Monday, January 31, 2011

The Color of Love

I had so much fun participating in last week's Shoot and Edit Challenge, I decided to do it again this week. I knew the shot I wanted to do the second I read this week's theme, but that didn't stop me from putting it off until the last minute (it's what I do).

This week's theme is RED, which just happens to be my favorite color.

Now, it's getting closer to Valentine's Day and I know love is on everyone's minds. But, for me, love isn't about red roses or the traditional things a person may think of.

For me, love is about little cars. Why? Because my little boy, my smallest treasure, loves little cars and, when you love someone, you love what they love. (Remind me I said that when he starts "loving" bugs.)




















Be sure to check back Friday to see how I edit this one, but for now, check out the red theme here.

GoodtoWow2

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shoot and Edit: Goodnight Edition

I've been really looking forward to this post, although I have to admit I didn't get around to the edits until just now. My favorite little guy has decided to wake up before 6:00 every day this week. As much as I love to spend the time with him, it really does cut into my blogging and photo editing time.

I originally posted this back on  Wednesday with a promise to show you the edited version today. Without further ado...
























I changed the light balance, boosted the colors, softened some of the red blotches on the skin, and got rid of the drain (did you notice?).

Here are the two pictures, side by side. What do you think?
















I know a professional would probably still cringe, but I had so much fun applying the different tips and tricks I've learned throughout the week. I really like seeing the two pictures side by side, all the differences pop out a little more.

I'm excited to try this out again next week!








Thursday, January 27, 2011

Embrace the Morning. And the Camera.

This momma is just a little tired. Please forgive my rambling. And grammatical errors (I'm sure there are bound to be plenty). And short, fragmented sentences.

As you all know by now, B-Man is potty training. It's going swell. In fact, it's going so swell that he even woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Twice. The diaper was dry this morning and all is right with the world. Now, I know what you're thinking. That was just one night, Ang. You're not out of the woods yet. And, you're right (you always are). We'll still put a diaper on him tonight, and see how it goes, but I'm optimistic.

Getting up with him in the middle of the night like I did (did I mention it was twice?) sure does take me back to the days when he was a newborn. Get ready to not like me (as if!), but I actually loved waking up with him during those bygone days. It was our time. So special and my heart swells with the fondest of memories when I think back on those nights. Sure, I was tired, but it was so worth it. I remember how he would just sleep in my arms and I would look at him, pray over him, kiss him, smell him. I was in awe. And, while those tender snuggle moments are a thing of the past, I'm still in awe of my little boy. I still sneak in a smooch or a squeeze when I can. This boy will never be able to say his parents never showed him any affection. That makes me happy.

Now, when I wake up with him, I have conversations to remember, not just snuggles. One one of our trips last night, we spotted the moon. It was brilliant and orange and we just stood and looked at it. He had his little arms wrapped around my neck and told me how pretty the moon was. Actually, he said it was lovely. I mentioned how orange it was and he tenderly corrected me. Actually, it's yellow AND woe-wunj. Oh yes, I said, how could I not have noticed? Then, when I put him back in bed, he wanted to look at the moon again. I couldn't resist. I know these times are numbered. So I said we'd look at it "one more time" and carried my little boy back out to look at the moon. I tucked him back in to his bed and covered up his little body and he said, "I want to look at the moon again." I reminded him "Buddy, we've already looked at the moon two times." Then, that smart little boy of mine said, "I want to look at the moon three times." And you know what? I almost caved. Then, the practical side kicked in, I tucked him in, and stumbled back into bed.

Good thing, since he woke up early this morning...wanting to go potty and then play blocks...with mommy. Always happy to oblige.



















Did you notice that warm, glowing light? It's the sunrise. God makes some beautiful things, doesn't He?



















I love these pictures, despite (or because of?) their imperfections. They capture a moment in time that I hope always to remember. And treasure.

Now, that you've made it through my rambling, head over to this blog and get your embrace on.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Good Night, Sweetheart

I came across this website and I thought to myself, "How fun!". I'm always looking for tips and tricks to help my photos look better or, at the very least, like they weren't taken by a five year old. (Truth be told, I've actually seen pictures taken by a five year old that are better than some of the ones I take.)

