Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Ni Hao Yall

We had batman, a scary ghost, a cute witch, and a cowboy around here for Halloween this year.  It was fun for everyone, and the kids are still hitting the candy hard.  Seth and Ian in particular were so excited for the big day.  Leah had moments of hating her hat but otherwise quickly embraced the tradition of receiving lots of treats—a successful first Halloween!

Seth always goes for the scary stuff.  He'd go for the serious gore if I let him.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

At Home With Leah

I've never really taken any pictures of Leah in her room just doing her everyday stuff—partly due to my fear of taking pictures indoors which I'm starting to get over. When I heard Leah happy in her crib after her nap I headed in with my camera and caught her in action—bedhead and all.

All of these pictures were taken with my Nikon D90, 50 mm, f-2.5.

This crib is on round four and still beautiful, but the black and white is a little easier on the eyes.

I love that she has a real life double chin these days!

The green nursery walls are the same that we chose when we built this house while we were waiting on Seth's adoption but now it looks like a little girl's room.  I have rocked all four of my babies in that very green chair!  I need to take a picture of the white wall behind the crib to demonstrate Jer's handiwork.  I literally found a picture in a Pottery Barn catalog of a nursery wall like two days before we painted and asked him to replicate it—and he did!  The Leah chair used to say "Luke," and we got it re embroidered.  I do have a few pictures on the walls and one of these days I'm going to get around to framing and hanging the prints I bought in China.  The best part is that Leah loves her room.  She feels comfortable here.  She loves sleeping in her bed (now a port-a-crib on a vacation is a different story) and every morning she wants her blanket to come out with her to give me some snuggles.  After that she's on the go every second, so I have to take advantage of the moment.

Bumping up the ISO a bit (something I hadn't even touched until recently), changing the white balance, and fiddling with the black and white were all baby steps on this photography journey.  I am learning something new everyday.  Check out the beautiful work of some much more experienced ladies here..

Ni Hao Yall

Monday, September 24, 2012

Finding Joy

The last few days have caused me to do lots of thinking about what's really important in life.  It's not like I've never thought about this before but sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in all the day to day stuff that I forget the big picture.  I lack eternal perspective.  We have a neighbor and friend who has been an amazing example to everyone around her.  She and her husband have been faced with one of the most difficult situations you can imagine, and they have demonstrated so much courage and faith.  It has truly been inspiring.  Today was the funeral for their baby daughter, Joy, who entered this life and left it in the same day.  To read more about this incredible family you can check out her blog  (I caution you only to do this when you have some time and lots of Kleenex.)

On the day of Joy's birth I was having the worst mom day I've had in quite a while.  Lately I feel like I've been wrapped so tight, with so much going on, and I've struggled to let go of that and have fun and count my blessings.  I've been worrying about every little thing, feeling the chaos of having four kids so close in age, and I've been spending a lot of time feeling tired, frustrated, and inefficient.  (Now before you think I'm spending all my time yelling and beating the's not been that bad!)  I certainly have not been "Finding Joy in the Journey" though.  I've been going through the motions, helping with the homework, reading to the kids, getting them where they need to go, keeping them clean and fed, but I haven't enjoyed it as much as I should.  This is my life!  I'm going to have small kids at home for the foreseeable future.  I need to live and love.  My kids are not perfect, but they are mine and I couldn't love them more.  I have been entrusted with them.  They forgive my many faults and love me no matter what.  I am so blessed.  So I'm turning over a new leaf.  I'm sure this won't be the last time I find myself in a rut, making mistakes, feeling overwhelmed, but I'm recognizing that now and making a change for the better.  That's all I can do.  Today in her talk Breanne quoted President Monson.  He said, "This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now.  The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief.  Opportunities come, and then they are gone.  I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not.  I plead with you not to let those important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do.  Instead, find joy in the journey—now."  To read the rest of this talk click here Finding Joy in the Journey.

Wow, I don't think any words could hit closer to my heart than these did today.  I am a lucky person with a great husband, four beautiful kids, and a wonderful family.  My life is full of good things.  I have new resolve to enjoy my life as it is today—every sticky, chaotic, crazy, child infused minute of it.  I want my kids to have memories of a happy mom that loved and laughed, and I'd like to avoid an entire head of gray hairs!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Little Wooden Rocker

When I was a little girl my parents got me this brown rocking chair. They kept it around all these years, and I had my mom bring it over last week when she came to visit.  Leah looked so cute after church today I took her out for a few shots in the little rocker. I often run on this road near my house and it's kind of a neat spot, so we headed out while the light lasted.  She was a fairly cooperative model although I probably had more blurry shots of her running away than anything.  She also has a bit of a drooling problem right now!  I'm so glad to have this little piece of my childhood to give to if it can just survive her brothers.  I truly am blessed to have a daughter.  Hearing this little girl call me "mama" makes my day, everyday!

As for the photos, I'm improving each time I shoot, but I have a long way to go.  I still struggle with things like focus.  I realize many of my images are not "tack sharp." I just switched my Nikon D90 to back button focusing to give that a try.  I think I'm to the point where I can usually identify what would make my pictures better, but I just don't necessarily have all the skills yet with either shooting or editing to get there.  It's a work in progress!

I am such a novice but check out this link to see some truly amazing photos...

Ni Hao Yall

Monday, August 27, 2012

Long Way Home

A few weeks ago we had one last summer hurrah in Park City.  We took the very long, scenic route home via Mirror Lake.  It was a long day of sightseeing and driving, but the kids were great and had fun.  I snapped a few candid shots of Leah with her dad waiting in the weeds while the boys took one final potty break.  The conditions were not ideal for pictures, she has shaggy travel hair, and I still need lots of work editing (suggestions please)...but she sure is sweet.

Ni Hao Yall

Monday, August 6, 2012

Leah Emerges

It's hard to believe that this is the same weak, quiet little girl we brought home just over four months ago. She may be tiny, but she is a force to be reckoned with. These pictures don't do justice to her beauty or spunk. I am amazed each day with the progress she has made but I certainly saw glimpses of this Leah in China. It's embarrassing to admit but although I was head over heels for her from the beginning I had moments of doubt. There were times when I looked at my 16 pound 16 month old who was probably the developmental age of an 8 or 9 month-old-baby, and I let fear grip my heart. Fear for her future and fear of the unknown. At times I lacked faith but deep down I knew from the moment I first met Leah that she was meant to be ours and that she would grow and bloom. She certainly has and it has been such a privilege to be a part of this miraculous process.

The Leah we know today smiles and has the cutest giggle ever.  She loves her brothers and gives affectionate "loves" to her family.  She smiles and claps her hands in delight over the simple things.  She loves Itsy Bitsy Spider and the Brown Bear book.  She is beginning to find her voice.  She is always carrying something around with her little arm and amazes us daily with what she can do.  She loves to dig in sand and splash and be crazy.  She folds her arm for prayers and holds her nose when she's stinky.  She is a dance machine, and it's hard to keep up with those fast feet she gets going to any music.  She is learning how to jump.  She is our daughter and sister and belongs to a family.  We are so blessed!

She is perfect to us.

It's difficult to get a picture of Leah when she's not on the go.  She spends lots of time sitting or doing a deep squat examining things on the ground.  If something down low hasn't caught her attention then she's just on the go.

She had more fun talking on her shoe than actually wearing it, but I did recently find her two really cute  pairs of sandals that fit her barely size three feet.   One pair is squeaky, and she couldn't love them more.  Watch for an upcoming post showing off her new footwear she will actually wear!