Thursday, December 27, 2007

a taste of Christmas

Christmas was amazing. I feel a bit overwhelmed when I think of all the things I got alone! Not to mention the kids and Johnny.

John Michael got a gift the whole family has been playing... but here is a glimpse of what his new favorite toy looks like:

...and please, no comments from the peanut gallery about how incredibly cheesey and silly I sound. It took some pride swallowing to post this with my ridiculous commentary recorded for all the laugh at!....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A new style

This is a style of images I'm really falling in love with. I thought I'd try it out on some willing participants. What do you guys think?








Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Friend

Meet Sam. She's my dear, dear friend.

I had the privilege of taking her family photos this weekend. Enjoy this sneak peek.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

She's Got Her Mama's Moves

Well, they may look like Johnny but they're goofy like me!!

He's got my smile and she's got my moves. :)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Playing in the Snow

As promised, here are some pictures from our romp in the snow. :)

After bundling up the kids and ourselves Johnny trekked out with Addy & John Michael. Plopping them down in the snow and walking over to get the shovel proved to be a bad idea.... John Michael was in shock. He couldn't walk in the snow so he fell down and cried until I came out. He's quite the baby.... and its so endearing!! :)





Once Johnny got the sled out John Michael cheered right up.  Here he is grinning (this is his "I see the camera smile" while waiting for another sled ride.


Both kids loved the sled.  Johnny went slow at first but before long they were flying!


.








After the sledding I tried teaching Addy how to make a snow angel.  She did surprisingly well but when she got up she destroyed it.  I was sad she wouldn't be able to see it well but once she got up she ran off and never looked back.  I guess the concept was slightly too advanced for her.  :)




But it shouldn't be surprising that EATING isn't too advanced for her!  She absolutely loves to eat the snow!  

Bite #1  "Wow, its really cold!"


Bite #2  "Did anyone see that?"



Bite #3  "This is 'lip smackin' delicious!"


Our neighbors have a "holiday tree."  Well, I named it that anyway.  They decorate it with lights for every holiday (green for St. Patricks, orange for Halloween, etc.)

The kids love it!











Like most things Johnny convinces me to do I didn't regret it! Here we are shortly before I went in and let them play for a while longer. :)

The happy/cold Hamstras!






Thursday, December 06, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Well, its officially full blown Christmas season here! Christmas sales have been on since July, Christmas music since just before Thanksgiving (sorry Dad), but we finally have our Christmas tree and our Christmas snow!

We went the Monday after Thanksgiving to get our Christmas tree and contrary to my lazy preferences we went as a family! I figure Addy is probably old enough to really enjoy something like this so I bundled up the kids and dragged myself out of the house out into the freezing cold to Home Depot. We went in and immediately picked out a tree. It was all a bit anti-climactic.... UNTIL we started walking through the store. Addy was in awe of all the snowmen, Santa Clauses (she esp liked the Santa on a motorcyle, "just like Uncle DD"), and even a Mickey Mouse. She was quite the spectacle as she went around hugging all of the displays. :)

Here we are picking out our tree:




Something must be in the air because not only did I go with Johnny to get the tree this year (I think that's a first??) but we got it decorated the FIRST night! Now, this is NOT something I let the kids partake in. We don't have one of those fun, kid friendly trees. We have breakable ornaments, etc. They had their own trees in their rooms we decorated later but before beginning on this one we put the kiddos to bed!

We aren't total Scrooges though. After getting the tree 99% done we woke up our little monkey (Addy) and let her come put the finishing touches on the tree. Here she is, half awake, enjoying the sight. She was grinning and cuddly over her new Christmas tree and even though its been up for a while now she regularly informs friends that she has a Christmas tree. :)





And finally, our Christmas snow. It snowed Thanksgiving day (Johnny & Tara ran the pumpkin plod in it!!) but it didn't stick. A couple of nights ago we got a big snow. I think its between 3-4" but I'm not positive. So, shockingly, I also went out with the kids in the snow! Johnny loves going to play with the kids but I'm a bit of a grump about it. Its tons of work and.... well, tons of work! But, I'm dying to my laziness here and trying to make memories for the kiddies sake. :) Pictures soon, I promise!

*woops! this picture is sideways... :( its the post on our porch.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Soon!

I haven't been able to blog much lately but its not because I'm "clowning around." :) But hope this makes you smile until I can get something more substantive up!





This picture was taken at Target with Johnny's Razr.

Monday, November 05, 2007

photography jobs

Well, we're off to England on Wednesda morning! My mom is coming to watch the kiddies and we'll be kid free for 5.5 days. Truthfully, I'm not ready for it... but I've gotten this far by just avoiding thinking about it. So, hopefully all will go well!

My friend Elizabeth hired me to do some photography for her family. It was a funny session. I was coming down with a cold (that I'm still coming down with) and her sweet, happy baby was having an off afternoon. We won't post the pictures of him communicating his preference to stay at home! :) He's normally so sweet and content so we may try to squeeze in a few more shots of just him when I come back from England. Who knows, maybe the beautiful tree in her yard will shed its leaves and paint a lovely background for her little man!

