Senior Photos - Josh

Well, these photos of Josh were supposed to post yesterday and due to unforseen user error, they didn't! So, here's the 2nd in my series of senior photos I took of my brothers and sister while they were here visiting. You can see Bryce's photos here.

Part of the challenge of photographing them all together, and specifically the boys, was having them in different outfits, with different backgrounds and different poses. I really didn't want versions of the same photo with different guys. I feel really strongly about this kind of thing with multiples; they're not a group, they're individuals. This is why I don't dress the boys alike, why they don't have names that rhyme or start with the same letter. Although they are part of a pair (or trio) I don't want it to define them in any way.

This is Josh. He is the sweetest guy I know. He's so concerned with everyone's feelings, he wants everyone to get along. He's mild tempered and is just someone you generally love being around. This brother of mine is going to make quite the husband some day, let me tell you. Also...get a look at those eyes and the lashes??! (Not edited at all.) What a stud.

Senior Photos - Bryce

While my brothers and sister (and mom) were here, I took the sibs out to some fun locations and shot their senior photos. No, I'm not a photographer. However, I wanted to help save my parents the cost of paying for three senior portrait sessions all at once, and wanted to do something special and unique for my brothers and sister. I do an ok job with my camera, I did some research and lots of searching on Pinterest. I asked for advice from actual, professional photographers that I look up to. I did lots of reading about lighting and how to use what I had to get the best shots.

The final product? I think I did alright for my first time! It definitely helps that my brothers and sister are super comfortable with me so we didn't have to worry about breaking the ice at all. I know their personalities and wanted to do my best in capturing each of them as individuals.

Here are a few of my favorites of Bryce. He's so much fun - always cracking jokes and laughing. He's like the boy version of me so obviously he's awesome. Duh. On our road trips to these fun locations you can bet he was in the front seat both helping me navigate and belting out the words to every. single. song. with me. We're car singers. Also, it was extremely difficult to get photos of him that weren't blurry. He's always moving, or doing something funny which causes me to laugh, which causes the camera to shake...I probably have the most photos of him and the majority of them are blurry lol.

Stitchfix Number 1!

Have you guys heard of Stitchfix? Ok I don't remember how I heard about it, but I did. And I decided to give it a try. Because let's face it, as much as I think I'm a big girl and know how to dress myself, I don't. Especially after having kids, my body has changed. This new body is confusing, and mooshy in weird places and just all...different. Yes, even three years out and I'm still a lost little doe in a giant woods-like-closet of lostness. 

So yeah. Clothes. 

If you were too lazy to click on the link, here's a quick run down of what it's all about. You pay $20. You fill out some surveys and tell a stylist about your style. I have no idea what my style is. Then they get to work picking out some clothes they think will look good on you. You can specify what kind of clothes you want (shirts only, no jeans, etc.) or don't want, how much you're willing to pay, there's like a hundred different ways you can customize the whole thing.

Then they mail you a box!
In the box there are 5 things for you to try on. As you can see they even include with each item outfit suggestions, so you have some ideas on how to wear it all. They really know we need help.


#1: Kut From The Kloth Nylon Chambray Button-Up Tank This chambray/denim shirt was so soft. However, I feel like an 80's mom when I wear sleeveless collard shirts. Also, probably could have gone a size down on this one. 

#2: Kut From The Kloth Evan Embroidered Peasant Tank LOVE this tank. Super lightweight and flowy. Perfect for hot summer days. It's a little big but I like it that way, in the summer you don't want a lot of clingy clothes. And I really love the color. 

#3: Angie Moni Stud Detail Printed Top My favorite of the box. Sheer and comfortable. Love the colors and the studded details. Loved everything about it.

Angie Oliver Hi-Lo Floral Print Dress and MM Couture Abel Airy Knit 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan

Yeah I just wasn't a huge fan of the dress or cardigan. The dress was a little too busy for my liking, and was one of those high in front-low in back dresses that I'm just still not sure about. The cardigan, although so super soft and comfy was the same style, draped long over the butt. This is probably fine for people lacking in the rear but I have plenty...and the cardigan just kind of sagged.

Overall  I was super satisfied with my very first Stitch Fix. How awesome to have someone send you clothes to try on? I ultimately kept the pink tank top and the pink studded top. 

If you're interested in trying this service out for yourself here's a link to go sign up! (If you use this link when you sign up, I can get a referral credit!) My mom actually signed up while she was here visiting last week, she was really excited about someone sending her outfits to take all the work out of shopping. 

(And a little FYI- this is totally not a sponsored post. I just really love the service/experience and want to share it with you all!)

refilling my heart with some family time

Last week was so needed. I needed family, my heart needed a little filling up. Not that I'm not happy now, but there is something that only your family can do to completely recharge you. I hadn't seen my mom or brothers and sister for a year and a half. It didn't seem like that long, but when I tried counting back to when I last saw them, it was two Christmases ago in Iowa. Last year we were moving pretty much all year and decided to stay in California for Christmas. This year has just flown by, and before we know it it'll be August. Wait, what?

