Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bullet points

1) The  girls were at my mom's today so I have nothing  to really  blog  about. However, after thinking  of skipping tonight I had delusional ideas that  "loyal  fans" would miss me and therefore I've come up with  this pretty pointless post :-)

2) Can someone fill me in on Grey's Anatomy please?! Our local channel  that carries it had a fight with  Dish Network, so we haven't gotten this channel in weeks, and now tonight it's finally on again and I'm lost! I think the last episode I had seen was when Christina told her  husband that she didn't  want to get a divorce because  she still loved him yada yada. What's happened since then!?

3) In case you haven't heard, I believe Old Navy is having their baby/kids sale starting Feb. 7th (around there anyways)....after posting recently  all my adorable Old Navy finds I thought I would let you know! Some of the dresses are supposed to beb at $10 price points---yay. Mark  your calendars :-)

4) I'm watching baby Finn tomorrow---maybe I'll have some cute pics to share! I  watched  him a couple  weeks  ago too but  I think I forgot to share pics---here  are a couple--he's  getting so big! (For my  newer blog readers, Finn is the  cousin (other side of the family) of my niece Harper and nephew Sawyer. I was watching  Finn a couple days a week this past spring/summer....but  now I'm just "on call" since  they  found a daycare.)




5) Horribly  crappy picture (the shirt  is  light pink and the chevron fabric is really  pretty pinks/browns/aquas) but here is a quick outfit I made  Raya the other  night after my new  sewing machine was delivered! My old one was going to cost at least $145 to fix they  said, and I could buy this brand new one (same type) for $157 and free shipping---so obviously I decided to just  get a new one! I wanted to test it out and make sure it  worked fine, so I tried making a bib shirt and skirt set real quick.

***I  plan to reopen my Etsy shop next week---stay tuned!***

The ruffle  on the bib applique looks  dented in that  one spot, but it  isn't really--just got smooshed weird in the pic. I  won't  be  selling  these though in my shop because I despise making skirts lol. I'm going to stop selling skirts I think (I will  keep selling tutus though!)....but since I don't like making the fabric skirts I think  I'll only make them  for myself and friends haha. Too much hassle for me! I'm definitely an applique girl :-)

6) It's FREEZING cold  here. We're  talking  -30 below zero with  windchill. It  makes  me sad because I've  gotten a couple spring/summer outfits  for the girls  online recently and as I was hanging them up today I kept thinking about how perfect they will be to photograph outside this summer, which then made me depressed that  it will be about 4 more months before that can happen :-(

7) I have  nothing to eat in this  house. No milk, no bread, no cereal, no fruit, no yogurt....nothing. Before  you call  DHS rest assured my girls are happy to eat waffles and chicken nuggets tomorrow lol...but I'm regretting my decision right about now to not go to the grocery store today! It was just so cold outside I couldn't bring myself to do it :-P

8) This past weekend I went to Maurices (anyone shop there? I love  that  place) and found two  adorable sweaters on sale for $4.95 each. I NEVER find good  stuff in my size on sale there. Score!

9) I  hate American Idol this  year---the judges  are absolutely awful! Anyone agree?

10) Sorry for the last few random bullet points---I wanted to get to 10 because it's a nice even number :-)

Happy Thursday!!  And don't forget to comment and fill  me in on Greys Anatomy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pee Pee and Com-e-dy :-)

Guess what?! Today  Brielle went potty on the big potty for the first time! She asked to  go all  by herself and was bound and determined. She kept trying to "squeeeeeze" something out lol...and then she told me to run the  water in the sink hahahaha. Finally  she  did  pee! And we clapped and danced and I promised her a treat.

....and then Raya demanded that we all watch *her* pee on the potty so that she could get the same attention and applause ;-)



In other news, Raya told her first joke tonight. During  bath Lee said:

Lee: Guess what?
Raya: What?
Lee: Chicken Butt!!!!


to which Raya replied,

Raya: "Why did we have a picnic?"
Lee: "Why?"
Raya: "So the chicken could come along and poop on it!"

Watch out Comedy Central ;-)



And  now for  some random pics  of my girls from the other  day  that I  didn't post...






And to end this random update tonight, a picture  I thought all of my Thirty-One  readers might enjoy.

