Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baby Mozart


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Friday, January 29, 2010

5 Question Friday: Blog Hop

My bloggy (I'm not really sure that's even the right definition, but it sounded cool) friend Laura participates in blog hops quite frequently and I thought I would join in on the fun today. If you've never participated in blog hops I encourage you to take the plunge... they're pretty fun and you meet lots of other bloggers in the process.
1. Would you ever vacation alone?
Probably not. I am kind of a weany when it comes to being by myself (which is weird, since I classify myself as a homebody). I guess I crave vacation time with my hubs, so I would more than likely want him along for the adventure.
2. Do you go the speed limit?
Sort of. I always go 5 over. Sometimes if I have to pee really bad I'll go a bit over that, but in general, I will go 5 over.
3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs?
I started following blogs back when Drew was deployed. Partly because I had nothing better to do and partly because I had a few friends from college who were overseas and it was my way to keep up with their life. I started a blog just to write down funny things that happened to me or to type out my soap box rants, but in the last year it really has become a journal of my life, especially my personal growth as a photographer, wife and mom. My goal now is to try and make my blog into a book for my son so that he can have journaled pictures of the significant things we've done as a family.
4. Where do you shop for yourself?
My favorite place is Banana Republic, but I only go there if I can get to their factory store. If it's not Banana, then it's Gap, Forever 21, Target or Old Navy. I ALWAYS shop the sales racks though, so don't look at my list and think I have a closet full of high dollar items. 
5. What was the song that you danced your first dance with your spouse to at your wedding... or... what song would you like your first dance to be to?
Sadly, we didn't dance at our wedding. I really didn't want to dance with everyone looking at us and so I nixed the whole dancing thing and just had jazzy Christmas music playing in the background during the reception.

MckLinky Blog Hop

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Clover Cutie

My parents live in a fairly new neighborhood that has a lot of empty lots. And since we're in Louisiana and it's almost spring here, the clovers are in full force. I thought it'd be fun to set B down in the clover patches for a cute photo op, but he wanted to eat them more than smile for the camera :)

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(PS--I think Brayden has adjusted to what he can and cannot have... it just took him 2-3 days of all out breakdowns to get there. Yesterday was MUCH better... thanks to all who prayed for my sanity!)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Screaming & Knashing of Teeth


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In my last post I mentioned the fact that we were having so much fun in Baton Rouge with my family. Can I change my story? The past two afternoons and evenings have been literal hell. I mean, I think my mom is even going insane, and she's raised 4 kids and lived to tell about it, so surely this must not be a joke. My kid is screaming. ALL. THE. TIME. The only thing that gets him to quit (and occasionally even this doesn't work) is if I hold him. I now have a knot in my back the size of Texas, and I swear it's growing by the day. It's party from the holding, partly from the stress. He is NOT normally like this. And I don't want him to come home and think it's ok to cry your balls off and get away with it. So what do I do? I let him cry. And scream. and shriek. And then I put him in his pack and play and let him do it there. Then he gets quiet, I think it's over and I go to get him. Only to set him down on the floor and have it start all over again. After about an hour and a half of this, he'll just poop out and fall asleep. We're here for another week and a half... please dear Lord tell me it won't be like this the whole time?!


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An hour and a half of this will make you go INSANE!

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Wordy Wednesday

We're having a great time down in WARM Louisiana. Hearing about the winter weather that is about to hit our home makes me all the more grateful for mom suggesting we come down here instead! The traveling went as smooth as it could go, but Brayden came down with a fever Saturday night, so the weekend and the beginning of the week was spent trying to soothe a fussy, sick baby. Thankfully his fever broke and we didn't have to make a visit to a new doctor (you know, since I am so spoiled by our pediatrician back home!). Yesterday was absolutely GORGEOUS so we walked to the park at the front of my parent's neighborhood and let Brayden play. I can't wait till he's big enough to climb on everything himself-- the boy is about as curious and active as they come!
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"Look Mommy! I'm walking Cody all by myself!"
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"That was fun Gigi, let's go again!"
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I LOVE this picture! Brayden looks like he's covering his mouth because he's laughing :O)
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crawling all around


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Monday, January 25, 2010

i {heart} faces: texture





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To be honest, I am new to texture. I love the look, but rarely am I able to achieve a look that really "goes" with the pose or the subject. But one of my more recent shoots (it really was just a phone family shoot since my brother-in-law was in town and hadn't had senior pictures made yet) really SCREAMED to have texture. I added texture to ALOT of the portraits from that session, but this one really stood out to me. I love the natural texture of the building, and then the added grunge just fits with the rocker look that Nathan was going for.... I feel like it just adds that perfect touch that makes you step back from your artwork as a photographer and smile. Hope it makes you smile too! Be sure to check out the other texture entries over at i {heart} faces by clicking on the button above my picture.
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PS- I used one of the free textures from the Ruffed Up Texture Pack from Shadow House Creations... be sure to check out his awesome stuff!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Park Playin' Picture Overload

Friday Brayden and I took advantage of a rare warm (or warmer than what we've had in a while!) afternoon and headed to a local park. We're looking forward to the warmer days ahead. Do you think he had fun? I'd say so looking at these pictures.


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bottom Line: Saving Money on Groceries


For those of you who don't know me and haven't guessed by now, I am a penny pincher. I pride myself in knowing that I purchase at the lowest price. At the turn of the new year I had a few friends ask me for tips on how to save money with groceries, since we eat fairly well on quite a low budget. I thought I'd share some tips that have proven to be helpful with our bottom line. 
  •  Make the effort to shop at more than one store. This one is hard for us stay at home moms who have to lug our children to the stores (and is probably equally as hard or harder for those who are in the workforce and are restricted to shopping at night or on the weekends). I'll admit, this one has become harder to do since having Brayden. But by shopping at Aldi's, Walmart, Sam's and the Discount Bakery, I save our household money. ALOT of money. I estimate probably about $15-20 a month, and that's a conservative estimate. 
  • Don't be a name brand snob. I'll admit, there are a few things that you can't get off brand (velveta being one of them). For the most part though, we eat off brand food and can't tell a difference.
  • Get the Sunday paper. The Sunday circular has all of the coupons, plus sales ads for the week. Did you know that Walmart will price match any local competitor's ad? I save all the ads I need, and then bring them to Walmart and just show the cashier during check out. I use our coupons mainly for cosmetics and toiletry items, as I find that Great Value is typically cheaper than the name brand, even with a coupon. Sometimes with a coupon AND a sales ad, the price will dip below the off brand.Also, don't get swept into the coupon frenzy and then buy stuff you normally don't buy. For example: we always get coupons for orange juice. Sure, we could save $1.00, but we NEVER buy orange juice to begin with, so it would actually INCREASE our monthly spending, even though we saved $1.00.
  • If you are able to, purchase your meat from a farmer. We purchase a cow and split it with a family every year. This reduces our grocery budget significantly, and gives us ALL of our meat for the year. It averages out to about $2.33 a pound once you pay for processing and the meat. It's also a great way to ensure that your food doesn't have nasty growth hormones or chemicals in it. The ground beef we get is comparable to the 90/10 or 95/5 beef you get at the store... I barely have to drain it when I cook. 
  • We also are on call list for our local meat processor for left over deer that has not been picked up by hunters. There are always a ton of deer left past the allowed time at the processor, and when that happens they turn around and sell us a deer for the processing costs (about $50). I am not a HUGE fan of wild game, but casseroles cover up the gamey taste pretty well, and for $50 I am willing to try and mask the taste :)
  • Make a plan. I try (I emphasize try because sometimes I do better than others) to prepare a meal plan for a week or two in advance. This helps me know what I have on hand to cook with, and also gives me a great head start on a grocery list. I find I spend a lot less if I go to the store with a list, and also helps me find out if I am buying something I may have a coupon for.
  • Be patient. Grocery items go on sale seasonally, so purchase seasonal items. Be flexible and willing to work with what you can buy and what the sales offer. This allows you to maximize your dollar. 
I am sure there are more that I use, but these are the ones I turn to the most. I'd love to hear your ideas on how YOU save YOUR family money on groceries... leave a comment if you have an idea that I haven't thought of!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

On The Road Again

We're not quite on the road again, but we will be soon! Brayden and I are going to visit my family down in Baton Rouge. Brayden was so excited that he decided he'd crawl into his suitcase to await takeoff... such a silly boy!

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While I won't be completely unplugged, I probably won't post that much while we're gone. I'll be sure to update yall with some fave happenings though!
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brayden's Favorite Books

I thought it would fun to list some of Brayden's favorite books so far, and perhaps helpful for those who have kids younger than B so they know which books are good.
Moo, Baa, La, La, La is his ultimate favorite. It has been since he was about 3 months old. If he was screaming, you could rest assured that he would stop if you pulled out this book. I love Sandra Boynton books! We also have her book Opposites and it's also a hit with B.



Goodnight Moon. We have read this to him since the first night he was home from the hospital. I like it's simplicity for when he was younger, and now I can point out the objects for him to "find."



Where's Spot is a recent favorite. I've noticed that he will pull it out on his own. At first he wasn't that thrilled with it, but he really likes the hidden animals behind the flaps. Sometimes he will want me to read it more than once. Kind of cute, although it does get old!



Another recent favorite is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. He loves the part where it lists all the junk food the caterpillar eats... hopefully this is not foreshadowing L)



For Christmas my parents bought him a couple of books, and one was The Nose Book. I have no clue why, but the kid LOVES it. He'll smile when I pull it out and ask him if he wants to read it.

We read lots of books at our house. I feel like reading to your children helps encourage their desire to learn and increases their vocabulary. And if nothing else, it fills the time in between them crying or changing a dirty diaper... and who doesn't need that?! 


