My First-Born

How can I express how thankful I am that I get to mother this kid?

 
He went and turned 17 on me. Can I just say that again? SEVENTEEN! Some days it seems so normal, and then it’ll just hit me. Seventeen? Like, one year away from graduating? One year away from college and a mission?? That’s only one more year to grown-up, folks.

Crazy.

But can I tell you something else? He’s awesome.
He’s easy.
He’s agreeable.
He’s good.
He’s obedient.
And he’s so many other great things, that I can’t even begin to list them all.

Yep, I’m a lucky Mom.

On his birthday I took Chandler, and we got some lunch with my parents. Then we headed to pick out his birthday gifts. He got a new game for the 3-DS, and a new watch. He’s wanted a good watch for a while now, and got to pick just the one he wanted. His favorite part? You can see the insides and watch it all doing its thing. I admit, it IS pretty cool to see all of the gears and gadgets moving around in there.

For dinner we met up with some of the family at Fuddruckers. For some reason, we often end up there for birthday dinners. Maybe it’s because it’s loud, so we don’t have guilt for being loud ourselves.

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The nice Fuddrucker people came and sang Chandler a song, and brought him a giant, awesome Ice Cream Sundae to eat.

He didn’t even share.
I don’t blame him!

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It was a pretty quiet birthday, overall. Our air conditioner is out at home, and I tell you what, when it’s hot I have zero motivation! I start to cook, then I get too hot. I start to clean, then I get too hot.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a warm-blooded individual. My thin Arizona blood would rather have heat than cold any day. But when it’s 85 degrees in my house and the humidity is around 80%, I’m all done.
I’m trying not to complain, though, because it could definitely be hotter!

So happiest birthday to my Chandler. I have so much I still want to teach him before he up and leaves, and now I’m down to about a year to get it done.
Better get on the stick!

Goings On I’ve Missed

Life kept happening while I was away. Ok, not “away” exactly. Just so frustrated with my computer and picture issues that I gave up trying to blog for a while.
For the record, I quit the cloud. Deleted the account and said goodbye. Until Apple figures out how to make it all more user friendly, I’m out. For the time being, all of my pictures are being stored on an external hard drive. Two, actually. If I want to blog, or access my pictures, I have to hook up the hard drive and get them that way. It’s not ideal, but it works, and it’s tons better than the stupid cloud.

So, anyway, life kept happening.

In February, my youngest child turned nine. One more year and I won’t have any kids in single digits anymore! How is that possible?


We didn’t have a birthday party this year. I just made a cake, and he opened his presents early in the morning, before he was even dressed for the day!


He wasn’t thrilled about me taking pictures of him in his PJs, but just look at that dimple!

 
Isn’t it the best? I seriously love that all of my kids have dimples!

Then we had Easter and Mother’s Day, but I’ll get to those another day, because then we had two more birthdays!

 
Caden turned thirteen. Another teenager! I’m telling you, I can just hardly stand this growing up thing…I LOVE it. I love who my kids are becoming, and I love watching it all, I just want it to slow down!

Three days after Caden’s birthday came Makenna’s. Her 11th. One more year to Young Womens?? (Our church’s program for girls ages 12-18)


It was all pretty low-key this year. No big parties, although Caden did have some friends over one night. At least they had cake, right?

It’s so amazing to me how fast the time is going. In a year Chandler will probably be gone. Gone!
Life is changing, and it’s good. I’ve been so blessed to have the awesome kids I have, and I count these kids of mine among my greatest gifts.
I hope these three had happy happy birthdays!

Technology Contract

Things have been slow around here lately. I wish I could say that we’ve been too busy for me to get around to blogging, but that would be a total lie. The truth is, it’s been so utterly slow that I haven’t even been interested. Isn’t that sad?

I posted a couple of years ago about Summer, and how I was struggling with it that year. The sunshine (which I LOVE), the water, the lazy days, the summer vacation, all of it. It all sounds so amazing, but it just wasn’t happening that year. Well, this year has been somewhat of a repeat so far. Lazy days are about the only thing I’ve pulled off.

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The Dreaded Basement

This is the first time our family has had a basement. We had a second story, for just a few months, in Arizona, but never a basement. I always thought I would LOVE having the space in a basement! The extra storage, bathroom, bedroom (or bedrooms), family room, etc. Sounds amazing, right?

