Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some of my Favorites from Recent Photo Shoots (Wordless Wednesday)

First a couple of cute kids:

And now, some of the twins -- aren't they adorable?

More on my photoblog.

I'm having a lot of fun and quickly coming to know my camera! I'm doing my first engagement pictures this weekend and I have a few other fun shoots scheduled.

(And here's my little secret: I'm actually not charging anyone for the next few months as I gain more experience. So, if a free photo shoot sounds fun to you, my next opening is February 13th)

Clues (Wordless Wednesday)

Clue #1:

Clue #2:

Clue #3:

Clue #4:

Can you tell I made brownies? (If I'd thought ahead for this post, I would have taken pictures of the messy light switches and sink in the bathroom, too. But sadly, I cleaned them on Saturday).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Every Dinosaur (Or, In Which I Corrupt Your Family Too)

My kids found a video at PBS kids a few months ago that they found hilarious. The tune is catchy, fun, and well, about poop. On the plus side, there are lots of great vocabulary words (omnivore, carnivore, etc.). On the negative side, well, most of them are synonyms for poop (skat, feces, etc.).

I'm not sure whether I should admit it or not, but the lyrics have entered our family's lexicon. Nowadays, whenever someone says, "Guess what?" someone else is likely to chime in with "Every dinosaur poops?" no matter what the first person was going to say.

So, in an attempt to spread around the hilarity and misery, I encourage you to check out the video for yourself. Let your kids listen to it half a hundred times or so and I'm sure your family will have as much fun with it as mine has.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kids -- what would we do without them? (Nearly Wordless Wednesday)

People without kids sometimes underestimate just how helpful they can be. Take grocery shopping, for example. My kids save me a lot of money just by coming along with me to the store. With them along, I'm sure to rush through as fast as possible, bypassing the screaming deals in order to race to the front of the store and get out as soon as I can. And I'm much more likely to forget entirely something on my list. Forgetting stuff on your list can really save you money!

And I don't know where I'd be without my kids to make sure I have the essentials on my shopping list in the first place, posted on the white board in the kitchen:

Today's list for instance, includes the usual: eggs, butter, lasagne noodles, pellet gun, machete . . .

Wait, maybe I better take a closer look at that:
Yep, without my kids, I'd really be missing out! And on the bright side, notice how they included something for everyone, including a $5000 camera lens for me!

(Maybe I should explain a few things on the list. First, before you call PETA, we have absolutely nothing against raccoons. We even adopted one a while back. I think the kids are joking about that one. And the "barbies that keep themselves covered"? I don't allow Barbies at our house because half the time they're naked and I just plain have a problem with little girls playing with women dolls who have chests (not to mention the sexist implications of Barbie's proportions). So Allison keeps hoping for the kind of Barbies that keep themselves covered.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

You know you have a large family when . . .

* People ask you if you have two sets of twins. Or about your triplets. You don't have either.

* You get in line for a tour at a museum and they give you your own tour guide.

* You hear "You've got your hands full" at least three times every time you're out in public with your children.

* You start reading a story to one child and end up reading stories to three or four.

* You buy a family pass at a museum but have to pay extra to add all of your children.

* You DO have two sets of twins. And/or triplets.

* You don't fit into a normal minivan.

* You read the fine print on the "Kids Eat Free" offers.

* Everyone you know has less children than you do.

* You go to the grocery store and buy 36 bags of cereal at a time.

* Four pounds of bananas only lasts a day

* You make four dozen cookies and they're all gone the next day.

Anyone got some to add?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My New Endeavor (Wordless Wednesday)

One of my goals this year, now that I have a totally awesome camera, is to really improve my photography skills. I've set aside every Saturday to do a photoshoot and I'm having a lot of fun figuring out the best places in my home for light and the best places nearby to shoot despite the cold.

Check out some of my recent photo shoots below, then check out my photography blog -- while you're there, you can snag a button for your own blog. If you live near me and want some photos taken soon, I am SERIOUSLY discounting my (already-really-low) rates for the next few months while I build my portfolio, so feel free to drop me an email and set up a time.

Joey says, "The twins have eyes so blue it's almost scary!" And they do -- no photoshopping involved in this gorgeous color:

Seriously, check it out!

