Tuesday, December 27

a very good christmas

We had a really good Christmas. I hope that all of you did too. There were dinosaurs and Cabbage Patch dolls, Legos and books. Max and Cora were showered with love and new toys. Happy kids were they:
That was my best Christmas morning picture. Ho hum. Better luck next year Mommy!

All the decorations are all packed away, because in a couple short weeks the major demolition and remodeling of our house will begin! So excited. (And a little nervous.) The living room/stairway is about to look a lot different!

January is always one of my most favorite times of the year--and I am especially looking forward to all the new things this year. New year, remodeled home, new baby...

Lots of work ahead!

Tuesday, December 20

happy birthday cora

Last week we celebrated Cora's second birthday. Whenever I would ask her if she was going to have a birthday she would say: "Party! Cake!" It was fun to see her excited.

On the morning of her little party we made a cake. It is a little difficult to bake things with the kids, but they love it. Sometimes I long for time to do a project by myself, but when I see the pictures later of the kids working on the projects with me it is worth all the extra time it takes. Cora used to ignore any activity in the kitchen, but now she wants to "help". Here she is stirring her cake:
I'm sure Max is giving her some sort of lesson on cake making.
As soon as we lit the candles she was ready to blow them out. Sing fast everyone! So cute.
Happy birthday baby.

Tuesday, December 13

tree time

We got our tree! Last Friday we bundled the kids up and headed to the tree farm. Max told me that morning that cutting down the tree was one of his favorite traditions. Me too buddy. I didn't think I would love it as much as I do.

Max loved the trees that were the same size as him. Someday it would be fun to bring one of these little "baby" trees home!
Looking...
Here's our tree! There were so many pretty ones, it didn't take long to find a good one. (Note how the kids are dressed--it was cold! Another reason why it didn't take too long. Cora is looking a little bit wide. Gotta love the snow pants.)
Everybody under the tree!
The annual photo. Wouldn't it be fun to frame each year's photo and get them all out at Christmas time? That is probably a project I will never get around to, but it would be so neat!
This photo would be a lot better if there was a tree in the little cart thing. Darn. Oh well, still love it!

Thursday, December 8

hello drywall

This is now the sight that greets you as you walk up our stairway:
So wonderful to see all that drywall up! I took lots of pictures today, but they all looked similar because my lens isn't wide enough to get pictures of entire rooms. Every picture ends up looking like a white wall with a window--doesn't tell you too much. It is so exciting to see exactly how each room will look! I really need to start thinking about colors for all these white walls...

I apologize for the lack of blogging, but the craziness that is December has taken over! We've had auctions and church programs, photo work, shopping, etc. The only thing that I honestly haven't done much of yet is decorating. Max informed me that ALL the kids in his church class have their Christmas trees...we are way behind! Hopefully, weather permitting, we will head out tomorrow as a family to find and cut down this year's tree!

Thursday, December 1

advent calendar

I love advent calendars. There are so many different and creative ways to do them! Max is old enough now to understand the idea of counting down to something, so I knew I wanted to have my act together and make a little advent calendar for him and Cora. So, in typical Abby fashion, I started this calendar last night at 9:00.
It honestly didn't take too long. I was going to photograph the whole process for you, but it was dark, and pictures with just the flash are not pretty. Plus, it was pretty simple, so I thought I could just explain it!

1. I have a big roll of plain, regular weight brown craft paper. (Thanks Carissa...I think you gave this paper roll to me. I use it for all kinds of stuff!) I cut 50 rectangles that measured 5x7 inches.

2. Next I used some acrylic paint and number stamps to mark the days on the little rectangles.

3. I made little sandwiches out of one piece of plain paper and one that had a number on it. I used the sewing machine to stitch around the sides and bottom of each one to make a little pocket. Cute!!

Andrew helped me hang it up when we were done. We actually just put two nails in the wall and strung a ribbon between the two. (Our living room walls are coming down in January, so this was the easiest thing to do!) I had a package of miniature clothespins that we used to clip the little pockets to the ribbon.

