Walking the Dog

July 31, 2012

4 feet 4 paws BLOG
Remember the cute Furreal Puppies the girls got for their birthday in November?
Well, Sarah has been asking to take them to the park for a walk and since it was not too hot on Sunday morning, I agreed.

Walking the Dog at the Park BLOG
Unfortunately, when I got to the toy basket to pull them out, I found a real mess.
We had a puppy casualty..... the batteries looked like they exploded inside and battery acid leaked out all over the place. It actually happened to both of them, but we were able to salvage one of the two...... which I knew was going to present a problem once we arrived at the park.

Coming down the path with the dog BLOG
Luckily, the leashes are detachable and we rigged it so we could have two leashes attached to one puppy.......and when we got to the park, all was well in the world:)

Which way should we go Dog Park BLOG2
We let Sarah have the leash with the remote that actually controlled the dog and unbeknownst to Reagan, hers was a big old fake!

oh no he needs help BLOG
We had a few technical difficulties along the way...

Go that way BLOG
and the dog did not want to stay on track, which amused the girls and all those who passed by on their morning walk.

feet on the wagon BLOG
Eventually they gave up and asked to take the dog back to the car.

Skip to the lou blog
They were much happier to skip and run through the park without the dog in tow.

twirling dirvish2 BLOG
And once they found out their dresses had the twirl factor, there was no stopping them!
They spun themselves silly.....

A few of you asked about the dress in my last post.
I need to give a big shout out and thank you to Lori @ Amazing Love for making the girls these gorgeous dresses. We love them and hope to wear more of your pretty creations in the future!! She has just opened her blog as she awaits travel approval for her beautiful boy who is still in China. Stop over and say hello by clicking HERE.

Sunday Snapshot - "I'm Shy"

July 29, 2012

Sarah in the cement archway BLOG
With August literally just days away, we have been talking a lot about the start of the school year.
There will be lots of new changes ahead for Sarah and Reagan as they will both head to new schools in the fall. Sarah will go to Kindergarten and Reagan will be attending a new full time preschool instead of the daycare we currently use.

As excited as Sarah is for her new beginning, she has expressed a little bit of anxiety as well.
She is afraid she is not going to make new friends......and I said, "of course you will Sarah".
She looked up at me with the prettiest smile and said, "But you know I am shy Mommy".

Im Shy 2 BLOG
It took all the strength I could muster up not to laugh, because this girl is anything but shy. She will talk to anyone and everyone. Seriously, you should take this child with you on a shopping excursion. She is what I would consider, very outgoing and is by far, my most outgoing child.

I am sure it is hard for her to know that she is going to walk into a strange room on the first day, but I have no doubt that she will make a lot of new friends. We just signed her up to play soccer on the school team and I am hopeful that her practices will begin before the school year starts, that way she will meet some of her classmates in advance. For now, we are just reassuring her that all will be okay and that once she gets past the first day, all the nerves will fade away.

Camera: Canon 5d Markiii
Lens: Canon 50mm f1.2
The settings for the top photo were:
f 2.0
SS 1/500th
ISO 200

It was an overcast day today, so I had to bump up my ISO just a tad in order to shoot more wide open and with a faster shutter.(even though she was standing still in these photos, just moments before both she and Reagan were twirling, those photos to come later this week) I had the camera resting on the ground and I was lying down there too..... I put the focus point on Sarah's eyes, and clicked the shutter. By shooting on the ground, it changed the perspective and also gave it a cool depth of field or blurry look in the foreground of the shot.

Photos were both processed using Florabella's Classic Color with a touch of Deep Azure and 1968. I also added some texture from Sarah Garnder's Beyond the Lens Texture Set.

Ni Hao Yall

Make sure you pop over to Stef's blog to see more Sunday Snapshots.

Our New Summertime Addiction

July 27, 2012

Yo Fresh Yogurt
Within a few miles of our home, they opened one of those cool new Frozen Yogurt shops, where you serve yourself, choose your own toppings, weigh it, then pay for it!
(iPhone photo)

Reags Eating Fro Yo
We could not wait to check it out and try some of the flavor combinations.