I missed them.
They decided to drive here from Iowa to experience the good ole' fashioned family road trip, something we'd done as a family when I was their age. You guys, my brothers and sister are SENIORS IN HIGH SCHOOL. When in the name of time travel did this happen? They're like, real people now. They're not my little brothers and sister. They're old like me now. We can talk about stuff, have inside jokes. I'm 11 years older than them and up until the past couple of years, that age difference has been a pretty big separator. I feel like we're moving into a different stage of siblinghood where we're more friends, and I'm less of the big sister who is kind of more like an aunt.

I needed to see them all. I feel like them being here brought a little bit of home to California. I feel more like myself, it's almost like a trip home. It did my heart good. Oh, and the boys just ate up all of the play time and attention they could get. I know it's hard for my family to feel like they're missing out on being around the boys as they grow. I grew up very close to both my sets of grandparents and most of my aunts and uncles. I was always around family and this is a very different thing for all of us. 

But this is kind of how being a big kid works. Sometimes you have to move away far away from the nest to find your own way on this journey. It might mean you miss those you love the most but ultimately it's all worth the sacrifice. We cherish each moment we can spend together that much more when those moments are few and far between.

These 3. 

I miss my family. How about a SALE??

Oh man I've had a crazy week! My mom, brothers and sister were here visiting all last week and we had so many adventures. AND I got to take their senior photos. I can't even believe they're seniors and frankly, it's a little depressing they're not my "little" brothers and sister anymore. But now that they're gone, I'm missing them like crazy. To get life back to normal and to kick me out of the blues- how about a sale in my etsy shop??

So. For the rest of the week, you can get 20% off your order by adding the code MAMA20 at check out. If there's been a blanket or bow tie you've had your eye on, this is probably a good time to snatch one up! 

CLICK HERE to visit my shop and to support what I love: making beautiful things with my hands.

National Ice Cream Month!!

It's no secret, I love ice cream. When I was little, my mom used to buy the big gallon bucket and I'd sneak ice cream all the time when she was gone. My favorite topping was Nesquick. Yes, the powder. Seriously, don't knock it until you try it.

Well, unless you know every holiday or celebratory month ever invented, you might not know this month is National Ice Cream month. I mean, it's July-obviously National Ice Cream month wouldn't be like, January. 

Tillamook is doing some awesomesauce stuff this month in honor. If you're from the PNW, you know about Tillamook. They're #1 up there. They don't treat their cows with artificial growth hormones, which is pretty nice of them not to do. I honestly hadn't tried their ice cream, I'm more of a cheese girl. (Pepper jack if you're nosy.) 

This month they're hosting a "Treat Yourself to Tillamook" online contest where you basically tell them why you love ice cream so much (unless you hate it, then you probably shouldn't enter. And then you should talk to a therapist immediately) and why you or someone you know deserves a Tillamook Ice Cream party...and you could win one. Cherry on top included.

Just GO HERE to enter. Now, you need to enter between now and July 16. I know I'm a little late on this, I've been a little busy shoving all of this delicious ice cream in my ice cream face hole. No, really. I tried out a whole bunch of this stuff. If you're extra nosy, my favorites are Chocolate Peanutbutter OMG give me all the ice creams and this amazingly delicious Vanilla Bean. Chikezie has been using this deliciousness to woo me with impromptu root beer floats. He's so romantical.
Stop drooling on my screen. Knock it off. You can have some of your own, even if you don't win this contest. 

TA DAAAA! You get your own shiny coupon. GO HERE for $1 off your Tillamook Ice Cream purchase because seriously, who needs to wait for an ice cream party?

The $1 off Tillamook Ice Cream coupon will be available until July 31, 2013. It will expire within 30 days of printing, so don’t forget to use it soon! Please reach out to Tillamook directly with any questions, comments, or concerns about the coupon: Contact Tillamook []

Now go. Go all of you ice cream lovers, go out into the world and eat all of the ice cream. And if you win a Tillamook Ice Cream party, I'm inviting myself. 

a good laugh for your friday

In the spirit of sharing videos, I HAD to share this one with you. If you haven't seen any of the Convos with my 2 Year Old, you need to watch them all. A guy re-enacts actual conversations he's had with his 2 year old daughter...with another man. It's genius. Although the boys and I haven't had conversations quite like this yet (since they can't talk nearly this much) it's still straight up hilarious.

Jess shared this one today on Facebook and I think it's my favorite.


when did you stop thinking you were beautiful?

Dove has been coming out with some good marketing lately, but it's also brought up some really good topics for discussion with regards to women's ideas of beauty.

It's a work in progress every day for me, to remind myself that I'm more than my stretch marks, my extra skin. I'm more than my spider veins and the number on the scale. Even if I have to fake it, to tell myself I'm beautiful even when I don't feel it, I'm working on it.

