Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in Connecticut

We had such a fantastic holiday this year!  Dan, James, Emma and I headed up to Connecticut to celebrate with my side of the family. It is great when we are all together because it doesn't happen very often.  My brother, Peter, lives in LA and doesn't get home too often. My sister, Nina, lives in Boston so she is fairly far from us as well.

Christmas Eve we headed down to Shelton for our Feast of the Seven Fishes.  My dad's side of the family is Italian so the is a really special tradition that has been carried on for so many years.  This was the first year without my grandmother, who passed away in March, so it was tough not having her there to manage everything. It was a very special celebration for her that she always took the time to do and keep the traditions alive.  It was still very special though because James loves seeing his cousins!  The Zoppi/Cote cousins are very special to James and Emma and they both treasure the time they spend with them.  They are all getting older and could easily not want to play with the little ones but all five kids are so patient, kind, and really really good with both James and Emma.

On Christmas Day, we opened gifts, had awonderful breakfast,  went to church and then headed to Winsted to celebrate with my Mom's side of the family.  All so much fun,  here are a few pictures showing our Christmas morning!

And here are a few from our time up in Winsted at my Sitto and Giddo's house (Grandma and Grandpa in Arabic). This was the first time in 3 or 4 years that we were all together.  Woo!  It was crowded, hot, but very good to be with everyone.  These photos are from my cousin Marin because I didn't take a single photo that afternoon!

We are home now, relaxing, and getting ready for Round 2 with the Confer/Krebs Family!

Friday, December 17, 2010

"This Holiday is Perfect"

We are really enjoying December this year.  Getting ready for Christmas has been so exciting.  I started an Advent Box with James that gives us an activity to do each day.  One is fun (like watching a holiday movie or singing Christmas Carols) and another is a way for us to think of others during this season (like bringing a toy to a child in need or food to the food pantry).  He loves doing both things and loves knowing how long we have until Christmas.  James just said to me today, "This holiday is perfect, Mama!  Our tree is so pretty and everyone loves everyone." I am really glad that the things we discuss at home and are promoting are making an impact on him.  He is still really into getting things and wanting things which is expected and fine but we really wanted to make sure he understood all the other aspects of the holiday season.

James drinking his hot chocolate!

James and Emma both loved decorating the tree and we had so much fun watching them find the ornaments and place them on the tree.

Emma kissing the Snowman

The music is also in full effect here and we are listening to Glee Christmas, Raffi (a great tradition), and the Hotel Cafe presents Winter Songs with some free Pandora thrown in for good measure.

We also have a visitor who is staying with us until Christmas.  His name is LP (named after my dear friend Emily's little boy).  LP is an elf who comes from the North Pole each day and watches James and Emma to see the good and naughty things they do and then report back to Santa each night. The Elf on the Shelf is a big hit and the kids love finding him each morning (he appears in a different place each day).
Meet LP

Playing with the Nativity is a big hit with both James and Emma.  James really knows the story about the birth of Jesus now and can retell it to Emma using the nativity.  Emma loves Joseph and would love to carry him around all day. He has a rather sharp stake that he holds so we discourage this and she plays with a wooden version that we have.

Our Nativities

We are up to our heads in crafts as well.  We have made Advent Spiral Bread (which was yummy and now gone) which we found on Rhythm of the Home.  Made some frozen ice lanterns which we found on Ordinary Life Magic.  We are also working on some holiday cards, homemade wrapping paper, and handmade gifts for friends. James is so proud of the work he has done on his cards and handmade gifts.
A very cold search for festive brush

It is bringing Dan and I such joy to watch James and Emma at this time of year, the excitement, the anticipation, the awareness of others, the building of traditions and the learning about the birth of Jesus and Advent as been amazing.  More to come later with our finished crafts and baking ideas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mary and Sophie- A Love Story

On Sunday I headed out with Mary and Sophie for a little photo fun. I love Mary, she is sweet, friendly, and really easy to talk to. I love the way she handles Sophie, with such a good sense of humor and love. When she asked me to take pictures of her and Sophie I was really excited. I love this dog.  She is super sweet and playful.  She is gorgeous to look at and she is HUGE and STRONG and just a little nutty, which makes her perfect!  I am used to nutty! Anyway, we had such a good time walking outside in the FREEZING cold.  My fingers were little icicles at the end but it was totally worth it for these pictures. I had some ideas in mind about where to go and what I wanted to accomplish but Miss Sophie wasn't having it :).  Mary warned me and told me she wanted a more photo-journalistic look and less portrait looking photos which is exactly what we got.  I think the pictures tell such a good story about each of their personalities and how much they love each other.

