Tuesday, March 29, 2011

B & K Family

I just got back from a photo shoot and I was so excited about the pictures that I couldn't wait to start editing! Luckily it was nap time for the kids.

Keala wanted to do family pictures at Whatcom Falls. I thought this was the perfect choice, because it screams "Washington!" We live in the middle of a forrest. It is this beautiful here.

The longer I have done photography the more simple my taste and style has become. For me photography is meant to tell a story. It is meant to capture life as it is. Photoshop editing is fun and some of it is necessary, but I like to leave my coloring as is. Just the way I shoot it. Just the way it was captured. It gives it a natural feel, a real feel.

I told them they would look back at these pictures one day and remember they were taken while living in Washington. You can't deny it!


These boys are charming. They were super cooperative and we only had to pull out a bribe once at the very end of the shoot!





Monday, March 28, 2011

Baby C

Isn't he yummy! They don't stay like this for long enough. I need a perma-newborn.

We've been busy!


*This picture is so Veva. Anytime we leave the house she grabs as many things as she can to take with her. Her arms are always full, which translates into a sea of stuff on the floor under her feet in the car. We make a lot of compromises before we head out the door. Otherwise she would bring her entire toy box.
She picked up as many things on our walk as possible. But left them for mother nature before we loaded up.


We have been busy over here.

Between spending every opportunity we have with the man of our house, de-cluttering our house, keeping up with chores, having fun at playgroups, taking lots of pictures, and preparing for our "preparedness weekend" we've been booked!
De-cluttering

De-cluttering is going well.
Last week I bought some new pants (desperately needed,) brought home a sack of books from a friend, brought home a bucket of boy clothes and another sack of boy clothes from a friend, and ordered six new books from Barnes and Noble.

Okay, I am kidding.
So maybe I brought in a few things. I had good intentions.
However, I will keep de-junking the unnecessary things to make room for the necessities.

TOYS:
I have spent a lot of time with my sewing machine at night lately. I sewed up several toy sacks using {THIS} tutorial. This is part of my de-clutter kick. Cleaning out the toys and organizing them. That way things hopefully won't be so chaotic in the toy department of our home. I still have a few more items to sew, I will be making cases for each of Veva's wooden puzzels. That way we can keep track of all the pieces. I am planning to use the "peek-a-boo" idea from the other toy sacks but making them so the have a flap that closes them off.

CLOTHES:
We have been de-junking our clothes.
Laundry is my nemesis.
Do less clothes translate into less laundry? I wish.
My mom used to always say, "If you buy a shirt, you need to get rid of one." Well I have a billion clothes...that don't fit!! After two years of being pregnant (the four mo. break in the middle - doesn't count) I am giving myself one year. If they don't fit in one year, they are gone. I have been holding on to them hoping to fit into the again. Hopefully that will happen. If not, I am not storing them any more. Those clothes take up way too much space for my liking.

OFFICE:
Our "office," or rather our desk and bookshelves sandwiched between the kitchen and family room (It is all one room really,) is getting a makeover. I have lots of fabric. I made covers that fit snuggly and cover the cubbies of fabric. You would never know there was a ton of fabric hiding behind. It makes it look more orderly.

One day I will post pictures of the progress.
Until then, I need a nap! I have been staying up WAAAYYY too late. Midnight is my new friend. I get so much accomplished. But then I am tried the next day. It is bitter sweet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

D. M. J. BS MAcc CPA

D called me this morning at 7:20 from work.

D: "Guess what?"
T: "What?"
D: "I passed."

I couldn't hold back the emotion. I cried the happiest tears I have felt in a while. Relief. A huge milestone in our lives. So much dedication and sacrifice paid off.

18 months. Four exams. Seven sittings. Hours and hours of intense studying. Lots of money. Traveling for exams. Many prayers and many fasts.

And today we found out we can move on with our lives. This is huge.

There was a lot at stake this sitting of his fourth exam. Had he not passed he would have had to start re-sitting the other exams because of an 18 month window you have to pass all four.