I'll leave Elizabeth to show you the faces of her family... but here are a few teasers for you!






Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween with the Hamstras!

Halloween this year was a blast. Both kid thoroughly enjoyed it so of course we did too! After a long debate my stubborn little girl agreed to be Minnie Mouse for Halloween. She originally wanted to be a pig but I couldn't track down a pig costume locally that was in her size.... Now, to be honest I didn't put a ton of effort into it but in the end she was thrilled to be Minnie.

My parents rarely miss an occasion to be with the kids and my dad even rescheduled his business trip to be with us for trick-or-treating!

Waiting for GG & Bampa to arrive:

Isn't it remarkable how much John Michael looks like my dad in this picture? Its accentuated by his all black wardrobe. :)

Mini Bampa



Man in black



So, when they arrived we put the finishing touches on the kids costumes, handed out some cool Halloween flashlights the kids loved....



...and headed over to our first house, Bampa and Mom-Mom. I don't know how I missed getting a picture of either kid with Mom Mom but here is one of Addy with Bampa and an attempt at getting a picture of both kids on her festive front porch:





After our visit we headed back to our neighborhood to round the block. This, of course, took way longer than it should've because we just had to stop at every participating house and talk excessively about how incredibly cute our kids are..... and isn't that so much of the fun? Watching other people gloat about how cute your kids are? I just love it when people agree with me!

So, enjoy the remaining pictures and I hope to blog again soon!


walking with bampa!




happy grandma




proud gg




happy bzzzzing




Attempt #2 of the kiddos




Two Minnies (one is our neighbor)



Our busy bumblebee!



Our Minnie Mouse


our family :)


Monday, October 15, 2007

A Relateable Loss

By now most of you know that I have been having symptoms of a miscarriage for a few days now. This morning, after visiting the doctor and the hospital, we confirmed what we had suspected was true, out little baby had no heartbeat. And so, I am scheduled to have a D&C at St. Margaret Mercy North first thing in the morning.

Johnny & I are, understandably, quite sad. I was about 11 1/2 weeks along so I think we both thought we were just about out of that "danger zone" and it was a bit of a surprise. We've both had time to pray and grieve together but I wanted to let everyone know that we are both completely at peace and experiencing God's grace in remarkable ways.

A good friend gave us the following verse and I have been meditating on it all day:

Psalm 33:20-23

"Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you."

Ahh, what sweet peace these words give my heart! Ultimately, my heart's gladness is found in him. Though my husband, my children, my family and my friends give me joy on this earth.... its my Lord who gladdens my heart. Its the gladness I find in him that enables me to take joy in his good gifts. Its his love and goodness that we hope in. Its in his presence that we find rest... not in health, not in life, not in blessings. And nothing can separate me from the love he has for me.

And so, we echo the psalmist's cry, " Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Ps 73:25-26)

Thank you all for your prayers, e-mails and love. We both feel so well cared for.

Love,
Michelle

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dead Blog

Sorry for those of you who actually check this blog. I absolutely love the idea of keeping this as some type of digital scrapbook for the children's life... and I suppose that its gaps speak loudly of just how busy they keep me!

But that's not all keeping me busy. We've been enjoying having Johnny's cousins and their boyfriends in town this past weekend. Julie's boyfriend came in from Knoxville to run the Chicago Marathon and Bethany's boyfriend came to "meet the family." I'm sure both of them loved us completely... how could they not, right!? :)

I also recently took some pictures of Candi's newest little guy, Camden. You can view most of them on her blog but here are a couple of my favorites:



keep in mind that the blog format cuts off the last 1/2" or so on the right so you miss the end of his name on both of them :( Check out my portfolio or Candi's blog for the full effect.






And here are some pictures of the kids when Johnny's parents took us to the carnival that came to Highland a few weeks ago. They loved it (especially the popcorn!)

waving to the elephants (by far, her favorite)




the second best part



John Michael loves to point at things right now. He grunts and points and of course we jump up and do all his bidding. :) At least he's polite about it - he's officially full blown with his please, thank you and all done signs!




My little guys is officially walking! He has been taking a step here or a few there for the past couple of weeks but he's been taking 8 or 9 in a row these past few days and starting last night we saw him stop his crawling mid-route and stand up to walk so he's definitely taking more of an interest! I rarely push these things (obviously, JM is 14 1/2 months old!) but I must say I'm kind of looking forward to it... the kid weighs a ton! He's quite the mommy's boy still too and I must admit that though I roll my eyes about it sometimes and though its not convenient when I'm trying to do laundry or cook dinner I really do love it. Addy was never nearly as snuggly (though she makes up for it with her inherent girliness!)

Addy is the embodiment of cuteness these days.... she says and does things that evoke endless smiles and laughs from those who love her. I'll leave you with this one for now:

Someone farts.
Addy: Mommy, I hear them coming!
Me: What?
Addy: I hear them coming Mommy!
Me: Who?
Addy: The poopies Mommy! I hear them coming!

Our sweet girl.