September 29, 2014

Sweet Butterfly Garden Shoot!

All of my friends have such beautiful children!!!
Of course, I don't know if I've met a child that I didn't think was beautiful. But seriously, my friends kids' faces are just begging to be in front of my camera lens. It's almost obnoxious.
I was telling my friend that I really wanted to do a butterfly themed shoot for her daughter, and today we made it happen! She brought over spaghetti and I bought ice cream and then after dinner the girls and I hopped over to our back property and had a little "just for fun" photoshoot! This little girl is a DOLL when it comes to picture taking. Not only is she adorable, but she comes with her own poses. Girlfriend owns the shoot like a seasoned model. It cracks me up! She's such a little angel. Don't kids just make you smile? Perfect.

Photography is so therapeutic for me, I love, love, love it. I would do this every day if I could. :)

Love you!

September 28, 2014

Joseph, Oregon

You guys, I just crave adventure like it's one of the food groups. Especially adventure that involves exploring nature! Oceans, forests, wild countrysides, even the jungle sounds exciting to me. And mountains! Oh my goodness, what is more glorious than a mountain?
Last week I went on a mini vacation with my parents to Joseph, OR. What a gorgeous, gorgeous town! My family has been there several times and they just rave about it, but this was the first time I was able to come along and it definitely did not disappoint. Cutest little community, waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere with the sweetest local people and a rich history. One of the main attractions of the area is a tram that goes up Mt. Howard (with a little restaurant at the top. Get the cobbler.) You ride up with the most amazing view and then you get to explore the mountain trails at the top. Such an amazing experience. I could have stayed up there for years. My only regret is that I didn't take Paige, she would have loved it! Maybe in the spring. :O)

Do you remember that book, Heidi? Of course you do. I have to confess that I never really understood her attachment to her mountain home. I mean, there wasn't even a Target. And I've hiked mountains before, but this time was a little different. Looking down from the top, life just seemed so small. And I kind of wanted to just stay. Isn't it so beautiful??

While I was there, my mom taught me how to crochet. Or...reminded me how? She taught me when I was little, but it's been about 20 years. :O) Then she taught Paige, so the two of us have been crocheting fools lately. So fun!! Paige made like, infinity little bracelets and has been selling them to make money for an American Girl Doll. Which, by the way, I totally told my husband I wanted for Christmas. (They brought back Samantha! I MUST have her!!)
This post has ADD. :O)

Anyway, the mountains were so refreshing. I really needed that. Although, it turns out that 10 hours of riding in a car provides ample time to consider the fact that I am now the youngest of three, and not four. Not that I expected the daily breaking of my heart to take a hiatus when I crossed the state line.

Well, goodnight friends. I love you.

September 15, 2014

Game Day DIYs for eHow!

"Girls like football too, yo."
Those were the last words my sister ever said to me. :o) I've never really cared much for football. I mean I think it's really cute and sweet that people get so excited about it, I just don't know anything about the sport. My husband has tried to explain it to me multiple times, but I usually stop listening after a few seconds. So when eHow asked me to come up with a couple of DIY's for football season I was pretty scared! I texted my sister and she said: "Uh...Seahawks!" :O)
After she died (I hate those words! I hate them! I hate them. I hate them. Oh, I hate them.) I was going to email eHow to let them know that I wouldn't be able to do the projects after all. I couldn't even brush my teeth, let alone create something. But when I realized that it was the last thing we'd talked about, somehow I had to finish it. And it had to be in Seahawks colors. :O)

The table runner is made of astro turf and faux leather fabric, painted with acrylic craft paint. The pom pom garland is super easy and made from plastic table covers and white duct tape. Each one can be made for less than $10, so that's pretty exciting! Get the DIY's on here:
DIY Table Runner
DIY Pom Pom Garland

It felt good to make something and shoot photos again, I've missed that. Life has actually been really busy the last month, even busier than usual. Maybe that's a blessing from God, to keep me from thinking too much. Just a few days after the news about my sister we got the news that our little baby "B" would have to be moved to a new home soon, which has been really hard as well. We've always known that this would likely be the case, but I guess a part of me hoped he would magically be able to stay. After being with us for the past year, he has really become part of our family. There will be another big hole here when he leaves. We were told so many times not to get attached to him, but how could we not? How do you hold a baby every day and rock him to sleep and hunt for his binky ten times a night and make a fool of yourself just to hear his giggle and fuss over his health and teach him how to walk and teach him how to say "please" when he wants your last bite of cookie and learn what his noises mean and what causes his tummy to ache and kiss his fat little cheeks for 365 days and then just say goodbye? But there is nothing we can do. We've met the couple that will be welcoming him in their home and they are so, so kind, I know they will take great care of him. And he will have our prayers forever, which is the best thing we could ever do for him anyway. :O)

Life is a weird thing. I'm sorry it's not been terribly positive on the blog lately. I'm trying to stay above water here. But the world is the same as it's always been. One corner darkens, another lights up. And mine will be brighter again before too long.

