Sunday, January 15, 2017

More daily 365 pics and a weekend trip to Solvang

Time for another weekly update!  #2 for 2017!  

Still doing my 365 project.  Last Sunday I set up the tripod and took this picture of all of us sitting down to Sunday dinner (pan-seared garlic & herb chicken with caramelized onions and rosemary garlic aioli with vegetables and potatoes on the side - soooo delicious and also Whole30 compliant).  While it's not my best image ever, I like the concept of it and think it would be fun to take these pictures every now and again to see how the girls grow and we all age together as a family gathered around the dinner table.  I also like seeing parts of our house and the way we have decorated - the light fixtures we chose, the Ikea clock that spoke to me like no other clock has, the picture from the Wave that Paul took back in law school, my favorite blue checked tablecloth, etc.  Whole30 is going well - we are halfway through as of today and are both feeling so much better after two weeks of clean eating!  It's also way easier this go around than previous times.

I got my first sponsored post opportunity for my food blog and I'm super excited about it!  It goes live on Tuesday and is really fun.  Rose went to the grocery store to help me pick up the ingredients I needed for it while Clara was at school.  The company it is with requires a couple of in-store shots of the aisle where the product is purchased.

After that, we headed over to the school to pick up Clara from Spanish class, which she is really excited about, especially since a friend from her Kindergarten class is taking it with her.  We had quite a lot of rain but it was momentarily dry while Rose and I were waiting so we took advantage by playing in front of the school so she could get some energy out and I could take photos of her.  I love the way the front wall of the school is painted.

Rose also had fun playing on the playground for a bit until it started raining again and we went to wait for Clara where it was dry.

Clara has a new gymnastics schedule that is much later than before and I didn't feel like struggling through the lesson with a hungry, bored, tired Rose so I caved and brought the iPad.  She was perfectly content watching movies while we waited for big sister.

Just a quick Wednesday picture of Clara (with her reflection - something I have been trying to notice lately) as we were leaving school.  Wednesdays are definitely the girls' favorite day because they have swimming lessons.  Rose earned her Preschool 2 ribbon.  I love watching her get her little arms up over her head and prepare to push off the steps to swim to her coach, Joaquin.

Thursday afternoon was actually beautiful so I took the girls over to the church parking lot with the scooter and bike so they could ride through the puddles.  They absolutely loved it and rode circles around me for a solid 45 minutes, squealing and giggling the entire time.  I had fun taking their pictures.  Win-win.  On the way home Rose told me I am the best mom ever.

Unfortunately, that same night, Rose woke up around 9:30 throwing up.  That never, EVER happens in our house.  Like, this may be the first, real time that I can ever remember either of the girls throwing up like that.  She threw up twice more before midnight.  It was so sad.  I rocked her and she finally settled in but then Clara woke up having a bad dream so we rearranged sleeping arrangements and I ended up in Clara's bed across from Rose to monitor her for the rest of the night while Clara got to snuggle with dad all night.

The next morning she didn't want to eat anything and we weren't sure what to do because we had planned to go to Solvang that day.  Paul took Clara to school (he had already planned to work from home so we could get an early start on the drive down) and I coaxed Rose into drinking a bit of Gatorade.  She kept that down, then some crackers, then took a nap (like, she fell asleep face down on the hardwood floor while watching a princess movie), so once Clara got done with school we decided to go ahead and head out and hope for the best.  There were no more stomach troubles for Rose the rest of the weekend, so we were super grateful for that.  Still not sure what caused the throwing up.

Solvang was a fun, relaxing weekend getaway for us.  We got there just as the sun went down and ate at the Little Mermaid restaurant across from one of the Solvang windmills.  That was our least favorite meal, but it was convenient and we were able to get back to the hotel and the girls were out by their regular bedtime.  Rose & Clara both love exploring hotel rooms (like all kids) and Rose cracked me up when she found the bible in the nightstand, climbed up into bed with it, and proceeded to "read" all about Snow White out loud to herself.