I think I want more BLOG
The girls played it safe with vanilla and LOTS of colored sprinkles.

Good to the last drop BLOG
The cups are GINORMOUS....and this was the smallest available.
I guess they assume if they give you a big bowl cup, you will pile it high with yogurt and toppings. Reags had to work extra hard to get that yogurt into her mouth, but she was determined to get every last drop....and that she did:)

Sarah Spoon in Mouth BLOG
Even our pickiest food critic gave this place the double thumbs up!!
We are all completely addicted. I am embarrassed to say that we were there 3 times in one week..... Good thing they have some fat free varieties.

My personal fav, is what they call fat free "Euro Tart", which tastes like a cup of original plain flavored yogurt. IT IS SO GOOD!!! I top it with fresh fruit; strawberries, blueberries, red raspberries, kiwi, and then add few crushed pretzels on top. You know I love my pretzels and ice cream...... in my book, there is nothing better!!

If you have one of these yogurt cafes in your area, be sure to check it out.
They are definitely all the rage here..... the place has been jam-packed each and every time we have gone.

~Have a wonderful weekend~
the long road

Cape Cod Inspiration

July 25, 2012

Just had a few minutes here before I head off to work and thought I would share a little of the my beach inspiration.

The final countdown is on...... we are heading North to Cape Cod, much later than we usually do and it feels like our vacation is never going to get here, but we are now within a month of our trip and I started to think about beach photos.

My beach photos are always my most favorite of the year and I was trying to decide which color combos I wanted to go with. Some of you may remember many years back, my first beach photos of Sarah when she was about the same age as Reagan, I had her wearing an adorable white ruffled dress. Since then I have always done some sort of color. I did pink and green, then I did denim and khaki, and last year I did the beautiful pink printed dresses that were made by Robin at Red Thread Stitches.

I knew those dresses would be hard to top because I loved them so very much and unfortunately, Robin is busy filling orders and at this time is not taking any new orders for custom clothes, so I set out in search of.....

Ultimately, I had in my mind settled to go with the white dress look and wanted something ruffly.

Well, I did not end up with white, but I did get lots of ruffles and few fun accessories to go with the outfits. They are not nearly as special as what Robin made for me last year, but they will do......

2012 Beach Inspiration Board BLOG

We are going a little nautical this year!!
I am not a big navy blue person and don't own much in that color for myself or the girls, but we are giving it a shot. I think it will look super cute with the pop of red and will work well with the water and the sand. Planning to get a series in the two ruffled dresses and then one with the polka dot and striped dresses.

The package of goodies arrived this week and OH MY GOODNESS, let me just say the photos above do not do these outfits any justice. I can barely wait to see them on the girls:)

Sunday Snapshot - "Perspective"

July 22, 2012

Balancing Act BLOG
Sometimes it is fun to look at things in a different way.....

My Big Brother Likes to Push Me BLOG
We all tend to view things at eye level or from a standing position.

Playground steps collage
So my goal yesterday at the park, was to look at everything from a different perspective.

S shaped Slide BLOG
It always amazes me how much more interesting something can appear when you do this.

Reagan on the run BLOG
Even though I did not get her face in a lot of these photos, the emotion is still present when you view them.

Going Up the Steps to the Slide BLOG
I shot from down on the ground with camera pointed up and then I climbed up and did the reverse...shooting down to the ground.

Down the slide she goes BLOG
Reagan had no clue what I was doing, she was having the time of her life, climbing up the steps, coming down the slide, and running back around through the maze to do it all over again......again......and again:)

Centered on the monekey bars Reagan BLOG
I loved the look of concentration on her face here as she climbed up hoping she could reach the monkey bars. Still a little too short!! I rarely center my subjects dead on in a photo, but this one was definitely an exception....it begged to be centered.

