Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The annual gingerbread house event

Oh yes, our annual gingerbread house making hoedown happens the day after Thanksgiving in the Lee household. This year we purchased two kits - one for each child - to preserve world peace, and also to allow creative license. Can you tell which reason was more pressing?

Once Mom and Dad relaxed about the potential messes and stopped fussing with paper towels and wet wipes, you could actually hear a pin drop for over an hour. An HOUR!



Abigail did surprisingly well with all the candy - only five pieces went in her mouth, and the decapitated gingerbread boy was fixed with icing:



Love how she tucks her legs under herself.

Amanda went to town on this, as she is now the third-year veteran gingerbread house maker:



Is that an anatomically correct gingerbread boy, or his collar? Hmm.

Keepin' it real - behold, the kitchen:



All in all, a fun tradition for the kids!

Friday, December 11, 2009

{happy}

Yes, you guessed correctly. I've never been so happy to be this ill. Amanda and Abigail eagerly await their new sibling, due to debut mid-2010. One would think that the third time around, it's all old hat. But when the little Peanut waved an arm at us and wriggled around during the first ultrasound, I was wiping tears from my eyes. S/he already has my heart. Now, to get through the grueling morning all-day sickness with some semblance of grace... if you saw me picking up Amanda from school, you'd think I had a shriveled up twin! :) {small price to pay for the great gift within me}

Hoping, praying to get back to being wife/mom at full capacity again.

I haven't been able to do much with photo sessions, but I have posted some more from a recent wedding - click on the photo if you'd like to see more:



And check out my gymnast Abigail. I know, she's totally going to the Olympics! Bwahahaha:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

9 years together

Nine years ago today, we held hands and exchanged words laden with hopes and dreams, promising to honor and better one another. Words cemented in our hearts, at times burning with joy, and other times dim with the vulnerability of it all.

How those promises turned into a home with 2.5 precious children buzzing in our happy lives, is really all a mystery I never could have envisioned to be so sweet.

So, my dear best friend. Thank you for you. For us.



(Note to self: more photos of us, okay?)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What started out as potty training

Frequenters of this family blog are well aware of my joys and frustrations parenting a very willful toddler. Combine said toddler with the event of potty training, and you have another story to read!

Except this story isn't about how spicy/stubborn/unrelenting/obnoxious she is; between rushed runs to the potty chair, I discovered my daughter Abigail. The delightful, eager to please, calm, careful, joyful, quick-witted, articulate child that has been there all along.



Thanks to the advice of a good friend, I engaged in the 3 Day Potty Training Method, intent on getting Abigail off diapers. One of the main tenets of this method is that the guiding parent is required to give all his/her attention on the child for three days, eschewing any other activity until the child is done. Simple enough, right?

I couldn't believe how distracted I was the first few hours. And what was revealed to me during the entire 72-hour potty training vigil was not Abigail's strong will, but my overarching lack of attention on Abigail. Just Abigail.

I don't consider myself a bad parent. It has sure helped that my college major was child and adolescent development, coupled with my experience as a teacher, director, and assessor in early childhood programs. Once Ron and I decided that I would stay at home with Amanda, Amanda got the very best of two doting parents' attention.

Abigail's world has largely orbited around her sister's nurturing. I carted Abigail to all of Amanda's lessons and gymnastics. Abigail spent a lot of time learning that her sister is talented in many directions, especially when we started homeschooling Amanda. EVERYTHING focused on Amanda, and Abigail took a backseat.

But what's even more foolish was that I started a side business AND participated in creative teams at the same time as the homeschooling. And Abigail was almost forgotten except for her tenacious screaming to be heard. And in my distracted mind, I started classifying her as "difficult".

While I know that Abigail is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination (don't you remember who her mom is?), I sense that my unwillingness to quiet my life enough to enjoy her may have created more friction for this little one than necessary.

How do you begin to say sorry to a two-year-old for the last year's transgressions?



I will start by enjoying her tiny grape toes cradling her Dora pantied bum, letting her linger on my lap just a while longer, and thanking my Creator for another chance to be a better steward of what I've been gifted.

Love you, Abbers Stombers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm still here!

