30 November 2010

Birthday Girl (ahem, I mean) Princess

I promised that I would fill you in on all the details from Audrey's big day... so ready or not....

I started the day, wanting to be sure to have my camera ready to take a few pictures, then I realized that I haven't taken very many pictures lately, so I remedied that right quick. I corralled the kids into the living room, then I wrangled them into sitting side by side on the couch, then I tried to convince them to smile (with the usual funny noises, funny faces tactics).

It's probably not a surprise to anyone except me that they didn't really pay off too well. I had only taken a couple of pictures before Audrey decided that she'd rather spend her Birthday playing than posing for Mama's camera.

(And who can blame her?)

However, Luke was game even if Audrey wasn't so... I took a few more.

Then I decided I shouldn't be a hypocritical, double-standard-loving, picture-taking tyrant, so I turned the tables (and the lens) on myself. Might as well get a few pictures with my kiddos.

I was able to convince Audrey to come take some pictures with me, but by that time she was feeling pretty silly.

She's still cute. And it's perfectly age-appropriate!

Besides taking lots of pictures, we did the usual playtime with toys and then Audrey begged for Macaroni and Cheese for lunch. Right around that time my sister Dawnette and her husband showed up with Talea in tow. Audrey was so excited to see Talea. Immediately, they went upstairs to Audrey's room to play with her dolls and toys. We paused playtime to have some lunch, (the kids had Mac and Cheese and the grown ups had some Mexican food) and then resumed playtime. Audrey and Luke are pretty set in their schedules, so they were ready for their naps just a bit after lunch. So I played with Talea while Dawnette and John snuck away to do a little Christmas shopping. When they returned, it was pretty much time to wake my kids.

Then it was time to eat some cake!

A few days ago, I found a crown-shaped cake pan that I thought Audrey would love, so that's what we did. I also found a few other cake pans that she'd probably love even more but those required more time and skillz than I have at the moment for cake decorating... maybe next year?

I chose blue because Cinderella is Audrey's favorite. She loved it. She was so excited when we brought it out.

Then I ruined the moment with more pictures.

But it wasn't totally ruined because the cake was still in reach...

After cake, it was time for presents. Talea (via her parents) gave Audrey a Cinderella carriage/coach toy and a Cinderella carousel toy. Audrey was amazed by both. I loved watching her expressions as she opened her presents.

Adam and I got her a little Disney dress up trunk - it has Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty outfits, with jewelry that goes with each, a pair of shoes and a purse. Then we got a separate pair of satin-y gloves. Audrey was so excited! It was awesome to see her face.

She immediately started to strip - it was so funny how anxious she was to get out of her clothes and into one of those Princess outfits!

Funny, but not surprising!

Also not surprising, was which outfit she wanted to put on...

Yep, Cinderella.

And Talea wanted Snow White so it all worked out.

Princess outfits obviously meant more pictures needed to be taken. But this time, strangely enough, there weren't nearly as many complaints. In fact, pictures just seemed to be clearly the right course of action.

(I love, love LOVE the tilt of Talea's head! So cute!)

Between pictures, our two little Princesses had to make sure everything was just right and took a pit stop in front of the mirrors.

And then they decided the most appropriate way to end the Birthday party was to watch their fellow Princess, Belle. And I got some really cute video of Audrey singing along to the songs.

It was a fantastic day! Audrey had a great time and I think she really felt special and loved... and that's really the whole point. I'm so glad that Talea could come too. I love watching those two girls play - they love each other so much, they are so alike and compatible. It's fun to see them grow and mature together. A big thank you to Dawnette and John for making it possible! And another big thank you to Grandma and Grandpa for the adorable book... I can hear it now up in Audrey's room... which means she is awake from her nap... which means I should go and get my THREE year old.

29 November 2010

She's Just Too Much

Today is Audrey's birthday. I can't believe she's 3! As I type this, her favorite cousin, Talea, is on her way to come and help us celebrate Audrey's special day. It should be a fun day - I'll tell you all about it later.

For now, I wanted to tell you something funny that happened last night.

We were all down stairs playing with the kids, so I thought I'd take advantage of the opportunity to sneak away and quickly mix up and bake Audrey's birthday cake so that it would be ready to frost this morning. As I was beating the batter, my three lovelies could hear the mixer running, so Adam said to Audrey "I wonder what mom's making up there." And without the slightest hesitation she replied, "Birfday cake, Audrey's birfday cake, mom's making it."

