Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Randomness in winter.

I'm going to keep my words short and sweet in this post.  Really it's because there isn't much to talk about.  The winter routine that I told you about last time, well, that's pretty much it plus a trip to the pool and some driving lessons for Evelyn. Here is a peak at us mixing it up while waiting for spring...

Bath Time

Graduation from the sink to the tub was highly anticipated. The kid loves water!







































We have an extensive collection of rubber duckies and Evelyn is not satisfied until she has gathered and and everyone of them and tasted them all. Those 20 or so duckies live among the bottom of my bathtub, and they greet me each morning as I stumble into the shower tripping over their slippery yellow bodies.

Scrub-a-dub-dub, Baby... scrub-a-dub-dub.


Driving Lessons

Really. Who out there doesn't have a photo of their child pretending to drive the car?


Swimming

Last Summer we took Evie to the pool at our complex several times and she really seemed to like it. So we headed over to the local pool last Sunday and now she just loves it. Paddling her feet. Flirting with the lifeguards. Splashing her hands against the water.

After all, it's just a big bathtub.

Without the duckies of course.



 
Playtime and Daddy-time

Nothing beats downtime at home. Playing with toys on a quilt in the middle of the living room. It's comforting, safe, and warm.

And spending some much needed time with Daddy. It's comforting as well... to know that her Daddy adores her as much as I do. I didn't think it was possible for anyone to love her as much as I do. But he so does.


I asked you all a few weeks back how you beat cabin fever.

Ashley says:

Usually Jameson and I like to stay in when it's cold. After all, we were born and bred in sunny California but now we brave the New Jersey frozen tundra! On this snowy day I left work early and headed straight to his school to pick him up. We decided today was the perfect day to play outside in the snow. So while the rest of New Jersey was closing down, my 3 year old and I bundled up and headed on out. He made his first little snow angel while the snowflakes landed on his face and he couldn't have been more proud. He didn't care that he had snow flakes up his nose or that his hands were wet and cold. He was having fun with his mom, spending rare quality time together making memories, and that was all that mattered. Thank heaven for snow days.


Lisa and her family:

We've spent some time indoors trying to get organized.  We have a strict rule around here that all babies are stored in the left bin only.


Thank you for your submissions!  And don't forget about the black and white photo assignment. I've extended the deadline for those submissions until this Friday, January 28th.

The forecast says snow and that means we'll be getting super creative with our time. I'm sure there will be lots more winter randomness in the coming days. I refuse to let cold weather and cooped conditions get the best of me.

Stay warm everyone, we've still got a ways to go!

 

Friday, January 21, 2011

.5

We are officially stuck in our winter routine of playing inside, watching movies, bundling ourselves up for that mad dash front the front door to the car door when we are forced to leave the warmth of our home, hitting the snooze button one extra time because the bed is just so much cozier in cold weather, playing in the bathtub until our toes and fingers are pruned, and cleaning and organizing because there just isn't anything else we can do.

Before Evelyn we use to have the if you can't beat it then join it attitude about winter time. We would go skiing, go out for walks regardless of how cold, and do a snow dance in the living room in hopes of a few inches of snow to play in.

Now we scratch our brains for baby friendly ideas to mix it up to spare ourselves the winter blues while we pine for those first signs of spring and maybe a little sunshine until we get there.

















So this weekend we celebrated point five.























6 Months. 1/2 a year. What have you.























And we did so in high fashion.

















A .5 t-shirt made by yours truly, a tutu, a pair of sneakers...
















A huge thank you to Jamie at Sweet Baby TuTus on Etsy for Evelyn's 6 month tutu. She is actually a local Etsy vendor.  Right now she is offering 10% off of your entire order -including her birthday sets - when you using the code: SBTBLOG

Visit her at: Sweet Baby Tutus

I was so unprepared when Evelyn was born at how fast time really does pass by.  Everyone tells you that it does, but that is what they are supposed to say to make you realize what they already know. 























6 months.


She has transformed from a helpless newborn to a little girl full of energy who sits tall, plays with her toys, has two teeth, is currently eating me out of house and home, and can find happiness and excitement in littlest of things.

























And if you had told me the day she was born that 6 months would be my favorite age over the itty bitty infant stage, I would have told you that you were crazy, and then I would have cried about it. But it's so true!

























I love watching her discover new things, playing with toys rather than just staring at them while drool drips off her face, and her knowing who I am and searching a room over for me.