I am about two weeks into my latest "push past your comfort zone" class. It is another fantastic group of ladies..... and they are keeping me on my toes(that is why I have been scarce around here). This week we have been discussing rules of composition. The topic of posing your subjects vs just letting them do their thing came up in our forum, so these photos were a way for me to show by example that you can indeed take every day candid types of photos that are non posed and at the same time follow some of the basic photography rules of composition without having to actually tell your subject where to stand and what to do. Since Sunday Snapshots are now about achieving the fundamentals of photography, I figured I would share a little here too!

Camera: Canon 5d Markiii
Lens: Canon 50mm f1.2
The settings for the top photo were:
f 3.2
SS 1/1000th
ISO 100

I was lying on the ground in front of the swing with my camera aimed up towards the sky. I was shooting in the spot meter mode and focused on the bottom of the swing. The fast shutter speed is what allowed me to freeze the motion of the swing.

Photos were all processed using Florabella's Classic Color Set and Sarah Garnder's Beyond the Lens Texture Set.

Ni Hao Yall

Make sure you pop over to Stef's blog to see more Sunday Snapshots.

In My Closet Again

July 20, 2012

Yellow Stripes looking over her shoulder Collage
Yellow Stripes Looking down with book Collage
This is becoming routine or the new norm for Reagan.
She wakes up, takes off her pjs, and runs into my closet to find something to wear.

Yellow Stripes Standing tall Collage
There are two things that she always manages to do.......
She puts everything on inside out and on this occasion, it was also backwards.
You can see the tag sticking out in some of the photos:) She also seems to gravitate towards black boots....whether they are cowboy style or high heeled, she loves them!

Yellow Stripes Bed Head Collage
There is something about being in Mommy's clothes while still sporting the wild bed head look that increases the sass factor in our littlest girl.

Yellow Stripes Boot Stomping Finger Crossing Collage
She stomped around my bedroom for some time and she was loving every minute of it. At some point she made her way to my book shelf and grabbed a book to carry around with her. Coincidentally, it happened to be "The Lost Daughters of China"......

One Less Rounded Corners
and she literally stopped me in my tracks when I saw her turnaround clutching it to her chest with this incredible look on her face. As if she knew the stories that were written within that book. I have come to view this photo a hundred times this week. It is definitely my new fav photo of Reagan.......it was completely candid and it tells a story.

The visiting orphans group that travels to Chenzhou every year and spends a week in the orphanage where Reagan lived the first 10 months of her life, just concluded their trip for 2012. They are on their way back to the states today. I have been following along on their blogs, reading the stories of some of these children, and viewing the photos. My heart aches for all of them and I think of how drastically different our daughter's life could have been had she still been there. Feeling extremely thankful and blessed to have Reagan in our lives for so many reasons but at the same time, I wish we could do more for those left behind. If you are in the process of adopting and if you are looking for an older child, I know there are more than a few still waiting in Chenzhou. Click HERE to visit the Team Chenzhou blog. Go back through some of the recent posts and you will see some of the older children that so badly want forever families. If you have any questions or need more information on any of the children you see, you can contact me through email or I believe Shannon, the group leader has her contact info listed on the team website.
the long road

Blueberry Picking

July 16, 2012

310 a pint BLOG
Yesterday we made our way up to the local berry farm to gather some blueberries.

Blueberries with Reagan holding the box blurred out BLOG
Unfortunately, poor Sarah is still sick with this upper respiratory infection, so Reags was flying solo in the field:(

In pursuit of the perfect blueberry BLOG
Even though it was just as hot as it was the day we picked strawberries....

4 quart fruits and veggies BLOG
my girl was not about to let a little heat and humidity stand between her and one of her most favorite fruits.

In the field with Mimi BLOG
We tried to explain to her that she could only pick the blue ones, the green ones were not quite ready.

Berry in between her fingertips BLOG
She listened and examined very closely before she picked.

looking down as she walks thru the blueberries BLOG
Some of the bushes were huge and you could barely make your way through the path....

