Monday, October 31, 2011

Hallowii 2011

We had our annual "Hallowii" dinner at the Odenbaughs this year.  It's kinda funny because the Wii did not get turned on at all.  We did however have fun having a reason to dress up and enjoy dinner together :)

 I was a kitty cat and Matt was animal control.
The Odenbaughs....
Leighann is a cougar, Thomas is a 70s guy,
David is Curious George and Jonathan is the "boy" with the yellow hat.
The Cuys were so cute...
they came as s'mores :)
The Oates as pirates.

The Mercers as a Smurf family

Friday, October 28, 2011

Matt's 33rd Birthady

It was a simple day.
He awoke to the bar decorated with streamers and balloons and presents awaiting him.
We loved on him and wished him happy birthday and sent him off to work.

Mama had a very long and hard day with the kids.
Took them outside to play and take a few pictures before Dad was to get home, which cheered all of us up.

Began preparing his special birthday dinner (all things he requested).
Welcomed him home and loved on him more,
tried not to let the stress of the day show through.

Put the kiddos to bed very early (as neither one had napped).
Enjoyed a VERY tasty dinner alone, in our own home :)
With candles lit, music playing, and no littles running around, it was quite nice.
I made roasted asparagus, rolls, and Pioneer Woman's short ribs with wine and cream over roasted mushrooms.  VERY delicious.

Went to prepare the whipping cream for the dessert and made a bit of a mess...

We giggled,
cleaned it up,
and enjoyed a very tasty caramel pie.

All in all, not the greatest day (for me, for Matt it was nice, he was at work away from the drama, lol),
but it was a super nice evening :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Matt!

My super amazing husband turns 33 today, so in honor of his 33rd birthday I'd like to list 33 reasons why I love him :)  In no particular order....

1.He is selfless
2.He has really cute dimples... and they make my heart skip a beat :)
3.He shows our kids how to be a good spouse by the way he loves me.
4. He is my rock and support.  I can talk to him about ANYTHING and he truly listens and cares for me
5. He loves God
6. We are foodies and share a love of good food and drinks and delicious coffee
7. He is tall and makes me feel so little
8. He is amazingly talented and smart in all of the areas I am not.  He can think specially and designs things in 3D all day long, which is beyond the way my brain works.
9. He would do anything for me
10.He always makes me feel beautiful and loved and secure
(c) Stark Love Photography
11. He is forgiving
12. He plays with our kids all the time
13. He rarely raises his voice or yells, and that is something I struggle with big time.
14. He is patient and always models that to me and the kids (something else I struggle with).
15. He never complains.

(c) Stark Love Photography
16. He is fun.  We always have a great time together, no matter what we do.
17. He calms me
18. He works hard to support our family and provide and makes it a priority that I stay home with the kids
19. He supports me with my business, helps me with the books (I'm bad at that part), helps me with the marketing and with new ideas and encourages me to grow.
20. He is handsome.

(c) Stark Love Photography

21. He works hard around our home to keep things working right
22. We share a love of funny movies and TV shows. 
23. We are both music junkies and share a love for house music (I think maybe he kinda swayed me in that direction, and now I love it).
24. He makes it a point to make Sundays a day of rest for our family (stopping and resting isn't something I'm always so good at).
25. He loves my cooking :)

(c) Stark Love Photography

26. He is super affectionate
27. He lets me be me, loves me for me, and never tries to make me feel like I should be anything else.
28. He keeps our yard looking spiffy, and is working hard to get our crazy jungle nice
29. He'll gladly help me vacuum, fold laundry, wash dishes, and do any other chore I need a hand with
30. He is super smart and knows a lot about theology.  I admire that about him.  I love hearing him teach adult things :)

31. He has a very giving heart.  He would gladly give of his time.
32. He loves his mom and dad, and is always willing to help them out and spend time with them.
33. He's pretty darn handsome :)  He still makes my heart go pitter patter after nearly 10 years of marriage.  I love him more today than I ever have before.  I appreciate him like I never have before.  I adore him.

(c) Stark Love Photography

I could keep going on and on :)

I hope you have a Happy birthday honey. 
I hope you feel loved and treasured today, because you are, so very much.
I couldn't have dreamt up a better husband than you.
I pray the Lord blesses us with many, many more years of your awesomeness.
I love you "all the way to Amanda's house and back"!!!!

Love, Jess

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't compare yourself to "perfect pictures"....