How does a month glide by so fast? Family is doing well, all things considered. We have so many things to share that sometimes it's not a reality to cram them all into one little blog.

Amanda's a happy clam in second grade. One of her closest friends is in the same homeroom, and well, that just makes for a lot of merriment for a second grader. Mom's busily attempting to keep making nutritious, fun, and yummy lunches - a tall order at times. As promised, I'll share photos and ideas some day. ;) Mondays I spend volunteering at Amanda's school, and she seems to like running up to me at random times and wave a chicken wing at me, with a cheerful, "Hi Mommy!" I treasure that expression of love.

Abigail is talking a lot. So much, that it can be classified as too much, heh heh heh. Her ideas have now materialized into a deafening crescendo. At times very joyfully, but other times in a heap of mad all over the floor. She is a passionate child that emotes quite a bit. And if this mom can pick and choose the battles a bit better, I think she would have less going on in the tantrum department. Sigh. She is a happy-go-lucky and intelligent girl; I'm working on bringing these attributes out to the forefront more.

I haven't been able to scrapbook in a long time, but this one really tumbled out of me; therapy in artform:


(click for credits)

Since I've come back from a Bay Area business trip, I have had fun post-processing photos. There are new sessions up on my photo blog if you'd like to see what I've been up to:


(click image to be whisked away to the photo blog!)

Aww, look at the time! Get to bed, young lady! Okay, off I go... more later.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Abigail's debut performance :)

video


With Amanda off to second grade, Abigail constantly asks me, "Where Unni go?" (Unni means "big sister" in Korean). "She at sool," she answers herself.

I'm looking forward to spending some one-on-one with Abigail. She's beginning to show interest in learning; I love that she's bouncing around and punching the air as she rattles off her letter sounds. {I love this girl}

Monday, September 7, 2009

New beginnings



This woman has entrusted her wedding memories to me. {Insert wobbly legs here} I pray I can do justice. Click on the image to peek at a few of her bridal shots.

And, my sweet Amanda is off to school tomorrow.

.
.
.

Yes, time to embrace new beginnings.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Like mother, like daughters



(click image to enlarge - credits here)

This is one thing I'm glad I passed down to my girls. :) If you haven't noticed in the first photo, Abigail has adopted little binoculars as her "camwah".

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The beautiful culinary lunch box experience - Research & Development phase

I admit that I am a fanatic about everything I do. I want Amanda to have a filling, nutritious, and aesthetically pleasing lunch. So naturally, I've been scouring the 'net with a vengeance, looking for some ideas. Since you may be interested in creating good lunches for yourself or your young ones, I thought I'd share some of the links!

::Websites::
Sneak in Some Veggies at the Parents Magazine website

10 Creative Ideas for Packed Lunches at iVillage Parenting

From the Kraft Foods website (just wade through the plugs for their brand): MVP Lunches, Budget Lunches, Lunchbox Ideas

Nutritious Lunch Ideas, brought to you by Laptop Lunches. Amanda will be using this bento box system along with a thermos for hot foods, so I'll fill you in about the box as soon as she starts school.

Family Fun Magazine's A+ Lunches and Snacks

About.com's Everyday Menus: Packable Lunch

Food Network's Easy, Kid-Approved Lunch Recipes

::Books/miscellany::
The cool My Lunch Box: 50 Recipes for Kids to Take to School! by Hilary Karmilowicz

Lunch Boxes and Snacks: Over 120 healthy recipes from delicious sandwiches and salads to hot soups and sweet treats by Annabel Karmel

The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine


As evidenced by the title of this post, there will be an R&D phase, followed by an Implementation phase, and concluded with the Analysis phase. I will start sharing photos and successes/mishaps in the Implementation phase. (This whole experience is more intriguing with fancy titles, no?)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back from vacation

We had fun. The weather was wonderful. Tax-free shopping was glorious. Food was so good that I overate myself into a gluttonous stupor one afternoon. But oh, what a way to go down! :) I'll be pouring over two 8 gigs memory cards' worth of photos this week - I am eager to share my photos of early morning low tide on the beach with you.