D was so dedicated to this cause. He used to wake up at five in the morning and study until he left for work. Then he would come home watch class do homework and projects for his Master degree and then hit the books to study again for his exams late into the night. He gave up Saturdays, vacations, and playtime. He did it.

I am so proud, so relieved, so grateful for the prayers and fast offered in his behalf from family, and soooo ready to move on in life!!!

Come April 18th (yes, this year tax day is the 18th not the 15th) we are going to experience normal life in our marriage for the first time ever. We have never had a night that didn't include homework or studying of some sort from either end. Now we will just be a family at night. D will come home and get to play and help with the kids and spend some good quality time with me.

What a great start to my day, to my new life, really.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Flamboya Tree



I love getting to know people and learning about the circumstances they come from. Mainly I love to see what people make of situations in their lives. How they react to adversity, triumph, and good fortune and where it takes them in their lives, and how it shapes them as a person. Are they bitter? Do they struggle daily and internally because of an event or a part of their lives? Have they gone to the other extreme and become a living testament that trials can be for our good?

That has been a difficult thing moving to a new place. Coming here no one knew my past. No one around me really understood why I was the person I am. To be honest I really think I am the only person in my life that really understands that. However, it is nice to feel like people around you know who you are. And who you really are has a lot to do with where you have come from.

Tonight I met in a cozy setting with a remarkable woman. Her name is Clara Olink Kelly. She is a resident of Bellingham with a charming British accent. From the on set she looks like a normal confident average person. Yet her story is far from average.

Our book club this last month read a very well written and fascinating story of a piece of history purposely left out of the history books. A truth that has been published in a book written by the first hand experience of the woman I met, Clara. And I heard it from her mouth.

It is humbling. It is difficult to comprehend. It is real.

Reading the story was riveting. However, meeting the woman and seeing what she has made of her life makes the story that much more remarkable.

There are so many people around us with a story to tell. It is the nature of life on this earth. I love to dive deeper into getting to know people. I like to know where they come from where they grew up and why they ended up where they did. I love to know what makes them who they are and what they overcame to become that person.

I think Clara Olink Kelly has blessed a lot of lives through writing her story. She has connected with so many people both who lived the experience with her in real time and those who lived it with her through her writings.

She remarked that getting it out was therapeutic and that although she still has night terrors they are far less than previous to writing the book.

You should read this book. It is difficult because of the circumstances, but worth it. You may wonder how you missed this event in your history books. You didn't miss it. It wasn't there.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring is in the air.


We spent a few hours down by the bay at Boulevard Park over the weekend.

It was perfect weather.
We were not the only ones to take advantage of the sunshine. People and dogs were everywhere! I loved it. I love that people here take advantage of nice days. Wholeheartedly.

We are starting to see blooms. That means spring is here.

Then my camera died and D secretly smiled inside. I tell him he will be grateful when he is old and crippled with no memory to look back on a great life.
Then we headed to Fairhaven, the most adorable part of town.
We had yummy authentic gelato. It brought back many wonderful memories of my month in Italy.
Next we pulled up to a picturesque old drive-in-diner. We came at the right time because a vintage car show was going on somewhere and they all stopped to eat too. We felt like we were in the movies.
After a great day we ventured home to make it in time for the last half of the BYU basketball game.
It was the perfect day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Peaceful.



Today we hit up the park.
The sun felt great.
We soaked up all the vitamin D we could. Hopefully enough to get us through until the sun comes out again.
We came home and the kids napped. I took a chair out on our back porch and read a book.

It was the perfect day.
Heaven.

I read a book about a family struggling through World War II in awful concentration camps.
A true story.
My children were sleeping comfortably in nice beds.
I was sitting peacefully on a chair on my own porch.
Everything was quiet and my mind wandered to the recent devastation taking place in Japan.
It breaks my heart to see the videos and pictures.

Our lives aren't perfect and we have our struggles, too.
But when I see things like that I am grateful for my own struggles.
Grateful that I am able to help out in a small way.

If you are looking for a way to help, this is where we donate -

https://secure3.convio.net/ldsp/site/Donation2?df_id=1280&1280.donation=form1&s_src=JapanQuake

100% of your money goes to aide efforts, nothing goes to covering overhead.
They are one of the first to respond to disaster and need.


Such a peaceful thing can be so deadly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Internal unrest

I'm having an internal conflict.

I listed my iphone 4 on ebay. It is part of my de-clutter my life kick. Besides, it has serious issues. And truthfully, I don't need it. Waste of money for us.

ANYWAYS.

It has issues. The phone was buckling so we investigated further and the battery looked like it was expanded, and the front button has issues, and the back panel is cracked, and now we cannot even get the back secure because as D described, "It is like a swollen foot that fits in the shoe, but once you take the shoe off you can't get it back on." D is really good at these analogies to get his points across.

Back to the internal conflict.

My auction ends tonight and it is already selling for more than I am comfortable with. I was honest in the description and details about the sad, sad situation of the phone.

I have a guilty conscience over selling it for that much. Even though I have been completely honest.

The other thing I have a hard time with. Photography. It is a fraud people!!! Yes, money should be charged. It is time and resources and energy. BUT The prices some people charge!!! The thing that really makes me sick is when I see people charging REALLY big over priced professional prices and their pictures don't merit it. We are talking hundreds of dollars.

But then you should hear what D is worth an hour!! Boy, if only we took all that dough home. We would be rich.

Or like the time I went to see the specialist about my gingival surgery coming up (yes I brush my teeth, yes I floss...sometimes.) and all he did was glance at one gum above one tooth and then told me to make an appointment for surgery, 5 min later he charged me like $80.00. Hmmm.....

I always tell D I don't make a good business person. I can't handle all the mark up. Yet I still pay out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sweet Baby.



Remember Tori, the girl I love? The one I prayed into my life?

Well, she had a baby and asked if I would take a few pictures. Anything for you Tori.

He loves his bink.


His big sisters wanted in on the fun.


He is such a sweet baby, so glad he such a great Momma.

p.s. If you are in the Whatcom County area and would like to book a shoot with me, please contact me for questions and pricing. I limit the number of shoots I do in order to be keep a good family life.

photography.tm@gmail.com

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent


*Image Courtesy of Women's Day Magazine


I love reminders to better ourselves.

New Year, Lent, Monday, Mornings. Fresh starts.

Those all signify fresh starts and motivate me to do better or change something.

This year I thought about what I would give up in honor of Lent. The day to begin came and went and I still had not decided on something.

Last week my bottom retainer came unglued, so I headed to the dentist on Thursday to sort things out. While waiting for my turn I picked up Women's Day Magazine and read the letter from the editor. It was about letting go of clutter. I ventured through the magazine to find the headlining article. I was enlightened.

My favorite line stated, “Our environment is a physical manifestation of how we feel,” says Darcy Smith, PhD, a New York City psychotherapist. “Clutter creates chaos in our brain, which undermines our ability to function. With less distraction, our brains function better, our anxiety decreases, our self-esteem increases and we feel more competent. We also are more likely to invite others over and be social.”

I am not a hoarder, but I still have clutter. We have a lot of stuff.

Much of it I have kept in hopes of "one day when we have a bigger house we will need it and have plenty of room for it." Or thinking that "one day I am going to use it."

After coming home and talking to D about it I decided I could really benefit from de-junking.

I am going to start living in the here and now and right now we live in a two bedroom condo. We downsized and somedays I feel like we are sardines in here. I want to live comfortably here, rather than cramming in and hoping for the day when we can live in more space comfortably. That day may never come?? I hope it will, but for now I will live well in my current dwelling.

This is no de-junk walk in the park. This is serious.

I have 40 days. That will give me some time to go back over things, because somedays I couldn't bear to let something go while another day I have no problem throwing it out.

I'm hoping for a really great outcome. Less stress in my day. Clutter does stress me out. I can handle toys on the ground, so long as the skeleton of the house is orderly.

I'll update weekly what I did that week to accomplish my goal.