I love the "connected" age we live in,
but I also struggle with it.
I love that I can go online and find so much amazing inspiration from so many amazing women.
However, it can leave me feeling paralized.
It's like I'm bombarded with too much of a good thing,
so instead of doing something,
I spend my time looking at things others have done and wanting to do them.

It's so easy to paint a pretty picture online.
I always go back and forth with how "real" to be on my blog and Facebook.
I don't necessarily want the world to know my dirty laundry,
my struggles,
my tears.
So instead I focus on the good things.
The little things that bring light to my day.
I don't share my piles of laundry,
my struggles of balancing a little business and full time mothering,
my floors that need to be mopped,
that I have too much on my calendar this week and I'm stressed,
that I lost it one too many times with my kids today,
that I'm struggling in a big way with my oldest child,
that I struggle with anxiety,
that I'm finally going to therapy 9 years after my dad died because I realized I never really grieved and it's time to fix myself,
that so many people I'm close to are hurting and struggling and how I just want to fix things for them,
that life is just FULL of struggles.

Nope, that stuff is no fun to blog about.
It's too real,
it leaves me feeling much too vulnearable.
Some days I just NEED to focus on something good,
and my camera helps me see good and happy things.
I can pick up my camera and take a picture of my daughter coloring and focus on that sweet moment, and block out the huge pile of things that need to be attended to behind her.
It makes me happy.
It helps me focus on the good things in the middle of hard times.

What we post online isn't always the "real" picture.
It's just perhaps what we want to focus on and share.
Don't compare yourself to the perfect images you see on Pinterest, or blogs, or FB.
Life is hard,
it's full of struggles,
and it's OK if we use the internet to focus on the good.
Just don't let yourself feel like you are not good enough because of someone elses "perfect" pictures :)
We all have strengths and talants,
and just because we didn't take amazing step by step pictures and blog all about something cool we did,
doesn't mean it didn't happen :)
give yourself permission to take a step back and give yourself a break and embrace the today :)

Colors and Painted Toes

She loves to color.
She will sit and color for 20 minutes at a time.
She asks me to tell her each color of her markers or crayons.

She chatters up a storm.
She is sweet and affectionate.
She is very easy to spoil.

Time alone with her is rare...
so when it happens I have to treasure it.
Last week when Ethan and Matt were getting hair cuts I painted her toes for the first time.
She picked the color.
She was in heaven and has walked around for days telling everyone to look at her "beautiful toes".

Gosh I love this girl.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch

I finally got around to taking the kids over to one of our local pumpkin patches (Greenspot Farms).
We had such a fun morning.
We didn't pay to do the actual tour, but we had fun walking around and exploring.

At one point a school group came around us and the kids ended up getting to feed the animals for free.

The kids picked out pumpkins and then decided to put them back so they could keep growing :)  I was fine with that because I didn't want to buy them anyhow, lol.

They have this old locomotive there and the kids had a blast climbing in and out of it and pretending to drive it.  Ethan said we were on the island of Sodor :)  Who knows what that's from??

 They have a little area with teeter totters and an old metal slide.  Fun.
I might have sampled a fig that I picked off one of the trees near the play area. It was yummy :)
One of Ethan's favorite parts was the hedge maze.  He led us through it about nine times :)

There was also a cool bee house and the kids loved seeing the bees up close.  I didn't get any pictures of that. We ended up staying at the pumpkin patch for nearly two hours.
As we were leaving Ethan was in tears and saying "I want to come here every day!".
I guess that means he had fun :)
I was happy that we could have such a nice time together and I only spent $1.00 (on a treat for them).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our Fall family Pictures

A few weeks ago I did a photo swap with my friends and talented photographers Jhen and Jon.  I had pinned an idea on Pinterest a long time ago and when Jhen mentioned she wanted to use the same setup for photos I was stoked.  She set up everything.  I brought along a few of my own touches (just the donuts, juice and cake stands), and we did a little photoshoot trade.  She shot my family first and then I did hers.  You can see her pictures here.

I LOVE how these turned out.  I want to frame so many of them.  Here are some of my favorites...

After taking some family pics I wanted some pictures of just Matt and I.
I LOVE how they turned out.

I know... this one's a little racy, lol.

Ethan had his first little crush on their daughter... it was pretty cute, and he had great behavior trying to impress her!  haha.
Thanks for the precious pictures Jhen!!!