Monday, July 30, 2012

Things I want to remember from the past week...

I thought I would start something new with this blog post.  I am not sure if it is going to become a regular weekly post or not, but I thought I'd give it a try.  There are so many things I know I am going to just forget about our life as a family together if I don't document them.  I have referred to this blog so many times to remember things!  So, here it goes.  A "Top Things I want to Remember about this Past Week in our Life" post:
Our silly, sweet little boy!
My boys! (and perhaps a future Olympian?)
1.  Luke has excellent senses!!!!!  I was talking very softly to Drew last week on the couch about Luke as he was playing.  I could tell by Luke's reaction that he heard what I was saying.   So, I spoke even more softly to Drew and said, "Luke's hearing amazes me.  He hears everything we say.  He has ears like a bat!"  Then, I noticed that Luke had a confused look on his face as he was feeling his ears with both hands.  Ha!!  (Proof of his bat-like hearing sense).

2.  The XXX Summer Olympic games are happening right now.  We are all loving this time of year.  Luke is especially enjoying it.  Women's gymnastics preliminary rounds were being televised last night.  Luke watched the floor exercises for a while, very intrigued.  Then, he got up quickly, made the statement, "I can do that!" and proceeded to try to do exactly what they were doing.  I am not talking about a simple somersault.  I am talking about a run and then a flip somersault.  He definitely needs some practice or we might be making another visit to the ER.  But, still he has absolutely no fear.  That kid scares me!

3.  Abbey is over 20 lbs now.  She battled some intestinal issues and was going through about 10-12 diaper changes a day for over a week....and I am not talking the #1 type (sorry if that was too much information).  So, I was concerned she was not getting enough to eat and was losing weight.  I guess she is okay, as she has not lost weight.  :-)

4.  Luke and Abbey also had their first bath together in the big tub last week.   Abbey has outgrown her baby tub, so we made the transition to the big tub with big brother.  They both loved it!  Luke enjoyed washing her and showing her all of his toys.  The photo above is of our little Elvis baby in her first big tub bath.

Luke enjoyed his first bath with his baby sister.

5.  Last week was my 36th birthday.  I can't believe I actually typed that age on this post.  You know that you are getting up there in age when the only gifts you desire for your birthday are health-related.  As Drew asked me over and over for gift ideas, I told him I really already have everything I could ever want. I never sit around and think about material things I wish I had. My only desire is to continue to be healthy for my family so I can best take care of them.  I have been feeling like I am really starting to get out of shape.  My muscles ache more often and I just feel more lethargic lately.  It scares me because I have felt like the energizer bunny for most of my life.  I have also specifically been having a lot of back pain.  That could have something to do with #3 above--lifting our 20 lb baby.  So, I asked Drew for a back brace and mentioned I would LOVE to have the opportunity to join a gym.  But, it really just isn't in our budget.  Then, I got an email about an AMAZING offer that made joining a gym (24-hour fitness) completely affordable.  Plus, I received some birthday money from my parents that can help offset the cost.  The gym is so affordable that the cost for the one-year membership is less than one visit to the doctor on our high-deductible health plan.  So, I joined late last week and I have already been a couple of times. I ABSOLUTELY love it.  It gives me some much needed "me-time" and even "me and God" time.  While I ran on the treadmill and rode the stationary bike at the gym last week I had some wonderful conversations with God.  Plus, I left with almost instant energy and excitement to go back for more. I also left with some REALLY sore muscles that lasted for several days after my 60 minute body pump class, but it was the good kind of pain.  Confession:  I am pretty sure EVERY muscle in my body was sore.  I really didn't think I was in that bad of shape, but I was proven to be wrong.

Like I said...I already have everything I could ever want for my birthday.

6.  Something that Drew picked up for me for my birthday (in addition to the back brace) was an educational photography book.  I have really enjoyed playing with our camera and some free editing software I downloaded, called "Radlab" lately.  So, I will end this post with some more fun photos from the past week. 

During Luke's nap time I snapped some quick photos of Miss Abbey.

Look at all those rolls!
Abbey has found all of the mirrors in our house.  She always catches a glimpse as you walk by with her. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Do-it-yourself Photo Studio

I LOVE photography.  It is especially fun when you have some fun subjects (Luke and Abbey) that live with you and are always around.  When Luke was just a few months old (in December 2009), we purchased our first digital (DSLR) camera.  We decided on a entry level Canon (Rebel T1i) and found one for an excellent price.  Part of the cost of it was purchased as a Christmas gift from Drew's parents.  We are still using this camera regularly.   We decided to go entry level when choosing a DSLR because we knew that we could easily change the function of the camera by adding new lenses.  We added a 50mm 1:1.8 lens since we purchased the camera and absolutely love the lens.

I love capturing moments that I may have forgotten without the photo memory.  I also love capturing the beauty in our two blessings of Luke and Abbey.  Lastly, I enjoy the art aspect of photography.  There are so many fun angles & perspectives, cool tricks, neat lighting options and plenty of fun editing tools that go with photography.

So, it has been two and a half years since we got this camera--why did it take this long to create our own studio?  I really don't have an answer except that we just got busy with other things.  Recently, I saw an advertisement for sheets that were on sale at target, so I purchased a black set and a white set.  This morning, I decided to throw the white set up, supported by two bar stools, for a quick photo session.  When I say "quick" I mean the "shortest photo session ever".  I was probably snapping pictures for literally 2-3 minutes.  That is about the maximum time a photo session can last when you are by yourself with a toddler and infant.  I only used the natural light coming in from our front door, since we do not have any special photography lights.  The 50mm lens does really well though in low light situations.  Luke thought the backdrop was super cool.  He loved posing at first, and even later pretended to be a professional photographer:

Luke has a beautiful smile, but sometimes this is the face he gives me when I ask him to smile for a posed picture.

Then, the session began breaking down when Luke thought the backdrop made a cool tent.  Nevertheless, I did capture some cute photos.   I probably need to edit out some of the drool though.  :-)  I decided we are going to try this again when Drew is home.  It's probably never a good idea for the kids to outnumber the adults when attempting a photo session.  Or, better said, there should at least be more than one adult present: one to be responsible for the camera and the other to corral/take care of the kids.  The following are some of the results of my quick session.

there's our sweet boy!

I had to capture some of her "rolls".  I definitely want to remember these!

Of course, she was looking at her brother.  :-)

This one is my favorite!

I loved having the backdrop and can't wait to try new fun photo sessions again soon!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Our Happy, Half-Year Old!

Our precious daughter is six months old!  It seems that as each week passes lately her development increases significantly.  She is now sitting up on her own!  She thinks it is pretty big stuff.  Her big brother does also.  He just told me today, "Mommy, Abbey is getting bigger and can play with me."  He is so in love with his little sis.  It is the sweetest thing to watch him speak to her and help me take care of her.  As we were pulling into the doctor's office today for her six-month well check pediatrician visit, I heard Luke say to Abbey, "Abbey, you are going to the doctor and you are going to get a band-aid.  But, then you get to go to the treasure chest and pick out a lizard like mine.  Then, you can play with me 'cause you are getting bigger."  So precious! 

Abbey loves to be on her belly.  As I said last month, if I put her on her back, she immediately rolls to her belly and begins trying to scoot.  She has been working on scooting for quite some time now.  I think she finally realized that if she can perfect her sitting up solo skills, she will be better at moving around.  Now, she is getting that sitting down, so I imagine she is going to try to work on crawling or scooting soon.  She is definitely wanting to be like her brother--and that means moving fast!

Abbey loves to grab things and move things from hand to hand (and then to mouth, of course).  Her favorite toy right now is a soft, Usborne stroller book about a farm.  She likes looking at it, but she enjoys biting it most!  Her favorite game to play is peek-a-boo--and her favorite person to play that with is her big brother.

She has been eating (and loving) rice cereal for the past few weeks, so the doc gave us the OK to start her on other solids.  We are going to try Luke's first favorite, sweet potatoes, first.  If brother loved it, I am sure little sis will as well. 