Saturday was really relaxed as well.  We enjoyed a yummy breakfast at a cute breakfast place, then spent the morning wandering around the town, ducking into toy stores and bakeries and gift shops.  Clara got a flower headband with long ribbons in a shop that sold dirndls and Rose played with a tea seat so much in one of the toy stores that we decided to secretly get it for her to unwrap on her birthday.  She wasn't happy being ushered out of that store so we could make the purchase, even though she had already spent a good 20 minutes playing with it, so I'm pretty sure it will be a hit when she opens it on Tuesday.

We just love all the detail about the town, from the half-timber structures to the statues and figures decorating the buildings.  There were storks on top of many buildings, which are supposed to bring good luck, and Clara loved keeping an eye out for them.  We were also watching for windmills and a statue of the Little Mermaid that we had heard about.  The town is very, very Danish and from everything we have read and heard, it is actually quite authentic to what a town in Denmark is really like.  We are dying to verify this in first person now.

There are 5 bakeries in a little 2-block radius and they all had the most delicious looking pastries.  Good thing we are doing Whole30 or we would have been in big trouble.

We met our friends Marnie & Stephan at this big shoe.  Clara was so cute posing for her picture with her new flower headband that she wore the whole day until one of the ribbons started to fray and I put it away for safe keeping so the entire thing didn't unravel.

We drove out to Ostrichland, just outside of Solvang, with the Lovstedts and viewed the ostriches from outside the fence (because we weren't exactly keen on paying $30 to do it inside).  We got scolded for it by some ostrichland employees, but we had read online and heard from people in town that it's fine to just look at them from the rode.  We actually had quite the show when a couple of ostriches went all "national geographic" on us (or, erm, each other) if you know what I mean.  It was quite the display and I think I'll leave it at that.

Sunday morning was foggy and cold, but we went for one more walk to a different breakfast restaurant that is known for its aebelskivers.  And okay, Paul and I each had one, which definitely is not in line with Whole30 and technically we should restart, but you know what, I'm okay with one little aebelskiver when I've already completed a true Whole30 before in its entirety and this time around I've been totally good about sticking with it up until this morning, and even then it was a conscious decision and not like I just couldn't resist one more moment.  I could have passed it up but I chose not to.  So there.  And I only had one, not many.  We're back on the wagon tonight.

One more fun story from this week that doesn't have a picture to go with it - on Monday I was looking high and low for a library book I had been reading and I couldn't find it anywhere.  For hours!  It was driving me crazy and I kept asking Rose if she had taken it (she has a tendency to wander off with things).  Finally, late in the day, Clara came into the living room with the book and was so pleased with herself for finding it in the toy room.  I exclaimed that she was "my hero" and she beamed so brightly at me that I knew I had just made her day.  It was a happy, happy moment, and I hope I can always remember it even though it was such a small, little thing.  

Rose also nabbed my wedding ring while we were in Solvang and we had to hunt around our tiny hotel room on Saturday morning for a good 15 minutes before Paul finally found it underneath one of the beds.  Little stinker.

Paul had a busy week at work and spent most of his evenings after the girls went to bed out in the cold garage working on Rose's birthday present.  It's a new big girl bed to match Clara's (except while we bought Clara's through Craigslist as a used Pottery Barn Kids bed, Rose's is going to be homemade in the same style) and it won't be ready by her actual birthday, but it should be done pretty soon.  I will definitely post pictures!

And that was our week!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Project 365: January 1-7

I'm still not committing to a Project 365 where I take a photograph every day for the entire year, but so far so good.  And it certainly helps to put together a blog post for the week, even if it is just a reposting of what I already have shared on Instagram.  But on the blog I'm fine with including some of the additional images I didn't share on IG.  My 365 may not continue to always be images of us - I might include landscapes or macro or other subjects, but I really do love seeing how we change and grow over time so ideally a majority of my images will help document our lives, including the everyday moments that matter.  

My first pic of the New Year was of new routines and healthy habits with the girls brushing and flossing their teeth.  We are actually really good about brushing daily but flossing is something we struggle with so it's a work in progress.  Despite the bathroom lighting, I'm in love with this image and the documentary style of capturing the girls in candid, real moments.  I can already tell this is one I will cherish in years to come.  

