May 25, 2009

Silhouettes photo challenge



So this week at iheartfaces the photo challenge is silhouettes. I took this one of Hunter going down the sidewalk full speed ahead. He loves this little trike and rides it everyday. When he really gets going, he puts his head down and his elbows are sticking out all akimbo. His little legs whirl around so fast! He is all boy and serious business!

Click on the button on this post to see more great entries!

May 23, 2009

Memorial weekend fun!

We have had so much fun in the last couple of days! Friday night some friends from church invited some families over for pizza and a water balloon fight. At least they said it was for the kids, but truth be told, I think the parents had just as much fun. My cheeks hurt from laughing after the evening. Here are the kiddos from the three families who had kids. This group of kids (and their moms) will also be doing a book study together this summer and we also got water park passes together. I am sure there will be more pictures of this group of kids as the summer progresses.

Today I decided I did not want to sit around, so we decided to get lunch and take our bikes to Woodward Park. A 300 acre park with tons of bike trails, ponds, nature, and play equipment.

Do you ever have those days where you realize you are living the good life, and wish you could bottle it up and keep it? Maybe even freeze time? Today was one of those days.

As we ate lunch, squirrels kept popping up out of their holes to peak at us. The big highlight was a possum who got in fight with a squirrel next to our picnic table. I had never seen a possum that close before, and the fight with the squirrel just made Hunter's day! The possum played dead for while after we got too close and scared the squirrel away for him. Then he cautiously got up and walked away.

Then we hopped on the bikes and rode around the park for almost an hour. It was a perfect day. Not too hot (almost 90 degrees), and often shaded. There are streams throughout the park and it was just really nice. It was wonderful to get out and get some exercise as a family. We heard a woodpecker, saw wild strawberries, and watched millions more squirrels.
We found a shaded stream that was very shallow and clean with a lot of shade. I had the foresight to bring the kid's suits, so I put them on them and let them play for about an hour. They were loving it! It wore them out too. As we got in the car to go home, Hunter was begging to not have to take a nap when we got home. Within 10 minutes down the road, he was asleep.











May 22, 2009

What is summer without the kiddie pool???

The summer weather has hit us here in Fresno. That means the kiddie pool and sprinkler has become a permanent feature on our lawn. We just move it around every couple of days and refill it so it doesn't kill the grass or the water get too yucky.

Hunter thinks this sprinkler toy is the greatest! He also got in trouble because he was directing the shooting water at anyone who came close. Including me holding the new camera! He also thought the hose would be great to use as a rope and tied some of his trikes and wagon up with it, and completely drenched some towels. That boy is trouble and has too many ideas to be left with a sprinkler unattended.


He's aiming for somebody!


He loves to run as fast as he can through the shooting jets.


We put the hose down the plastic slide and the kids go hurtling down it into the kiddie pool. I'm surprised a tail bone hasn't been broken yet. Even Ainsley has no fear of it and climbs up the slide backwards and goes flying down the thing on her belly. There is the tall red slide and the short blue slide. Pick your poison. Most of the time they pick the fast, tall red slide. Of course.


He's smiling here. If I came off the thing like he just did, I would be grimacing.

They play until the sun starts to go down. In fact, our favorite time to play outside is for about an hour as the sun is setting . It's shaded and cool on that side of the yard then.

Maybe a little too cool. Ainsley has stripped off her swimsuit by now (this is typical), and is shivering and shaking. I still had a hard time convincing her it was time to get out though. I had to bribe her with the word, "dinner".

May 19, 2009

I heart Faces photography contest

A photography contest! I'm feeling pretty bold today.



So I have been a stalker of photography blogs for a long time, but I have always felt like a "wannabe". Finally, I joined a photo site that I am addicted to called, I ♥ Faces. It's all about the photography of faces, which is my favorite creative muse. They have contests on different ways to photograph faces every week, which I just love to look at .
This week is a contest for a book they are putting together.
I finally decided to enter.
So here is my photo of Ainsley in our garden. No, she's not smiling, but there is something about her expression that just draws me in. She is actually watching her brother in this picture. You're supposed to submit your best photo ever this week. I don't know if it's my best photo ever, but I happen to really like this one. Actually, my best photo ever is of my neighbor's daughter, so I can't use it. Bummer.
I am submitting this photo into the www.iheartfaces.com Blurb Book photo contest. I am granting I ♥ Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I ♥ Faces web sites.

Being creative....it's a must!

So as many of my readers know, the new lead law on children's product is really going to affect me come winter. So MANY of you have asked me about it. As of yet, no changes have been made, and I am able to sell right now only because a one year stay was effected. Also, making custom shoes takes a toll on me. There is pressure and stress to make sure I get the orders out on time. Therefore, this month, I have been working on a whole new shop idea. While I don't want to seem coy, I know that there are some big time copycats out there. I prefer to not give details at this time, and rather wait until I get the new shop up and running. Hopefully within the next two months. I am hoping it will do as well as this one and will be going by the time the new lead law is enforced. I think I have found a pretty good niche, and it would free me up from custom items. I am pretty excited about this new item I have made. But hey! Who knows? All I can do is try, right?