Every week they have a different theme and it just so happens this week's theme is "Good night". What says good night to you?

So, here's my confession. This picture was taken way back. As in May of 2009. That's right, math wizards, my little guy wasn't even one then. Back in those days of yore, bath time did say good night. It was a relaxing ritual that calmed my sweet child and relaxed him into a state where he would be easily lulled to a sweet slumber.

Nowadays? Well, bath time is a time that energizes him and soaks me. We now do baths in the morning. Seriously, I don't know when this changed, but it did. Oh, it most certainly did. Not complaining, really. We're a morning bunch around here anyway.

But, I digress. The challenge is to submit a photo SOOC (straight out of the camera). As in-no editing prior to posting. Then, they post editing tips and techniques. I learn from them. And then, BOOM! Friday, I repost the edited masterpiece. That's how it's supposed to work, anyway. I'm game.

I would have posted a picture that speaks of our good night routine now, but I just found this site and this is the last day to get in on the action, so this is what we're working with this week. Next week, I vow to be better prepared.


























I feel compelled to tell you I did resize the picture. There's no way it would have loaded without a resize. 

Want to learn all the cool tips and tricks with me? Check out their site!

GoodtoWow2

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

  1. I just wanted you to know that you're now reading an international blog. That's right. According to the stats, this little blog has been visited in the US, Canada, Greece, Netherlands, Australia, UK, Italy, Singapore, Mexico, and Argentina. Oh yeah, we're big time now. Not really. But, to all the visitors: Welcome, kalos ilthate, welkom, wolkom, G'day Mate, benvenute, 欢迎, Bienvenidos! And a special shoutout to the Newfoundlanders: How ya gettin' on! 
  2. If any of the above translations are incorrect a) so sorry and b) I got the translations from here.
  3. I may or may not have worn mismatched socks yesterday. I may or may not have noticed while I was putting my shoes on, but at that point was already committed to wearing them because my husband and son were waiting for me in the car. These things happen to some people. Not me, but you know, some people.
  4. Potty training is going pretty awesome. Brady went #2 (I'm trying to avoid saying the "p" word since I may or may not have mentioned it so much in a previous blog post.) After we flushed, we congratulated him like we always do and he said, "That's the way it's done!". Where does this kid get his material?
  5. Speaking of the little comedian, yesterday he insisted on being called black bear. All day. If someone were to forget and call him by his name, he would remind you and say "Actually, black bear". 
  6. I still check on that little black bear every time I wake up in the middle of the night. I can't not check on him. I usually try to recover him up, but lately he's taken to sleeping hibernating on top of his covers in his bed cave.
  7. Do you ever text someone while you're sitting in the same room? My husband is known to do this and I kinda love it. I get sweet messages like "I want to grow old with you" or "Wanna get a pizza?". I could go on from there, but they can get colorful and this is a family blog.
  8. Have you ever tried these? A friend turned me onto them (thanks, Catrina!) and I'm in love. Don't buy them through that link, though. Get them at Wal-Mart or Sam's and send me some. Just kidding. Unless, you know, you really want to.
  9. We went to the bookstore (again) last night. I love it that Brady would choose a bookstore over a toy store. 
  10. Have you ever read Psalms 139? It's kind of my current favorite. Every time I read it, a different part speaks to me. Today, it's this part: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? ....If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me...Love it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Innocent Wonder

I don't normally do two posts in one day, but I decided to participate in a photo challenge at I Heart Faces.





The theme this week is Innocent Wonder and I knew right away of the picture I wanted to submit. I was originally going to do it in color, but I fell in love when I saw it in black and white.



You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. -Psalms 139:2

Movie Monday

What an amazing weekend we had! Do you ever have those weekends that just somehow recharge your batteries and give you the energy to have an extra bounce in your step? That was my weekend.

Nothing spectacular happened and, probably to most people, our weekend would even seem boring. But, I had some great chats with my husband and some great laughs with our family trio. I'm thankful for my family. God knew exactly the type of family I would need and He gave it to me. That's pretty cool. 

I found this Bible verse this morning during my devotional, and I just love it.

