Friday, August 30, 2013


Just a quick update today....I have been running Raya back and forth to preschool this morning, took Brielle to gymnastics while Raya was gone, now we are doing a quick lunch before Brielle's doctor appt. (I think she has another ear infection), and then it's a quick nap before Raya's dance class, and then we are hitting the road for Illinois for the big family reunion on Lee's side with all his extended family....and aunt megan, uncle shawn, and my nephew Ryan are back! Should be a fun holiday weekend, which we will then wrap up on Monday with my niece Harper's 3rd birthday party. Phew....I'm tired just typing all that haha :-)

But anyways, Brielle's first gymnastics class was today---she's in the tot class for ages 18m-3years....and it's a mommy and me sorta thing where I lead her through the stations.

She was too shy to sing the welcome song but she did do a few of the stretches. But then when it was time to do stations she did awesome....she pretty much left the other kids in her dust haha. She was even the only student who could hang upside down on the rings and then do a summersault off of them. She also walked the balance beam, did hopscotch, did pull ups on the bar (with some help) did summersaults down various padded ramps, jumped on the trampoline, etc. Fun stuff!

Hope everyone has a fantastic holiday weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lee's parenting handbook

This morning Lee couldn't find his phone, so he told the girls he'd pay them each $1 if they could find it. They did.

Then he was annoyed this morning because he couldn't find a match for his black socks. (You see, the rule in my house is that I'll wash the socks and put them in your drawer, but if you want them all matched up and folded nicely then you can do it yourself! I don't have patience for something that tedious lol.). So Lee told the girls he'd pay them $5 if they folded all of his black socks today....

She took it very seriously :-P

Considering that I heard Lee promise the girls $6 before I even got out of bed this morning I decided it was time for real chore charts and allowances. $6 a day is out of our price range to maintain! haha

I printed off these free chore sheet online...princess for Raya and Dora for Brielle. I decided for now that their daily chores would be:

*Make bed
*Get dressed and brush teeth
*No timeouts
*Mommy's choice
*Daddy's choice

(the mommy/daddy choice is so that we can ask them to do random chores (like fold socks LOL).

We will add a couple more down the road, but this seems like a good start. If they earned all 5 stickers every day they'd have 35 at the end of the I set their goal at 30 in order to earn a reward for "allowance".

Thankfully at this age they didn't demand a monetary amount. I figure if they earn it then I'll let them pick a reward---icecream cone at Dairy Queen, small toy, download new book on Nook, etc.

She can't earn a sticker for no timeouts until she goes to bed!!
So far, so good for Raya. She loves the chart and is a totally goodie goodie haha.

Brielle got a sad face on her chart today, instead of a sticker for "no timeouts" because she was in timeout like 10 times haha. She's been quite a handful the last few days---perhaps adjusting to our new preschool/ fall schedule.

To end, our "what they wore" segment...Raya in Naartjie and Brielle in Etsy/custom

P.S.  (Related to Lee losing his phone this morning and starting this whole thing) Lee is completely ADHD and always losing things. Well, at preschool Raya has been making "books"....basically a lot of scribbles that she then translates for us. She made Brielle one about a monkey eating a banana, a princess one for me, etc.
Lee complained that he didn't get one so the next day Raya brought one home for him. He asked what it was about and she said, "It's about you, forgetting your shoes. You didn't know where your shoes were! Or your phone! Or your clothes! You were just naked and didn't know where anything was..."
I couldn't stop laughing. Lee was completely annoyed at her calling him out too. He said, "you didn't happen to tell your *teacher* what this story was about, did you?"
LOL it. She has him pegged!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reunited and it feels so good!

Sadly this year Sawyer is in Kindergarten and doesn't get to spend Tuesdays with us anymore. I thought Raya would be really upset about this, but surprisingly she's been pretty content to just be playing with Harper now. Plus it helps that she sees Sawyer on Thursdays at my parents' house, because my mom picks him up from school in the afternoon and keeps them all for a couple hours until supper.

