Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The One With Ellie's Favorite Things

If Ellie were Oprah, she'd be giving away some fun stuff. Well, fun stuff for 18-month-olds, at least. Check out what made her list.

1. A pink plush dog - if you don't have one of these, you gotta get one. Usually available in grocery stores around the country during the Valentine's Day season. Great for snuggling during naps and general companionship during play.

2. The Ear Book by Al Perkins. Great rhythm and delightful illustrations. You'll especially love making all the noises.

3. Random padding to sit on. This could be the cushions from chairs, pillows, Boppy's... anything padded will do.
4. A snuggley pink blanket. It is essential that it have satin trim.

5. The pink dog again. Seriously. It's also great for chewing on while being a ham in front of the camera.

6. Hello Kitty Sunglasses. Great for letting your inner rock star shine through.

And a cute smile to end the post.

These are some of Ellie's favorite things. What are yours?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The One With the Outtakes

You saw some maternity/family portraits a few posts back. Well, I was looking through them again and found some more that I liked. These are more of the "outtakes" - but I still like them for various reasons.

Ellie is sucking her thumb in this one, which is cute but means this didn't make the final cut. And I had to majorly crop this so I didn't look like a whale. It just isn't the best angle.

I just like this picture of Ellie running about, making the whole process more difficult.

I like how this one makes her look like a celebrity - with me primping her for the paparazzi.

And you've seen this one before, but I cropped it to see if I liked it better this way. I still can't decide.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The One With the Brownie Bowls and Ice Cream

There have been a lot of festivities happening around here lately. Our friend Allison came to visit and meet Olivia and while she was here she had a birthday. So, of course, we had to celebrate.

My little brownie cup tin had been feeling neglected - having not been used since Strawberry Shortcakes and Pudding-Filled Brownie Bowls this past summer. It was time to make it feel useful again.

So I whipped up some brownie bowls and filled them with mint ice cream.

It was a pretty splendid idea, if I do say so myself.

Yummy. And aren't those little paper plates so cute? It turns out that one of my fave artists, Katie Daisy (discovered on Etsy here), sold some of her artwork to Target and they made a whole line of party supplies and decor. There will definitely be more on that later... after I go buy some of it.

Hope you had a happy birthday, Allison!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The One With Olivia's Birth Announcement

I ordered Olivia's birth announcements today to celebrate her 3 week birthday. My oh my, how time flies when you're having fun (and feeding babies and changing a lot of diapers).

I ordered them through the site Uprinting.com. Not that I'm an expert or anything, but I've been around a very small version of the block with printing companies and would have to say that since finding Uprinting, I've never looked back. I have used them for ordering business cards and holiday cards. They are great for big and small projects and offer a free proof to make sure that your product is printed correctly. Their customer service is excellent and I think their work is top notch. So if you need an online printer recommended, now you have one.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The One When We Were a Family of Three

If you've followed this blog for any length of time you may have noticed that I'm awesome at posting things out of chronological order. Today is no exception.

A couple of weeks ago I asked Mallory (of the Purplest Pecalin) to take some family portraits for us. I wanted some maternity pictures as well as a few last shots of our family of three, while we were still only three. And I cut it pretty close. These photos were taken on Saturday. I went into labor Monday late afternoon and Olivia was born in the very early hours of Tuesday. These are also the only belly pictures I got. I was planning on taking some on Tuesday. But by Tuesday the belly was gone and the baby was here.

We met Mallory in downtown Portland. It was surprisingly hard to get all of us looking and smiling at the camera at the same time. But we were able to manage a few good shots. This one is my favorite. Somebody is looking a lot like her daddy these days.

Steve works in the Fox Tower downtwon so we also took some in his office building. Unfortunately, you can't tell that there's an awesome view right behind us.

This last picture was an attempt to recreate an adorable family photograph I spotted a few months ago. Ellie wasn't being too cooperative, though. I can't blame her. It was about 40 degrees when we were shooting these.

And just for fun, and because I have no where else to put it, here's a shot I took from the lunchroom in Steve's office. Not a bad view, eh?

Can you tell I've been experimenting with different Photoshop Actions provided by the Pioneer Woman? (Read more about those here.) I applied the "Heartland" action to the family portraits in this post, but took the layer opacity down to about 40% so that they would have more color. The cityscape photograph has been edited using the "Curves" feature in Photoshop.

Family portraits taken by Mallory Phelan and edited by me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The One With Ellie Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies

My family has been visiting from Idaho for the past couple of days. It has been nice to have someone to keep Ellie entertained. And they are very good at entertaining her. Yesterday, she helped make chocolate chip cookies with her grandma.

