Thursday, August 26, 2010


I wanted to head out this weekend with a beautiful post up infused with garden goodness. Blogger does not want me to, however, as it will NOT let me add my pictures to the post. Bummer. Glitches are to be expected, I suppose, and maybe it's Divine Intervention, as I am scrambling to get ready for a weekend away. We are headed to Columbus bright and early Saturday morning - to beat the heat in our non-air conditioned van - for Bella to have her very first Homeschool Assessment (!) for our past Kindergarten year. And while we're at it, we figure it's a perfect time to spend Sunday at the ZOO (I may be more excited about this than the kids. If my life had not been graced with children, I surely would be working in a zoo or wildlife rehab center or something of the wild sort). It will be an exciting weekend for us all, and there will be plenty to share when we come home. Perhaps if I get the packing and baking all done, Blogger will be working again! Then again, it is 10 pm, and of course, after I finally get everyone to give in to sleep, what do I now hear on the monitor but Laini waking. She has a nasty rash on her back, most likely virus related, and we've been fighting thrush for about two weeks now. Her poor little mouth is so sore. Add to that trying to learn to crawl, and you don't have much sleep happening. Her little brain just can't handle all of the stimulation! So for now, until Blogger decides to stop flippin' out and constantly clicking when I hit the Insert Image tab (like it is right now - click, click, click, click - maddening I tell you), I will go to put my baby back to sleep for the third time and tell you that hopefully I'll get to give you pictures and updates soon. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Night Time Camping Fun

These are the last images and stories I want to share with you from our recent camping trip. Are you tired of camping with us yet? If you are, that's good, because it's time to go to bed. But just before we do that, take a look at the glorious moon shining down on our tents.

Are you up for a few sparklers in the dark? Because a few of the kids were. Aidan did a great job.

 Bella framed nicely in sparkler.

And Regan got a perfect swirl.

There's always just enough time left for some flashlight fun by the campfire.

Then it's time to bed for all. I had to do some work with this image, but I wanted to really be able to see all of my kids, sprawled out in our tent. They all slept great after wearing themselves out on hikes, climbing and play with friends and filling up with good food.

Now that is good stuff.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Introductions and Comparisons

Okay, I'm really just putting this picture in here because Ella is so absolutely adorable. But to incorporate it.... Let us try.
One of the highlights of our recent camping adventure with the Carlsons was getting to meet little miss Ella for the first time! (see, I CAN do it) She was two months old at the time of our camping trip, and I was beside myself waiting to meet her.
Judy and I had speculated, over the phone, that the girls might be close to the same size, even with Ella being 3 months younger than Laini. Not surprising, really, because Judy makes some nice, healthy babies, and Laini is our petite little girl, just like Bella was. Now, if Laini had been another Kane, the story would have been quite different. But we had to get the new additions together to make some comparisons.

Besides the obvious difference in age (it's amazing what a few months can do at this young age), they were very near to the same size.

 Little hands together - yep, pretty close.

And of course, the feet. Yep, same size! I love Judy's face in this picture. I look at it and can hear the laugh that came with it.

The girls are both about 15 pounds here. Ella will probably outgrow Laini eventually, if Laini keeps up her petiteness and Ella keeps up with her siblings' legacies. No matter, though, the important thing is that they get to grow together. And that's what we love.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What The Toddlers Did

The toddlers and camping... What fun. They did a lot of mud hunting.
 They did some rock throwing in the run-off for the soon-to-be pond.

They got nice and dirty.

They rode their Papa's/Daddy's shoulders when their legs got tired of hiking. We have a picture of them on the guys backs in carriers from two winters ago. Love it.

Max did a whole lot of Ranger riding. They explored lots of woods on this thing, driving a bit, then turning it off to listen/watch. They found me a beautiful snipe. Shoulda' taken the camera for him, he was right in the trail when they took me back to look at him, strutting his stuff. Lovely.

And Aidan spent those times when mine were on the Ranger on the big blue tractor with Daddy. It's his favorite place to be, and at the end of a long day, it's the place where he just couldn't keep those eyes open any longer.
They might not remember this trip when they're older, but we have these pictures, and we're setting them up for a life time of memories just like these ones.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I snuck out onto the porch to take some pictures of the quickly-growing Bill, Peeper and Cheep Cheep. I don't want to miss too much of their development! I snap, snap, snap away, slowing my shutter speed. "Wait..." I say after the first few pictures. I zoom up on my image.
Is that a fourth beak??? Snap, snap, snap a few more pictures at a lower shutter speed and higher ISO. I want detail in these chickies and as much color and light as I can get in their dark little cave. Hold the phone! Are there FIVE chicks in there???

