Monday, December 17, 2012

Family Portraits

Every year, we get family portraits done.  Usually we head to JC Penny or the like, because it is cheap and easy.  Mostly because it's cheap.  I have a hard time swallowing the idea of spending $300+ for family portraits.  However, I've also been dying to get some fun family fall photos taken at a nearby arboretum.  I have a friend from my moms group who dabbles with some photography and only charges a nominal "sitting fee".  I love the pictures she's taken for several of our friends, so I thought I'd ask and see if she'd be willing to take some for us.
One perfect, chilly, morning in October, we met at the arboretum.  I felt a little bad because she was 35 weeks pregnant at the time.  She has since delivered a beautiful boy, Lucas :).  It had been very rainy on the days leading up to this day, so I was worried, but the morning we picked was pretty clear and didn't rain till that afternoon. 
I LOVE the results!!!  Danielle did a fabulous job.  I can't wait to use her again!
This is my mom's favorite, but all I can see is my double chin...

This one and the one below, are my favorites.

And I absolutely adore this one!!!  It kind of brings a tear to my eye.  I love my sweet girl!

Also love this one.  And, this is his smiling face :).
These pictures were taken at the end and Miles was off on adventures, I think.  He had brought his backpack...he came prepared to hike...haha!  Isla's poor nose was red and running by this point, too. But she was a trooper and hung in there.

These were taken in a big tree.  The kids wanted to climb all over it.  This was at the beginning of our photo session.

Again, at the beginning of the session, before we got too cold.  Miles didn't want to take off his pack :).


This was at the tail end.  I was trying to get some pics of the whole family on the tree again.  Danielle followed him around while he was climbing and this is the face he gave her.  I love it!
I believe this was our very last attempt, which wasn't too bad.  I'm so grateful to Danielle for these pictures.  We might have to do this again in the Spring or Summer, maybe at Manito, for some other shots and mix up the photos on our walls :).


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Batman and the Peacock

Halloween is always fun and exciting around here.  I even took a vacation day from work to make sure I had the night off.  Wednesday is my Monday, so it worked out better to just take the night off.  At the end of September, I started asking Miles what he wanted to be for Halloween and started scouring Pinterest for ideas for Isla's costume. 
Miles said he wanted to be Batman...but none of the Batman costumes he owned would work.  He wanted a new Bat Suit.  I wasn't very keen on making one for him, since he has so many already, but I found this tutorial through Pinterest and thought maybe I'd give it a try.  Then we were at Goodwill to find a nightstand for Isla's play kitchen and it was filled with Halloween costumes.  I told Miles he could pick one out...and he picked out a one piece Batman suit.  It was cheap-looking and had the fake muscles (ick!), but he liked it and it was $3, so I said ok.  When he was wearing it a few days later, I noticed a hole in the leg...accompanying the hole was an iron burn mark (melt mark, actually), so I told him he couldn't wear it out of the house.
That transpired into me making him a new Bat suit...a one piece suit with a zipper up the back.  I used the tutorial above and modified it to attach the top and bottom and add a zipper up the first jumpsuit!  I made it out of fleece (Miles picked the fabrics) so it would be warm, and made the "tackles" like the Bat Suit from Goodwill.  He was a happy Batman!
As I said, I scoured Pinterest to find an idea for Isla.  She really liked some of the tutus she'd seen in the stores, so I knew I wanted her costume to involve a tutu.  I thought about going with Minnie Mouse or a Disney Princess.  However, I shied away from either of these ideas knowing that someday she will ask to be a princess or Minnie Mouse.  I have a feeling there may be many Halloweens of this.  So, I wanted something different. 
And then I found it...a Peacock!  It was perfect and so cute.  DIY and pretty simple.  Ben loves peacocks and Miles was a peacock for his first Halloween.

I saw this picture, and thought I could replicate it.  Then the search was on for a shirt.  I looked around on-line, but couldn't find anything in the stores when I went.  Then I tried babyGap and found the perfect shirt.  Paired with brown leggings, her tutu, brown boots, and a hair clip...the costume came together.
Here is my Batman and the Peacock!
This tree has been our posing spot lately.
And because the peacock has to be just like her big brother... 
Here's the back of the tutu.  There are two feathers hiding underneath... 
She was running, so it was hard to get a good picture of her.  There was a matching "feather" and some tulle on a hair clip that she refused to wear.  It really pulled the whole costume together and made it more obvious that she was a peacock.  Oh, well. :).
Long story short, we tired to buy a car on Halloween, and it didn't work out.  It took forever!  Ugh.  I hate buying cars.  Anyhow, the kids were at my parents house handing out candy and waiting for us to pick them up.  We got there around 7pm.  We hit about 5 houses in my parents' neighborhood before heading downtown to River Park Square.  The kids ran around.  I was a little bummed because we got there at 8:30 and they close at 9.  A lot of the stores were out of candy by then and it was pretty dead.  However, the kids didn't seem to notice or mind.  They filled their buckets...just the right amount of candy, and Miles said it was the best Halloween ever!

I loved watching her walk around.  The tutu kind of bounced with her waddle...or toddle :).

They had glow sticks for when we were outside.

They got balloons at Nordstrom.  When we got to the fancy computer store, which was empty, Ben wanted a new case for his newish iPod and the kids ran around practicing their "combat" moves :).