I am obsessed with my large utility totes (and the  matching lids!) and use them to store toys all  over my house. However I am continuously  creeped out every time I walk by one to see a "body bag" ....creepy little  dolls  peeking out at me LOL

We're Free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the most  exciting parenting milestones I've had in awhile you guys....taking down our last  remaining baby gate!

For 3 years now I've been gated in my own home. (Raya's first  6 months she sat like a lump in one place, so those don't count haha) I've been  having to step over, around, and through a various maze of child safety protections. I remember at our old house, which had a couple steps down between the living room and kitchen, I would have to walk through THREE gates just to get from my kitchen to my bedroom LOL (only I'm not really laughing---it was super annoying ;-)

At this house it hasn't been quite as bad, and as the girls have gotten older we have  slowly removed various gates and child  safety devices. But *always* we've had a gate at the top of our stairs to the lower level. It's been 3 years  since  we haven't  had one. I hardly even remember what stairs look like without one anymore! And  instinctively I go to open a baby gate when I head downstairs, no mattere where I'm at!

Well you guys, a couple days ago we decided Brielle was ready to go gate free! SWEET FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eating bananas at the  top of our stairs :-)
It's always a little bit sad to realize how quickly they  are growing, but this is one growing moment where no part  of me wishes for them to be little again--- child safety gates, we leave you in our dust!

....and now Brielle, please don't fall down our stairs ;-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Old Navy new arrivals! (And some Etsy chevron bonus :-)

OMG you guys---Old Navy has been uploading new arrivals like crazy and  they are KILLING ME with  all this spring/summer cuteness!

I polyvored some ideas for you all--- you are welcome ;-) Even included a few boy  things for those of you with boy cooties at your house haha.

First up, toddler  girls---my fav category of course!

LOOOOOOVE  these tank dresses (swoon) ...paired some fun leggings with them just to see how it looked. Raya  lives in this type of outfit.

old navy tank dresses







I think these tutu dresses would be so perfect for pictures once  it warms up! Blue  for Brielle  of course, and pink for Raya. I added the chevron leggings for fun just to see how it'd look.

 
coordinating sisters






This  outfit  reminds me a lot of the more  expensive  Gap....I love the  romantic look like this, and it would also be perfect for pictures outside this summer.

 
old navy spring

Blue would rock this little blue and white shirt dress...so cute! And I LOVE these polkadot shorts. They have other colors too.
blue

And bunch more random dresses....they seriously keep putting out dress after dress after dress! I can't even narrow things down anymore haha. I added a couple leggings just for fun---they aren't the best match, but how cute are those hot air balloon leggings?!
old navy spring dresses

This is all for newborn girl (up to size 24 month) ...these remind me a lot of Mini Boden brand. If Brielle can still wear size 24 month this summer I will be getting her those blue polkadot shorts!
old navy baby mix and match

And for you boy moms, this is in the newborn boy section (up to 24 months)...can you tell I like navy on boys? lol.
old navy baby boy

and I appologize, but I did look in the toddler boy section but I wasn't feeling any of their new spring stuff :-/ YOu know me and boy clothes lol. They had some plaid shirts and shorts of course, but nothing so adorable I wanted to take the time to polyvore it ;-)


And as an extra bonus, I am LOVING chevron print for spring/summer and Etsy has a ton of adorable options!

chevron



For the littles (and even a pair of BOY chevron shorts!)

chevron etsy



Happy shopping everyone!!! Where have YOU been seeing the cutest clothes for your littles so far this spring? Do share! :-)

**********And don't miss my earlier post from today about Raya's PJ day at school!*************

PJ Day

Ever since we got the preschool calendar at the beginng of the month Miss Raya has been absolutely beside  herself with excitement. She  has been  counting down the days and she had  her  outfit planned weeks in advance lol. Today  was the big day and boy was she pumped!

Ballet  pjs and  light-up unicorn slippers, courtesy of Grandma F.!

No idea why she picked Minnie as her stuffed animal of choice---she never plays with  her lol. Maybe she didn't  want to risk taking her  treasured stuffed animals for fear they'd be damaged :-P

Brielle wanted to do pj day too! ...no really, she  kept telling me "me too party!" haha

And then the big parenting FAIL. Somewhere between the kitchen and the van Raya managed to set Minnie down. I didn't think anything of it because I was too busy loading Harper, Brielle, and Raya into the car, remembering Raya's cereal  snack and making sure she was carrying her slippers, etc.

