Monday, April 27, 2009


I woke up at 4:30 this morning. Loaded Kate and Sara up in the car, and headed towards Skagit County to try to act like a professional photographer. I thought as I lay in bed last night...I want to go to see the Tulips again. I want different pictures than I got last year. The pros say the best light is dawn and dusk. Maybe I should take their word for it. But then I love to sleep. Honestly as I set my alarm to rise before the sun I wasn't sure I would really wake with the commitment. (apparently neither was Dave, who was surprised I was gone when he woke up in the morning) I left at 4:50 and pulled up to tulips just barely being bathed in light at 6:30. It was perfect timing.
So here are my pics from this year. The little ones and I had a great time pretending to be professional photographers. It was obvious that we weren't though. There were a handful of real ones out shooting in the field. They looked way more professional with their tripods, reflectors, spray bottles, shutter release gizmos etc... Many of them smiled at me as I trudged along with a baby on my back and a little hand in mine. I enjoyed my special adventure with my girls. Even if my pictures would have been steadier without their help. They are part of my journey after all.For more pictures visit my photo blog here!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Caterpillars, Cannon Balls and Getting Washed By The Waves

Kate's vacation log:

When we were doing our swamp tour I found a caterpillar on a tree. He was really sticky. He liked to do a giddy up, like when horses do this (imagine a horse rearing). Sometimes he got his sticky stuff on me. My caterpillar even got in my hair. One time he climbed under my clothes. He was a naughty, funny caterpillar. I took him on the swamp boat ride. He climbed off my hands and walked over to Landon. He was part of my favorite parts of our vacation because he was so fun and sticky.I made up a game with my friend Kelsey while we were on our boat. We called it cannonballs. First we grabbed a pillow, put it by our tummies and jumped on the bed. Then Mom and Dad said no more. So Kelsey thought we could slide. I made up the idea to put our feet in the pillow case and and we slided off the bunk bed. Then we went to Kelsey's room and I did a head first, and then a tummy first and then a back first! I even tried to do a back flip but it turned out to be a back first.
Another one of my favorite parts of our cruise was sitting by the water and letting giant humongo waves wash my whole body. Then another humongo one came and washed all my parts, even under my feet. Mom bought me a floatie so I could swim at the pool. A big wave kept taking me up and down, up and down. It was like a slide.

I liked my vacation so, so , so much!

Sara's Sippy Cup Will Travel

Sara's says her favorite part of our vacation was getting chocolate milk in her sippy cup every night and getting to wear this really big hat;-)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why All Mothers Deserve A Cruise

First because it might just be the only possible means for Mom's to have a "REAL" vacation. If you are tired of:

*picking up after your kids
*cleaning up over and over again all day long
*trying to keep your kids entertained and busy enough so that they won't fight
*trying to think of something different to cook every night

If these everyday "Mom" chores are getting you down and you are tired of them following you around when you try to take a vacation YOU NEED TO CRUISE!!!!!!!

I feel like I should write adds for Carnival...

We have been looking forward to our vacation with our friends the Flakes for almost a year. Things were actually set in stone by October. It seemed it would never come. And yet it did. Thank goodness. We all had a really wonderful time. Even Dave managed to not get too sick on the boat. And our friends who did get really sick on the boat (from some bug that Emily must have caught on the plane) didn't let their dependency on being near a bathroom ruin the vacation. What good sports they were. I felt horrible.

We got to stay with the Flakes for a few days before setting sail for Mexico. We enjoyed their home and their beaches. Seeing the swamps of Louisiana was pretty cool too. But the best part was just being able to spend time with them and play games to our hearts content.

Here we are at the beach a few minutes from their home in Biloxi and touring swamps looking for snakes and alligators.
Then it came time to go on our adventure. We had this picture taken of us before boarding our ship. Most everyone looks pretty excited.Our cruise was for five days with two stops in Mexico, one at Progresso to see some Mayan ruins and the other at Cozumel for awesome beaches. Here is a picture story of the highlights.Our visit to the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins was awesome. No one was sick. We had an awesome LDS guide and the temperature was only around 100 degrees. I will post my favorite part about our trip to these ruins in a separate post. But we all enjoyed looking at what might have been the remnants of Book Of Mormon Peoples. The kids all enjoyed shopping and bartering for souvenirs. I think everyone would agree though that one of the best parts of the day was stopping at a little taqueria on the way home and eating the best tacos ever. I wish we had bought more!

Our day at Cozumel was a mixed bag. We had a great time but definitely had bad luck. The worst was that Eric and Kelsey had been sick all night and so most of the Flake family stayed on board. We took Sierra and Landon with high hopes The rest of the fam would feel up for joining us but Eric didn't wake up from his drug cocktail until a few minutes before we came back on board. We also lost Dave's wallet in the ocean (had to beg money off a stranger to get a taxi back to the dock and deal with ship security to allow them to let us back on board). We also lost my shoes and Landon's shoes. That was a hot footed walk back to the boat. But we had a great time anyway. We had beautiful blue water, everywhere except where we were swimming. The kids enjoyed a full day of playing on the super cool water equipment out in the water. We got to visit with a squirrel monkey and everyone had fun trying to get parrots to talk. Chase almost snagged us an unripe coconut (yummy). And we only got mildly sunburned. We had an initial application before leaving the boat and I applied it twice more on the kids and we were still all pretty red.

The best part of everything though was just getting to spend lots of quality time together with our family and our friends. We had a little cabin Easter egg hunt. Chase finally after 5 years found the golden egg. All the children loved the freedom of getting to go up and get ice cream whenever they wanted. Dad was a great sport about playing with the kids in the pool and we were able to play many, many games.