We had to hang it high enough to keep the kids out of it. I did give them a little speech this morning about being good and not peeking into the pockets. We'll see how they do!

Tuesday, November 29

pure joy

If someone asked me to find a picture for the word "joy" I don't think I could find a better one than this:
He was so happy enjoying the first big fat snowflakes of the season. I was so happy watching him.

santa

We had a Thanksgiving/Christmas gathering for Andrew's mom's side of the family (hello Carroll family!) in Ohio on Saturday. Santa always makes an appearance. I can't remember if I have blogged about him before, but he is a good Santa!

Anyway, I was anxious to see how Cora would react. Max gets it: he knows Santa brings presents, so he was into it. Well, right before Santa's arrival, the kids broke a Christmas pinata. (Funny, I know.) If you know Cora you know that she LOVES candy. LOVES it. She really didn't care too much about Santa. She had a bag full of candy. You should have seen her. She was relishing the fact that everyone else was watching Santa and she could eat candy as fast as possible before being discovered:
We did get her up on Santa's lap, but only if she could take her candy bag with her. This photo makes it look like she and Santa are in deep discussion about her gift. Nope. She just dropped her Tootsie Roll in his lap and was looking for it. Sorry Santa.
Max, as I said, was fine. He has quite the list for Santa this year.
Love these Santa pictures!

Tuesday, November 22

coming right along

Our upstairs remodel project is coming right along! It is so exciting! I wanted to share a few pictures today. It is hard to really get a good shot that shows a lot of the space, but I did what I could. All the rooms are framed in, there is insulation and a furnace, as well as electricity! How about Max looks like a big kid in this first picture--crazy!


Things will really start to take shape as the drywall starts going up. I need to seriously start thinking about colors for all the rooms. Big decisions!

Thursday, November 17

a little cold

I don't think I'm ready for the cold yet. So not ready! I don't think it matters whether we are ready or not, winter will be here before we know it.

I don't think that children feel the cold like adults. Cora and Max could run around forever in the cold, noses running, fingers freezing, and they don't care! My art studio tends to be a little on the freezing side. I am usually huddled around a little space heater while my art students happily paint/draw in short sleeves. (Funny: the bathroom at the studio is especially cold. I don't think the heat is ducted in there at all. This makes the toilet seat extremely cold! I always warn people before they go in there that it might be a little shocking!)

I think I might just have to treat myself to a new pair of mittens and a hat to ease myself into these cooler temperatures. It can't hurt. Cora loves to wear her new winter gear:
Here's to hats!

And gloves.

And scarves.

And layers and layers of clothes...

PS: This one is for you, Ann!

Friday, November 11

oh my gosh, it's friday!

I feel like I say this a lot, but time is really going fast! I had all intentions of blogging earlier in the week--honestly, I did!--then I blink my eyes and it is already Friday! Not much for today, but I did want to check in and let you know that we are all still here!

Around here things are great: the house renovation is moving right along as the electrical and heating/cooling stuff is getting done. So exciting. If time doesn't move too fast for me, I will post some photos next week!

Just for fun, here is Cora in my first attempt at pigtails:
I hope everyone had a great week!

Friday, November 4

lofthouse cookies - take one

Raise your hand if you like Lofthouse cookies! You know, the little cake-like ones with all the icing and sprinkles. I love them. Andrew loves them. Of course the kids love them. I recently found a couple cookie recipes that claimed to be similar to Lofthouse. Game on, let's bake!

Click here for the first recipe that Max and I tried. (Max is my assistant on all things cooking. You should see him crack an egg...he is really good!)
The verdict: When I first made them I was hopeful. The cookies came out really light and cake-like. They were super easy to make because you just rolled the dough into balls and flattened them slightly on the cookie sheet before they went in the oven. At first I thought the icing was totally wrong. It was a little more grainy than I wanted. Plus, I think we had ours a little too runny. I was feeling a little bummed. The funny thing is about these cookies is that they age really well! A couple days later they tasted better than when they were super fresh. So, although they weren't exactly what I was looking for, they were still really good.

