Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Marshall has been getting really excited about multiplication these days (my super amazing first grader!!) and Tyler seems to be soaking up the basic 0, 1, and 2 times tables.  So Tyler was just quizzing me with all kinds of multiplication facts when he asked, "what is 16 times bird?" I answered, "well, I don't know."

Smarty pants Tyler was quick to correct me... "It's 16 birds, Mom!"

Haha!!!  This kid is witty.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stratton Family Circus :: Photo Booth

Here's some pictures from the photo booth at Macy's party.  We got everyone to take a turn and I love how they turned out.  Somehow Colby and I never got one though.  Darn it.  So we just snapped one on my phone today and I'll post it at the end.

 (Tyler, Marshall, Karter, Brigham)

 (Camie, Harper, Mike)

 (Grandma & Grandpa Tom)

 (Cassadee & Brady)

 (Grandma Diane & Macy)

 (Great Grandma Stratton & Cierra)

(Grandma & Grandpa Stratton)

(Mom & Dad) 

(Mom & Marshall)

Macy Turns ONE :: The Party

We had Macy's birthday party yesterday afternoon and it was such a great time with our closest family (we totally missed those that live far away though...).  This little girl is so loved. 

A while back I was in Target and came across some darling party stuff that left me totally inspired.  I didn't know what direction to take it into right away, but I bought up a lot of "stuff" just in case it all sold out before birthday time came around.  By "a while back" I mean probably summer time.  Haha.

After a little pondering, I knew just what we would have to do!  A circus party!!!  If I'm being totally honest, it did cross my mind to track down a magician, and a clown, and some fun animals, but then I remembered I was planning a party for a one year old.  We would be lucky if she cracked a smile and went along with opening presents.  So I scaled back my thinking a bit and just found a few special details and spent the rest of the time leading up to her birthday loving on her cute little face.
I ordered the invitation from this super great Etsy shop, called Picadilly Lime. 
Thank goodness for others who sell their talent on the internet!

I got really excited about the little details for the party and was really pleased with how it turned out.  I think there were just two more little things I wish I had thought to do before the day of.  I won't mention them though, because I don't want to take away from all the cuteness that did come together.  

I'm positive the gold animals were my favorite detail.  Everyone made sure to comment on them too, which totally made my day!  I'm really glad I took the time to make the poster that highlighted Macy's life right now.  I've spent way too much time on the computer doing work lately that it would have been really easy to just skip it, but I just couldn't.  That was probably my second favorite detail.

Huge shout out to my awesome sister-in-law, Cassadee, who made the fabulous cupcakes.
She's seriously amazing and I couldn't thank her enough.  If anyone local wants some for any event, I'll get you her #.

Here's the birthday girl herself!
She took everything rather seriously so I'm glad I got a photo or two of her toothy grin.

Pretty sure this was the only time she smiled with the cake in front of her too.  She gets into everything, all day long, so I was sure it would be no different with cake and presents, but not so.  She was very deliberate and dainty and really just wanted the individual sprinkles and would have been happy if there wasn't cake and frosting in the way of those.  Haha.  Silly girl.

She was very funny about the presents and wouldn't open a thing and didn't really crack a smile.  Colby had to open every one of her presents.   She was definitely ready to be done once she had opened up two baby dolls and strollers!  They were a total hit.  I know she loved every gift though.  She woke up bright and early today to play with all of them.

She did a great job sharing the strollers with cousin Harper, but was happiest when she had both.
What a lucky little lady.

We had a photo booth too, and I plan to blog those pictures ASAP.  They were so hilarious.

The party was totally fun and I'm, again, so grateful for all the love that was showered on our little Princess yesterday.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

From Where I Sit Right Now

I'm sitting here in the kitchen, in front of my computer, doing the final edits on a newborn twin session I had recently. Taking photos for people is such a blast and I was so excited to finally get a chance to photograph twins. What a dream...

But that hardly compares to everything else around me at this very second.  

Tyler is running around in his Ninja Turtle costume he got at Karter's birthday party.  The mask hasn't left his face since we got to the party before lunchtime.

Macy is walking EVERYWHERE.  Literally, she crosses back and forth through the kitchen after making a loop down the hall and through her bedroom.  Crawling is no longer cool. She usually has two or three toys/objects in hand (and sometimes her mouth) and they change every minute or two depending on what she has discovered in her travels. There's a funny trail of items around the house as she swaps one treasure for the next. It's so cute to see her embrace this new skill and leave babyish things behind. Cute, but sad.

And then there's Marshall. He blew me away yesterday with his discovery about reading.  He was choosing a show to watch on Netflix and can now read the episode titles and descriptions. So once he announced his selection he told me, "when you can read, it changes your whole life." What a beautiful truth he has come to know. I'm so proud of him and his skills.  He tries really hard to do his best academically and has a thirst for knowledge.

My kids are such a gift. I cannot believe the beautiful world that surrounds me on such an insignificant Thursday evening.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Goodbye Summer. We will miss you.

Around here it's pretty much official that summer is over.  We've reached the end of September and there is a slight chill in the breeze and a cool touch to the air.  I'm definitely excited for fall and all of the holidays that are coming.  But I'm going to miss summer a little bit.