Now that most of the laundry is done and our lives are unpacked and unleashed back into the daily grind, my next quest is to compile some great recipes and ideas for my Amanda's lunch box before she heads off to school.

One thing I had Amanda try was this insalata caprese (stacked style), since I have a wealth of basil and tomatoes in my garden:



I love it. But Amanda? Not so much. Though she loved the tomato-basil-olive oil-salt-pepper taste combo, she didn't care for the fresh mozzarella.

If you have some tried and true recipes or lunchbox ideas, will you share them with me? I want her to really love her lunches.

***

And happy birthday to two very special people in my life: my childhood friend Julianne, who is again celebrating her 21st birthday (ahem), and my beloved nephew Elias, who just blew out two candles.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The big three-five and other happy times



What a lovely birthday I had! Ron came home from a weeklong business trip just in time to be with us three ladies on my day. I tell you, I don't function at full power without my dear husband around, and neither do the girls. The girls and I made these itty bitty cupcakes that turned out perfectly imperfect... too much batter in the wee cups, and most of them spilled over. But no matter, because the lavender colored frosting we made to top them matched the lavender plant that a sweet friend of mine surprised me with. All morning, my siblings and Mom called to wish me a happy birthday, and a few dear friends that I don't have frequent contact with e-mailed me out of the blue. And, my sister-in-law sent a wonderful card with new photos of my beloved nephew.

T H A N K Y O U ! Each of you that took the time, you really filled me up.



See the pretty lavender? I'm smitten. And I *heart* the new and improved blue walls - but note to self: Self, please don't embark on big projects when your husband is out of town. You and your kids suffer because of them.

Recently, Amanda borrowed this library book about Helen Keller:


She deemed it one of the "best books of the world" and read it at least five times over. I jumped on her enthusiasm and borrowed another book about Helen Keller's teacher, Annie Sullivan:


It took us a month to get through, as we read only at bedtime each night. This book really cemented in both our minds the incredible resolve that Helen and Annie showed to overcome whatever obstacles that each dealt with. It gave us the opportunity to talk about how we want to proceed with our own lives. Amanda is busy spelling everything out using the ASL alphabet after reading the books. And she really enjoyed The Miracle Worker, Disney's remake of the story. It makes a big difference when learning can be tackled in multiple ways - through reading, doing, and watching.

Do you have any recommendations on which inspiring biography to tackle next?

And other happiness inducers: Our chrysalises have all revealed their breathtaking butterflies - we are proud of our five painted lady butterfly visitors. {The metamorphosis was amazing to behold}

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bwahaha!

My Abigail is almost 2-1/2 years old, yet she has no interest in saying goodbye to her diapers. I've decided not to sweat it too much - but boy do those diapers get more "fragant" by the day. She's okay with peeing in the toilet, but she likes to hide and do numero dos in the diaper. Total TMI, I know.

I wanted to share this video I found at the Yahoo! Korea Children's site on the subject - silly Koreans! (I can say this, because I happen to be a silly Korean myself)

야후 ! 꾸러기 동요

꾸꾸야야의 응가 송 혼자서 응가, 응가해요 응가해요하나 둘 셋 끙끙끙 하나 둘 셋 으쌰..



Click on the button to begin the video - it's in Korean, but you'll get the theme right away. It's too funny! Someday my Abby will be completely toilet learned, right? Please tell me it will be so. Otherwise I should look into buying stock in Depends adult "undergarments".

My friend Denise says this is disturbing. :D

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What we've been up to

Some of you may visit my blog because of my digital and hybrid scrapbooking activities, and you're wondering where they've gone lately. I've put them aside for a while to focus on being with my little ones. One of them will be scooting off to second grade in a few weeks, and we're in a busy frenzy making some final summer memories together before ushering in the new school year.

Amanda was a Cloverbud this year in a local 4-H chapter. No, she didn't do any projects that involved livestock or farming, but she did get to enter her needlepoint projects and a cooking project.




