We bough Ellaina her first bike with training wheel. Her neighbor friend Raquel (2nd grader) has been biking around the cul-de-sac, and Ellaina always wants to try to get on it. Being this is our first child, I thought well maybe this is the age for a bike. I found a princess one on Craigs list with a helmet, so we bought it for her. Once Brad got home from work, we went outside to give it a try. Apparently, she may still be a little young for it :) She got on and liked it...for about a minute and was so over it. Thought she does get really excited when she sees it in the garage. Once it drys up a little here, we'll have to give it another try!
I am soooo excited!! A portrait I took of my Sister-in-law Courtney and niece Ryleigh is a STORE DISPLAY for ARCHIVER'S. We don't have them down here, but they are really big up North. I could not be more proud! The last few weeks have been crazy busy for my business and this is just the icing on the cake!
Braden has become my little monkey. He is climbing on everything and pulling himself up to play with things. I went to the kitchen for a glass of water and came back into the family room to see Braden sitting on the stair landing. He climbed up the two stairs it takes to get to the landing all by himself. Jinx (our cat) might have enticed him, but he did it! He will pretty much do anything to get close to the cats. They fascinate him and let him pet them...well Jinx at least.
Just the last two days Ellaina has gotten better about letting Braden play with her more frequently. Since he has gotten more mobile, it seems like she has gotten more short tempered. She goes from loving up on him and giving him toys, to pushing him and taking toys. She has become quite hot and cold the last two weeks. It is a bit of a challenge finding a balance and keeping my cool when she is not being nice to Braden. I guess this is what THEY call "The Terrible Twos". If this is them, it is not too bad...I just need to learn to change my attitude when I am exhausted.
On a cute note, Ellaina likes to have a "family rockie" before we lay her down to bed now. It is so cute!! She has quite the bedtime routine, which includes me rocking her to sleep singing "Twinkle Twinkle" twice along with her Fisher Price Aqua Turtle thingy. Brad always tries to get Ellaina to let him "rockie Ellaina". The last two nights he has picked her up and said "Daddy rockie". To this she has said "everyone rockie". We lay Braden down in her and daddy's arms and I proceed to rock everyone...daddy and all. It is too cute and really funny!!
From her brother Eric: Quick update on Natalie.....She went into brain surgery at 12:30 today. She just got out a few minutes ago.She'll be recovering for 1-2 hours before going into the "ICU Recovery" room, where visitation is very limited. I'm not even sure if she'll be awake or not this evening. I'll know more later on tonight, most likely. She should be moving to a more standard hospital room Wednesday sometime, probably late afternoon, where she will probably stay for 2-4 days. The surgery went very well. It was definitely a cancerous tumor. They were able to easily remove it because of the location though, right on the surface. It sounds like there were some remnants which will be destroyed by the radiation treatments she'll be getting soon. I'll be updating her Caring Bridge site for her throughout this week as well. For those interested, the link is here:http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/natalieroufs
Guess who is standing in his crib now...Braden! This morning I woke to him chatting. I glanced over at the video monitor to see what he was up to, and there he was standing. I just starred at the monitor for a minute with excitement, so much excitment I ended up waking Brad! My little baby is becoming a little guy. He was blabbing all so sweet and bouncing up and down holding the side. When I went into his room, he had the biggest smile ever on his face. It was like he was saying look at me mom...look what I can do :) What an amazing way to start the morning!
I forgot to share Braden's 9 month pictures. I took them the same day as D+B Real Estate Grand opening party, which is why Ellaina has a cupcake. Braden's turned out so cute! The two of them together didn't quite happen yet, but maybe someday :)
What a great Easter weekend we had! Brad had Saturday off, so we got to enjoy a two day weekend for the first time in a couple weeks. It was so nice and full of family fun!
On Saturday we took the kids to McKinney's Eggtravaganza Easter celebration. Ellaina got to pet some animals and had a pig sit on her lap. She was laughing so hard, in between oinks. She also got to go into the jump house. Getting her out proved to be a bit harder. They would lift her out and she would turn around and head back in. We did some dancing and running around in circles while we waited for the Easter egg hunt to begin. Braden has found enjoyment in dancing now too. It is so cute to see him bouncing to the music. He had fun crawling around and playing with the frisbee we got. The egg hunt came kind of late. Braden, Ellaina and all the kids around us were losing it. When they finally let the 2 and under kids gather their eggs, it was a mad dash. After picking up her first egg, Ellaina realized there was candy in it. She was so excited and would pick up an egg and open it to see what was inside. It was so cute and so much fun! (On a side note, I have never been so embarrassed for people before. You would think they were running after gold. Parents were grabbing handful of eggs for their kids...did I explain this was the 2 year old and younger group. It was ridiculous.) Since Ellaina was enjoying the goodies while picking up the eggs, she only ended up with 4 eggs. Enough candy for her and she really enjoyed it! That night, Brad and I rented the movie "Changeling". It was incredibly moving and I would highly recommend it. It was disturbing especially since it was based on a true story, but the acting was phenomenal and story was defiantly worth hearing about.
