Monday, February 22, 2010

Hands at I Heart Faces

I was thrilled to see that it is "Hands-On Fun" at I Heart Faces this week. I knew I wanted to take pictures of my one years old's sweet hands, but trying to get her to hold her hands still long enough for a picture is very difficult. However, I decided to give her my baby rattle (from my childhood) to hold. She thought it was pretty interesting (at least for a few minutes!).
Be sure to check out all the other hands this week!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


For Ella's birthday, one of the presents we got her was a swing to hang from our tree in the backyard. We've had lots of cold and rainy weather, but the weather was finally nice enough today for us to put the swing up. Ella loved it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fix-It Friday #44

It is Friday which means it is Fix-It Friday at I Heart Faces! I made my changes with Adobe Lightroom (beta version).


Be sure to check out the other great fixes this week!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Ella has been obsessed with putting items into different things. I think it might be her favorite activity right now. For example, she loves to put the shapes in her singing cookie jar. Ella also loves to put her shoes in the cookie jar, or her blocks in the dog food bowl, or her shapes in her dad's boots. That's right, she decided it would be fun to put her shapes in her dad's boots.

I can only hope that Ella's obsession with putting things into other things lasts until she's old enough for it to be useful. Like putting dirty clothes in the washer. Or dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

Homemade Lightscoop

If you follow my Project 365 blog, you've probably seen me mention a homemade "lightscoop" in my settings. A lightscoop is a nifty little device you can attach to most SLR cameras to bounce the light from your internal (or pop-up flash). You don't need one if you have a speedlite (which I really, really want!), but a lightscoop is a very cheap device that can help out if you don't have a speedlite. I read about the idea for a homemade lightscoop on another blog, and right now I can't seem to find the blog to link it. Once I find it, I'll link it! Basically, you take some sort of card (like an index card, or in my case an old credit card) and cover it with foil. You'll end up with a device like mine. I placed it on the Dr. Seuss book for some size perspective.

To use the homemade lightscoop, I have to hold it at about a 45 degree angle to the flash. It takes a little getting used to, but now it is very easy for me to figure out the placement (I don't even have to think about it anymore). So why do I even want to avoid using the pop-up flash in the first place? I'll let the pictures do the explaining. First, a picture of my assistant, Reeses, with the pop-up flash, followed by a picture of Reeses with the same settings using the pop-up flash with my homemade lightscoop. Both of these shots are straight out of the camera.

Although the second photo could use a bit of brightening, it is far better than the blown-out first picture. If I had played with my settings a bit more I probably could have gotten it bright enough without any need for post-processing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Although we don't ever really do much for Valentine's day, it was sort of sentimental this year for us because it was the first "holiday" that Ella celebrated (if you could even call it that . . .last year I was still adjusting to life with a newborn on Valentine's day) a second time. (She was less than two weeks old last Valentine's Day). For more Valentine's Day-themed pictures of Ella, check out my Project 365 blog.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Girl and Her Fruit Loops

Dad gave Ella some fruit loops. Some she ate . . .some she shared with Reeses.
Ella was so proud that she fed Reeses a fruit loop, but then was confused as to why Reeses didn't give the fruit loop back.
Later on . . . Ella managed to get the box of fruit loops. Now, if only she could open it and get the fruit loops out.
Still trying . . . 
Still trying . . .this is tough work!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day Survey

I saw this Valentine's Day survey on one my favorite blogs to read (thanks for sharing all your answers Kristen!) and thought it was a fun idea. Here are my answers!

  1. When was your "engagement" anniversary? November 29, 2002 (Corrected . . . I went back and checked! We got engaged on the day after Thanksgiving, so it was easy to figure out :) )
  2. When is your "marriage" anniversary? January 3, 2004
  3. How long have you known your spouse? 10 1/2 years
  4. How long did you date/court before you were engaged? A little over 3 years
  5. Where did you meet your spouse for the first time? I believe it was at a youth activity. Some friends of ours were having a welcome party of sorts for me and my sister because we had just moved to town.
  6. What is your spouses name? Trent
  7. Do you have any children yet? Yes, Ella.
  8. How many? One for now
  9. Do you have any house pets? Yes, two mutts, Ali and Reeses
  10. Do you own a house or rent? Own
  11. Do you live in the country or town/city? Town/city
  12. What is one of your favorite activities together? Going to baseball games. We love to go to Rangers and Astros games (we have been since we were in high school!).
  13. Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Disneyworld! (j/k . . . if you know me you know we didn't exactly have a great honeymoon there . . . although nothing against Disneyworld - I'd go back in a heartbeat). We really don't have a favorite vacation spot . . . we haven't been on many vacations.
  14. How many siblings? 3
  15. What church do you attend? University church of Christ
  16. Is this the church you were married in? No
  17. What is your favorite restaurant to eat at together? Not sure, maybe Pappasitos?
  18. Do you work or stay at home? I stay at home and work from home.
  19. Where did you honeymoon? Disneyworld
  20. Leave a piece of marriage advice. I found this poem before we got married and I really liked it, so I'll post it as my piece of marriage advice.
Marriage Takes Three:
I once thought marriage took just two to make a go, 
But now I am convinced it takes the Lord also.
And not one marriage fails where Christ is asked to enter,
As lovers come together with Jesus at the center.
But marriages seldom thrive and homes are incomplete,
Till He is welcome there to help avoid defeat.
In homes where Christ is first it is obvious to see,
Those unions really work, For marriage still takes three.