I've been to the fair for several years, but until you have a child personally involved, it doesn't really come alive! The entire event was extremely impressive. Some of the greatest talents exhibited the fruits of their labor. One of our favorite exhibits was the rabbits! Look how absolutely adorable this one is:


Whenever I think of the fair, I think of extreme heat. This fair was no different with 100 degree temperatures the whole week. Amanda ran through the sprinklers courtesy of the local fire department:


I heard from a friend of mine that it was so hot that some of the rabbits died during the fair exhibition. Apparently, their owners didn't do enough to keep them cool. How sad.

We've been enjoying our vegetable garden's bounty, taking our snow peas, green beans, and zucchini and making drool-inducing stir fries with them. While we were harvesting our veggies the other day, a little friend dropped by:


The girls got tired of working, so they tumbled into a tickle fest in the grass. Of course the crazy photog mom grabbed the camera.


And thanks to friends who've shared their overflow, we have canned our own apricot jam for the first time ever (which was surprisingly easy), as well as make fresh cherry cobbler.




All in all, wonderful days spent well. I hope I can get back to some of the deferred hobbies soon, but most times, I really don't miss them so much. I guess it's because my favorite hobby I continue to nurture through my photography business.
Take a peek at my Photo Artistry blog if you get a chance:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Meet my nephew

Remember this little one? I want to share some photos of him - click on the photo below to view them on my Photo Artistry blog:



Since those photos were taken, his father (my brother, aka my BOTHER) tells me he's become a hulking lad with quite the good-sized noggin. Meh, don't worry. You grew into your gargantuan head eventually, right Bother?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A happy Tuesday

It's been a day filled with gymnastics, Caillou, post-processing of photos, and a warm summer breeze to cool us off. Later on, we'll be heading off to swim lessons. I love days like this.

Speaking of relaxing, my favorite scent of the moment is lavender. I am thinking of flanking our home with lavender bushes, after a photo session I had this past weekend. Click on the photo to be whisked away for a peek. ;)



And an extremely belated congrats to Amanda for participating in an art contest. You can see her entry on this screenshot:



So proud of you, Pancakes!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sunshine aplenty

Tonight, Amanda leaned over to me and said: "Mommy, I love you so much. So much that I could put my love in a container bigger than the Pacific Ocean." Ah, that Amanda. She's just a handful of sunshine. (Flattery will get you many places, my daughter)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Welcome summer


(Click to enlarge)

By Amanda

Today

Today, I am thankful for the calm I feel in my heart -



for the precious little hands that bring color and vibrance to my world -



for the surprising emergence of a hobby that constantly reminds me to release the lifesong that rises in my spirit -



for a partner who understands the cadence of my footsteps here on this Earth and willingly matches his to it, all the while remembering to dance with his two little "Cinderellas" -



Today, I am thankful.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sculpey is the new black

Last summer, Amanda and I had the pleasure of spending a few days with our good friends, Julie and Brooke and their family. Julie is an amazing woman (and an amazing friend) that has homeschooled her children for a number of years - in fact, she gave me the courage to homeschool this year... let's just say that I owe a debt of gratitude to her.

Well, they happened to have something called Sculpey lying around, so we started playing with it - glorified Play Doh, I thought initially. NO. This stuff is amazing. We had so much fun (I had more fun than the kids) that I promptly went to the store after we got home and bought a pack.

The other night, we attended a nearly three-hour school meeting that was open to both parents and children. But this meeting was not for children. It's a good thing that I schlepped the Sculpey pack into my purse at the last minute or Amanda would have been so bored. She made twelve little items that we brought home and baked.

This is one of the little flowers she created:


Try this at home with your kids, and take some photos and share them with me! This is a great open-ended creative arts endeavor. Hope you have fun!

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's a photographer's paradise

Tap, tap, tap. Hi! We're back. The work reports are finally completed, we came back from a whirlwind visit to the Bay Area, and I have a gazillion photos to prove it. San Francisco was shrouded in its usual gray blanket of fog, but it didn't faze me. 6 days just flew by, and again, I didn't get a chance to touch base with everyone whom I intended to do so. Please forgive me!

Since I'm still in post-process phase with many of the photos, you can take a peek at a family session I did at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, CA, in the meantime:



I am now based in the greater Boise area as well as the San Francisco Bay Area, so if you or someone you know is interested in portraiture in either areas, send them my way!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A reminder for romance

I encountered this winsome couple a few evenings ago while photographing my girls in the front yard:



Just another little reminder to nurture my husband and our marriage. It's so easy to wholly focus on the children. Talk about them, talk through them.

