Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 30

Book club was tonight. It was lots of fun, as always! I meant to take a picture of all the girls while they were here, but I forgot. So all I have is a picture of our finished snacks. (Sorry for another boring food picture!) The baklava was a big hit, and we also enjoyed pita bread with hummus.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29

Whew! It's been a busy and productive day today. I didn't quite get everything accomplished on my list, but I did a lot and now I'm exhausted!

The final project of the day was to make baklava for our book club tomorrow night. Our book was about an Iranian woman, so I am making some Middle Eastern snacks for us to enjoy. (It always seems like such a good idea to make all these fancy things in my head, but actually doing them is a different story!!)

The baklava making process actually went fairly smoothly. Baklava is made with fillo dough, which is this crazy, paper thin dough. I've never used it before, so that was kind of fun. I took this picture right after I pulled it out of the oven and poured on the honey sauce. I snuck a little piece to taste test, and I think it tastes fairly good. I am not a big fan of nuts, and I'm not sure what baklava is really supposed to taste like, so I'm probably not the best judge. We'll see what the book club thinks tomorrow night!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 28

We finished most of our Christmas decorating today! I may add a few more ornaments and accents to the tree, and I have an advent calendar and other things to get ready, but it is definitely starting to look (and smell!) like Christmas around here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 27

As soon as we made it home from Indiana today, we headed back out to get our Christmas tree. I wanted to go to a Christmas tree farm and cut our own tree down (I made Daniel do that with me the first year we were married!). But it was cold outside, and we only had about an hour of sunlight left. So we just headed to a little market down the street. We have bought our tree there for the last few years, and I've always been happy with their trees.

(Credit for today's picture goes to the nice lady who offered to take a family picture for us at the Christmas tree place).

Tonight, we got the tree up and Daniel put lights on it. I'm planning to finish decorating tomorrow, so I'll post a picture then. It is a nice tree, though not the most perfectly shaped tree that we have ever had. But I think it will look nice once we decorate it. And it smells wonderful!!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

November 26

We introduced Audrey to the Wizard of Oz tonight for a few minutes before bed. She really liked the munchkins and their singing and dancing, and she enjoyed dancing along with them!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

November 25

Happy Thanksgiving!! We celebrated the day with Daniel's family at his aunt and uncle's house.

It was a big celebration, and Audrey ended up sharing a chair with me. Eating Thanksgiving dinner with a two year old on your lap is not the most enjoyable experience, but Audrey really did fairly well. She even managed to sit still and be (relatively) quiet while we went around the table and all 35 or so adults said what they were thankful for.

I also made pumpkin pie for the first time today. I didn't overcook it or undercook it, and it tasted really good...success! I thought it deserved a picture as well.

P.S. I just looked back at my picture from Thanksgiving last year. Wow, Audrey has changed so much!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 24

Sorry I was MIA yesterday. I was sick. I think I caught whatever 24 hour bug has been going around, because for about 24 hours I felt absolutely awful. Plus, we left at 8 pm last night to drive to Indiana, so the combination of late night driving and being sick resulted in no picture for the day.

Tonight, while in Indy, we enjoyed a kid-free evening of dinner and Barnes and Noble browsing with our friends BJ and Kellie. Kellie is also a fellow photo a day blogger. We talked tonight about how we needed to be sure to take a picture while we were out, so we would have something to post for today. But we both realized, after getting in our cars and driving away, that we forgot to take any pictures!

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22

I am thankful for a fun Christmas outing with Amy and Cael today. We went to the Festival of Trees. It was a fun time, and I think the kids liked it too!

Cael, Audrey and I took a ride on the train. Audrey looked absolutely terrified the whole time, but after the ride was over, she was more excited about it. So, I'm guessing she liked it. I didn't get a picture, but Audrey also really liked the (fake) reindeer. They moved their heads around, and she was kind of scared of them as well, but she also kept wanting to go back and see them again and again.