However, Raya was like a kid on Christmas morning today because Sawyer got to come to *our* house for a little while tonight, since his parents were both working late.

She couldn't contain herself....she was so excited. Pretty sure she hugged him all afternoon :-)


Trendy Tot Tuesday

Linking up for another Trendy Tot Tuesday with Megan, Kelly, and Lindsay!

Ok, first off, I had ZERO motivation for posting this week lol. So please excuse the fact that I didn't bother editing a lot of these pictures. Too lazy, sorry :-)

Who's ready for Halloween? Ok, so we won't be wearing Halloween attire for over a month yet, but I love Walmart for holiday's so cheap I don't feel guilt only wearing it once or twice. When I was at Walmart a few days ago I noticed that their stuff was already getting really picked over, so I went ahead and picked up each girl something festive...pieces were a grand total of $4.98 each.

I mean seriously, "Ghouls" Just Wanna Have Fun?! Could not be more suited to this blog, now could it? Unfortunately they only had Brielle's will do :-P

Then for Raya this was the only thing I could make work in her size. She likes Hello Kitty though so it's all good.

And now to end, my lazy man's pictures....just a bunch of random outfits I haven't posted from the last week. Enjoy!

This is from Naartjie

This is Crazy of those outfits I got awhile back when everything was like $2.98 or something

Gymboree top

Gap smocked romper (size 18-24 month so it's more capri length haha)


Top is from Gordmans
So, anyone else started shopping Halloween yet? I have no idea on costumes for my girls, but it feels good to start buying *something* holiday....Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then love love that we are heading into all of my favorite holidays :-)

Monday, August 26, 2013



Long time readers will remember baby Finn (my niece and nephew's cousin from their other side of the family)...I started watching him a couple days a week when he was only 6 weeks old and kept watching him for a few months until his parents found full time daycare. His family was my first ever real photo client too. And last night I took pictures of them and a now 18 month old Finn! He just keeps getting cuter and cuter :-)

As always, click on the photo to enlarge...the photo quality is better that way for some reason

I've been wanting to do photos like this with the selective focus...worked well since Finn kept running away and not sitting anyways hehe...he was picking flowers

Found a new location in town and I love it. Once the leaves have more fall colors I'd love to get my girls here for pics....if they will cooperate!

Props to these guys for wearing falls clothes in 90 degree heat!


Keeping the romance alive!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Final Potty Training Update

Ok, so as most of you probably have figured out, potty training is different for every child! I had hoped that maybe having experience potty training Raya would make it that much easier to potty train Brielle, but alas the old saying holds true---"every child is different!"

I figured I should update everyone on our potty training adventure since it is finally DONE!

You may remember that back in the spring (I think) I started potty training Brielle b/c she was going potty most of the time when I sat her on it, and she seemed to be disliking wearing her dirty diapers, etc. She turned 2 in January so it was a pretty good time to think about potty training. I set aside a weekend and we peed on the floor a lot and went through many outfit changes lol. But by the end of the weekend she had started telling me *before* she went that she needed to go---progress! I decided we weren't looking back.

After a few more days she was doing pretty good (I hadn't attempted night training or leaving the house, but at home she was staying mostly dry, with maybe 1-2 accidents a day.). Then by the end of the week I was basically calling her day trained...she was doing great!

Fast forward 2 weeks and she lost interest. She stopped telling me she needed to go....even though she had proven she was capable she just wasn't doing it. I refused to buy diaper again but we did pull ups for the first half of the summer or so ....she was really hit or miss.

Then she started doing pretty good again, without much prompting from me. She was wearing panties at home and we were doing pull ups when we left the house and at night. So then I started to do "band aid training" lol...and she earned a Dora bandaid every morning (her obsession) and she kept it all day as long as she was dry. If she had an accident I took it off and threw it away....torture for her! haha. This really seemed to be the last kick-in-the-butt that she needed :-)

And so then finally, earlier this month we went on vacation for an extended weekend. I did pull ups the whole time and used the bandaids, but over those 4+ days she never once peed in her pull up, not even at night! So when we got back home on Aug. 11th I decided we were going 100% more pull ups! And no more bandaid rewards! And guess what?