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.” Psalm 62:11-12a

We went to church last night for the first time. We always go Sunday mornings, but haven't been going in the evenings because the B-Man usually crashes at 7:00. But, we made a family decision to go and I'm thrilled we went. There's just something special about choosing to go to church. Brady did great-he went potty there three times and came home with dry unders, and he had fun. Mike and I got to hear preaching for the second time that day, and we had fun. I'm thankful for our church, God knew exactly the type of church we needed and He provided it for us. That's pretty cool.

Speaking of cool, I found a video this morning to share. It was taken in February of 2010, making Brady about 1 1/2. He was sitting in the high chair (that is no longer in our kitchen), and we were interrogating asking him all about animal sounds. I still love to do this. It's funny how it has changed. 

He's always been pretty good about enunciating words, with the exception of a couple. There were some words I was generally sad to hear him say the correct way. Fruit used to be "brroooteee" with a rolling of the "r". Picking flowers used to be picking towpers. Orange used to be oh-gee-gee (now it's woe-wunj). There are lots more, but my little guy is waking up, so that's all I'll share for now.



I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." And he worshipped the Lord there. -1 Samuel 1:27-28

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday's Favorite

We got a few inches of snow here yesterday. It's beautiful, bright white, and cold. Maybe that's why I've been longing for some warm sunshine, sandy beaches, and salty ocean water.

Brady was a mere eight months old. We lugged the diapers, bottles, and all the extra baggage an eight month old requires and flew to Florida to visit Mike's Uncle Jim and Aunt Donna.

I remember being so excited to take Brady to the beach. I just knew he'd love the sand. I wasn't sure how he'd like the ocean. But, in true Brady form, the little guy dove right in. He splashed, he crawled, he laughed, and he ate sand. As in, a lot of sand.

This is what stands out in my mind from the trip.



















Now, it's January and we're bundled and layered and I find myself thinking about a beachy vacay. It would be a whole new experience this time. I'm still just as excited to see how Brady would like it. It's one of my most favorite things about being a parent...seeing things through your child's eyes and enjoying whole new experiences. This time, he would be more observant about flying on an airplane and would be able to say what he wanted to do, where he wanted to play. We'd be able to tell him not to put the sand in his mouth, eyes, hair, etc (but that doesn't mean that it would stop him).

Oh, and he'd be wearing big boy unders.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cuddles and Undies (or Lack Thereof)

That pretty much sums up my life this week.

We've all been sick. Mike started it and shared with the B-Man and me (thanks, babe). Brady was sick for about a day, then informed me "I'm feeling better. Daddy's better. Mommy's better." He was 2/3 right. I'm still icked up. Ah, who needs to breathe out of their nose anyway? So overrated.

I love these pictures. They are grainy and blurry and they just make me happy.



















Did you notice the mittens? Here's a glimpse at the full ensemble.
























I know, I know. Instant classic, right? He's definitely got his finger on the pulse of the fashion world.

Can I tell you something? I have a pretty nice camera. Not "professional" nice, but nice nevertheless. I haven't been using it much lately. I've been taking pictures with my phone. I almost always have it with me, it's small, and easy for self portraits, which I'm beginning to love. I have noticed I edit these pictures with a heavier hand than I do my "normal" pictures. I don't know why that is, but I like trying different editing styles every now and then.


























We are still working on potty training and, by George, I think he's got it! I don't want to jinx myself or anything, but we have gone all week with no accidents and he just goes on the potty whenever he needs to go. Of course, being a boy, he waits until the last possible second, but hey, as long as he makes it! For the purpose of full disclosure, he has been running around the house all week with no unders. That's right. He's free-cheeking it. Who needs the hassle of underwear when you have to go, anyway?!

Besides, who can resist these cheeks?


















Yes, he is wearing a hat. What's it to you?

Of course, I'm a fan of these cheeks as well.



















I'm really loving this Embrace the Camera idea. Thursdays are becoming one of my favorite days of the week!




Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brady, Version 2.5

This past Monday the little man officially turned 2 and a half. I'm not sure how that's possible, since it feels like we just celebrated his second birthday yesterday, but somehow he's suddenly six months away from turning three.