Like, Duh. What else would it possibly be when my Birthday is tomorrow?!

(Audrey running toward the playground at a nearby school)

Clearly, she is just too much.

20 November 2010

The Lower Lights' Luminosity

Tonight I went to a concert. The Lower Lights concert, to be precise.

Have you heard of this group of talented musicians? Each of the individual members in the group have their own projects going on outside of The Lower Lights. Some are solo, singer/songwriter types. Others are in various bands. And, as I found out tonight, each of them is extremely good at what they do. Which wasn't necessarily a surprise since I'd been to their site and I'd listened to the music and watched the videos they have available there. Just touring their website was my only knowledge of The Lower Lights. I liked what I heard and I was really excited to attend their concert.


I don't think I'm alone in my experience of finding music you like, only to find out that the people making said music really NEED a studio... AND a sound mixer... AND a great producer in order to sound good. Some groups NEED the magic of studio manipulation in order to sound like they really know what they're doing. Have you ever fallen in love with a band or solo artist only to discover that they do not measure up to your expectations live?

I am pleased to report this was not the case with The Lower Lights.

The musicians who make up The Lower Lights are the real deal. These are some seriously talented folks who all cram onto one small stage to play some great renditions of familiar (and some not-so-familiar) hymns. I had a great time. Here's the rundown:

the stage before the show

The show started with a welcome from Ryan Tanner, who served as a quasi-MC for the night. He very quickly admonished us, the audience, that we needed to be louder; to participate with them by clapping, singing, being active throughout the show. I might fault the venue for the reticence of the congregation, I mean audience. The show was held in The Post Theater, which is not a huge place. It seats 250. It feels like a theater where you are supposed to sit quietly and witness, not interact too much.

Don't get me wrong, I was ready to sing along, and stomp, and clap, but not too many others seemed likewise inclined. And I wasn't about to make a spectacle of myself. It's not my style.

Anyway, they started with their rendition of "Ye Elders of Israel" which was every bit as foot-stompingly, hand-clappingly good live as it is in their recorded version
. With Debra Fotheringham's ethereal voice emerging from the stomping and clapping, it definitely grabs your attention and says, "listen to us, we are different".

And they are.

Next was "Come, Ye Children of the Lord" followed by "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today". Both were great.

"Sweet Hour of Prayer" was next in the set. Such a familiar hymn, made new (or revived) by their folksy/country/bluesy interpretation. They do it beautiful justice.

It's hard to describe the power - and the inspiring beauty - found in taking the simple frameworks of the hymns and making them more complex through inventive harmonies, and beautiful instrumental solos. Over the course of the (roughly) 90 minute show there was some killer slide guitar by Dylan Schorer, some haunting cello by Mark Smith, amazing banjo skillz by Colin Botts, a sousaphone backbone by Pat Campbell , great keyboard work by Brian Hardy, and I cannot fail to mention Ryan Tanner and Paul Jacobsen. Everyone was awesome. I should be clear about one thing here. I've mentioned the names of a few of the artists (because that's what they are - artists more than mere musicians) but I have not mentioned everyone that was there. Simply because I'm not sure of each of their names - so even if I failed to mention someone does not mean that they weren't every bit as amazing as the ones that I have mentioned.

I mentioned before that it was a little theater. It was a little stage that the 14 musicians were sharing. They were all crammed onstage, everyone making their own contribution(s) - instrumental work, singing, humming, ooohhhing, aaahhhhing, and percussion of every conceivable kind - including clapping, stomping, snapping their fingers, thigh slapping, and playing the tambourine. Each person did a beautiful job. It was like musical hot potato - every individual had their own parts, their own solos, their own chance to shine - each song using different combinations of the group, different instruments; even on those numbers that used everyone, the person that had the spotlight was always revolving. The energy was always building and rolling and evolving. It all felt very organic and authentic.

The next song they sang was one that I'd never heard, but it was one of my favorites of the night. "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" was sung by Dustin Christensen and Debra Fotheringham and it was a gorgeous hymn. I loved the simplicity of the arrangement and how well the two vocalists blended their voices. I got chills multiple times during that single song.

A rousing and robust "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" was next. That perked quite a few members of the audience into clapping and singing along. A bit. Myself included.

Then came another hymn that I was not familiar with: "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" opened by Ryan Tanner. It is another gorgeous gem of a song. I don't think it's a stretch that it was from this song's chorus that they got their name:

"Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, you may rescue, you may save."