We also enjoyed gingerbread cookies with icing (the icing was Audrey's favorite part!). And Audrey got her very first taste of chocolate milk!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 21

I am thankful for our church. Being a minister's wife, it is easy to get discouraged and frustrated by all that goes on within the church. And it's easy to spend our time focusing on all the negatives. Our church is imperfect (as is every church!), but it is also full of a lot of good people who are doing a lot of good things for God's kingdom.
Our church is in the midst of a lot of change right now. Tonight we had a big Celebration event to look back at the past and celebrate the future of the church. It was a good night with lots of fun and food. They even had clowns! And Audrey LOVED the clowns! I was very surprised, because I would have guessed she would be afraid of the clowns. And she has been pretty grumpy/clingy today--another reason to suspect that she would be timid around the clowns. But she went up to them and gave them high fives and hugs and even sat to get her picture taken with the clowns (though I wish I would have taken another picture because she is making a funny face in this one!).
At the end of the night, the clowns put on a little skit for the kids. Audrey and Elliot were so cute laying on their tummies and watching the clowns!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20

I'm thankful for a couple of things today.

First, I'm thankful that Audrey is OK after falling down the stairs tonight. I was right behind her, and I saw her fall. But I was too far away to catch her or help her. So I just had to watch her fall and flip all the way down the stairs. It was so horrible! She cried for a couple of minutes, but then she was fine for the rest of the night, so I don't think she got hurt. It just looked really, really bad.
I'm also thankful that Christmastime is almost here! We put up our fake tree in the basement tonight. We will buy and decorate a real tree after Thanksgiving that will be our pretty tree in the living room. (I am very determined that getting a real tree every year will be a tradition for us!). The fake tree is for all of the sentimental ornaments that don't match--like the handmade ones, the ones we receive as gifts, Audrey's ornaments, and some of my childhood ornaments.

This is the first year that Audrey has been interested in the Christmas tree and Christmas in general. She liked "helping" put the ornaments on the tree. I'm not sure that she fully understands the idea that once the ornaments are on the tree they are supposed to STAY on the tree. I'm sure we will be working on that lots in the upcoming weeks!
In this picture, Audrey is showing the Santa ornament to her baby. We saw Santa at the mall earlier this week. It was the first time Audrey had ever heard about Santa, but she has been talking about him ever since! She has been asking and asking to drive to the mall so she can say "Hi Santa". And then I told her that she could sit on Santa's lap, and she keeps saying "hold you, Santa" (which really means, "hold me, Santa"...silly pronouns!). I don't really have any intention of making a big deal about Santa or of trying to convince her that he is real. But she is so excited about him right now, that it is fun to talk to her about it.

I'm really looking forward to this Christmas season. Last December, we had the craziest month ever! This year looks like it is going to be much calmer, which hopefully means less stressful. And now that Audrey is old enough to understand more about Christmas I think we are going to have a lot of fun around here!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

November 19

I'm thankful for friends and Harry Potter. We got to the theater at 6:00 to see the movie that started at 7:30. And we were the first ones in line!! It seemed silly to be there so early at first. But by 6:15 more people were beginning to join us in line. And as soon as they opened the theater doors, the whole place filled up in like a minute. So, getting there early was a good idea.

The movie was good, worth the wait. I think the Harry Potter movies are progressively getting better with each movie. This one was very well done, and seemed to stay very true to the book. The final movie comes out in July!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18

I am thankful that Audrey is feeling better. She was acting 100% normal today, a night and day difference from yesterday. And I'm thankful that we got to leave the house today--twice! And I'm thankful that so far Daniel and I still seem to be well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 17

I'm thankful for my house. I've spent a lot of time in my house lately. In fact, when I walked outside to take this picture, it was the first time I had set foot outside the house since Monday afternoon. So, while I am truly thankful for our house and I really do love a lot of things about this house, I'm also ready to GET OUT OF HERE!

Yesterday, I was here all day babysitting Cael and Audrey. I didn't have a carseat for Cael, so we didn't go anywhere. THen I had piano lessons, then supper, and by the time we were done, it was about time for Audrey's bath and bed. So we never left the house.

