Monthly Archives: September 2012

09.29.12{personal} Big Apple Circus

Tonight we went as a family (and friends) to the Big Apple Circus. I actually have never been to the circus myself so I was just as (maybe more) excited as the kids!

It did not disappoint, well, except for Finn who announced “The Circus ALWAYS has elephants” just before walking in. This particular circus is an “animal friendly” circus and did not have large animals, but it did have horses and dogs :)

In the end Finn didn’t mind that much and spent most of the time mimicking what was going on stage with hilarious wild gestures. And rolling up his shirt so he could show off his muscles like the Russian acrobats :)

He also hoarded the snacks the whole night. I love this pic because my kids are not used to flash at all so my camera phone pretty much blinded him ha!

Chloe LOVED it. She would watch intently and then get so excited to clap with everyone.

By the time we got home 3 out of the four cuties were passed out. The circus takes a lot out of yah ha!

I hope you all have a lovely relaxing weekend. See you Monday!



09.28.12{photography} Build Your Own Backdrop

While I am a natural light photographer 75% of the time when I do use my studio set up I want to make sure I have fun backdrops.

You may be asking what this has to do with you. You might not be a photographer. BUT if you have ever wanted to take “progression” photos of your kids it is fun to do it with the same background. If you have wanted to share a final photo of that dress you just made and want it to look more professional it is nice to have a backdrop. BUT the “real deal” can get pricey. I really wanted a backdrop that looked like vintage floral wallpaper but couldn’t find one I liked anywhere and I wasn’t going to pay over a hundred dollars for a back drop that was “eh” looking. All it took was a quick trip to Home Depot and our Fabric Warehouse “G Street Fabric” (seriously who named it that?). At home depot I bought a 3X3 foot square of wood. It was back in the back near the paneling and was only 5 bucks. If you have a staple gun already or can borrow one then you don’t have to worry about that :)

Then I headed to the fabric store and went straight to their home decor remnants section. I am lucky that this particular store has a HUGE selection of Home Decor, but even at Joannes they have some super cute ones and with a 40% coupon they become really affordable. You only need three yards. Since mine was a final sale remnant it only cost 7 dollars for the entire three yards! Score!

I washed and gave my fabric a very good ironing before mounting it. You can do one of two things, you can either wrap it around the board and staple it on the back giving you a nice finished look OR you can do as I did and get two back drops out of one board by simply cutting it to fit the board perfectly and staple all around the edges being sure to pull taught. Now a few extra hints to make your backdrop look as professional as possible.

1. While at home depot cut a 3 foot length of molding to put at the base of your backdrop. This gives it the look of actual wallpaper.

2. Buy a few pieces of click together wood flooring. My Home Depot is AMAZING so I can’t say this happens everywhere but on two separate occasions they have allowed me to buy the left over planks of wood in already opened boxes of flooring at INCREDIBLY discounted amounts… like less then 10 dollars. If you have carpet (like we do) this is a great and affordable way to make your pictures look more professional.

3. Always set up your backdrop/flooring next to some LARGE windows so you get plenty of diffused natural light. I have a shaded patio that is PERFECT for shoots :) It will give the nice even light that makes photos gorgeous.

Alright, I hope this was helpful to someone ha! Enjoy making your own backdrop!



PS Today Evie decided we were going to go swimming since the pool will not be open much longer. She put her swim suit on before we headed to get the boys from the bus. I decided not to fight her since we would be heading straight to the pool. So off we went. Our bus stop is right next to a graveyard. With over 100 children in grades k-4 it means lots of craziness all around. We try to keep the kids as respectful as possible but today we allowed them to play hide and seek behind the super old gravestones. By the time the bus came we had 8 kids hiding from me ha! People, I am extremely out of shape ha! But the cuties sure enjoyed it. I had to snap this pic of Evie and her buddies, one in her swim suit, one in her sisters jammies and one in the outfit she styled herself. Little girls are just so fun!

PPS Quote of the day is from Sawyer while playing with Finn: “Okay, I am still totally your grandpa BUT I am also a Vampire!”

09.27.12{personal} Exploring Space

Today Chris and I only had class in the morning yay! The kiddos also had early day so we decided we didn’t want to waste a free afternoon so we blew off the girls naps and headed down town to the air and space museum. Finn had come with Chris before on one of their “daddy gives individualized attention” activities but the others had only been to the new air and space museum out by Dulles Airport.  Of course we had to draggggg them out the door. Sawyer literally said to me: “Mom you know how when we ask to go somewhere after we get home you say ‘We just got here!’? How come you can say that but we can’t?” Ummmm, touche my friend, but you are still coming. Once we got there they were, of course, in heaven!