Since Thursday:

- Bathroom: nothing on the counter, got rid of unnecessary decor that Veva loves to play with and make a mess with. everything is orderly and simple under the sink. Threw out un-necessary baby oil, baby powder, baby lotion that has gone untouched since Veva was born. We don't use most of what was under there. It was a case of "we might." Hung up Veva's little toilet seat so it is out of the way and ready to use.

- Remedy cabinet: Threw out old prescriptions. Organized baby remedies. Organized essential oils and made them easily accessible because I use them often. Simplified things so it wasn't such an ordeal to find what I needed.

- Kitchen: Nothing on the counter tops except an organizer by the door as your come in, a bowl of fruit, and the toaster oven. Organized under the sink so the scrubbers could go under there, the lotion, the soap and detergent, and the paper towels. Makes things still easily accessible, but out of sight. No more clutter on the counters or around the sink!! After throwing out a few kitchen items we rarely use I found space in a cupboard for the knife set that usually sits on top the counter and the salt and pepper that usually sit on the stove. Again, easily accessible, but out of sight.

Kids room: The quilt that I made which inspired the latest decor in her room always ends up in the way or on the floor. So I found some rope and tied knots and hammered nails and it is out of the way. Less mess and one less thing Veva and I need to pick up multiple times a day. I also went through the kids drawers and put away all shoes and socks and clothes that are too small.

I love to be organized and my brain and well being need order around them, however it is not in my nature to be that way. I have to work at it.

One thing the article pointed out that is important is to not bring in more. It said to tell yourself every reason you shouldn't buy something, "I don't need it," "We can't afford it," "I should save the money," etc, and you will bring in less. That is the key to keeping it this way.

I am going to try living with less. Added extras are nice, but not necessary and only add clutter to my life.

Slowly but surely, we are making our way to a stress-free clutter-free environment!

The D.I. trailer at our church will be filling up with stuff from our house.

Check out the article and see what you think!!
http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Home/Home-Organization/Confronting-Your-Clutter-Conundrums.html

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sometimes I call him MD

Any more feed back for the post below??
-------------


Six months old.
Two Teeth.
Just started solids (Oatmeal cereal, pear, banana.)
Sitting up.
Rolling all over.
Major Momma's boy.
Thinks he needs to be held all day long.
Sleeps in same room as Veva. Goes to bed like a champ around 7:30-8:00. Eats once, wakes up around 7:00.
Loves to laugh.
Loves to smile.
Loves to cry over teething.
Hates the Exersaucer.
Always has his hands in his mouth, rubbing those gums.
Sweetest winey whimper sadish cry.

Sometimes in order to explain something you have to make up words. And sometimes I am too lazy to write complete sentences.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Storing and Saving

Today I examined my pantry in an effort to make a meal plan for the next couple weeks. I have been trying to use as much of our food storage as possible in an effort to cut back our grocery budget each month.

Problem: we are running out of food storage REALLY fast.

We moved to BHAM (pronounced "bee-ham") (I saw that on a bumper sticker today, too funny) with a decent food storage. I took building it up very seriously and did things like intense couponing on certain items (Deodorant, hair care, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.) and bought several items at one time of the things we do eat. It built up quite fast.

NOW, we, meaning I, am trying to cut down on our food budget and use the storage in order to save. But it is dwindling.

So: What do you do??

How do you find a balance between building up your pantry and personal storage to be prepared for anything that might come your way, and saving money??

I don't have hundreds of dollars to splurge on a good deal.

I don't have thousands of dollars to get it all at once.

When I do buy a little extra here and there it gets used before the month is up!!

I think it is extremely important to have a reserve of both food and money. I think is is crucial to be self reliant. But I am currently having difficulties balancing the two.

Any ideas??

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Murdock

Murdock is a day away from being six months old and we still have not settled on the spelling of his name.

D thinks it should be Doc.

I think it should be Dock.

What do you think??

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Busy Season.

