(Insert Mom's voice here, knowingly saying "They grow up so fast...")
How did 10 months pass so fast?
How did you go from being content to be bundled in a blanket in my arms to crawling and standing and cruising?
When did you start wanting "people food" more than milk (including the tomato in this photo that you grabbed right out of my hand and promptly begin to chew on seconds after I picked it)?
Where did all these words like "mama", "dada", "hi", "bye-bye", "guh"- your name for Ben, "nigh-nigh" (night-night), and yesterday, the word "Papa"- yelled across the yard loud enough to melt his heart, come from?
How come all your clothes have suddenly shrunk?
And your hair, when did it grow long enough for me to put it into what your dad refers to as your "Cindy-Lou-Who" hairdo?
Boy did we ever feel brave this past weekend when we filled the mini-van to maximum capacity (so glad those rear seats pop out) with all of our camping/ baby gear and headed a few miles out of town (just in case we had to head back quickly) to one of our favorite camping sites. I so wish I had taken a photo of the back of the van- nothing like taking half a day to pack/unpack just to spend one night- but it was well worth it, everyone had fun. It has been 6 years since we camped with a baby, and Ben wasn't crawling and pulling himself up that summer we camped, so we knew it would be a much different experience with Emma. We took the Pack and Play and she was content to play with her toys, take in her surroundings, and watch Ben. When that got old she went into the backpack for a walk or crawled around on a sleeping bag with the hopes of ingesting every pine needle, pine cone, or bug that came her way. And Ben, who has spent the summer "practicing" camping in the backyard (he has spent several nights sleeping in the tent with Dave) was beyond thrilled when we told him we were going camping. He played, explored, smiled, laughed, and enjoyed himself the whole time- funny how getting away from all the stuff and hustle/bustle does away with boredom.
Warning: graphic photo ahead-
Yucky dead toad with a funny story and a not so funny story- the nsfs is that there are a lot of wildfires nearby right now (thank you brave and tireless firefighters) and so there were helicopters flying overhead all day long to dump water from a nearby lake onto the fires. Funny story- a woman in the campground asked the campground hosts to please do something about all the helicopters flying over head- they were getting on her nerves and she was trying to have a relaxing vacation... she probably wanted cell phone reception and room service too... oh well. Plus side is that this campground has flush toilets- yipee.
Sad- Yucky part of the helicopters pulling water from the lake- this toad was scooped up and jumped out of the bucket to its untimely demise on the road right by our campsite. Ben had to go back and look at the toad about a dozen times, was full of questions, and pretty disgusted by a group of boys who poked the toad with a stick- "Mom, even though the toad is dead I still wouldn't poke it, it seems mean."
To take the bad feelings about poor Mr. Toad out of your mind here is a beautiful butterfly:
What we all love most about camping:
1. Throwing a thousand (ok, 50) rocks into the river:
2. Playing cards (this is Emma's new funny face- she really did like playing, ok eating, Go Fish!!!
3. Eating S'mores- no picture but we all know what eating S'mores looks, and tastes like, right? And no one wants to be the one to scrape melted marshmallows off of the camera... they were sooo good that we had them for breakfast too- just don't tell my mom...
4. Taking walks to enjoy the quiet surroundings.
5. Finding Treasures, leave it to my guys to find a brown, Indiana Jones Lego whip, in the dirt in our campsite...
6. Again, no photos, but I managed to finish a whole novel and take a nap- whoopee!!!!!!!!!!!!
7. Playtime. So glad we brought the Pack and Play in the van for the crawling baby. The same crawling baby who likes TO PUT EVERYTHING IN HER MOUTH- EVEN IF IT MOVES!!!
8. We also took turns writing messages:
9. Everyone slept well- one of the great things about camping is that you go to bed when it is dark (no compunction to get things done like laundry, cleaning, no computer or TV to distract you) and you get up when the sun comes up.
10. We had an evening and morning campfire- Emma was fascinated with the flames- to keep us warm and to keep the pesky mosquitos away too.
Our time camping went by too quickly but made us appreciate warm showers, rediscovering our love of playing games together, enjoying nature, and each other. And we are already planning for next year!
The pained expression is because a mosquito had landed on his forehead- I swear that Ben really had fun!! Happy Camping!
P.S. This one's for you Dave: because I'm married to an Eagle Scout we always make sure to leave our campsite looking even better than when we got there.
Now, I loved my wedding, and I have loved all the weddings I have ever attended or been a part of (ok maybe most of them- I did go to some of my husband's wild fraternity brother's weddings, no offense, but come on... it's your wedding day "Bro") but on August 2nd I had the honor of attending my friend Alyssa's wedding, the best wedding I have been to - EVER- , and was there with my family to help celebrate the special day where she and her sweetheart Joe became man and wife.
The setting was Alyssa's parents backyard, a beautifully landscaped garden with fountains,ponds, a potting shed, flowers,and tall trees.
There were tables everywhere covered with red, white, and black cloth (their wedding colors), vibrant flower bouquets, red candle holders, and notes to the guests from the bride and groom about how they were sharing traditions from their heritage (Greek and Italian). A white tent was the centerpiece of the grounds complete with hanging lanterns, a wooden dance floor, and a giant disco ball.
Alyssa and Joe had their guest book made online by Kodak so each page had a photo of them and different quotes or passages that they love.
They were married by Joe's friend who became an ordained minister (online) especially for their ceremony, underneath a black wrought iron arch covered with flowers. A local radio DJ announced the wedding party as they came down the aisle- the best part was that Joe had picked a special song to be played for each member of the wedding party as they walked down the aisle- some danced, some sang, and everyone seated laughed, clapped, and joined along with the happiness vibe. As Alyssa entered the traditional wedding march played, followed by the sound of a record scratching- then Tom Petty's "Here Comes My Girl" started playing- I am sitting here 2 weeks later getting as choked up now as I was at that moment, I love that Joe picked that song for Alyssa- what a great moment.
This fun and non-traditional, yet traditional, wedding just kept getting better as Joe's friend began the ceremony with the words "Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life, electric word life, it means forever, and that's a mighty long time, but I'm here to tell you..."- stay with me here Prince fans... their vows included trying to be patient when the toothpaste tube was left off, underwear was on the floor, dinner was from a can, etc. I don't think I have ever been to a ceremony where so many people laughed, cried and clapped. There was a whole lot of positive LOVE energy passing from those attending to the bride and groom.
The night progressed with a yummy (and visually stunning) dinner and cupcakes display, lots of beautiful toasts, and dancing under the stars. Ben loves to dance and ended up dancing for about 45 minutes straight, including one song with the bride. What a beautiful night.
Alyssa was a coworker first, quickly became a friend (I've known her for the past 5 years or so), was one of of the first people to ever watch Ben for us who was not family, and is about to become Ben's first grade teacher- how cool is that to have gone to your teacher's wedding?
It was one of those weddings where you look over at your spouse and fall in love all over again...
And then you look at your kids and you remember that love really is all you need...
Here's wishing a lifetime of love, friendship, good health, adventure, laughter, and fun to the newlyweds!
No, I did not finish all of these today but here is a look at some projects I finished in the past couple of weeks. Thanks for looking and have fun creating!
This project was inspired by Illustrating Stories- Jackie altered a VHS tape to make a photo frame and challenged people to recycle something by altering it into a project- I used this cool balsa wood box from one of my daughter's toys to make a shadow box:
A little bird card:
My first layout about myself:
A baby shower card:
A Christmas layout with one of my favorite photos of Ben:
A wedding shower card- inspired by the movie "27 Dresses"
A heritage layout:
And an Emma layout using elements from a past Cocoa Daisy kit: