One day…

One day there won’t be matchbox cars lined up across my entire sofa.

One day tupperware won’t be pulled out of the drawers and scattered across my kitchen floor.

One day no one will need me to calm them back to sleep just when I am sitting down to relax.

One day I won’t read countless Sandra Boynton books at bedtime until I can read them with my eyes closed.

One day no one will want me to kiss their owies.

One day the program of choice will not be Elmo.

One day no one will ask me to take them out in the freezing cold to admire the moon.

One day I won’t struggle to carry two children in my arms as I walk through the Fred Meyer parking lot.

One day I won’t have to wrestle anyone to the floor so I can put on their shoes.

One day no one will use my purse to transport trucks from one place to the next.

One day my clothes won’t be stretched out from little hand tugging and yanking at them.

One day no one will yell “BUS!” or “DIGGER!” while we are driving in the car.

One day no one will need me to rock them to sleep as they drift off, head pressed against my chest.

I don’t write this in a sad place tonight, even though it seems sad. Today was a rough day, as currently many are. No one  really napped, my boys were sick and cranky, and I. felt. tired. I write this in a place , reminding myself, that this time of my life will not last. And even though it is so so so hard, it is also so so so beautiful. I love my boys, they amaze me every day. And even though I can’t wait to watch them grow into each stage of life, I also want to freeze them just the way they are. Gilbert’s laugh. Benjamin’s enthusiasm. The way they snuggle each other for brief moments. The love I have for them makes me ache. So even though things like cars all over my floor and pinning someone to the floor just to put their pants on, drives me crazy, I also know I will be sad when that is all over.

I was listening to the song Spanish Harlem and trying to figure out the meaning of it. I think, it speaks to the beauty of the grit and dirt in life. So, even though life feels gritty and exhausting and tomorrow when no one is napping and I scoff at this post, I can say now, it’s all beautiful. The tantrums, the spit-up, the dirty diapers. It’s beautiful because it’s my sweet, sweet boys, who I couldn’t imagine life without.

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Pumpkin Bread and Chai

Since deciding to stay home we have had to give up some luxuries. I used to get Starbucks 3-4 times a week, and on occasion I would get a pumpkin loaf with my beverage. Now, I might get a drink once every two weeks. So when I want a treat I have an alternative. I buy the Oregon Chai or Tazo Chai in the grocery store. It’s not quite the same but it’s good enough, especially when I need to reboot during nap time.

If you are a chai drinker like me, here is a tip my sister gave me. Make it with 1/3 water, 1/3 milk or soy, and 1/3 chai(then it’s not too sweet). Then heat it for 1min. 10sec. in the microwave.

The other thing I make to treat myself is pumpkin bread. My cousin gave me this recipe, and it tastes a lot like the Starbucks, minus the additives. It is packed with sugar, but I always put a little less than what is calls for or substitute some of it with honey. Below is the recipe.

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Pumpkin Bread

Set Oven Temp. to 350 degrees

1/2 cup oil (I use melted butter)                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 1/2 cups sugar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 eggs                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 cup pumpkin puree                                                                                                                                                                                                                       1/3 cup milk                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 1/2 cup flour                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1/2 tsp. salt                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       1/2 tsp. baking soda                                                                                                                                                                                                                         1 tsp cinnamon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp. cloves

Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan

Bake for 1 hour (I leave it in 15 min. longer, our oven is not as hot)

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Voila….a yummy, cheap, Starbucks treat in the comfort of your own home.

First Family Photo Shoot: keeping me on my toes

On Sunday I did a last minute photo shoot for a friend/former co-worker, Meagan, and her family. They wanted to take advantage of the fall leaves and the leaves were on their way out with the big windstorm we had. So her husband sacrificed watching the Seahawks game live to do pictures on Sunday.

Meagan and Nic have two sweet, energetic boys. They definitely kept me on my toes. It was great preparation for what I have to look forward to, having two boys of my own.

Here is a sampling of the pictures we did yesterday:

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What I learned doing this shoot:

1.) It’s hard photographing kids, but their spontaneity adds to the photo. I got some great shots of them jumping, making a kissy face while his parents kissed and smashing his face against his moms.

2.) I will apologize less if they have read my blog and know I say “sorry” too much.

3.) Photos taken on pavement have much better lighting that pictures on grass. I read that parking lot photos are best because the ground reflects the light, where as the grass absorbs the light. Now I know why our wedding photographer took us off the grass and into the parking lot. The problem is parking lots are not very pretty and parks are.

That’s all for now. Thanks for joining me on my journey.