Anyways, we get to preschool and we realize we forgot Minnie. Cue MELTDOWN. Oops. Other kids  hadn't brought a stuffed animal too and I tried pointing that out. I also pointed out that only  a couple kids had slippers and hers were the only light up ones. The teacher offered to let her use one of the extra stuffed  animals she had brought and some other kids offered their stuffed animals. I even offered upu the dolls that Brielle and Harper had  brought from home.

Nope. Poor Raya was just heartbroken  about Minnie. It wasn't a naughty tantrum, just more of a heartbroken sob haha.  Finally  I just said, "well, we can go home and skip preschool today if you are too upset to stay" ....and she didn't want to do that! So she stopped. Hopefully she does fine the rest of the morning there. Mama can only  remember  so many things and *she* was in charge of holding that Minnie!

'Tis the life :-P

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eyes

Lately I've been in the mood to  do multiple  short  little blog updates rather than my normal all inclusive  long daily updates. Not sure  what's up with that haha.  As a reader do you have a preference? Do you like reading little updates, perhaps more than once a day, or just one longer update once I have something worthwhile to post?

Anyways, here's a quickie--- took this picture of Raya  this morning and I just love it---she's got  those big  eyes that are going to melt many hearts one day!



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dress-up central

Today we transformed the playroom closet into dress-up central! The remainder of the afternoon the girls shut themselves inside the closet to fancify themselves, and then burst through the doors to surprise me with their beauty ;-)




Silly me, I thought  *20* hooks would be enough, but  between all  of  Grandma F's used  halloween costume finds, and my old dance  costumes, etc. we have  already more than filled  those 20 hooks! lol. We are using some thirty-one totes for the overflow :-P We hung the hooks at Raya's height so that they can pick up after  themselves---hoping this helps keep the dressup more organized and more fun to play with because we can see everything! At one time I had thought about purchasing a store bought dress-up stand, but those things are all so tiny---they wouldn't  have held a fraction of our stuff. This works out great!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fancy/Flower/Bow and Star

On Friday I met two different people selling outgrown clothes from the girls.  It was nice because one drop off  was for a friend  from grad school who bought Brielle's entire 18-24 month spring/summer wardrobe-- wish I could find someone with an awesome closet to buy from for Raya! LOL. But anyways, after all my sales Friday I was feeling quite rich and so I decided to  spoil my girlies a little...

So we went to toys-r-us and I let  them pick  out new dolls! Let me make this very clear though--they are NOT "baby" dolls. Raya gets very upset if I forget and say something about her "baby"...because these are "big girls" and they are the big sisters for the babies at our house (following me? haha).

Raya picked out a big  girl with a ponytail and pink dress....Brielle picked out a big girl with long  hair and a star outfit.

Then the  naming saga began.

Raya first  named hers Fancy....which I thought was cute. She's really into Fancy Nancy books right now. After I really grew to like Fancy, Raya changed it up and named her Flower. Then shortly after  switched to Bow. Finally deciding that Flower-Bow was her official name. :-)

Brielle simply named  hers Star. Thank God.

Flower-Bow and Star ate lunch with us at Panera (each had  her own seat of course!) and then Flower-Bow came with us to Walmart as well (Poor Star had to be left in the car after Brielle chucked  her to the ground in the parking lot while having a tantrum about something pointless --Star is not to happy about  being  owned by a moody 2 year old :-)

Since Friday Flower-Bow has pretty much gone everywhere  with us. Poor Star hasn't been able to overtake Brielle's  monkey in status, so she is  not as well traveled!

While Brielle took her afternoon nap on Friday Raya hung out  with the big girls...Star was happy to be  better  taken care of for awhile!






Friday, January 25, 2013

Polly want a cracker?

First off, we had  fun at the Playstation yesterday! I didn't take my camera, but I posted on facebook when I got home about how nice it was this  time compared  to last! We took them this summer and it involved lots of Grandma and I (mostly Grandma!) crawling after the little ones in the tunnels, etc. This time we didn't  have any babies cramping our style! :-P We put Raya in charge of Brielle and Sawyer in charge of Harper and my mom and I kicked back in the ball  pit and just let them run wild for the most part. They  had a blast and played well  over 2 hours there. Then we went to Barnes and Noble  cafe for cookies and coffee, and then to Grandma and Grandpa's for  pizza.