When did you stop thinking you were beautiful? And what are you doing about it?

thoughts on having a handmade business

Having a handmade business is a lot of work. I think anyone would say that if they sat down and really thought about what it would take to make something by hand. I realized very early on that I have to love what I make to be able to make it repeatedly, sometimes on demand, and not get tired of it. 

I just started making these baby/children's blankets and have really enjoyed the process and have been paying close attention to how much work I actually do that leads to the finished product: a shop full of blankets. 

I spend hours searching online and in fabric stores for the perfect fabrics; ones I would buy for my own boys. I spend even more time coordinating the back for each fabric to get the look I want. Then there's the actual process of making each blanket. Pressing, cutting, pinning, sewing, pressing again, sewing, more pressing. Next, product photos. Spending hours figuring out how to photograph the items best, taking hundreds of photos of all products. Then there's uploading photos, editing each one, helping your items look the best they can through just a few photos. Then even more time is spent creating product descriptions, making sure you optimize the amont of people who actually see what you've put so much time into making. 

Making time to market products, maintaining online relationships and an online presence in social media to even stand a chance. And if you actually make a sale? There's time packaging each item, postage for each, taking them to the post office. 

In this world of bulk buying and outlet stores, I think people truly forget the value of handmade goods. For some handmade business owners, it's their outlet, their means of expressing themselves and leaving a mark in the world. For some, it's their livelihood, what puts food on the table for their family. Or for people like me, someone who just wants to make beautiful and useful things for others to enjoy.

I take so much pride in making things by hand. Somewhat selfisly, I love seeing others enjoy something I've made. I want each item to be a unique experience for everyone who opens it, I want it to be better than buying from a chain store for a quarter of the price. I want customers to open the package and feel like they've gotten something handmade by a friend. 

When you buy handmade, you're supporting someone directly. You're telling them you love what they've chosen to spend their time doing. You're getting something one of a kind, that a lot of love and labor went into. When you buy handmade, you're supporting someone's dreams, you're telling them that all of those hours they put in were worth it. 

Fourth of July Shenanigans

Well, I didn't take many photos of our 4th of July weekend, mainly because I was busy enjoying it. I tend to forget my camera when I'm really having a good time, and that's a good thing I suppose. We had a really low key weekend. Both of my sisters-in-law were here and we all pretty much just hung out, grilled and hung out some more. 

We took the boys to see some fireworks on Thursday night and I wasn't sure how they'd do. They were a little nervous, especially Isaiah, but did great. We helped them plug their ears and for the next few days all they talked about was, "fireworks. LOUD!" And "Fireworks- plug your ears, mommy!"

Oh, and because I can't resist the opportunity for the attempt at a family photo, we had my sister in law snap a bunch of photos on my phone. She knows to just keep snapping for a few seconds in hopes we get at least one non-blurry photo. 


Oh, and here are some more blurry, poorly lit cell phone photos that just make me happy because I took them. Sometimes in life, or most times I should say, we're too busy living to capture the moments. We pull out our phone quick to take a couple of photos to remind us of the day, and then run off to continue living. 

Or your husband is just a big creep job.

Or both your oldest and your husband are weirdos.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

so it's pretty hot out.

As you may have heard, unless you don't ever watch the weather, it's hot out here on the West Coast. Much hotter than it should be. If you're following me on instagram or facebook or whatever, you know that we have a house that, in the living area, is 80% single paned, floor to ceiling windows. On both the East and West side of the house. We get sun all day long. It's like living in a greenhouse. 

Why no AC? Our house is an Eichler style home, built in the 50's and 60's and not as energy efficient  Poor insulation, flat roofs, lots of single paned windows (a lot of them). Ours hasn't been updated much. So although it looks pretty, it's generally cold in here in the winter and hot in the summer. We have no windows that would fit an AC, and to be honest, we'd pay so much to cool the house because of it's poor insulation. 

I really don't think any of this is that big of a deal. I guess growing up in an old farm house that only had one small wall AC unit that only cooled like, one room of the house, did it for me. And al those years in the Midwest, where the humidity is just as high as the heat. I guess I'm just used to this, it's summer. It's going to be hot. 

However, just like this winter, we're working to make the house as comfortable as we can each season.

We now have sun shades along the front and back half of the house. They make a huge difference in how hot our house gets on any given day. 

We got curtains for the 3 sliding doors in the living area. I close them when it's extra hot or even when the sun shades are down as an extra level of insulation. 

And when all else fails, I hang up sheets and cross my fingers that we don't melt. 

Yesterday the thermometer on my window (in the shade) got up to 100. Our house temp reached 94. I don't even want to know how high it would have been with nothing on the windows. I've now made it a game-to see how low I can keep the house temp and for how long. I mean, I have to make it a game or I'll just be sitting around being a hot, swollen, blob of blah. Because that's how I feel when I'm hot.

This afternoon we're peacing out and heading to our friend's apartment with AC. It's supposed to be even warmer than yesterday, and the boys were both itching and uncomfortable with heat rash yesterday so we're getting out of here. 

I know there are lots of you out there who feel the burn right now. Sending all my keep-cool thoughts to you!