Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cool Dude

Ever since Daisy was a baby, Joey and I would always say, "cool dude," whenever she put on our sunglasses. As a result, she thought that glasses were called "cool dude" for the longest time. She is just starting to call them glasses in the last few weeks (finally) but, she still has to say cool dude every time she puts them on. It's so cute!
Auntie gave Daisy this pink basket when she moved in and Daisy has learned that it makes a great stool.  She drags it wherever she wants to reach higher and with my assistance she is able to climb up and enjoy a different view.  The mirror in her room is too high for her to see herself without a stool and this has been one of her favorite places to drag the basket to.  On this particular occasion she seemed to really enjoy trying her glasses on and observing herself but, she also insisted on wearing her tutu!  She would look at herself and say Pinsha which for whatever reason is her annunciation of Princess.  I think I am the only one who knows what she is saying when that word comes out.  Anyways, It was beyond precious to me to watch her and listen to her babble to her reflection in the mirror.  I had to stay close so that she didn't bail off the edge of her basket so I figured it was a great photo opportunity and I am so glad I snapped these! 
Trying her sun glasses on her teddy bears

Exploring the other goodies on her dresser
Studying her reflection....this was too cute to watch.  And you will notice that she stands on her tip toes a lot even in shoes.  I heart when she does that!

Then we cruised outside to enjoy the sunshine for a bit.  Daisy brought her toothbrush out for some reason and now that toothbrush is buried in a pile of potting soil in our backyard.  New toothbrush coming right up.  Doesn't she look so happy!  Playing outside on a warm day is still one of her favorite things to do and mine too.
I don't know why but, I just love this last picture.  So carefree.  So happy. SO relaxed.  So silly.  So my Daisy!
Monday, February 27, 2012

Print Your Blog and Save the Memories

Every year or so I like to get my blog printed.  There are so many pictures, stories and memories logged and it would be a shame for all of that time and effort to go to waste.  I now have three printed books and this one below just arrived last week. (Yeah!)  It is so much fun to look through my blog in printed form and to remember the things that I had already forgotten and just to see how much my little girl has grown!  Who knows, maybe someday our kids will enjoy reading through these books. 

 I like printing through blog2print because they keep the format the same as it appears on the blog and it really is effortless on my part.  They literally upload the blog to their site and let you modify a few little things and as easy as that, you can print your blog.  You can choose to print in hardcover, paperback or CD.  It isn't as cheap as I wish it was but, I really do feel like it is a purchase worth the cost because the memories that it preserves are priceless!  Do you make a point to have your blog printed periodically to preserve your memories?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Critiquing Photos

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest these days. You can follow me here if your curious about what my dream home or fantasy wardrobe would look like. lol You will also notice that my disdain for cooking is quite evident as that folder is practically empty; not to mention I only started that folder a couple of weeks ago in effort to keep up appearances on Pinterest! lol  If you want an invite to Pinterest just leave your e-mail in a comment and I will send one out to you.  I think it's odd that Pinterest requires you to be invited to "join," but, whatev.

Anyways, what was the point of this post again...oh yeah, critiquing photos.  Boy, do I get distracted easily.  Anyways, one thing that I have done surprisingly little of as a photographer over the past few years, is to critique both the photos that catch my eye and those that don't.  Sure, I look at pictures all the time and my mind immediately registers whether or not it likes the image it is taking in but, I have never taken the extra time to become an avid studier of the images I am viewing.  I know that this is a shameful confession but, at least now I'm doing what I should have been a long time ago.  Baby steps!  Questions I am beginning to ask myself when I look at a picture that I love: What draws me to this picture?  What is the mood?  Where is the light coming from and what time of day might this have been taken at?  How was the photographer positioned to get this perspective?  Is this a rule of thirds shot?  What is the model/subject wearing and how are they posed?  What about the setting adds to the emotion of the shot?  What is it about the post processing that I love so much?

Then of course I ask the same questions but, with a different goal in mind when an image is not as striking to me.  I have found this exercise to be incredibly eye opening.  Now, instead of simply looking at a picture and thinking to myself, "oh wow, what a beautiful picture," and pinning it without another thought; I really study it and learn from it.  In the same way, when a picture doesn't impact me I study it and determine what I feel that it is lacking.  Do you make a habit of critiquing photos? 

