Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Woes

So, my mom and I have been taking my girls to the same pumpkin patch in Lake Jackson since Mallory was a baby. This will be our 8th year at the same patch. It's become a photo tradition. The past several years, my Grandmother has been able to join us too, which has been such a blessing.

So, it's that time of year! Being a photographer, I have a tendency to be a bit obsessed about what the girls wear for pictures. I still like for my girls to match, and so until they begin to balk fiercely, I intend to keep it up. My days off are typically Sunday & Monday, so Monday is "the" day to do our pumpkin patch outing. I had already seen pumpkins up in Pearland and was really looking forward to our trip. So, last Monday was the day. I still didn't know what my girls were going to wear. After a morning of shopping & hunting down hard-to-find children's clothing stores, I finally found the perfect outfits. I stopped and got some new shoes for the girls as well - because of course, they need to match, and I can't just let them tramp through the pumpkin patch barefoot. (I will be the first to admit that one of the reasons I love my girls to have bare feet in pictures besides their cute little piggies is that it allows me not to worry about what goes on their feet). After a quick trip to the grocery store, I headed home just in time to grab the hair accessories, load the clothes into a cute little bag & then to the van, and then headed to pick up the girls. (3:30 pm - in case anyone was wondering).

We drove to Angleton (a 45 minute drive, give or take), and begin the whirlwind of getting three little girls ready for pictures. Change of clothes, hair, shoes, etc. It's an amusing thing to watch as an outsider, I'm sure. We load up and take off for the pumpkin patch, which is in Lake Jackson, another 30 minutes or so down the road. My dear mother was in the back seat with Mallory, who I believe MAY have come up for air once during the entire drive. We were also playing VeggieTales Jonah on the DVD-player, a technology that awed my grandmother. Of course, we got stuck watching the slowest train in Texas take its time crossing the intersection, but we finally were getting close, and the "Are we there yet?"s could finally be answered with "Almost." It was 5:30.

We drive up to the church where they keep the pumpkins and pull into the parking lot. However, there was a slight problem. Too much green. There were no pumpkins!!! I felt completely bummed. Guess I should have checked to make SURE of the dates for the pumpkin patch. *sigh*

The following Monday, it was pouring, so our trip was foiled again. However, so far, it looks as though there is only a 10% chance of rain for this coming Monday, and I have confirmed that the pumpkin patch is now open for business.

And let me tell you, the girls are ready... the bribes I bought for them to elicit good pictures two weeks ago are wrapped and still sitting in the van!

So, since I have no new pumpkin patch pictures, I decided to share some from years past. I went digital in Nov. 2004, so here are the past 4 years worth of my sweet punkins...





and 2009, well, lets hope those will be coming soon!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

While I was wrapping up at the supermarket, the telephone rings...

"Hey. I hate to tell you this, but I have some bad news." Kevin didn't sound happy.
"What? What happened??!" I couldn't imagine.
"Well, I think Clara's getting a haircut when you get home."
"She got silly putty in her hair and it's not coming out."

Ok. Silly putty. Fortunately, the topic of gum in the hair had just come up at the studio last week...

"Put some peanut butter in it, and I'll be home soon. I only have 2 more things on my list."
"Peanut butter?"
"It's supposed to help. Just put it in, and I'll take over when I get home."

So, I finish up the shopping & head home. I'm trying not to panic while having visions of those precious red curls lying in a pile in the floor. I must admit, there was a slight tightening of the chest.

I came home to a blubbering child with puffy teared eyes and green silly putty mixed with peanut butter goop in her hair. While Kevin brought in the groceries, we work on getting it out - not working all that well. So, I go to Google. Did you know a whole slew of sites came up when I typed in "Getting silly putty out of hair"? Amazing. The online consensus was olive oil, so I glopped some of that on there and started in again with the comb. It worked!! Several lather, rince, repeats later, we had perfectly clean putty-free hair! YAY! Crisis avoided.

This time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My non-conformist.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I think every parent worries about her children for different reasons. I know that the things I worry about for Mallory and the struggles I foresee her having in the future are not the same as the ones that I worry about for Lila or for Clara. One thing I definitely don't worry about with Lila is her ability to think for herself. She is definitely a non-conformist and for the most part doesn't care at all what you think as long as in her mind, she's happy with her choice. Case-in-point, her wardrobe selection for school yesterday morning. She wanted to wear flip-flops but was concerned that her toes would get too cold. So 5-toed socks were of course, the perfect solution. The hat? Just icing on the cake.

It is our job as parents to help mold this into a good thing. I want Lila to always stand up for what's right, even if no one else is. I want her to stand firm in her faith, even when it's not cool. I believe she has the beginnings for this to be possible. I just pray that I can help develop these qualities in her.

MMM... Spaghetti Squash

I love pretty much all types of squash, so it's no surprise that Spaghetti Squash is one of my favorite veggies. It's a more uncommon veggie, though, (or at least I never had it as a child, so it was uncommon to me), so I thought I'd go Pioneer Woman on you and try to take pictures of tonight's preparation.

I wouldn't make a good Pioneer Woman... I forgot to document all the steps, but here it is whole (note that yes, I have cut it in half already, but just pretend it's still whole)...

Then you cut it in half. You'll need a good knife. Especially for the humongo-sized spaghetti squash. I have found though, that the little ones cook faster and have a better flavor. Also, you scoop out the pulp from the inside of each half.

Next you put both halves face down in a microwave safe dish in about an inch of water. (I forgot to take a picture of this, so just trust me). Cover with wax paper, and microwave on high for 15 minutes.

When you take them out of the microwave they will be VERY hot... turn them over and they look like this: (if you stick a fork in them, it will be soft all the way through):

Did I mention the squash is VERY hot?

Now just hold with one hand (use a hot pad), and use a fork to scoop out the insides with the other. It will come out in shreads (a la spaghetti).

I season mine with butter, salt & pepper. Parmasian cheese is good too, but then my youngest can't eat it, so I leave it out:

I forgot to take a nice "finished product" shot, but you get the idea. It was yummy.
You could also serve it with spaghetti sauce and totally trick your kids...

Here's the empty shell:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

End of the School Year.

This was a picture from the first day of school this year...

Lila is READING.  Well.  And she recently lost her first tooth!  After barely turning five!  I don't know if it's me, but that just seems way too early!  She just seems so grown up these days.  Lila is so spunky & I love the fact that she is so self-confident and cares not what anyone else thinks.  Especially when it comes down to wardrobe.  Ha!  She's recently decided that she wants to learn to play violin, so we're running with that and we have her starting lessons next week! I hope that she'll really enjoy it and it's something that will grow with her.

It's no surprise that Mallory had a stellar academic year.  She's a very bright child and is a teacher-pleaser.  She was the top AR points earner for the 2nd grade.  (AR is the accelerated reader program).  Mallory's latest interest is cheerleading.  She has joined the squad at school, where they practice once a week.  In the fall, they will cheer in some of the volleyball games.  At home, Mallory still loves to play with her dolls, which I want to encourage as long as possible, because I much prefer it over video games and television.  She has such a great imagination and is my natural-born leader.  She also loves to sing, and is going to begin taking voice lessons this summer.

Despite having such a trying time getting her allergy and asthma situations under control, Clara has had a good year as well.  She's growing like a weed and is getting so tall!  I'm afraid she's going to pass up Lila before too long!  Clara is our free-spirit and is so precious it's hard to be mad at her when she pulls her frequent little "Clara stunts".  She is definitely my baby girl & still loves crawling in bed with us each morning.  I love our cuddle time!  Clara plans to play soccer this summer through a program at school & is very excited about that.  Don't let that fool you, though.  She's still very much a girlie-girl and dress up time is VERY frequent around here!  For her birthday, she's already requested a party with ALL the princesses.  And for any of you wondering, yes, we still have kitty.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Allergy-Free Chicken Strips

So I didn't take a picture (gasp) because we were running like crazy t0night to make it to the school program, but I made some allergy-free chicken strips tonight that turned out pretty yummy!  Usually if I make something "special" for Clara the other two don't like it, but tonight, I crushed up some Rice Crispies cereal and used it as my coating for the chicken.  They turned out nice and crispy!  Yay!  Here's the recipe:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Pour a couple of cups of Rice Crispies cereal into a plastic storage bag.  Pound with the bottom of a pan/rolling pin/etc. until it's nice and fine.  Dip your chicken tender strips in olive oil, then coat with the rice crisp mixture.  Place on baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.  

