Monday, November 28, 2011

We could have missed our flight!

Just looked at our itenerary for our New York trip we leave in the morning for. Um, good thing...until about 10 minutes ago, we thought our flight left from Moline at 8:30am. We had a plan of what time we'd get up and leave. The plan is changed, our flight leaves from CHICAGO at 8:30am...the first leg leaves from Moline at 6:55am. Oops! We would have been arriving at the airport as our plane took off if we hadn't checked the itenerary! Geesh...thank goodness we double checked!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jimmy Fallon Guests...

Not sure that we could have picked a better day to get tickets to Jimmy Fallon next week. I pretty much don't know who any of his guests are all week (aside from Betty White...would have been awesome to see her!), but the day that we are there the guests are....

Steve Buscemi...

and Darrel Hammond....

I know who both of them are and think they're both hilarious! I cannot wait to be there for the taping. So if you're interested in watching just in case we get on TV (ha...doubt it!), the show is on Thursday, December 1st...set your DVR's! :)


I didn't even come close to my goal of running 100 miles by Thanksgiving...not even close. I think I forgot to log a few miles here and there, but regardless, it was a complete failure. Ugh. I need to join the YMCA I think. I don't know what I'm going to do when it starts snowing and it's bitter cold out. We'll see...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I think I might go do a happy dance now...

I got the wedding pictures edited! It took just over a month (which I expected it may take longer) and took so much time, but I love editing...especially when it's couples that are this gorgeous! Check out several of their pictures on the Jennie Peakin Photography Blog if you'd like!

Sean is officially on vacation! He worked last night and is now off until we return from New York City!!!! Woohoo!

I checked the weather for New York City while we are there and as of now, it looks to be AMAZING!

We are going to go to the festival of trees tonight. It was so much fun when we went last year, so we're hoping we can repeat the fun this year. :)

I got an orange coat about 9 years ago when I had lost lots of weight just before I met Sean. I loved's Banana Republic, cost way more than I should have spent at the time, but I loved it. So I bought it. It fit that winter and that winter only. I ended up gaining a bunch of weight back and the coat no longer fit. Ugh. I kept the's classic in style and is still "in style" I guess. I still LOVE it! I tried it on about 6 weeks ago and couldn't button it. Darn it! I tried it on again yesterday and it fit like a glove!!! Oh my goodness, I was so happy!

So I'm going to go do a happy dance now. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post Thanksgiving dinner yoga...

It was no joke. A serious yoga session after Thanksgiving dinner ensued at my sister's house. :)

Not sure about the poses so much, but Ayla had the facial expressions right on!!!

And then all went down hill once Brigg and his craziness joined in. He was trying to knock the balancing children over. Ha. So then a hugging/wresting match ensued...equally as entertaining if you ask me!

Oh my goodness, I love these kids!

Can't wait for Bode and Boone to be here in a few weeks for our Christmas so ALL the cousins can be together!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We are ready for Christmas!

Our week after Thanksgiving this year will be crazy busy with much of it spent for Sean and I in New York City. We knew that if we didn't set up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving this year, it wouldn't go up until mid December. So last night was the night! We got all the decorations out and set up and decorated the tree!

Tate was SO EXCITED! Each year we do this gets more and more fun!

He wanted to put the angel on the tree this year...

And he carried this ornament around for about 45 minutes before we were ready to start decorating the tree. He said, "I want this to be the FIRST ornament that goes on the tree and I want to hang it up all by myself!" Okay, no problem!

He took the job very seriously...

So proud...

And I have to admit, he chose an excellent first ornament!

We have trained him well! :)

Then we put the other ornaments on. This year, we didn't put all of our ornaments on. We stuck with only bulbs and a few others (like the Hawkeye ornaments we get Tate each year).

We listened to Christmas music and hung the wreath on our front door too.

We are ready for Christmas now...just in time for Thanksgiving! :)

Oh so thankful...

...that God has allowed me to be this little man's mother!


We have so much to be thankful for this year. 2011 has been very good to us and we are beyond thankful for that!

We are so very thankful to have incredible family who supports us and loves us no matter what, for supportive friends who feel like family, and for the path that God has paved for us.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More dance moves...