I loved how there were super-duper-familiar hymns mixed in with the more obscure. It was a great, balanced mix.

"All Creatures of Our God and King" lead by the supple and soft vocal stylings (and guitar strumming) by Sarah Sample. Beautiful. They followed that "The Lord is My Shepherd" with Debra, Sarah, and Mindy Gledhill effortlessly harmonizing together.

Another one of my favorites of the night, the guitar and banjo instrumental of "If You Could Hie to Kolob". It was awesome. I loved hearing that hymn (which I love) so pared down and simple.

Then there were two less familiar hymns - one by Hank Williams called "House of Gold" and the other by Willie Nelson but I don't know what it was called. All I know is that the way Dustin Christensen sang it, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and the back of my eyes water. That dude can sing.

Another favorite of the night was Mindy Gledhill's version of "For the Beauty of the Earth". This has always been one of my all-time favorite hymns. This is the hymn that always pops into my head whenever I am awed by the beauty of this life, this world. I love it - and Mindy and Ryan's voices are amazing together.

Next was "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" with Sarah and Ryan taking point. This one was amazing too. I loved the juxtaposition of each distinct voice. You wouldn't think they would go together, but they do; perfectly.

They ended their set with "This Little Light of Mine" which was energetic and joyful. A perfect ending.

But then it wasn't over. Not really.

They came and did an encore song with "Go Tell it on the Mountain" - a wonderful version, aptly lead by Paul Jacobsen.

After the show I had the opportunity to meet Mindy Gledhill and have her sign a copy of her new solo album, "Anchor". (Which I love, by the way... perhaps I shall expand on that at a later date when it's not so late....)

My sister, Dawnette, (who came with me) had the presence of mind to suggest we have our picture taken with her. And Mindy kindly obliged.

It was a lovely evening. I thoroughly enjoyed it. (You may be able to tell that I'm finding it hard to adequately describe my feelings about it.)

Maybe this will serve to illustrate: as I was driving the hour long trip home (in a crazy, Utah snow storm), instead of feeling stressed out and on edge about the crappy weather and the crazy inconsiderate drivers, I felt calm.

I felt peaceful. I felt edified. I felt full, spiritually.

And, really, at the end of it all, I think that was probably one of the goals of this lovely group of talented musicians coming together to make a record of such gorgeous hymns... to be a shining beacon of hope, renewal, and inspiration.

You should buy the record. It's amazing.

But probably not as amazing as hearing and seeing them in person... which I would also highly recommend if you are ever given the chance.

But buy the record regardless.

You won't regret it.

19 November 2010

Material for a Rainy Day

There is a definite chill in the air. Have you noticed? The wind has some bitterly cold bite to it. Winter is fast approaching. Are you ready?

I am.

I think.

(You might need to check back in a couple of months to see if I'm still feeling optimistic when there are inches of actual snow on the ground... instead of just the threat of it in the chill in the air.)

I do have some suggestions for the rainy days that are inevitably on their way. (Because what is better than huddling under a soft, warm blanket with a good book when it's wet and cold and blustery outside?) In my opinion, there isn't much to top it!

Here's a list of 100 popular books; some classics, some more recent. There is a statistic floating around that most people will have only read 6 of these 100 books. (The bolded, yellow ones are what I've read.)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell - currently reading
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So, there you have it. I know there are many missing that probably deserve to be here too. I'm looking forward to reading those books that I haven't read yet.

How about you? What books are you reading?

15 November 2010

My Sister Ruined Us!

In the past, I've posted on a couple of different occasions about my sister, Megan. (If you're interested, they can be found here and here and here and here.)

Well, I have another sister. Her name is Dawnette. She is the mother of Audrey's BFF, Talea. (To read about her, go here and here.)

Dawnette is 11 years older than me, so I don't have as many childhood memories of her. We have always been in different "places" in our lives to really connect. There's not a whole lot in common for a one year old and a 12 year old...

(big cat, Me, Dawnette, Megan)

(clockwise from left: my Mama, Grandma Hedy, Dawnette, Me and Megan.)

By the time Dawnette left home for college and went on a mission, I was only 8 or 9 - hardly even aware of anything.

I think this next picture was taken sometime after Dawnette got back from her mission. By that time I was 12. But, then she got married right away and I became a totally self-absorbed in the way that teenagers do - not exactly a recipe for building our relationship! (Especially when you consider that I stayed in California and she moved to Utah to start her new life as a wife... and then very quickly became a mother too.)