That's it!  Simple!  And it actually tasted good.  I love it when my experiments work.  :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Houston, We have a Problem...

My best friend's visit is over and she has to go back to Arkansas soon.  *sigh*  
It sure was fun while it lasted, though!  What a blessing she is to me.  :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How cool is this?

Okay, I don't actually go on many picnics, but I came across this and think it's pretty nifty!


Link - HERE to view the Smart™ Speaker Cooler Bag for MP3.

The Wedding Part 1

We have so enjoyed the Parson's visit.  The girls have enjoyed being united with their friend Jacob, and in fact, there have been several wedding ceremonies this week between Jacob & Clara.  The other one I documented by pictures and put in a facebook album - so be sure to check those out.  This one we actually videoed. You can't see what happens at the very end, because it's behind the tree, but Jacob actually jumped through the window of the playhouse to get away from Clara.  It was CLASSIC.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Wedding PART 2

After the groom decided he would be a willing participant in the wedding ceremony...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!

I am so blessed by the relationship I have with my mother.  My mother is truly a jewel and a perfect example of what a Christian mother should be.  She is a kind, giving, selfless, reverent, faithful, godly woman.  She raised us to have strong values rooted in Biblical principles.  She has the most gentle spirit and I look up to her so much.  I know I can call her any time day or night and she will have a listening ear - whether it be for my venting over a recent catastrophe with one of my children, or something as simple as a cooking question. My mom is one of the reasons I have such a passion for photography.  She always had a camera with her and did such an awesome job of documenting my and my brother's childhood through photos - and not just the major holidays or milestones - the little fun moments of life that might have been otherwise forgotten.  My mom and I have always been the best of friends.  Planning my wedding was a blast - but so was planning a scrapbook page or a birthday party.  We compliment each other & I thank her for helping mold me into the woman I have become.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I took Mom & Me portraits this weekend in the studio & asked Lana to come up and take some of me with my girls.  This is one of my favorite LE sessions, because I just really understand the importance of taking regular pictures WITH your children, and not just OF your children.  I hope my girls will treasure these forever!

I hope all you mom's out there have a wonderful Mother's Day!  

Adios Amigos

We have finally said goodbye to the family of opossums living in our garage!  We found them Easter weekend, but after the mom realized we found them, she moved them further into the depths of the garage.  YUCK!  Last weekend, Kevin was feeling brave and finally managed to catch them all - a mom and 5 babies, and took them out into the country to live happy lives AWAY from us!  :)  Thank goodness.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday, Lila!

We celebrated Lila's April birthday today!  She wanted a "Mexican" party, so we threw a Fiesta!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."  James 4:14.

I believe it's human nature to resist change but to also yearn for it at times.  How many times do we want things to be different so we decide we're going to start so-and-so next week... or whenever I finish this, then I'll do this and things will be better... Well, I've been very guilty of that lately.  Things have been crazy hectic and I just keep thinking things will get better when... and I realized that in all actuality, things will not change unless I change them.  It is quite unlikely that my schedule will all of a sudden become less hectic, or that the kids will all of a sudden require less attention, or that laundry will stop filling my laundry room.  So what do I start with?  The little things.  I've been making some changes lately, and I can feel how it makes a difference in my day-to-day attitude.  Things I've been doing...

Planning & following a meal plan.  We have been eating out MUCH less frequently, thus spending less money AND eating more healthily since I'm cooking every night.  I've also been eating less in general & am really watching my calorie intake.

Less soda.  Those of you who know me know I can't live without my diet dr. pepper.  If I were to do without it entirely, I would have a massive headache for at least 2 weeks.  So, I'm not quite ready to do that... but I've been drinking my one in the morning and then following it with water the rest of the day instead of more DDP.

Walking.  I've been walking for exercise at least three times a week.  It's amazing what a change in energy I have just from this small amount of activity.  I actually enjoy getting out there and walking and look forward to it.  Something pretty foreign to me because in general I'm not a big fan of anything that involves sweating.