Those of you who know my son well are aware of the fact that the only time he sits still is when he's being read to. Otherwise, there's just too much to see and do. Now, personally, I love reading to him. I use that time to sneak in cuddles and smooches and I'm always amazed at how he is able to memorize his books. Love, love, love that time.

But, there are times when I need my lap and I need my hands and reading to my favorite guy is just not conducive to those needs. One particular afternoon, desperate to clean my kitchen, I asked him if he'd like to watch Wall-E on the computer. His eyes widened and I received a very quick "yes, please" as his response.

So, I set it up for him, with strict instructions to not push any buttons. Worked like a charm.  That is, it held his attention...and mine. How could I not snap pictures while he was so occupied? Sure beats doing the dishes! Oh well, who needs a clean kitchen anyway?

I know his third birthday will be here before I know it. To tell you the truth, I'm excited about things to come, but I'm pretty thrilled with where we are. Right now.

There's a blog I read that pretty much nailed how I feel:

Not one day have I ever missed the days when he was a baby. Not for one day do I wish I could go back and relive that time. Not because he was a rough baby. He wasn’t. I just think that if you really live in the present, you don’t miss it when it becomes the past in regards to loved ones that are still with you. I love seeing who he is becoming. I remember and cherish the days he used to lay swaddled in my arms and fall asleep. As fond as those memories are…I don’t want to go back in time. I want today with him. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Today.


So, here's to my little guy. Happy 2.5.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

  1. Did you miss my post yesterday? My apologies. It was a holiday and the Butler family has been stricken with ickiness.
  2. Despite the ickiness, yesterday was a holiday. As if we are going to stay cooped up inside the house on a holiday. As if.
  3. We did our usual running around and hit some of our favorite spots. I was on a hunt for a new potty for the B-Man. Four Wal-Marts and one toy store later. Booyah!
  4. In the midst of our galavanting, Brady requested to go to Barnes and Noble. As in, I want to go to Barnes and Noble nowwww, pleeeease. Never wanting to be the parents that refuse a child a trip to the book store, we happily obliged. I feel slightly obligated to tell you he didn't actually open a book, or, you know, even glance at one. No sir, at that particular bookstore, it's all about the train table. Not complaining, we made some friends and enjoyed some coffee. Good times to be had by all.
  5. We had an amazing night with friends on Sunday night. I will blog about it later, but I want to point out how much I adore our group of friends. One of my (many) favorite things is that we are all pretty much in the same stage in life. There are a few of us moms trying to potty train and, thankfully, there was a potty for the Bradster to use while we were there. This new potty was fantastic. Brady loved it and we didn't have any "overshooting" issues. If you are a mommy to a little boy, I know you get it. That sent me on a new potty crusade.
  6. I feel slightly obligated to mention that, despite his love for that potty and the fact he actually did go several times on that potty, I still had to change his unders. Three times.
  7. I can feel more redeemed to tell you that, with all our running around yesterday, he did not have one accident and actually went potty in the bathrooms of several stores.
  8. I was super excited to bring the new potty home. Brady was thrilled to have it. That is, until it came time to go. He started asking for his "other one". Awesome. Now, I know he's not feeling well and I almost cave. Almost. Then, I stick to my guns and tell him the other potty is gone. I call him buddy to soften the blow. It works. He goes on the new potty. All is right with the world.
  9. As rough as it is for me to be sick, it's so much harder when my favorite little buddy is under the weather. All I want to do is cuddle my sweet boy and love on him and smother him in smooches. I actually got to do that last night. For fifteen seconds. Then, he was off. I'm actually thankful he's like that. He's always been like that, since he was a wee babe (there's my Scottish heritage coming out for you). The only way we ever knew he was sick was from the symptoms. He never acts sick. He's a trooper. Me, on the other hand? Well, I just want to be cuddled and loved on and smothered in smooches.
  10. This has got to be one of the most boring posts ever. Sorry. I'm sick. And Brady's potty training. What? You didn't know? You're surpised I haven't mentioned it? On a sidenote: Vicks Vapor Rub is the best invention ever. Sliced bread? Who needs it! Soothing vapors that help me breath all the while releasing a heady aroma of menthol? Yes, please.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday's Favorite

It has been a week. I mean a weeeeeeek. As you know, we've been potty training. It really has been going extremely well, with just a minor bump in my laundry. No biggie. I can deal. What's made it rough is being cooped up in the house. all.week.long.