Well, except for chloe, who was passed out asleep :)

I love how kid friendly the Smithsonians are. So much to touch and play with

or help blow dry your sisters hair with…

After we had our fill of exploring we sat on the mall and enjoyed some ice creams {read: kids picked the coolest looking ice cream which tasted disgusting then ate my super yummy cookie ice cream}

Since Chloe still isn’t one we try to steer clear of dairy for her so she got a banana. Don’t feel bad though she LOVES banana’s especially after she rolls them in the dirt apparently.

That evening after our date, we headed to the store to buy some extra wide shoes to covers chloe’s exceptionally fat feet. I mean don’t get me wrong I love them but it has been so hard to find shoes ha! So now worries she now sports a nice soft pair of faux sheepskin boots which she will probably be able to kick off in two seconds.

Tomorrow I will be sharing a tutorial!! Yay! If you want to know how to make a back drop just like the one in the last post, found HERE, for less then 15 dollars, you are going to want to check it out!



PS. Quote of the day was from Evie when I returned from a bathroom break: “Mom? I was poking a squirel. He was crying because I was poking him.” Chris: “She got no where near a squirrel with her stick. Nor did any squirrels cry”. Ha!

09.26.12The tête-á-tête is over

Today I only had French class in the afternoon :) This was perfect since I needed to get ready for a newborn shoot I had that evening. Evie was a great helper while I moved furniture, arranged back drops etc while Chloe was a champ and napped. She was even good enough to be my little model so I could get my lights set correctly.

Mom’s, a bit of advice, don’t let your kids get temporary tattoo’s a day or two before your family pictures ha! No child likes to have their arm half scrubbed off right before being made fake smile for an hour on end 😉 I didn’t even remember Evie had one until I sat down to edit them ha!

I left the studio with every single little thing set exactly as it should be and went to class. I should mention that the State Department pays for Foreign Service Officers to attend language courses! Isn’t that awesome? I was put in an 8 week Fast French Course. Up until last week there were only two of us in the class I was attending. This weekend my classmate, the lovely Carmela, headed out to Brussels, leaving just myself. Yay! All weekend Chris and I spoke French to each other so I could be ready for the undivided attention and pressure I would have on Monday. It was so fun! We could talk about the kids right in front of them, and they had no idea. I felt like Megamind “Code: we need to put the kids to bed” only this time it was in code! On Monday class was amazing. Four hours of class completely tapered to my learning style, aka me at the smart board writing a million different phrases. So I was pretty eager to go this afternoon. I sat down at my seat, got out all my supplies and waited, and waited, and waited. Then my teacher walked past and in French asked “Didn’t you get the email? They closed the class since there was only one student.” I thought I was going to start crying. I had come so far in just three weeks and was totally psyched to go to Paris with a good chunk under my belt. *at this point I should mention I am a big baby* I choked back tears as I thanked my teacher and went to find Chris to see what he thought I should do. He took me to the department chair who offered me two solutions a.) I could just consider the three week class a survival French and be done. Um, no. b.) I could “parachute” into another full length class for the next five weeks and hopefully learn some more. So, tomorrow I start with a new teacher and group of students. Is it silly that I have worried about what I am going to wear and practiced introducing myself like nine hundred times? I thought all this social nervousness was left in the dust back in undergrad. But apparently not ha! Here is to a new class!



PS Side note, while I was in class poor Samantha threw out her back while with the girlies at the park. Thank heavens she was just down stairs and one of Evie’s friends mom helped her basically crawl up the stairs. Poor girl!

PPS To balance out the cute photos here is what I think is one of the funniest pictures ever taken of the girls. Samantha sent it to me with the subject “I swear I don’t drug them”. I thought I was going to die laughing.


