Thursday, January 23, 2014

Little Baby is ONE!

Of course, a party for a one-year-old is primarily for the parents. For Gillian's birthday party, we invited all of our friends and threw a party with a winter theme. With that in mind, everything was rustic and gold. I kept things simple with a boozy hot cocoa bar and s'mores in the back yard. 

I took a poll on about how much people spent on their child's first birthday party. 25% of the 125,000 pollers spent OVER $500!!! I couldn't believe it (especially considering your 1 year old will not remember a thing!). This party was well under $100. All I had to buy was food and drink. I sent invitations through, which has very personalized and creative invitations FOR FREE (and no trees were destroyed in the process!).

I made hot cocoa and homemade marshmallows from recipes I found on and just multiplied the serving size by 6. The homemade marshmallows tasted great but didn't dissolve in the cocoa very easily and were very ugly. 

During my time in Denver, my sister helped me make the minimal decor that I had from pine cones and the cutting out of gold glitter paper.

A sweet friend of ours made Gillian's cake, which was a Triple Caramel cake and was gorgeous and absolutely perfect. I was so grateful! 

Let's get on with the pictures....

 The birthday girl before her party.

Friends around the fire in the back yard. That tree is our Christmas tree that is still alive, stuck in a mound of snow in our back yard. I love it there. These friends are part of our Utah family and were sweet to come out and celebrate with us. They have all been so supportive of us and our family as it grows and changes. Notice some friends in ski gear. There was a lot of snow on the mountain that day and many sacrificed freshies to celebrate with us.

S'more fixins.

Baby and Daddy having so much fun.

The party table. The chalk board was made by my dad and sister and I had a lot of fun composing a birthday sign. The beautiful wooden trees were handmade by my dad - a Christmas present.

The cake. I put together the topper, and Masha made this beautiful layered cake. Isn't it lovely?

The birthday girl while everyone was singing to her.

Devouring her cake. She loved it!

A monthly picture collage to remember her first year. I kept this up in my kitchen for a week so I could reminisce and enjoy this last year over and over.

Landon and I gave Gillian a xylophone for her birthday

I can't believe that my Gillie is a year old. She already is exhibiting toddler tendencies with a little defiance, full-tooth smiles, and toddling around the house. 

She is such a joy and daily amazes me with how hard she tries to learns new things. She likes to cuddle more these days and is taking longer naps and sleeping through the night. Lately she loves to eat pickles, which I think is funny. She can wave, give high-5s, clap, dance, and she understands so much and can do a few signs to communicate. Her giggles and kisses are the highlights to my day. Gillian loves to interact with people. She is always making flirty smiles with strangers everywhere we go. She continues to love songs and books and peek-a-boo. 

I still am at disbelief that God would give Landon and I stewardship over someone so precious. I am so honored to be her mother.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Letting the Light in

I just put The Bean down for her morning nap. I hear her talking to herself, but that's okay. She will fall asleep eventually. Like I usually do during her morning nap, I grab my laptop and sit down in my favorite chair in front of the window to have some me time. Before I get to it, I open the window blinds. The sun hits me square in the face. And warmth runs over me.

When I think of other places that I have lived and the things I treasure about the houses I lived in, what I picture are 2 specific things: the dinner table, and morning sun through the windows. I never realized that these two things hold the greatest importance in the homes I have lived in until just now. But it is the table where community and family happens, and the sunlight where I sit alone and find God and find myself that are most precious to me.

Beneath those open windows, in every home, I found the "light" in its many forms, shining into my life. And so it is with this little place here in my home. I relish the calm and quiet as the sun warms my face and the day feels full of hope and promise.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Snow, Utah, Snow

Here are some pictures of "The Kids" straight out of the camera, enjoying yesterday's storm.

 This is Duvick's 7th winter - his favorite time of year.

His water-proof coat keeps him toasty on 18-degree days.

 Baby crawling in the snow.

This baby loves her daddy.