Her contribution was mostly moral support - offering lots of "Yummy, yummy, yummy"s to encourage the chef. She was in charge of product control - making sure the batter was up to standard.

Apparently, it was.

She also inspected the Semisweet Chunks bag to make sure none were left behind.

It was a pretty fun day for her. And for me. My mom makes amazing chocolate chip cookies. We just used the recipe on the back of the Nestle Semisweet Chunks bag, but then added zest of orange peel and a tablespoon of almond extract. You should try it. It makes an already pretty amazing cookie just that much better. Seriously.

And since Olivia is also cute, here is a picture of her. She is cheering because she also liked the chocolate chip cookies when they came to her in the form of milk a few hours later.

The One with the Poem about Smoke Jumpers

My grandfather moved to Idaho in the early 1950s to be a part of an elite group of fire fighters called smoke jumpers. They parachuted out of airplanes into the heart of forest fires to fight them in terrain that was otherwise unreachable - saving thousands of acres of timber from going up in flames.

He wrote a book on the subject, Two-Man Stick. I am a proud owner of copy and my brother just read it as well. After reading it, my brother wrote a poem in tribute to my grandfather. I jazzed it up a little and my mom is going to have it framed for his 76th birthday.

(In case you can't read it in the image above:)

The Jumpers
by Chad Filler

The wiser people of the town of McCall, Idaho,
tell many stories of the great
smoke-jumping dynamos -
Who plunged into the flaming seas
of many large, quick-burning trees -
Who risked their lives
almost everyday
to try and stop the pines ablaze -
Who loved the wonderful great outdoors
enough to save it from a fire’s roar -
And the people also tell of the ones who cared about the honor
they would earn,
even though it was possible to their homes they might never return.

Cool birthday present, no? My brother is also dabbling in cartooning these days. I'll have to post some of his art here sometime.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The One With the Tiny Shoes

To go with the tiny feet mentioned below, yesterday I received the most adorable baby present ever: tiny handmade shoes! And a matching onesie.

My dear friend and fellow crafter, Mallory, has been making me the sweetest gifts these past few months. It's fun getting such unique and inspired crafty things that I know I will treasure for a long time. I need to think of something extremely cool for Mallory's birthday. It's a good thing I have until September for that.

Eventually I hope to show you all the cool things Mallory has made for me and the girls, even if it's just by showing you the posts she has put on her new blog the Purplest Pecalin.

These little shoes just couldn't wait to be mentioned. They are a wee bit big for the very tiny feet of little Olivia right now, but she is going to be so cute in them someday (too soon).

Here's a link to Mallory's post on the subject. And also a link to the wonderful Thank You cards she made me. As she mentions, I find them almost too cute to use. I'm just not sure I can part with them. But I will try.

Mallory and I have sort of tackled this whole new world of crafting in tandem. It started back in our freshman year of college when she reminded me of my love for scrapbooking. And then we added cupcakes and desserts in general to our repertoire of things we like to make together. And then I "taught" her how to use the sewing machine in her grandma's garage. And by "taught" I mean that I helped her thread it and said, "Now you put your foot on the pedal and make it sew." Because I'm that awesome at sewing. Or not.
And now we send each other all sorts of links to cool projects and ideas. And it is fun to have someone to do them with. Unfortunately for me, Mallory will be in South America for the next six weeks. So I will be crafting on my own. And I will miss her.

But I've got a toddler, a new baby and adorable little shoes to keep me company.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The One With the Tiny Feet

I can't get enough of these tiny feet. And the spindly little legs. So adorable.

I'm trying to soak this all in - knowing that if Olivia is anything like her big sister, she'll be fattening up here pretty quickly. The days of tiny newborn limbs are few and fleeting. But aren't they the cutest things in the world?

I got a new lens for my Canon Rebel Xsi for my birthday - a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens- per Katie Bower's recommendation. I like the effects of all the light it catches - although it is still a bit tricky for me to understand. But I can't complain... I've got an adorable subject that stays fairly still for practicing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The One With Olivia Suzanne

Our little bundle of joy has arrived!

Olivia Suzanne was born March 1, 2011 at 1:48am. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 20 inches long.

She is practically perfect in every way and we are enjoying her very much. Ellie is being a great big sister. She loves the baby, but we have to remind her to be gentle.

I'll probably be taking a little break from blogging while I figure out how to manage the two of them, but will hopefully update soon with pictures at the least.
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