I am a God-loving, husband-adoring, mybabyboys-hugging, mind-reeling, photo-taking, life-documenting, yummyfood-cooking, garden-planting, country-living girl. Writing about life, with boys, in the sticks...
this is life... with boys... in the country...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good Night and Good Morning…

One of the coolest things that I’ve found in regard to the camera and lenses that I now use, is the ability to photograph scenes without the use of a flash… and still have the photograph turn out nice. In my opinion.  

Using natural light can be tricky, but totally rewarding to the eye, and with cameras improving and lenses that open wide, shooting in very low light, without a flash, is totally possible.

Whether it is at 8:30pm…    goodnight Cooper

… or 6:30am…

goodmorning Cooper

… I LOVE not having to rely on a flash. Utilizing a high ISO and a wide aperture makes it happen, and free noiseware  cleans up any digital noise that may result.  I do have a speedlite and couldn’t have gotten a few of my favorite shots without it (see here) because of the complete lack of a light-source illuminating the face, what-so-ever. 

But, I appreciate not having to lug that thing out every time a low-light moment arises. Because contrary to what I believe should be the case…. life does happen when the sun’s not shining (or at least not shining perfectly for picture-taking).

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Tummy-time Saga Continues…

As you might remember, Kaden has issues with tummy-time that are two-fold… 1) he immediately rolls to his tummy when laid on his back and 2) he hates being on his tummy when he gets there, but has yet to figure out how to roll back over. 

The saga continues, though now, I’m not really sure what he’s trying to do. He doesn’t dislike tummy-time nearly as much – he can rotate around for optimum viewing and reaches for toys that are scattered around.  But when he’s had it on this tummy, he starts doing this…

 July-27,-2010-021July-27,-2010-025July-27,-2010-027 Sorry, this is a lot of bum shots … maybe its just a ‘I’m his mama thing’ that I think pictures of his diaper are so cute.  But ya really just have to view it from this angle to get the full affect of his efforts. 


Sometimes he’s happy about what he’s doing, but often times, not so much. 

July-27,-2010-029 Maybe he’s trying to crawl?  Maybe the ground hurts his tummy? 

July-27,-2010-033 Maybe he’s channeling his inner yoga instructor?


Sometimes he actually moves himself forward and sometimes he ends up on his back.  And I’m not sure if either action is intentional.


He’s working hard, that’s for sure.  You can see it in his face as he attempts to devour this poor animal’s footie.  Its rough being 7 months old.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Celebration Time…

We decided Matt’s birthday was a good enough reason to break out of our semi-hermit state and invite friends over  for dinner.  It is so easy to go day-by-day, just existing as our own little unit, that we forget what a joy it is to spend time with a big group of people.  Especially when that group is a bunch of good friends. 

So, if you tuned in yesterday, you read about my cake preparations.  I won’t go into that again… the boys helped with some of the other prep-work, namely shucking corn and furniture placement…  July-27,-2010-021G July-27,-2010-023

I’m still struggling with taking photos at large gatherings.  I don’t know who minds having their picture taken or not.  I get distracted taking pictures and forget my role as hostess.  Or I get busy playing (or attempting to play) hostess and miss out on lots of good picture opportunities.  Or, once-in-a-while, I actually play ‘Mommy’ and need to take care of my kids and photographer and hostess have to wait. At-any-rate, here are some photos that I did manage to take of our evening with friends, celebrating Matt’s birthday…

Jamie, Sawyer, Colby, Josh, Kaden, Brian and Ellie Waiting for dinner…

Wyatt and Gager

My first failed hostess/mama duty … not getting my kids’ food because I was busy with my camera.  Fortunately, the birthday boy took care of it…

Cooper, Wyatt, Gager

Gosh, it never gets old seeing dads holding their babies… while drinking Bud Light…

Josh, Sawyer, Matt, Budlight, and Kaden

I was so glad Matt’s bow-making mentor and friend, Boone, and his wife Lori were able to come, too.  Considering Matt and I can’t have a conversation without Boone and Bows coming up, it wouldn’t have been a party without him. 

Boone, Brian, Ellie 

So, Ethan may be on the list of those who ‘DON’T’ want their photo taken… looks like he’s going to get me for gettin’ him!  Not really…

Ethan and Wyatt

We loved having the chance to share our kiddo’s fun things with our friends.  Playing with other kids’ stuff is always the best … and it reminded MY kids what fun stuff they have!  No toy was left unturned or unplayed, and they even ventured off on adventures into the woods.  The swing-set was the most used, though, by babes…  

Colby and Mamas, too! Meliss and Gracie

Lori, Boone, Jen, Ethan, Lil'boone, Jamie, Sawyer 

And, just like it wouldn’t have been a party without Boone, it also wouldn’t have been a party without bows.  Matt encouraged all of his friends and their kids to try out our plethora of handmade bows… when Cooper caught wind that the little boys were shooting his, he huffed off, pumping his arms and stomping his feet, into the front yard saying “I just need to spend some time BY MY SELF.” He was gone all of 30 seconds.  