And here is another video from yesterday. Oh my goodness, when I need my day brightened, I just need to remember to watch these videos! These 2 are hilarious!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My "after school program"

This is what we do pretty much the entire time we have after preschool until James comes to pick up Ava. It's so fun and I usually am joining in on the dance party. :)

This video cracks me up...Ava is hilarious!!! I have another one that I will post in a bit that's a hair shorter, but equally as funny!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I am so mad at myself...

For more reasons than 1, but here are a couple of reasons...

1. I am slacking on my running. Every spare moment I have had over the last couple of weeks has been spent editing pictures. I LOVE doing this photography gig, I do. However, I am more than ready to have the time to run, clean, do laundry, spend time with my family and run errands this winter while I have my break from shoots until the spring! I am just so disappointed in myself. I really felt that 100 miles before Thanksgiving would have been acheivable...guess in order to acheive a running goal you actually have to run regularly! Ha...imagine that! I think it's been close to 2 weeks since my feet have hit the pavement for a run. I can feel it in my energy level, my attitude and on the scale! The weightloss has slowed down over the last 2 weeks and THAT is frustrating! At least I'm not gaining and am still losing a LITTLE. I have so much more I want to lose, so I NEED to get my photos edited and make running a DAILY priority! So the goal I made is in no way going to be over close to met. Ugh...that makes me so mad!

2. I am mad that I am a blog slacker too! I love it when I get on a kick where I am blogging almost every day. I VERY regularly go back and see what we were doing this day last year or this day 2 or 3 years ago. It's so fun. I hate going back and seeing that I didn't blog for the several days surrounding "this day". Again, once the editing has been completed, I think I'll have more moments to blog...and take photographs of my OWN family! :) Speaking of...I was looking back at Christmas last year on this blog and was shocked to see the pictures of myself from Christmas last year! Wow...I think Sean and I may have to recreate the poses we did for our impromptu family pics in my parents basement last year and then post last year's compared to this years. We both look quite different than we did last year! ;)

I don't want to be COMPLETELY negative on here, so I do feel the need to also talk about a couple of things I am happy about! :)

1. We leave for New York City the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Oh.My.Goodness we are excited!!!! So much on the agenda, I have butterflies just thinking about it. I feel so blessed that Sean and I will have this much needed getaway alone before the chaos of the holidays and the addition(s) to our family! Eeek!!!!!

2. Though I talk about how busy I am with photo shoots and editing and how time consuming it is, I am SO SO BLESSED to have the most amazingly understanding, patient and kind clients ever and the fact that I even have this many people who want me to photograph them is just such a blessing. I never dreamed this tiny little business venture would take off so quickly that in less than 2 years into it, I'd actually have to TURN AWAY some clients because I didn't have enough time slots to fit them in! Wow. It's truly amazing and exciting and wonderful! I am doing my dream job, really! I am excited to do a bit of revamping for my 2012 photoshoots and look forward to many of the changes that will hopefully make things a bit less overwhelming for me.

Meatloaf and a sleepover :)

Tate had his first official sleepover on Wednesday night. He had Ava stay the night and they were both over the moon about this! They felt like such big kids! It was pretty cute. :)

They wanted to help make dinner and I had meatloaf on the menu. PERFECT! What I did was put the meat, bread crumbs and eggs in the bowl and then sat out a bunch of spices, ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, even some soy sauce and worcestershire sauce. I got the big stepstool out and told them they could put in however much of whatever of the ingredients sitting out were. My plan was to watch closely to just make sure they didn't do anything too gross...the only thing is that I got distracted and before I knew it they said, "okay, we're done!" I looked in the bowl and honestly couldn't tell how much of what they put in. I thought I'd loaf it up and just go with it! Not before a picture of them with their creation though! :)

Turns out that we may have some budding chefs on our hands...the meatloaf was DEEEELICOUS! Too bad I don't have a recipe for it! Ha.

