Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The art of Thanksgiving

This is sort of my "out of the backpack - Thanksgiving edition" with a little homemade craft thrown in. I couldn't leave it out because they turned out so cute.

Indian corn. Aren't they cute? I bought the supplies as a tactic to keep the kids busy last Friday. It was their second half day in a row and I couldn't take another day of the wild rumpus - I thought a craft project would calm them down a bit. Spencer and Hailey each put on about five beads a piece. Evan and I made all the rest. You know what they say about the best laid plans.

This picture doesn't do them justice at all, but they look totally awesome and festive hanging over our counter.

Now for the pilgrims and turkeys.

Spencer's pilgrim paper. I laugh at how he thinks his life would be different if he were a pilgrim because he would go to a different school. He wouldn't know what hit him!

Hailey's turkey hand print. Traditional, yet I can't get enough of their tiny prints.

They didn't make Indian hats in school this year - any of them - so last night we sat down and crafted some of our own. Spencer made one too, but at this time he was working on his homework.

Hailey's turkey.

Evan's turkey with a detached leg.
Happy Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What they're thankful for...

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
--John F. Kennedy

We put new "leaves" on our annual thankful tree again this year. I am always surprised every year by the different levels of enthusiasm that the kids put into it. Last year Spencer was very into it - this year not so much. This year Evan wanted to cut out all of his own leaves and write on them. I usually request that they do five leaves or so a piece - Ev decided that he wanted to make nine. Alrighty then. Hailey thought it was a fun project but I think she didn't quite "get" the whole "thankful" theme. She seemed thankful for holidays in general - mainly fall holidays.

What Hailey is thankful for: pumpkins, Santa, Halloween, My Dickens, my friends.

What Evan is thankful for: cat, air, toys, frens(friends), mom, dad, food, God, spas(space).

What Spencer is thankful for: TV, toys, mom and dad, life, school.

Have a wonderful, blessed and thankful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Cards

My favorite part of the Christmas season is running to the mailbox everyday and opening the Christmas cards that we receive. I especially love the photo cards. Needless to say, for the past thirteen years (even before we had kids) we have sent out a Christmas photo card. This is where another thing I love comes in handy - Shutterfly.

Shutterfly is amazing! I have albums stored on their site dated back to 2005 - the first year I started shooting digitally - anytime I might want a photo of Evan as a one year old or Spencer at his five year old birthday party, I can find it in a snap and order a print.

Shutterfly is not just for prints. Every year I make a photo calendar on the site. I love how easy it is to create and the finished quality is amazing. This is a product that hangs on my wall the whole year and people that come to my home see it. To have it out on display speaks volumes on how great they are.

Another favorite product of mine that they offer is Photobooks. I have a dozen or so books in various sizes that I ordered from Shutterfly. They are some of my prized possessions. The creation of them is so easy and user friendly. There is even an option to have them create the book for you! What an amazing gift!

I am very excited to create our 2010 Christmas photo card from Shutterfly this year. The selection of cards and types of cards they offer is extensive - there are almost too many to choose from. Finding a usable photo is the hardest part! These are all outtakes from an impromptu Christmas card family shoot with my mom. Needless to say, NONE of these will be on our annual card! The "Family Wall Red" card is one of my absolute favorites this year. I love the simplicity of it.
Shutterfly is offering an amazing promotion right now. If you have a blog you could earn 50 free Christmas cards from Shutterfly! Click here for the details. Believe me - order from them and you will NOT be disappointed!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I just wanna sew.

I have wanted to sew for about two weeks now. Not anything for me or my house. Christmas gifts - things I am super excited to try. Last week I didn't want to haul out the machine because I was getting organized for the scrapbook retreat that I was going to. When you haven't scrapbooked in about two years, it takes a lot of organizing and sorting to figure out what you are doing. This past week I have been working in our den/office every spare second I have. It is finally finished - well, as good as it is going to get right now. Today I saw a whole day with nothing pressing to do - a day I could finally start on my sewing projects. My kids, namely Hailey, had other ideas on how to fill it.