This exercise has helped me to hone in what I want my own photography style to embody and what I aspire to achieve going forward.  The pictures above are some of my favorite engagement pics from my Pinterest folder.  I love different things about each shot (which I won't go into in this post) but, I also see some patterns.  Happiness.  Joy.  Love.  Sweetness.  Light.  Cozy. Warm.  Relaxed.

I critique my own pictures to death and I am well aware of all of the things that I need to work on but, this exercise is simply about learning from others and growing in the process.  In future posts I'll share pictures that I like and why vs. shots that I am not as moved by and why.  If you don't do this already already, you should give it a try.  It's fun! :-)

Sunday, February 19, 2012


In case you don't know this about me already (shame on you because you should! lol), my favorite food is sushi! Growing up we had exchange students from Japan and they would take my family out to eat sushi but, I never could get in to it.  I think the idea of eating raw fish is a really hard thing for most people to overcome. 

 It wasn't until I met my hubby during my Junior year in high school that I realized that sushi was going to be a regular part of my life as long as he was a part of my life.  Joey took me out on a sushi date one night, fairly early into our relationship and he ordered me a simple sushi plate to try.  I stared at it for a while if I recall wishing that it would disappear.  Neither my brain or my stomach were excited but, I will always give food a chance at least once.  I made sure to drench it with soy sauce and then worked up the courage to stuff it in my trap.  My first thought was, "hey, that really wasn't so bad." Then I tried another piece and another and now nearly 12 years later, I am a full blown sushi addict lover.  I start to have bad withdrawals if I don't eat it at least once a month.  Ideally I'd like to be eating it once a week but, my wallet disagrees. 

I think sushi always looks so pretty on the plate when it is served, so of course I had to take some pictures:).  No, I don't ordinarily take my gigantic camera to restaurants but, one of my latest photography challenges (thanks to Ashley Sisk's Tutorial Tuesday) is to learn how to capture food.  It's not as easy as it sounds and I had to take a lot of pictures of the sushi from different angles before I was satisfied (sort of) enough to give my friend's their plates of sushi back.  They were both super kind and let me photograph their food before they ate it.  I have awesome friends. What can I say:). Plus I got to sit across from my friend and her adorable son Jackson while I grubbed.  He sat through our entire meal and was SUCH an angel.  My little girl would never have sat still for a meal like that when she was a baby, let alone now.  A great night out to say the least. Thanks ladies!

 What is your favorite food and do you also love sushi or heck no?
Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Cuddler

My little one is quite cuddly when she first wakes up from her naps. She wakes up slow just like her Momma and tends to be a bit wobbly and quiet until she gets her second wind.  I happened to take a nap on this particular afternoon also so when I heard my little one's voice calling me over the monitor, "mommee, cominggg," I decided to go get her and bring her back to bed with me.  I was also trying to wake up and she was only too happy to snuggle up under the covers with her momma while we watched some Mother Goose Club and Wiggles on Youtube.

Sometimes in the moment I don't realize how much I will appreciate a picture but, I think these are really sweet and I'm glad my hubby snapped them for me.  Daisy is only looking at the camera because Daddy asked her too.  She's a well trained camera kid as you can imagine with a camera being stuck in her face since she was born:). lol. 

Hello gorgeous day in North Carolina!! The temperature is in the 60's today!  Middle of February and I swear it feels like a Southern California Spring.  I'm in Heaven.  I was sitting outside just a moment ago soaking up the sunny rays but, the glare on my computer screen brought me back in.  So now I have the door wide open and the breeze is blowing through the house.  I can hear the neighborhood kids playing outside and it feels so peaceful.  Quiet and peaceful.  Oh, the quiet part is only because Daisy is taking a nap right now.  She'll be up in the next half hour or so and then my hubby's sister, Jessica is moving in with us later this afternoon.  She'll only be staying with us for a couple of months until she finds her own place but, I am looking forward to the distraction that her company will be and happy that Daisy will get to see so much more of her Auntie.  Plus, I think Jess and I are going to challenge each other to run at least a few times a week and maybe crank on some P90x.  The P90X is her idea not mine.  I did a 15 minute warm up and was dying so we'll see how that goes.  Anyways, looking forward to getting in shape with her the next couple of months.  Hopefully, the exercising will kick in some happy endorphins and help me combat this funk!  I'll keep you posted:-).  