I've been edgy, putting a bunch of pressure on myself to make sure "this is it" when it comes to training. I can't tell you how many times this week I just wanted to throw a diaper on that cute little bum of his and just go somewhere. I didn't. I persevered. With the help of a great husband and a.lot.of.prayer.

Then, last night, after an especially treacherous day in the trenches, a miracle. Brady went #2 in the potty! We had been trying in vain all week to get him to go. He just couldn't. See, he normally "goes" around a corner, in private...standing. So this whole sitting thing was a bit much to grasp. Then, last night, just a bit before his bed time, he got it. And, I tell ya, it couldn't have come at a better time.

Isn't that the way God seems to work? When we're at our lowest and just really needing a boost, wham! Poop in the potty! I never thought I'd be so excited about poop (or say it so many times in a blog post-sorry about that-but not really), but I'll tell you. That icky poo in the pot made my entire week. It literally washed away an entire week's worth of feeling battled and worn down and replaced it with feelings of competency, joy, and just overall euphoria. All that accomplished by poo! Imagine! I was still feeling the high when we went to bed. Talk about perma grin.

And, for the record, yes, I do believe God cares about poo. Why? Because I care about poo. He's a big God, but cares about the smallest of details. All we have to do is ask. In every situation. Including poopy situations.

Now, I know this potty war training is not over. But, after last night's stinky victory, well, I think Mary Tyler Moore's theme song said it best: I'm Gonna Make it After All!

So, with all that said, here's my Friday Favorite. My little stinker, back when he was a toothless wonder.





































May your pot be filled with whatever brings you joy today. As for me, well, I'm hopin' for more poo.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Got {No} Powah!

The title is best sung to the tune of Snap's "The Power".  Just FYI.

Before I get into explaining the title, let me just set the stage for you. We have been potty training this week. While Brady is catching on relatively well, I.am.exhausted. If I had the money, I would totally pay someone to do this task for me. Judge me all you want. It's true.


Anywhooo. Where was I? Oh yes, I'm tired. To top it off, my dear husband has caught some sort of ickiness. Not too bad, but it definitely flares up at night. He gets stuffed up and can't breathe. Since he can't breathe that means he snores when he's sleeping. As in, loudly. Which also means I, although beat out and exhausted, can't sleep.


Enter the morning. 5:30 to be exact. The power goes off. I know it goes off because the smoke detector in our bedroom starts beeping because the battery is low. Awesome. To top it off, Brady wakes up early. Double awesome.


Now, you may not know this, but my son has collected all our candles in the house and plays with them. Whatev. No biggie. Except for when we actually need them to see because the power is out and the house is pitch black because it's 5:30 in the morning. And the wicks have all been smushed into the wax. More awesome. We managed to find a couple (literally, a couple) that were lightable and put them in our living room. Then, in a stroke of genius (especially for 5:30 in the morning), I remembered my Aunt Betty (woot! woot!) gave us some awesome head lamps when we went camping, last September. With the help of the flashlight app on my phone (thanks to my brother for installing that bad boy!), I was able to locate them in no time. Brady thought it was awesome and, you know what, I kinda did too. It was actually fun, sitting in the dark, with each of us wearing our camping lights (I'm not sure what they're actually called), covered in blankets (hello? no heat!). 




















 It's just another reason I love this little fam of ours. We are able to make fun out of not-so-fun situations.


I know the pictures are horrible. I love them anyway.

Now, if you're still reading after all that wordiness (first of all-thank you!), I have decided to start participating in Embrace the Camera. I found the idea on this blog.  I love it because I was just looking for pictures of the little guy and me the other day and couldn't find any recent ones.




Without further ado, here I am, embracing the camera. Prior to this "challenge", I probably would have deleted this because a) the quality stinks and b) hello? I look like poo. But Brady is in the process of landing a big ole smooch. And, despite the picture's (obvious) flaws...
...I love it anyway.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside.

It was a chilly day here in the Ozarks. As in a windchill of 5 below. Yowsa! But, we crazy Butlers play in the windchill that makes lesser men freeze.


Normally, we are not so keen on traipsing out in such chilly weather, all willy-nilly. But, it did snow. And, we promised Brady if it snowed we would take him out to play. Now, we did make the promise before we found out what the temperature was, but hey, a promise is a promise! In the words of Dr. Seuss, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful. One hundred percent." And, just for the record, I quoted that from memory. Woot!

Doesn't he look dangerous with that icicle? Watch your back, man.


What good is playing in the snow without some sledding. What? We didn't have that much snow? What? We don't have a big enough hill? Trifle little details. Especially when you have a willing daddy to lug you around.


Whoa! Hold on there, slick!

And, one more from our excursion in the snow.
The boys. Kinda like 'em.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

  1. Mike and I have a cup of coffee every morning and always drink out of "our" cups. They are Starbucks mugs, found at a garage sale. Mine is orange on the inside and his is blue on the inside. The funny thing is, despite using them every day, Mike will occasionally get them mixed up and try to give me the blue. OK, maybe it's not that funny to you, but we always get a chuckle out of it.
  2. We seldom have candy at our house. It's just not something we buy. (Chocolate, however? Yum!) Which may be one (of the many) reasons Brady loves his Uncle Lance. For Christmas, Lance got everyone candy for stocking stuffers and the majority of it ended up being left at our house. Ever since, Brady has asked for a piece of "Uncle Lance's candy". Every day. His favorite so far has been Jelly Bellys. Incidentally, it bears noting that if we ever have Gatorade in our house it is always "Uncle Lance's Gatorade" and it is always requested, as in, "I want to drink some Uncle Lance's Gatorade", and (when prompted for manners), "pleeeeeaase".
  3. We were playing the "tickle game" the other day when Brady bit my arm. It wasn't a hard bite, and I think he just got caught up in the excitement and didn't really mean it maliciously. When I had him apologize, he saw my bruise and, on his own, prayed for it. It was sweet, sincere, and delicate and I couldn't have been more of a puddle. Then, ever so gently, he bent down and kissed it. As if that weren't sweet enough, he then prayed for my knee (yes, it still hurts). I love moments like that.
  4. It's official. Mike has turned into a reader. I'm not just talking willy-nilly-read-occasionally reader. Nope, he is a full-blown-read-every-spare-second-kind-of-reader. And I love it. We have stopped watching TV at night (except for the occasional show/movies on Friday nights) and we read together. Yes, we may very well be 80 year olds disguised as 30-somethings. I love moments like that.
  5. Speaking of being 30-something, I got ma'am-ed the other day. We were at Bed Bath and Beyond when it happened. I rounded a corner and ran smack dab into a 20-something (she very well could've been a teenager, but I'm trying to make myself feel a little better) and she said it. The dreaded words. "Oh! Excuse me.....maaaaa'aaaammm". Now, it could just be my imagination, but it surely felt like it was drawn out, in slow motion, and amplified. I've mentioned it before that being 30 doesn't bother me. Being called ma'am however? Um, yeah. Don't love that.
  6. That same day, my mood was lifted and feelings soothed (a little) with the help of Target. Specifically, the dollar bins right when you walk in the store. I scored two little planting pots that had seeds to plant. I can't wait to plant them with Brady (remember the peppers?) and watch them grow. We got a strawberry plant and some Forget-Me-Nots. I'll keep you posted on their progress.
  7. Brady likes to listen to certain songs over and over (and over and over and over). Needless to say, Mike and I learn the words. Pretty fast. Occasionally we'll sing along. Lately, however, Brady has started saying "want you to stop singing". Ouch.
  8. Next Monday, my son will be exactly two and a half. I can barely type the words. How did that happen?
  9. Because next Monday my son will be exactly two and a half, we have begun the process of potty training. I've done a lot of research (meaning: I've read a lot of blogs) and found that this was the most recommended age to try. Yesterday was our first day and, at the end of it, I'm feeling optimistic. Without sharing the icky details, we managed a couple small successes. Not bad for day one. Nevertheless, prayers are appreciated!
  10. Have you ever heard of Ebates? It's the coolest site ever-if you're an online shopper. Basically, you sign up for a free account with Ebates then, anytime you're going to do any online shopping, go to their web page and find the store you want to shop (like Old Navy, Gap, Gymboree, Sears...the list goes on). Here's the amazing part-you get cash back! I just got a check for $7.57 from them. How cool is that? Plus, if you sign up, you can get a free $10 gift card to a choice of places. I picked Home Depot. I'm going to be getting some paint! Anyway, click here if you're interested. I get $5 in referral if you sign up with my link, as opposed to singing up on your own. Then, once you sign up, you can get your friends to sign up and get free money. Free money is a wonderful thing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Movie Monday

By now, you know I'm a sucker for alliteration. So, with that said, I introduce a new blog series: Movie Monday.

I figured it would be fun for me to post some random videos and what better day than Monday, where I'm just getting back to the blog after a weekend break. Plus, it's a great way to share the videos I never get around to sharing.

Without further ado, here's this week installment. It was taken (with the phone camera) on September 3. Brady is reciting one of his short stories "Favorite Colors", a Winnie-the-Pooh book.

video

And, just to justify the mess....I was going through Brady's closet, sorting out sizes and seasons. He found the Pooh hat, insisted on wearing it, and would not take it off. Oh well, makes for a cute video...with a messy background!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Ten on Tuesday!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday's Favorite

For Mike's birthday this year, Brady picked out a birthday card (all by himself!) that said "Happy birthday to the big man, from the little man." Ever since then, Brady will randomly say Mike is "the big man" and he happily calls himself "the little man". I love it.

These pictures were snapped when Brady's Nanny was visiting. The entire two weeks she was here, Brady refused to nap in his bed. So, every afternoon he would usually crash on the couch. This particular day, Mike cuddled up with him and I just happened to have my camera handy. I love how you can sense their bond, even while they're sleeping. (It bears mentioning that the day after she left, he happily returned to his crib. Thank heavens!)

So, here they are.



















The big man and the little man.



















Man, I love these guys.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You are the Music....

...while the music lasts. -T.S. Eliot

Way back when I was in high school (way, way, way back), I got an electric guitar for Christmas one year. I got a guitar and my brother got a drum set. Neither one of us played, but it's still one of the coolest gifts I've ever gotten. My brother eventually sold his drum set, but I held on to my guitar. Always with the hope that I would play...someday.

The years have passed, and the guitar has been moved from room to room until, at last, it's found a quiet place in our laundry room, right next to Mike's acoustic guitar (he doesn't play either). Mike's guitar is in a box, but mine is not, which makes it ever so tempting to little boys who like noise, buttons, strings, and things that really aren't toys and really shouldn't be played with.


















Imagine my surprise when I see my little boy lugging this big guitar out of the laundry room. He was working hard, but was determined. He made it all the way to the living room and up on the couch.


















"I want to play la guitar." I couldn't possibly take it away after he'd worked so hard to free it from it's spot in the laundry room. So, I let him play...and quietly snapped some pics with my phone. I've edited them with a heavier hand than I normally use, but I like the kind of grungy feel (I can almost hear my brother's eyes rolling) these have.


















He was gentle, content, and I couldn't have been happier to share in this moment.


















"Music washes away form the soul the dust of everyday life." -Berthold Auerbach


















"Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be silent if no birds sang except the best." -Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Cut Above

I'm not crafty. But, boy do I wish I were. When Mike and I were doing Christmas shopping for Brady, I knew I wanted to stock up on our crafting supplies (stock up as in actually get some). I had visions of sitting at the kitchen table with Brady, making...stuff.

One of those "crafty" gifts we got him were scissors. Yup, his very own pair. We headed to our favorite educational store and, while Mike kept Brady occupied at their train table, I went hunting. I ended up finding a pair that sounded like a good fit. According to the packaging they will only cut construction paper (had to pick that up too!) and, most importantly, not: hair, skin, clothes, or anything else a two and a half year old may try.

Today was a particularly slow day, so I decided to bust them out.


















Brady was beside himself when I told him we were going to cut with scissors. He got right to work.


















