Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

3 Things

Well, four actually...

1. It's pretty gratifying when you see your photos showing up on Christmas cards, blog headers and Facebook profile pictures.

2. You know your normally fiercely independent child is sick when all that fiercely independent child wants to do is snuggle with you on the couch.

3. You know your fiercely independent child is feeling better when she's back to her don't-hold-me self.

4.  Christmas is in three days!  THREE DAYS!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fun Photo Shoots

Two families contacted me recently to take pictures for them.  They were both so much fun!!
It was FREEZING that morning.  They were all such troopers!

This couple cracked me up!

This shoot started a little rough (he didn't want to wear his nice Christmas clothes), but it ended up great!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Videos and an Unhappy Cadence!

These first two videos were taken on Sunday the 5th just before church.

And this one was taken yesterday evening.  She's pretty happy with herself!

We went to my dad's ward's Christmas party on Saturday. Santa was there. Cadence was NOT happy about being left in his lap!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Latest Happenings

Here are the pictures that should have gone with the last post.  I was just to tired/lazy to edit and post them! :)

Derek painting the accent wall.  We did end up liking it.  It's just enough red

Our "new" wide gate.  It is awesome!!

Cadence being the cutie that she is!

I think she found the cat!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Around the House

I'm sorry, there are no pictures.  Unless you count the amazing imagery my wordsmithing conjures.  Then there are plenty! 

Over the last few days, Derek and I have finally gotten to some around-the-house projects that we have been procrastinating for one reason or another, and now that they're done we can't figure out why we waited!!  You'd think that having a handyman in the house would mean that projects would get done, but that hasn't been the case.  He's been pretty busy and I'm no help. 

The biggest "Why didn't we do this earlier?!" project was ordering the hardware for our wide baby gate and then hanging it.  I got a big gate at a yard sale last summer but since we didn't have the stuff to hang it, it has just been leaning against a wall in our computer room.  Until now, we didn't really feel the need for it.  Cadence used to be happy being boxed-in--literally--in our living room.  We had two boxes that filled the open spaces between both ends of our sectional couch and the walls.  But she got restless and learned how to push one out of her way making it possible for her to go anywhere and get into anything.  Now that we have the wide gate set up, we can effectively keep her in our main living areas safely.  Well, sort of safely.  Just this evening she started trying to climb up drawers she's opened in the kitchen.  That didn't work out too well for her.  But having the gate up is awesome!  I don't feel like I have to be following her around every waking minute.  I can actually get stuff done!! :D

Another project we're so glad we've finally gotten to is painting the rest of the hallway and BEHIND OUR TV!  You have no idea how many people who have come over have asked, "what are you going to do there?" pointing at the odd blank rectangle behind the TV.  We'd laugh and tell them, "paint it!"  The honest truth is when Derek was painting the living room, he didn't want to go to all the effort of moving the tv and furniture to paint when he thought we'd just be building built-ins that would be covering that wall anyway.  Well, the built-ins haven happened...yet, and he finally bit the bullet and painted.  It looks so much better!  

And so does the hallway!  When the builders built our house, they painted the trim and walls the same color.  A nice creamy beige color, but just one color.  We picked a darker shade of the same color to repaint the walls with and it really looks nice!  The doors and trim really pop.  We're even painting a section of our hall an accent color, deep red.  It may be too deeply red and we may regret it, but we aren't finished yet so I'll hold off on judgment 'til then. 

The best part (at least for me) about painting the hallway?  My giant family tree project!!  I have big plans for my looooong hallway wall.  I'll post pictures once I get it all set up, but until then you'll just have to wait!!

What around-the-house projects (big or small) have you been up to lately?

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Heart Faces - Self Portrait Challenge

I'm posting this picture again for the I Heart Faces photo challenge, self portrait.

Friends and New Skills

This is a video from the Thanksgiving weekend.  Cadence LOVES Yi!  In fact, we went to a baptism last weekend where there was an Asian guy in attendance and I guess Cadence thought he was just like Yi because she kept walking over to him with a cute, hey-pick-me-up look. :)

This is her new skill, stacking rings!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Picture(s)

I can't pick just one picture to be our Christmas card.  So I'll post both of them here and you can claim which ever one you'd like to be the one we posted for you! :)  We had a lot of fun making these!

A little bit traditional...

A little bit crazy!

