Cutest blog

Friday, January 28, 2011

Project 52: Week 4: Inside-Out; Outside-In

Since this week's theme from the site I have been following, did not inspire me for some reason (Tired, I know it is strange I was not inspired by this, since I am, always in fact, tired), I decided to just make up my own after taking these photos of Jordy earlier this week.  The first two are from Abby and I outside playing in the snow.  Most of the time, Jordy does not want to be outside with us.  She could take or leave the snow. 

These ones are from one of the times we actually convinced her to go outside.  Our snow-gearing routine is usually this: Abby gets most of her self ready...I help her with what she can not do (usually attaching her gloves, and then putting on her hat because her mittens are too thick). While Abby gets herself ready, I get Jordyn ready.  She really can not do any of it, so it can be quite a process, depending on how cold it is outside, and how many layers we have to put on.  As they are ready, they get sent outside to wait, so I can get my gear on as quickly as possible without sweating to death inside.  This day, Jordyn happened to be the first ready, and was patiently waiting for us to join her.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Project 52: Week 3: Macro

Warning: Very heavy post! at first when I saw this week's theme, I thought it was sorta lame.  But then I remembered how much I have enjoyed trying to capture snowflakes....and I started thinking... What else could I find that has a lot more detail when you see it up close?  I thought about doing random stuff, really random stuff, really close up, and seeing if people could guess what they are...but I decided against that LOL. (I might do this another week, or as a contest on my photography blog!)  I decided to just try to capture some things around my house.  Also, I forgot how much fun a macro lens could be.  I had one quite a few years ago, and I never really used it to its full potential...well since getting more into newborn photography, I decided I had to have a new one.  I have been having a lot of fun with it since then....

Tried again at the snowflakes..this time with a gorilla pod.  I was hoping it would give me a little bit more stability that close up.  It did help a little more, but still not perfect...challenge!

Abby's beautiful eyelashes....

This is INSIDE our door.  Completely frozen.

Some sand we brought back from Bellow's beach from our trip to Hawaii.  (I swear, it is not brown sugar!)

Back door, iced over...making a neat pattern on the window.

Beautiful Holly...Our little Christmas snow puppy

In last week's post I mentioned how it gets so cold, your eyes can freeze shut, and icicles can form on your eye lashes.  Well yesterday, the windchill was -40*.  Yes you are reading that correct...40 below zero.  I wanted to try and get a photo of this...but Abby was not really digging the cold eyeballs....but you can see it starting to form.

Smores Pizza....Yum.

Our little bug-eyed Roxy.

My Mother ring Geoff had made for me a few years ago. 
Jordyn and Abby's birthstones on either side..and no, not my birthstone in the middle...Geoff's.  He decided it had to be in there.

All of this week's photos were taken with my 90mm Macro lens.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Project 52: Week 2: Cold

Since we are stationed at the North Pole, this weeks "challenge" was not much of a challenge for me. It was sort of obvious that I would probably do photos of...snow. We have had some very cold windchills the last few days...I think we had a -40* morning even. Most people can not even imagine how cold that really does feel. If you have never been this far north, you have probably never experienced any of the things that come with this degree of coldness: Feeling the cold down under your skin, and into your bones, having your eyelids stick shut from the moisture on your eyeballs freezing, growing icicles on the ends of your eye lashes, your nostrils freezing shut when you breathe through your nose, or it physically hurting your lungs to literally takes your breath away for a brief moment....yeah, it can get pretty intense! But still, we love it, freezing cold and all! I decided to do a few photos this week from various days of us outside playing.

These were my 2nd attempt at getting some up close snowflake photos with my macro. These ones came out a little bit better, but next time I want to try with a tripod so they can be a little more crisp.

If you look really close, a couple of the snowflakes have some slight color in the outline...I have no idea why, but in some of them I saw purple and green. Just thought it was kinda neat.

What is the best way to warm up from the cold? Hot Cocoa! Isn't this an awesome mug? We got these from our Polar Express Train ride at Christmas investment we have made in Minot!

Ice Wreath craft. It didn't come out like I had visioned...I think I need to use smaller, more shallow bowls to give it more of a wreath shape, but it was still fun for winter. And only up North, would this last all winter!

Tree in backyard. By the time I got bundled up and actually got outside, most of the snow had blown off already, so I will be attempting this one again...I want to get a photo of a tree just packed with snow.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Project 52: Week 1: Newness

Here it first installment of Project 52! For those of you that don't know, project 52 is a photography challenge where you post at least one photo a week. The goal is to push myself into trying new things, and photographing things I might not normally photograph on a daily basis. Most people are basing it off of a theme. I found a website that I will probably be following most of the time (but didn't officially join that specific challenge page). I decided to just do it on my own. Some weeks I might not like the theme, so I will do my own. Some weeks I will post more than one photo for the theme. I have a few other friends that are doing the challenge as well, so it will be fun to see what their vision of each theme really is.