Abbey has been holding steady at 19-19.5 lbs for the past few weeks-month, so perhaps her growth is slowing down a bit.  She has gained about 12 lbs since birth.  So, if she continued to gain the same amount as she has gained the past six months, she would be around 31 lbs at age 1.  Luke only weighs 30 lbs at age 2.5.  So, I think she'll be slowing down her weight gain soon--especially when she becomes more mobile.  She is currently in the 91% for weight and >95% for both height (27.75 inches) and head circumference (45.3 cm). 

Here are some photos from the past few days.

SO big!

Checking out the scenery from up here.

Luke wanted to cuddle with her in his chair.

Sister and Brother

Another one of Abbey's favorite things to do is make a hilarious sound with her lips.  She will make this sound for many minutes straight.  It cracks me up every time, because she is so serious about it.  Here is a video clip of her making her favorite sound (you can also hear Luke in the background pretend-playing with his Legos, cars and action figures).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fun for the Fourth in Tulsa

This year was the second year in a row we attended the July 4th extravaganza at my parents' house in the Tulsa, OK area.  Because Independence Day fell in the middle of the week this year, we decided to head up on the Saturday before   Drew worked remotely on Monday and a half-day on Tuesday while I was able to spend a little extra time with siblings, parents, nieces and nephews (and Luke and Abbey with their cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents).  It was also so much fun to be able to play volleyball with my cousins, just like old times.  Drew and I ended up playing for three evenings in a row, after the kids went to bed.   Our bodies realized after the first night of playing that it had been way too long since playing last. 

We had an awesome time in Oklahoma playing sports & games, visiting with family and friends, eating delicious food, checking out new parks, visiting my old "stomping grounds" and even checking out where I attended undergraduate school.  At this year's Independence Day Party, over 40 people attended for food, fireworks and fun.  It was awesome to visit with so many family members and friends.  We were so busy having fun on the 4th at the party, we forgot to capture pictures!  We headed back home last Saturday morning.

Here are some pictures from our visit last week in Oklahoma. 

While we were in Oklahoma, the kids had a blast playing together. My brothers and Drew did a great job of creating fun "games" and races for them. Here is a video of one of the races: 

One of all of the kids' favorite parts of the week was the visit to the Bartlesville Kiddie Park. It still amazes me that these fun, toddler-oriented rides only cost $.25 each to ride! And, we didn't even have to pay as adults when we accompanied the kiddos. Not only that, but the train rides were free all night. To my surprise, of all of the fun rides there, Luke's favorite was the carousel.  I must agree that it was pretty fun--it was faster than any other carousel I have ever ridden.  At one point during a carousel ride, I told Luke to wave to daddy (I was riding with him.)  Luke removed his hands from the pole as he waved and then quickly returned his hands to the pole saying, "Mommy, I think I am going to hold on."  He and I both had to hold on to avoid falling.  Now, Luke had been talking all day about how he was wanting to ride on the roller coaster. So, Drew decided to take a video of Luke's reaction for part of the ride. It is pretty funny, but at the same time so sad. I just wanted to give our little guy a hug as I watched from the side with Abbey--he was pretty scared. But, I am still glad we captured the video. I am sure he will appreciate it some day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tents, Tunnels, Trucks and Tracks on Tuesday!

Apparently, today is all about tents, tunnels, trucks (and cars) and tracks!  When Luke awoke this morning, one of the first things he wanted to do was build a track.  Our child is very creative.  He likes to find objects around the house (and other toys) to make tunnels and other things to use with the track.  Today, we used our Lego table to make a large hill and tunnel for our track to pass over and through.  (Most of the photos were captured with my phone, so the quality is not quite as good as our camera).  We had a lot of fun together.

Later, Luke was all about the tents.  We created several tents downstairs with blankets, our couch, bar stools and other chairs.  But, after our homemade tents, we were ready to graduate to the real deal.  We built a large tent "system" in the gameroom upstairs.  

Our system of tents and tunnels

Inside the tunnel, standing up on the floor
Abbey enjoyed watching from her Jumperoo.

Taking a break in one of the tents, enjoying a snack.

Abbey went to town in her Jumperoo while Luke played.   I captured a short video of our happy half-year old. (And this video was near the end of her 20 minute jumping session.)