Gager was a gracious little host, until 2-year old Maddie and 21-month-old Gracie started playing in his sand-box and messing up his big pile of sand that has stood untouched for about a month.  He begged them not to, but the little-bitties stood their ground, clearly confused as to why a pile of sand shouldn’t be played with. So Gage was defeated and went off to deal with more important things… cake.  


The third failed hostess duty… (the second was when Jen started cleaning up for me … Jen, being one of my guests, was not supposed to do this, but because she’s also a kind friend, I let her!) …was when Matt had to bring out his own Birthday Cake, as well as cut and serve it.  Not sure if I was busy visiting or taking pictures to totally miss the boat on this one. 

Matt and GageWyatt and Gracie

The party went on until after dark – a pleasant surprise considering half our guests were under the age of 4 and the other half had to work early the next morning. 

Kaden didn’t want it to end though, so he and I stayed up until 11pm celebrating.  By ourselves. 

It was great to reconnect with friends and this gathering was maybe a baby-step toward doing a bigger shin-dig later this summer.  Maybe.  It makes me anxious just thinking about it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Auntie Meril!

A quick Happy Birthday to Matt’s sister, Marilee! She’s one of our daily readers so I sure hope she sees this…  Marilee lives in Kentucky and we miss her dearly … so, we love you, Auntie Meril, and can’t wait to see you next month!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! 

A Morning I Shake My Head At…

A while back I posted about a reality check that I had and yet again, today (yesterday, when you’re reading this), I had another.  I hesitate to write about this for 2 reasons – first, its embarrassing that I get down about life because of such minimal things and second, because the experience has worn off, as I’ve just enjoyed an hour of naptime. 

But, since this blog is supposed to be about my real life I can’t leave stuff like this out.  I’d hate to give anyone the impression that our life is all plums and no pits.  Ha.  I just made that up! 

Anyway, mornings like this seem to always come after a rough night, and I’d say that today was no exception.  Last night, I was up every hour and a half with Kaden.  The kid just won’t stay asleep. Every wake-time runs into the next and before I know it, its 6:30am and he’s kicking me in my back, pulling on my hair because at some point, without even knowing it, I brought him into my bed. And soon we are joined by Gage and Cooper jumping onto the bed, fighting over who gets to give Kaden a kiss first. Which results in tears from all three.  

Immediately, it is a morning where everything bugs me.  Each time I hear ‘Mama’, I cringe.  Kaden’s crying is like daggers in my ears.  Constant daggers because he’s especially fussy today (gee, could it be because he didn’t sleep last night?) I don’t get to take a shower.  And knowing we are having company tonight, I have to start preparing the house. And the dessert before it gets to hot in the house. 

     July-27,-2010-006 Ahh, the dessert.  Matt’s birthday cake, to be more specific.  He requested a spice cake.  Simple.  Not for me because I have the tendency to try to take everything to the next level.  So, I chose a 3 layer Debbie Fields Carrot Cake, that I would make from scratch.  This includes the toasting of the pecans, the shredding of the carrots, sweet potato, and apple all the way to the cream cheese frosting. 

I won’t complain because it was my choice to make it and I’d do it again for Matt if he wanted it, but sheesh.  What an ordeal.  Especially with my two helpers who asked every 5-seconds if they could lick the beater, and who felt that they needed to be as close to me as possible the whole time.  Thankfully Kaden napped most of the time, but since it was a SEVERAL hour process he joined us at the tail end. Fortunately he woke-up just when I needed to run down to my in-laws to borrow a cake pan because I needed three and I only had two.  I’m pretty sure Handy Manny taught me once to always be prepared before starting a project.  I’m also pretty sure that pausing at that point in the cake making process did not do good things for my batter.  

Back we came, and I kicked Gage and Cooper out of the kitchen when they started telling me that I was in their way from seeing what was going on. 


Then I found them a bit later playing HiHo Cherry-O in their room (it was monumentous!).  It lasted long enough for me to take a picture and they took that as an invitation to come re-join me in the kitchen.  Round-one of clean-up began with not-happy Kaden in the bouncy seat and Gage and Cooper launching paper airplanes at the ceiling fan. 

Everything was interrupted when I passed by the front window and saw my current arch-nemesis…  the gopher who has been terrorizing my front garden.  Ever since we had a cougar in our back yard I have been itching to shoot whatever creature reeks havoc on our peaceful existence next. So, like any self-respecting woman would do, I grabbed my son’s BB gun. I crept slowly and silently across the front lawn – trying not to alert our dog or to let the gopher know I was onto him. I had the BB loaded, the gun positioned up to my eye for aim… the little rascal never even saw me as he continued to stare toward my plants, considering which one to gnaw on next. Perfect shot… I was about 5 feet away… I went to pull the trigger… THE SAFETY WAS ON!  Who puts the safety on on a BB GUN??  The stinker DID hear me click off the safety, and quickly shot back down into the whole.  I stood there ready for about 10 more minutes waiting.  Nothing. 