And I was getting a little ornament happy too.  I love this subtle texture from Kim Klassen!  It was a freebie!  All you have to do is sign up for her newsletter and she sends a free texture (or two) every Friday.

I'm really loving the starbursts around the lights!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

By George, I Think She's Got It!

It's taken a while, but I think she's finally figured out what a sippy cup's for! She's not totally off bottles yet, but this is a major step forward!!  Yay Cadence!

Mmm, yum!

Hey, what are you looking at!

I did it Mom!

I drank out of my sippy cup for real! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snowy Day

It snowed a lot last night and during the day today.  So much that we couldn't get out of our neighborhood.  I know, lame right?  Cadence was so cute outside this afternoon!  She kept running around the truck, looking at the snow and watching Derek shovel snow.  She'd sit down every now and then to check out the snow--that's how her bum got all dirty--but only slipped once.  I think it freaked her out more than hurt her.

Here's some pictures!

Exploring the snow

Watching Daddy shoveling

Daddy's only a little weird...

Love those chubby cheeks!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend this year!  Derek was able to get the jobs he was working on finished by Tuesday and he had Thursday and Friday mornings off from his delivery job so he was practically a free man!  

We are so glad that our friends, Yi and Sarah, spent five days with us and brought one of their friends who didn't have anywhere to go for the holiday.  He sort of kept to himself, but when he did come out to hang out with everyone, Cadence LOVED him!  Every time she saw him, she walked right up to him with her arms up.  I joked with him that if Derek and I died, we would give her to him because she liked him so much! :)  They had some sort of unspoken bond!

Top Ten Thanksgiving List
1. Having Yi and Sarah here for FIVE DAYS!!
2. Crockpot Thanksgiving turkey legs (Thank you to everyone who lent us a crock pot!) along with the rest of Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a total success!
3. Playing Wii Wheel of Fortune and Sets & Runs
4. Derek and Yi making Yi's knife block
5. Having free time with Derek
6. Buying and setting up our Christmas tree and front door Christmas wreath.
7. Chinese Hot Pot dinner with family and friends (We had 12 people around our table!)
8. Seeing Harry Potter #7
9. Staying up late with friends
10. Yi and Sarah making it here and back home safely through TWO blizzards!

Both Derek and I are wishing that the holiday weekend could have been a bit longer.  It's going to be difficult going back to regular life, but it has to be done!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sweet Shot Tuesday

Sweet Shot Day

Cadence has decided that hanging out with us on the couch is pretty cool. If we're sitting on it, she's sitting on it. And on this day she was being extra cute and doing all kinds of fun poses!

My favorite part of the photo is her static hair!

And as always, this photo was edited with Everyday Action's fabulous actions!!

I Love My Backyard

Behind our yard is a common area. There are a few throughout the neighborhood, but the one behind our house is the best. 

Beyond the common area are quite a few empty lots. The lots are full of weeds but in certain lights, they look kind of pretty! 

Behind that is beautiful blue sky with trees on the horizon! 

I'm really hoping that it's a long time before people buy those lots and build.  I don't want to loose any of that sky!

Sunday, November 21, 2010



Is what Cadence exclaimed--very loudly--in the middle of a musical number during my Mom's sacrament meeting in her assisted living facility.  

Normally that wouldn't be "blogworthy," but she was the only child there and there were less than 20 very quiet adults in the room.  

It was very noticeable and very cute! :D

Thursday, November 18, 2010

3 Pictures

Photo #1 taken at breakfast this morning. She was particularly happy about her bananas, french toast, and her Daddy sitting across from her making funny faces!
This is my FAVORITE face!  Pure joy!

Photo #2 taken just before dinner.  I've given up keeping her out of this utensils drawer.  I took out the sharp objects and let her loose.  This looks like a "holy crap, I got caught face," but it's just a "holy crap look at this spatula" face! :D
This is my 2nd favorite face.  Mid-wow!

Photo #3 taken during her bath this evening.  Our cat, Willow, is the best off camera prop!  When ever Cadence sees her she makes the best faces.  Perfect for photos!!
And check out that hair!  She finally has enough to mold into a cute suds antenna!

All of the above photos were edited with Everyday Action's FABULOUS Deep Clean actions (plus a Utah, Sumter and Phoenix action)! I love them!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Look Mommy, Coupons!

Sweet Shot Day

This is what happens when she gets into the newspapers. Papers everywhere!

Look mommy, coupons!

Oh, wait.  It's just an ad...