Project 52: Week 1
This week's theme is Newness:

My favorite thing about Minot is fresh newly fallen snow. I wanted to capture the act of this, and a couple nights ago, we had some amazing huge snow flakes falling down when we were on a family walk. This was taken with my 50mm lens, and it didn't get me as good of detail as I had hoped for, so I will be trying this next time with my macro.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2010 in Review

It has been quite a year to say the least. Our year consisted of lots of trips, lots of family activities, lots of new experiences, a new addition to our family, and lots of new friends.

We survived our first full year up in Minot. We LOVED our first winter (we do not LOVE the -50* days) the girls loved the snow...having snowball fights, sledding, building snowmen, making snow angels, and shoveling the driveway (yes, they do enjoy this when they think its playing..which is the first 2 minutes, after that it becomes work, and it is no longer fun for them). We love the summer here...the weather is perfect (minus the crazy winds some days). We walk almost every night as a family during the summer, and lots of nights during the winter still. I am glad we never let all the negativity of the people that hate it here get to us. We came with a positive attitude, and made our own opinion of Minot, and try to avoid the people that only have bad things to say about it. We love it here, and have found that it is a great place for families. We couldn't ask for a safer, more friendly place to raise our girls for a couple of years. We know we will actually be very sad when it is time to leave this base.

Our first trip of the year was our first of many family trips down to Omaha for Geoff's hearing aid process. It was his 2nd time going down there, but the girls and I decided to go along this time. On our way back we stopped in Minneapolis and met up with Scott, Kim, and Kayla and spent a few days around with them. The girls had soooooo much fun playing with their cousin! The hearing aid didn't work, so we sent it back, and went down again later on in the year. Our next time going to Omaha was during the summer. We decided to detour again, and on the way we drove to South Dakota and all the neat stuff around Mt Rushmore. We did some rock climbing, fed some animals, saw lots of buffalo, the Badlands, and drove around ALOT. After that we continued on to Omaha, where, yet again, the next hearing aid didn't work. We took a few trips to Bismarck for various reasons as well. We enjoy going to the pumpkin patch in Bismarck every fall. Also, Bismarck is where we picked up the newest member of our family: Holly. She is now 5 months old and just as beautiful as Kota. Our final trip of the year was in November when we headed to Cali for the duration of the holiday season! During this trip, we made our first trip as a family to Hawaii! I think Abby was the most excited out of all of us...getting to see where she was born! It was a great experience for all 4 of us, and I LOVE that we got to share it with Jordy this time.

We love how easy it is to travel with our girls. We seriously could not ask for better kids in so many aspects. They are at such a fun age, and its awesome that we are able to experience so much, as a family. Our tradition we started on trips this year, is picking up a magnet in each state we visit. There are a few we still need to get that we missed out on before the tradition started, but we will just pick them up next time 'round! They love collecting them. I am also going to be getting them a big US map so they can put stickers on all the states we have been to....eventually I hope we have to upgrade to a world map!

Geoff has had an interesting year with all the ups and downs of the possibility of being able to hear again in his right ear. So far, no hearing aids have worked in restoring his hearing. We are looking into a couple of different options, but most likely, we will be heading to San Antonio, TX for him to have the BAHA surgery sometime this spring. This will involve drilling a small hole into the side of his head and putting a stump on the outside that his anchored to his bone. Once it heals, he will go back 6 months later and receive a bone anchored hearing aid that uses bone conduction for him to hear through that ear. We are pretty sure this one will work as we have tested out the theory with other bone conductors on him, and he was able to hear! Other then that, Geoff has been busy with work, loving teaching Airman Leadership School. Right now, he is working on his officer package to apply to go to OTS where he will become an officer and go back to the world of Intell. This will involve a PCS for us, and we have NO idea an intell officer, he can go to almost any base!

