Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Flu has hit our house

I'll be MIA for a bit taking care of my sick babe. So far, just Jaina has been affected, but I'm watching Jayce like a hawk.

Off to go be mommy/nurse!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two

I have two children.

I do their laundry once a week.


Maybe I should be thankful I only have two kids.

How do you moms of 3+ kids do it?

Before and After... but not like usual!

I won't be participating in Monica's Before and After Blog hop at Pixel Perfect today.

Instead, I'll give you another Before and After. My new haircut :) Super exciting, I know :P I've been kind of in a blogging slump lately!



Ah, its the small pleasures in life :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Flashback January 2006 Part 2

Sorry for the flashback AGAIN but I've been too busy to get a new blog post up. Besides, Jaina was super cute when she was 3 :)


Happy Wednesday everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Heart Faces: Innocent Wonder



Capturing your children discovering something for the first time is an amazing experience as a mom and photographer alike. Its also important to document the little actions that make children so uniquely wonderful. I had no idea, as an adult, that I would forget what it was like to hop on one foot during a hopscotch game, use finger paint, or blow a dandelion.


Thanks, Tarah, for sharing your daughter with me for my photo challenge at I Heart Faces! This was taken during our Fall shoot at a local park.

Go check out all the other beautifully artistic entries :) It will bring a smile to anyone!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Everything Under The Sun

That's what my children are allergic to, per skin allergy testing that was done on Wednesday.

I wasn't surprised in the least about Jaina. She's been treated for her allergies from age 2. I know some kids outgrow their allergies, but so far, she's just added new ones each time she is tested.

Here's her list:
Trees- Red maple, cedar, poplar, hickory, sycamore, oak
grasses- grass mix 7
weeds- dock, lambs quarter, ragweed, pigweed, cocklebur
molds- botrytris, penicillium
other- dust mites, dogs (2+), cat (4+)
food- corn

Her allergy symptoms are year round and include:
-headache
-nasal drainage
-sore throat
-stuffy nose
-watery eyes

What surprised me was Jayce's list.

Here's his list:
Trees- Red Maple, Box Elder, Willow, Cedar, Ash, Hickory, Pecan, Walnut, Sycamore, Oak. (we have both maples and oaks in our yard)
Grasses- Grass mix 7, Bahia (grass mix includes fescue, which we have)
Weeds- Sorrell, English Plantain, Pasture Sage, Ragweed, Pigweed. (we live in a new development that has empty lots overgrown with weeds)
Molds- alternia, botrytis, aspergillus, mucor, penicillium (NOT penicillin, the antibiotic!), aureobasidium, rhizopus, helminthosporium
other- cockroach, cat (2+) and dog. (yep, we have two indoor dogs)

He tested negative for any foods. He was a 4+ on everything except cat, which is a 2+. Since I'm a 4+ on cats, we'll never have one. I can't even be in the same room as one before I start having an attack.

We're going to try some new allergy meds (DAllergy) because singular, alegra, zyrtec, claritin, flonase, and omnaris weren't doing their jobs.

I think we'll also look into allergy shots. Now, you guys know I am NOT pro-vaxing at all. Its not that I don't believe in immunotherapy, its because I don't like vaccine ingredients. I discussed this fact with the allergist and she assured me that allergy shots contain pure ingredients. Its the extract of the allergen plus glycerin. That's it. Its mixed up right before the shot and expires right after. No preservatives, no live or dead tissues, no nothing.

My kids aren't thrilled about the idea of allergy shots, so we will give the DAllergy a few weeks to try first. And I need to call my insurance company to see what it covers.

No matter how hard I try to control our environment, the plain truth is that we are all allergic to too many things inside and outside that I just can't control. I can dust every day and put covers on the beds; there will still be dustmites. I can ban the dogs from inside; the kids will still pet them and get dander.

Any "been there, done that" advice would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Untitled

I've been thinking long and hard about this post for quite some time now. And every time I do, it has a different title in my head.

"This Sucks."
"You've got to be kidding me"
"Empty"
"Impatience"

Sigh.

Remember this post?

I thought for sure I'd be announcing my pregnancy by September. I mean, its not like I had to even try for either of my pregnancies with Jayce and Jaina. Aren't I one of those women that you can just look at and get pregnant?

