Thanksgiving Weekend

Tonight I'm flying solo.  No hubby.  No baby.  They're both in Wichita for the night (and day tomorrow).  Craig is there for work and wanted to give his mom some QT with her youngest grand baby.  Understandable, but it's incredibly hard for this momma.  I may have cried this morning.  Silly, I know.  But it's hard.  A feeling you never really understand until you're a mom.

I'm trying to take advantage of the quiet time.  I cleaned a bit.  Organized some.  Watched DWTS.  Tutored.  Went to the eye doctor.  And now catching up on the blog.

Did I mention, I finished my portfolio project?!  Woo hoo!  A whole 39 hours before the deadline.  That's pretty good for this procrastinator!  Now I just have three more weeks of my last class and then I'll be done with homework for good.  For life.  I. Can't. Wait.

Alright, on to the purpose of this post.  Our Thanksgiving recap.  This year was our year with my family in Iowa.  We spent Thanksgiving day with my mom's side.  My sister and brother-in-law hosted.  Though that side of the fam is the smaller side, we definitely enjoyed ourselves.  Lots of great food and a pretty interesting Game of Things.  Things I learned.  Never play with your dad.  And always play with Craig.  His answers were hilarious.

Meanwhile, Brantley and Kellen enjoyed their time together and played on the floor for hours.

On Friday, we hung out at my parents' house, watched the Iowa game, and went to the town square Christmas lighting.  It's no Plaza lighting, but it's pretty big time for the small town of Fairfield, Iowa.  Friday is when the weather decided to get cold.  Like 30-degree cold.  Colder with the wind.  But we braved the chilliness for some festiveness.

Saturday was freezing cold again.  I pretended to be a photographer and took some family photos for my sister and brother-in-law.  They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.  Especially considering my fingertips were freezing in the 20-degree weather!  Of course, I freaked out and took most of the pics on auto mode. Hopefully that changes after my class this weekend.

Saturday was also my dad's 55th birthday.  Check out these cupcakes I decorated!  (Inspiration from Pinterest.)  Little fishing poles (pretzels) with {gold} fish and a pond of blue water (frosting).  Happy birthday, Dad!  Glad we got to spend the day with you!

Saturday night was Thanksgiving #2 with my dad's side.  Hosted by my aunt and uncle.  My dad has 7 siblings. There are 17 grandkids and 7 great grandkids.  My point being - get-togethers can be pretty loud. Since I didn't think to get a family picture on Thanksgiving day, I got a belated one on Saturday night.

We left early Sunday morning and arrived home by 11:30.  We spent the afternoon Christmas shopping!  And boy was it fun shopping for our baby's first Christmas!  The sweet, little guy slept right through the toy aisle and had no idea his gifts were mere inches from him in the cart. :)

Oh, one more blog-worthy item from the long weekend.  Brantley has his first taste of rice cereal!  He was a champ!  Even open and closed his mouth for the spoon!  I'm not sure how much was actually digested, but it was a good start.  Here are the pics!

And a few more pics of the little man in Iowa.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  For me, the Christmas {break} countdown is on!


Playing With My New Camera: Shutter Speed

Lesson 2: Shutter speed. 

Just like it sounds.  How quickly the shutter opens and shuts when you snap a photo.  The number represents the fraction of a second the shutter is open.  Very math-ish.  I like math.  Obviously the quicker the speed, the more still of a shot you get because it freezes the motion of whatever you're taking a picture of.  (Or that's how I envision it anyway.)  However, based on my examples, as the speed got quicker, the picture got darker.  I'm assuming because less time means less light allowed in?

Check out my example photos!  I'm having lots of fun learning!  Thanks to Aimee at It's Overflowing for the online lessons! :)

Playing With My New Camera: Aperture

I'm taking a little photography class next weekend to learn how to use the non-auto settings of my new camera.  However, in the meantime I found a link to this amazing blog, It's Overflowing, on Pinterest.  The author posted weekly photography lessons last winter and I'm slowly working through them to learn a little.  First lesson - aperture.  In other words, how much light is let in by your camera.  Higher aperture means less light and lower aperture equals more light.  Aperture affects the focus.  So as the aperture gets higher, the objects in the photo are more in focus.  This is one way to blur the background of pics.  Check out my practice photos below!

If you have a DSLR camera and want to learn how to use it, seriously, go check out her blog today!


Black Friday Photo Dump

Happy Black Friday!  Any crazies out there that went shopping in the wee hours of the morning?  Not I!  It's not worth it to me.  The stress, the rudeness, the impatience, the pushing and shoving.  That's how I imagine it anyway.  I've actually never been early-morning Black Friday shopping!  Shopping on Black Friday?  Yes.  But at normal times of the day.  When the crazy crowd is back home in bed.  I don't think we're going this year though.  Instead we'll stay home (parent's home) and watch the Iowa football team play try to play get killed.  Did I just say that?  It's been a pretty ugly year.  I'm convinced that even KU would beat Iowa, despite a new coach and QB versus Iowa's coach and QB that have been around for multiple years.  Sad.

Anyway, here are my photo dumps.  I made a conscious effort to take more this week.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Top: Big Boy can {sort of} hold bottles himself | First experience with rice cereal
Middle: Napping on the couch | Paper writing en route to Iowa | H&M Babe
Bottom: Daddy's alma mater played Mommy's and I decided to root for Daddy's team (good thing, they won) | Helping with lights | Just made the switch to a stomach sleeper

Top: Hubs putting up Christmas lights | Nice Saturday night
Bottom: O'Christmas tree | Countdown is ON | Well done, hubs


In the spirit of the week, I thought I'd do a little blog post on what I'm thankful for.  If I'm being honest, there are lots of things for granted each and every day.  But truly, I am grateful.

