Thursday, November 20, 2014

Photo Walk + Cousin Time

As I've mentioned, I am taking the Lens of Joy class with Ali Edwards.   Part of Week 2 was taking a photo walk and trying different design type elements.  This means we were looking for things like lines, texture, movement, where the focus is in the frame, etc. We were going to Texas for just about 24 hours and it seemed like a great time to get extra photos of our newest nephew, Jamie's family, and their new home.  So here are a few of my favorites.  Yes, I took WAY more than I usually do and this is a small percentage of them, but I'm oh so glad for these images and for using my "big" camera."  It was also really helpful that their house has great light for most of the day!
 Here is the new guy, Grayson.  Here we're also looking at lines and texture and getting him close to a good focus area in the frame.
 I like this more pulled back shot with almost everyone in it just doing their thing together.
 M loves Grayson and was with him a lot.  Here she is talking to him and Jamie.
 Brent "might" have gotten tired of having his picture taken from all angles, but glad I found some I like.  I want more pictures of my dad so I try to make sure our kids have lots of pictures of him.
 Believe it or not, this is not his Batman costume, but one he immediately found at their house.
One thing we're working on is "framing." Here the door is the frame. I took this picture quite a few times trying to get the frame, light and clarity right.  I'm not sure I got it, but close.
 I believe this may be one of only two pictures of me during the weekend.  Oops.
 They have a neat 2-story house that you can look over into the living room.  This is Carl, shot from above.
 I started taking this picture with only three kids in it, but suddenly there were five and it was awesome.
 These two spent a lot of time together and with ipads.
 Hmmm This one probably needs to be cropped in, but looking for movement.
 M loved borrowing my scarf, but wasn't as happy about how the sharing rotation was going.  Sharing is hard.  She is beautiful.
 Looking up at our happy girl.
 Look how close their hair color is now? (This is B, John, and Matthew).  Two of these three used to have very light blond hair, but soon they will match :)

One last one with this guy.  He had an awesome time and loved getting to spend the night in Matthew's room.  It was his first sleep over with just him and one cousin in a room.  They did great.

It was a really fun, relaxed day.  Because it was so cold and Brent had the car for part of the day we just stayed at home, played, ate, talked, watched a little football and enjoyed time together.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

 1.  It snowed! It started while we were in church on Sunday and the moment we came home M was right out in it.  She loved it and the cold never bothered her anyway :)

 2 The next day was a snow day! We lured Grandma to our house on Sunday with promises of home made bread.  It was icy and she spent the night for the first time in a lot time.  We all loved it and the kids had a fabulous time with her during the day while I worked.  They had hot chocolate, played outside, did LEGOs, played video games, etc...
 3.  M loving Grayson.  The trip to TX went really well from a transit and family perspective.  I thought it would be too short, but since it was so focused and just staying home it worked well, I think. It is fun to watch how all the kids interact and play differently together.  Great fun! (There will be a separate post with more photos on Thursday).  We also stopped in Norman to say farewell to the Palfremans on our way to TX.  I love eating at LOCAL as our kids get to play while we get to be with grown-ups and the food is delicious.  It was so hard to say good-bye.  At that moment where I had to turn with tears in my eyes.  So hard.  We will miss them so much.

 4.  M was really the only one that wanted to play in the snow/ice a lot.  On Monday afternoon, she asked me to come out with her and we had a great time. I  did some small jogging loops periodically to keep warm and yes, she had a much bigger jacket on (this is at the end when she was checking on me as I jogged some more).  We each only fell once:)
 5.  Today, M and I were cleaning my bathroom. She has become a very good helper and I adore it.  I've waited and fought so hard to get to this place and it is awesome.  Cleaning ended somehow with all three kids in my bathtub.  love it.  E still doesn't love the bubbles as much as the big kids, but he hung in there as long as he could.
6.  These two are adorable and so snuggly together.  E loves to watch brother play.

7.  We are doing a lot of planning for the rest of the year lately.  We have a lot of events already and are trying to balance fun and celebration with not over doing it.  We do better with some rest and days at home in there so we're trying to keep space for those too.  What do you think are "essential" Christmas celebrations for your family? What do you skip?

8.  Thanksgiving celebrations start Thursday.  Here is our list: Thursday -- 2nd Grade Thanksgiving Feast at AD, Sunday - Pre-K Thanksgiving Feast at St. John's, Mon/Tues - MDO Thanksgiving Feasts,  Thursday - Rouse Family Thanksgiving, Saturday  - Blakley Family Thanksgiving --- we're quite full of thanks, family, and friends :)

9. The day after B learned to ride his bike was super cold, but he wanted to ride anyway and did very successfully in that he doesn't need any help anymore.  Then his bike chain fell off.  We can fix it, I think, but haven't yet.  He did get to ride with the Jones boys in TX and loved it.  SO glad he is loving riding his bike.