09.25.12A Picture, A Paragraph

This weekend we traveled to Charlottesville for a bit of family time. We met my little sister and brother in law at Monticello and then went apple picking (aka mormon mardi gras, anyone see SNL?) at my favorite orchard EVER. As we hiked up the side of the mountains above Charlottesville I thought about how we did this exact same hike four years ago with a determined little Sawyer marching in front of us with his best friend Fischer while Finn bounced in the Bjorn. We were there with one of favorite families the Adams’. Chris and I talked about the amazing memories we made during law school and how as memories get more and more distant they meld and become mixed with other memories from a similar time period. I did such a good job documenting our life in Williamsburg and our life in Timor. For some reason when I returned to the states I suddenly felt I had nothing to say. More specifically I thought I had nothing “meaningful” to add to this over saturated blogging world. My post became less and less frequent. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to share the goings ons of our lives I just thought “who in the world would be interested?” Well, I have let this go on for far to long. Last night when I couldn’t sleep I decided I would start a new personal project and call it “A Picture, A Paragraph”. For the foreseeable future I am going to attempt to post at least one picture and at minimum one paragraph everyday. Now some of you may think this isn’t a big deal, and maybe it’s not. But keep in mind I am a momma to four, take four hours of French everyday plus two hours independent study AND usually have 2-3 photo shoots a week. But, as my Dad always said to us kiddos it is all about priorities. I want to remember my life. Even the “dull” parts we spend waiting to get to our next post. Pretty sure at the end of our lives these transitional periods will make up the bulk of our past ha! Now, this does not mean I will stop posting tutorials. If I could make it a priority I have a snazzy back to school dress that I made Evie that I would love to share! Does it mean you have to read them? Of course not. But I sure would love for you to join our family on our journey! And, it starts today!! Now most will not be this lengthy but hey, a weekend deserves a bit more attention no? Oh and I will not be posting on Sundays, just FYI.

I already mentioned our trip to Charlottesville. Did I mention my dressing our entire family in stripes? Yeah, that was pretty funny. I actually do it quiet often. I put a chambrey shirt out for Sawyer, then suddenly Chloe is in a chambrey tunic and Evie a denim dress and I look down and voila I am in my chambrey shirt and skinny jeans. Um, how did this happen? It is like I get something on the brain and just can’t get away from it ha! On several occasions in Timor Chris and I turned up to the embassy wearing pretty much the exact same outfit, khaki’s and a blue pin stripe shirt. Great minds think alike? What added to the hilarity though was that my little sister was also wearing a striped shirt! I guess she got the memo

We actually cheaped out and didn’t pay the money to go into Monticello. Having all been there before we simply ate lunch and then let the kids play in the children’s room downstairs, which was AWESOME! We ended up staying in this little room for an hour! We built with blocks in neoclassical shapes:

Played an earnest first game of checkers with Uncle Paul

And created rubbings…. or just drew a picture of our family when we couldn’t figure out the rubbings thing.

The girls played rustic kitchen and ran.. okay well Chloe ran ha!

If you are in VA you probably know about Carter Mountain Orchard. They have got the corner of the market in apple pickin, and though they are always swarmed with people they are so efficient! We parked a about a mile away ha got our bags and headed up.

The kids mainly wanted to wander around which luckily we had two extra sets of hands so we let them! We are so lucky to have Claire and Paul close for these last few months. Our kids absolutely ADORE them!

Our kids are also embaresingly enough the LAZIEST kids I know. It is terrible. I mean come on, Finn is five and he is in the ergo? When I made him get out his response was to lay on the ground and tell me his legs couldn’t walk anymore.

This kid is in for a rude awakening when we get to Paris! Chloe on the other hand could not get enough of it! She tried to walk everywhere but still isn’t great at slanted, uneven ground. At one point she sort of rolled in slow motion down the side and gave me a look as if to say “this is completely involuntary!!”

We scarfed down a dozen doughnuts and a slice of pie :) No calorie counting over here friends (though there probably should be ha!)

As we left we drove through downtown Charlottesville and talked about how our lives would be different if we had attended UVA as opposed to William and Mary for Law school. We showed the boys the century old dorms designed by Thomas JEfferson and informed them that this was an acceptable choice for undergrad :) Finn announced he is still attending Science school aka somewhere he can create potions like on Harry Potter and get credit for it.

On the drive home we passed a very unique ice cream shop and had to stop:

I ordered a “medium” ice cream and was given a mountain:

I couldn’t eat half of it. But I do appreciate getting my money’s worth ha! Of course the kids lost it when we informed them that the minute we walked into the house they had to go straight to bed. Finn: “But we didn’t get to play at ALL today!” Mom:” What about the children’s museum? Or all your running around at  the orchard?” Finn: “That was having fun mom, not PLAYING”. Did you know there was a distinction? Apparently there is!

Hope your weekend was full of fun as well!

Cheers! See you tomorrow!