By the time 5:30 p.m. rolls around we need him. He gives us energy and makes me feel like things will be okay. He takes Murdock and makes Veva laugh. He helps me piece the house back together and assures me I am doing a good job. Just when things are about to fall apart at the end of the day he walks through the door and Veva lights up. She immediately hides behind the chair and giggles because she knows what is coming for her! 5:30 is a golden time of the day at our house.

That is what happens from April 16 to the beginning of February.

Then busy season hits. Every year.

Busy season is taking a toll on me. I'm a little more edgy, I'm a little less chipper, a little more emotional, a little more tired, and a lot more lonely. Mom, I said "a little," meaning - I am doing fine.
By the time March comes along I do all I can to get through. D works six days a week. He leaves for work at 6:00 a.m. and depending on the day gets home between 6:30-8:00 p.m.. Every so often he has to work an hour or two from home. Saturday is a little better rather than 12 + hours he works 8-10.
Once a week we bring him lunch and spend 15 min. with him, and Saturday we pick him up and go to the park for about an hour.



The limited time we do spend together is good quality time.

Today we were desperate for the man of our house.

So we picked him up and went to get cupcakes downtown Fairhaven. It was delightful.



But Veva cried big elephant tears when it was time to say good bye. She misses him so much and asks for him all day long.

6 more weeks.

I am just happy he is home every night.

And I am especially glad he has a job.

Mostly, I am relieved that there is an end to the crazy schedule.

It's these times that make so grateful that I don't have to do it alone.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dreams

I am a dreamer.
Not in a fluffy sense, like a serious dreamer.
I have really vivid dreams.

Chances are you've made it into my dreams before. Sometimes I think I could write some pretty cool books with my dreams, but they always have some weird element that seems completely normal in the dream, but makes no sense in reality. You know what I mean. Right?? Sometimes I wake up crying, sometimes mad and sometimes happy. Other times I'm frustrated because I could not run! Sometimes I cannot even look D in face. He hates when he gets in trouble in the morning because of a dream :).

If I sleep with the covers up around my neck (just how I like to sleep) and get too warm, I have really vivid dreams, sometimes nightmares. D comforts me in the middle on the night and does his best to remind me that it is okay, "it was only a dream." Then he insists I pull the covers away from my chin and cool off a bit. periodically I'll wake up from him pulling my covers down a little (he knows what is best.)

Well last night I had a really great dream. It was long and drawn out and so exciting, but when you tell them, they are over in seconds and never sound as exciting as they really were.

So here it goes.

Aubry, Abram, and Delta (You know who you are) put on a production at the Aubry's new ward sacrament meeting. It was amazing. They had door men dressed up and prop people dressed up (I was sad in the dream that I wasn't asked to help, but my brother Jase was --I justified it saying they didn't want me to be stressed helping out and juggling my kids.) The ENTIRE Jones and Harper families came out to the event. The sacrament meeting was packed into the cultural hall. Do you belong to THEE Jones or Harper families? Then you made it into my dream. The three of them sang silly songs they had made up that made people laugh. They ended with Abram singing a beautiful rendition of Beauty and the Beast. It brought the house down. Ida was SO proud!! People were on their feet clapping. I was in awe. I had no idea Aubry and Abram could sing like that!! Not your typical sacrament meeting, but pretty awesome nonetheless.

See, it was the coolest dream, but writing it doesn't do it one bit of justice.

**The dream may have come from the fact that Aub just moved, Abram just commented, and I watched Pia bring down the house on American Idol before I went to bed. My dream was even correct in leaving out Jarom.**

Thanks to the participants in my dream for making a great start to my day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

19 Months



We were over playing with friends this morning and they had the most amazing wooden rocking chair. So on our way out I snapped a few pics of V.

This girl would not sit still long enough to get even one shot on the amazing chair. Nope, she wanted on the tricycle. Then a second later she was off to something new. She rarely looks at the camera, and never smiles on demand. Definitely not a cheeser. However, once I pull the pictures up I am pleased with what I get, because they capture her.

I love taking yummy pictures. Especially of my own kids. You know the kind that radiate emotion. These are V. She is a busy body. She has the sweetest curls. Her eyes are always smiling. She loves life and walks around with a big grin on her face all the time.