And boy is she a momma's girl. Ask her daddy. Everyone says little girls are joined at the hip to their daddies. And that may be so, eventually. But for now, she is my hip buddy.

We were, of course, given a clean bill of health at her 6 month check up. He said she seemed happy, healthy, and well, well-fed.


That being said, she is just 2 ounces shy of 18 pounds.

















Thankfully her lungs are officially clear and she is back to herself but we are still continuing breathing treatments as a precaution.
























She doesn't fight them anymore, in fact she helps, until she falls asleep.




Thank you everyone for your get well emails and messages for little Evelyn!

Speaking of Evelyn, she is currently banging her head against the ground yelling momma at the top of her lungs.

Seriously, I think she is having a tantrum.

I guess that is my cue to get going!  Til' next time...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Photo Lesson #2: Photo Editing Program

Stating the obvious... the camera is the most important tool in photography.  It's the only tool you need. But there are many other tools that are available to make photography fun. Like editing software.

Pre-Evelyn I would spend hours in from of Photoshop CS3 playing around with RAW images. But when you become a mom, you lose all personal time. So that is when I made the switch the program that I use now.  But before I get to that, let's talk a little about photo editing software options.

When looking to either buy or download software you should decide how much you want to spend, how much time you have to learn the program, and how much time you'll actually spend in front of it.

Photoshop (Elements, Lightroom, CS) is an amazing program. As I said, I would spend hours playing around with photos. The problem with Photoshop is that it is not an easy program to operate. You can enroll in classes to learn how to use all of it's functions if that is any indication as to how complicated it can be. But, if you want the widest range of creative options then it's the only way to go.  I honestly do not recommend spending the money on the program unless you plan to work professionally as a photographer. It's just not worth the time or money unless you already own it.

There are several easy programs on the Internet (some free!) that work well for everyday editing. They include basic options such as contrast, saturation, borders, sharpening, brightening/darkening, cropping, resizing, etc. In fact, you may already have one of these programs on your computer. Microsoft Picture Manager.  For very basic editing, this program works fine.

Now the program that I have been using since the birth of our daughter is Photoscape. 

You can download the program for free by clicking this link: Free Photoscape Download

It's quick. It's fairly simple. It offers a wide range of options when it comes to editing. It's FREE. And it's really all you need. Now if you are looking for a program where you can airbrush your children into magazine models, this is not your program. You are better off purchasing Photoshop. But this program allows you to be creative without being over the top.

You can even access their how-to pages by clicking HERE.

Photo editing software is not so that you can turn your photographs into something they are not or to completely edit out the personality in your children. Freckles, scratches, skinned up knees, and blemishes are what gives a photograph of a child character. I do not edit out the imperfections of my daughter and I challenge you to not either with your own children. Rather, embrace them.

So now that you have a fun photo editing program, get creative with your images. The deadline for submitting images for our last photo assignment, how you beat cabin fever is tomorrow so get those images into me as soon as possible. And here is the next photo assignment!

Photo Assignment: Black and White


I'd like for you to take and submit a photo which best  portrays an opposite of some sort. Then turn it black and white. The deadline to submit photos for this assignment is Sunday, January 23, 2011.  Please email the photographs to me at eviemakes3@gmail.com

Now go have fun playing around with your photo editor!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane... never again.

It's a great feeling when your child stops sounding like Wheezy the Penguin from Toy Story. That’s exactly what Evelyn has resembled since mid-last-week. 
















What started out as a little cold and a runny nose turned into full-blown-coughing-her-lungs-up-barely-able-to-breathe-up-all-night-Sunday-morning-doctor's-appointment-bronciolitis. But, like the champ she is, after a few days of antibiotics for the nasty snotty nose and some breathing treatments, the kid is on the mend.
















Matt unpacked our luggage last night which thankfully made it safely home.  I passed out on the couch waking up just long enough to stumble into bed.  What a week it's been.
 
Want to know what I'll never do again?  Take a roll-along carry on luggage bag, a carry on duffel bag, a diaper bag, and an infant on a plane trip… alone. What was I thinking. I realized the moment that I walked… no ran like mad… into the airport that I had forgotten my 3 other arms needed to complete this task by myself laying by the door where I thought I wouldn't forget them.  Sheesh.