We took the girls to see the movie "Sing" on Paul's last day of vacation and Rose took it to heart.  She got dressed up in one of her favorite dress up skirts with the little plastic heels that she can barely squeeze her feet into anymore and performed "Jingle Bells" on the "stage" (our front landing) for Paul.  I was in the kitchen doing dishes listening to her when I decided to grab my camera and grab a shot while she wasn't looking at me.  I love her curly ponytail and the wisps around her face that still refuse to grow out.

We have had a lot of rain (for us) lately and needed to get out of the house since all three of us were going stir-crazy after a week of dad being home with us almost every day.  So we braved the wet and headed to Costco.  Afterwards the girls helped me unload the minivan, which is one of their favorite jobs.

Another soaking wet day kept us inside.  I have been thinking about self-portraits since it is one of the prompts for a Project 52 photography challenge I am contemplating.  And two other challenges I have been looking at called for reflections and "mess" as the prompts this week so this satisfied all three.  Not that it is the best picture or anything, but it is definitely true that our guest bedroom is messier than any other room in the house.  It's the place where I throw stuff so I don't have to look at it.  I set up my photography boards on top of the ironing board and do almost all of my food photography in there since it has the best lighting in the house.  Paul also has a desk and monitor set up in there for the days when he is working from home.  I have plans to clean it up and attempt to keep it tidier.

We went outside for a little bit to jump in puddles but it didn't last long.  It was just so, so dark all day!

Thursday was actually a beautiful day but I had already mentioned the possibility of going to the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose to Clara and she was adamant that we go.  Really, the only the she wanted was the chance to paint her face in the face painting room.  Maybe we will have to incorporate this into her birthday party as an activity or something.  She was so careful with her paint and knew she wanted cherries on one cheek, a flower on the other, and a sun on her forehead.  Rose was also very careful with her paint, but she didn't want it left on long.

The other feature at the museum that is always a big hit is the water area.  This is just one section of it and the girls have fun watching the plastic balls swirl around the vortexes, roll down ramps or shoot through tubes.

On Friday we hung out at home again, cleaning and catching up on stuff.  The girls were playing so well together in the afternoon (not always the case but I'm so grateful for the good days when it happens), so I took the opportunity to hang a blanket and towel up to cover most of the window in my bedroom to practice the Inverse Square Law of lighting while doing a self-portrait.  I brought a chair in and Clara stood on it to model for me while I was grabbing focus with the camera on the tripod before I moved the chair away to practice on myself.

Saturday was so cold and blustery with rain coming on and off all day long.  But when there was a decent break in the weather in the afternoon, I knew I needed to get all of us out of the house so we went on a walk.  Honestly, Clara doesn't like riding her scooter much.  She hasn't figured out the balance on it like she did on the littler scooter that Rose is riding, and consequently she complained the entire walk.  Rose actually led almost the whole way and I think that made Clara extra annoyed.  I have got to get her out practicing on her scooter and bike more this year.

Paul and I went to the temple for date night on Thursday, which was so nice.  Whenever we go to the temple on weeknights, I always get a babysitter and meet Paul at one of the BART stations down in San Leandro so that we can make the 7:00 p.m. temple session.  Then we invariably forget to pick up Paul's car from the BART station on the way back home.

So far, so good on all of my other New Year's resolutions.  We are now on Day 8 of Whole 30 and I think both of us are feeling really good.  It actually isn't too difficult of an adjustment for us this time around since, aside from the sweets and breads that we indulgent much to often, we don't have a really hard time with the other requirements of a Whole 30.  I know it gets harder as it goes on though and we start to feel bored with the routine of it though, so I'm trying out some new recipes along with mixing in old favorites and staples that I can photograph for the food blog - things that we eat regardless of whether we are doing Whole 30 or not.

I think we are all looking forward to school starting back up tomorrow.  Clara has actually been begging to go back to Kindergarten since about 2 days after Christmas break started.  I'm so glad that she loves school and has even been counting down "how many more sleeps" until she gets to go back to Kindergarten.

And that was our week!