Mommy has had a very busy year. My first priority is being a mommy to our beautiful girls. I am soooo BLESSED that I am able to stay at home with them. We stay busy with MOPS, playgroups, walks to the park, and lots of biking in the summer (to the pool, parks, or just rides with friends). I really enjoy biking during the summer, and try to bike as much as possible. I think there was a period where I went 2 weeks without driving anywhere, just biking to what I needed to do on base. I am hoping to increase my distances this summer, along with training Kota to go farther than 5 miles biking with me. (She made it to 5 miles over the summer, I was so proud of her!) I had a great year with my business as well. I hope to increase my client base even more this year. I love that my job allows me to stay home, and make my own hours. Sometimes I feel like taking on more, so I will have 5-6 sessions one week, others I feel like I need some time with the family and take a week or two off. I have made many new good friends here in Minot, and had to say goodbye to a few of them already :( This is by far the hardest part of being in the military for most wives. We spend so much time with some of these girls, that they become part of your family. But being a military wife teaches you to make friends fast, and give them your all, even though you know that one of you will be leaving the other at some point. You learn to not let the fact that someone will leave stand in the way of letting new friends into your life. It sucks, but how sad would it be if we thought "well there is no point in making friends at this base...they all leave at some point". Anyways, I am working on a blog post that goes into detail about life of the military family...soon to come :) beautiful big girl Abby. Abbys stats: 43lbs, 43 inches tall. She is around 10% for height, and 15% for weight, and her height to weight ratio is about 50% (which means she is perfectly proportionate for her body). She is now in size 5/6 or 6 clothing. She has grown so much this past year...and I love it, and hate it at the same time. Abby is now well into learning to read, doing math, and loves science, just like her mama. She started school in August, and loved every minute of it. We hated that we had to pull her out because of our trip. We hate that we felt forced into either canceling our trip we planned, and saved for all year, or pulling her out. It was not any easy decision, and sometimes we regret it, but at the same time, I am happy that I get a few more months with my baby girl now. We have not made the final decision on next year as far as 1st grade goes. We are on the fence right now between sending her to the other school on base, or home schooling. There are benefits to both for her and our family, and right now, we have plenty of time to figure it out. In the mean time, we do lots of teaching at home. We are not officially homeschooling her this year, as it is not needed, but we are working on her reading skills, math, and creativity at home. Abby took swim lessons over the summer, and that improved her swimming skills greatly! She can almost do it all. She just has to practice swimming farther underwater, holding her breath, so she doesn't freak out. She also plays ice hockey now! She started in October, and then missed half the first season, but is back out on the ice 2x a week now. She loves it, and we love that its a team sport that really challenges her. sweet Jordy. Jordyn's stats: 24lbs, 32 inches tall. She is our little peanut at less than 1% for height and weight, and like her sister 50% height to weight ratio. She really has not grown much at all since her 1st birthday. They are not concerned with her size however, because she is still growing, and still (barely) on the charts. Jordyn finally was able to start speech therapy a few months ago, which is helping her quite a bit. She is learning the correct way to make sounds she otherwise didn't know how to make when it came to vocabulary. Right now we are in the process of getting her into see a developmental specialist, most likely down at WHMC at Lackland as well. Jordyn has a lot of trouble focusing...her mind, and her energy in that tiny little body of hers. We want to be able to understand why she does what she does, and how to deal with her behavior. She still is not potty trained, and really not showing much interest in it. I try with her every couple of weeks, but still no luck. My next attempt, which started this morning, is using the ipad for reward. Anyone that knows Jordy, knows that this might be what works LOL. I will post later how it goes in the next couple of days. Other then that, Jordyn stays busy being a little sister, and she does it well. There isn't much she can do as far as sports and activities here yet, but this fall, she will be playing hockey as well! Most sports around base and down, you have to be 5 years old, but hockey is only 4, so that will be her first sport she plays :).

All 3 doggies are doing well. Roxy adapted to North Dakota living, much better then expected. She will go outside...even when its really cold and snowing (as quick as possible) She loves snuggles with her Abby, and sleeps with her most nights. Kota is...well, being a husky. She loves the snow, and everything about it. She would stay outside all day if we let her. She loves jumping fences, not to run away, but to go see what is going on with all the other doggies. She loved running and bike rides all summer long. She actually worked her way upto 5 miles, running beside me on my bike. We also would like to train her to pull a sled this winter. Holly is still very puppy like. She still has accidents almost everyday in the house. Part of this is due the fact we had to leave her for over a month, and sort of had to start over when we got home, and it was a new house to her again. Her and Kota just play all day long. They love wrestling around all over, and chasing each other. The two of them have definately formed a "pack" in the house.

Well that was a majority of our year summed up in one long blog post. We are excited to see what this year will bring. We have more trips planned, more birthday parties to look forward to, and new experiences to come.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My New Years Resolutions.

The most obvious one, and the one most people chose, continue to lose weight, and get back into shape. I have about 25-30 more lbs until I am at my goal body weight/size.

Not only continue to cook healthy meals at home, but when we go out, to chose healthier options more often (not every single time, just more often....we will never give up pizza or mexican food!)

Continue to go on walks as a family at least4x per week, and when we don't go on family walks, I want to continue to walk Kota (and now Holly) even through the harsh winter.

Enroll Kota and Holly into some sort of training school so they are more controlled around visitors and out on walks.

Participate in the "52 week photo challenge" of posting a new photo each week based on different themes (this is just a fun photography challenge for myself to try new things).

