Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stop and Smell the Roses

Slow down, breath deep, take it all in. I am often reminding myself that life is short and I need to stop making such a big deal out of small things. No need to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Isn't it odd when you hear yourself saying phrases that your parents would say to you when you were little? Saying one simple phrase all of a sudden makes you feel instantly old.

What the heck happened?

You never think when you're child that you will one day grow-up. Sure, we talked often about how big we were getting, how tall we had grown, and what we wanted to be when we grew up. But, we didn't actually know what "growing-up" meant. We didn't understand how time passing could make us feel.

I get sad when I stop and think about the time that has passed. Not always, but sometimes. Living in this thing called "time" really causes a person to cherish the moments they have. I know that one day I will live in a place without time, so great a concept that my brain cannot comprehend. But, for now I will live for today, experience the present, and be thankful for every single moment I am given.

I don't say this to make you sad, but rather to spark something in you to make today count. To remind you to live for this day. Whatever that means to you. What does stopping and smelling the roses look like for you today?

During a photo shoot last week, a moment was captured that portrays this perfectly. I posted this image and when her mother asked her what she was doing in the picture, she said, "just smellin."

We need to make sure we are taking the time to "stop and smell the roses."

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Monday, March 28, 2011

I Heart Faces Photo Contest | A Slice of Life

This weeks challenge is "A Slice of Life."

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Missing It

I used to be a very scheduled person. Not sure why I have drifted away from it lately. I guess because in ways you tell yourself it's freeing. It's a deception. Life is not easier without a schedule, it's way more stressful.

Life is all about balance. The same goes for schedules. Have it there, but also be flexible and change it if you need too. Very important with little kids, otherwise a schedule can lead to more stress.

When the kids were babies we were very scheduled. I'm talking down to when we planned on glueing macaroni to construction paper. I know, a little extreme. But, at the time, it really helped me keep my sanity. We were a "babywise" family. If you are not familiar with babywise and you are expecting or have a child with sleep issues, I highly recommend it.

Now that the kids are older, for some reason, I have let the schedule sort of fall by the wayside.

What has that done?

It has caused me to become very lax in the things I hold dear to me.

Lately I have been struggling with time-management. Starting a business = lots of computer hours. I wouldn't trade being a stay-at-home mom who is starting a business, over going to work and putting my kids in daycare. Any-day. Even if some days I am very pre-occupied, I am still the one tending to their needs, giving them their snacks and hugs throughout the day.

With that said, I still feel things right now are out of balance. I have been loosing sleep with life the way it is now. Something is just not sitting right with me. I want more time with my kids. I get very emotional when I think about them growing up so fast and I want to cherish these days. I don't just want quantity time with them, but quality time.

I need balance back in our day to day life.

That means a schedule. Something to help me keep the things I want to do well-balanced with the things I need to get done.

I love these precious babies

I want more time with them. Doing nothing more than building blocks, reading a book, playing dress-up, or fighting the bad guys in our super hero voices.

You might be wondering how those words could leave a stay-at-home moms mouth? Isn't that what you do already?

It's very easy to get lost in the tasks you have before you. Especially if you are like me and feel like you can't rest until the goal of accomplishment has been achieved. It's hard for me to give up and walk away from a "to do" until I see it crossed off my list. I need something to help me walk away and put it down. Something to tell me that it's okay to let it be, whatever it is, it will still be here when you get back. It's easy to miss the mark and not have your life balanced.

Many things can distract you in this thing called "life."

I don't want to miss it anymore.

James 4:14
whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Days at home

5:00- wake-up call
5:15- coffee and quiet time
5:30- work
7:30- enjoy breakfast with kids and help girls get ready for school
8:30- girls on bus
8:45- school with jon
9:15- activity with boys
9:45- snack time
10:00- boys separate playtime alone, work for me
10:30- one hour of tending to the house, boys help
11:30- 30 min show for boys, work for me
12:00- lunch
1:00- nap for boys and work for me
4:00- get girls from bus, snack, talk about their day, time with kids
4:30- erik home, work-out
5:30- dinner, homework, family time
7:30- stories and bedtime
Adult time the rest of the evening, well until this old couple hits the hay around 9:00!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's All About Laughter

Last week I got my usual email from clickin moms, you have heard me talk about them before. I did an online workshop with them back in September. Such a wonderful site. If you are a mommy photographer looking for a great place to connect with other photographers and learn a ton, this is the place. Check it out. The email was about submitting an image for the possibility of it being chosen for there new book coming out.