(me, Dawnette, Megan... you've got to love our handmade dresses!)

Since I moved to Utah 9 years ago, our relationship has definitely grown. As the youngest of eight in my family, I think I spent a lot of time being pretty clueless about the lives of my older siblings. Because many of them were just in different stages of life from me, I don't know if I related very well with them very often. Like a typical child and teenager, I was more consumed with my own life. It's unfortunate, but so, so true. Even after I moved to Utah and had the chance to see Dawnette more often, I still found it hard to relate sometimes because we were still in different "places". I was married but still without kids, while she had her hands very full with five of them! So it really wasn't until I was pregnant with Audrey (and suddenly had a million questions) that I started having more significant and substantial conversations with Dawnette. It was also kind of cool because we were pregnant at the same time... both with girls.

(me, pregnant with Audrey, Megan, and Dawnette, pregnant with Talea.)

Being pregnant at the same time, and then having a brand new baby at home, really brought us closer together. I would call Dawnette all the time to ask her different questions about all sorts of different things. There was just more to talk about, more to relate to, more opportunities to connect. And since our little girls are so close in age (just two months apart) and because they love each other so much, they have just reinforced our bond. (And I'm so glad!)

(Dawnette, Talea, Megan, Audrey, Me.)

Dawnette is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. She's very kind; it seems like she's always doing something for someone else - whether it's cooking delicious meals for her kids, baking treats for a neighbor, or making jewelry for friends and family, she's so giving of her time and talents! She is always willing to make time for special occasions - she has come for our babies' blessings, birthdays, and random surprise trips. She came at that critical time in a new mother's life - just a little over a week after I had Audrey, she was there (with her two month old Talea!) making meals, cleaning and reassuring me on the innateness of Motherhood. It meant so much to me, and brought me so much peace to have her there at that time! I can't imagine taking a two month old (and leaving five other children at home with their dad) just to be with a new mom for a few days! But she did it. And made it look so easy, that clueless me didn't even think twice about the sacrifice it was! But that's the kind of person she is. That's the kind of sister she is. It has been such a blessing to know that if I ever have a question, I can call her! She makes us feel so special and loved.

(Lucas, Me, Dawnette... sacrificing again to come for Luke's blessing.)

Dawnette is wonderful.

The thing that I really wanted to talk about today has to do with Apple Sauce. That's right, Apple Sauce.

See, the last time I saw Dawnette was near the end of September. Adam and I took the kids up to Dawnette's house for Talea's third birthday. It was a great day. We had a lot of fun. When we were getting ready to go, Dawnette gave us a large, quart jar of homemade apple sauce that she had just canned a few days before our visit. Not only was the apple sauce freshly canned, it was made from apples grown on the tree in their garden - we are talking about the real thing. Home grown apples (as organic as you can get), made into apple sauce, sealed in a big jar. It was beautiful. We were excited. Along with the jar of apple sauce, she gave us a small (pint sized?) jar of pickled beets. Again, grown in their garden and freshly canned. It was also beautiful. We were excited about those too.

A few days later, we ate the pickled beets. They were delicious. In fact, the tastiness of my sister's beets incited a compulsion to compare a few store-bought versions.

Needless to say, there was no comparison.

And now, as you may have inferred from the title of this post, we will never be happy with pickled beets!

And what of the apple sauce, you ask? Same damn thing. We are ruined! Her apple sauce is amazing. Well, no it's not. It's out of this world. Actually, truthfully, it WAS out of this world. Because it is not around anymore.

It's gone.

We ate the whole jar... I won't tell you how quickly. It's kind of embarrassing. I also won't tell you how I painstakingly scraped the jar, making sure to get every last delicious drop of apple sauce out. It's also kind of embarrassing. It was the best apple sauce either of us had ever tasted. And that means a lot for me because I'm not usually a huge fan of apple sauce. I like apples, but I've never really enjoyed apple sauce. I'd never had her's though, and I guess that's what the problem was.

Now the problem is we can never eat apple sauce again. (We are ruined!)

...unless I can have her give me a tutorial on how to make apple sauce just like her.

11 November 2010


Earlier today I had the opportunity to talk on the phone with a good friend. Apparently, she was looking for me on Facebook and when she couldn't find me, she decided to drop by my blog; once she was here, of course she stumbled upon my recent post about canceling (or deactivating) my account. She said that it totally made sense to her that I would - that my reasons were "So Mandi." I thought that was pretty funny.

