March 31, 2011

Fashion Friday: wear what your heart desires

Today's tip is inspired by Eleanor's St. Patrick's Day outfit.  Choosing an outfit that day was tough.  We knew there was a requirement to don green or risk being pinched.  The neon green skirt was an outlandish choice - one she has never worn before.  And since we were being bold, why not go all the way and pair it with some striped tights and a fashion onesie?  It was a complete break from Ellie's usual conservative outfit and boy was it refreshing!

Some days you've just got to throw caution to the wind and wear whatever your heart desires.  
Dress happy my friends.
Eleanor LOVES dogs right now.
And she is very serious about her pigeon stalking.
Thwarted again! 
That's alright Ellie.  You look like a million bucks and you lived to stalk another day.

**For those of you who frequent the blog for photography tips - here's a good one:  DO NOT take pictures in middle of the day.  Portraits shot in harsh sunlight do not look good.  Period.  For best results, photograph your kids playing outside in the late afternoon/early evening, when the sun is at a lower angle.  Or look for a well lit but shady area (known as open shade) for more even lighting.  Good lighting will make all the difference.  Just compare these photos to the ones posted below to see what I mean.

Ellie at 15 months

Just a quick word of explanation.

Let's all be perfectly honest.  I know why you're here.  You come to see photos of the girl.  I get that, I really do.  And I appreciate that you humor my wordy stories and wandering theories when really you're thinking "cut it out and just show the photos."  Because I love you all and want to please you, I try to keep the posts photo heavy.  And I tend to shy away from braggy-brag posts about all her latest statistics because that stuff kind of annoys me.

That said, I'm going to make an exception today and just list a few things about Ellie at 15 months.  I do it because 1. my mother-memory can't be trusted and I don't want to forget what she was like at this age and 2. because frankly, I think she's awesome and I'm dang proud of her.   I know most of you don't care what milestones she's reaching and I'm sure it sounds a lot like what a lot of other babies are doing at her age, but you should still read it.

Because I read yours - even if I groan inwardly first.

Quick Stats:
20 lbs (finally) 31" tall
20 spoken words
15 signs
11 teeth

Activities that fill her busy day:
peek-a-booing around the couch
emptying and refilling her Citibank lunchbox-purse
climbing the stairs at the playground
pretending to talk on the phone
busting into giggles all the time (especially after nap)
remaining terrified of the buzzer
obsessing over dogs and cats and birdies
rejecting bananas but consuming large quantities of oranges
flipping through favorite books
nurturing her sense of humor - she's really a silly goose
insisting on wearing her new sandals (which are far too big) around the house
saying her own version of "bless you" whenever someone sneezes
giving kisses to everyone and everything, but not mama - apparently I've had too many
getting very frustrated when she can't accomplish a task
sitting on my lap to watch TV (yes, I am that parent)
being so dang cute it forces me to make these braggy lists

Don't believe me?  See for yourself.
(please excuse the post-nap crazy hair.  we can't be fancy all the time)
She loves this finger puppet so much it hurts.
I was wondering where she learned to impersonate a monkey.
Then I realized.  Monkey see and all that.
Here's another sign Joe taught her.
No, it's not ASL.  But I think it should be.

March 24, 2011

Triple Header

Guess who had 3 disgusting dirty diapers in a 10 minute period?
Rock on, Ellie.

*This photo was taken in December, and I cannot believe how different she looks now.  She's much taller and lankier and has real live little girl hair.  She doesn't even look like a baby anymore.  It blows my mind how fast she changes.

March 23, 2011

Living room tour

A few people have asked to see photos of our apartment and I am happy to finally share a little tour of our living room today.  We've put a lot of work into this part of our apartment since we moved in and I think it's coming along nicely.  It's amazing to look back on what it was like when we first moved in.
This is what it looks like today:
A list of things I love about my living room:
- so much sunlight
- great view all the way down the street
- love, love, love the gray walls
- happy curtains (my friend Megan helped me make them and they add so much to the room)
- Ellie has a presence in the room, but it doesn't feel over run with baby stuff
- the little reading couch is my favorite place to curl up with a good book

It's still a work in progress.  Here are some things that could use improvement:
- giant blank wall (visible in 4th photo) needs family photos hung
- big space above the couch is begging for artwork
- place a mirror over the leafy chair (serious lack of mirrors in this house)
- do something with all the computer cords - they drive me bonkers!
- remove stuff from top of bookshelves and replace with plants
- some shelves need serious organization and styling
- we could use one more light source at night
I'll be sure to do another tour when the finishing touches are up.  You know, so you can get the full effect.
These two shelves are a major thorn in my side.  Unsightly.
Oh yes, I also have a major dust bunny problem, even though I clean compulsively.
And in the spirit of full disclosure, look at all the stuff I had to shove into the hallway for this tour.
Yes, we painted the hallway deep purple.
It was supposed to be a little more plum-y, but we've grown to love it.