A  flight attendant almost lost his head when I approached him asking for help with my luggage as my daughter, who, at this point was lovingly trying to undress me by pulling my shirt off my shoulder as she hung on my hip and covered my arm with massive amounts of spit up while I toted enough luggage to last me a week in the Arctic, just in case, sweat rolling down my cheeks, hair covering my eyes, only to have him tell me that he could not help me. There was a little crazy in my eye right before a lovely flight attendant jumped in to ask if she could take my roll along to be checked. Then told me my daughter was the prettiest baby she'd ever seen.























Sir, she and the fact that I didn't have a free hand, saved you.























Believe it or not, once on the plane, everything was great. Evelyn slept most of the way and when she was up, she occupied her time by looking out the window, chewing on her toys, and smacking the man beside me while sticking her tongue out and raspberry-ing all over his neatly pressed shirt.
















And besides being stranded in Detroit, spending fifty dollars on crappy airport food, and losing our luggage, the trip back was much more pleasant with my husband to carry the load.























In fact, while on the plane Evelyn decided to add to her vast vocabulary consisting of "momma" and "oh."























While resting against Matt's chest she looked up and whispered "Dada."

"Did you hear that?" he said.

I had half a mind to say no, just to mess with him and be mean. But I didn't. Those are the moments as parents you wait eagerly for. First smile. First word. First step.  Plus she had already said Mama first so I had no reason to be jealous and pretend it didn't happen.


Unfortunately, I didn't realize Evelyn was saying "Mama" until my mom pointed it out. Maybe it's because she only says it when she is upset and screaming at the top of her lungs, red faced, wanting to be held. At that point I'm usually not worried about what's coming out of her mouth as much as making it stop. But as my mom held her tired little body she babbled on "Mama… Mmmm-Mama" while passing me the please-hold-me-mommy look.

"She's saying Mama, Kelly."

"Is she?"

"Don't you hear it?"

"Hah! I guess she is. Hey Matt… *snickers to self*... Guess what!"
















The night she first said Mama I walked into the living room to see Matt face to face with our daughter repeatedly asking her to say Dada and her smiling back at him like he's telling her a really good joke rather than pleading for her to utter his name.

So after hearing her say it to him on the plane I leaned over and said "Evie, say Dada."  And just as proud as she could be, she squealed out a high pitch "Da Da!" and then they both beamed with happiness.























So while the flying with child experience lacks the appeal for me to ever want to do it again, Evelyn learning a new word, learning to wave Bye Bye (usually to herself), and watching her dump a huge glass of Coke onto her daddy's lap in the middle of the airport certainly made the miserableness of it all, a little more tolerable.


And we realize now that our child has Go-Go-Gadget arms and amazing aim. I mean, she's dead on.



The purple hat featured in this post that Evelyn is wearing can be found here: Mel's Bells Kids. Melissa makes a variety of items for kids and adults including hats and booties. You'll be seeing more of her items in future posts. Her items are well crafted and beautiful and the wide selection in her Etsy shop is sure to meet most every ones tastes.

Monday, January 10, 2011

We'll be back.

This past weekend was a mess. I mean truly a mess.

After a quick visit to Illinois we started the string of flights home.  Our last leg was cancelled. Spent all day in an airport with an infant.  We were re-booked to a city two hours south of where we live so my dad graciously drove down to pick us up.  Our bags were lost.  We have one bag here and two are floating around in Detroit somewhere. And to top it off, we made a Sunday morning trip to the pediatrician to find out that poor Evelyn has come down with a bad case of Bronciolitis and an infection in her nose. 

So between breathing treatments, antibiotics, clinging to mommy for dear life, freaking out about care for Evie while we are at work, and figuring out how to make do without the essentials that are in what was supposed to be plane side checked baggage, we haven't had a lot of time, thus I've had no time to update the blog.

Truly sorry but life has certainly gotten in the way the past few days. I hope you'll understand and I promise to be back soon.  I have lots of updates to include the next photo lesson.  Sit tight and please pray for a speedy recovery of my little girl and maybe a little downtime for this little family of mine. We could really use it about now.

In the mean time - for all of those who are interested in partaking in the photo assignments... I thought I'd throw one out there! 

Photo Assignment:


I would like for you to photograph how you or how you and your family beat cabin fever!  Please submit a photograph along with a description.  We all have ways to stay sane during these chilly months whether it be braving the cold or staying inside where it's warm, and I'd like to know what those are!  The deadline for this assignment is one week!  Please have the photos submitted to eviemakes3@gmail.com by Monday, January 17, 2011. 