She also saw the recent pictures of my two cuties. She made the comment that Audrey is getting so big... like she's not even a baby anymore, but an actual little person.

Which is totally true. The kid is so aware and smart, I sometimes forget she's not even 3 yet.

Almost, but not yet.

A few weeks ago I posted about Audrey always knowing what she wants and what she doesn't. And that hasn't changed. But sometimes she is so emphatic about what she would like that she demands it without remembering to ask or to say please. Adam and I have been trying to teach her to be polite, to be nice about how she asks for things. Her first inclination is to just demand, which is quickly followed with demanding in a louder and more insistent tone of voice. And she will just repeat the thing she wants until it's actually in her hands.

So we redirect her by telling her that she needs to ask nicely. This is how the interactions typically go:

Audrey: Juice. Mom, Juice! Audrey want Juice! Juice! JUICE!

Me: Audrey, you want some juice?

Audrey: Yes. Juice!

Me: You need to ask nicely.

Audrey: Nicie. Juice, pease!

Me: Good job. Ok, I'll get you some juice.

And then I get the juice, and peace is once again restored. (Until she thinks of something else she would like!) It's cute how she repeats "nicely" (but she says it without the l sound). It's like by saying "nicely" it helps her think of how to actually do it. It's endearing. It's these little things that I want to always remember about her - a perfect example of why I like to blog.

04 November 2010

Crafty Endeavor

A few weeks ago, I was bit by the Craft Bug.

It doesn't happen very often. (Thank goodness!)

I like being creative. I like putting things together from start to finish. I like the whole process.

However, I am not a perfectionist, which usually means crafts don't really go as well as I'd like; things just don't work out exactly as I'd imagined. Sometimes they go ok, but I'm just not built for super detailed, meticulous work that makes for beautiful results. So, more often than not I'm just a little disappointed with the end result.

This particular project was an exception.

It's an Autumn/Thanksgiving wreath for our front door!

Here are a few closer views - this is the top right quadrant, followed by views clock-wise:

I like the warm, fall colors. I like the harvest-y feel of it. I'm really pleased with how it turned out - and it was actually a lot of fun to put together. I like opportunities to be creative, and this was no exception. My favorite thing about making my own home decorations is the idea of these hand-made items becoming part of yearly traditions. Some of my favorite decorations from my childhood home were things that my mom had made, or that her mother had made. There is something special about having to handle these things with special care, about making something that you will use every year, that will even possibly be handed down from generation to generation. (I just hope it holds up that long!)

01 November 2010

Consistently Thwarted

I don't think I'm alone in having certain frustrating experiences in trying to document our lives through the medium of photographs. (At least I hope not!) I know that I have shared some of those frustrations here - even accusing Audrey that avoiding the camera is one of her favorite pastimes.

But lately, Luke has been a culprit as well. You know what they say about older siblings sometimes teaching the younger ones bad habits!

A few days ago, I wanted to get a few pictures of my two kiddos together. Obviously, they had decided before my little photo shoot to be in cahoots and not cooperate with their Mama.

After a few failed attempts, I even resorted to bribery - in the form of Smarties.

That only complicated things.


Between Luke being totally distracted by the candy and forgetting altogether about what the goal was... although maybe he thought I wanted to take a picture of the candy as well? Audrey was hardly better... she ate hers quickly, then was on the move to get some more.

So, I did what any other mother at her wit's end would do -

enlist the help of her husband!

I do have to admit, it is a great picture of Adam, but not exactly the portrait I had in mind - with Audrey displaying that she did indeed get more candy, and Luke eying her enviously.

The next one was a bit of an improvement. It's a great picture of Daddy and Daughter. But Luke was too overcome with excitement at having received more candy, that he just couldn't be bothered to turn his attention to his frantically pleading, funny noise-making Mama behind the camera.

Then things quickly degenerated...

Adam was really trying to coerce some cooperation out of these two - holding them still, telling them to look at the camera, even tickling to get some smiles out of them.

It became clear all of our tactics were not up to the challenge of breaking their alliance.

And I gave up on taking the kinds of pictures that I had hoped to take... and simply took some pictures.

It is interesting to note that those last two "failed" attempts, the more candid ones of my three cuties, turned out to be my favorites. You can feel the love and fun that they have together. And that is a blessing to have captured.