Thanks for being my virtual home guests, hope you'll invite me to your place soon!

March 22, 2011

Back to Photography

Hi everyone,  I first started this space after taking a break from my photography business and finding that I still had a need for a creative outlet.  Well, I'm back to photographing and I thought I'd share a link for those of you interested in seeing my work.

Look it over and let me know what you think!  I'd love the feedback.
And don't worry.  I won't be leaving this blog anytime soon.  Up next, a requested apartment tour!
Thanks always for reading here.  Your friendship means a lot.

March 21, 2011

Finding your Calling

A regal lady in the Met

You know what it means when you see a photo of a statue up here.  It means I've come across something that's made me think and I want to share it with all of you.  I hope you will read through this post and then contribute to the conversation in the comments -  I really want to know what you think!

The Marriott School Alumni Magazine published an article recently that my dear Joe encouraged me to read.  Based on a campus devotional address given by Professor Jeffery Thompson, the article is called Finding Your Calling.  [click the link to read the full text].    Thompson discusses the anxiety we often feel when we think about what our calling may be in this life.  Did I miss it?  Am I up to the task?  Is there really only one way?  Are you serious - this is IT?  I ask myself that last one a lot.  Thompson presents the misinformation (what he calls heresies) to which we often fall victim when we consider our callings in life.  He then corrects them with real life examples and gospel principles. 

Here are the heresies along with a few of my favorite quotes from the article:
1. You might have a calling or you might not
2. You have to find your one true calling
3. When you find your calling, work will be bliss
4. The world will celebrate your calling

Thompson discusses the challenging work of zookeepers (which is pretty much the same as mothering); how they are often underpaid and overworked but still feel a great sense of satisfaction with their work.  He concludes:
The pain and sacrifice were not threats to their sense of calling - they were part of it.  The work was meaningful because of the burdens.

You may do the most important, exciting work in the world, but some days will be mundane.  You will be called upon to sacrifice.  We can't expect deep meaningfulness from our calling unless we are willing to assume its burdens as well.

Remember that it is a heresy to believe that work is meaningful only when it gives us status.

When you focus your work first and foremost on blessing others, you will become extraordinary at what you do.  You will find fulfillment and success much more reliably than if you work to get ahead.

There are not enough surfaces in my home for me to cross stitch all of these gems.  But I would like to remember these principles on days when my work feels like pure drudgery.  Friends, what about you?  What are some of the callings you've considered for your life?  What are the dreams you still hold on to?  What are you doing to achieve them?  What holds you back?  How do you bridge the gap between dreaming big and performing the day to day necessities?  I guess all these questions boil down to fulfillment.  Are you fulfilled?  If so, who is your therapist?

Just to get the juices flowing here's a fun list of things I'd love to be.  Some are just pipe dreams, others are really going to happen:
- lounge singer
- paramedic
- ASL interpreter
- awesome gardener
- neighborhood watch lady
- community theater star
- birth photographer
- expert quilter
- zookeeper (I wanna hold baby monkeys)
- volunteer for NILMDTS
- photography mentor
- author

March 18, 2011

Fashion Friday: transitional weather

Well, it certainly feels like spring, but some days are still a bit chilly.  So what do you do when your heart yearns to dress for spring, but your legs beg for some protection?  Ellie has your solution.  Pair a short springy dress with thick tights and a long lightweight jacket.  Cute and warm.  Topped off with an adorable headband, Eleanor's cuteness factor is through the roof!
This is her pouty face.  She's branching out.
Turns out our little fashion segment has inspired Ellie to seek our more serious modeling gigs.
I love this little girl so much!  I'd try to tell you how much, but I'm afraid you wouldn't believe me.