Heading out through town for our walk.  

Stopping for a photo...
Not for too long!  So many things to see.

True Love in Sophie's eyes.

Love this one!

Mary's face says so much in this picture.

Another Favorite. I can't remember if this was before or after Sophie jumped 4 feet up onto the wall!

Thanks Mary and Sophie for giving me a little look into your world!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Firecrackers and Crickets

Emma is a firecracker. We knew from birth that her personality was going to be different from James but now that she is getting older it is really coming out!  She is talking like crazy now. She says hundreds of words and strings sentences together in 3-4 words.  The lady in the nursery at church calls her "the little linguist" She has taken to saying "knock it down"  when she doesn't want to play with something. When she is mad and wants her own ways she says "throw it"  and throws whatever she is holding down. We are really working on getting through this little phase and I am hoping that the tantruming will pass soon.  Despite her minor tantrum throwing she is very sweet and will kiss me, "snuggy" with her blanket on the couch with me and play really nicely with James.

She loves to help around the house by sweeping and wiping up after meals. She definitely has a mind of her own and is incredibly independent.  She wants to do most things on her own, especially eat. She also wants to have say in what she gets to eat.  If you ask her what she wants for breakfast she says "cererereal". If you ask her what she wants for lunch she says, "olives, cookies,  crackers."  She likes to choose her own outfit in the morning (with some help from me), try on shoes at target and in my closet, go for walks in the "shoedee" (stroller).  She loves James' friends and if you ask her who her friends are she says,  Luke, Max, Sammy.  She loves to play with puzzles, blocks, and her dolly. She says, "dolly cold" and asks Dan to put a blanket on her. She loves to read and can fill in parts of the story if I ask her to.  She also likes to plan out what we are going to do after her afternoon nap. When I go into get her, she says, " Jacket, shoes, boots, outside, shoedee"  Everyday.  We do play outside most days after nap before it gets dark.

She has also learned to tattle on James. She is good at making it known when he pushes her, takes something, or  doesn't play with her the way she wants.  I have made a very conscious effort not to immediately blame James everytime and have started asking what is going on.  Usually I can get a straight answer out of both of them.  James is a pretty honest dude.
                                   Emma in September...this is a true representation of her personality.
James is our little cricket.  After watching Pinocchio one night we started calling him Jiminy Cricket. The name stuck and now it is one of the chosen nicknames for him at home.  He is always trying to do the right thing but sometimes he does get into trouble.  He loves to play outside, go to school, Lego Duplo, gymnastics, and reading.  Overall he is such a good boy. He loves to help out whether we are cooking, doing laundry, crafting, or fixing things around the house.

He talks a lot and can be very serious.  We love when he talks and makes what we call "the idea hand".  He moves his hand around and his face gets all scrunched up when he is saying something he thinks is very important.  I would love to get a picture of it but of course it is very difficult. He is very inquisitive and wants to know exactly how things work and what happens next. He can also be very persistent and if he doesn't get his way he asks and asks until he thinks you will give in. Sometimes we do and most of the time we don't which can be very exhausting for me!

He is so great with Emma for the most part and really wants her to play with him. She doesn't quite get playing with someone yet so sometimes James gets frustrated. Yesterday I heard him asking her to be a reindeer and pull him along because he was Santa.  He calls her "Babes" and picks up her milk when she drops it on the floor. He snuggles her on the couch and reads her Corduroy's Christmas or Who said Moo?  He is very proud of being such a good big brother!

Christmas 2010

Check out the Christmas Cards I just ordered from Shutterfly!  I love how they came out!  Can't wait to have them in my hands! The only way I could get Emma to sit was to give her a cookie!  Haha!  