Busy Weekend

We had a busy, but lovely weekend.  It started out with a friend of ours spending the night with us while she was in town for a missionary farewell.  Her visit was short but sweet and it was really great to see her again.  Plus it gave us an excuse to make and eat yummy Chinese food.

Cadence was awesome at church today!  She made it all the way though sacrament meeting without any tantrums and even sat on our laps for most of the meeting.  During Sunday school she made her rounds, visiting all the people sitting around us and stealing other babys' toys.

After church, I took some family pictures for some friends.  I don't usually make it a habit to do that on a Sunday, but this was the only day their whole family could be together so it's service, right? :)  They were so much fun and I'm particularly happy with this photo...

I edited this photo using Everyday Elements' awesome Deep Clean and Utah actions.

After taking photos, we had my dad over for dinner (egg drop soup and curry), and then after dinner I had a couple fun friends over for a coupon swap.  Busy day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Egg Drop Soup

We had an awesome RS meeting tonight.  It was all about how to use spices and herbs.  Our committee leader asked a few of us to make soups showcasing some of the spices.  Mine was Egg Drop Soup.  It's showcased spice was ginger.  And it was great!  Derek thought it was delicious, a lot of people at RS liked it, and then I took some leftovers to a friend's book group and they loved it there too!

Here's a link to the recipe on  It was really easy and the recipe said that you could freeze it.  I think I'll be making a huge batch tomorrow!

PS:  I failed today at November's goal (see sidebar).  There were clean dishes in the dishwasher and that was just too many dishes to do after RS and a book group! :)  So I'll be cleaning the kitchen up in the morning.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So about three days ago, Cadence decided that walking was on her to do list.  She's been taking steps here and there for a couple months, but this weekend it was the real deal.  And here's a video of the cuteness.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I need your opinion

I don't usually do a fancy edit on my photos.  Usually I don't like the edit to overpower the photo but my ISO was set a little too high on this photo so I wanted to see what I could do to mask that.  Which edit do you like best?

Edit A:  My usual edit.  Just the basic touch-ups

Edit B: A medium edit.

Edit C: The basic edit with an added texture.

Edit D: Not my usual type of edit at all.  I like how her eyes and lips pop.  I think it's too contrasty, but I kind of like the artsy feel of it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Photos

Some fun photos edited with free actions!!!
These photos were edited with CoffeeShop's Perfect Portrait 2, and Isabelle LaFrance's 1-2-3 Haze

Touch Up Tuesday's at the Paper Mama

This second photo is the one I'd like to enter for the Paper Mama's Touch-up Tuesday challenge.
This photo was edited with CoffeeShop's Perfect Portrait 2, and Pamela Topping's Fairy Dust textures

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it!

Cadence learned how to shake her head no today.  She has no idea what it means.  She shakes her head in response to any question asked her.  Well, shakes her head or shrugs her shoulders.  Either way, it's the cutest thing I've ever seen!

Couponing at Wal-mart

Here's my loot from my Walmart trip this morning. I had only planned on getting the 6 half gallons of 8th Continent soymilk at Walmart because it's $1.20 cheaper than at Albertsons, but they had all the other stuff I was looking for so I kept shopping.

My savings this trip weren't as great as they have been because I had to do some non-coupon shopping... :( But I still got some pretty good deals. I spent $37.67 and saved $26.00! The 6 soymilks, 4 bottles of juice, and 2 bags of rolls were between .50-.60 each. Derek was especially excited because I came home with TWO packages of Oreos; one of them was free. He gets into couponing when it means free oreos!! :D

Usually I have a lot of trouble checking out with coupons at Walmart but today my checker (I think her name was Gayle) was awesome!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I know it's a little late, but we've had a busy Halloween weekend!  Here's a couple of pictures from one of the trunk-or-treats we attended (see, I told you we were busy!).
 We had a lot of fun this year with Cadence!  Last year she was just a cute little lump in a pumpkin sleeper.  This year she was the most observant ladybug ever.  I say observant because she didn't really do much other than look and stare and point.  She was in awe at the number of people and all the great costumes!  Derek was the Brawny Man, but everyone thought he was a lumber jack.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Poops, she did it again...

in the bathtub.  And this time I've got it on video--I just happened to be video-ing her cute babbling at the time--but for obvious reasons, I won't be posting it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Kid's a Genius

but unfortunately I don't have any pictures to prove it!  I was enjoying the moment to much to pull away to get my camera.