We are officially, OFFICIALLY, potty trained. Even at night (never one accident!) and even when we are gone all day long (she always remembers to ask to use the potty, even when she's playing somewhere really fun).

I'm super proud of her....good job Brielle!

Just think of all the clothes we can get now with all that diaper money we are saving ;-)

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Etsy shop is opening again!

Well, after a long summer break and focusing on my photography I am ready to get back into the swing of things with my Etsy shop :-) After the holiday weekend my Etsy shop will be reopening!

To jump start things I'm offering a back-to-school special for my facebook fans. (If you haven't yet "liked" my facebook Etsy page please go HERE and do so!)

The limited time special I'm offering is for my ever popular initial shirts. Right now I'm offering them for only $12 shipped!!! (Or $10 local pick up). These are very popular with young kids....Raya can't wait to wear hers to school! They also make a wonderful baby gift (I have onesies) or would be a fun addition to a superhero costume this Halloween (just add a cape!).

If you are interested in ordering just message me through my facebook page. You can pay with Paypal. I can pretty much do any color scheme---just let me know what you are thinking!

And because my marketing strategy is to show you my adorable child rocking her initial shirt, here you go!

I got this little button up at Target for back-to-school---just shows you how versatile these initial shirts are!

Now I dare you to tell me your child doesn't NEED one of these shirts! haha :-)

Happy Weekend everyone....enjoy it!  (And don't miss my other update from earlier today...)


As this photo clearly shows, Brielle is absolutely distraught over Raya being gone to school every morning. She simply hates being an only child (and she despises having her picture taken)

So far this morning we've watched Dora, ate goldfish, played hide-n-seek, read books, played memory, and she's helped me clean.

As much as I miss Raya, she's having a ball at school and it certainly is nice to experience Brielle as an only child. Raya had me all to herself for 19 months before Brielle was born, and now Brielle will have a similar opportunity which is really nice. Since I'm planning to go back to work next school year I am thankful to get to know my "baby" a little better this year! :-)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Randoms

Raya had another great day at school! Now both girls are at my parents' house and tonight we are having dinner and celebrating my moms birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!)

So for my update today here are some random tidbits I've been meaning to blog :-)

First, the other day I FINALLY got some wall d├ęcor for the huge wall above Brielle's bed in the girls' shared bedroom. This wall was so big that I've been trying to find a somewhat inexpensive way to fill the space and the other day I found this canvas art and matching wall hooks so I decided it would be perfect. We are currently using the hooks to hang a couple favorite purses and hats.

I had my prime (no zoom) lens on so I couldn't get a zoomed out look---but this is lengthwise over the bed

Moving on, this past Saturday we went to the Iowa State! I got a delicious funnel cake---yummy ;-)  (Pics from Lee's phone)

And lastly, how about a phone dump from Lee? In all the time he's had his phone this is the first time he's actually dumped them on my computer. Some of these are REALLY old! Might as well blog them though! lol ....enjoy :-)

Easter egg hunt 2 years ago!

Check out those baby teeth!

Last summer Lee took the girls to some sort of thing where they saw farm equipment/helicopters/etc.

Brielle was crying lol

Awww, she had her paci

Gunner and Raya snuggling ;-0

Lee is a manufacturing really sure what exactly he does, but has something to do with military aircraft panels ....this was him at work one day

Playing with Lee's photo tricks...our heads and feet, in the same pic! ;-)

eating smores in Ohio this summer

We refinished our deck this summer...painted it in 90+ degree weather---yuck! But it looks great now. We did two-tone finish. The posts down below by the sandbox show the old unfinished wood. The deck up top did have some peeling red stain in places, but it was pretty bad looking.

Have I ever mentioned how much we love this GIANT sandbox the old owners built under the deck?

So pretty ;-)

Coming home from the State fair this weekend.
That's all folks! :-)