The first thing I found when I came downstairs after showering and dressing this morning.

She thought it would be fun to mix the fuse beads with the leftover popcorn from last night. Doesn't separating kernels and beads sound like a blast? I was tempted to dump the whole thing in the trash, but I am waiting until the kids tell me how bored they are and then I am going to suggest this little fun sorting project for them.

From there she went on to dump out"moonsand" and rub it all over the play table. And don't forget the floor. She didn't ask permission to get this stuff out, because that never would have left its hiding spot in the laundry room.

Finally, there is the yogurt that I found lovingly finger painted on to the sidelight of the front door.

She is going through some kind of phase right now - well, I PRAY that it is a phase because if it is just how she is going to be, she is going to have to be sold to the gypsies. She is snotty. She is defiant. She won't listen. She doesn't follow directions. It is exhausting.

I just can't keep on top of the messes around here. Hence, I can't find any time to do the things I want to do. So today, at the end of my rope, I gave Evan and Hailey each a bowl and told them to go outside and make leaf soup. They were thrilled.

They were happy because they were making messes. I was happy because they weren't making messes inside and they were being creative and getting fresh air to boot. Then I checked my email and found my Story People quote of the day.

They're like pets who shed clothes instead of hair, she said, &
they talk back & want a lot of stuff. But at least they don't pee on the
carpet anymore

It was like it was written for my life. It made me laugh out loud.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Energy in my soul

"They know me in a way no one else ever has. They open me to things I never knew existed. They drive me to insanity and push me to my depths. They are the beat of my heart, the pulse of my veins, and the energy in my soul - they are my kids."
-Author unknown-

So typical. Spencer and Hailey are so much alike and Evan is always just doing his own Evan thing.

Photographing my own kids is so hard. I managed to get a few good shots. You don't want to know how many images I took. One of these may end up being my Christmas card - so if you see it on your card, pretend you didn't see it here first!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blue sky and a pretty girl!

This week has been gorgeous! It seems more like early September than November. Then you turn on the TV and see all the toy commercials and go into any store and listen to the Christmas music - and realize that it is November. Mother Nature is just giving us a bit of a reprieve before the nastiness arrives. A week ago it was actually snowing - granted it was short lived but long enough to make us realize that this little break in the weather should not be taken for granted.

So taking it for granted we are not.

A few days ago Hailey and I walked down to the beach. Partly to enjoy the day and partly for a little three year old photo shoot. I know she is almost four, but she is still technically three and we need a shot of her for our Christmas card. Plus her birthday is in January - the snow makes it difficult to photograph her outside which is my preferred back drop. I know, enough excuses - the shoemakers kids always have holes in their shoes right?

These are not the photo shoot images - those will appear later when I get the urge to edit again. These are just some fun hanging out with my girl shots.

Sand angels. So cute but also scary foreshadowing of the snow days ahead of us.

Look at that sky! I didn't boost the color of these at all. That is just how gorgeous this day was.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love where we live? How lucky I feel to be able to decide after lunch that we are going to walk five minutes and hang out on a private beach for an hour? Because I do - I love it!

Mama and Hais - I love the reflection in my glasses.

She looks so small in comparison to the lake. Some days the beauty of it just takes your breathe away.

She could have stayed and played on the sand all day long.

As if Mother Nature was trying to prove to us that it really was fall, we noticed this bright and colorful leaf among some not so pretty leaves.

I had to laugh when I saw these leaves still hanging on. They should be on a motivational poster for determination.
It has been an amazing week!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

There is always time for bargains

I feel like I have so much to post and yet the time to do it is eluding me. So compromise - here is a short one.

After I picked up Hailey at school we drove across town to the meat store. The meat store sells the world's best chicken breasts - I am super particular about meat and these chicken breasts are the only ones that I really like to eat. On the way to the store, we pass by three different thrift stores. After we had purchased a box of poultry deliciousness, we started driving back down the same road and I couldn't resist the tractor beam of the bargains any longer.