The hubs completely took down our master bathroom shower door and all the metal railing as it had gotten quite gross over the past 4 years.  He's scrubbing all the parts outside and re-sealing all the pieces with fresh caulk.  That is a nice little project to get tackled!  I am also having him scope out crown molding and bead board at Home Depot today to see if we might be able to keep cranking on our guest bathroom DIY.  I can't wait to show the before and after to you when it's done...probably another month or so!  After the bathroom we will start tackling our dining room.  I haven't really done a thing with our dining room since we moved into this house nearly 4 years ago.  It's funny to me that I am such a passionate decorator but, due to limited finances I never get to decorate.  Well, I'm determined to change that so stay tuned:-).

Hope you are all having an absolutely wonderful weekend!  I watched a little bit of Whitney Houston's memorial service live today and it's carrying on like an awesome church service.  It blesses me to see God being such a big part of her service.  I really was so sad to hear the news of her passing.  I was a big fan of Whitney Houston growing up and I especially loved her music in The Preacher's Wife movie.  I pray that she is dancing with Jesus now...I really do hope that for her!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Momma's Love

Sometimes it is hard for me to articulate just how much I love my daughter.  I know it's evidenced by the millions of pictures that I post and all the sweet things I share about her but, all of you Momma's know that it is so much more than that.  Our love for our children is imprinted deep on our hearts.  We miss them when we are away from them for too long.  We hurt when they hurt.  We rejoice when they rejoice and we want to seem them succeed and thrive.  We want the absolute best for them and as long as we are alive they will always be our babies.
No one makes me laugh quite like my little girl.  I pretty much died laughing the first time she vigorously rubbed her face on my pants and then looked up at me and said, "I got it, da booger."  Where the heck did she learn that, let alone how to formulate that sentence?  SO funny!  Or when she imitates the faces I make so perfectly.  When she gives me a kiss on her own accord simply because she was missing me and wants to feel close.  When I sneeze four times and she makes sure to say, "bwess you mommy," every single time.  When we have a "conversation" I make sure to ask questions that only need a one word answer just so I can hear Daisy say yes.  She sounds just like Sid the Sloth from the cartoon Ice Age (one of my favorites) and it makes me laugh every time.  Me: Daisy, did you have fun playing with Levi?" Daisy: "Yessshh."  Me: " Did you give him a big hug?" Daisy: "Yesssh."  Me: "Did you have a good nap?"  Daisy: "Yesssh."  And then, just to change it up; Me: "Daisy, can you come here so I can change your diaper please." Daisy: "No!" LOL.

 She's a sensitive little girl and I marvel that a person so small could be taking in as much as she is already.  So perceptive.  So sharp.  So silly.  So perfect (not literally but, you know what I mean:).  I understand now what I didn't always understand when I was younger.  Children are indeed an incredible blessing from the Lord.  It's as if a part of our heart is set free the moment we become a parent and a powerful, protective love floods out that grows stronger with each passing day.  It's a love so deep and so wide that it really cannot be described.  It has to be felt and experienced.   Thank you Daisy for being you.  I love everything about you...even the feisty, challenging things:).  You are wonderful, beautiful and you make my heart soar!  I love you. I love you. I love you.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Share the Love

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to our friends and family!  I hope you all know how loved you are by us:-).  I am taking Daisy to meet up with her buddy Lila from the four pack this morning.  We are meeting at a library for story time, a Valentine craft and song.  I'm excited for her to get to do something new and for us to get to have a Mommy/daughter date.  I can't even begin to express how deep my love is for my little girl.  Every single day I am blessed infinitely by her priceless cartoon character laughter, her squeeze hugs and kisses, her incessant requests for "candeee," her adorable loud voice and chatter and the new little things she tackles.  Last night, my hubby, Daisy and I were hanging out in her room while she kicked a balloon at us and we pretended to be knocked over by it.  She was giggling uncontrollably (which is a rare thing!) and Joey and I were soaking it up.  Such a beautiful little moment for our family and one that I will cherish forever.  