Studio Changes.  We're planning on painting the studio and giving it a quick remodel job.  I'm really excited about the possibilities & am looking forward to the new look and what it will bring.  I think we're making a lot of moves in the right direction and am excited the company is growing so well.  I'm also limiting my weekend work hours and trying to spend more time at home with the family.

Then there are the things I know NEED to be done, which are my next self-improvement steps...

Daily Bible Reading.  This is something I have been neglecting.  It's so easy to say I'm too tired or too busy, but I do think it's very important, and the times when I do this I find I am so much more patient and "together" than when I don't.  Just like the children's song says, "Neglect your Bible & forget to pray & you Shrink, Shrink, Shrink.  Read your Bible & pray every day & you Grow, Grow, GROW!"

Scrapbooking.  I have so neglected my albums.  I haven't done much with them since before Clara turned one, and she will be 4 in August!  The other day the girls were all looking at their albums and enjoying it so much.  Clara wondered where hers was... it made me feel guilty!  The scrapbooking room is still Ike-damaged right now, so I haven't had anything set up in there since last fall.  I really should get all that stuff back out and organized.   Even doing a little bit every other night or so would be so productive!

Gardening.  My latest obsession is considering starting a garden.  I think it would be so cool to grow my own veggies & herbs.  I also think it would be something fun for the girls to help me with in the evenings instead of complaining that they're bored and begging me to let them watch the television (which they do not currently have the privilege of watching).  

Laundry.  A load a day would do wonders.  Did I mention how laundry is the bane of my existence?  

Monday, March 23, 2009


So, since even before I opened the studio I've done pictures with live bunnies every year around Easter-time.  This year was no different.  Oh wait - it WAS!  The bunnies arrived at the studio a couple of weeks ago, and of course, the girls were excited.  They asked if they could keep them (this always happens), and I of course said no, but we could probably keep them for the weekend.  They came up to the studio to pick them up one night.  They all held & pet the bunnies.  After a few minutes, Clara began sneezing.  To make a long story short, she ended up in urgent care due to a serious allergic reaction to the bunnies.  Hives, welts, sneezing, swollen eyes, etc.  She ended up on steroids for a week.  So, no more bunnies for Clara.  She even had a hives breakout one night just from the bunny dander on my shirt.  It really stinks.  I was extremely bummed by the prospect of no bunny pictures this year - this will be the fourth year in a row I did a bunny picture with the girls.  SO... I decided we'd still do it, but it would be strategically planned.  Clara took some Benedryl beforehand, and was in the studio pretty much a total of 10 minutes.  We shot fast and furious, Clara did NOT touch the bunny, then we all came home and took showers!  I know I'm crazy, but I still really like the pictures.  :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Through their eyes...

Ask your child(ren) to answer the questions and type their answers in. (Taken from my Facebook circle)
(I had them each answer at separate times so they wouldn't copy each other)

1. What is something mom always says to you?
M - Don't bother your sister.
L - I love you
C - Love you

2. What makes mom happy?
M - When I'm nice.
L - listening to her
C - go potty in the potty

3. What makes mom sad?
M - When I don't do what she tells me to.
L - being mean
C - poopoo in the floor

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
M - When she makes a mistake in cooking or something like that.
L - being funny
C - hehehehe -

5. What did your mom like to do when she was a child?
M - read
L - play jokes
C - take pictures

6. How old is your mom?
M - 32, right?
L - I don't know. That's hard.
C - 4, no 5!

7. How tall is your mom?
M - Maybe about 6 foot and a half
L - twenty, I think.
C - BIG!! And Daddy is big too!

8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?
M - American Idol
L - UM... outter SPACE
C - um.. Cinderella

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
M - go on her computer
L - cook
C - Make supper

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
M - photography
L - um... a trophy?
C - be angry

11. What is your mom really good at?
M - photography
L - playing games
C - kissing

12. What is your mom not very good at?
M - cleaning the house
L - playing Jack & Jill
C - not kissing

13. What does your mom do for her job?
M - photography - that's the third time I've said that, isn't it?
L - work at her studio
C - go to the studio

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
M - Pei Wei
L - guacamole
C - macaroni & cheese

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
M - that she's my mom
L - Eating all her food.
C - um... put dresses on

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
M - Daisy
L - Mrs. Amanda
C - Cinderella