10.  Lady M now like to show Daddy whatever project around the home she has worked on that day (Yes, just like me).  Yesterday, that meant clearing and carefully setting the table for everyone for dinner all by herself, including rolling silverware in the napkins "like at the restaurants."  Even if her project that day was cleaning the bathroom he gets shown it right away and is suitably impressed.  She does sometimes whisper in my ear to have me remind people to thank her, but as we're all about being thankful this month that seems fair as she really is helping all of us a lot and doing it so cheerfully.  Yes I've mentioned this twice in 10 items, but seriously, we're all happier and so is she.  Hooray.

Overall--- I feel like I should note that I'm doing much better after the cloud and stress of busy season.  I don't think I fully realized how much it was intruding in to all areas of my life until it was fully over.  I think we did a good job, but glad to breathe for awhile.  See, we're all happier. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

1.  I sometimes wonder about the settlers on these plains before the weathermen learned their craft.  Think how astonishing it would be when the temperature drops from 77 to 30 overnight with no warning? We had warning, but still amazing.  We also picked all of our fall flowers, unhooked hoses, etc...

2.  Since we knew the weather was coming it was "everybody outside" afternoon."  Many, many months ago we attempted to teach B to ride his bike without training wheels. It didn't go that well and ended in tears/emo situation that landed his bike on the wall of the garage ever since.  Yesterday, M was riding her bike and B had been using his scooter as he has all summer. I tentatively suggested maybe trying the bike again.  He agreed.  Loved it.  And easily learned to ride it in just a few minutes.  He still needs a little help getting started, but only just barely. Today it is 30 degrees and he wants to know if he can ride his bike after school.... Victory?

3. Lady M had two birthday parties to attend on Sunday.  They were both girls she loved and she just couldn't choose so we split the time and did both. First, we went to Ashtyn's 5th birthday party.  She borrowed this cheerleading outfit, took pictures with cheerleaders, hit the pinata, and generally enjoyed a beautiful party straight out of pinterest.  Then, we switched into this "princess" dress for her friend Alescia's party. Alescia's party was also fun, but much simpler and with both boys and girls.  By the end of 4+ hours of parties though Ms. M was very tired and ready to go home.

4. B had what will likely be his last baseball practice of the fall on Saturday.  It was a perfectly beautiful day for baseball. This was my first time at practice and surprisingly the coach and I were the only parents.  I had M&E along as Brent was driving back from the OU game.  I mostly watched the nature explorers while B practiced with a few friends.

5.  Playdates are weird and I still have no idea what to expect from them.  All of B's early playdates were with his friend P and they last a minimum of 5 hours, often much longer.  This weekend during all those birthday parties B&P had a play date at our house that lasted 7+ hours.  (I don't mind the long play dates actually as these guys rarely see each other and have such a good time together).  Then yesterday, four of B's neighborhood friends came over after school and had a play date that lasted, I kid you not, 7 minutes and 37 seconds.  Their mom said they could come over for ten minutes but it too them more than 2 minutes to arrive.  M's play dates seem to be around the 2 hour mark, which is probably more normal, right?

6.  Motivated by internet discounts on ordering Christmas Cards early I have actually ordered our Christmas Cards (they will be addressed for me so just stamps necessary when they arrive).  I also sent out Christmas Tea invites and ordered paper versions of those, not to mention having plans in place for the next three weekends. I am feeling delightfully organized and hoping to be able to sit back and enjoy the celebrations more with plans and some of the product all set. I do still need to figure out what I'm cooking for the, at least, five Thanksgiving celebrations we're participating in (2 family, 2 school, 1 church).

7.  I'm taking a photography class of sorts this month.  It is called "Lens of Joy" and is taught by Ali Edwards (my favorite).  I hadn't planned to sign up, but did at the last minute.  I'm amazed at the amount of content and the thoughtfulness in the early lessons.  In week one, we don't pick up the camera. Rather we think about what is influencing our vission, why we take photos, our history with photography, and our "voice."  I like the idea of wanting each photo to capture a story as I really do search for that in my scrapbooking, but often don't think about it enough while taking the photos. In any case, you'll find me listening to lessons most evenings now as I attempt to catch up, but also reflecting alot on the whys and vision of my photography.

8.  While Brent was at the game this weekend, we made a three hour trip to the Y.  It is a great set-up for not so busy Saturdays.  First, I do yoga alone and then it is time for family swim to begin so we all switch clothes and do family swim for an hour or until E is too cold.  It makes both seem like more worth the effort and entices my kids to not mind childcare if we get to go swimming afterwards.

9.  We are trying to focus on gratitude this month. I'm not completely sure it is reaching the kids.  We've given food to several different food drives.  We've talked about bringing food to the Church's Thanksgiving dinner for the needy and my possibly volunteering there.  We talk almost daily about what they are grateful for (after explaining what grateful means).  The themes are being reiterated at school/Sunday School, but I'm not really sure if they get it.  M was able to recite to me the story of the first Thanksgiving (the nice version) yesterday and everyone seems to be making turkey crafts daily at school so progress is being made on some fronts, right?