Tonight I get to go on a date with Joey!!  My sister generously offered to watch Daisy (thank you so much Jess!).  We are long overdue for a date night so we are making it count by going out for a killer sushi dinner...our fave.  Love is a beautiful thing isn't it.  Nothing in all the world quite compares to it.  So, thankful for all the loves in my life! 

These pictures are far from being studio perfect but, my little one sure looked cute in her festive attire doncha think.  She was only too happy to sit for a minute with the promise of a candy.  I was unable to capture any pictures with a sharp focus because I was laughing the entire time (major camera shake)...and I'm not joking.  The faces she was making...the things she was doing all on her own.  I was like, "what is this kid doing?"  She was a riot.  So to conclude...from Daisy, my hubby and myself, 
"Happy Valentine's Day!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Toddler Life

Playing catch up.  Love this first shot.  My kid really kicks it sometimes when she is watching TV.  She is such a crack up.  The floor is always a strewn with toys these days so this shot captures our life quite perfectly.  My little one loves to watch TV when I let her (which we have cut back on).  Her latest fave is care bears!  I remember watching them as a kid so that is kinda special to me:).
This was Daisy's very first sunday school artwork that Daisy brought home toward the latter part of last year (see how far behind I am!).  When I picked her up in her class room she was holding her picture and I was SO GIDDY for her!!  It makes me happy to see that my little girl is learning simple bible stories already and bringing her art home.  I was honestly having a cloud nine mommy moment and this fish stayed on our fridge for a long time.  The simple things in life right.
Grandma Lulu and Grandpa Hart got Daisy this art easel for Christmas.  We both love to color on it and lately we have been working on the ABC's (not much progress yet), 1, 2, 3's etc.  Baby steps.
She has become a very impressive scribbler!
We also find that we have to hunt down our cell phones or Joey's watch a lot these days.  Daisy puts things in the most bizarre phone was gone nearly 12 hours this time and I only found it when I was going to bed and taking my shoes off to put away.  She had shoved my phone way back into my shoe wrack in my pitch dark closet.  Why she felt like leaving it there..I'll never know. What a riot kids are!! And yes, my phone is very cracked but, I just don't care enough to replace it.  It still works so it's good enough for me.  Though let's be honest..I'm holding out for the 4G Iphone that comes out this Summer:).
We are blessed to enjoy a couple of play dates every week.  Cute little Levi here is a regular play date buddy of Daisy's.  Being that I am a stay at home momma, I am really grateful that Daisy has other kids her age to play with to break up her day and then I get to enjoy the momma's company to break up my day. Win, Win!
Daisy and I both love eating sandwiches for lunch and I can get Daisy to eat a lot of veggies this way.  I mean she can really grub on sub sandwiches!!  I have even started buying her a kids meal at Subway and she can eat the entire kid sandwich.  You go girl!  She especially enjoys the pickles and cheese of course:).
We spend a lot of time at the dining room table throughout the day, both to eat (Daisy is out of her high chair and into the big girl booster now) and to play.  We play with play dough, color, craft, etc. at the table.  I can tell that Daisy feels like such a big girl at the big people table.  It's really cute!
My gal loves baths.  We dump her toys in the tub, sometimes play worship music on the ipod and hang out while she relaxes.   She seems to get dirtier more than usual these days and as a result she takes more baths than usual.  We don't mind though because the bath is a nice activity to wind down the night with and it passes some time.  She pulls the plug when she is done playing and helps clean up her toys out of habit now.  That is nice lemme tell yah.  Now if only I could get her to do this around the rest of the house! hehe
This is an older picture but, I love that I finally captured Daisy doing her leg stretches from the ottoman to the couch.  It's like she is trying to get a morning workout in while watching cartoons.  Love this kid!