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Little Blue House

Yes, I know it’s not a photography post…whew…it’s nice to do something different. A few weeks ago I really needed to get out of the house. So, after Kollin got home I was off to the craft store. It was so nice to meander through a store and not worry about trying to get in and out to avoid a meltdown. I wanted to copy a glittery Christmas church I had seen at a store in Seaside, OR so I knew exactly what I was looking for. Before I knew it I found this great cardboard house already made…wahoo! So I grabbed some paint, glitter, small white trees and a wreath.

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I made sure to paint the inside white so it can reflect the candle’s light I put in there. I just used a paint varnish on top of the paint so the glitter would stick. I also painted the trees and wreath green and doused them in glitter. Here is the house in the daylight.

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For the bow, I tied up some pink ribbon I already had. I still need to make a bigger base so I can glue the trees on. Below is the house in the dark. Yes, I put a real candle in the house. Don’t do it! I just put it in their for the picture. I’m going to get one of those fake candles.

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If you are interested, I got all the materials at Artco. I still want to make a church, but I would actually have to build it. We’ll see if that happens…

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Maternity Photo Shoot Round 2: weathering the elements

On Wednesday I posted pictures of a maternity shoot I did for my friends Shelley and Brett. I mentioned we would do a second round today if it did not pour down rain on us. Luckily it didn’t….it was just freezing cold and veeerrrryy windy. But it was one of the few opportunities we had and I’m so glad we did, because I’m pretty sure the wind blew all the leaves off the trees today.

We did the shoot in Wright’s Park, the most beautiful park in Tacoma. They were such sports since it was so cold. But, I think it was worth it since the scenery was gorgeous. Here is a sampling of some of the photos from today. p.s. My sampling has grown to 11, I couldn’t narrow it down.

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Note: the reason they are under the “women” sign is because they are having a girl and Brett will now be out numbered by women. I can empathize, being surrounded by boys.

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Things I learned this time around:

1.) I know now why I say “sorry.” If a picture doesn’t look good, I apologize, which is silly since they can’t see it.

2.) Giving direction is helpful, but it’s hard to remember.

3.) Last time I said I wanted to shoot in manual focus, but now I know that’s too hard, and things don’t turn out the way you think you see it. Back to auto-focus for me.

4.) I really want a new lens. Me Ra Koh suggests getting a 50mm lens with a 1.8 aperture to get that buttery blur in the background. Unfortunately it’s $200 and I am not working this year. Responsibility stinks.

I get to shoot two different friends of mine and their families. I’m looking forward to it! I will keep you updated as I continue to practice and learn.

This Mama’s Halloween in 5 Photos: special edition

As a teacher, I usually despise Halloween. On Halloween, the kids are wound up and crazy, it’s impossible to accomplish anything. And the next day is worse, because they are tired and cranky from sugar and lack of sleep. This year was different, obviously, since I’m taking the year off. This isn’t Benjamin’s first Halloween, but it was the first that he was aware of. Everything was new, pumpkins on front porches, scooping out our pumpkin’s guts and kids dressed in funny costumes. It was hard to narrow down the day to 5 pictures but these are my favorite.

The biggest event was trick or treating in the Proctor District. There are people everywhere, but it’s fun to see all different costumes. I think my favorite was a family dressed like the Prince, the Fairy Godmother and Cinderella, they were adorable.

We ran into my sister and her family at the end of their trick or treating. Clearly something caught the eye of Benjamin and Perla.

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We walked around with our friends Jessica and Dan and their two kids Owen and Evelyn. Owen was a fired breathing dragon and Evie was was a knight. Benjamin loves Owen…or Onna, to him.

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Benjamin has a small obsession with candles, thankfully he is afraid to touch them. It was a wild idea to put candles in a pumpkin….wow!

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Okay, now time to talk about the costumes. Thanks to Pinterest I got the idea of dressing Benjamin up as a football player and Gilbert a football. I figured this year was my only opportunity since this is the closest to football size Gilbert will every be. For Gilbert I used a brown onesie and white tape, cheap and easy. When we were outside he wore a football hat my friend Ashley crocheted for him.

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It was hard to get a picture of the two together. Benjamin didn’t want to hold his brother, let alone hold still. And we had to leave for trick or treating right after nap. For his costume I used maxi-pads for shoulder pads and mascara for the face paint (I know, he’ll love hearing that when he’s 15). They were so cute it hurt.

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I’m really not ready for cold, dark weather. But I’m excited to watch Benjamin experience the wonderment of Christmas.