Hmmm... zoom, zoom, zoom... Holy cow! I have highly underestimated my wren-chees! FIVE chicks. A typical clutch is 4, but my little ones have been working overtime. Now we have to come up with two more names! And I'm trying to imagine how they are all going to fit in there for another 7 days. According to my research, their eyes open on the 3rd day after hatching. That would make them having hatched on the 10th. Today will be day 7, and the average nesting period is 14 days. So on the 24th we should have five little fledglings. We have two young Mourning Doves (Pink Legs and Blue Bill) that fledged this spring and like our back deck and garden very much. Now we will have five little Carolina Wrens to add to the fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kane, Catching Up

I have a picture of Kane from the first hike that we took with the Carlsons, 2 1/2 years ago, just like this one of Maxwell and Judy.

My boys are good judges of character, and they take to Judy. Kane spent a lot of that first hike holding Judy's hand, and yelling "Wait up!" to Bella and Regan as he ran after them.Things are a little different now. Maxwell was the one yelling "Wait up!" this trip, and while Kane still has a tendency to be chasing the girls...

...he has started to catch up and pass them. He is forging his way as a leader and finding out how to deal with being the odd man out when he's with the girls.

He likes being in front, being a leader, and I can't wait to see where it takes him in life. Right now, it is taking him to the top of the hill as quickly as he can get there, to look back and say, "Catch up!" instead of "Wait up!" and I think he had a pretty good time camping because of it. He's finding his place with the girls, and he was even the first to jump in and catch apples that Adam was dropping from the tree. 
He has come so far, and he really had a good time.

Friday, August 13, 2010


We will now pause for a brief intermission from our camping trip posts to introduce you to:
Bill (short for Yellow Bill - he's the one on the left), Peeper (middle back), and Cheep Cheep (right front, obviously). They were named , respectfully, by Bella, Kane and Max (although Max is fickle, and just told me his bird is named Clack Clack...). Yes, our three Carolina Wren eggs have turned into three Carolina Wren chicks. They are either 2 or 3 days old (we were out of town for photo shoots on Tuesday and Wednesday). We look forward to sharing them with you as they grow!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Girls

Sooo, back to our camping trip, right? I am so behind on these posts, and now I'm going to be dealing with a lot of photo processing and canning/gardening that's backed up, so thanks for bearing with me. I'm going to be letting these pictures speak for themselves. I think you can tell without my words how happy Bella and Regan were to be back together again. Sure, they had their disagreements, but that's to be expected, and they were easily passed by for moments more worth their time. Like these...

One of the disagreements that they did have was that all of my kids, including Bella, were slightly obsessed with riding the Ranger with Papa. Bella really wanted Regan to go with them all the time, and Regan really didn't want to ride the Ranger. Which probably worked out for the best, because they could have a little time apart now and then. Plus, it gave Regan and Laini some time to bond while I was getting camp broke down.

I do have to say, that the big girls and the little girls of the bunch felt pretty much the same way. I guess if Judy and I were 6 we would have been running off together and holding hands all weekend too. Instead, we did a LOT of talking, smiling, laughing and just a little venting.

It's just what all the girls needed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Narratives Photography Blog

Drum roll, please.... I have launched my Narratives Photography blog! You can stop by there to see what I am doing with my business as well as get a sneak peek at recent sessions. I'm still playing with the layout of it all, and I'm not sure if I have it where I want it. Stop by and let me know what you think!
On a short personal note, Helena has had a yeasty diaper rash for the last week. I have it under control now, and it was never terrible, but the last couple of days she has been cranky, and I just realized today that she has thrush, which, for those who don't know, is a yeast overgrowth in her mouth. Ugh. I have had some friends whom have battled thrush for so long in the past, and now that I know what it is, I really hope we can get rid of it quickly. Max has it also. So far it hasn't spread to Bella or Kane (they're not still nursing), but that is a possibility if we're not careful now with drinking glasses and other normally shared things in our family, like utensils. I'm going to have to be completely off of all carbs/grains/sugars and we'll load up on probiotics and immune boosters and other good things for our bodies. Please pray for my will power and our recovery from this hostile take-over. I suppose I'll have to take away Laini's new favorite teether - a nice, squeeky, pickling cucumber from our garden. I can't really disinfect a cucumber. She would go for tomatoes if I would let her:
This day I was making dinner, and I couldn't get them far enough away on the counter where she couldn't reach them. My children have all had the best concentration faces. When they are really focused on something, and their lips are pursed, and their eyebrows drawn. I'm always trying to capture that.

Can you really blame her, though? Seriously, look at all of the colors! We have so many cherry/grape/pear tomatoes this year it's insane.


Don't worry, she was perfectly safe. I was snatching them out of her hands the second she got ahold of one. But for now, the fresh produce teethers will have to make way for those few things that I can sanitize wash or boil until we are completely rid of this stupid candida.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Setting Up Camp

It didn't take the boys long to get right down to business on our recent camping trip. We got ourselves a nice new tent, and while the ladies were getting lunch ready, the men were setting up camp. Max was just happy that our tent happened to be orange, which is his obsessively-favorite color.