We finally made it to California in August and played at the beach.  I'm a major beach lover but Colby is not, so we don't get there very often.  Strangely, my kids have played on the beaches of Hawaii far more than California.  It's just that whenever we can work a trip to Cali into our schedules it is usually for family stuff so we never make it farther west than Grandma's house.  I had my heart set on a beach visit and had promised it to the boys for months.  Wouldn't you know it... conflicts kept getting in the way and we almost didn't make it, but I made sure to get us there.  And it was windy.  And it was cold. And almost miserable.  But look!!  We're all smiling in all of these pictures so it was a hit, no matter what.

Marshall went barreling into the water even though it was a little chilly.  I'm so glad he loves it like I do.

Tyler was a bit more cautious... I don't think he likes the moving water.

Nevertheless, they seemed to love it either way.

Even Macy loved it.  I felt foolish that I didn't have a sweater for her, so we just had her play in Tyler's towel.  

I think I have some great pictures of her on my phone... I'll have to see what I can find.
Tada!!!  I do.

She loved the water and watching all the people.
Watching my kids enjoy the things I loved as a kid make me so happy.  Ahhh....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A long, long time ago...

Way back in June we went shooting because Uncle Rodney came down and we wanted to go blow stuff up with him.  Ironically, I don't have any pictures of Rodney or his boys... Grandpa Tom came along and Brady & Cassadee, Matt & Melissa, and Matt's dad & brothers were there too.  The guys had a bunch of tannerite to shoot at and had rigged up some great targets that made for a lot of fun.  I didn't get pictures of any of those because I had Macy who has become very wiggly and busy.  Come to think of it, I'm not sure who snapped all these pictures because I'm in that second one!  Haha.  Some of the targets were steel pipe with a hole in the bottom for the tannerite and they would put melons, squash, and even soccer balls in the top to blow them up as they launched into the sky.  Since I'm not the one with the pics of the cool stuff, here's what I did get pictures of:

Tyler using his ear plug to cure boredom.

Colby, Melissa Scott, Grandpa, Macy, myself, & Brigham

These three crazies.
Karter, Marshall, & Tyler

 Marshall was teaching Karter how to shoot a BB gun.  Marshall is very disciplined about his gun safety and it was a big compliment that Uncle Brady trusted Marshall to teach Karter how to shoot.

Tyler Heads Back To School

Oh, my Tyler.  I sure love you.  I just had to say that first...

School has started and you're so happy about it.  You've been looking forward to going to "Miss Gwen's" preschool for the last couple of years since Marshall went there for the first time.  You learned so so so much with Miss Lorilee last year that I was sad to switch things up, but I feel it is important for you kids to have many opportunities and make tons of friends so the change of environment was important to me.  So I'm glad you're happy about the change instead of sad.  These pictures are from your first day of school right before we walked over to Miss Gwen's house.

Welcoming a baby to our family has been a funny transition for you, I think, but you've done wonderfully.  Sometimes I notice you like to behave a little bit like a baby for whatever reason, but you've also figured out how to be such a big boy.  Your emotions are much more near the surface and you like to talk in your own little language.  I don't think it's really baby talk though, it seems to be more like one more way for you to be a silly goose!  You're also very good at conversation.  You use phrases that surprise me because they make you seem so mature.  You have a cute little stutter sometimes when you get excited about things and the words just won't come out all at once.  I need to get that on video... I really love listening to you just talk and talk.

Your biggest step in your independence has to be the way you get yourself food.  You're determined to pour your own cereal and milk (you just do it before even asking that way I don't take over) and have recently become very fond of Nutella sandwiches and make them yourself as well.  You're also good to put everything away which is impressive.  I'm proud of you for being such a go getter.  Keep that up!

You have a gift to be content with alone time.  You're rarely phased about Marshall being at school all day leaving you without a playmate.  It doesn't take much on my part to keep you entertained because your imagination is so great and you can have fun with whatever is around.  Even though you seem to be an introvert, you are also the friendliest little boy.  I love that about you!!  It isn't hard for you to reach out to others and make them feel at ease.  You just turn on your silly and have fun.  And MAN are you silly.  You're also so thoughtful towards me and I adore that.  You're sweet and silly and pretty wild... everything a perfect little boy should be.
I love you, mister. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I feel like I live with Curious George.

So... the other night Colby and I are just enjoying a night at home.  Those are rare these days, plus it was a Sunday and I cannot think of a Sunday in the last 8 years that we have just stayed at home for no reason other than we didn't want to leave.  We usually really enjoy going to visit the grandparents on Sunday evenings, but this was a rare treat to just be at home just because.  I digress...

So we're at home enjoying some TV, or something, when Colby says, "Uh oh... Mommy's gonna love this," or something like that.  I stand up to find this.  Macy is all about discovering things lately and she LOVES to empty things.  It really doesn't matter what it is either.  So she managed to find a moment alone with her box of wipes and had almost every single one out around her.  Isn't she so funny...?