Standing on her own with Duvick's frozen pumpkin.
This baby will be walking by Christmas, I'm pretty sure of it!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Things I'm loving lately

Baby Kisses

Gillian is actually initiating kisses herself these days, and it melts my heart every time. It's more of a bite than a kiss, and sometimes it hurts like the dickens, but i just let her chomp down because it is the sweetest thing ever.

Daily Walks with the Bean
And I am over the moon if Mr. McBrayer and Duvi-boy get to join us as well. This only happens once in awhile, but when it does, the feel-good lasts for days.

This baby gate that Doons built. It's amazing.
Gives me such peace of mind to know that my child is not going to fall down the stairs or drown in the dog's bowl.

Learning to use my awesome camera.

These skinny cords from Old Navy. The perfect fall color.

(yes, the laundry detergent). Makes my baby smell every yummier than she does in her birthday suit!

Cinnamon morning Java
When cold dark mornings creep into my life, I like to toss a little ground cinnamon onto the top of my coffee grounds. It just feels better.

This face

This friendship.

I got to sing during the Thanksgiving Feast today at the Salt Lake Rescue Mission, which was such an honor. And I'm still singing on Sunday at my church a few weeks a month. Singing has always been a deep and meaningful ministry in my life. I am grateful that although I stopped professional voice training and education in college, i can still sing and not only be blessed by singing but bless others as well.

Playing around with Perspective

Brings new meaning to the term "Beer Goggles" doesn't it?

Click It Up A Notch

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baby loves Books


Poor snotty nose.

She can even turn the pages on her own.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Editing Photos

So with the 52 photo project, you are supposed to not only take but edit your photos. I have no clue how to edit photos. I guess that would have to do with a few things.

1) I don't know what makes a great photo besides my own preference. I am sure that there is a system to assessing the greatness of a photograph. I just don't know it.
2) How do you edit a photograph in the first place? Is there some kind of technology that I need that I don't have?
3) I have always been anti-editing photos. I thought that the natural beauty should show through without any alteration. If you're a good photographer, you will capture your subject in their natural state exactly as beautiful as they are in that moment, right?

Well today I used my out-of-the-box super simple iphoto software to edit these beauties. I did minimal editing. Like I couldn't edit an area or change anything. All I had the capability to do (as far as I could tell) was change saturation, contrast, etc... So here are a few:

All I really did was change the "temperature" of these photos. The idea of the pictures in the first place was to enjoy the beautiful autumn day and capture the golden leaves with the auburn-haired precious baby. Most of my pictures, however, came out pretty blue-ish gray and just really cold. 

I think the first one is probably too saturated-looking. Any tips on free editing software or resources on learning how to edit photos would be great.

Click It Up A Notch

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cheesin' for the Camera

This baby loves the camera.

I will try to take a picture of her in her natural state. Once she sees my face behind the camera, she comes after me with such excitement.

A natural shot mid-cry."A birdie is going to perch on your lip", i tell her!

Here she is 1/2 a second later, coming after my camera, all sadness forgotten.

And again....

I should just enjoy her love for the camera. Some day she probably will refuse to smile for my pictures. Getting some candid pictures may require me to employ tricky tactics. 

But she is pretty freakin' cute with her eager smile and full attention at the camera. I really cherish every shot of this babe.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

First snow

Yesterday we woke to snow, snow, snow and sunshine!

I couldn't keep us inside. It was just too beautiful. So I bundled the baby and headed into the snow.

Hopefully this is only the beginning of snowy mornings with this beauty.

Click It Up A Notch

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dual Camera Comparison

Sometimes I like to take the same picture with both my DSLR and my iphone. Usually it is so that I can text message the adorable picture of our daughter to my husband in that instant. It is interesting to compare them both.

DSLR photo
I am learning how to focus on an object in the foreground that is not in the center of the picture. I know it is probably basic to you photography buffs out there, but it is new and exciting for me and makes for a lot of fun when composing my shots.

iphone photo

iphone selfie
the thing i really like about my iphone photos is that I can do selfies. I've tried with the DSLR and it's nearly impossible without using the timer and tripod, which i should probably learn to use. but it is not easy or convenient during an afternoon hike.

P.S. Baby is 9 months.

Click It Up A Notch