Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Now

There really is nothing more precious than being able to slow down... take a step back and just realize where God has you in this moment in time. Funny how it's hard to remember how exactly we got here. But I have to say, I'm overwhelmingly thankful, and I like it - a lot.

Friday, November 6, 2009

She did it again....

Once again Janet, you have blown us away... Thank you so much for capturing our memories!
And if any of you are looking for a fabulous photographer... you must head to:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Princesses are for Sissies!!!

Halloween this year was a hoot! Ella was supposed to be a cute little black cat... but she really wasn't too into wearing her ears. I know little girls her age tend to go for cute little princess or bunny costumes, but our daughter seemed to fit the Burglar role better. We dubbed her the Cat Burglar for the night - and she caught onto the whole trick or treat thing pretty quick! It wasn't long before she was heading to the doors with pumpkin in hand, plopping her bucket on the ground and exclaiming "thanks!" as she headed off with her loot! My pictures are awful because the kids moved way to quick, and apparently I have no idea how to take pictures in the dark... but here's what we've got!

Cooper the Frog, Carson the Duck, and Hopey the Garden Gnome!

I now understand that rule about not dressing your kids in dark colors when going out to trick or treat...

"One of these things is not like the other..."

Hmmm... I think next year I'm going to be the Grim Reaper!!!

(Don't miss the Reno post below!!)

Reno - 2009

I headed out on my annual trip to Reno with just Claire this year. Didn't quite feel up to the challenge of taking the two girls all by myself, since Eric had to work. My parents were were pretty excited to have Ella all to themselves for a week, so we headed up to Chicago to drop her off, and then flew to Nevada. There were many reasons I looked forward to this trip... but one of the greatest benefits wound up being a chance to really bond with the newest addition to our family. It's been a pretty challenging couple of months trying to master the art of dividing attention between two small girls, and without a doubt Claire gets the short end of the stick most of the time. She is a little colicky - and I'm pretty sure that's because she is convinced it is the only way to get attention around here. Time always flies when it comes to watching kids grow up... but I've been really sad about the fact that it seems to fly twice as fast when it comes to Claire. She started smiling last week... and I couldn't believe she was already old enough to do it. Imagine my disappointment when I checked back in Ella's baby book and found she had smiled at 5 1/2 weeks... Claire is apparently not the socially advanced baby I thought she might be... it's just that I have been preoccupied with far too much to notice her life passing me by... I made sure to take as many pictures of her as I could... and you'll see many of them below.

That said... it was so special to just get to know her one on one. The trip was filled with friends and fun... but nowhere near the chaos that has become the norm around our home. Plus, Claire must have sensed her time was short... so she was sure to squeeze in extra bonding throughout the nights we were gone. :) Lucky me!

It's hard to believe it has been almost 4 years since I left Reno. It is always a pretty emotional visit for me, because SO much happened during the 5 years I lived there. It's both liberating, and sad to drive around and find memory after memory popping into your head... even visiting my old grocery store almost brought me to tears!! (Pathetic, I know!) I had the best time catching up with my closest friends... even was treated to a potluck with the girls from work! Got some priceless shots of Claire on Ricky's bench... had my hair done by my old friend and hairdresser... and just soaked in all the memories that changed my life in so many ways. It was a great time.

On October 2nd (Ricky's Birthday), I had the unexpected opportunity to talk to Ricky's birth-mom on the phone. It was a conversation that I hoped one day would happen, but honestly did not expect for many, many years. It was encouraging and exciting... as she wanted badly to meet with me, and to finally hear about all that had happened in her son's short life. We planned to meet while I was in Reno... I brought her pictures, some little tokens that were representative of his life, and even his ashes - since I had never decided where they belonged. When the time came however, it was not meant to be. I called her every day... and got no response. For whatever reason, she was avoiding me. I know because she had been at the hospital just a couple days before I got into town to see if I was there and to see the bench for the first time. I was definitely disappointed - but I do believe that when she is ready, she will call again. In the meantime, I'm praying a lot for her - and Ricky's three brothers, and one sister.

Pretty sure the Starbucks girl thought we were a little nuts when we asked her to take our picture in the drive-thru... but we're all about the experiences!

Peter and Stacey

Natalie, Me, Marylea, and Michelle

The best co-workers a girl could ask for! Don't know what I would have done without these girls... (and many others not pictured)! Love you girls!!

So glad I got to spend a couple days with Ray and Vicki! Never would have discovered Reno if they hadn't moved out there first! I have dubbed Ray the professional baby charmer... Claire could hardly muster up a whimper whenever she was in his arms... what a treat to be relieved of trying to calm her during those fussy evenings!!

Sweet girl... changing so much so fast...

NO idea who she looks like... maybe the mailman???

Claire and Carrie