Today, I had big plans to get out of the house. And then Audrey woke up and threw up...three times. And then she spent the rest of the day clinging to me and crying and moaning and running a fever. That poor girl is not feeling good! We pretty much spent the entire day on the couch watching TV. Audrey did not want to let go of me. And while I'm grateful for the rare snuggle time, it only added to my stir-craziness. And I'm pretty sure that she completely covered me with all of her germs. So, tomorrow morning, I will probably be the one that wakes up sick....thus adding more days to my time trapped inside this house that I am thankful for!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16

I'm thankful that Daniel is home! He was only gone for two days, but after two days of being home alone, I'm glad he's back. I'm very thankful for all that he does to help me and Audrey!

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15

I'm thankful for the pizza I had for dinner tonight. Kind of a lame thing to be thankful for (and definitely a lame picture), but seriously, it was a treat! I don't remember the last time we ordered pizza for delivery.

Daniel is out of town, and Audrey was at Lindsey's house for the evening because I had to teach piano and teach stamp club. I had a 15 minute break between piano and stamp club, which didn't seem like enough time to make something or run and get something. So I ordered a pizza to be delivered, just for me! It felt like such a splurge...a whole pizza all to myself! Not that I ate the whole pizza...I only had two slices. But now there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrow. And I haven't had Papa Johns in a really long time...it was very tasty!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 14

I'm thankful for the photography business I have had lately. I did another senior photo shoot today with this guy. He was the nicest, most polite kid. He was very laid back and easy to get along with, which made me more at ease. These senior photo shoots kind of stress me out.

I'm still a little nervous about entering into this new world of senior photography. Mostly because I have seen so many amazing, artistic senior portraits done by real, professional photographers. And my pictures don't seem to hold up well next to those. But at the same time, those photographers are charging hundreds (sometimes thousands!) more dollars than I am. So I figure if people want really cool senior pictures, they will pay the big bucks for them. If they just want some nice looking, simple shots, I'm more than happy to do that for them.

And the mom of this kid today just gave my name to someone else for senior pictures, so it looks like the business will continue for a little longer!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November 13

I'm thankful for a relaxing weekend. I've been able to spend a good amount of time putting me feet up on the couch, snuggling with a blanket, catching up on some work and photo editing, and catching up on Grey's Anatomy. After several months of constant on-the-go craziness, it's nice to have some time to relax!

Friday, November 12, 2010

November 12

I'm thankful for the homemade chicken noodle soup that I made tonight.

Well, it was mostly homemade. I started with a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, instead of cooking my own chicken. I'm a bit scared to deal with a whole, raw chicken.

I used the recipes here and here. It was really pretty easy, and took just about an hour to make, which I think is pretty quick for a homemade soup.

However, I tend to have trouble with even easy recipes, and there were a few stressful moments in the creation of this soup. I didn't quite have all of the ingredients that I thought I had on hand, and I had a minor mishap with the chicken broth, resulting in my shirt and the counter and floor being covered with hot broth. But the end result was tasty, and we have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow, so I consider my first homemade chicken noodle soup making venture to be a success!

Bonus Post: Christmas Cards!

For those of you who know me well, you know that I am a papercrafter. I love making homemade cards and gifts and scrapbooks. For about five years or so, I made my own Christmas cards. It is a pretty big job, putting together about 100 Christmas cards each year. I love doing it, but I've found lately that my motivation and time are lacking.

Last year, I created my own photo Christmas card digitally, then had it printed. That was fun too, but still...time consuming to get the design just right. And even though I think I do a decent job at graphic design work, my finished product still didn't quite look professional.

So, this year, I have decided to go the easy route. Shutterfly and I have been best buddies lately. I hosted a house party with them last week, and they sent me several sample Christmas cards. And their cards looked really, really good. And the time that it would take to make them would be very, very minimal. The combination of great looking cards and easy prep work helped me to decide to use a Shutterfly card this year, instead of making my own.

This was a big decision for me, as I really do like making my own cards. But I also think Shutterfly has some really fun options this year, so I am not disappointed with my choice to go with them. I'm not sure which card I am going to use just yet, but here are a few of my favorites:

Top Ten Card
Last year, in our Christmas letter, I did a 10 top highlights for our family for the year. This card has a top 10 list included right on the card, so I wouldn't even have to include a letter. Very fun!