Defeated, I went back into the house to make the frosting for my cake, which I came to find out was sticking terribly to the cooling racks.  It is now assembled and chilling in the fridge and I’m pretty nervous to serve it.  Note-to-self… don’t make a recipe for the first time for company

Anyway, the morning ended with Kaden having a blow-out diaper in his bouncy seat.  Nice. 

As of the time I writing this, its still naptime and I feel a bit better about my day. 

But, the BB gun is still out on the front porch, caulked and ready.  That gopher picked the wrong day to mess with me. 


** an update… party’s over and I’m off to bed, but thought I’d assure you that the cake turned out okay… that’s it in the picture below, and Cooper licking it off his plate in the background.  I guess he liked it.  July-27,-2010-055E 

Oh, and the gopher lives on. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer School 101…

Whether Gage likes to admit it or not, he loves to learn.  And apparently, he loves school so much that he’s just going to go ahead and do it on his own.  He got out his notebook and sharpened his pencil, and proceeded to figure out his numbers, in relation to his letters. 

Summer School

It went like this… he wrote the numbers 1 – 10 and then the appropriate letter next to its number.  A = 1, B = 2, etc.  When he ran out of numbers, but realized there were more letters in the alphabet, I reminded him that one-one comes next … “Oh, right! Eleven!” Then he proceed up to 19 even though we had yet to discuss numbers beyond 12 … he just recognized the pattern.Summer School

(Thank goodness for pencils and erasers… this prevented some meltdowns, as I’ve mentioned before, this kid is HARD on himself when he messes up)

Eraser goodness

Back on track, he added the next group of letters, paired up with his newly learned numbers. 

Summer School

Twenty and above was also new, but when I pointed out 10 (one-zero) and asked him what he figured the next 2-digit group of numbers would start with, he thought about it, and discovered the number two-zero.  He went on counting up to 29, added the rest of the letters and quickly erased the unnecessary three numbers.  

Summer SchoolSummer School

I could practically see the little light bulb flashing ON above his head… among many other reasons, this is at the top of why we are going to home-school our children.  It is MAGICAL to watch them learn – especially when the really want to and when they have the initiative to do it primarily on their own.    

Summer School

And then Gage came up with the bright idea that whenever someone asks him how old he is, he’d say ‘E’ and Cooper is ‘C’ (because they are 5 and 3… get it??). 

“How old are you, Mama?” he asked. Doh.  “Um, the letters don’t go high enough, Bud.”

He thought about it.  “What about Tado (Kaden)?” 

“What do you think?” I asked, not sure what my own answer would be…

Again, he pauses to think…

“He’s lower-case ‘a’!”

Always thinkin’ = Always learnin’!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Husband…

Today is my dear hubby’s birthday and while I could go on and on about how wonderful Matt is and how thankful I am for him and what a joyous day this is to celebrate… I won’t, because he’s a pretty modest guy and would be embarrassed if I did that.  And since it is his day, I’ll let him have his way. 

So, instead, I thought I’d share a bit about a new endeavor he’s taking on – and taking on well.  Matt started making traditional longbows about 7 months ago and just finished up his 3rd one.  This one was pretty exciting though, because it was the first one he sold… this is great for him on many levels.  Not only does he enjoy making the bows, but really gets satisfaction out of knowing that others are appreciating the craftsmanship of the bow as well as the challenge of the traditional hunt. 

The following pictures show a few of the steps, start to finish, of making this most recent bow.  As this bow is a gift for my good friend, Alicia’s, husband (Happy Birthday, Reggie!) I hope he’ll get to check out how his bow came to be.

Because it really starts with a few blocks of wood, and becomes a work of art…   Reggie's-Bow1 Reggie's-Bow2 Reggie's-Bow3 Reggie's-Bow4 Reggie's-Bow5 The finished handle…


All three of Matt’s creations…

Reggie's-Bow7 Reggie's-Bow8 Reggie's-Bow9


I am so glad Matt has found this hobby – there is something amazing about creating something with your hands and I know that is a driving force behind his attraction to bow-making.  And for me, it is awesome to watch Matt’s natural talent in woodworking evolve from something he enjoys into (cross-your fingers!) a small business.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Husband. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Have I Mentioned…

…before how much we love it when Grammie comes to visit?

It used to be that she’d come to visit and spend her time holding babies, changing diapers, and reading books.  Now, a bit more physical work is required.  Here she is helping Gage clean off his feet in the pond, and trying very hard not to drop him in… July-23,-2010-083July-23,-2010-096 And then we found yet another thing to add to the “I Learned It From Grammie” list… popping the heads off of weeds.  


Grammie and Cooper got a kick out of shooting them at Gager…


…who was trying so hard to figure out how to do it on his own, that he didn’t even know he was their target.


July-23,-2010-116July-23,-2010-113 July-23,-2010-119 As always, I’m enjoying her company, her help, and the smiles she brings out in these boys…