Just as a disclaimer: There is absolutely NO lead in any of my products as all my supplies have been thoroughly checked out with the suppliers. It won't matter however when the new law goes into affect.

My current shop IS doing well. I really don't want to give it up actually. I have been featured on the esty front page quite a few times now, and I am always in their gift guides. I receive wholesale requests from around the world every single day. As well as requests from others who want to know my "secrets". No, I am not doing wholesale. And no, I am not going to give out my patterns, supply info, etc. I just can't figure out why people think I will tell them that!!! Also, I am selling quite a bit without even relisting the items. That means people are coming to my shop because they know about me, not because they happened to see me in an etsy search. I am definately building a fan base. I am proud of my little shop. I have put much sweat, blood, tears, long hours, much research, and energy into it.

In addition to the new shop mentioned up above, I am also possibly going to open a pattern shop on etsy where you can buy patterns and a tutorial on how to sew them. However, it will not contain my shoe patterns. Rather it will be patterns for other things I have developed but decided for many reasons, not to put in my store. As of right now though, I only have one completely put together. If only I had more hours in my day!!!!!

Finding balance has been a big struggle for me since Christmas. Most nights I am up until 1am sewing and working, and then I sleep in. It's a struggle to balance being a good mommy, a loving and giving wife, keep the house up, and run a successful shop. Some nights I look at a pile of shoes waiting to be sewn, and finding the drive to do it is pretty tough. You have to love to create, and also just have a huge drive to do a home business.
I have found though, that I have an insatiable NEED to create. I cannot stop it. My brain often keeps me awake at night with all the lovely, beautiful ideas that I would love to be able to do in my nonexistent free time. While my shop is a fun outlet, I really think the new shop is even more fun. Really, I get so excited thinking of all the possibilities for it!

I would also love to get back to drawing and painting (just for myself). I have clothes cut out but not sewn for myself that I would love to finish. Scrapbooks still undone. I have rooms to paint, shelves to rearrange, and my brain is just bursting with ideas all the time. I have been loving playing with photos lately and photography. Just another creative outlet. My flower garden is another beautiful thing that I love to work in almost everyday. It's relaxing. There just aren't enough hours in the day for all that I want to do!!!! Really though, I must do something creative (even if it's somewhat small) everyday just stay sane and excited about life. I really believe God built this into me as part of my makeup.

More to come........

May 15, 2009

SUPERMAN!

Yes, if you haven't figured it out by now from reading my blog, Hunter has a super fixation with costumes right now. He wears one everyday. From pirates to superheros, Hunter loves to role play. So I saw these Superman jammies, and had to get it for him. It even had a cape that attached with velcro!

As soon as he put it on, he went straight to the mirror to check it out. This one of him flexing just cracks me up! I am so glad I had the camera handy to snap the pic from the side while he checked himself out in it.


Then he wanted to demonstrate for he some of his new poses as Superman.

Then it was a trip outside to play in it. He first had to check the knot hole in the fence to see if his pal, Emma was out. He wanted to show her. She wasn't. He thought maybe if he threw a handful of rocks over the fence it might get her attention and make her come out. I had to stop him before got them over. Isn't this what teenage boys do, except it rocks at the window at night? It starts young I guess.....


Since she wasn't out, he had to make do with Ainsley and his trike. Here he is. He told me his "cape was flying in the wind behind me Mommy I am going so fast!" Poor Ainsley was trying so hard to keep up on her little push bike. Look at her valient effort in the background. She never got far. What a crack up.

Hunter then decided to play a game called running as fast as he can and jumping onto his soccer ball. It would squish out from under his feet and he would fall flat on the ground. I told him he would get hurt. He told me, "Superheros never get hurt Mommy!"
Hmmmm, well, good luck with that then.

Roly Polies and Sweet Peas

So every evening right before dusk, the kids and I have been playing outside. We have sort of fallen into the habit of it the last couple of weeks now that the weather is warm. The evening temperature is perfect, and everything has a soft golden glow to it. We play on the backyard swings, ride bikes on the front sidewalk, or make up games. Both of them love the extra attention right before I bring them in and do the bedtime routine of dinner, bath, teeth, books, and bed.

This is Ainsley's favorite place to hang out. Right in the nook between my legs. It's a good, safe spot you know.

Roly Polies are also fascinating. Did you know that? We spent a long time this evening looking for them and letting them tickle our hands when we did. Ainsley loves to put her own shoes on, exclaiming, "I did it!" when she gets them on. Unfortunately, it's most often the wrong foot as you can see. These are squeaky shoes which squeak when you step. She loves to stomp, stomp, stomp down the sidewalk.