I  do appologize  that I don't have anything more  exciting to post today, but it is what  it is lol. My life can only be so exciting, right?! :-)

However I am currently obsessed with trying to figure out a way to do more indoor photography, so today I played around with a tablecloth and a window--a poor  man's  studio!

Bet you can't  guess which child was being cooperative  and which one had to be bribed!!!

She's such a supermodel ;-)
Polly wanted a cracker-- she's a diva and very hard to work  with lol





Look  at her  hold that  little pinky  up! haha
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Big Sister

Raya's latest thing is that she  always tells me "I'm a good  big  sister!"  ...and then she goes about trying to prove that throughout the day haha.

Some of the tasks she likes to do include:

Washing Brielle after meals (the bathroom is usually quite wet and soapy afterwards!)
Putting on Brielle's shoes
Going to get Brielle when she wakes up from naps
Combing Brielle's  hair
Brushing Brielle's teeth (now that  they have  electric toothbrushes this has become quite entertaining!)
Smelling Brielle's butt to see if she's poopy (I can smell  her  a mile away, but Raya insists and smooshing her nose right there LOL)
Holding Brielle's hand  in public
Making Brielle's  bed in the  morning
Washing Brielle in the bathtub

....and the list goes on!

One of the most recent things she's added is that  she likes to pick out Brielle's clothes (seriously kid, soon I won't  have anyone left to dress anymore!)  Since we weren't doing anything too exciting yesterday I let her...so she dressed herself *and* Brielle. And then of course they wanted to take pictures.

So now I present to you Raya, the fashion stylist and best big  sister ever ;-)

And when you know you look good you just gotta OWN IT! Check  out those poses haha

And of course after  the photoshoot the good big sister had to  physically  carry Brielle to the next location of her  choosing hehe. Poor Brielle doesn't get to walk much lately because  the  good big sister likes to make sure  she's getting where she needs to be!

Luckily  Brielle usually humors her  and  just holds on for the ride!

Now today we have preschool and then we're going with Grandma F, Sawyer, and Harper to the Playstation! (Big  place full of tunnels and slides and ball pits and climbing things). Should be a fun (yet exhausting) day !!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

All cleaned up! (Almost....)

Last night Raya was playing with makeup so I told her to go wash up and get ready for bed. Later she presented herself and declared she was "all cleaned up!" She was *not* happy when I suggested that maybe she had missed a couple spots LOL


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I wanna be a cowboy baby

The other day Raya picked out  her cowgirl boots  to wear...and then *demanded* that Daddy wear his cowboy boots as well. Then she said "do we look  cute ?! Take our pictures!"

....and so I did :-)


I love Brielle's  look in this one...she was annoyed that I wanted her *out* of the picture! haha


And then just because I think it's funny, this picture was  taken just seconds after both girls  were crying---fighting over the dress up shoes that Raya has on her feet. Poor Brielle didn't stand a chance getting those! haha   Raya wanted her picture taken in them so bad---tears and all  :-P

Daddy dressed Brielle haha
Poor Brielle---the second child ;-)



Don't  miss my other  update from today as well. Twice in one day---pure craziness I tell ya! :-)

Oh, while  I'm here....let's add these Naartjie  picks of mine to the post from earlier today. In case you haven't  checked out Naartjie spring yet this year, you should! I drool :-P

Naartjie Spring

The shades on these would match in real life...just not perfectly in the online skus
Naartjie Spring

I really want the purple outfit for Raya---reminds me of a Lalaloopsy doll!
Naartjie

My *picks* and my *pics*

First up today, I'm going to share some polyvore with  you all  haha. Polyvore is basically a fun site where you can virtually shop on the web, design outfits, and then not  buy them :-P Yesterday I created some  sets that I'm really  loving right now, but I'm not buying (no really, you'd be proud--I even gave away ALL of my gymbucks last week!!)