I should have had a clue that something was going on when we couldn't find a parking space in the whole lot - even at the back of the store. I contemplated giving up - but the lure was too strong. We waited for someone to leave and we went in.

I bought this muffin tin for one dollar. It is for a project that I am working on in my head. I found this pretty moose magazine/file holder. It will be getting a coat of paint soon and finding a home in my newly organized office. First I have to organize the office though. Priorities.

Hailey and Spencer each got a new pair of pants. Two bucks a piece for Old Navy pants. I wish Hailey's came in my size - aren't they the cutest? Spencer has a hole in the knee of every pair of pants he owns. Is this true with all boys? I swear that kid is hard on his clothes.

Two ninety nine a piece - a hoodie for Spencer with his school logo on it and sweater for Hailey that I wish I could fit into. It is a size 6, but doesn't seem that big. Plus I figure she can wear it as a longer sweater - maybe with her new jeans.

I was pretty stoked about my finds. Oh and all the cars in the lot were on account of the fact that it was senior day. When I found that out I was wishing I had my mom along to score me and even better deal!

After that little stop, I have a few more projects brewing in me and I have some sewing that I am jonesing to do. There are just not enough hours in the day! Now to get back to work on editing - I had two photo shoots over the weekend. I almost have the first one done and now need to start on the second. They were for one of my mom friends and I saw her at school this morning - she is super excited to see them and already talking about how she is spreading my name around to all of her friends. Yea! So I need to get crackin' on them and do a fabulous job.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Because they make me smile

I got the new chair that I ordered from Target today. I love it. The boys had a half day of school today. As I type they are down in the basement playing puppet theatre with the box the chair came in. We have a whole night of freedom ahead of us. I have two photo shoots this weekend. I am happy today.

I have had a piece of paper sitting by my computer where I have been jotting down things that the kids have said that made me chuckle or smile in the last few weeks.

Here they are in no particular order:

While getting Hailey dressed in the morning and putting a pair of sweatpants on her I told her she was lucky because she was able to wear her "soft pants" (what Evan calls sweatpants). She told me "They are not soft pants. They are running pants. I like to run in them".

While Evan and Hailey were reminiscing about our "Elf on the Shelf" Springle, Hailey recalled how he would climb up to perch on different pieces of furniture in our house. Evan told her "He doesn't CLIMB Hailey! He just POOFS where he wants to go!"

Hailey opening up her hot dog place take out container - "Yea! They gave me a Yo-Yo!" It was actually an Oreo.

Hailey standing at the top of the stairs while she was supposed to be napping and announcing to me in a stern voice "I QUIT to go to bed!"

Hailey who in the past has been plagued with bouts of constipation after going to the bathroom. "Mom! My poop didn't hurt my butt! I think because my body likes root beer!"

Lately Hailey has been remembering and missing her Grama Lyn who passed away a couple of years ago. I told her that even though she couldn't see Grama, she would always be in her heart. She asked me "But how can she fit in there and what if I fall and crush her?"

Hailey's newest bedtime stall trick is to ask me or her Daddy after we have read her books "Will you just hang out with me for a while?" It is so cute it is hard to say no.

The other night after I had tucked the kids in I noticed that Evan's door was open and he likes to have it shut. I walked in there and found Evan sound asleep and Hailey sitting next to his bed on a chair. I asked her "What are you doing in here? Doov is asleep!" To which she replied "I was just telling him the story of Beauty and the Beast - I think he will really love it."

Yesterday morning I called Hailey into the dining room to look outside at the beautiful pink clouds and sky during the morning sunrise. She gasped and said "Oh Mom - it is like we live in Pinkalicious land."

Monday, November 1, 2010

A day late.... be our Halloween Doov-o-lantern!

Today Evan came home from school carrying his first lost tooth!

A big, big day for our almost six and a half year old!