I wish you could smell these beauties as well as see them.


Our sweet pea vines are loaded with pea pods. Ainsley and Hunter think that they make delightful snacks as they play outside. As they walk by, they yank one off to munch on. Ainsley usually has her mouth crammed with a pea pod. She loves them.
Yum! Yum!

Hunter is in his jammies in this picture, enjoying a brief moment outside before he has to go in and get in bed.

The kids never want to go in, but as soon as Ainsley starts rubbing her eyes, and putting her thumb in her mouth, we go in. She finds her "nanny" (blankey), and soon both kids are off in dreamland.



May 10, 2009

The Flat Cap for Hunter

So Daddy has a couple of sweet wool flat caps that he bought from Ireland. I think the hubby looks so handsome when he wears them and it was definitely worth paying for them. However, Hunter has been wanting one. Now for a four year old, it is definitely NOT worth dropping a load of money on a hat. So I thought, why don't I make one? It can't be that hard, right?

Well, first of all, you have to find a pattern. That's not so easy. I was going to try and make my own pattern, but didn't quite know where to start. I finally found a pattern in the McCall's catalog in the costume section. It was an adult hat, but Hunter has a big head (it runs in the family) and it had a few sizes. Unfortunately I had to buy the whole pattern which also included a 1920's driving coat (think trench coat). I have no idea if I'll ever use that.
So while I'm in the store I picked out this nice light burlap kind of fabric. Perfect, I thought. Hunter had other ideas. Since he is in a costume stage, he wanted bright camouflage fabric so he could be a soldier. He had a fit in the store, so I bought the camo fabric too.

Uncle Thomas, if you are reading this, it's your fault! Hunter knows you are a soldier and wants to be like you. It's cute in a way. My sister's finance, Thomas, is back from Iraq and Hunter adores him. It's not so cute when you have a vision of this awesome hat for your son and he wants the ugliest fabric in the store. It's not just camo, it's almost neon camo. I don't think anyone could hide with camo this bright. The pictures just don't quite do it justice.

So how did it turn out? Well not as bad as I first thought it would be. The pattern wasn't actually for a flat cap, so the bill is a little long and it's not as flat as it should be. I fixed that on the next cap.


So here is my original version that I had in mind in the first place. Hunter wore this to church today with his bow tie. He was darling if I do say so myself. I did not pick out the bow tie. He decided to wear it all on his own. That kid has some sense of style! He loves this hat as well. How did I get him to like it? I let him pick out two buttons to put on it. Since he had some choice in the design, all of a sudden, he likes it.

When I tried to get him to look at me, I got looks like this or none at all.

Finally, I got one shot. This is it. The one smile he gave me and I'm glad I got off the shot because it was fleeting.

After the pictures, it was back to business as usual. This trike happens to be his favorite toy at the moment.

Two days ago, my neighbor found him out the gate and pedaling to down to a grassy park area four houses down. I thought he was in the backyard. She brought him home. Apparently, the backyard just wasn't big enough for all the cycling he wanted to do.

Since it has been hot, Hunter has been living in his bathing suit or he is shirtless most of the time. He also got a new bike helmet this week. He loves to wear it as well. He told me that this trick on the bike going down the kiddy slide couldn't hurt him because he was wearing it. I beg to differ. He first tried his trike up there, but it didn't fit. He had to settle for Ainsley's little ride-a-long.

And finally, this is what I woke up to this morning. She woke up at 3am crying from a nightmare I think, and I put her in bed with me. She looks so peaceful now that she's in Mommy's safe bed.

May 8, 2009

Spring is turning into summer around here. The weather has been slowly warming up and as it does so, the kids are wearing summer clothes, and the kiddie pool has been set up a permanent feature in our back yard.


Yes, that is two slides going down into the pool. Both plastic slides have been dragged to the edge of the pool and put in. It's our red neck version of a water park.

Relaxing in the shade with a summer staple......popsicles! The cheap ones at Walmart actually have the best flavors. The kids don't get to touch the white ones. They are coconut flavored and all mine. Almost like having a frozen pina colada (uh, unspiked of course).

I caught some lense flare on this picture. She did this excited look and I had to snap the picture. I hadn't really set up the shot, but of course, who really does get to set up a shot with kids? You go with what you get. They never make these faces when you have the camera set and ready.



She looks like she has a little secret, but the secret is that she is nibbling on candy.


My Hope rose bush is blooming with beautiful white roses. Sometimes so heavy it bows the branch down.


Why buy flowers, when you have all of these beauties blooming in your yard. I always try to have fresh flowers on my table and relish spring when I can stop buying them and gather from my flower gardens.