Here's hoping that yours is bright right now. And if it's not, hang on. Just hang on, please. You are loved. By probably a lot more people than you know! Myself included. :O)

September 6, 2014

The Party

Before my sister died (I still can't believe I'm writing those words) she and I had been planning a birthday party for her daughter, my niece, Serena. Serena hadn't had the best of luck with birthdays in years past, and my sister asked if I could throw her one over on my side of the state because I'm "better at that kind of thing". Haha. :) My niece is very girly and princess-y, my sister always joked that she was raising my daughter by mistake. So it worked out perfectly that I could throw the perfectly pink party that I would have totally wanted (ok, still want) for her! It was going to be the best! And in no time my sister was having just as much fun as I was (or more!) planning the details. We texted back and forth all the time about length of necklaces for the princesses, what color of jewels for the table, and how much tulle we needed. It was going to be everything Serena would have wanted. And it was a surprise! Hehe!

When I got the news that she died, just a week before my niece's birthday, I assumed the party would be off. And the strange thing was, in the back of my mind, I kept dreading telling my sister that I wouldn't be able to throw the party. I kept thinking: "Oh man...I really need to call her and explain. She's going to be so disappointed."
When we went to visit the family, my sister's husband asked if we could go ahead and have the party still. I was delighted, of course. We all knew how important it was to her. But it was awfully painful to work on it without my sister there. I kept wanting to text her excitedly to show her the glitter covered pink diamonds I made or call with questions or show her what I bought her as a present. Every moment spent on it was a reminder that she was gone. And it killed me that she wouldn't get to see it. I think every decoration there had some amount of tears on it before it was hung up.
But I got it done! And it was pink and sparkly and princess-like and fabulous. I covered all my furniture in pink fabric and hung sparkles and hears and diamonds everywhere. It was pretty magical. Everything was ready for the birthday Princess!
We had a store bought cake, because I don't make cakes anymore. :o(
And an ice cream bar with delicious toppings. :O)
And alllll the presents. So. many. pink. presents. :O)
And a birthday throne, obviously.
When she walked in we all shouted "Happy Birthday, Princess Serena!!" and this was her face. Haha, I love it!
All the princes and princesses got to work right away dressing themselves in tons of royal garments. I was up until the wee hours beforehand hot glueing capes because my last sewing machine needle was broken, and it was totally worth it! There were tons of dresses and crowns and gloves and boas and swords and helmets and shields. Hung on a pink garment rack. With pink hangers. 

My sister hand made gorgeous necklaces for the girls, wire-wrapped amulets for the boys, and a billion rings for everyone. She was AMAZING at the jewelry making. Seriously, amazing.
We set up two obstacle courses outside, one for the princesses, to earn their royal jewels...
And one for the princes and knights to earn majestic amulets and signet rings. 
My nephew, Alex: :O)
The kids had so much fun, and of course, the princesses wanted to go through the boys' "dangerous" course afterward, which was adorable.
Then it was present time! She had a lot. of presents. :o) We had to make up for all the years before, you know...
I convinced my family that we needed to buy her an American Girl Doll. :O) Might have been living through my niece juuuuust a little here, but hey. It was a special day. We picked it up at the AG store in Lynnwood, and oh my goodness is that place fabulous! It's like they designed it just for me!!
We got the one that looked just like her. With a matching outfit, which is so cute. My sister in law took this adorable photo of her little sunburned face with her new doll. :O) My sister would have loved this!!
Then the kids all decorated paper crowns while singing Frozen songs at the top of their lungs. It was so, so sweet.
Of all the parties I've thrown, this one takes the cake for how much fun the kids had. I would you could have seen them all dancing and flitting around singing and sword fighting and laughing.
I love this photo of 'Rene-bean and Paige. I hope they'll grow up to be best friends. :O)
My niece and nephew had a blast! And Serena let me know that this was her "best birthday ever", which just made me want to cry. They stayed the night and we took them to the water park the next day, where they also had a blast. At one point, while showing me his swimming skills, my nephew said: "Mom, look! Uh...I mean, Aunt Disney, look at this!" and I thought my heart was going to just disintegrate. It was definitely the most bittersweet couple of days I've ever had. But I really enjoyed having them here. I love those kids so much. And I think my sister would have loved the party. I really wish she could have been there.

On a different topic, thank you all so much for your kind comments and emails. I really appreciate it. I really, really do.
Love you so much,


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