Sunday we went to Church at 9:00, which is always eventful on holidays, since there is never a place to sit. The message was wonderful though and Ellaina & Braden did pretty good. Afterward we headed home to prepare for every ones arrival. We were having our second annual Easter celebration and egg hunt. The egg hunt was moved inside due to the rain, but the kids seemed to have a nice time. It was great celebrating with our family and friends, and it was wonderful getting the entire weekend together as a family. Another amazing holiday spent with loved ones!
We had Minnesota company again last weekend! My cousin Eric, his daughter, his girlfriend Chris and her kids came down and stayed with us a couple days. It was so much fun having them over. Ellaina had such a blast playing with the girls. They played with her kitchen a lot, watched some movies and had fun running around outside. I took some pictures of the family as well, which was really great! There stay with us was brief before heading to Corpas, but we were glad to have them! P.S. Congratulations to Eric and Christine on their engagement while in Corpas!! We are so happy for the both of you!
Ellaina loves playing pretend with us in her kitchen. She is always asking us to "come and eat". She keeps trying to get Braden to sit on her chair at her kids table. It is so funny and too cute!
She also really enjoys playing with dolls. She carries them everywhere and is always rocking them to sleep. Aunt Kim picked up a baby doll pack n' play last year that she used so much it won't stand anymore. While I was working the "Sweet Repeat" sale (weekend consignment sale my MOPS group volunteers for) , I came across an adorable pink gingham baby doll crib & high chair. Brad & I talked it over and decided to get it for her birthday and store it in the attic until October. That was our plan at least...
We didn't get it into the attic right away, so I tucked into the guest bathroom and shut the door. Ellaina NEVER goes in there. I came out of Braden's room, after putting him down for a nap, to see Ellaina running out of the bathroom jumping, clapping and saying "yay". She was so excited about the baby doll bed and high chair. She kept jumping up and down shouting about everything with so much enthusiasm. Then she started dragging the things out of the bathroom. I could not stop laughing. Needless to say, she got the to keep the things NOW. She, Braden and Jada (our cat) all are having a great time playing with them. Braden likes the baskets under the crib, Ellaina likes it all, and Jada likes to sleep in the crib when Ellaina isn't playing with it. Overall, it was the perfect birthday present...just 6 months too early :)
We are all about having fun at our house, and it has rubbed off on Ellaina. She is quick to tell us when she is having fun, has had fun or wants to have fun. The first thing I say when I pick her up from school is usually did you have fun at school today? Now when we drive by Cottonwood Baptist Church (where she goes to school), she always says school fun!
On Wednesday Brad came home from work and we always get excited about that :) She said to him... and I quote "Did you have fun at work Daddy?" It was the sweetest thing ever. I love how excited Ellaina & Braden get when Daddy comes in the front door. Braden is starting to realize it and crawls towards the door when he hears it unlocking. He always gets this big "I love you" smile for Daddy too.
I can not believe it is already April. I know March was really busy, but where did it go? We were on the go the entire month. Here are some of the fun things we got to do:
1) Minnesota! We were still in MN during the beginning of the month. We got to have a lot of quality time with Grandma, Papa, uncle Jason and the kids! They played in the snow one day, which was very funny. Ellaina would not stop eating the snow, which was quite hilarious. Logan taught her how to make snow angels & somehow they found the only patch of mud to roll in. We all took a trip to Chuck E Cheese also. That was such a blast! Ellaina still talks about it, especially when she is talking to Grandma on the phone. Papa gets "Buzz Cheerios" when she talks to him (Papa & Ellaina had cereal together and it was usually Honey Nut Cheerios). The only thing that was missing was my sister and her family.
2) Flight home the kids and me...I was out numbered. It was actually not too bad. It was daylight savings, so our flight left at 5:00 AM instead of 6:00 AM. Tired babies on the plane...it could have been worse. I probably won't do it again though :)
3) Came straight home and headed to Courtney Smith's baby shower with Kim & Laura. That was really a nice time. They have decided on the name Carter. Now they just have to make sure they don't go and change it before leaving the hospital...who does that :)
4) Braden said his first word. He is very talkative in the morning time. Lots of noises I don't hear as much throughout the day. One morning I heard him talking in his crib, so I went to feed him and he said "Dada" it was so clear and so sweet! I told Brad right away. A couple days later I went to get him and he was saying "Mama". He is just growing up so quickly. His little personality is so laid back and sweet. He is my mini Brad. I am so glad we named him after his daddy. If he becomes even half the man Brad is I would feel truly blessed!
5) Photographed a Wedding!! I photographed my first wedding in four years. I gave up doing weddings while we were trying to have a baby & were thinking about moving to Texas. I LOVE weddings, so it was a hard thing to give up. Shooting this wedding just made me realize more how much I missed photographing weddings. It was so much fun and the couple were so wonderful. I really enjoy the feeling of being able to witness two people so in love. Looking thru the camera, you get to see it all and with this couple it was all about adoration! I will attach a link to some of the moments I captured in my next blog.