Apparently not.

So, this sucks. And I'm running out of patience. I understand that in the grand scheme of things, 6 months isn't that long for a couple to not conceive. Its still considered normal and all that jazz. But I'd argue that it doesn't feel normal for me. And that's what's killing me.

I haven't really been talking about all the stuff that goes along with TTC on my blog. Not because I'm a private person (pshaw! I'll tell a stranger my life story in about 5 seconds flat!) or because I don't think anyone is interested (if no one was interested, there wouldn't be so many TTC blogs and Infertility forums on the internet!).

Its because I don't want to let everyone down month after month, like I'm let down. Once in a while, I'll comment on my parenting board or mention to a well-meaning friend who asks where I am at in my cycle. And people always get excited. "Maybe this is your month!" or "That's a great sign!" or "I can't wait until you can test!" I share their excitement enthusiastically and my hopes get raised just a little bit more. And then, my period inevitably comes. Or I get another negative on a pregnancy test. Then there are so many people I have to tell, again, that "no, this wasn't my month." That leads to all my friends (internet and IRL), finding the right words to say.

I hate putting you all in this position. I never know what to say when I find out someone has been trying for months or years to conceive. Or what to say when I discover that someone's had a miscarriage. What can you say that makes everyone feel better and doesn't sound trite?

So, unless I have some important news to report, like discovering some fertility issue that I may have or something, I'm just going to let this topic rest for now. I don't want this blog to turn into an Infertility Blog anymore than I want it to be an Autism Blog or a Photography Blog. This is just a small part of what's going on in my life.

Any and all advice is welcome, of course :) Just know that I have been charting, my cycles are extremely unpredictable, but I do believe I am ovulating, and I'm watching my luetal phase closely. Oh, and we've been having sex. I heard that helps things :)

And for now, I'll just keep on loving the two I have :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Heart Faces: Winter Wonderland



You would think it would be hard to find snow-themed photos on my hard drive since I do live in South Carolina. Mother Nature must have forgotten how far down South we actually live, because we had 4 instances of snow here last year and already 2 this Winter season!

It was hard to pick a photo, but in the end, this one has always been my favorite Winter photo.


It is just so rare that you get a photo of Jayce both smiling AND looking straight in the camera. So when I do, its always priceless to me :)

Go check out all the other amazing Winter photos at I Heart Faces!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturdays and Seasons

Saturdays at our house are usually spent cleaning, but since I hosted Book Club at our house last night, Friday became my cleaning day instead.

And I have to say that it is super nice to be up here blogging and playing legos with my kids instead of cleaning. Maybe I'll do this every week! (yeah, right!)


Thank goodness the sun is out in full blast today and the temperature has reached a balmy 46 degrees! We went outside without coats, hats, and gloves for the first time in forever. Our 6 inches of snow and 1 inch of ice are slowly diminishing.

I had a crazy stressed out week with my kids home. I'm not quite sure why. The first day was awesome. Sleeping in, playing in snow, no schedules, no therapies, no commitments... bliss. The next days weren't as fun and by Friday morning, I had a TO-DO list a mile long and two children constantly underfoot was wearing thin on my nerves.

I also think my mood had a lot to do with not being able to get out of the house and into the sunshine. The weather greatly affects me like that. Sometimes I wonder if I really should have just stayed in Southern Florida, my birth place, because I seem to crave the heat and sun year round.

Although its been hard, I've learned to enjoy the changing of the seasons. The crunch of brown leaves, the wetness of gently falling snowflakes, the wind that's perfect for flying kites high. Yet summer will always be my favorite season.

There are 157 days left until the official calendar start of Summer. Who's counting with me?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Before and After Blog Hop: Jaina and Aaliyah

Its Thursday! Time to link up with Monica at Pixel Perfect for our before and after blog hop!

Here's my before:


I opened up GIMP and used the unsharpen mask first. Then I went to levels and played around. I'm still learning all this histogram stuff! Then I decided to be really brave and mess around with curves... but not too much! Then added some yummy sunflare. And voila!

My after:


Still not crazy about the skin tones.... however, upon reading a GIMP tutorial on actually changing the skin tones, I decided just to let it be. It went over my head by step 4.

