Monday, November 30, 2009


November was another crazy month that flew by even faster than other recent months have. I taught preschool, the kids celebrated birthdays, and, among other things, we hosted a huge crowd for Thanksgiving. Good times were had. I have a ton of photos highlighting these events, which I will get to eventually. For now, here are a few random ones.

Nothin' like a bath in the sink!

I brought cupcakes to Chloe's preschool on her birthday. Here she is, making a wish!

Here's how we took advantage of the few warm November days we had...

The first half of the month started off slow for me, business wise. I'll admit I was discouraged, as I'd been so busy since mid-August. But at the same time, the break was nice and, looking back, much needed. Just when I was beginning to think posting my pricing on my blog had been a mistake, phone calls and emails started trickling in once again. I have come so far. I am not even remotely intimidated by my camera anymore. I still don't know what half the knobs and dials do, but I'm getting there. I'm beginning to acquire decent equipment, and recognizing how to utilize it to its fullest potential. More than anything, I'm finally feeling confident with my knowledge and work. I still have so far to go, and believe me, I recognize that! But I feel like all the hours I've spent reading and tinkering around has finally started to pay off. Things are clicking, and I'm having many more "ah HA!" moments than I am, "Grrr.. why doesn't this make sense?" moments. It's been such a fulfilling journey so far, and one I really never expected to have. In March when I bought my camera, I never dreamed I'd be running a small business within a matter of months!

We started building a website a few weeks ago. I had hoped to have it up and running by December 1st, but clearly that didn't happen. We are now shooting for next weekend. I am continually amazed by Neil. He has been 110% behind me from the moment I told him I wanted a dSLR. He recognizes how happy all of this has made me, and has helped me in every way possible to reach my goals. He is so smart, and I've taken full advantage of that more than once! So often I'll read something that just isn't clicking, but that I know is valuable and that I need to grasp in order to move forward. I'll admit there have been occasions where I've had Neil read whatever it was to himself and then explain it to me on my level of understanding. Luckily those moments have become fewer and farther between, as I've started to grasp a lot of it on my own. Still, as a result, we joke that he's got the brains for photography and I've got the eye! We make a good team.

Speaking of Neil, check out this table he's building!
I think all that's left is a bottom shelf, some glue and stain. I am convinced that this guy is capable of anything he sets his mind to. He has a talent for figuring things out, including the construction of this table. He is gradually getting more and more into wood working, and hopes to eventually build us a bedroom set. So cool. Photos of the finished product to come...

Oh, my sweet boy. Just look at that face!

And check this out! Ryan has found a new place to stash his snacks! Impressive.

And as if this post isn't random enough, I just want to finish off by congratulating my parents, who MET 47 YEARS AGO TODAY! If that isn't something to feel proud about, I don't know what is! Wow. Way to go, guys!

I will post about preschool, Chloe's birthday and Thanksgiving very soon, so stay tuned. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Turn Around...

4 years ago tonight (almost to this moment), Chloe made me a mama.

My how the time has flown. I can hardly even remember Chloe being a baby! How sad! She's such a little lady now; determined, sharp, witty and precocious. The girl knows what she wants, and while that presents plenty of challenges for her parents, I know it's going to really pay off some day.

In the weeks leading up to Chloe's birth, I frequently listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's album, 'Love Is Spoken Here'. To this day those songs take me to the land of nostalgia; to those tender final moments of anticipating her arrival, and those tender first moments of holding her in my arms. One song in particular will forever hold a place in my heart, as it has practically taken the words right out of my mouth (and, no doubt, will continue to). It's a bittersweet song that any mother can relate to.

Turn Around
by Harry Belafonte

Where are you going my little one, little one
Where are you going my baby my own
Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of the door

Turn around (turn around)
Turn around (turn around)
Turn around and you're a young girl
goin' out of the door

Where are you going my little one, little one
Dirndls and petticoats, where have you gone
Turn around and you're tiny, turn around and you're grown
Turn around and you're a young wife with babes of your own

Happy Birthday Chloebug! I look forward to turning around lots more as you continue to grow... Love you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ellen and SYTYCD

Wendy did a recent blog post about Season 5's So You Think You Can Dance Top 10 tour, which she attended in Salt Lake! Clearly, it was awesome! They were out here in Colorado Springs last weekend and I wanted to go so badly!

As I perused Wendy's post, memories of Season 5's favorite routines came swarming into my head, so I decided to hop on YouTube to find some of them, and happened upon this. If you watch SYTYCD, this will bring a smile to your face. If you watch SYTYCD and are an Ellen fan, this will definitely bring a smile to your face! The woman cracks me up. I adore her.

What do you think of Season 6 so far? The talent is certainly there, but I haven't found a dancer yet as endearing as some of the dancers from Season 5. We'll see what the coming weeks bring!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My babies

Here's a peek at the kids' year pictures I did this evening.

I'll post more in the next couple days.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday little man!

Yesterday Ryan turned one. Wow! It's amazing how quickly this year has flown by. I know every mother says that on her child's first birthday (or any birthday for that matter), but it's the truth!

Seems like a matter of weeks ago that he looked like this!
(4 weeks old)

In honor of my favorite boy, here are some facts about his first year of life! In the last 12 months, Ryan has:

  • Gained 9 pounds and 15 ounces
  • Grown 8 inches
  • Endured the breaking through of 4 teeth (#4 barely broke through yesterday or today)
  • Visited 5 states
  • Endured RSV, and a 4 day hospital stay
  • Flown on an airplane twice and taken several road trips
  • Seen Diana Krall in concert
  • Taken up to 3 steps on his own (though shows little to no interest in walking)
  • Learned to roll over, sit up, scoot, crawl, grunt, growl, giggle and squeal, climb the stairs, feed himself, wave, clap, give 5, point, and dance. Still no words. Everything continues to be, "Dat dat dat!"

    At Ryan's year check up, he weighed in at 17 lbs., 10 oz., and measured 29 inches. That puts him (or should I say keeps him) in the 1st percentile for weight, and the 26th percentile for height. He's in size 3 diapers, size 2 shoes and 6-9 month clothes. He can wear some 12 month stuff, but most of the new stuff I get out and put on him just drowns him. Chloe was the same way. I love it!

    Ryan's food of choice these days is a banana. He would eat 2 for every meal if we let him. Yogurt is another favorite. He's been on whole milk for over a month. I introduced it to him when he was showing less and less interest in formula (can't blame him). While he's doing a lot better with milk, he still has days where he refuses it. I'm resisting adding strawberry syrup to make it more enticing since I am STILL trying to break that habit with Chloe, who turns 4 next week!

    Speaking of Chloe, Ryan is beginning to learn the art of teasing. It's great. He'll go over to Chloe while she's sitting on the couch watching a show and start yanking at her blanket. Makes her so mad! It's hilarious! I think the days of pay back are finally approaching. Goodness knows Ryan's endured enough torment in his day. We were at Costco the other week and Chloe and Ryan were sitting side by side in the front of the cart. Every time Chloe got a free sample Ryan would reach for it and sometimes get it out of her hands. If he wasn't able to reach it, he would instead start pulling her hair. We certainly don't encourage it, but I'll admit it's pretty funny to see that the tables are beginning to turn.

    Here are some birthday photos.

    Sunday night we went over to the Hasler's for dinner and had a pre-birthday celebration. Ryan had his first helping of strawberry shortcake and loved it! He has good taste like his mama.

    Here he is sitting on the exam table waiting for the evil nurse to come in and make him cry. What a mean mom I was to schedule my son's check up on his birthday when he had to have shots. Good thing he won't remember in years to come!

After Ryan's appointment, we met Daddy at Chili's for a birthday lunch.

Ryan got his very own birthday sundae! Definitely made up for the shots!
He was a little overwhelmed at first, but ate EVERY. LAST. BITE.

The sugar high wore off pretty fast... he crashed on the way home.

After a nice long birthday nap, it was time for presents!

Thanks Grandpa and Grandma G and L for all the fun clothes and toys! You guys are the best!

And... more dessert. Wow, I think I could really get used to this birthday stuff!

This is Ryan's latest expression. Where it came from, I haven't a clue! Isn't it adorable?


(I did get some video, but for some reason it wouldn't load into blogger. I'll keep trying.)

I am so lucky to be this little guy's mom. He is so sweet tempered and happy. He inspires me to find more joy in the simple things of life. I love him so much and can't wait to see what the coming months bring for his growth and development. Happy Birthday, little man!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Stuffed Chicken Pillows

I've seen several variations of this recipe. Using a combination of ideas, I came up with my own version earlier this week. HOLY. COW. These are good! Last night I made them again for some friends we had over, and they were just as delicious as we remembered them! It seemed no one could get enough. Try them out! They are so simple and yummy. Also a great way to use up left over Thanksgiving turkey!

Stuffed Chicken Pillows

  • 1 8oz. tube crescent rolls (8 ct.)
  • 2/3 c. Stovetop stuffing, coarsely crushed
  • 6 T. butter, melted

Filling ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded/cubed (I seasoned with garlic salt and sage)
  • 1 8oz. package cream cheese
  • 4 T. butter, softened
  • 1 T. fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c. colby jack cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine filling ingredients and blend with hand mixer in large bowl.

In a pie dish or shallow bowl, combine melted butter and stuffing; mix until butter is absorbed.

Remove crescent rolls from tube and lay them out flat. Divide filling among crescent rolls, placing a dollop on the wide end, then roll them up, squeezing sides together as needed to ensure none of the filling escapes. :) Coat crescent rolls liberally with stuffing mixture and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until lightly brown.

While I haven't tried it, I read you can freeze these babies. I want to say you bake them at 275 for 10 minutes, cool and throw into freezer bags and freezer. Then when you're ready to eat them, just throw them onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Again, haven't tried it, but it seems like it would work just fine.


Some versions of this recipe call for bread crumbs rather than stuffing. Some don't call for ANY coating, but rather a cream of chicken gravy that you can pour over the top (can of cream of chicken soup diluted with milk). While my recipe above is the only way I've tried these, I'll have to say there's nothing I would change! They are amazing as is, and practically effortless to make!

