30 Day Photography Challenge | Week Two

Jan 22, 2012

Did you think I forgot this little challenge I set out to do?


I've been busy, don't get me wrong, but when I set out to do something, you can bet I'll finish it. It's just a weird thing about me.

If you missed Week One of My 30 Day Photography Challenge be sure to click on over and check out the first seven pictures of this little challenge.

Without further ado.... Week Two

Day Eight :: A Bad Habit. The Starbucks Drive-Through is truly a God send. Yummy coffee without having to get out of my car (and lug two girlies with me)? Yes please!

However at $5/cup let's just say that my hubby would label it as a "Bad Habit."
Day Nine :: Someone you Love. There are two specific things that I want to address in this photo.
#1. Let's keep the first things first. My mom and dad are THE BEST! Nora refers to them as Mop (yes... Mop) and Papa. My love and appreciation for them grows on a daily basis. Love you two!
#2. The creator of Skype. I really have no idea who he/she is (although I'm sure a quick Dr. Google search would help me figure it out in a second flat)... but I LOVE YOU! Skype has been such a great help in trying to keep our loved ones near and dear.
Day Ten :: Childhood Memory. Every once in awhile you just have to give your kiddo's freedom to jump on the bed.
Day Eleven :: Something Blue. Believe it or not, we have very few blue things around this house. With two little girls come lots, and lots and lots of pink and hardly any blue.

Thankfully I was working on a baby gift for my friends Liz & Aaron who recently welcomed their sweet baby #2, Titus, into the world, and I realized that I had something blue in our home to take a picture of :)

Oh - and yes - this was a Pinterest inspired gift.
Day Twelve :: Sunset. Arizona has some of the most beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately the sun sets at about the same time as the wicked witching hour for most children, so taking a photo of our beautiful sunsets I found was virtually impossible.

Thankfully I was able to snap this quick picture at the end of a family walk. Not too bad, huh?
Day Thirteen :: Yourself with Thirteen Things. I don't know about you other moms out there reading but we have LOTS of books in this home. These are just 13 of Nora's favorites (I let her choose which one's she wanted to be in the picture).

Day Fourteen :: Eyes. Elsie has some of the biggest most beautiful (at least to this mama) eyes. I couldn't resist snapping a shot of our sweet little peanut for this day's challenge.
Till next time.....

And in the meantime, be sure to hop on over to Nealy's blog to see her Week Two photos.


In Our Home | Potty Training & Elsie in the Hospital

Jan 19, 2012

First let's clear something up... the two items mentioned in the title of this post 1) Potty Training and 2) Elsie in the Hospital happened THIS weekend. Yes... I'll repeat that. THIS weekend. At the exact same time.

Fun, right?

I suppose it wouldn't be fun regardless of if they happened in back to back weeks (or even in the same month for that matter) but it was extra special that they happened the same weekend.

Impeccable timing.

Let's start with the first....

Potty Training.
We decided to start our potty training adventures this past Saturday. I did some research into various potty training techniques and decided on the 3 Day Potty Training guidelines (with a few "Steph/Nora tweaks" here and there).

It was all or nothing and we were "IN!"

Here are a few of the reasons why we decided to start last weekend (for those who are interested)...
- Alan had a 3 day weekend. Gotta love some daddy help.
- We didn't have anything else on the schedule. Perfect.
- Nora seemed interested in using the potty.
- Potty Training isn't an optional activity. Although if it were up to me I'd NEVER potty train. It's not much fun (just being honest here).

And some notes about the above photos...

1) I was given the opportunity to review the Boon Potty Bench (note: be sure to check Scottsdale Moms Blog in early February as we'll be giving away a Boon Potty). I'll tell you more of my thoughts about it on SMB but for now let's just say that we've loved it.

2) Yes - Nora is reading a Barney book on the potty. No explanation needed.

3) & 4) One of the cutest parts of the 3 Day Potty Training philosophy is that the "student" wears around panties/underwear (the wording of this item is a much debated topic in this home - which side are you on?) around the home without any pants. For 3 whole days.

So cute.

Elsie in the Hospital.
On the first day of our potty training adventures we noticed that Elsie just wasn't acting like herself. Sure enough that evening she had a temp of 102+, had diarrhea and vomited.

We took the best care of her that we could on Sunday and decided to take her into the Dr. on Monday morning as she wasn't doing any better. At the Dr. we were advised to watch her closely and if she became more lethargic or if she didn't have a wet diaper in the next 5 hours she suggested that we take Elsie to the ER.

Unfortunately both of those things happened so we were headed into the ER (mommy and Elsie that is.... Daddy needed to stay back with our newly potty trained Nora) with the assumption that we'd be in the ER for a couple hours and then head home later that evening.

No such luck.

We were admitted that evening because Elsie was dehydrated and the Dr. wanted to hook her up to an IV, pump some fluids in her and observe her for at least 24 hours.