And just to show you I'm not going to give up my candid shots, here's a couple of recent photos of Harmony that make me smile. She's climbing up on everything lately and is a spunky little delight. She'll be 18 months old in just a few weeks!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Q&A: Empty Nest

I'm back to answering the questions asked last summer. I'm embarrassed it's taking me so long to work through them, but well, can I use the excuse that I've got nearly 8 kids? (yeah, that one usually works!)

from the Depews:
What will you do when they are all grown up and off raising their own families?
This is an awesome question, and of course, I have all sorts of fun ideas and plans that may or may not come to fruition. I know life has a way of throwing us challenges and surprises, but even so, I do look forward to those days.

Here are some things that may or may not happen:
* It would be fun to go back to school. I've always loved school and I graduated with a very-helpful bachelor's degree in family science just three days before my oldest was born. I'd love to go back for a master's, but I haven't decided in what. I've always loved teaching, but most likely, I would want a more flexible, part-time career if I did go to work, so perhaps I'd continue in the family studies area and do marriage and family therapy or teach at the university level. But I also love art and photography and literature, so the plans are wide open for now.

* I've got several ideas for some non-fiction, family-oriented books I'd like to write.
And here are some things I will for sure be doing:
* Spoiling all those grandkids! I can't wait. It will be interesting to see how many children my children end up having. Even if they each average only three, we'll have almost 25 grandchildren. Most likely, most of them will have a few more and we'll be having a great time planning fun extended family events and traditions.

* Enjoying the joys of a large, full life in a grown-up family. My neighbor is in her seventies and raised eight kids. She now has a huge passel of grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. It's fun to see the bazillions of cars that show up there on holidays and special occasions and to think "that will be me someday." It would be nice if some of my kids settle close by, but if not, then I look forward to traveling a lot with my husband and spending time with each child's family in turn.

* Going on a mission (or two or three or ten as our health permits) with my husband. It's been a wonderful experience to see my parents and in-laws serve and it's taught my children some wonderful lessons. A wise stake president from our student stake (the leader of about eight to ten congregations) encouraged us to plan while we're young for this opportunity, saying, "Those that plan, go, and those that don't plan, don't." So for us, it's definitely in the plans! I'd love to go anywhere in the world, as long as I don't have to eat raw fish.

* My good friend and I often talk about how someday, we want to remember just how challenging and overwhelming it can be to raise a family so we can provide regular, meaningful help to those who are doing it. I'd love to be the neighbor who drops in one morning and says, "Hi, I'm here because I know you've got your hands full. Put me to work folding laundry, reading to kids, wiping crayons off the walls, or mopping your floors." I want to have a home where young children are welcome while their tired mom gets a nap. I want to be one who doesn't just say, "Call me if you need anything," but actually shows up with exactly what is needed and just does it. And while I know by experience the challenges young moms face, I hope I am also able to help people in many circumstances in small and simple ways. I really feel the small services and love we share ARE the big things and I hope to fill my life full of them.

What do you see yourself doing after your kids are raised? Or, if you are already finding the nest empty or starting to empty, what have you learned about that stage in life?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Snow Fun (Wordless Wednesday)

I'm tired of winter. I want to go out running and walking in warm sunshine, not bundle up and still feel like I'm freezing. I want to see green when I look out the window, not brown and gray.

But, there are SOME advantages to winter.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Need a better family calendar?

It's that time of year again -- time to get organized, get your life in order, make goals (one of mine? get that kitchen clean by 9:00 every day!), and put up your new calendar for 2010.

You've probably already bought one or had one made with cute photos of your kids all over it and teeny little spaces to write your appointments on. Well, you can still use those -- put one in your bedroom to keep track of your exercise and one in your office to brighten your day and make a quick check of dates easier.

But for your main family calendar, do what I do and get this one. Or one similar. Much as I like Sandra Boynton, I got this year's calendar, which is similar in style, at the dollar store. Of course, I bought it back when the Boynton one wasn't on sale.

The best part of this calendar is that it gives plenty of space to write things in each date. By making the dates go vertical and on both pages, it frees up lots of space.

The other part I like about the calendar is the different columns. It's intended for a smaller family than mine, with one column for each person, but I've modified it to fit our needs:
My columns read Mom, Dad, Family, School Kids, and Preschool Kids and the events going on go in each category accordingly. The dinner menu in the "Mom" category, along with the day the garbage goes out and whether it's a recycling week or not (even if I'm not taking those cans to the curb, I'm the one doing the reminding!). Events including all or most of the family, like my daughter's violin concerts, family parties and the like go in the "Family Category." In the picture below, gymnastics went in the family category because I had four kids in it and took most of the little kids along to watch. Events for my school kids go in that column, and so on.

We hang our calendar in the kitchen and it's easy, even from a distance, to quickly check it to see what's going on.

Enjoy your year!


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