knew I had accomplished what I set out to do.  Even though a Dr. didn't tell me that our baby was a girl, I knew.  Paul and I had several talks about him wanting that girl we knew we were suppose to have, and me telling him I was really, really done.  It didn't feel weird to say we were finished, I was really at peace.  I could see the big picture, the plan...if you will.

Paul laughs and says that this baby knew after how serious I was about being done, this was her last chance to make it to our family...and she better just hang on tight in there.  Whatever the reason she made it through all of this, and still continues to thrive, we are so happy she did.  She will definitely be the perfect ending to our family, and a story that we won't soon forget. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

RIP Kevin Snoop Dre Sell

Since I just talked about how this guinea pig was my biggest regret of 2011, I require no sympathy comments when I say I found Kevin dead today.
Savannah however is trying to make everyone feel sorry for her.  I mean it is a little sad, but I feel more sad that the poor guinea pig was chosen to come to our house.  Truth is...Savannah was not ready for a pet, and Paul and I are not pet people. 


Let us all just say poor Kevin, because he was really our "guinea pig".  The one we tested our ability to be a pet family, and we failed miserably.

We said our goodbyes.  Savannah had a good cry, and then I gave her a Zooble pet that I promised would never die...and we are good to go again.


Except she said she wanted a dog now, and I may have said a big ol' heck-to-the-no!

PS To the person who gave us Kevin, I love you still...and I do not blame you for giving us a pet. :)  Although you might regret giving him to us, because we apparently suck at this gig.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


After having the 1:00 PM church time for too many years to count, we finally got the early schedule. Before children we would have moaned and grumbled about getting up early...but now...WE LOVE IT!

When we woke up this morning Paul and I worked together to get our family ready to leave.  Paul was doing baths, while I was getting breakfast ready for everyone.  I picked out clothes, and Paul dressed the boy. It is nice when everything runs smoothly. 

Because Devin still takes two naps {which is lovely}, church will still interfere with a nap...BUT Devin is so much happier.

Which makes all of us much more fun to be around.

Happy Sabbath friends. 2012 just keeps getting better.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

birthday party + siblings

Savannah and Devin were invited to a double birthday party for siblings.  When I told Savannah that Devin got an invite too, the first thing out of her mouth was "He is gonna ruin the party!".  I am not going to lie, but I had this fear too. You just can't predict Devin. Paul and I had even discussed that I would just take Savannah, and let Devin sit home...but I felt like he needed the chance to interact with other kids.

It was so interesting to sit back and watch my children at the party. One time Devin got lost in the shuffle, and ended up getting pushed over...and that big sister of his was quick to make sure he was okay.  One time Savannah was feeling left out, and it about melted my wee heart to watch Savannah find her brother to play with. When it was time to eat, I saw both of my children sitting in a corner by themselves eating and sharing food. Those two spent most of the party side by side. 

I don't know what the recipe is for creating those sibling relationships that will last a life odds aren't good with mine.  I do know that I am going to try like crazy to figure it out for my children.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I don't so much make goals for the New Year.  Maybe because I know I am just doomed to fail. I love the way the New Year feels though, a new beginning with a clean slate.

I decided with Van going back to school yesterday I did want to make some changes with my schedule.  I usually would set my alarm for the same time as hers, wake up to check my email over breakfast, turn on the news while she got dressed, etc.  You see how our morning time was always over shadowed by something other than just each other.  So, now I set my alarm for an hour earlier than her.  I take a shower, blow my hair dry, check email, and then when she wakes up it is one on one time.

This sounded like the perfect plan except Devi is a light sleeper...both mornings he has woke up to the blow dryer, and I have woke up Paul for the day too.  Oopsy. So instead of alone time, it is family time. :)

I am hoping that eventually everyone will get use to the extra little noises, because honestly...I really love the way an uninterrupted shower feels in the morning!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

good goll-e.

After the initial OMGwearestillhavingababy! moment, my next thought was...oh my goodness I told everyone I embarrassing. I started to worry about all the people that were so generous towards me and my family being mad at me.  True story, ask Vanessa!  I was worried people would think I was the biggest idiot in the world for not putting 2 and 2 together...and then came am I ever going to repay everyone.

I have been reminded that my real friends won't worry about it, and I guess this is a good way to find out who those real friends are. I am also starting operation snail mail again sooooon, and I am hoping people will be getting some surprises in the mail from Sell...Party of 5! :)

I wanted to write a little thank you ditty for everyone that did something sweet, and not only will you see how generous people are, but this will be a great reference for people who want ideas for what to do for those people in your lives that are going through something hard.
First of all...I am a lover of snail mail.  I received good ol' fashioned cards in the mail, and lots of them.  It gave me something to look forward to every day, and made me so happy. So everyone that sent a card, mucho appreciated.
Some friends sent an Edible Arrangement.  I was given lots of treats, and trust me, I love treats...but the day we received this, I needed something healthy.  Our friends actually got one with some of the fruit dipped in chocolate, which turned out perfect because Paul never gets sick of sweet! :) Loved this idea.
One day the lovely ladies from The R House Couture sent me a beautiful piece of jewelry from their shop. I wore the necklace the next day, and I swear it gave me special powers. Lovely reminder that "I can do hard things".
One of my blog readers {and friend} from Australia sent my children presents for Christmas!!!  It was crazy how perfect the gifts were she picked for each of my children.  Van had been asking for a ruler for school, and I had not followed through...and what do you know Heather mailed one!

A friend mailed me what I consider the perfect care package. She included Advil, chocolate, chapstick, stickers for the kids, treats for the kids, a notepad, "I can do hard things" saying framed, a gift card for Mickey D's, a gift card for iTunes, and I am sure there was more. It was off the chains.

Another friend came to spend the day with me, and brought with her all the groceries to make lunch.  She made me new pajama bottoms {which I live in}. We spent hours laughing, talking, and cooking.  I loved this day.
{this picture is some of the samples I got in October when I initially fell in love}
A friend and owner of Spotted Owl Soap sent me an unexpected package of all of her products.  Which I am absolutely in LOVE with.  I take a bath every night before bed, and this was like THE perfect gift to give me.

Someone dropped off lunch unexpectedly...because I always say no, but she didn't listen. It was really nice.

Of course, I received lots of phone calls, texts, and emails...all were lovely, and some I have yet to reply to.  It was so nice of people to just take a second to drop a little I am thinking of you.

I also wrote about other things my friends did.

I am blessed, and truly thankful for everyone that I have been lucky enough to have in my life. What I have learned through this is I want to be a better person, a more thoughtful one...and that is what I am hoping to accomplish in 2012.

Bring on our new year.