Go check out all the other entries! And don't forget to go back and vote on Friday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Blizzard of 2011: part three

Last one, I promise!!

So, right after we built our snowman, the freezing rain came down. It left a thick layer of ice on top of our 6+" of snow. Talk about crunchy!

We got Jayce to go out in it!!!





I just love that boy :) I was very thankful he didn't miss out on all the fun!


Because of the ice, he ended up falling down a lot. But he didn't seem to mind.


Sorry for the Jayce overload. I feel like he deserves it since my last two posts were all about Jaina.


Oh, and here is our completed snowman. He is currently unnamed. And as of 3:30 PM today, he is no longer vertical. Damn sun.




I don't know why, but our snowman reminds me of a train conductor.


Look what Jaina found! Its an icy leaf!

and a leafy ice!


Oh, and there's Jaina.


Different day, different hair. Same coat.


I don't know why she doesn't believe in hats. She claims her ears do not get cold.



And I am done. Done with pictures, done with this blog post, done with the slushy melty snow and ice, done with the kids being home from school, and done with 28 degree weather!!!

Spring, where are you???

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Blizzard of 2011: part two

After warming up inside for a while, Jaina and I went on a walk with Shaggy later that afternoon.




Then Jaina attempted a snow angel... only to fall as she was getting up so it ended up being a smooshed angel.



It FINALLY stopped snowing and started sleeting by the time these photos were taken. We convinced Jayce that the sleet would go away soon and to please come outside with us.


Little stinker wouldn't move off the porch!


He didn't even stay outside long enough to see Daddy build us a snowman. I was super impressed with my husband (who grew up in the South!)


Part three coming tomorrow! :)

I Heart Faces: Smiles



I'm taking a short break in posting my Blizzard photo series in order to get my entry up on I Heart Faces. Even though I've known about the theme for days now, I still haven't taken the time to find a photo to submit. I'm such a procrastinator sometimes!

The wonderfully talented, sweetest, most beautiful International Wedding Photographer Jasmine Star is the guest judge this week. Her blog is so fun and informative! She is such an inspiration to all aspiring portrait photographers. If you haven't already subscribed to her RSS feed, go do it now!

Okay, I'll stop gushing and post my photo.


This is baby L and he just turned 3 months old :) He belongs to one of my friends from college who just happened to be visiting here last week. He is such a happy baby and gave me smiles throughout our entire session :)

Need to brighten up your day? Go check out all the entries over at I Heart Faces!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Blizzard of 2011: part one

I don't know what the exact definition of a blizzard truly is, but around these parts, anything over 1-2" of snow qualifies as one.


Can you believe it?? 6.5" of snowfall in South Carolina. I've never seen so much snow in my life!

We almost lost our dog in it.


Jaina went out immediately in it to play. After Jayce found out that it wasn't going to stop snowing until tomorrow at 6 AM, he told me he'd just go out tomorrow instead.




I'm calling this "Part One" because I'm sure we'll be out more in it later!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

White Christmas

Just ignore that I'm 2 weeks late with these photos, m'kay?

On December 25th, 2010, our little southern town experienced a phenomenon that has not been here since the 1960's.

It snowed. And snowed. And stuck.

We actually had a White Christmas!

Around 10:00 AM, my brother Jeff and his new girlfriend Pamela arrived from Atlanta.


They opened presents with us, played with the kids, ate dinner with us at 2:00 PM, and hung around until the snow started about 4:00 PM.  They knew that they'd best get on the roads to get home before dark and freezing temperatures.

We went outside to eat some snow flakes as soon as they pulled out of the driveway.







My snow queen, Jaina :)


Since we've only had Shaggy since August, we've never experienced the snow with him. Would he love it? Or hate it, like Alli does?


He loved it :)



And upon discovering that their outside water bowl was completely frozen solid, the dogs improvised with some snow on our sandbox lid :)


We played outside all evening until we couldn't see anymore.


It snowed all night long.

In the morning, we woke up to this:


Jaina was determined to ride her brand new bike in the snow, too.



So, there ya have it... our snow pictures of 2010.

Why did I finally decide to put these up on the blog?

'Cause blizzard of 2011 is on its way!