Lately, I have been in a slump. Let me explain. I have been very focused on getting lots of the business side of things done. With the bitter cold outside, it really was the perfect time. Business cards, cd's, website, price sheets, etc. It's a good thing. I am so excited that I got a lot taken care of. Feels amazing actually. When my business cards came in the mail, I literally jumped over my office gate (there is a gate for the munchkins, my office doesn't have a door. I realized that sounded a little weird without an explanation) with them and danced to a ditty in my head. It just made me feel official! But, with that said, focusing on only the business aspect can really drive your enthusiasm down. It's easy to forget why your doing it in the first place. I wasn't giving myself the reminder I needed, to keep my elation over picking font types exciting.

I love photography. The business side of things is okay, but my passion is for photography. I picked up my camera for the first time in three weeks and I couldn't believe it had been that long. I did the set with El Bell and I felt that spark again. I started to get excited about the goals I have. Of course. Duh. Without the passion being exercised, the other tasks are not all that thrilling. So glad I got that all figured out.

I have made a commitment to myself to pick up my camera at least weekly, if not daily. One thing that has helped me, is to get involved with submitting some pictures. Along with the clickin moms submissions, I will be doing the weekly photo challenge through The Pioneer Woman (love her). There are so many opportunities for me to submit pictures that I should have no problem keeping Mark (my camera, in case you forgot his name) close by my side.

Here is the clickin moms, submission info:

CMbook vol 2 : Laughter

Get Published! CM will select the best of the best and compile them into volume 2 of our collaborative series.

This book will be all about laughter - images of laughter and images that make us laugh. Whatever laughter means to you!

We are looking for images with extraordinary creativity, vision, and emotion. Both clean and creative processing are welcome as long as the photographer demonstrates exceptional technical ability.

In addition to the honor and prestige that comes with having one of your images published, we are proud to offer the following:

-If one or more of your images are chosen you will receive (1) free book.
-If your image is chosen for the book cover you will receive a $500 cash prize (via Paypal).
-If your image is chosen for the back cover you will receive a $200 cash prize (via Paypal).

I have been trying to capture "some laughter" all week. I need your help, tell me which one(s) you like best. Which one should I submit?











So, which one do you think? I would love your vote!

These next ones are just for fun. They are not in the running, but I had to post them.

I so wish this was in focus. Because to me. It's awesome!

I just love El's sweet face in this one!

An oldie, but I had to include it. This is what you would call a forced laugh. Love them!

This cracks (hehe) me up every time I see it!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Blessing Of Adoption

I have not experienced the precious blessing of adopting a child, but I have been on the receiving end. It is a beautiful, miraculous, unexplainable love. An unbreakable bond that is formed regardless of history or blood relation. A preordained connection that can only be described to someone who has also experienced it. I feel blessed to call myself one of those.

Aren't they adorable?
Beautiful, gentle, giving, witty, diligent, genuine, artistic, caring, soft-spoken, loving. Words describing my adopted Grandma. Francis Mae Wilt, to say the least, was an amazing woman. She taught by example in the life she lived and I will forever be thankful for all she gave me.

Hard-working, honest, loving, quick-witted, gentle, fun, loyal.  Robert Joseph Wilt was a man that was a friend to all. A story to share, a joke to tell, a hug to give was how he lived his life. Calling him Grandpa was an honor.

For those of you who don't know, Erik and I began dating when I was fifteen. I loved when Friday nights rolled around, it meant dinner at Grandpa and Grandma's. Way to much food, games, lots of laughter and tons of love. 

Robert and Francis Wilt were the kind of people you craved to be around. Once you came into their presence it was hard to leave. I will forever be indebted to them for not just excepting me as a woman their grandson loved, but for seeing me as one of their grandchildren. I was a Wilt long before I said "I do."

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
                                                                                                   ~ Desmond Tutu

I love you Grandpa and Grandma, you are missed.  You will always be in my heart.