We left around 9pm and both kids, especially Isla, were sooo tired! 
At the end of the day, the kids had a great Halloween, I loved their costumes (so did they), and we only had a little bit of candy.

Monday, October 29, 2012


When I found out I was having a girl, one of the things I looked forward to was doing her hair.  I have literally known how to french braid since before I knew how to tie my shoes.  I've been curling my hair since I was six.  And I enjoy (most days) doing fun and different things with my hair.  Over the past six months or so, Isla's hair has finally gotten to a point where I can actually do something with it.  I posted several months ago about her pigtails.  Her hair has continued to grow.
I looked online for some ideas of different ways to do her short hair.  One of the cute ways I saw to style it was in "caterpillar" pony tails or pigtails.  I could also put it up in a pony tail, put clips in it, or wet it then scrunch it with gel to make it a bit curly.  Here she is with the caterpillar pony.

Well, the girl liked to pull them out when in the car (she'd leave them alone the rest of the time).  When she'd pull them out, she'd pull a bunch of hair with them...she doesn't have many hairs to spare.  Leaving it down and flat looked weird.  She had a mullet.  The back was quite a bit longer than the sides and she has a lions mane ring around her head of small fine baby hairs.
I finally decided that pigtails/pony tails will be for special times and the rest of the time, I'll leave her hair down.  That meant one thing...
A haircut!  I was so nervous and a little sad about it.

See?  The ends were wispy and longer than the front.

So I cleaned it up a bit :).  Now she has a cute little bob.

This is all the hair I cut off...not much in reality.  I can still pull it up in pigtails or put a clip in it, but it looks a lot cleaner.
And now that her hair is shorter, I'm so glad I got her ears pierced!  Not sure if I mentioned that on the blog yet, but she got pretties in her ears :).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Glamorous Kitchen

For a while now, I've had my eye on play kitchens made out of old nightstands, tv stands, cabinets, etc.  After pinning several on Pinterest and pining over them, I decided to make one for Isla's birthday.  I kept my eye out on craigslist and Goodwill for a while to find the perfect nightstand.  About a month ago, I found this gem at Goodwill for $15.
It was perfect!
A few weeks later, I brought it up to my parents house while Ben was at work.  My Dad and I got to work in the garage.  We removed the drawers and the middle shelf between the bottom two.  After some measuring, we hit up Home Depot for a few things...and what I thought was going to be a fairly cheap project turned into a bit of a spendy one :).

We got a board (2'x4') for the back "wall" and also cut it to make the oven door.  We got trim wood for the oven door.  We got hardware for the oven door (hinges and a handle), faucet, tile, brackets for the shelf, and some hooks.  I also grabbed two sample sizes of pink paint and a little roller.  I think the color is 'glamorous'.  All these things totaled about $70, and I still needed fabric and a tension rod! 
That night, we made and installed the door, cut the back wall and shelf and got them completely ready for assembly (I just had to screw it together with pre-drilled holes), and cut the holes for the sink and faucet.
Then I brought it home and took it to the basement.  After a few hours of sanding, painting, assembling, sewing, tiling, 'grouting', and some finishing touches later...
And we had a glamorous kitchen!

I also put a chalk board on the side.  It is a $1 cookie sheet painted with chalk board paint.

I left the top drawer shelf open and made a curtain to hang in the space.  The kids can use it for storage or cooking.

I also made her a matching apron.  I love how it turned out.  She didn't take it off until her bath!
*sorry for the bad pictures.  The really fuzzy ones were taken on my phone
Kitchen price breakdown:
Nightstand:  $15
Wood:  $10
Trim:  $6
Handle:  $5
Hinges:  $5
Hooks:  $3
Cookie sheet:  $1
Pink paint:  $6
Black paint:  $3
Roller:  $2
Brackets:  $4
Tile:  $6
Bowl:  $1
Faucet:  $30
Liquid Nails:  $5
Fabric:  $5
Tension rod:  $3
Knobs:  $3
Total: $108
For some reason, I thought it would be about half that :).  I could have saved by buying a cheaper faucet, but they all had the fake crystal handles, but that would have saved $15.  I also only needed one 12x12 tile, and I bought two...they were $3 a piece.  I used the liquid nails to glue on the tile, "grout" the tile, and glue in the bowl for the sink.

Party Time

To start the party off, Isla wanted to open gifts. Usually this is done last, but that's hard to explain to a two year old who is staring at the gifts :).  She got a lot of really nice things.
Grandma and Grandpa McLane got her some Winnie-the-Pooh DVDs and books.  She is a book lover and wanted to read them all tonight!
Grandma Mo and Grandpa Jeff got her a cute doll stroller that is a travel system.  I would have died to have one as a child!  I'm jealous of her :).

Miles, of course, "helped" open the gifts.  He got away with it this year, but I have a feeling next year will be a different story.

Grandma Mo and Grandpa Jeff also got her some books and a puzzle.  The puzzle makes animal noises, or will, after I put batteries in it.

She also got a bunch of "accessories" for her main gift.  Pots and pans, play food, and dishes.

Her main gift (from Ben and me with the help of my dad):

A play kitchen!  Also Pinterest inspired :).  It is made out of an old nightstand.  I'll probably do a separate post about it.  Both the kids love it so far.

Grandma Mo was there, but not in a pic for some reason.
After presents and lunch, we had "cake".  Isla was a bit skeptical about the singing and the candles.

After Miles blew them out and I relit them, Isla actually blew both out, one at a time, on her own :).