1. First and foremost, I am thankful for a healthy, happy baby.  After everything we went through during pregnancy and when Brantley was first born, I will never, ever take his health for granted.  I consider him my miracle baby and think he's perfect in every single way.

2. My husband.  I don't thank him enough for all he does.  He helps clean, does laundry, takes care of our house, yard, and finances, does so much to help out with Brantley, and works very hard to provide for a comfortable lifestyle for our family.  He is a fantastic husband, friend, and daddy.  I am one lucky girl to have married such an awesome guy.  I hope Brantley grows up to be just like him. :)

3. Our families.  Despite living 2+ hours from our families, I am grateful for the time we're able to spend with them.  Immediate, extended, everyone!  We're very lucky to have loving, caring families on both sides.

(Beyond here, they are in no particular order!)

4. Kinnick.  He always makes us feel so loved.  He's taken a seat on the back burner since Brantley's arrival (sadly), but he is still the best doggy ever!

5. My job.  I may complain about it at times, and get frustrated with my students, but I am lucky enough to have a job I truly love.  I'm thankful for the income my job provides that allows us to do the things we enjoy. 

6. My co-workers.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...I have awesome co-workers!  They would do anything for me, and likewise me for them.  After all, we ARE Mill Valley. :)

7. My health.  I don't love working out, but thankfully, I've never had any major health problems.

8. On a similar note, I'm thankful I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy size quickly.  I credit that solely to my good genes.  (Thanks Mom!)  I'm not the skinniest girl, but appreciate the fact that I'm very average and didn't have to work hard to get rid of the baby weight.

9. Friends.  New and old, near and far, I am thankful for ALL my friends!  Without them, life wouldn't be nearly as much fun.

10. Our house.  Not only are we lucky to have a roof over our heads, but lucky to afford a nice home with nice things. 

11. Our neighborhood.  We live in a great place and have some great neighbors!  I've always felt very, very safe in our neighborhood.  (And we have a pool!)

12. My education.  Again, I complain about my classes and can't wait to be done, but I'm very thankful we have the means for me to further my education.

13. Daycare.  I never have to worry about B-Man during the day and I know Miss Stephanie is taking great care of him!  

14. The Internet.  Yep that's right, the Internet!  It allows me to stay up-to-date with family and friends on Facebook, copy others' creative ideas, and of course, document our lives on this blog!

15. Weekends.  Need I say more?  An opportunity to rest and recharge.  And spend lots of time with the babe.

I am thankful for much, much more, but these are the fifteen that top my list.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

It's Chrismas at Our House!

Tree.  Check!

Lights.  Check!  (Courtesy of the hubs.)

Cards ordered.  Despite the very difficult decision, check!

Accomplished all-things Christmas this weekend!  Here are a few pics of Brantley helping put up his first Christmas tree.  Yeah right, he sat in his swing and watched as Mommy and Daddy did all the hard work. :)

So looking forward to the super short week and extra time with B-Man.

Oh and by the way...there are only

That's all for now.  Happy *almost* holidays!


No time for blogging lately.  (Story of my life it seems.)  Every spare minute has been consumed with working on my portfolio (final) project for my masters.  It's due on the 26th, as in nine days from today.  But it really needs to be done prior to leaving town for Thanksgiving...which is Wednesday.  I just started on it on Monday.  And I've known about it since the end of August.  My own fault for waiting this long, but I did not want to spend my maternity leave working on it.  And since going back to work, mid-November snuck up too quickly.  Anyway, the project requires seven papers and a presentation.  I'm done with 5 1/2 papers and the presentation, so I'm almost there!  I'm feeling much better about the stupid thing now than I did a few days ago, but it's still weighing pretty heavily on me.  Graduation in 4 weeks!  I can.not.wait!

In other news, we took Brantley for his 4-month appointment yesterday.  He's up to 14 pounds 13 ounces.  So our luggage scale was pretty close!  4-months means more immunizations.  Poor guy.  He forgot about them pretty quickly, but cried a little harder than he did at 2 months.  We also got the go-ahead to start rice cereal!  Our little man is growing up quickly. :(

No big plans this weekend.  Wait, really big plans.  We're putting up our Christmas tree tonight!  Wine, Christmas music, and holiday decor = awesome.  And with a baby this year.  I can't wait to start fun, family, holiday traditions!

I only took three Instagrams this week.  And the third I took yesterday just to have another pic!  Seriously, you know I'm busy when I only take three cell phone pics in seven days!  So, here they are!  My measly Friday Saturday Photo Dump.  Happy weekend!

Top: Favorite thing about the weekends | Practicing my sitting skills
Bottom: Almost the same size!  (He's gonna overtake you soon, Kinnick!)

Some Family Photos

A few weeks ago, we met our wonderful friend, Jamie, at Lake Lenexa for some family photos.  I mainly wanted one good photo for Christmas cards, but also a few three month shots of B-Man and some decent family photos for our wall.  She finished editing them and gave me the cd earlier this week!  The pictures are great, as always!  I don't love how I look...I'm always too critical of myself.  But Brantley Boy is adorable, despite not smiling.  Here are some of my faves!

Once again, a HUGE thank you to Jamie for your time and for capturing some cute shots of our sweet, little family!

Then & Now

A photo taken last November...

 And a similar pose taken just a few weeks ago...

Makes me smile!!  More photos to come SOON!