Tuesday, January 31, 2012

project 52 | week 3: circle

If we're being technical, I guess this is a sphere. A sphere is a circle, but a circle cannot be a sphere, right? ha!  Please, no one check up on me!

Jeff's parents bought us 36 pounds of oranges. Yes, 36 pounds. Only because they bought some for themselves and thought they were the best oranges of their lives.  We gave some away, but are left with a ton.  They are not the prettiest oranges, and Jeff said if I were really paying attention to detail in my photo, I would have picked better looking ones.  (I looked! There were none!) Other than that small thing, he gave me kudos on my photo this time!  (He knows way more about photography than I do and tries to teach me, but we tend to butt heads.)

So, without further ado, my ugly (but very tasty) oranges!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gemma: 8 months

I know I say this every month, but it feels like I was just posting about Gemma's 7 month birthday.  The days are going by too fast! During the winter months, I suppose that's okay.

I lament to Jeff almost every day that Gemma isn't my little baby anymore. She is my BIG baby. I'm amazed by how quickly she learns these days.  She is so much fun and I'm really enjoying this stage of her life, but I do miss the days of when she was my little babe all nestled up in the bassinet in our bedroom.

Here are somethings Gemma is up to these days:

-Is on the go constantly. She does not crawl in the traditional sense, and I don't think she will.  She tries to stand all of the time instead.  She puts herself in the downward dog pose and moves her feet until she is where she wants to be and then plops herself into sitting position.

-Wants to walk around the house all the time (with our assistance).  Her go to spot is the front door where Harper's bells hang. (Harper is bell trained).

-New favorite song is "I'm a Little Teapot."  I have to admit I felt a bit like a square when my friends' kids are singing the latest songs on the radio, but oh well. So be it. I am a square. :)

-Is a little piggy.  She is eating almost anything that is safe for her.  She loves crackers, puffs, Cheerios, chicken, green beans, carrots, pear, apple, pretty much anything under the sun.

-All 8 of her teeth are fully through, and I'm pretty sure she's working on a 9th.

-Loves to brush her teeth.

-Loves other babies.  We started baby sign class at ECFE the other week, and when we arrived and she saw the other kids, she flapped her legs and arms and had a huge smile on her face.

-Still cries (and by cries, I mean wails) when she sees/hears my dad.  The only thing we can think of is that he is probably the loudest, most boisterous person she will ever be exposed to in her life. Maybe its his mustache? Not a clue...poor Grandpa.  He says it doesn't bother him, but I'm sure its getting to him. He says to her, "Be nice to grandpa.  When you're bigger, I'll take you to Daves (the local grocery store...for candy)!"

-Sleeping 4 hours a night still. Sometimes I'm in such a daze, I really don't know what I'm doing in the middle of the night.  One night last week, I got up because I heard Gemma crying.  When I got halfway to her room, she was calming down, so I went back to bed.  A little while later, Jeff said to me "does she need to eat?" I totally thought I had already gone in there, so I was waiting for Jeff to go get her and rock her! Poor kiddo.

-We moved her mattress down a notch now as she is pulling herself up on the bars.

Gemma's first yoga move: downward dog.  She needs to work on her technique a bit!

One of my favorites from our kiddo photo shoot with Christy.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

project 52 | week 2: variety

So, here I am. Procrastinating again.  Well, not procrastinating, EXACTLY. I had a hectic week, and honestly? Variety is a difficult subject!  Every day, I would tell my husband, "I need to take my photo yet! What should I do? What should I do?" My initial though was to photograph my shoes.  Leopard print heels, grandma flats, sexy boots, rain boots. But, lining them all up in a creative way was just too much work for me this week.

My next thought was the variety of flecks and height in our carpet. BORING. And, then, it hit me when I went out to the mailbox yesterday.  I would photograph our wide array of magazine subscriptions. I rarely get the time to fully read through any of them, but I love having something to thumb through while I wind down in bed at night.  And there you have my photo.

 Jeff says my photo subject is boring, but when I prompted him for a better idea, he gave me nothing.  While this may not be the most creative take on the word variety, I'm proud of myself for submitting a photo anyway.  Maybe I will learn my lesson and push myself a little harder earlier in the week!  I figure my ideas and photography skills can only keep improving.  I can't wait to see where we'll all be halfway through the year and at the end!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Project 52

Marta, over at Something Good, came up with a photo challenge.  Take one photo a week for a year.  She will randomly generate a word for each week, and then you take a photo of your own spin on the word.  I saw last night that my friend, Christy, linked up and posted her photo; so, on a whim, I signed up, too.  Today is the last day to post the photo for the first week and I work best under pressure. (Just ask my college professors!)