See how serious he looks? I assure you, he did have fun.


































He did great for a first-timer. There were only a couple times he decided ripping the paper was easier, but he always went back to the scissors. We'll definitely tackle this again in the near future.

Today scissors...tomorrow, a clean house who knows?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

  1. It feels like it's been ages since I've done a "Ten on Tuesday" post. Bear with me. I'm rusty.
  2. The Christmas tree has got to come down. What once was magical, relaxing, and inspiring to look at has now become an obtrusive thing in our living room taking up much needed space.
  3. Today we head back to the gym after being off for a week (or so). I am simultaneously looking forward to it and dreading it.
  4. This New Year's marked the 8th anniversary of when Mike proposed. To be honest, I normally don't remember those types of things, but it is easy to remember a New Year's proposal. Those of you who know me well, know how I am with timelines...and times...and dates. Seriously, I wouldn't even know it was Tuesday if it weren't for the calendar. I'm kidding. Sort of. In all actuality, it was Mike who reminded me that it was 8 years. (Unlike me, he is great about timleines, and times, and dates). That just blows my mind (in a good way). He proposed at the stroke of midnight.
  5. I love routines. Looking back, I always have. It's looking like my son is the same way. Every weekday morning he has some fruit first thing in the morning. In the winter it's clementines, in the summer it's usually some type of berry or peaches. It's been like that as long as he's been eating fruit. In fact, it's hard to remember him not eating fruit first thing in the morning (there goes that timeline stuff again). We used to all pile on the couch in the morning, with Brady in the middle and Mike and I sipping our coffees. However, recently that has changed and Brady has been requesting to "eat la clementine in mommy and daddy's room sitting in the black chair". I love it. Of course, it doesn't stop with just sitting in the black chair. He has to have his airplane blanket and his toy helicopter and toy airplane (courtesy of his Aunt Bev and Nanny).
  6. I don't believe in resolutions. I do, however, believe in goals. I don't know why, but it seems like once you tag something as a "resolution" it is doomed to fail. Goals, on the other hand, seem to be safe.
  7. I am not a crafty person, but I would love to be. It's blogs like this that inspire me and really make me want to create something. Unfortunately, I can't sew. I do have a machine (on loan from my mom), so I'm going to learn this year. It's a resolution. I mean goal.
  8. Speaking of goals, another one of mine (I know-I have a ton) is to get more organized. I downloaded a (free) organization diary/journal yesterday. You can find it here. It's originally $29, but I had a code that made it free so I thought "what the hey" and downloaded it. I've yet to read it. Or open the files.
  9. I have been having a lot of problems with my knee and finally went to the doctor. She said I either have runner's knee or degeneration of the cartilage behind the knee cap. She gave me a pill to take, but it hasn't really been helping. It makes the thought of #3 particularly daunting.
  10. According to the stats, 11 people read the blog yesterday. I'm not normally a person to get hung up on numbers, I just find it interesting! Thanks to you who stopped by!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's a new year, a new blog post, and a new look to the blog!

I know you probably thought I'd desserted this blog and, I guess, you were right...sort of. I may not have had any posts in a little while (ok, long while) but it's always been in the back of my mind. What better time to pick blogging back up than in the new year, where resolutions run rampant?

We've been busy in our own kind of way. Christmas was wonderful and more fun than ever with Brady being two and a (almost) half. He had an emphatic "thank you!" every time he opened a present. If a box came to the door, he would follow us around saying, "I want to open it! I want to open the box. Pleeeease!".

We didn't see all the family we would've liked to see over the holidays and, as disappointing as that was, it was also relaxing to not have to travel anywhere.

As great as the holidays were, I'm especially excited to welcome in a new year. We have some big plans and ambitious goals for this year. Last year was wonderful, full of unexpected blessings. Looking back on the year, I can smile knowing we did our best to squeeze every drop of happiness out of it. This year will be even better!

I will be doing a lot more of the simple things that make life so grand. Like this:



















Spending time in the kitchen playing cooking and baking with my best helper. In addition to helping, he also serves as quality control, as you can see from the chocolate remnants around his mouth. Good thing he only asks to get paid in "little tastes".

Here's to 2011!