Looking over her shoulder blueberries BLOG
so Reagan opted to try to stay in the more open areas that had lots of low lying berries instead.

In the mouth with the blueberries BLOG
We could not stop laughing at her..... as she pretty much ate her weight in blueberries. Not many of them made it into our box, they all went straight into her mouth.

Pulling herself up along the fence BLOG
After we were done picking(I mean eating), we made our way back to the farm stand.

Reagan Corner to Corner from behind BLOG
As we approached the table, I could see her getting ready to go in for the next tasting.....

Fresh Blackberries BLOG
but this time she was eyeing up the beautiful blackberries.

Do Not Eat Blueberries BLOG
They must have a lot of berry lovin people taste their way through the farm stand..... I had to laugh when I saw the sign!!!

We kept Reagan's hands out of the boxes and bought some blackberries to bring home!
Reagan and I both love blackberries dipped in vanilla yogurt for breakfast.

I split the blueberries with my Mom and we both plan to do some baking. She is going to make the Pioneer Woman's Bluberry Cobbler.....and I am not sure what I am going to make. I was thinking blueberry muffins or blueberry bread. If you have a blueberry recipe that you love, feel free to share it or send it my way!

For now, it is off to work for me. Hope you all have a great Monday~

A Week At A Glance - Instagram Photos

July 13, 2012

Sisters Shopping BLOG
While the men went golfing, the ladies went shopping!!
I love that these two always hold hands:)

Murphy Jewelers Shopping BLOG
One of our first stops was the sweet and sassy store where the girls purchased puppies in handbags. Here is Reagan walking around with hers in tow.

Reagan in the car BLOG
Saturday Morning on our way to the hospital for the echocardiogram.

In the hospital BLOG
Entering the hospital..... Doesn't she look grown up in this shot?

A stunning sunset that ended our weekend.

Sarah Sleeping Monday BLOG
Monday was my first day back to work after vacation and it was hard to go back. When I got home at 4pm I found Sarah sleeping in her bed.... that NEVER happens. She was running a fever and sick which should not have been a surprise considering Reags was sick the week prior.

Reagan Dressed Herself BLOG
Reags who was left to entertain herself because her partner in crime was out of commission most of the week, helped herself to my closet when no one was looking. This was her ensemble...... black bra, inside out hot pink halter top, and my beloved cowboy boots. Oh this child is a hoot!

pasta in the water bLOG
My Aunt and Uncle left over the weekend, but cousin Eddie stayed with us for the week so he and Nick could hang out and have some fun. I cooked one of my best meat sauces ever and I have never seen either of the boys eat so much in one sitting. This was a shot of the pasta hitting the water.
I used the macro end of the Ollo clip on my iPhone:)

Lincoln tunnel traffic BLOG
Yesterday, I had to go into New York City for an important meeting at a big hospital. Didn't have much time to play or stick around and explore the city, but while stopped in the lincoln tunnel, I snapped this shot. I love how the brake lights reflected on the ceiling.

So sorry I did not come back to update sooner, it has been a hectic week, but I wanted to say thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts for Reagan. I called the office on Monday hoping they would have the results of her Echocardiogram, but they said the system was showing they were not even read yet and it would probably be Tuesday or Wednesday until the results came in. I am not very patient when it comes to waiting..... Midday Tuesday the dr called and delivered the best news possible..... no structural damage to her heart. Seems to be a plain old heart murmur that they will continue to watch and monitor. Thank the Lord. As a parent it is easy to worry....and I do that very well. Pat and I were so relieved and thrilled with the report.

Tomorrow morning we leave to take Eddie back home..... I know there will be three very sad faces in this house. The girls love having Eddie with us as much as Nick does. We all love having Eddie here with us.... four is just as easy as three:) To celebrate their last day together, the boys are heading to race cars at Lehigh Valley Grand Prix and tonight I think we might take them all mini golfing and out for ice cream.

Happy Friday Everyone and Enjoy Your Weekend~
(All photos in this post were taken with my iPhone and processed with instagram)

the long road