I think we will try the other recipe I found, and see how it is. I'm sure my assistant will be excited.

Wednesday, November 2

off on off on...

Cora has recently discovered that she can reach the light switch in her room from her crib. I love listening to her on the monitor before I go get her in the morning--and it is so funny to hear the flip of the little switch. Then I go in and ask: "Cora, did you turn on your light?" "No", she'll say. Smiles. She turns it off, and on, and off and on...
Yesterday after her nap I opened up all the curtains and captured her in the act. I've been a little lazy with my big camera around home lately...sometimes it seems like a lot of work to run get it. Years from now I will probably forget when she learned to turn her bedroom light on and off.

This will be the picture that will help me remember.

Monday, October 31

trick-or-treat

Trick-or-treat! We took Max and Cora trick-or-treating last night...and they both seemed to really love it. What child would not love going door to door and collecting candy? Now for the costumes. Very early on (I think it was sometime this summer) Max decided that he wanted to be a "cowboy monster superhero". Hmmmm. I didn't know how we were going to pull that off. I really tried to talk him into being a wolf, so that then Cora could be little red riding hood. Bad idea mom. Cowboy monster superhero it is. We decided that Cora could go as a Wild Thing--from Where the Wild Things Are. My mom made this adorable costume for Max a couple years ago, and I decided that it needed to see at least one more Halloween! (Plus, if you know Cora, you know that it very fitting.)
If looks could kill:
Mom, you did a great job helping us with this costume again this year. Max loved how it turned out!
Love this.
Oh my gosh, it's me! I gave the camera to Andrew so the kids would look back and remember that I went trick-or-treating too. Those Wild Thing ears are too much.

happy halloween!

Max and I just finished our jack-o-lanterns a little bit ago. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! Tonight we are taking the kids trick-or-treating for the first time--I'm sure they will be excited about all the candy!

Hope you have a fun and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 28

miss mila

I have one last photo to share with you for "picture week"! On Wednesday, my friend Carissa's sweet baby girl turned three months old. The kids and I went to their house for a little playdate and picture taking. At first I didn't think we would get much--my kids wanted to be in Mila's pictures really bad. (We did take a couple of all the kids together.) Luckily Carissa was able to distract the older children with snacks and a little TV.

That left me to spend time with this little one:
So sweet. If I wasn't already pregnant, this girl would give me a serious case of baby fever.

Thank you so much for stopping by and looking at all my pictures this week! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 27

in the gardens

Just this past Saturday I ventured to Indy to see my beautiful niece Callie--and take some pictures of course. We went to the gardens at the IMA for our little photo shoot. It was so beautiful there! It helped that it was an awesome day as far as the weather went. Lucky!
Dear Callie,
Does that outfit come in my size? Seriously. Too cute. Jeggings, boots, sweater...I can't stand it.
I love love love this. Hugs.
I have taken a bunch a pictures of Callie--newborn, three months, six months, and now nine months. I love having the opportunity to photograph her so much. Plus, I get to hang out with some of my favorite people. Bonus.

Thanks guys--love you.

Wednesday, October 26

picture week continues

It was a dark and stormy day... Not really, but rain threatened on the day that these pictures were taken for the Cox family. I watched the radar all day, and what looked early on to be a wash out turned out to be a windy and overcast day with just a few big rain drops. (I love overcast days for photos!) Theresa said that she wanted to get family pictures taken before her boys got any older. Wish granted!

I can't tell you how much I love these pictures in the grass. I think I shall order myself a copy!
Hey Mom and Dad...looking good! I love rustic settings...the more weeds and peeling paint the better.
Cox family: I can't wait to show you the rest of your pictures!