Do more homeschooling activities with the girls...projects, crafts, cooking, etc

Get our house more organized (I know I am sort of a freak when it comes to organizing, but it makes me very happy)

Find more ways to save our family money and being green (think less disposable, more reusable items)

Declutter by getting rid of stuff we no longer need or use.

Update:Christmas, Getting settled, New Years

Alright, long post!

First of all, we had a great Christmas, spending it with tons of family back home in California. I will not be posting photos on here from the trip, as it takes forever to upload photos to blogger, because they are individual. If you would like to see photos, I uploaded a bunch onto facebook, so check them out there!

We got to spend our first ever Thanksgiving with family, and we got to do it 2x. We spent the afternoon with Geoff's side of the family, and the evening with Stacy's! We hope it doesn't take another 8 years to be able to spend Thanksgiving with our family.

Our trip consisted of A LOT of busyness! The 4 of us decided over the summer, that we would attempt to go to Hawaii while we were in Cali. We wanted to try to take a space a military hop flight. This is the only way we flew when we were stationed in hawaii, and it saved A TON of money. It is very stressful and frusturating at times, trying to get to where you want...but in the end it worked out. We ended up not getting to Hawaii til about 5 days after we planned, which led to us not being able to stay quite as long, but we spent almost 3 days there, and did a ton of stuff. We stayed in TLF on base and got a rental car. We went to lots of beaches, watched some sunsets, did a drive around the island, walked Waikiki, hiked Diamond head crater, and ate at some of our favorite "Hawaii" resteraunts that we missed!. The girls even got to do a Hula lesson! They had a BLAST, and we are hoping to go back again in a couple of years when the girls are a little older, and Jordyn can really appreciate it more like Abby did.

We also did a lot of fun Christmas stuff such as ride The Polar Express Train in Sacramento. This was amazing! We went with Stacy's parents, and Katy and her family. Most of us wore jammmies, and the kids all had a blast being the center of attention because of how cute they 4 of them where all matching. We also spent a night taking the kids to go look at Christmas lights, which is always inspiring for our family :)

We had our4th Annual Happy Birthday Jesus Party, the week before Christmas at Stacy's moms house. This year only family came, but we all had alot of fun, and helped the kids and ourselves remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas. We love that our girls already know this and get so excited about the party each year. We did Crafts, ate yummy food and cake (made by was yummy!), read the Christmas story, and opened goody bag presents.

We spent Christmas Eve at Grandma Bettys house, with most of the family there (missing a few, but still good times). We ate some yummy food and opened presents and spent time together.

Christmas Day was spent at Stacy's moms house with..for the first time ever...all 4 sisters, significant others, and kids! Geoff finally got to meet his brother in-law (Jeff) and the girls got to meet their uncle for the first time. It was hectic, but awesome that we were all together.

We left to head home 2 days after Christmas, had to drive thru some rough weather, but we made it home just in time for a welcome home to Minot small scale blizzard. We missed home and it feels great to be back in our own house.

We spent New Years Eve at a friends house with lots of friends and kids running around like monkeys. We ended up having to leave at around 9:30 from all of us being exhausted from being up at night with Abby (thats next). We were glad to be able to hang out for at least a little while.

Now onto Abby. Most of you know about Abby's sleep issues. Most of her life she has sleep walked and has night terrors. Basically she wakes up 5-7 nights a week...either sleep walking (calm, sweet, affectionate) or night terrors (screaming, inconsolable, very upset). Well while we were on vacation, she was having trouble sleeping..falling asleep, staying asleep...not a whole lot of sleep walking or night terrors, just trouble sleeping in general. We chalked it upto she just needed her own bed back. Christmas Eve was horrible..she was up until about 1am throwing fits because she couldn't sleep (she coudln't handle the excitement of Christmas, nor did she understand that its normal to feel anxious and have trouble sleeping on Christmas eve...most adults still feel that way!). Well we got home and it only worsened. She is up all night screaming, crying, and throwing fits. She has only sleep walked once or twice in the last week. The rest of the time, once she falls asleep (anywhere from immediately, to a few hours to finally fall asleep) within the hour it begins. She wakes up crying, and then wont go back to sleep. She comes out of her room, goes into the bathroom, comes out to the living room or our room, and just throws a huge fit, like an out of control toddler! (Yes, she is 6 years old, this is out of control) We have hardly gotten any sleep since we have been home because of this. She is up at least every 2 hours, and stays up for anywhere from a few minutes, to over an hour...just screaming and throwing a fit. We are at our wits end on what is wrong with her. We have given her meds to help her sleep, tylenol, allergy meds, stuff to help her poop...nothing is working. We dont know if its an actual medical issue, or just her acting out and a behavior she is actually going to the Dr. later today to see if there is anything that we can do. I will post on that later!

We hope you all had a Blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Years.

I will try to post some more updates soon!