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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Buddy



If you're a child of the 80s as I am, then you will probably remember these:

Lately, I find myself singing this song to Brayden. When I was little I wanted a Kid Sister and My Buddy doll SO bad, but sadly, I never got one. That is, until April 9, 2009. I got a real life, air breathing buddy that goes wherever I go. Yep, he's the best... so much better than anything Hasbro could've made or invented. Thank you God for my precious little Buddy!
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

i heart faces: we are family

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I haven't taken many family portrait sessions. I don't know if it's becase people don't ask, or because I feel so inadequate when I take picture of large groups. I think I struggle with fun poses, because the bigger the group the more posed I feel portraits are. Posing block I guess. But in an effort to be more consistent with my i ♥ faces participation, I picked my favorite pic out of a recent shoot I did for a sweet little family. It was actually my first family shoot, and I immediately fell in love with this shot when I opened them up after the shoot. To see more family entries, click on the i ♥ faces link below.




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Weekend in Review

This weekend was SO much fun. I feel like Brayden is finally at the age where we can take him somewhere and we all enjoy the same things... together. Definitely puts a smile in my heart.

Saturday we had B's first swim lessons (it's in an indoor pool-- don't worry!). I figured he'd like it since he squeals with delight when he sees us running his bath water, but I think like it is an understatement. The boy started kicking and splashing the minute we stepped foot in the water, and I felt like he didn't quit until we got out. He was in HEAVEN.
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Right after we stepped foot in the pool... such a happy boy!
The other moms were laughing because B was doing everything the teacher was asking us to do with our kids, but he was doing it on his own! There are about 10 other kids in the class with us, and Brayden was one of the most active.
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He especially liked the part of class where we would throw a toy and then he would "swim" to the toy. We did that for about 10 minutes.
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Swimming after his toy
At the end of class we do a submersion... it's just a little dunk, but it's to start the process of getting them used to having their head under water. Brayden was pretty surprised by it and a little scared I think, but he never cried. I am so excited to start this swimming process with him (he'll take classes every quarter from here on out). After the class, Drew left for work and so B and I had a date at Sam's club. While I was on my way to get milk, one of the taste tester ladies started talking with B. He kind of just sat there with this blank face (which is not like him, as you'll read later). Then the lady looked at me and asked me how old my DAUGHTER was. Clearly the woman wasn't paying attention, as he was wearing his new Razorback windsuit (sidenote: I bought this windsuit brandnew at the consignment shop for $6!!! I was SO excited!) and was sporting his mohawk (thanks to his daddy!).
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sporting his windsuit before we left for swim class
I quickly corrected her by saying "HE is 9 months." {smile}. Then she says "Oh, well you're much too pretty to be a boy!" Excuse me, Maam, was that supposed to be your way to rectify calling my son a girl? Because if so, it's lame. My son is handsome. Thank you very much. What's funny is throughout the entire exchange Brayden never cracked a smile at her. Ha!

Sunday we went to church. I prepared a 6 oz bottle for B, but when we got to the nursery B was crying. They said that he started crying when he finished his bottle and kept reaching for it saying "ba ba". This was the first time someone else had noticed he was saying "ba ba" for his bottle, so it's official that his first word is "bottle." He's said dada and momma before, but not with as much authority as bottle. He has a strong affection for food ;o) I then felt so bad that he needed more milk. I am in total learning phase right now because I just don't know how much to put in the kid's bottle! Sometimes he'll down 8 ounces like I've never fed him, but then there are times where he'll leave a good 2-3 ounces in the bottle. In an effort not to waste breastmilk I have averaged out his feedings so that he'll get 8 in the AM, 6 for the two subsequent feeds and then 8-9 before he goes to bed. I clearly don't have it as figured out as I though I did. Bummer. Moving on...
After church we ventured down to Sear's to replace Drew's drill. B and I stayed in the food court and ate lunch while Drew shopped, since it was way past B's lunchtime. While we were there I noticed that he was kind of dancing (there was a piano player in the food court), so I started dancing with him. He would dance back... it was the cutest thing! I was feeding him from my plate, and noticed he kept smiling randomly. It was then I realized he was smiling at all of the ladies that were sitting around us (mean at different tables all around us). SO funny! The kid was flirting!
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This is his flirty/playing smile that he sports quite often these days. This was actually taken on Friday, but I had to show it so yall would believe me.
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This is at the very end of a flirty face at the mall today.
He soon had the attention of about 4 women and kept making his scrunchy face smile at them and then kind of fake laughing. Oh my goodness.... he's such a ham! I tried to catch it on camera, but clearly he's already won my affection so I don't get the goofy faces nearly as often :)


On a completely separate note from the weekend, I had to share of some new things B is doing. He LOVES to chew on anything and everything he can sink his teeth into, which includes our furniture now.
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Our kid chews on our furniture, not our dog. SWEET.
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Showing off his silly face... I mean, the boy knows how to ham it up, what can I say?!
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He can also pull up to the tables, and try to get whatever is in sight. AWESOME.
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I have a basket filled with toys for Brayden in our living room. He's realized that he can go in and pull it all out. It's SO cute!
We have a big week ahead of us as our schedule swings into full gear with an exercise class 3 days a week. I've never exercised in a group setting (actually, I don't really remember the last time I exercised) so it should be pretty interesting. Brayden and I will also be preparing to go and visit my family. I am really looking forward to seeing my siblings and hanging out with everyone, and also giving Drew some quiet time at home to work on school (he's going back for his MBA, so we've been trying to keep the house quiet and peaceful around here, which is hard with an infant!).
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