Tuesday, October 25

family

I have known the Hardacre family for a long time: Rachel and I became friends in elementary school. (Was it 4th grade, Rachel? I can't remember!) It was great to be able to catch up with them and photograph their family. They don't look cold in the pictures, but trust me, it was a cold and windy day! The heat wave of early October was officially over. I hope you enjoy this little "sneak peek" Hardacre family!
I just love this.
Baby Abram was a trooper through this whole session. He had to be so cold, but he didn't seem to mind!
Love those leaves...they make the best background.
Thanks again Hardacres!

Monday, October 24

sisters and such

I think I am going to call this week on my blog "picture week". I have had some great photo sessions this month, and would like to share them with you! I had all intentions of sharing some photos last week, but both Max and Cora came down with something... Needless to say, we spent lots of cuddle time on the couch, and very little time doing anything else. Thankfully they are much better now! Two sick kids = not fun times.

Early this month I had a great session with two lovely ladies and their beautiful mamma. So fun. These were taken during the October heat wave--80 degrees and sunny!
I understand why so many families want to to have their portraits taken in the fall: color, color, color!
We took all these pictures at Hickory Hills Golf Course in Farmland. In one of the sheds on the course there is an old truck. It is such a great color--I love it! I think this is my favorite picture from this session: looks like secrets are being shared between these two sisters.
Thank you Mandy, Karly and Addy! I enjoyed spending time with you on such a warm October day!

Wednesday, October 12

he writes

The other night we had a bonfire for Andrew's auction/real estate company. We invited over all the people who are a part of the business--a way to thank everyone for all their hard work. Shameless plug: Do you need a good realtor or auctioneer? Click here!

Anyway, we had a bonfire and we hired a caterer. Thank you Andrew for doing that. Caterer = happy wife. As people were arriving, Max perched himself in the caterer's van and wrote a little menu out of what we were having:
I had to spell every word out of course: B B Q, B E A N S, P O T A T O E S...

I love his handwriting, and love seeing his little notes around the house. At times it is tedious to spell words out for him, but one day he won't need me to. Sigh. He is getting very big.



Tuesday, October 11

parenting tip

A parenting tip: If your child smears Vaseline all over her head, the best way to remove it is to mix a little baking soda in with her shampoo. Lather and repeat.

On Saturday afternoon, I thought Cora was in her room just playing. I could hear her messing around with the baby monitor. I did a few tasks before checking on her. I forgot that I kept a basket of lotions, etc. on the dresser right next to the baby monitor. When I found her she had the jar of Vaseline open, and a good amount slathered on her head and face. I tried just washing it out with regular soap/shampoo, but that didn't work. Baking soda did the trick.

Another parenting tip: don't assume that they are ever just playing.

Friday, October 7

friday find: a very special cake

I recently found out that my sister in law Laci is an excellent baker. Excellent as in, holy cow you made that? We, along with my grandma Barb, share birthdays in September. When we got together for a little family party Laci showed up with a cake that was so beautiful. Probably the prettiest cake I've ever seen in real life.

Later that day we were talking about her cake making, and Laci asked me if I had considered doing something fun to reveal the gender of our new baby. (We found out what we were having with both Max and Cora. Andrew and I were always too excited to wait. We knew we would be too excited this time too!) Anyway, we got to talking about how now people get cakes to reveal the new baby's gender so that the entire family can share in the excitement. I didn't realize at the time that Laci was hinting that she wanted to make us a cake...

Well, the next time we talked I realized that Laci wanted to make us a fun baby cake. Well yes, that would be fun!! So, after some careful strategizing we hatched a plan. Andrew and I went to our ultrasound appointment and shielded our eyes when the technician got to the nether regions of the baby. Oh my gosh it was so hard to not peek! I don't know how people don't find out! Our very friendly technician then printed a picture announcing the baby's gender and sealed it up in an envelope. We took that envelope to my brother to give to my sister in law. It was all very secret agent.

Long story short: my wonderful sister in law made us a beautiful cake to celebrate our new baby. It was so fun and special...something I will remember forever. Now, without further ado, the results! (Note how the cake looks like a wedding cake. You're good, Laci!)




We're seeing pink!