I think the concept of using crescent rolls this way also opens the door to endless filling possibilities! If you wanted to go Italian, you could combine chicken or ground beef, chopped spinich, spaghetti and/or pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, and maybe a touch of cottage cheese. Or go Mexican with some taco meat, cheese, refried beans, salsa and sour cream. Gosh, you could even make these into a simple pastry dessert and fill them with fruit preserves and coat with sugar!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween LSU style

This year for Halloween the kids represented one of our teams. Chloe was a LSU cheerleader and Ryan was LSU's mascot, Mike the Tiger. They made quite the duo!

Here are a few pictures from our Ward party Friday evening.

With one of Chloe's preschool friends, Scott.

We missed Neil, who was up in Lyons helping Jared and Lori install windows.

Here are Chloe and Ryan Halloween night just before we went Trick of Treating! Just a fair warning, I got a little camera happy! Shocker, I know.

Chloe was anxious to show off the pumpkin she'd painted in preschool earlier in the week.

"Geaux Tigers!"

He may be sweet, but he knows how to growl!

With Abigail, our neighbor from across the street. She was a doggy.

We ended up spending most of the evening at "Grandma" and "Grandpa" Hasler's. They were anxious to see the kids in their costumes, so we stopped by. Chloe seemed more excited about opening the door and handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters than going trick-or-treating herself!

Ryan was much too immersed in the text message he'd just received to pay any attention to the deep discussion Grandpa Hasler and Chloe were having.

So is it just a coincidence that LSU spanked Tulane 42-0 on Halloween night? I think not!

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh Ryan...

Apparently Ryan doesn't think I have enough on my plate. Saturday he made this ever so clear by adding numerous tasks to my already busy day! To start off, he produced thee nastiest blow out diaper I have ever seen in my life! I'll spare you the details, but trust me - it was memorable!

Shortly after that exploding surprise, Ryan decided he was hungry. Now mind you, he'd already eaten 2 bananas for breakfast! I kid you not - 2 bananas! That's actually standard for him these days. He eats like a little pig but it never shows. Anyway, I'm in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher when Chloe runs out of our bedroom announcing that Ryan had just dumped a box of Lucky Charms all over our floor. Dear heavens! How did the box get to our bedroom in the first place?

Upon entering the room, here is what I found:

Frustrated? You bet I was! But I couldn't help but shake my head and smile. It was the look of delight in Ryan's eyes as he stuffed his little mouth, then extended a sticky handful in my direction as if to say, "Here Mommy! There's plenty for you too!" that got me. Precious little stinker.

I suppose he looks a little guilty. But who could stay mad at this sticky-faced cutie pie? Not me!

Before I delve into Ryan's next mission of destruction, let me give you a little background. Earlier in the week, I helped Neil with a young men's activity where we learned about photography. Our Bishop, who shares this hobby graciously lent us an instructional booklet/DVD set to use during the activity. He then allowed me to take it home because included in the set was an instructional DVD specifically designed for my camera and I was curious to check it out. I had been so careful with it, keeping it out of both Chloe and Ryan's reach. Friday night I placed it on top of my diaper bag on the bench in our mudroom so I wouldn't forget to bring it to church Sunday. I placed it where I thought Ryan could never get to it. But whether it was within or without Ryan's reach, he found a way! Not only did he get his hands on it, but within a 30 second period, managed to open the booklet, get one of the DVDS out of its plastic sleeve, place it face down on the floor, and rotate it around in circles. Oh yeah, it was scratched big time! Upon discovering what he was up to, I rushed over and grabbed the DVD out of his hands, cleaned it with some special spray, and then nervously popped it into the DVD player to see the actual damage that had been done. It looked pretty destroyed, but miraculously, I played it from start to finish and it didn't skip once! I still felt horrible, and dreaded confronting the Bishop about it the following day.

As if the morning wasn't thrilling enough, only moments later, Ryan was onto the pantry for another snack. Apparently the DVD fiasco burned off the sugar high from the Lucky Charms, and he was, once again, hungry! So I'm in the kitchen freaking out about the DVD when suddenly I hear a spill. I turn to look around the corner, and what do you know? Another mess! This time, goldfish!

Oh Ryan...

The rest of the day was much less eventful, but Ryan still kept me on my toes.

To start, there was the "How can I make up for my transgressions of the day? Oh, I know! I'll help mom with the laundry!" (Right after this picture was taken, he started pulling the freshly folded clothes out of the basket. Good thing I was there to stop him!)

...Followed by the classic, "Let's see if this roll of toilet paper is longer than the last one I played with!"

And what could possibly be more entertaining than turning the TV on and off over and over and over and over and over and over and over again?

These were taken sometime last week when Chloe decided Ryan was a better fit for her stroller than her doll! I know I shouldn't have allowed it, but it was absolutely hilarious watching her push him around in this thing, and I had to capture it! Ryan was having just as swell a time as Chloe was. Their laughter was contagious.

My children certainly drive me nuts, but I love 'em. It'll be interesting to see what these coming months bring as Ryan really starts trying to get away with stuff!

Halloween updates just around the corner!