17. What do you and your mom do together?
M - cook
L - cook
C - Go at the hospital

18. How are you and your mom the same?
M - we like to do the same kind of things.. cook, read, help with pictures
L - we have freckles
C - because they just are

19. How are you and your mom different?
M - she is older and I am younger
L - we don't have the same hair
C - because we just are

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
M - I just do. Because I love her.
L - because everybody loves everybody in their family
C - because she just do

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
M - That he loves watching the girls.
L - loving him
C - Hugs

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
M - Pei Wei
L - I don't know.
C - At church

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Our Little Rock Star

So her sisters were playing next door and Clara was forced to entertain herself.  I heard her jamming out in the other room just 'a singing to herself.  I went in there and saw this...

Of course, she noticed me, and I got this...

... and a request to come sit down in the chair and listen to her performance.

She does have quite the stage presence, wouldn't you agree?

Check out the tap shoes.

And this move... Wow!

But you just can't get the full effect without the vocals... here's a clip from an actual performance.  Gotta love the lyrics!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Caught in the act...

So, when each child blames the other for writing on the furniture, what do you do?  You have them write the same word on separate pieces of paper, and then compare...

Which do you think looks like this...???


And that's all I have to say about that...  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

One Word

USING ONLY ONE WORD! Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. 

1. Where is your cell phone? table

2. Your significant other? school

3. Your hair? pony

4. Your mother? admirable

5. Your father? Santa

6. Your favorite? Beatles

7. Your dream last night? forgot

8. Your favorite drink? DDP

9. Your dream/goal? heaven

10. What room you are in? bedroom

11. Your hobby? photography

12. Your fear? molesters 

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? organized 

14. Where were you last night? church

15. Something that you aren't? skinny

16. Muffins? pass

17. Wish list item? bookcase

18. Where you grew up? Angleton

19. Last thing you did? admonish

20. What are you wearing? sweats

21. Your TV? Disney

22. Your pets? nonexistant

23. Friends? precious

24. Your life? chaotic

25. Your mood? tired

26. Missing some one?  Manda

27. Car? minivan

28. Something you're not wearing? shoes 

29. Your favorite store? Target

30. Your favorite color? green

33. When is the last time you laughed? earlier 

34. Last time you cried? unsure

35. A place you go over and over? Sonic

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Memory Work

 I look at your heavens, 
which you made with your fingers. 
I see the moon and stars, 
which you created.   Ps. 8:3

When I was in middle school, my mom led my brother and me in 15-minute Bible studies before school each day.  We had to be completely ready to go by 7:00, sitting on the couch with our Bible ready.  (I have to make a brief side-note here and tell you how wonderful my mother is and what a great example of what a Christian mom should be!)  Each week we had a memory verse.  One particular year I remember we had these verses on cards, and we learned several verses from a passage over the week, so that by the end of the week, we could recite the whole passage.  The verse above sticks out to me, because I remember vividly the moment I realized how important it was to memorize scriptures.

I remember sitting in Science class in the 8th grade during a lecture on the big bang theory.  Immediately, this verse, which I had memorized several months before just "popped" into my head.  I realized then and there that if we didn't memorize scripture, we wouldn't have the ability to recall it whenever it was most needed.  It wasn't by chance that I just happened to think of a verse that spoke of the heaven's being created by the hand of God during the middle of Science class.  But I realize that had I not memorized the verse, there is no way I would have recollected it at a time when it helped reaffirm my faith.  

I encourage all of us, not just to read scripture, which is definitely important, don't get me wrong -- but to actually take time to study and commit to memory verses from God's word.  Teach our children to do the same.  I will be the first to admit it's been way too long since I spent time on memory work.  And it's not something I emphasize on a regular basis for my children - although they do have weekly memory verses at school - it's something I need to teach them the value and importance of and work on with them at home.  It's something I plan to work on.


Mallory has finally mastered riding her bike without training wheels!

Zoo pics

It's been a while since I posted.  Here's a few pics from a trip to the zoo over the holiday break:

A sweet shot of my two older girls - a rare moment of comradary.

And a family shot on the zoo train...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Read the Bible in a Year

My friend Ryan posted a link to this website, which I think is pretty cool... I love that you can choose your own version & it crosses off the passages that you've read.

Enjoy!  May 2009 be a blessed year.