Folded Joy Card
This is one of the samples that Shutterfly sent me, and I really like it a lot. Inside, there is room for four more photos plus captions. I like photos, obviously, so being able to include more than one is fun for me.

Merry and Bright Card
This one also has space for four photos with captions inside the card. I like it too...this is going to be a hard decision.

Holiday Berries Card
This one is simple, and just one photo on the front and one inside. But I like the style and simplicity of it.

So, if you are on my Christmas card list, a card like one of these may be headed your way soon. And I'm sure you will be eagerly waiting by your mailbox until it arrives!

Fellow bloggers: You can get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly! More info here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11

Tonight, I'm thankful for the Mint Oreo blizzard Daniel just brought me from Dairy Queen. Yummy!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 10

I'm thankful for Cael, and how much fun he and Audrey have together! They get along so well and have so much fun together. I babysat Cael for a little bit today. Normally, when Audrey is playing with other kids, I have to be prepared to be the referee, because generally she does not share or play well. But I didn't have to do much at all today except sit back and watch Audrey and Cael play and laugh together over and over again. It is so sweet!

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8

I am thankful that Audrey cooperated for her first haircut today! I was afraid that she wouldn't like it, and I had visions of her squirming and screaming while everyone in the place stared at us. But there was no screaming or squirming or not liking it. She loved going to "Jenni's house", where she got to sit in a big chair, eat a sucker and get her haircut. And I didn't need to worry about everyone staring at us, because we were the only ones there! As we were leaving, she kept saying, "more haircut, more haircut".

I had intended to take before and after pictures, but that didn't happen. Really, the after looks pretty much the same as before. We just trimmed up the back and evened out some layers....nothing too drastic for today. I'm looking forward to when her bangs and the front parts of her hair grow out...Jenni and I think she will look really cute with a bob!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 7

I am thankful for the beautiful weather that we had today. It has been pretty chilly the past couple of days, and I have been freezing. But today it was sunny and in the 60s. Perfect weather for a photo shoot!

I took my first senior pictures today. I was kind of nervous, because senior pictures are a big deal. Some photographers take senior pictures that look like high fashion photography! I wasn't going for anything too cutting edge, just some simple, traditional poses. I was fortunate to take pictures of this guy for my first senior picture shoot. He wasn't all that excited about posing and smiling and all that, but he and his mom were really laid back...it was a very pressure-free photo shoot, so that helped me feel better. Hopefully they will be happy with the pictures!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November 6

I am thankful for good times with friends and free stuff from Shutterfly! I applied for and was chosen to host a Shutterfly house party. I got to invite a bunch of friends over for a fun night of hanging out, and in return, we all got free photo books, free holiday cards, and a free tote bag...not to mention a fun girl's night out without the kiddos. What a good deal!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

November 5

I have several things to say, so brace yourself for a long post...(and there is news about Audrey's 2 year doctor's appointment at the end...so grandparents, you might just want to skip down to that part and ignore all my other ramblings!).In continuing with my thankfulness theme, I wanted to post today that I was thankful for this box. Inside this box is a new lens for my camera. I have been saving my money for it for a while, and I finally saved enough to buy it. I should have been really excited when it arrived in the mail today. However, this lens is getting shipped back to Amazon tomorrow, unopened.

I woke up this morning, and my computer would not turn on. Tragic, I know!! Now, my computer is only two years old, but for the past 6 months or so, it has been having some issues. I knew it was getting towards the end of its life, and today it finally decided to die. We had someone look at it, but he thinks it is probably beyond repair. I think it's a piece of junk and not worth repairing anyway.

So, I am returning my new, unopened lens and using that money to help pay for a new computer. A new lens would be nice, but a new computer is more important. Without the computer, I can't edit any photos. Even with a nice lens, I'm not that good of a photographer to give clients pictures straight out of the camera. So the nice lens would be useless without a computer. I actually use the computer for 3 out of the 4 jobs that I currently work, so having one that works is very helpful.

Today, instead of being thankful for my new lens, I am thankful for the new computer that Daniel is out buying right now! I'm thankful that we are able to afford it without going into debt or dipping into savings or spending money that is reserved for other, more important things (like dental work!).

ALSO: I'm thankful for Audrey's 2 year doctor appointment today. She was healthy and on track with all her development, so I'm thankful for that. She weighed 25 lbs, 9 ounces (41%) and she was 34 1/2 inches tall (70%). She is starting to shoot up; at 18 months she was just in the 50% for height. I am most thankful that Audrey was happy through the whole visit. She did not shed one tear, not even when they gave her a shot. She was so happy to go to the "doctor's house" and to talk to the doctor. She really wanted to show the doctor her belly, and she laughed when they took her temperature and heartbeat. Such a night and day difference from our last doctor's visit!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 4

Kellie is doing a thankful theme for the month of November (like we did last year), so I thought I would join in with her again. Today, I'll start with an obvious one: I'm thankful for Audrey! Sweet, silly, ornery, stubborn, adorable, hilarious, strong-willed, smart little Audrey. Daniel mentioned tonight that he thinks this age is his favorite so far. And I would probably agree. Although there are many moments (like when she threw a major tantrum at Sprouts today when I took her raisins out of the box and put them in a cup), when it doesn't seem like so much fun. She definitely has some "terrible twos" moments.

But all the sweet, fun moments make it really, really easy to forget about the not so fun moments. She is talking so much now, and she says the funniest things in the cutest possible ways. I remember there was a time when she was a baby when she just seemed so shy and serious all the time. And I worried that she would be really quiet and serious her whole life (maybe a little too much like me?)...but that worry was just silly. Audrey is full of life...she is always talking, singing, laughing and bringing us so much joy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 3

I wanted to get a picture of Audrey today. She was wearing a cute dress with her cute pigtails, and she was pretty sweet and cute for most of the day. But I didn't ever get my camera out while she was awake. Someone needs to start reminding me to take pictures during the day!

So, today I'm going with my "go-to" backup picture...a picture of the book I'm currently reading. I started this one tonight (during choir practice). It is the pick for our December book club. It looks like a light and easy read, and I really hope it is a good one. I keep track of and rate the books I have read here. I have given 2 stars (which means I didn't like it) to the past 4 books I have read. I'm ready to read something that I enjoy!

Also, I counted how many books I have read so far this year, and the grand total is 30. That wouldn't be a bad number, except for the fact that I made a goal at the beginning of the year to read 60 books this year...so I'm not really on track at all to meet that goal.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 2

Seriously, Tuesdays are the worst days for me to get a photo taken and posted. It's another late night for me, just getting home at 11:30 pm.

I did not take a picture today, and I don't want to take a picture now, so it's going to be a no picture day for me. After like 630 days of doing this, I think I'm entitled to a day off every now and then!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1

I posted all of the pictures from Halloween and Audrey's birthday parties in an album here, so I'm not going to repost them all on the blog this week. I'll post some Halloween pics tonight, and then get back to regular daily photo programming tomorrow.

I was a little nervous that Pippi is too outdated, and people wouldn't recognize Audrey in her costume. But, fortunately, the spirit of Pippi Longstocking still lives, and most everyone seemed to know who Audrey was. A few got bonus points for singing the Pippi Longstocking theme song. I grew up watching both the old Pippi movie and the new version that came out in the 80s, so I'm a longtime Pippi fan! I've been calling Audrey "Pippi" ever since I started putting her hair in pigtails, and it seemed to be a good costume for this Halloween.

(And while I'm linking to YouTube videos, then I have to include this one: even the Gilmore Girls love Pippi Longstocking!)

We went trick or treating with the Millers door to door around our block, and then we drove around to see a few people from church. I was very skeptical about how Audrey would do trick or treating. I figured she would either be really clingy and too scared to go to the doors, or she would throw a temper tantrum because she would want to eat all the candy right now.

But she did neither. Audrey and Cael walked by themselves holding hands for a long time. They went up to the houses by themselves. Audrey was eager to put the candy in her bucket, but she did pretty good about not wanting to eat it all. (She only had the one piece all night...the sucker in the picture below). Overall, it was a fun time...and Audrey and Cael were way too cute together!!