Wednesday, November 30, 2011

friends' family photos

About two years ago, I took family photos for some good friends to use for their Christmas card. It was my first ever photoshoot with anyone other than my family. Since then they have been among my warmest supporters. Earlier this autumn I had the honor of once again photographing their beautiful family. The following are a few of my favorite shots.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We were out of town on vacation for the entire week last week. I thought to myself before we left: "Hooray! I'm going to use all the extra time that I have while we're hanging out at my in-laws' to catch up on my backlog of blog posts!" Did it happen? Nooooo, obviously not, so here I am back home again after a lovely trip with an even bigger list of stuff to write about. I'll probably eventually post some highlights from our trip, but for now I'm going to write about a little project I did a couple of weeks ago.

Little Man has suddenly began putting holes in the knees of his pants. Usually I just throw them away since most of his pants are second hand, but when one of his very favorite pairs of pants--some grey corduroys--wore through, I decided to patch them.

The boys are totally into dinosaurs right now, so I started by freehand sketching a little brontosaurus. Little Man was enchanted with the idea of drawing and cutting out shapes to applique onto his pants, so he carefully drew and painstakingly cut out quite a collection of his own applique templates.

He was so excited about his shapes that I decided to integrate some of them into my design even though it wasn't what I had originally planned. I used some fusible interfacing and green, tan, and dark orange corduroy from my stash to make the patches. I machine appliqued the designs onto the background patch color, then hand blanket stitched the patches onto the pants (his pants aren't big enough yet for me to do that part by machine).

He was so pleased with the finished product (especially about his own patch designs being used!) that he very cheerfully posed for me to take photos. He was not, however, inclined to change out of his beloved dalmatian shirt into one that matched better. I was okay with that; after all, it isn't every day that he's happy to have his picture taken with no coaxing whatsoever. ; )

He posed like this all by himself. I love his intense expression and the fact that he doesn't feel compelled to look at the camera with a grin every time his photo is taken.

I'm not going to complain about his sweet little smile either, though...

Ahem. Back to knee patches. I'm delighted with how these patches turned out. They are cute, they've held up well through several washings, and Little Man loves them. In fact, they were such a hit that I'm afraid I'll have to patch some of Brother's pants too so he won't feel left out. : )

Monday, November 28, 2011

three months-better late than never

I began this post at the beginning of this month, and am finally getting around to putting on the finishing touches and publishing it. Ooops. Life has been crazy...

This month my sweet little Sweet Pea had her three month birthday!
It seems like I've known her for such a sort long time.
Even at the tender age of three months she has so much personality.
It is such a delight to watch her develop.

This month Sweet Pea...

often pulls herself into a half-sitting position
tried the Bumbo seat for the first time
(she likes it for a few minutes and then gets tired)
is really enjoying her play mat
can focus on, reach for, and grab things
(toys, hands, clothes, couch pillows, blankets...)
loves to push up with her legs and be held in a standing position
tried the johnny-jump-up
(she loved standing but is nowhere near jumping yet)
loves looking around and assessing her surroundings
isn't as happy about tummy time because she can't look around
still loves her swings
says multisylable "words" (as opposed to just "gooo!")
loves when Daddy sings to her and tries to sing along
charms us with her "capital D" smile
(like this kind of smiley face :D get it?)
is figuring out how to laugh when tickled
loves when her big brothers give her attention
delights them by holding onto their fingers

Little Man likes to share Sweet Pea's tummy time.
He'll imitate the way she's lying,
how her hands are,
the position of her head.
And they chat.

When I heard Brother's uproarious laughter,
I knew I needed to check on him.
I found him conspiring with Sweet Pea.
He explained:"This is silly, Mom!"

Monday, November 14, 2011

monday menu

[seckel pears]

This week promises to be a crazy one with getting ready to travel for Thanksgiving, going to pick up my glasses (a one hour trip plus shopping time), and leaving for our trip on Friday. That being the case, I'm trying to plan some simpler meals.

M-fresh tomato sauce (I need to use up the tomatoes), grilled chicken, pasta
T-grilled chicken salad (didn't get to it last week)
W-grilled tuna sandwiches

What are you making this week?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

little artists

The boys got new paint from grandma last week.
New paint results in wildly excited boysies
who plead to paint until I let them
and in heartfelt prayers of gratitude from me
for washable art supplies.

Really, though, I am just as delighted as they are.
I love watching their creativity
and ability to communicate through visual art grow.
I love hearing Little Man's confident proclamation:
"I am an artist!"

I love watching their intent expressions
as they carefully dip, paint and rinse,
and I love keeping them supplied
with fresh papers and clean water.

I love spreading the beautiful wet paintings
to dry all the way across my counter.
I love displaying some on my fridge when dry
and mailing the rest away to brighten the day
of grandparents, aunts, uncles.

I don't even mind the clean up...

Brother's purples and oranges.

Little Man's experimentation with color mixing.

"A Radio" by Little Man
(Usually he prefers abstract painting,
so this one is extra special.)

"Giant Raspberries" by Brother

Sunday, November 6, 2011

monday menu (on sunday again)

[my share of delicious community harvest potluck food]

M-minestrone soup and french bread (We ended up going to some friends' house for dinner and didn't get to it last week.)
T-chicken pot pie (After an exhausting all-day shopping trip to the bigger town an hour away while battling a cold, I really didn't feel like cooking, so we didn't get to this last week either.)
W-tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
Th-chicken alfredo with grilled chicken and steamed broccoli
F-grilled chicken salad and piadina (Italian flat bread)

What are you making this week?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

a baby, a cradle, and an antique gown

Before Little Man was born, Benjamin decided to make a cradle for him. He worked for hours, lovingly and meticulously refining the wooden details. It is a work of art. I have loved putting each of our children down to rest in such a lovely first bed. And with each child I have wanted to take some good photos of them in it.

However, disinclination to haul the heavy cradle out of our poorly lighted room, general fatigue, and the awkward foreshortening that's inevitable when photographing a tiny baby in a rather large, three-dimensional object, have prevented me. One recent morning, though, I woke up with the motivation to haul the cradle around as well as the inspiration to try capturing close-up details of the cradle instead of staying stuck in the rut of trying to photograph the entire thing at once.

In these photos Sweet Pea is wearing a beautiful baby dress hand sewn and embellished for my grandpa by his mother, Sweet Pea's great-great-grandmother. I can see things in these photos that I would like to improve, yet I am very pleased with how they turned out, both as a photography exercise of sorts as well as a portrait session of Sweet Pea in The Cradle.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

leaf collages

The third leaf project recently completed in our was was leaf collages. I had planned on making leaf people (something like these) with the boys. However, when push came to shove, I needed something for them to do quietly by themselves while I fixed dinner, so I gave them leaves, paper, and glue sticks and let them make collages virtually unsupervised.

Little Man was so excited when I told him he was going to make a collage. He's been playing a computer game where he gets to make a virtual collage, and being able to make a real, hands-on collage was way better than the game! The collage above was his first one. (See that big leaf? It was the largest one we were able find, and Little Man was excited to display it prominently in several leaf rubbings as well as in this collage.)

This is Little Man's second collage.

I think Brother enjoyed this project even more than Little Man did. In addition to making the lovely leaf collage pictured above, he did some delightful tactile experimentation with large globs of glue that broke off of the glue stick he was using. (You can see one of the glue globs above--it's that purple thing near the middle of the very bottom of the photo.)

This project was perfect for us this year. The boys enjoyed making beautiful art with the leaves they collected, and I was able to get dinner done in good time! As for the glue globs, they lived a short yet prosperous life before being easily cleaned up with a damp cloth.