"The most important thing
a mother can do
for her children
is love their father."

The above quote is an adaptation of Theodore Hesburgh's wise words:

"The most important thing
a father can do
for his children
is love their mother."

Brings me back to a layout I made some time ago:



Having such a tremendous person at my side to grow with is a true blessing.



Thank you for today's message, ladybug couple.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Class of 2009

All of a sudden the 2009 in the title reminds me of the anxiety-ridden world as we all awaited 2YK... I went and bought a ton of bottled water and duct tape to prepare for the impending cataclysmic events.

Bwahahaha! (I ended up drinking all of the water, and said duct tape rolls still live in the dark recesses of my parents' home)

We made it through 2000 okay. We are now half way through 2009, ladies and gentlemen!

Take a peek at my photography blog to see some photos from the latest photo shoot - two members of the Class of 2009.



I graduated in 1993. Wow, I won't even go there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Worthwhile



Thank you for a wonderful year of homeschooling, Amanda. But who was the student, you or me?

How can such a little person make my heart swell with so much joy....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Amanda and Abigail

Musings of a 6-year-old

Amanda: "Mom, I just love the way Abby's diapers smell like baby powder."
Me: "Me too. I'll miss the 'baby' smell once she's potty-trained."
(long pause, followed by a furrowed brow)
Amanda: "Were there diapers in the nineteens?"
Me: "Uh, you mean the 1900's when Mom and Dad were born?"
Amanda: "Yes, the nineteens."
Me: "Yes. There were diapers back in the dark ages."
Amanda: "Wow."

...

Abigail, the 2-year-old instigator

Abigail: "Momma, Manda hit me."
Amanda (with scrunched face): "She's lying! I did NOT!"
Abigail: "Oh sorry, Manda."
Amanda (unscrunches face): "Okay, turkey burger."
Abigail (with scrunched face): "I not tookey boogah! I Abby!"
Amanda (with mocking voice): "Oh sorry, Abby burger."
Abigail (replacing scrunch with smile): "Okay, Manda. Puhfect."


My kids - they are a hoot. They can't stand to be apart from one another, yet they can't stand to be together at times. :) At this moment, they are happily tucked into each other, blissful in dreamland:



Isn't Abigail's jowl the cutest?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Welcome to the world

I am proud to introduce my new nephew, Lucas Joshua:


(provided by proud Daddy, via iPhone)

He joins my other beloved nieces and nephews Davina, Evelyn, Elias, and Brandon. Ah, life is good!

Can't wait to see the brood in a few weeks!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy {inter}National Scrapbooking Day - freebie

(If you're not here for the blog train, you can scroll down to the next post, heh heh)

It's {inter}National Scrapbooking Day!

Welcome aboard the fun-filled ScrapMatters blog train! I'm stop #3, after Andrea and Britt.

We are boogyin' to the tropical groove, pretending that the breeze is warm here in my neck of the woods... which takes me to one of my favorite destinations, Hawaii! DH and I went there for one leg of our three-part honeymoon some eight years ago. We happily overdosed on Dole Whip, Matsumoto Shave Ice, Kua'aina Burger... and spent some calm, blissful moments overlooking the North Shore and climbing up Diamond Head. I would go back there in a heartbeart. Sweetie, pack your bags - we're going back to Hawaii! ;)

Here are a few layouts to share with you-

We took an insane amount of photos during our honeymoon. This is the condensed version:


Ron took this photo of me on the sly. I guess he knows that otherwise, my awkward camera smile would have overtaken my face (smart man, that hub unit of mine):




Here freebie, freebie, freebie!

Click on the preview to grab the coordinating quickpage freebie.

Take a gander at the incredible shopping to be had at ScrapMatters right now - cuh ray zee!


And to entice you even further, you'll be able to get the following kit for free with a $15 purchase. Yours truly designed a few of the elements in there, hee hee:


Thanks for hanging out with me - now onto my friend Denise's blog for some more goodies! Tell her I sent ya.

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