After dinner, they played and played, watched a movie, had a snack and went to bed. In the morning they ate a super healthy breakfast (HA!) and played to their hearts' content in their jammies before I took them to preschool. Sean and I returned to their preschool to drive them to the food pantry for the fieldtrip that was to last the second half of their day. Then, we drove through Sonic for Happy Hour and went home and the kids did some crafts with pipe cleaners and then made art! They had such a great time together and I forsee many more sleepovers like this in their futures. :)

Norrine's Bridal Shower...

My mom and sister hosted a shower today for a friend of our family's. My sister has been friends with Norrine since we moved to Muscatine when she was in 7th grade and my mom became friends with Norrines mom, Cindy at the same time. Our familys hung out together all the time and have had many great times together.

Norrine is getting married in Florida in December and unfortunately we will not be able to attend the wedding, so my mom and sister wanted the shower to be extra special.

It was gorgeous.

Such a happy occassion, lots of laughs, chatting and tears (happy tears of course!).

The cake was adorable!!!

The mermaid on top...

It was definitely a hit!

The decor was beautiful with the under the sea/mermaid theme down to every detail...

My mom even drew and cut out these mermaid sillouettes to hang above the windows!

The spread was even beautiful...and yummy!

My mom and the bride...

Soon to be Sisters-in-law, Betsy and Norrine are BOTH planning their upcoming weddings (Betsy will be marrying Norrine's brother next October)!

My mom, Norrine and my sister...

We chatted and drank sangria while Norrine opened gifts, then we chatted some more. What a fun, relaxing afternoon it was!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I can't seem to control the crazy...

Sometimes I recognize as I'm thinking about agreeing to something or as the words are coming out of my mouth that I will do something that I am crazy. Really, I can't control the crazy. I know that since I am a stay at home mom, many may think that there's no way I can be that busy. However, I am busier with the photography business than I have been with any job I've ever had, so that alone keeps me busy. The problem is, that I truly want to do everything that's asked of me. I really do! I am not good at saying "no", but most of the time I don't even want to say "no"!

Soooo...I am thinking about joining a cooking club. I mean, I totally want to, but it's kind of a big committment. I don't know what to do. I mean, I KNOW I should say, "no", but we'll see. ;)

What is Tate thankful for?

Tate had homework last night.  We were to talk with him about what it means to have a thankful heart and then ask them what they are thankful for and write it on the feather they have that will make a Turkey at preschool.  Without prompting at all, Tate said with no hesitation, "I am thankful that I have clean water because lots of people don't have it."  Um, seriously my heart skipped a beat...he can be so sweet!  Clearly we've been talking about water lately in our house! :-)

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Monday, November 14, 2011

One step closer...

We met with our licensing worker today to sign some papers that we missed during our homestudy and were told that our homestudy is being turned into DHS for approval today! Now we wait...again. We should be approved in about 45 days...I'm thinking about making a paper chain. :)

a much needed childless weekend...

Sean and I had planned to have a weekend without Tate this last weekend for a while now. The weekend extended a little bit longer than originally was planned, but thanks to my super generous sister and her family, Tate had a great time staying at their house all weekend. We were disappointed with the Hawkeye loss, but I won't go there. I got to spend some time celebrating some exciting news with our amazing friends, The DeCooks and I got to see one of my dearest friends of close to 20 years (YIKES I feel old!) and her daughter who I don't get to see very often.

We had fun watching the Iowa game with friends (despite the loss) and then I even got to nap in the afternoon...WOOHOO! Then we completed our evening with several friends until the wee hours. We slept in today and I had a wonderful photoshoot with an amazing family this afternoon! Sean and I got a lot of time to talk about some serious things that are upcoming for us and had all kinds of uninterrupted time to mull over some of those things which was MUCH needed! By this morning, we were really missing Tate and couldn't wait to see him! Not sure the feeling was mutual as he had SO MUCH fun. Ha. :) It was a great weekend and we capped it off with relaxing on the couch all evening.

Sean starts a night rotation for the next month tomorrow (boo) and Tate gets his flu shot. I plan to be an editing machine this week. I HAVE to be. I need these images edited before we leave for NYC and that date is sneaking up on us...2 weeks from Tuesday!

I have not picked up my camera forever (aside from photoshoots) and so my posts are pictureless...sorry. I'll try to work on that!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Art Auction for WATER...