10.  Mr. E is feeling a bit more 2 of late.  One interesting conundrum is that he really wants to be carried a lot.  When M was this age I was definitely not carrying her due to my costocondritis and being pregnant.  E is smaller than she was, but still getting to be pretty heavy.  That said, he's my last baby and I have a very hard time saying no to carrying him when I know there is so little time left on that front.  It is possible last babies get spoiled a little bit, but you knew that right?  Otherwise, he is completely sweet and tells me he loves me way more than any of the other kids.  He loves to snuggle still, which is awesome.  He does a lot of running these days all over the place (when not being carried).  He likes to watch B play minecraft, but is also completely able to get to the Toca Boca games he likes on the ipad and start them up.  He will do this while the big kids and I are doing chores, just quietly slipping away unnoticed to get some game time by himself.  In snort, he also remains sneaky.  Love that little one so much. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Week in the Life 2014: Sunday

At long last words + photos for Sunday - M & E don't really know about time changes, but did manage to sleep in until nearly 7 (new time) so that's good.  We played in E's room for awhile with Cowie (the cow), Mario, and Mickey Ears from E's 2nd birthday party
M decided she was sad about not having a sister and began listing girls in our family.  She now, adorably, includes her new Aunt Kari's sisters' daughters. 
E was uninterested in her lack of girl relatives and declared it puzzle time. 
Eventually they wandered outside as the rest of us got ready for the day.  It was chilly, but they don't mind. 
Everyone has a sucker or coffee and some minecraft time before we leave for church. 
9am - Church time at St. John's in Edmond.  We've upgraded in the last two weeks to sitting in the main part of the church.  E was pretty noisy this week, but had a great time?

Church ends just after 10 and we quickly get the big kids doughnuts before they head to Sunday School at 10:15.  Then Brent, E, and I come back to hang out for an hour or so.  I sign up to bring stuff to the Thanksgiving Dinner for the needy and then we head back for more doughnuts for E and a flu shot for Brent.  E finds a three year old girl to chase in the commons and is devastated when she finally leaves after her parents get their flu shots. 
We head back to watch M's class' All Saints Day Parade at 11:10.  Each child wear's a crown with their Saint's name on it and they parade down the hall of the school singing "This Little Light of Mine" with glowing LED candles.  I head inside for the final prayer, song, and announcements. 
Ashtyn is one of M's friends since birth (aka the daughter of our friends).  She is in the same class and we watch over her if her Daddy isn't there during the wrap up time.  They are adorable together. 
B's class had All-Saints Day celebrations too.  He was "William" as they just did everyone's middle names.  Luckily for B both his names are Saint names.  (Saint names are not required at all, but as a kid in Sunday School I always sort of wanted one of my names to be a Saint name, even though I adored the names I had.  In any case, each of our kids has at least one Saint name in the mix). 

11:40 - Next the big moment we've been waiting almost a year for--- we got to meet our 2.5 month old nephew Grayson.  He is adorable, of course.
Grammie, Uncle Brent, and his mom are all very smitten.
Here is the new big brother Matthew --- who needed a little attention. We're quite aware of that issue at our house so we tried to make sure he got it from the very start from us.
There were a lot of LEGO blocks to build with and play with, of course.
Matthew told Uncle Brent about Grayson.
Technically, all six grandchildren are in this picture if you squint :)
Mr. E was looking dapper in his new sweater.
He was a little bit less sure about rough play with Uncle Carl and Matthew, but definitely interested.
Granddaddy cooked hot dogs outside for everyone.
And then, Granddaddy and Ellen came to meet the new grandbaby!
Of course after lunch there was a pirate treasure hunt. (There always is at Granddaddy's house).
As well as lots of talking and baby snuggling.
E is a very fetching pirate.

Pirate treasure hunts involve exploring in the woods along the sides and back of the property looking for clues, following the treasure map, and getting chocolate gold coins at the end!
The ladies mostly stayed inside with baby Grayson.
Uncle Brent helped with the pirate adventures and one very excited small pirate. The Jones needed to start the drive back to Texas and left around 3pm.  We stayed maybe an hour longer to watch some movies with Granddaddy and chat with Grammie. What follows are some images of home on this final afternoon/evening.

There is lots of candy here from Halloween.

And quite a few painted pumpkins as well.  This one features glitter from pumpkin painting with Grandma. (I am no fun as I have no loose glitter on hand, ever). 

B worked on his Spanish ap and then wandered off into games on my phone. 

There are LEGO areas all around and everyone loves them.

There are also just huge numbers of books. This is one of many children's bookshelves. 
Brent spent a portion of the afternoon grading zoology exams. 

M played Minecraft nearby.  Then it was my turn at the computer to upload these photos.  That was around 6 or so.  Sadly, the photos after this are a bit stuck on my camera, but you'll have to trust me that they include some lovely ones of M dressed in a Rapunzel dress dancing with her Daddy.  

I do have one more Oklahoma sunset to share.  It has been a big exhausting project to get this far and I'm really unsure how this makes it in to a book.  I think I'll need to pare each down to closer to 15 pictures rather than the 30+ that are on the blog most days. I suspect collages will be involved, but we'll wait and see what Ali Edwards does and ponder further from there. 

If you want to see blog posts from earlier in the week they are available here:


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