It turns out Elsie ended up spending 2 days on the Pediatric floor at Scottsdale Shea Healthcare. Just. So. Sad.

Throughout the entire process we were humbled by God's faithfulness and our loved one's generosity. There is just so much we are thankful for...

Thank you to all of you who visited and kept me company while in the hospital with Elsie. It was difficult to not be able to be with Alan and Nora b/c of child visitor restrictions at the hospital due to it being RSV season (and the above mentioned potty training situation).

Thank you to all of you who brought Alan and I food the past couple days.

Thank you to all who prayed (and there were a lot of you) and showed support through FB comments, text messages and phone calls.

And lastly - thank you Lord for your healing powers.

Elsie is now home and doing much, much better! Praise God.


Steph's Pick | Starbucks Via Ready Brew {Iced}

Jan 13, 2012

It's no secret...I love my cup of coffee in the morning. Especially since getting my Keurig.

However, in Arizona there are plenty of times during the year (especially during the summer) when an Iced Coffee is just far more yummy.

Up until now I've had trouble making iced coffee that tastes well - good. Thankfully I have a friend who also shares my love for Iced Coffee and got me one of my favorite Christmas gifts this season - a box of Starbucks Via Ready Brew {Iced}.

I'll be honest...at first I was leery. Instant coffee? What? I figured it had to taste nasty.

But to my pleasant surprise - it doesn't! It actually tastes VERY good - especially if you add a little French Vanilla creamer.

Upon sipping on one of these tasty (homemade) drinks I find myself comparing my Barista skills to that of my favorite Starbucks Barista at 40th St. and Greenway :)

Nah - let's not get carried away.

Nevertheless - my homemade Iced Vanilla Latte tastes pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

Check it out! It's totally worth it. And then come back and let me know what you thought!


My 30 Day Photography Challenge | Week One

Jan 11, 2012

At the beginning of the new year I was asked by my sweet friend Nealy to do a 30 Day Photography Challenge with her. I immediately said "YES!" thinking that it would be
a) fun
b) encourage me to dust off my Nikon and take some pics on something other than my iPhone. (I'm not gonna lie - I love me some Instagram Pics)

Now one thing I hadn't considered was that I'd signed up to do a photography challenge with my friend who takes photos PROFESSIONALLY!!! Ugh.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm kinda kicking myself for saying yes ... but I'm doing it...because I told Nealy I would. :)


Day One :: Self-Portrait. Sounds a lot easier than it was but thankfully I was able to snap a couple shots while the girls were in the backyard playing one morning.
Day Two :: What I Wore. It's amazing how the most difficult part of this challenge (for me at least) has been taking pictures WHILE doing my full-time job of caring for my children. My guess is you'll be seeing a lot of the kiddo's in the back of my pics. I figure it gives you a little glimpse into my life. :)
Day Three :: Clouds. Now this was a hilarious challenge. I waited for THREE STRAIGHT DAYS for one cloud. Nothing. This is what I saw each of those days. Perfect clear skies.

Ahh... I love Arizona winters.
Day Four :: Something Green. I couldn't wait to show you our very favorite kitchen appliance these days - The Zoku Popsicle Maker. Nora got this as a Christmas present and we all LOVE it. (Thanks Tom & Jane!)

Nora especially loves her green Popsicles made from Naked Green Machine juice. We may or may not eat these 2-3x/day. Hey - it's 100% fruit and veggie juice. Why not?!
Day Five :: From a High Angle. By Day 5 I was in need of a little inspiration. What better way to get inspiration than from a morning cup of coffee! (Or should I say creamer? Yes - there is coffee in that cup)
Day Six :: From a Low Angle. We've spent a lot of time enjoying all of our wonderful Christmas presents (thanks again everyone). Another one of Nora's gifts was her very first Doll House from Papa and Ellen.

She loves it! I mean... what's not to love about a doll house that comes with a pink convertible?! And although it doesn't fit with the photography challenge I figured you might want to see the current condition of the dollhouse.
Day Seven :: Fruit. One of my favorite times of year is when the citrus fruit trees are in bloom. And specifically when the grapefruit trees are ready to be picked (and eaten of course).

For those of you who are not familiar with the amazing citrus in Arizona - let me explain my love for AZ Grapefruit.

Back in Iowa I never would have been caught dead eating a grapefruit without 20+ packets of sugar on top of it. It's just too bitter for me. Thankfully a majority of the grapefruit here is very sweet and mild. It actually requires little to no sugar.

In short... It's DELICIOUS!

Be sure to hop on over to Nealy's First Post for the 30 Day Photography Challenge too - that girl is an amazing photographer!

And lastly, be sure to follow my 30 Day Photography Challenge Pinterest Board where I'll be posting all of my photos throughout the challenge.


two (funny) videos for you

Jan 4, 2012

For your viewing pleasure....

Nora & Elsie enjoying our Backyard ::

Yes - we know our grass is dead.
No - we don't care :) Nor does Nora.

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