This week's word is: necessity.  So far, photos are of technology, water, and light. (View the photos on the shared pinterest board here.) I, being the mother of a child who does not like to sleep more than 3-4 hours at a time during the night, immediately thought of coffee.  I live on coffee these days especially now that Gemma is on a routine that includes waking up every three hours AND being awake for the day at 6 a.m.

Wish me luck in making the commitment to take my photo every week!  I'm definitely an amateur when it comes to taking photos, so bear with me. My goal in participating in this challenge is to improve my photo taking skills and to push myself to think more creatively.  Oh, and p.s., I don't know Marta in real life, but I bet if you wanted to take the challenge and jump in even if you're late to the game, she would probably welcome you to the group!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gemma: 7 months

The time is passing so quickly and it doesn't even seem like that much has happened in the last month.  I'm a little late in posting this (what's new?), but better late than never!

Gemma is really the joy in our lives.  We love having her with us pretty much 24-7.  (Not to say that we don't have our moments when we'd love to give her to someone else! ;) ) Last week, she was babysat by my mom two days in a row as I had some business to take care of, and as silly as it sounds, we missed her!  Jeff, who works full-time from his home office, even said he missed her that week.  Okay. So enough gushing about how much we love her....I know everyone loves their babies, so I'm sure I'm not saying anything new here.  Here's what our baby G is up to these days:

-She is still scooting backwards and doesn't really seem to care too much about crawling forward.  She has now learned to scoot on her butt, too.  Girl can get where she wants to go without crawling!  I'm guessing she might skip it and move to walking sooner, but we'll see. Although her balance isn't great, she loves to be walked around the house.

-After an allergic reaction to pears (we think), she is back on the solids bandwagon.  She's started eating organic puffs and little pieces of our food, too.  I'm thinking to just try mostly feeding her pieces of food rather than get too involved in baby food.  In fact, she has already eaten whole peas, broccoli, pieces of bread and muffin, wait for it...cookie! (Gah. My mother. :) ) I don't intend to wean her from breastfeeding, but think this might be a good alternative especially since....

-Girl has 6 teeth and is working on 2 more!  Four bottom front teeth are the most prominent, and her two front teeth have shot through a bit, too.  She's currently working on the two to the sides of her front teeth, which may be why...

-She still doesn't sleep more than 3-4 hours at a time during the night.  I've had people ask me if I'm not sick and tired of getting up all the time, and the truth is, yes. It would be great to get a full 6 hours or so of uninterrupted sleep; however, its become my new norm. So, we'll go with it for now! I'll never get those precious moments when its just her and I bonding in the middle of the night back, so I'm not going to complain TOO much about it.

-She is learning to love new songs that I sing her.  If You're Happy and You Know It and Pat a Cake are still favorites, but she also now enjoys "If All of the Raindrops" and "Shake Your Sillies Out." (I'm not sure if those are the proper names for those songs, but you get the gist.)

-Gemma is getting very good at playing independently for decent chunks of time.  Every once in a while, she will whine when I walk away, but she quickly recovers when I tell her I'm still there. :)A

-Her brain is a little sponge right now. In the last couple of days she learned to wave "hi" and "bye." She is also clucking her tongue now.  I am loving this age!

Here are a couple of photos of our little chunk at the beginning of her 7th month.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas 2011-Better Late than Never!

As I mentioned earlier, our little family of four celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve day.  We ate our apple dumplings, opened gifts, listened to Christmas music and just enjoyed the day with each other.  That evening, we headed out to church.  My brother's three youngest kids were in the Christmas program.  Each of them had to say a piece into the microphone and sing two songs with their Sunday School class.  All three did a great job--not needing any help with their parts at all!  It's so fun to watch them every year, and I look forward to when Gemma turns 3 and can participate, too.

Gemma opening a gift. Harper is waiting in the wings in hopes that she will need some help!

Our little family before Christmas Eve service.

After the program was over, we headed to Jeff's parents house.  Jeff's sister is lucky enough to celebrate her birthday on Christmas Eve, so even though we arrived a little late, we wanted to be there for her day, too. (Coincidentally, my sister celebrates her birthday on Christmas Day! We don't usually get to see her, though, so we make a quick call to her.)

Celebrating a birthday!