6) New Baby pictures!! I got to take portraits of three new babies in one day. New babies are some of my favorite to photograph and I got to be spoiled with a set of twins and another sweet baby all in one day. It was so much fun and I got to hold them all!
7) Ellaina gives Braden and a unexpected bath. I ran upstairs to throw some cloths on so we could head out. I looked down stairs to see Ellaina squeezing a shirt full of water over Braden's head. I just observed for a moment to see what she was doing. After I saw her go into the bathroom, I knew it wasn't good. Ellaina is still to small to turn on the facet...even with her step stool. How did the shirt get wet? Oh, she dunked it in the toilet. I didn't know if I should laugh or cringe. Regardless, Braden got a quick bath in the sink and Ellaina got a time out in her chair. I still don't know where she came up with the idea. I know she was trying to be sweet and clean Braden...but gross.
8) Ellaina's play dates with Wolfie. Since being back from Minnesota, we have had a play date with my little guy Wolfie once a week. Ellaina and him have so much fun playing together. They are at the perfect age to really interact and enjoy each other. Just the other day when Wolfie was over, he was laying on her bed and she was sitting on it talking with a book in her hand like she was reading to him. They were so content together just hanging out. It has been so much fun! Plus, I get to hold little Juliette when Cathy comes to pick up Wolfie :)
9) Real estate listing pictures! A realtor hired me to photograph two of her listings. Both homes were in perfect condition when I got there to photograph them, so that was a snap. It has been nice being so busy this month with my company.
10) FRIENDS come to VISIT! Two of my long time friends came to visit, Amanda & Kathryn!! Amanda brought her son Thomas too. He & Ellaina had such a great time & played so well together. We went to the indoor swimming pool, mall with the merry-go-round, played on the swing set and tons of other fun things. It was really special having them all down. Amanda, Kathryn and I have been friends since we were babies ourselves. It was great to just laugh with them and be silly again!
11) St. Patrick's Day at the park! Being that I have a lot of Irish heritage, you will always find me in green on St. Patrick's day celebrating. This one was no different...except maybe a little more low key and a little less green beverages :) This year we meet Cathy and company at the park to have a little outdoor energy time. Ellaina and Wolfie played and played and played. They had such a blast following each other around the playground. Everyone wore their green. The only thing that was missing was my Grandma Irene's pranks :)
12) Whooping Cough scare. Cathy called me a week ago to let me know Wolfie tested positive to the rapid whooping cough culture. Ellaina had been coughing the last few nights, so I brought her in to be tested as well. Thankfully her results came back negative as well as Wolfie's long culture results. So no one ended up having it, but unfortunately we had to miss her school open house.
13) D+B Real Estate GRAND OPENING Party! Kim and Laura have been so successful in their business venture. It seems like everyday they have another agent signing with them and another client listing or buying with them. It is so great to see two amazing people really getting the success they deserve. On Saturday the 29th, they had their grand opening party. It too was a success. I was able to use the photography studio right next door to take professional portraits of all the people who came out for the party. It was such a great time and so much fun getting to photograph in such a wonderful studio. I LOVE my home studio, but that space had so much more things to offer. Special thanks to Wendolin for allowing me to use her studio!
14) Braden is under weight? Braden had his 9 month check up and we found out he is under weight. He is only 31% for his weight. I knew he was not as chubby as he used to be, but I did not expect that. He HATES baby food. Starts to cry and bats it away the moment we bring the spoon to him. Now, I am just learning how to get him the foods he needs in the form of finger food. Hopefully he will start putting on some weight and it won't be a concern. He is crawling and moving all over the place, so it is only normal for him to thin out...right?
15) Ellaina has learned the word "NO". Of course she has known how to say the word for quite a while, but never really has. Now, that word is pretty much her response to everything...even when she means yes. It is so frustrating. As adults that word is very rude and defiant, but she doesn't really know better. It is hard to find a balance between teaching her she can not say "no" to Mommy and Daddy , and not be upset when she talks back to me with "no".
16) Brad has been working A LOT...and I mean a lot. At least 60+ hours a week, with a couple 70+ weeks in march. I have to praise God that he has a successful job he really enjoys and is busy, but it is exhausting for all. He will be adding college on top of it this Summer and Fall, which will make it even harder. Thankfully we have a strong relationship and work really well to make it easier on each other. I have the most amazing and selfless husband. He is such a great man and I know it will not always be all work and little play. I look forward to that day and support him through the long ones :)
17) God has truly blessed me with so much in my life. Making this list just makes me recognize even more all the wonderful people and things in my life. Life could not get better then this and I will say it again, I am truly blessed.
I am a mother of three who is deeply and truly in love with life and the people around me! I have been blessed in every aspect of my life and praise God everyday for the gifts I have been given. I grew up in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Married my true love and moved to McKinney. Wow what an adventure! My days are spent loving, dancing, singing and celebrating life with my babies...all four of them (if you include my husband)! I get the unique and amazing opportunity to see life happen through the lens of a camera. Portraits
are something I’m incredibly passionate about
and enjoy sharing with others. I love
my family, friends, laughter, music,
dancing and anything chocolate.
These are the things my life is
about and I LOVE living it!