Robert Joseph Wilt    May 12, 1919- June 16, 2004
Frances Mae Wilt     July 10, 1925- December 24, 2010
Married for 62 years, four children, eleven grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.

This last weekend Erik's dad came to visit. Past memories about grandpa and grandma were shared and new memories were made. Life is such a blessing and I plan on cherishing all I can. 

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. 
                                                                               ~Joyce Brothers

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hand Modeling, Date Night & Mega Mind

Date night is a state of mind.

Sure, it's fantastic to hire a babysitter, leave the house and explore the world out there without four needy children in tow. Actually, I think it's a must for all parents! But, if you are like us and have been taking advantage of this wonderful concept of leaving your children with a responsible teenager a little to often, then you know it adds up quick. After the monthly tally of nights out starts to get high and we realize how much we have spent, we don't give up on our time alone, we get creative! We are selfish. Date night out isn't enough. We also like to have a few date night in's.

Like I said, date night is a state of mind!

We are blessed to have a wonderful downstairs area in our house that allows us to say phrases like, "You're driving me crazy, everyone downstairs. Now!" Phrases like that tend to leave my mouth between the hairy hours of 4 and 6. All you parents know of the "hairy hours." Why the heck is everyone in such a horrible mood between the hours of 4 and 6?

"You had a nap, I gave you a snack, you have more toys to play with than you should, and the darn t.v. is on. What is your problem? Snap out of it!"

So after a loud (okay screaming level), "Enough. Get downstairs. I can't take it anymore!" I quickly follow it with a quiet, sweet, soft sing-song voice saying something like, "you will have fun using your imagination! I'll call you up as soon as dinner is ready, love you! " I'm hoping that the later phrase will be the one that sticks in their mind years down the road and not the former freaked out mom yelling in her high-octave voice. The odds are they are bound to remember a few, but best to limit them as much as possible!

Saturday was going great. Beautiful weather, relaxing, enjoyable. We got a late start, which we love. Slept in, had a nice big breakfast and then headed to Denver. We had some errands to run, but more than anything it was nice to get out. It was nice for about three hours. Then the kids were getting antsy, tired, hungry. They began fighting, yelling, hitting, and protesting about being in their seats any longer. After they got over their frustration caused by being shut up in the car for hours on end, they decided it would be a good idea to unite together in song. On the third round of jingle bells, Erik and I looked at each other and said, "date night!"

After that, it was very easy to drown out the noise in the backseat. We were focused on the night that was ahead. We started planning! Elaborate steak dinner that we would prepare together in peace and quiet. Dessert. Movie. Wine. The perfect night in!

We break the news to the kids. We go about it in a very manipulative enthusiastic way. "Guess what kids, you get to have a movie night! We are going to buy you a new movie, you get to have pizza and popcorn and your very own bottle of juice!"

We understand that the years of excitement over this kind of party are soon coming to an end. A bottle of juice will get us the "are you kidding me," look. And we will no longer be able to get off that cheap.

Making water the only drinking option in our house is not only for health purposes. It's so we have a bribe in our pockets at all times. We are very aware of sugar's highly addictive properties and in certain situations it lends itself to some amazing benefits. "Juice, juice, who wants juice? Okay then, but you have to stay in the basement the whole night!"

The popcorn was popped, the movie went on, the rules of the night were implemented and the gate went up!

For those of you that want to judge us right now, you might be in need of a date night!

They have food, shelter, bathroom facilities, entertainment and a fierce guard dog. We have no guilt.

Okay, so we were interrupted a few times during our date, but again it's a state of mind. We quickly tended to the need and then pretended like it never happened.

Just because I don't love to cook doesn't mean I can't. Cooking all a sudden becomes a fun, exciting, joyous adventure instead of daunting task.

Yes, we cooked enough food to feed an army. We were excited. We went a little overboard.

The stuffing for the mushrooms

My favorite way to eat broccoli, roasted!

Extra garlicky

Ceaser salad

Juicy, fatty, amazing steak

One of the things I really dislike is cutting onions. It's just painful. But, I came up with a solution. I keep these babies in my knife drawer.

I know it's geeky
But, it totally works. See, no tears!

Date night is always an option if you get creative!

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