So if you aren't  on a spending freeze for kid's clothes please purchase some of these---I need to live vicariously LOL. But if I buy one more item my  children will need to start changing their  clothes mid day to  wear them all ;-)

This is Gymboree's new nautical  collection.  I lovve  the whale outfit for Raya (it's kid girl size) and then the kite outfit and the swimsuit are baby girl, and I love them  for Brielle! Too bad  Brielle has 1000 swimsuits already lol.



Gymboree nautical

I'm even going to throw one in for the boys this time! Gymboree has a baseball line out right now and I love this treehouse shirt with the plaid shorts---the treehouse door even opens! And baseball shoes--very cute. I think the swimsuit is also fun. I believe these are all baby boy sizes, so 3 month - 5T
Gymboree BB baseball

Crazy 8 has an adorable strawberry line out right now---I"m really loving the ruffle skirt!
Crazy 8 strawberries

I'm literally obsessed with these board shorts from Gap. This is all kid girl sizes so it'd have to be for Raya...alas Gap is so expensive unless you buy used. Love it though!
Gap kid girl spring

This is more Gap out right now---- love
Gap KG

And more Gap haha...how cute would Brielle be in the romper and Raya in the skirt set?!
gap purple

This is Old Navy and I'm loving the chevron dress. They also have girl cape shirts now! I got my nephew Ryan a boy one for Christmas hehe.
Old Navy Spring girl

Any brands you guys are loving for your little ones this spring?! I'm also loving Naartjie, but I found a bunch of that used online so my girls are pretty set for spring :-)



Now, switching gears completely from my fashion "picks" to my camera "pics" hehe. After my post yesterday I thought I'd give a couple photo tips for anyone interested.

I should first clarify that when I refer to my pics as "pro" I simply mean they looks less like a ordinary snapshot....I am no "pro" photographer though! But if you want to take your photos to the next level here are a couple pointers!

First, you have to shoot in manual mode with your DSLR! If you shoot in auto you are letting the camera pick the shutter speed, f, ISO, etc. and the camera rarely gets it right in less than ideal conditions. Shooting in manual really isn't that hard---just try it!

Now the more pro you are, the better your straight outta the camera photos will look...because you'll get better at adjusting your settings for the lighting conditions. (And just as a blanket  FYI, if you use your camera flash you likely erase any chance  of your pic  looking like  more than a snapshot. Flash equals big  no no in most cases! Natural  light only :-)  The better your straight outta the camera photos are, the less editing you have to do later, and the less editing you have to do then the better your pics! (Because the more you have to edit for things like lighting, etc. the more "noise" your photos will end up having.)

Here is an example from yesterday. First, this picture of Raya is what  mine looked like straight out of the camera, with zero editing. ...And before I had adjusted my camera settings for the conditions.
You can  see that  the lighting is  way  off. (I should have done  things like increase my ISO and lower my f and shutter speed to let more light into the camera, and therefore brighten the pic. You don't want to lower your shutter speed *too* much though because then you get photo blur).

Then right below Raya  is the pic I  took  of Brielle straight outta the camera---after I had adjust  all my settings. See how much better the one of Brielle looks?

 
  
Next, after you get a decent out of the camera picture, then you need to edit! Yes, the really pro photographers have pics  that look pretty great without editing. But most of them still edit. The really cool pics you see floating around Pinterest? Most of them have layers and layers of editing....things don't just pop out of the camera looking like that!

Photoshop is a pretty "pro" editing software. I use  Lightroom, which is also very good but  less bells and whistles and better (in my opinion) for just starting out. There are a lot of fancy edits Lightroom can't do though. However if you use a lot of the free photo editing programs your edits will often come out looking like  high school scrapbook rather than "pro"....at least that's been my experience. It really does make a difference to use a good editing program. Often times you can download a free 30 day trial of Lightroom.

So here is a comparison then to show you how Lightroom can help to "save" even the bad photos. Here  is that photo of Raya where all my settings were wrong, and how Lightroom was able  to help me save it some.


And obviously everyone has their own style of editing, so that  is something you have to play around with. I tend to like bright edits with lots of contrast.

And here  is my edit with Brielle---I  had to do a lot less editing on this one, since  I had my camera settings (more) right to begin with.



So I hope that helped someone perhaps! I continue working all the time on my manual settings and trying to understand how they need to be adjusted for different settings/conditions. It's just  trial  and error, but  it really makes a difference in the end!