Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 of 2010

Several blogs ({Amber's Articles, From Here to Eternity, Click It Up A Notch, a sorta fairytale, NapTime Momtog (formerly Loving My Life), and The Paper Mama}) are hosting a "Top 10 of '10" photos you've taken of your children throughout 2010, and I couldn't help but share my top ten. I've taken so many photos over the past year that it is really, really difficult for me to choose just ten. However, I figure I can share other favorites when I do my 2010 year in review post sometime in the next couple of days. :) I tried to choose photos from throughout the year.

10. Can't beat a nose scrunch!

9. Love Troy's smile here!

8. I can't believe how grown-up Ella looks in this photo.

7. Love the simplicity of this shot.

6.  Love Ella's expression and the colors here.

5. Everything about this shot makes me smile.

4. Love my little backlit bear!

3. Love her eyes in this photo.

2. Love my sweet sleeping newborn Troy.

1. I don't have to say anything.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I can see my improvement!

When I started this blog, improving my photography skills was definitely something that I wanted to work on. I think that blogging has pushed me to be a better photographer because, as if getting great pictures of my kids isn't enough, I want to have great pictures to share on my blog. (And, yes, I realize a lot of times the pictures of my kids are the pictures on my blog, but knowing that I'm sharing them with you pushes me to do better.)

During 2010, I took on Project 365: taking a photo everyday during the year. Although I missed a few days here and there throughout the year, I did take at least one picture most days (and many days I took far more than a single photo). I really think pushing myself to do this project has helped my photography tremendously (plus, I get the added benefit of capturing my children growing up day by day!). I think I've improved. What do you think?

Early 2010:


Late 2010:



I didn't improve by simply taking a picture everyday. There was lots and lots of reading involved. I might read a bit too much about photography. :) The combination of educating myself and putting my knowledge into practice has helped me improve. I think one of the great things about blogging has been the ability to go back and see where I've come from! And, even though I have progressed, I know I still have A LOT to learn, and A LOT to improve on when it comes to photography. I hope I can continue to see growth in 2011.

(Side note: You might notice that I haven't been great updating my Project 365 blog . . . hopefully I'll have it filled in completely one day because I did take a photo most days.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Family

I love this sweet shot of Troy and his grandmother. I love that it wasn't staged, but rather, that it captures life as it truly happened.

The Paper Mama

Happy 3 Months Troy!

Happy 3 Months Troy! This post is a little late . . . between Christmas and our family passing around a stomach bug, I haven't had a good opportunity to write this post.


You love to be talked to (which is a good thing since I'm sure Ella will talk your ear off as y'all get older!). You smile so big when anyone talks to you, and my heart melts when I see how you smile when Ella talks to you. You've also started "talking" back to us with lots of baby talk. You respond with "agooo" when I tell you that I love you. You sister used to say the same thing.
You've started sitting in your Bumbo seat this month. Sometimes you like to sit in it, and sometimes you don't. Ella loves to sit in your Bumbo seat too. :) You rolled over once from your belly to your back, but you were laying on the couch at the time, so you may have had a little help from the couch not being completely flat. You haven't rolled over yet on the floor.

Although you don't consistently sleep through the night yet, you have started sleeping better at night. Many nights we put you to bed (for the final time) around midnight, and you slept until around seven. It is nice to get a longer stretch of sleep at night!

Although you seem content in the picture below, you really hate riding in the car unless we are driving on windy country roads. This month has been a big test of our patience when you scream in the car as we've been traveling around throughout the holiday season. I really wish I knew why you hated riding in the car so much - we'd fix the problem if we knew what it is was!

I can't wait to see what the next month holds for you! We love you so much!
Troy @ 2 Months
Troy @ 1 Month

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some Random Blogging Notes

  • I'm now on Twitter. I tried Twitter many moons ago, but never really got into it. I'm trying again now, but I'm sure there is going to be a big learning curve for me. :) Follow me at WhatIWantToBe.
  • I'm trying to do some organizing on my blog, so you may see some things move around as I'm trying to make my content easily accessible without cluttering the blog. What things do you like to see on a blog in regards to style, setup, and organization? What things do you hate? I won't be offended if you don't like how I've set something up. :) I want to make my blog great for you to read!
  • Any particular topics you'd like to see me write about in the New Year (I suppose considering the topics I normally write about.)? Let me know, and I might just write about them. :)
  • I'll hopefully have my About Me section up by the beginning of the New Year. I'm really not that interesting, but I almost always check the "About Me" section when I'm checking out a new blog, so I figure it would be good to have it completed. :)

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shutter Love Tuesdays: The Reason for the Season

I think this photo captures one of the reasons for the season to me: the joy of giving.


I was honored to find out that my photo of Troy won third place for Shutter Love Tuesdays: Zoom Zoom.


Sweet Shot Tuesday

I took this shot yesterday . . . in the 80 degree heat


Be sure to check out all the sweet shots this week!
Sweet Shot Day

Monday, December 20, 2010

Texas Weather: A Christmastime Example

We have a saying in Texas: "If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change."

My photos tell a pretty good story about the weather in Texas. Snow last year, and almost 80 degrees here this year! You just never know what you are going to get. And, truly, even though it was 80 today doesn't mean it won't be snowing next week!

Christmastime 2009 (side note - Ella couldn't even stand on her own last year, much less walk, which is why she is standing by the table outside. It is amazing how much can change in a year!):

Christmastime 2010:

His Word Must Be On My Heart

I often consider Deuteronomy 6:6-9 when I think about raising my children in the Lord:
Typically when I think of these verses in regards to raising my children, I focus on versus seven through nine. However, when I was reading this passage recently, something stuck out to me that I think I may have glazed over in the past in verse six. Before I can teach my children, God's Word must be on my heart. I can't teach my children to love God and His Word if I don't have that love for Him and His Word, and I certainly can't teach them if I don't know God's Word.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Should I have to say "no"?