Fix-It Friday #43

It is Fix-It Friday at I Heart Faces again! I love the challenge this provides, especially since I am SO new to editing, and I'm trying to learn. I made my edits using Adobe Lightroom (beta version).

Be sure to check out all the other fixes!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Qualities for My Children: Hard Work

Although I wrote my introductory post about instilling qualities in my children several weeks ago, it has taken me a while to get back to the topic. I think, well, actually I know, it is because I'm really struggling to get my ideas together, and I want to make a truly complete post about each quality. I've come to the realization that I need to sit down and write each of these posts to make me really study each quality. There is no real reason to the order in which I'm writing about these qualities. I'm just writing about them as I've had time to really think about the quality and meditate on what I truly want my children to display in their lives. I will freely admit that I don't always display these qualities the way I should in my life, and I hope this study will help me personally as well.

I want my children to be hard workers. I want them to put their all into what they do. I want them to understand what their responsibilities are and to complete the actions necessary to take care of the responsibilities. I want them to work hard whether or not me or my husband is watching them. I want them to recognize there is a need, and without being told, take care of the need without complaining. I really have some high expectations here!

Consider Colossians 3:22-24:
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
While I know the servant-master relationship is not the same as the child-parent relationship, I think a general principal can be applied from this passage. The servant is to work as working for the Lord, and not only for men. This is an important principal which is tied directly to hard work.

I hope that my children become individuals who work hard at their job, who work hard at their marriage and parenting, and who work hard at studying God's Word and spreading the Gospel to others. I want them to become individuals who work hard, often expecting nothing in return, but working hard because it is the right thing to do.

How do I teach my children to be hard workers? I think that as I write about these qualities, my first answer to how do I teach my children about the quality is going to be the same: I teach them by example. How can I expect my children to be hard workers if I am not? How can I expect them to complete tasks without complaining if I don't? The questions could go on. I know that I don't always put the effort and proper attitude into the things I need to do. I really need to work on myself when it comes to hard work; perhaps this is one of the reasons this quality came first to my mind.

I can also teach them about hard work by making them put the quality into practice. As an example, I'm reminded of something I read in the parenting book I've mentioned before, Your Mama Don't Dance by Glenn and Cindy Colley. One thing the authors suggested dealing with chores was something I had never thought about before. The authors suggest that you don't pay your children for doing chores that are and should be expected of them. There are many reasons for this, but I think in application to hard work, it teaches children that hard work is expected of them, and they should pull their part without having to be rewarded for their work with money or some other type of payment.

Leading by example and requiring my children to put this quality into practice are probably the most powerful ways I can teach my children about hard work. However, I must also communicate directly with them about hard work, especially considering what they Bible says about hard work. Here are some more verses to consider:
Ecclesiastes 9:10:
Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with you might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
Proverbs 6:6:
Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise.
Proverbs 12:24:
The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
Proverbs 15:19:
The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway.

Now that I've finished writing this post, I realize that there are many qualities I want to write about that are interwoven within this post. As I continue my posts on this series, I'll link posts back so it will be as complete as possible!

Ella LOVES Cake!

Here are some videos my friend took of Ella's cake smash at her surprise party. I'll let the videos speak for themselves!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kisses at I Heart Faces

I had a hard time choosing a photo for this week's challenge at I Heart Faces, but I finally settled on this one of my daughter with her aunt.
Be sure to check out all the other kisses at I Heart Faces this week!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Who needs toys when you have wipes?

A Wonderful Surprise

I never planned anything official for Ella's birthday. I did let her dig into her cake (a milk-free one) because I couldn't resist the cake smash, and she got a few presents but that was all we did for her birthday.
But, my wonderful husband and my friends planned a surprise get together last night for Ella's birthday. I was totally shocked by the surprise. The surprise truly made me realize how blessed we are in our lives with all the wonderful friends who showed up to celebrate Ella's first birthday. On top of everyone coming, there were milk-free cupcakes and a milk-free chocolate cake, just for Ella! Ella LOVED the chocolate - it was her first time having chocolate. My husband grabbed my camera, but he didn't know I was charging the battery, so I didn't get any pictures of her myself. Thankfully, some of my friends had their cameras and took a few pictures. If you can't tell, she loved the cake!

I am so thankful to have all these wonderful friends surrounding us, and supporting us, especially as we raise Ella. We are truly blessed!

Here are a few other random shots from the day of her birthday. Yes, I am a mean mom who took her daughter for shots on her birthday (notice the band-aids in one of the pictures). Thankfully, she didn't know it was her birthday! Ella weighed 20 lbs, 10 oz at her appointment. It is hard to believe she was 7 lbs, 5 oz a year ago! 

Oh, and if you want to check out daily pictures of Ella, be sure to visit my Project 365 blog