After sneaking a quick picture before she knew I was on to her, I jumped in front of her and asked what in the world she was doing.  This face I got in response is so classic.  "What?  I'm just doing what I'm doing.  Why are you taking pictures?"  She doesn't even act guilty!  Haha.  By this point, all of the wipes had escaped their container and were mostly all separated from each other.  I'm just glad it was an easy fix.

Lately we have had to keep the garbage can up on the counter top or shut in the pantry, keep the bathroom shut and the toilet closed, all papers that are on the fridge need to be at least 2 1/2 feet up from the floor, and I've considered buying cabinet locks even though I despise the inconvenience.  She empties her basket of toys out whenever she finds them put away, and I clean the floor of the pantry almost daily since she likes to scatter cookie cutters and bags of crackers all over the floor.  She's cute and curious and I'm trying to decide if her curiosity is harder or the same compared to the boys since she's mobile months before they were.  It's a little hard to remember, but some things feel very familiar.  Just today I told Tyler about how I remember him doing the same exact thing with the papers and magnets on the fridge.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Nursing Cover Tutorial (the most useful and easiest sewing project EVER!!!)

I have gotten countless questions about my favorite nursing cover and the original instructions I followed were pretty confusing.  I had to read through maybe 50 comments before I found clarity... so I'm hoping to improve upon that a little bit right here.

The thing that makes this cover so glorious is how it covers Mama on all sides (a lot like a poncho).  I have seriously been able to feed my baby in all kinds of settings thanks to this wonderful cover and the way it covers my back, sides, and front so well.  It's made of jersey or another similar knit material that has plenty of stretch and doesn't fray, so it doesn't need to be hemmed on all sides either.  It's so simple, I'm positive you could sew it without a sewing machine.

Most jersey material is 60 inches wide on the bolt, so you just have it cut anywhere from 30-36 inches. *  As long as it was cut fairly straight, you don't even need to cut it at home, unless the selvage is really noticeable.  If it is, I'd trim that off.  I've found maybe half of the fabrics I have used for this need the selvage trimmed off and the others were completely unnoticeable.  

Here is the entire piece of fabric laid out on the floor.

Now fold it in half "hamburger style" placing right sides together* creating more of a square of fabric.  (The fold is along the bottom of the fabric in the photo below and no, I did not smooth it all out to make it look nice and square.  Whoops. :) )

Starting at the fold (on either side) measure along the unfolded side towards the open corner anywhere between 13-15 inches and pin the two layers together right there.*  (Fold is on the left and my pin is barely visible right there barely to the left of center.)

Now that you have the magic spot pinned, you are ready to start sewing.  You are going to sew ONLY ONE LINE between the pin and the corner that is not the fold.  I start from the outside (the not folded corner) moving toward the pin so the edges line up exactly with less effort.  You can see in the picture below that the fabric where I am beginning to sew is two loose corners NOT folded on either side.

And just sew a straight line until you reach your pin, using about a half inch seam allowance.  Make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam so nothing comes unravelled with use.

This next step is totally optional.  I do a little zig zag stitch to finish it off but have also just sewn one straight line and left it like that.  Both ways totally work.  You could also use a serger for this and only have to sew one time and it would be all "finished off" but I don't have one of those!!

And seriously, you're done!  
Just flip it right side out and put it on like a poncho.  
The sewn seam will lay along one arm and the fold will lay along the other.  
And you're done.  :)

This picture is showing you the seam is, in fact, laying along my right arm.


I'm 5'3" with a moderate frame and I feel like 30" was plenty big for me.  Some of my friends that are rather busty or taller than me have appreciated it cut closer to 36".  I'm sure if you were really wanting to you could cut it even wider, but it would be less square and I don't know if I would love that.

"Right sides together" means the printed or pretty side of the fabric will be touching each other once it is folded.

If your fabric has a print that would make your cover appear to be worn upside down, BEFORE YOU PIN you will need to pay closer attention to which side will be "up" while worn.  The side with the pin is the top of the nursing cover.

I prefer my neck opening at 14" although I never would have differed from 13" had someone not mentioned they felt a little constricted with such a small neck hole.  The more this cover gets used the fabric will stretch out a little bit more, so the hole could feel a little wide after a while, but that's totally easy to adjust down the road.  You just sew the hole closed another inch or so.

An additional note about fabric choice:
There are so many options out there for darling jersey fabric, but I've found I get a little gun shy about buying material for this nursing cover without feeling it with my own two hands.  If it's too thick, poor baby will just sweat like crazy under that little layer of fabric.  I've decided my favorite is one that is somewhat sheer when held up to light, but when it is right against your hand nothing is really visible.  That way I know it will breathe a little better and let air flow easily past baby's cute little face without being revealing. (Hello!!! We don't want anyone to see what is going on under there... hence, the nursing cover.)  The first time I made one I ordered four different fabrics.  One for me and the others for gifts.  Two of the four were pretty thick and one was super sheer... now whenever I'm at a fabric store, I check out the aisle for jersey and similar "spandex-y" fabric to keep in my stash for new baby gifts.  I've learned the hard way that I can't always find the perfect fabric and was very sad to have to give another type of gift when the big fabric store in my area was overwhelmed by thick, warm jersey.