Check out this post to learn about all of this wonderful art you can bid on to raise money for clean water! I even contributed a couple of pictures that aren't posted yet as I JUST got them in the mail. Last minute...story of my life! :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Could it be?!!!

I wrote this 4 years ago today after being given the amazing blessing of being able to watch my gorgeous niece, Ayla Lyn come into this world.

I cannot believe that was 4 years ago!

Oh how I love this little, spunky, beautiful so much.

Happy 4th Birthday, Ayla!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

thoughts from a tired mama who feels so blessed...

So at 5am, Sean's phone rings saying there's low census and he doesn't need to go to work today. He's on call, but 2nd on the list. He goes back to sleep. Then, at 6:45am his phone rings again and it's his work saying there was a "miscommunication" and he actually shouldn't have been called off work in the first place, so he needs to come in. The great part about that is that since the "miscommunication" occurred, he technically got called in. When he gets called in, he gets paid time and a half...sweet! 17 hours later, he came home from work. was a looooong shift. I am thrilled at the fact that there was a "miscommunication" though! :)

So that was Sean's day.

Mine? Well, mine consisted of volunteering in Tate's classroom and editing. That's pretty much it. I was an editing maniac today! My eyes are blurry from staring that the computer screen, but I am happy to say that every last image outside of the wedding is edited! I will be shooting my last portraits of the year on Sunday! It is going to be glorious to have a bit of a break from the editing. I mean, aside from the wedding that I still have lots of editing to do on. I am praying the wedding edits will be complete by the time we leave for NYC...that's my goal.

I got a card in the mail today from a dear friend. I love mail. And this was just a simple little card that totally made my day! Loved her. :)

I am feeling blessed with all of our friends as of late. We miss our time with the DeCook family. Summer was great...they're both teachers so it allowed for lots of free time to get together. :) However, reality has to set in at some point and it definitely has. We will be spending Wednesday evening with them at their house for dinner and I am so looking forward to it. Also, I got to talk on the phone to a precious friend tonight who I've known for what seems like my whole life. It was a much needed conversation that left me feeling so good. And then we have a fun day planned with another couple of new friends who feel like old friends this weekend!

Also, I found some dirt cheap (for reals!) plane tickets to Florida for a Monday-Friday in December. I want to purchase them so Tate and I can go down there. Problem is, Sean can't go with us seeing as we would leave 2 days upon our return from NYC and he has to work. Darn work anyway! Ha. Anyway, since the trip would be during the week and I don't really want to go down alone with Tate when Chris and Brenda will be working that whole week, my mom can't go and so many of my other friends/family likely can't get time off just before Christmas for an impromptu vacation, I started creating a list in my head of stay at home moms I know that I woudn't mind spending 5 days with in Florida. :) I knew just who to ask...another new friend who feels like an old friend! I am awaiting a reply... :)

Tate will be spending the weekend in Muscatine with Cassie and family. I love my little man and will miss him, but it will be nice to have some time with Sean uninterrupted. Thank you Cassie and Paul SOOO much for keeping Tate this weekend!

So all of the above things are just making me feel so blessed tonight. Truly, I have the best family and friends (old and new!) and I am so thankful for each one of you!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

keeping ourselves busy...

As usual, we have a busy week ahead of us. This weekend has been fun having Brigg and Lani (and Willow) here. Mom and Dad came up last night and we all watched football and went to dinner. It was a good time.

This week I have LOTS of cake pops to make for the Wine to Water Party that is this upcoming weekend. Still unsure if we'll be able to attend the party or not. I also have a couple of photoshoots to edit (plus the wedding), am volunteering at Tate's preschool, should probably get my house back in order, have disks of my completed photoshoots to burn and mail to clients, have tons of laundry to do and clothes to put away. I am beginning to realize that this is the story of my life...jam packed weeks and weekends.

We leave for New York City in 3 weeks and 2 days upon our return from New York, a Florida trip for my mom, Tate and I is possibly in the works. If that happens, I'll have 2 weeks until Christmas upon our return from that trip. Then, the chaos of the holidays will be in full force and once that all dies down, we are praying our family will be growing by another child at the beginning of 2012. :)

I think I am trying to pack the rest of 2011 with lots of stuff to make it fly by quickly. Looking forward to what 2012 will hold.