Thank you all!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I reflect and resolve.

So it's that time of year again. The time of year that I make promises to myself that will be broken by February. The time of year I tell myself I will be much cleaner, much healthier, much nicer, and much more understanding. The time of year where I try and turn myself into someone I'm not, with good intentions of course. And it's not that I'm not a clean, healthy, nice, and understanding person. It's just that there is always room for improvement.

Regardless of past efforts and fails, I'll make my resolutions again this year. It's good to have goals, right? But this year, I'm going to make goals that must happen rather than things I just want to happen. Not only to achieve a happier me, but a happier life in general. A happier family. A happier husband. A happier baby. A happier future.






















So while managing my money better, becoming more clean and organized, saving up enough money for a down payment on a house, working harder at my day job, become a world renowned photographer, and somehow becoming a stay at home mom... Big grin.

Pause. (If you listen closely you might be able to hear my husband laughing.)

But anyways.

My main resolution this year, the one that will help me achieve everything I've already listed, is to take better care of myself and like what I see in myself, inside and out.






















I started with a haircut. No more chubby fingers tangled in the mangled mess that once was my hair.















But I want to add to that by spending both time and money on myself without the guilt that it needs to go towards my home or child. To fix my hair in the morning and put on clothes that don't make me feel and look like I just crawled out of bed. To be a kinder wife, a less dependant daughter, and the best mommy I can be. To ultimately be better in all of my roles and be happy with the roles that God has placed me in. And stay focused on all the little things in life that make up the greater picture.















As I said last time, 2010 was amazing to me and my family. It made our parents into grandparents, and our grandparents even grander. It made a man into an uncle. It made my husband into daddy. A wonderful one at that.

Evelyn (2 days old) with her Daddy
























And it gave me the thing I'm most proud of and made me into the role I'm most proud to be.



Evelyn's mommy.























And that sweet little baby has cut a mean little tooth. See it?






















It is sharp. Super sharp. I mean, I don't support her with my feet while I play around on the laptop anymore for fear of her biting my toe again, sharp.















And I have to mention that this adorable outfit she is wearing.






















It's an Etsy outfit. Of course!

My friend Terra from Terra's Treasures makes very sweet children's clothing. It's incredibly well made and the clothes are soft and comfortable. It's wonderful to find one of a kind handmade clothing that has so much detail and love put into it.






















And she accessorizes! Anyone who knows Evelyn, knows she is rarely seen without her bows!






















And might I add... ruffles. We are very much into ruffle butts!























Check out her shop on Etsy: Terra's Treasures  She has lots of very unique and sweet clothing.

And last week I asked you to take a photo that represents your New Year's resolution and I'd like to share some of the entries.

Lisa submitted the following photo of her sweet little girl:






















Lisa says: "My New Year's Resolution is to stop talking like a sailor so that my daughter's first word isn't the f-bomb. That wouldn't win any friends in our playgroup... So, we have this shelf of cookbooks that my sweet little girl likes to play with. Imagine my surprise when I saw her flipping through "Any B**** Can Drink". It was then that I decided I should hide that book and wash my mouth out with soap. You know, for the sake of the child."

Abbe submitted the following photo with the resolution of "having more fun and less mommy yelling!"
















And lastly, a touching resolution from Bonnie Joe, and one we could all probably try harder at:
"My New Year's resolution this year is to "be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" - quote from Plato. My photo is of my son Elijah who was born with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). There is a 50% chance of survival and although he was given great odds in the womb, after birth he needed extensive care. He spent his first five days on ECMO (life support) and after three surgeries and 69 days he finally came home. Spending that time with him made me realize that anyone you meet on the street could be going through something similar. During that time the kindness of my friends and family and even strangers is what pulled me though. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own life that I forget to be kind to those around me and you never know when just a warm smile will make all the difference."

Thank you ladies for sharing your resolutions, stories, and photos of your beautiful children.

Well in a little over 24 hours I'll be on my first flight with a baby in tow, alone, to meet up with my husband and visit with his family. In college I flew twice a month or more. Never blinked an eye. Now, all of a sudden, I'm freaked out of my mind. Not to mention I have to handle an increasingly rambunctious 5 month old. ALONE.

This should be interesting. Especially for whoever gets the pleasure of sitting next to me and Evelyn for a few glorious hours in mid-air.

 
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