Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ava Signing

If you'd like an overdose of cuteness to start off your day, check out this video my sister, Hannah, (who is going to college for her American Sign Language degree) made of Ava doing some of the signs she's taught her.

It's worth the two minutes it takes to watch. I promise. (And be sure to watch Ava's face at the beginning while my sister intros the video in sign language).

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Latest Craving {healthy vegan caramel apples}

I'm one of the only people I know who bemoans the start of fall. Facebook is filled with the rejoicing of the beginning of this season, but I'm wallowing the misery of summer coming to a close and winter looming.

One of few things lessens the blow is a really tart apple covered in caramel. (Though it's only a 10 minute fix.) Normally it's a once or twice an autumn treat, but no longer! With a new recipe that takes this..
and this...
...with a little vanilla, we've been caramel apple-ing it up over at our house. Hoorah for healthy delicious desserts that can be made up in 10 minutes!!

You can find the caramel recipe at the bottom of this Healthful Pursuit blog post HERE (the grain-free donuts you'll see at the top of the post are yummy, too). Then I either drizzle it over cut apples or let it sit in the fridge a bit to firm up and spread across an apple on a stick.

Oh, and enjoy your precious fall while I mope around that summer's gone...

Monday, September 17, 2012


Watching the '84 Olympics I was in love. In love with the pixie-cut tumbling queen Mary Lou Retton; and in turn, in love with this amazing thing called gymnastics. My mom indulged my new-found awe and enrolled me in my first gymnastics class. Though definitely not a protege of any sort, I was officially hooked. I spent the next 10 years taking classes to learn more. The clumsiness never left but neither did the addiction to the thrill of vaulting into the air or dancing on a beam. Later, I found my niche when I switched from tumbling myself to teaching others to do it. I found that while I had a hard time convincing my body to do the moves I saw in my head, helping someone else learn how to do it came much more naturally. I spent the next 6 years doing just that working as both a recreational and competitive coach. The job saw me through my late teen years and into my 20s. I even remember taking my crawling firstborn into the gym as my students swarmed around him swooning.

When we moved to Virginia, I never went back to coaching. It felt like a gaping hole until a little thing called photography found its way into that piece of my heart. 

But you want to know the worst part. I've never put any of my children into a gymnastics class and probably never will. For that matter, my kids have to beg me to even teach them how to do a cartwheel. Why? I have nothing but utter respect for the sport, but I also know the commitment and intensity it demands. Also, I walk around regularly having my 30-something year old body remind me of injuries I incurred two decades ago. My brother (who was a spectacular gymnast) and I lovingly refer to it as the "abusive boyfriend". It beats you up, but you just can't stop loving it. And finally, I have no doubt that I would be the kind of gym mom that I couldn't stand as a coach- far too opinionated and worried about how my child was being taught. 

And so far it's worked. My boys are content with soccer and basketball, and this fall it was Adriana's turn to break out into her own sport. Since the child dances around my house constantly, Steven and I decided it was time she learned how to do it properly. Excited doesn't begin to describe how she anticipated her first day ballet class, and she's loving it. And then there's Ava, who somersaults around any flat surface and is not deterred by falling over the couch she is trying to flip on. Who knows. Maybe my vow to stay out of gym of flips and bar routines won't be able to hold it's ground.

But for now, I'm loving watching a tiny little thing twirl her pink-clad self around a dance studio.

Her posing for me on her first day. I asked her to show me the moves she thought she might learn...


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Trying To Think Of The Best Title

I'm stuck at the title...stuck trying to think of the best one.

Should I go with:
That Sickening Feeling You Get When You Realize Your Two-Year-Old Has Been Oftly Quiet
I Guess A Duvet Cleaning Was Long Overdue Anyway
"Oh, You Have A Really Busy Day, Mom. Let Me Help With That."
After 10 Years Of Motherhood, I Should Know Better


For her own sake, it's a good thing the perpetrator is so ridiculously cute...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Road to Adoption {the beginning}

It's been an interesting time to start the adoption, but we sent our official application in the same day that we closed on our home. As I work to complete the move and watch my children loving the new home we wanted for them, I also keep whispering under my breath to a little girl I haven't yet met, "This is for you, baby." 

Some nights (after I've spent the day with a toolbox, every other kind of box, and a two-year-old dancing around me asking, "You panking [painting], Mommy?") Steven and I will sit down surrounded by a literal sea of paperwork as we begin to sift through our home study and dossier requirements. When someone calls it a "paper pregnancy", they aren't exaggerating; let me tell you.

You might see that I've added a column above dedicated just to our adoption posts. I'm also setting my pride aside to add a donate button there. Adoption is not a cheap process (it will cost about $30,000) and the fees flood in as soon as you open the door. Please know that we're not begging for money. We're praying for God's provision, trusting it will come no matter what, and wanting to give you the opportunity to support our adoption if you feel so called. 

Also, I wanted to announce our first fundraiser. I'm hoping that God uses my photography business to help with this process and am doing a specific fundraiser this fall in the form of mini sessions. Mini-sessions are a perfect way to get photos for your Christmas card or simply a few professional shots to update the frames in your home. Every last penny earned from these mini-sessions will go toward our Ethiopian adoption. The info is below; so shoot me an email if you're interested!


Monday, September 3, 2012

The Yard

After spending all or most (depending on which child we're speaking of) of their childhood in a condo or apartment, my kids are eating up having a yard. But no one is more excited than this lady who can now utter the words: "Why don't you just go play outside?"

A fenced in yard. And a deck. Bliss.

And while our yard has nothing in it right now, that hasn't stopped my kids from getting creative with a couple large boxes littering our home...