Recently I was watching a news story with a parent upset with McDonald's. She was upset that McDonald's offered a toy with their Happy Meal, causing her children to frequently ask to go to McDonald's, resulting in her frequently having to tell them "no" when they asked to go. She's even decided to sue McDonald's because of her children's annoying behavior.

Now, in all honesty, this may simply be an attempt by a person going after a big company in search of a big financial payout. But it got me thinking, is parenting my children really my responsibility? I mean, I shouldn't have to tell my children "no" should I? To me, this parent's complaint is silly. It is my responsibility to tell my children "no" when necessary.

Is it always easy to tell my children "no"? Of course not. Do I like telling Ella "no" when she wants to stay up later to play, but she needs to go to bed? No I don't. Do I like telling Ella "no" when she tries to run off when it is time for me to change her diaper or when she refuses to hold my hand when walking through a parking lot? I must tell her "no" in these situations because it is my responsibility to set boundaries for her. Do I like to listen to Ella whine and complain? Would it be easier at times to give in? Yes, it can certainly be easier to give in, but that isn't what I should do (although it isn't always easy and I know there are already times I've given into her when I probably shouldn't have). Her father and I must train her! It is our duty! Do we want to raise children who think they should always get their way?


And, for what it is worth, I personally don't think there is anything wrong with a McDonald's Happy Meal every now and then. :) Will I sue McDonald's if my children are whining to go there? Nope. But I will correct and redirect their behavior if they whine about it. Because no matter what the parent in the news story says, it isn't McDonald's duty to keep her children from complaining and whining. It is her responsibility.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Heart Faces: Pets

I always love showing off my puppies! This is a photo of Reeses watching intently out the window looking for something to bark at outside. I love her even though she drives me crazy with her barking at times. I get a good laugh at her when she's being taunted by the neighborhood cat prancing around outside our window.


Be sure to check out all the great pets at I Heart Faces this week!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge: Holiday Colors

This photo just melts my heart!


The Paper Mama

My photo of Ella and Troy last week was chosen for second place! :D

The Paper Mama

Teaching Ella to Pray

Raising my children to be faithful followers of God is the most important task I have as a parent. It is a difficult task that will require much diligence throughout my children's lives. I want to instill a true faith in them, and I strongly believe that instilling a true faith should begin at a young age.

There are many elements involved when teaching my children about God, but one we have been focusing on with Ella has been teaching her to pray. The process began by exposing her to prayer - whether that was during a worship service, before a meal, or before going to bed at night.

Next, we worked (and are still working) on teaching her to be still and hold her hands together during a prayer. We've taught her to hold her hands together as a way to help keep her focused and still. One most certainly does not have to keep their hands together to pray - the Bible does not teach that - but it helps to focus little hands that might be busy elsewhere during a prayer.

Ella is a good observer. Starting between 18 and 19 months old, she started saying "Maymen!" (aka "Amen") at the end of prayers that she heard. She also started requesting "prayer!" every time we laid her down in her bed. It melted my heart the first time she asked for a prayer.

Recently we've begun teaching her to verbally say a prayer. To do this, we've been getting her to repeat after us - short phrases with words she can say. Right now, most of the prayer we are getting her to repeat involves being thankful: "Thank you for mama. Thank you for daddy. Thank you for Troy. Thank you for grandparents." We also include other things that we should be thankful for such as the church, our blessings, and Jesus. I realize that at this point Ella doesn't really understand anything about what a blessing is or what the church really is, but it is important for her to become familiar with these words even though she doesn't understand them yet.

Obviously, there is a lot more involved in prayer than what we have taught Ella so far, but it is a continual teaching process. I know that I still have a lot of growing to do personally when it comes to prayer, and I hope that my focus on teaching Ella will help me in my own prayer life.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Bokeh!

I'm always looking for opportunities to practice and grow in my photography. When I came across the Holiday Bokeh party, I thought it was a great time to practice my photography on something other than my kids! To top it off, I love Christmas light bokeh. I still have a lot to learn about these types of shots, but I'm pretty pleased with what I got, especially considering how my photo compares to a photo I took last year of the same ornament. I've come a long way!

I played some more today, and got this shot:

boken party at

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shutter Love Tuesdays: Zoom Zoom

Ok, so Troy isn't exactly "zooming" along, but the dino on his shirt is speeding away!


Tot School: Week 8

-Ella is currently 22 months old-
Check out what we did in Tot School last week!

We took the week of Thanksgiving off from Tot School (we didn't do anything official), but we got back into our activities this past week.

  • Letter B: We started working on learning the letter B this week (Ella can now easily recognize the letter A everywhere!). We focused on "B is for Butterfly" and Ella really enjoyed coloring butterfly pictures. There are a ton of great ideas for the letter B on the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog. Many of her activities are still to advanced for Ella, but we were able to use a few of them, and I look forward to using more as Ella continues to learn.
  • Christmas/Winter Activities: This is Ella's second Christmas, but it is the first one that she is really old enough to learn about some Christmas/Winter things. We've been learning about snowmen and Christmas trees. Ella has been coloring Christmas trees and snowmen all  week long. I found a bunch of coloring sheets from the Crayola website
  • Shapes: Ella has been doing great with her shapes! She thoroughly enjoys doing her shapes puzzle I made from the COAH blog.
  • Life skills: We decided to give Ella a Christmas present early so that she could have some practice with opening Christmas presents and learning how to act during present-opening. The Christmas present we gave Ella was a Melissa and Doug latches board. This "puzzle" has different types of locks/latches on doors that open up to reveal different animals.
Waiting for dad to open it up!
Cheesy posing with her present picture:

Tot School