On Christmas Day, we opened gifts with the Lin family and my mother-in-law made "hot pot." (I'm not sure of the proper Chinese spelling, so I won't even try!)  It's basically a pot of boiling water that sits in the middle of the table. You pick the meats (scallops, thinly sliced beef, these Chinese balls of fish, ground pork balls, chicken, etc.) and veggies (mostly spinach and bok choy) that you want to boil and make your own little soup.  Delicious!
Gemma with G+G 

Gemma's pretty Christmas dress from Grandma

Harper felt she should have gotten more presents

Cousins in matching dresses. E is showing Gemma who is boss! :)

All three Lin babies!

It was a hectic weekend and Gemma didn't sleep well at Grandma and Grandpa's house. So, we were all a little exhausted, and ready to get back into our normal routine.  That didn't really happen, though, as we decided to pick up my niece Kaitlin on our way home. She spent a few days with us while she had days off of school.

We celebrated Christmas with my side of the family on New Year's eve day so that my brother's kids could all be with us.  (It ends up working out really well this way, so we're really not driving all over in a couple of days span.)  I sadly forgot our camera from this day, but managed to steal a few pictures from Kaitlin's mom.  It was a fun day.  My mom made a big turkey dinner, my brother's kids said their pieces for everyone, and Kaitlin's family acted out the Christmas story with Gemma posing as baby Jesus. :)
My side of the family--Minnesota cousins!
Gemma and her oldest girl cousin, Kaitlin.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Our first Christmas traditions

Being a new family of three, I've been thinking about our own family Christmas traditions I want to create. It's difficult to think of them now since Gemma can't get very involved in them.  I figure the traditions will build slowly over the  years, and I'm excited to dream up new ideas every year.  

Jeff and I started our own little tradition of opening our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve day, as we usually have plans with our extended families that evening and on Christmas Day.  I also began making apple dumplings for breakfast that morning and that tradition continued this year.  They looked picture perfect this year, and I was prepared to take a picture and post it here along with the recipe....until Jeff had to do some work quickly (even though he had the day off), and I put them back in the still warm (apparently too warm) oven. They soon were too dark to be called picture perfect anymore, but they, thankfully, were still good enough to eat!

At any rate, you'll have to trust me that these are fantastic and easy, albeit pretty unhealthy.  Hey, its Christmas, right?  The recipe is from my mom, and I'm not sure where she got it from. 

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 tube of crescent rolls
2 apples, peeled and quartered

Melt the butter, orange juice and brown sugar together on stove top. Let simmer for a few minutes on low.  Wrap each apple piece with a crescent roll and place in a baking dish.  Pour sauce over apples and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  (I sometimes half the sauce portion of this recipe to make it a little healthier, and its just as good.)

One new tradition we added this year was taking Gemma to see Santa Claus at the mall.  We chose a mid-week lunchtime to try to beat the crowds, and we were pleasantly surprised that no one was there at all!  I expected Gemma to cry immediately upon being placed on Santa's lap because she has become afraid of men the past couple of months.  (Mostly just white men...hehe. Really. She is not afraid of Jeff's dad or brother, but cries at the sight of my dad, brother, her godfather, and my brother-in-law.) Anyway, Gemma lasted a good 5 minutes with Santa before the water works started.  We were really proud of her!
Hey, hey! All is good!

Wait a minute! Who the heck are you?

And, we're done.

Again, I'm so excited to add more traditions as the years go on and our family grows. (And, no, I'm not making an announcement...just that we do plan to have more children in the future.) I can't wait to create these memories with my loved ones.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I am super late in posting about this, but it was too fun to skip over.  Gemma and I were invited over to my friend, Ann's, house for a little Saturday morning play date with Ann's two boys, Thomas and Henry.  Thomas is 3 and Henry is 4 months older than Gemma--so about 11 months now.

I wondered how our first playdate with the Johnsons would go. Would the boys want to play with my little girl? Would Thomas be bored with my not very mobile Gemma?  My worries were immediately eased when I had a text exchange with Ann to let her know that we were running a little late. "No problem! Thomas is all ready for Gemma, lining up his cars for her."  Indeed, Thomas was adorable with my little G.  He separated out the "hard" cars that were too big for her and the softer, rubber cars that she could play with.

Henry played quite nicely, too, and tried to teach Gemma how to army crawl (something she has not picked up on yet).  Ann and I, or course, had great conversation along with our delicious coffee. It was fun catching up and we can't wait to get together again.

Henry and Gemma playing cars

Photo time! Gemma was so cute--she kept putting her hand on Thomas.

And, Thomas can read the a flirty signal apparently! I think you're both a little too young! ;)