Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Say Cheese!!

I like taking pictures. 
Let me rephrase that... I LOVE taking pictures. 
I love capturing a great shot of one of my kids. 
I love seeing their personality in a photograph. 
I get lost in looking at old pictures that I've taken. 
I LOVE anything related to photography. 
I am not a professional. 
I am a casual photographer who has a great Nikon camera that I shoot in Automatic. 
Which is a no-no, but its not that I don't know how to take a picture manually. 
It's that I let everyone in my family be a photographer. 
The hubby grabs my camera just to get good shots occasionally and Miss Rosie Posie is 
becoming quite a great photographer too. 
This isn't more evident than in a little photo shoot we did last week just the 6 of us. 
I realize the value of having a professional photographer take pictures. 
I tried scheduling a photographer this fall, but timing and our schedules don't leave a lot 
of time for photographers to get a session in. 
Oh, and how I really wanted outdoor photos this year of ALL 6 of us.   
I have photo sessions with the kids a couple times a year, where we get dressed up and 
mommy gets to play with different shots I want to try.  
I even rearrange the furniture and create backdrops.
I rarely never get the Hubby to play along though.  
 I did catch him in a very good mood last week though, and talked him into getting dressed up and 
playing model for me while we shot a picture for Christmas cards. 
Yes, it is that time of the year. 
Are you not listening to Christmas Carols, yet?
 The Hubby does get some great shots! 
 She informs me every day now, that she is daddy's girl.
 {Lil Miss almost 4}
 {Rosie - one month from 10}
It is hard to get THIS smile from her. 
She has the most beautiful smile and when she shows it my heart grows. 
{Bubba -- 8 years old}
This guy has style. 
The girls do not have a problem with me picking out their clothes for pictures. 
I know there will come a day that mommy's style won't be their style, 
but for the most part they love what I throw together. 
This guy on the other hand has an opinion on what he has to wear. 
He knows what he likes and is particular, even to what shoes he is going to wear. 
Notice no shoes are shown on any picture, but he spent 15 minutes deciding what high-tops would 
look the best. 

{Gigi - Age 7}
What can I say about this beauty?
She's gorgeous and knows how to work the camera.  
She comes up with her own poses and every picture is stunning.  

 There was lots of love as we ran around a field of prairie grass trying to get pictures. 
It was comical. 
For shots with all 6 of us in them, I would set up the shot press the timer and run to my spot while trying to put my hair in place, straighten my jacket, not fall, and try to smile. 
I don't recommend this way to get a shot.  It's exhausting and half of the photos I look like I'm panting. 
Occasionally you get a shot worth something. 
I picture where all 6 of us are at least looking at the camera, because that's all I really need.  

  {my babies}
So for an hour on a Sunday afternoon and 30 minutes after playing on the playground, 
I got pictures for me to get lost in years from now. 
Pictures are priceless. 
 There are too few pictures of Mommy and Daddy, but Rosie was 
able to even get a great shot of us two.  
Again, priceless! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Into the Woods

This past weekend was our last camping weekend of the year. 
It's sad, because we haven't used our camper nearly as much as we had the past two years. 
This is mainly due to mommy being gone most of the month of July.
 We went out to a park only 20 minutes from the house.  
For those of you who don't think that is really "getting away from it all", 
you haven't been out to Scott Co. Park. 
 We've camped out there before, but we stayed in a new area. 
Which means a new place to explore.... and explore we did. 

At night it got cold.  Like finger freezing, knit cap wearing, 40+ degree cold.
 The fire was not only pretty and used to roast marshmallows, it was to keep warm. 
{frost on the dandelions}
On Saturday morning, we woke up with frost on the ground. 
It was a pretty frost.  We bundled up and took off looking for some geocaches, aka "treasure".
 Bubba had a friend along so we showed him the ins and outs of geocaching.  
We were tromping through the woods and navigating through brush to find our "treasure".

 Getting muddy is fun. 
Not so pretty for the camper, though. 
 When we needed a rest, I pulled out the craft supplies and we made leaf drawings 
and play-doh popsicles. 
Mommy also had fun crafting by making long stemmed roses out of maple leaves. 
They turned out great, with a few leaves, sticks, and duct tape. 
So many things you can do with duct tape.  
We've been out to the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village a number of times, but the kids 
always find it fun to explore.  

 On Sunday the fun and games came to an end, and we packed up the camper, got it 
cleaned out for the winter and parked it in storage for the next 6 months.  
Bye Bye Camping Season. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Pumpkin Patch

On Wednesday I had a chance to go on a field trip with Lil Miss. 
I am so excited to go on as many field trips as I can with the kids this year.  
It was a beautiful fall day for the pumpkin patch.
 The preschoolers had fun looking at all the petting zoo animals: the bunnies, ducks, chickens, 
and sheep.  Of course my child always likes to be by the teacher, asks tons of questions, 
and has plenty of stories to share with anyone who will listen. 
It was funny see her interact with the other children. 
She only knows a few names but is not shy at all. 

Her favorite part (after snack time) was the wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch.  
She loved the bumpy ride into the field, but then when we got to the actual pumpkin patch. 
She flipped out.  
My girl would not step foot into the pumpkin plants.  
All the other kids were rushing out to get the perfect pumpkin and my girl was scared of the plants. 
This is not acceptable for this plant loving momma.  
So I carried her out in the patch, sat her down to pick the "perfect" pumpkin (also known as the first pumpkin we saw) and then hurried back to the wagon.  
The first field trip of her little life.  
I was so glad to spend this time with her, and I can't wait to chaperon the 
older kids field trips too.  One of the best parts of Lil Miss starting preschool this year! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Do what the locals do

I really like finding new things to do in the town we live in. 
Sometimes I hear about something someone did over the weekend, and 
think "Man, I wish I would have known about that!"
I am not in the know on most things but thanks to Facebook, 
my love for Google, and my ability to listen into other people's conversations
(Oh, you know you do it too!) we have found lots of fun things to 
do in the Quad Cities.  
 This past weekend we ventured over to Illinois to go to the Balloon Festival.
I love hot air balloons.  They are so colorful, and I LOVE color!! 

When we lived in Ottumwa, the first weekend we moved into our house was the 
balloon races weekend.  Saturday morning we woke up to start painting and there was a hot air balloon landing in the field behind our house.  How awesome is that! 
 The kids were excited to see the hot air balloons.  
We grabbed some fresh kettle corn and lemonade shakeups from the food vendors and 
plopped ourselves on the grassy field to watch the balloons fill up with air.  
The kids wanted to get a closer look, so we casually walked over to one of the balloons.
This one happened to be my favorite.  
The kids were asking all kinds of questions to the crew there and then one asked if they would like to get in.  Both Bubba and Gigi got to hop in the basket.  
 I was shocked how loud the flame was that fills the balloon up.  
When the sun set, the balloons put on quite a display at the glow. 
There were lots of ooohhhs and aaaahhhs from the kids. 

On Saturday, Hubby and I got away for a date night with friends. 
We tried a new babysitter and she was awesome, and we even tried a 
new date night place, The J Bar.  It's a brand new restaurant in town 
and had a beautiful patio and great ambiance.  
It was a fun night out and have I mentioned we stayed out past midnight?
Yes, midnight people.  I told the babysitter I would definitely be home by midnight, because we never stay out that late.  Then I check my phone at one point and it is 12:15 am.  Yikes! 
Good thing she didn't mind.  
 It was a great and colorful weekend! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Swiper, NO swipping

Let's just put it out there. 
Parenting is tough. 
It is not for the faint of heart, and some situations you just aren't prepared for. 
Where is the rule book that I can follow that my child is guaranteed to grow up and 
be a successful member of society?  
Where are the step by step instructions to get us through this new parenting hurdle?

But there isn't a book or an instruction manual. 
So we do the best we can hoping we don't screw up our kids and teach them right from wrong. 
Our latest parenting hurdle has been stealing. 
Yes, I will admit one of my children stole. 
It wasn't a toy from a friends house,or food out of the pantry or
something from a sibling, it was an actually item from a store.  
Target to be exact.  
I found the so called item while cleaning out their closet and hidden way in the back under a pair of shoes was two of this less than $10.00 item.  
I will have to admit at first I was really upset.  
How did they sneak it past me? 
Why would they do this? 
Don't they know this is wrong? 
Well, obviously they knew it was wrong because it wasn't sitting out for all to see, it was hidden deep in the recesses of the closet.  So at least there is that. 