So busy, busy, busy is the name of the game for now. :)

It was time again...

I decided to give the blog a new look. I will have to live with this look for a while and then decide if I want to adjust it. Just wanted to let you know if case you check over the next week or two and notice some changes.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I have taken after my mother in many ways. Not sure why this came to my head, but thought I would write it down for no other reason than the fact that I haven't really written out much of a blog post lately. So here goes...

I am addicted to dishes, and serving peices and napkin rings and tablecloths. I guess, mostly entertaining items. I believe I own 5 FULL sets of dishes. It's a problem. I really go crazy at TJ Maxx, they have so many fun things. I love fun bowls and platters and aprons and dish towels too. Fun coffee mugs?! Yup, love those. Funny thing about that is that I only drink my coffee out of my Tervis Tumbler, so there's really no use for me to have more than a couple of coffee mugs to have for guests.

Also, I am addicted to accessories. Scarves, bracelets, earings, necklaces, necklaces, necklaces, shoes, more shoes, socks, hats, gloves. Love it all. The thing is, I LOVE bold, bright accessories and the problem with that is that they stand out. So if I wear the same bright, bold peice of jewelry or scarf too often, people might think, "geesh, she wears that all the time!" So that's why I need LOTS of those peices. :) Oh it's just so much fun to accessorize! I was going through my socks the other day and found 6 pairs of Halloween socks, 3 pairs of Valentine's socks, 6 pairs of Christmas socks and a million other "just for fun" socks. I mean, that is a bit out of control. In my defense (umm, sort of), I am a bit of a hoarder many of these socks are about 10 years old. Ha.

Even when I wasn't feeling so great about myself, weighed more than I ever thought I would, had no energy, just felt yuck, I still think I wore some loud accessories. Guess that's just always been my style. However, as of late, I have probably amped it up a bit. I am finally starting to feel a little better about myself since some weight has come off, I think my energy inside myself is reflecting what I wear on the outside. I have been having so much fun with my new wardrobe that I've had to purchase as none of my old clothing fits anymore. A new wardrobe requires new accessories sometimes, right?! :) I am one to be thrilled with a great bargain too...don't get me wrong. I am not out there breaking the bank in order to accessorize. I wish I could though! Ha. :)

I guess the short of it is that I like to accessorize my life. I like to accessorize my tables, my home, my body, my clothing, etc.. Accessories are fun!

Back when I was 19 or 20, I got a tattoo on my foot. I won't go into detail the meaning of it (there WAS meaning to it at the time), but the meaning has faded. I hate the tattoo. Despise it. It's a yellow rose...gross. For 10 years I have said on a regular basis, "I need to do something to this tattoo to change it. I wish it wasn't there, but if I'm going to have something there, I want to love it." My incredibly talented friend from way back in highschool is a tattoo artist here in the Quad Cities. He is super talented and I know I can be a baby (I mean, a tattoo on your foot hurts!) around him and not feel embarrassed. I've known for years that he tattoos and knew I wouldn't want anyone else to redo my tattoo except him. We hadn't spoken in almost 10 years and I was thrilled to reconnect with him via Facebook a couple of weeks ago. So tomorrow is the day. I will finally be getting my tattoo on my foot fixed/added to so that I don't cringe every time I look down at it. :) I am soooo excited! I met with him last week and showed him my "inspiration" of what I am kind of wanting, but trust him to draw his interperatation of it. It will be colorful (shocker right?!) and I can't wait to have this "permanent accessory".

See? I love to accessorize! Oh, and the wanting a colorful tattoo thing...that's one thing that ISN'T something I take after my mom! :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

National Adoption Month...

November is National Adoption Month. Adoption has blessed and changed our lives and hearts in ways we never dreamed. Read our adoption story and why we have an open adoption HERE if you haven't already.


I forgot to post this when I got the chairs done last week. Our table isn't done yet, but we LOVE the chairs! The brown paint on the top is chalkboard paint. That way we can put little messages like "Happy Birthday" on them or even just our names. When nothing is written on them though, we think the brown still looks nice. :-)
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