This evening Cadence started "organizing" her toys.  She took them out of the basket and placed some of on a nearby shelf, some of them on a box, and some of them back into the basket.  She was so serious about it!  After we finally got her attention we clapped for her.  She got a HUGE smile on her face and then clapped for herself so of course we had to clap again too.  Then she continued organizing her toys! 

I Like Bread and Butter...

I like toast and jam,

 That's what my mommy feeds me,

I'm her lovin'... um, that's where my altered lyrics end.  I can't think of the right rhyme!  Do you recognize the song?

Anyway, this girl loves to eat toast and jam.  It's great because it's easy for me except she gets really impatient when she can see me making it, so I have to be stealthy! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's interesting isn't it...

It's interesting isn't it how the two things I remember consciously thinking I would never do--not really because I disliked them, but because I didn't think I could ever really do them well--are the two things that have become a huge part of my life.

I'm not talking about being a mother.  That's something that I've always felt was inevitable.  I couldn't picture myself being pregnant and having children partly because my brother and I were both adopted (it was normal for a baby to just show up at your house one day), and partly because I have a slight fear of children.  Not a big one, but just enough that I was never that girl who babysat or held the baby in the room.  I think I can count on one hand the number of families I've babysat for since I was 12 or 14 years old.  I love my baby and I like her a lot.  But other people's kids?  I need a little time before I really feel comfortable with them.

But that's not what I originally planned on writing about.  I was writing about teaching piano and being a photographer.  Those are two things I never thought I'd ever do.

Once when I was a senior in high school, a friend of mine was a piano teacher.  She told me I should do it too.  "It's a great job and it's easy!" she explained.  "All you have to do is get the beginner books and then basically read what the instructions say and help the students along."  My initial thought was, there is no possible way I could ever do that; playing the piano is easy but teaching?  Plus, my friend had (and still has) a lot more natural talent for music and the piano.  Of course it would be easy for her, but not me.

But then 9 or 10 years passed. Cadence was born and we moved my mom into a facility, effectively our income in half.  I needed another job to fill in the cracks of Derek's income that wouldn't require us to pay for daycare.  Because Derek works two jobs and goes to bed somewhat early, there were really only two options, babysitting other people's children or teaching piano.  And we all know how I feel about babysitting! :)  So teaching piano it was.  I was really unsure about it when I started, but you know what?  It is really easy and I love it! 

The other thing that I thought I'd never do is take good pictures.  When Derek and I got engaged, my awesome roommate/friend took our engagement pictures.  I was thrilled with the finished result and decided then and there that I would never be that good at photography.  I thought, she must have some amazing natural talent (which she totally does) that I could never cultivate in myself.  After all, I didn't have a  creative bone in my body!

Then after a few years, I realized that all of our photos from living Korea while stunning in subject, left a lot to be desired in quality.  That was a sad day for me.  Derek and I had a blast in Sokcho, South Korea and I knew the chances of us returning were slim to none.  I wouldn't get a chance to re-do any of those photos.  Plus, you can't go back to the past!  I never wanted to have so-so photos again!  So I asked for a better camera thinking it was a camera issue (it wasn't really), and got an amazing Nikon for Christmas.

Just a couple of months later, Derek and I found out we were expecting!  I knew I wanted amazing pictures of our baby right from the start so I started practicing.  A few weeks before Cadence was born, I saw a Project 365 on someone's blog, and I was sold!  What better way to record a baby's first year than to take one picture every day for 365 days!  Through that and reading many, MANY blog posts and tutorials, I gained experience and cultivated that photography talent I'd never thought I'd have!  Now I'm hooked on photography!

I can't really imagine my life without either of these two things.  And isn't interesting that both my job as a piano teacher and interest in photography were both inspired by my daughter!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Portrait Challenge

This big guy was so much fun to shoot!  This was one of the last pictures I took that afternoon and I probably wouldn't have gotten it if he hadn't said, "Hey, take my picture!" as we were walking away.  I turned around and he was all sprawled out on the ground.  Mixed in with a few crazy poses were a few amazing ones!  Who knew a 4 year old (he is 4, right Kristi?) could be so great at posing!

Touch-up Tuesday

Touch Up Tuesday's at the Paper Mama

This is my latest favorite touch up!  I love my grandparents' vintage photos!

It's not perfect yet.  There's still a lot of work to be done, but considering it came from an almost completely yellow original, I'm pretty happy.  It's really coming along!