As far as parenting goes, the first thing I do is talk to the hubby.  
Two heads are better than one, right? 
I am glad I have him to do this parenting with because as usually he calms me down and 
reminds me that he/she isn't the first child to slip something in their pocket that they really wanted. 
And then my ever-wise husband (I don't say that often enough LOL) asked me if I had 
ever stolen something.  

As much as I wanted to shout "No Way", I pulled a memory out of the really dusty part of my memory when I was younger, much younger than I am now.  *wink wink.
I was in our local IGA with my mom and just couldn't resist grabbing a piece of 5 cent Brachs Candy, which I knew my mom wouldn't get for me.  As soon as I got in the van, I slowly opened the candy to not make any sound, but before I could get it to my mouth my mom said "what do you have back there, Lynn?"
Obvious response.... Nothing.  
(I now realize I actually lied as a child too... and I thought I was a perfect angel)
Like any normal mom, my mother obviously didn't believe I was up to nothing and found out I had swiped this piece of candy.  What happened next though, has stuck with me forever.  
I had to go back into the store and apologize to the sales clerk and give the candy back.  
I remember that moment and consequence of stealing, even if it was only 5 cents.  

Fast forward a few decades, I am retelling this story to my wise husband (all this flattery earns me some shopping today, right?) and he tells me what I don't want to admit. 
We have to have them return it. 
Yes, I know this but I don't want to. 
This is where the parenting isn't for the weak comes in. 
I try to avoid awkward social situations and walking up to the clerk and admitting my child stole from them was going to be tough for me as it was for them.  Also, it was going to put a bad aurora around my favorite store in the world... Target.  

I did it though and yes I am concentrating on my side of the story... it was tough. 
It was scary for my kid too. 
On the way to Target, we talked about why stealing is wrong and how you hurt 
yourself and others when you steal.  Hubby sent me a text while we were gone telling me that one of the other kids asked "if they were going to jail?".  So even the kids at home were learning a lesson from all of this. The sales clerk at Target was super nice (maybe she should have been more stern to make this situation more dyer) and the child confessed what they had done and gave the items back.

Trust was lost that day, and they have to gain our trust back.
They are watched more intently while at stores and I have to admit that I look for bulges in pockets now in the check out line, making sure we aren't taking more out then we paid for.

Parenting sometimes mean doing things you don't want to... but no one ever said it was easy.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shoe Cutting Party

In the last two weeks, I have been having a blast hosting two shoe cutting parties. 
If you are confused and asking "what a shoe cutting party is?" 
Don't worry, I had never heard about it either until this summer. 

I learned about Sole Hope through Instagram.
(see Honey, some good can come out of my obsession with Instagram)
Sole Hope is an organization that helps children in Uganda with medical aid for jiggers
(a sand flea that burrows into the soles of feet and lays eggs). 
Their mission is: offering hope, healthier lives, and freedom from 
foot-related diseases through education, jobs and medical relief.  
Anyone can host a shoe-cutting party to have a tangible way to help children walk and spread hope.  
I got a few ladies together over two nights to make the shoe "uppers" out of denim to send to Africa. 
It wasn't all work, I had appetizers and drinks for the ladies to munch on while we cut.  
It made for some fun nights! 
Using only denim jeans that were donated, we cut many pieces of size 13T shoes.  

Now these shoes and other donations of medical supplies will be sent to Uganda to be assembled by shoemakers.  Sole Hope has helped teach shoe making to impoverished women and then pays them a 
fair wage for making the shoes.  So not only is our party putting shoes on children's feet, they are also supporting mothers and their families through jobs. 

As of last night we had 45 shoes!  Thank you to all the wonderful ladies who 
helped with donations and preparing the shoes for Uganda.   
And a huge shout out to Michelle Dobson who made our fabulous Africa cookies. 
They were perfect for the night! 

For anyone who wants more information or wants to host a shoe cutting party themselves 
check out