Kane, my little man, did all of the set up with his Papa. He is my one who will stick out a project until the end. And he was all for winging it - what fun is reading directions, right?

He worked hard to get all of the rods in the right places for Papa, feeding them through and hooking them in.

And while the guys were setting up camp, and the Mamas were setting up food, the girls were reconnecting. Bella and Regan, finally together again, hanging out on the porch swing, snacking on chips. We love our friends, and I know this is a memory that she will hold onto for the rest of her life.
It was destined to be a super fun weekend. And that's exactly what it was. Which is exactly why it won't fit into one post. There was so much hiking, Ranger riding, apple picking and baby bonding that I couldn't possibly condense it. More to come!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time Flies...

...When you're as busy as we are! I can't believe that it has been two weeks since our camping trip, and all that has happened since, and I haven't shared it here yet. I am so sorry, to those who don't follow me, but just pop in now and again to see what I've posted. I hate to keep you all wondering and waiting for the goods. There are so many people who tell me that they read my blog faithfully. Here's your call, folks - leave me a comment, chew me out for leaving you hangin' in the wind. It's easy - just hit the comment button at the bottom of this post. Even if you don't have a Google account, you can leave a comment by choosing Anonymous from the little drop down menu (Comment as...) after you say what you want to say. Just sign your name at the end of your comment so I know who you are. I LOVE to hear from those who visit us here - it is nice to know you are out there reading. I feel so lonely when no one comments.
Part of the issue with me not posting is that Laini has started rolling over like her survival depends on it. Which means my little wonderful sleeper, whom I used to put to bed and not hear from until 6 hours later, now squirms and rolls over, waking herself up sometimes as many as 5 times before I give up what I'm doing and go to bed with her. She is also getting really good at fighting sleep, almost as good as Maxwell, so that between the two of them, it sometimes takes me 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get them both to sleep at night. I can start at 8 pm, sometimes earlier, and if I'm lucky they'll both finally be asleep at 10 or so. Then I can start something, if I have managed to stay awake. Yeah, most nights I just don't have the will power to stay awake while lying in bed with two warm little bodies for an hour and a half, reading, then singing and nursing, then singing some more. Imagine that. I'll wake up around midnight or one, on nights when Adam is out of town for work, turn off the lights and go back to bed. Tonight, he's obviously here, and made sure I got up, so here I am to post! Yay! I have some gluten-free graham crackers in the oven (thank you Gluten-Free Girl!! ), because VBS starts bright and early tomorrow morning, and they are serving graham crackers. I have a list of the week's food, so that every morning I can walk into the cafeteria with my containers marked for Bella and Kane, with their allergy-friendly foods to match the menu. Most people say, "Oh, I'm so sorry you have to deal with all those allergies! What a pain." Me, I think it's fun, and I like being up after midnight making homemade graham crackers for my kids.Plus, I'm building memories for them and for me - I just went upstairs to the pitter-patter of little feet to find Max outside of the bedroom door, with sleepy eyes. He said, "Me mell, me mell FOOD. WHY?" We eat healthier, I know what is going into their delicate little systems, and I have a reason to be trying new recipes! I just can't wait until Thursday - Pamela's Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies are just waiting to be layered with some homemade (rice and coconut milk) tapioca pudding for dirt desert, complete with Clif Kid Twisted Fruit Ropes for worms. Yum.

So, I will soon get around to camping stories and pictures, and our fun weekend a week ago, with photo shoots (to be coming on my new Narratives Photography blog - I'll put a link to it when I get it all ready!) and a creek-splashin' Sunday trip. For now, I need to go get that new blog ready - I have a lot of photo shoots coming up, and I want to let you all have a little sampling of my favorite pics! I'll leave you with a quick introduction to our old neighbor, our Carolina Wren couple, who decided this year that a good spot for their nest would be my Ponytail Palm. We're trying to use the front door less frequently, and since we found the nest a few weeks ago (Mama flew out at me when I was watering), there are now three eggs in it. Can't wait for babies. I may surround my porch with animal repellent to try to ward off the neighborhood cats. Thankfully, she picked the highest plant on the porch, and it's in the back with a ton of plants on either side and in front. And she picked the plant that needs the least amount of water. Thank you, Mrs. Wren.

Can you see the one tiny speckled egg in the bottom left corner of the entry hole? I know it's not really clear, but this was a hard shot to get. I didn't want to disturb her for long.

Mmmm, I think I'll have one more piece of warm, corner graham cracker and go to bed. I'll have to get used to posting during the day so I can be more regular. Just remember, friends, the squeeky wheel gets the oil. Help me post more often by nagging me in comments!