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We’ve lived in our house for about two and a half years now, and I have yet to decide it is, in fact, amazing to have a basement.

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A Little Catch Up

I tell you what, I’m trying SO HARD to get my pictures under control. I heard such wonderful things about Adobe LIghtroom. Over and over again, people said it was a “must have” for my photo editing! This year I bit the bullet and bought it.
Now, here’s the thing. I’m not a photographer. I’m just a mom blogger with a decent camera. I’ve done tons of reading, tons of research, and tons of practicing, but I still don’t claim to know what I’m doing. At all. I’ve had Adobe Photoshop Elements for years, and I like it. I can crop, brighten things up a bit, increase the contrast, fix little blemishes (or hide a candy wrapper that got caught in a shot), and then SAVE the edits. And none of this took very long.
But, over and over again, people said APS doesn’t compare to LIghtroom!
Well, maybe I’m just not all that smart, but I get so frustrated with Lightroom I could scream. Then, because it’s a “non-destructive editor”, if I go to my regular picture folder and look at my picture, the edits I worked so hard on aren’t even there! (Many swear by this feature, but I hate it.)
Anyway, one of these days I’m going to dedicate a whole post to why I, in my ignorance, prefer APS any day of the week.

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Silver Dollar City in the Fall

Still trying to get caught up from last year. Sad, isn’t it? I seriously hang my head in shame when I think about how far behind I am. Although, I haven’t taken as many pictures yet this year, so I SHOULD be able to catch up.

Anyway, last October, while everyone was here for our Halloween party fun, we made a trip to Branson to go to Silver Dollar City.

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I take a lot of selfies, since I’m the only one taking pictures. So pardon my giant arm in all of the pictures of me…

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Yay for Cloud Storage!

Oh, my goodness! This, my friends, has been such a long road! Don’t fill up your laptop, then change formats and try to redo everything in your digital world at once, k? It’s craziness, I tell you!

I still have, literally, weeks of uploading to do before all of my pictures are in “the cloud”. Weeks. It’s a slow, painful process, but I’ve finally got it figured out at least, so it’s truly a day for rejoicing! Can I get an “amen”?? I dread having to MANUALLY upload around 40,000 pictures (seriously Apple people, isn’t there a better way?) but I really think I’ll be super happy once they’re all there. The best part of the whole thing is that it has forced me to sit down and look at some of my old pictures.

Just look at this:

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The Source of My Frustration

Hello, friends. It’s been far too long, no?

You see, I’ve reached the limit of my laptop’s capabilities. She’s all filled up. She simply can’t handle any more of my memories. She’s holding 251 gigabytes of pictures, and she’s put her foot down.

Therein lies the problem. I’m not finished making memories yet. I have years and years to go. And, since I blog, I need access to those memories. It isn’t good enough to just stick them on some discs for safe keeping. And I don’t want to mess with an external hard drive all the time.

There’s only one answer that I know of.

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Holy Redesign, Batman!

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure.

Notice that things look a little different around here? I’ll be honest with you-I’m in looooove! I spent years (for real) designing and redesigning my blog. I studied, I created buttons and menu bars and headers. I tried to make a sidebar that looked like it was supposed to be there. I coded, mapped images, made social media buttons and STILL never felt content with what my blog looked like. So, if you’ve been here a while, you’ve seen lots of designs come and go. And even a name change!

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Lots of them.
Sorry about that.

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Sometimes I would find a design I liked, but then I would struggle to get everything else to look like it went together.

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Anyway, this year I finally decided to check into having someone ELSE design my blog. Go figure! The first thing I did was look at a couple of blogs that I really liked, and checked at the bottom of the page to see if anyone specific had designed them. I found several designers and sent out an email to find out what the cost would be to have my blog redesigned.

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Trunk or Treat 2014

Happy Tuesday to you! I’m still trying to get caught up on all of the family stuff I missed over the holidays, so bear with me. And thanks for being here!

Every year our church has a Trunk-or-Treat. Do you guys do that? I love it! It’s so fun to get together with amazing friends and eat good food, play games, and get candy!

Somehow, this is the only picture I got of Conner all night.

Makenna is Ms. Social Pants, and I love to watch her with her friends. This little friends has moved across town, so we don’t get to see her as much. Sad face! It was so great to have her family at our Trunk-or-Treat this year!

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