P.S. Flake family I looked up the rules when we got home and that game that Dave won with an asterisk has been stripped from him. I was the WINNER!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April Fools Part Two

This is out of sequence. I haven't gotten a post up about our vacation (going through pictures takes time). But this was just too funny to forget about and not post.

Chase and I have this routine. He is so independent and reliable that he sets his alarm, gets himself up and all ready for school and then wakes me up with enough time to hop in the car and drive him to his bus stop. (I am still taking him down the street to avoid having to ride our bus which has some rotten eggs aboard).

I sleep in until the very last minute and he always wakes me up. It is a great routine. Now all of you really great Mom's out there are right I have major room for improvement. But I hate mornings and haven't gotten to the great mother level yet where I can sacrifice sleep for my children.

So I wake up. Throw on my slippers and coat and we are off to the bus stop. I drop him off and he is really excited that he is there first. He and his friends have a little competition going to see who can get to a specific spot first.

On the way home I look at the clock on the car and it says 6:45. That's an hour early. I thought that someone had messed with the clock. So when I get home I look at the clock. Still 6:45ish. Which means Chase woke up an hour early, did everything an hour early, and is now waiting at the bus stop an hour early.

I left him.

To wait at the bus stop for an hour...I know I am a beast. But I thought to myself...the jokes on him. I knew eventually he wold walk to his friends house to see what was going on, probably thinking he had missed the bus. She is a better Mom and let him in.

Crazy kid...what was he thinking waking me up an hour early!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Can "Do" Bugs

Some of my friends, scratch that, most of my friends are photography experts. Which is good. I can learn at their feet while I have a chance and try to become better right. Well some are truly gifted at landscapes that inspire, others at children's portraits that capture the spirit, others can tell a story and capture the mood, some are masters at processing and could probably make one of my pictures look like a masterpiece. Well I am good with bugs. My landscape shots are so cheesy they look like they were shot in the 70's. I never know what to do with a kid. Thank goodness I live with mine. After 500 shots I am usually lucky enough to get a keeper. But bugs I do OK with. I wish I had a more meaningful talent, to bad most people don't need others to take pictures of their Bugs! Landscapes shots capture family adventures. Portraits freeze in time a little ones chubby cheeks, well, I will always know how beautiful the butterflies are at the science museum...because I can shoot those. Someday (hopefully soon) I will graduate on to people.

I got a new lens with my new camera. It is a 85mm fixed portrait lens. I have been dying to try it out on butterflies. So the day before we leave for our vacation I find myself taking the kids up to Seattle for a day at the science museum and more importantly an opportunity to visit the butterflies. We always enjoy ourselves at the museum so we were all excited even though the kids knew Mom was planning on being a psycho picture taker.

So here are some of the best. I asked Dave to pick out his favorites. I am still learning how to use the whole idea of aperture. Some were great but not the best focus. They didn't make the cut. I had so much fun.

(Dave says that butterflies loose some of their beauty and look a little creepy this close up)

So in the end I did try to take some pictures of my beautiful children. But they are less predictable than bugs. I am happy with this one that I took of Sara. She was just so happy playing with this little boat in the water. So Grandma's eat your hearts out:-)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Black Apple Dolls

I have been so slow about getting this post up. My friend Jamie Chiara and I had a little craft party a few months back and made these totally awesome and incredibly sweet dolls with friends. It was so fun. We made cute doll invitations and went to the fabric store together to find "just right" fabric and accessories.

I had so much fun that evening that I couldn't stop. I have made a few as birthday presents for some of Emily's friends. And just recently shipped two off as birthday presents for cousins.

Emily even made one with her achievement day girls. (I will have to add that picture)

I have gotten my time down to about an hour a doll which is perfect. Fast crafts are the best!

If you are feeling crafty (ANDREA :-) Then here is the website with a video tutorial (must watch) and the template!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools

Another day full of foolery has come and gone. This was my favorite year yet. There is just something so great about getting to mess with your kids for a day. You holds bared pay back for all the stuff they pull on you all year long. I left Dave out of the torture this time. It was all about the kids.

First Dave got up and made the kids breakfast. He has been making them hot cereal a few times a week trying to spend some more quality time with his kids. This mornings porridge was green and full of buggers (Oreo cookies). He told the kids he accidentally sneezed in it. Poor Kate couldn't get over the imagery and pushed it around her bowl until I offered to give her some cereal. You should have seen the relief in her face!

While Dave was distracting the kids with a snotty breakfast I was packing up gag lunches. I glued their sandwich bags shut, replaced their Cheetos with carrots and put a gummy worm in their apple!

Once everyone returned home from school, I told the kids I had signed them up for summer camp. They were so excited. I told them it would be this summer and they were so excited that it was the "going away" kind of camp. Dave and I had printed off full color brochures from Family Fun and I gave them to the kids. They read them over and had totally different reactions. Emily and Kate were soooo excited ( I don't think they got the gist of it all). Chase said something like no way and what was I thinking etc... I laughed soooo hard. The brochure is awesome!!!! You have to check it out in better detail. Click Here!

Then I took a break until dinner. We had Sushi and punch (candy, cake and jello). This year I didn't make a fake dessert (you know mashed potato something). I decided Chase should get to enjoy the Holiday too. And going one day with junk for dinner wouldn't kill anyone. We did try some real Sushi though. I should amend that statement. Everyone tried it but me. YUCK...never!!!!! I still can't believe I have the kids totally befuddled about making them eat things that I don't! That is the real April fools!