Merry And Bright Christmas Card
Get custom photo Christmas cards online at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mira's Photos

On Saturday I took some photos of my friend Mira and her dog, Kaya.  I took their photos last year as well and was really excited to have the opportunity to photograph them again. This year was a bit easier and I am sooooo excited about how the pictures came out. Mira looked gorgeous and was such a great sport as I bossed her around to get some good shots.  Kaya did a great job sitting and eating treats!  Her ears make all the photos look so cute.  Here are a few that I absolutely LOVE. I hope she loves them too!

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Location? New Light?

I finally received my camera back from the shop and it is as good as new! While it was away I was scouting out some new places to take photos. Different locations with different feels, backgrounds, and light.  There is a small park in town that I wanted to check out because it looked earthy and the light in the morning always looks good. I dropped James off at preschool and headed over to this park for some early morning photos with Emma.  The weather was perfect, cool and sunny. The trees in this park are beautiful and color coming through them was awesome.  The hardest part of today was getting Emma to sit somewhat still so I could get a good photo.  She did pretty well after I promised her that she could have a cookie!  Next time I need to bring some yummy snacks or props to occupy her and put her in a cuter outfit! Here are some photos that I love from our 15 minutes in the park. 

 I know they have some sun haze but I think it makes the light in them gorgeous and you can even see a tiny rainbow in one of them if you look closely.  A few more to come in the next few days, with haircuts, cute clothes, and props!  I am also taking photos of my friend and her dog this weekend and we have some cute ideas up our sleeve.  Hopefully I can post those soon as well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Photos

I have already started looking at the Shutterfly Holiday Card choices for this year.  I love Shutterfly and use them for lots of my printing needs.  They do one hour photo to Target which  I like because I am at Target 3 times (don't laugh!)  a week or so and can easily pick up my photos.  Anyway, they have some awesome selections this season and I know I can find some designs/sizes/number of photos that will go with my holiday photo. I love that I can choose what size card I want, how many photos I have, and colors and it will narrow down all the choices they are offering.  Makes my job of creating a card much easier!

I am hoping to have a simple but modern card that focuses on the photo. Here are a few I am thinking of purchasing...


I love the simple colors and beautiful fonts. I also love making my own Christmas tags and this goes right along with my love for tags!


Again, simple fonts and colors.  I can decide after I choose outfits, locations, and do my photo editing.

This is my last choice but I love the colors and that you can actually write a message!

The other thing I love about Shutterfly is that you can choose matte or glossy photos for cards and I love my photos to have a matte finish. If you have a blog and post about Shutterfly they will give you 50 free holiday prints which is pretty cool too!  Go here http://blog.shutterfly.com/5358/holiday2010-blog-submission-form/ if you want to give it a try!

Update on my camera:  In addition to having my sister's camera to use I busted out my old 35mm SLR film camera and am going to attempt to that.  Look for how those photos turn out!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Holiday Photos!

So my camera broke last week and I had to take it to the camera shop and have it shipped to Canon to get it fixed. They told me it would take 2-4 weeks to get it back.  At first I was ridiculously upset because I have some exciting photo ops coming up that I don't want to miss but someone awesome saved the day! My sister, Nina, is sending me her camera so that I have something to use in the next few weeks to take holiday pictures. Thanks Nina!  You are the BEST!

I am looking forward to taking pictures of James and Emma. I have a bunch of ideas brewing around in my head. I really want to do something fun and a little whimsical. Hopefully there will be pictures to show in the next few weeks.  I am hoping that I can send out holiday cards early this year. I am not always the best at that. I have created a few templates for cards so I am not sure if I am going to make my own or just use a standard from Shutterfly.  Will post my ideas soon!

I am also looking forward to taking some holiday photos for friends in the next few weeks. A few more ideas are running through my head for those as well.  Can't wait to try out some new things and experiment with locations,  props, etc.  Yay to my friends for letting me practice on them!

And because it is getting colder out I wanted to share two recent photos that warm my heart. Love these people, these pictures,  these memories :).  It makes me so happy that my children can know my grandparents.  It is obvious to me how happy they are to be with Emma and how Emma clearly knows they love her (even though she doesn't see them that often).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Attempting a Blog

Can I do it? Start a blog of my family, photography, daily life?  I don't know but I am going to give it a try. My goal is to post two to three times a week with stories of our daily life, photography, and activities we are up to.  I am going to try to make it interesting and stay focused!  Let's hope for the best and I hope you follow along!