Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The 3 Muskateers

My body has forgotten how to sleep... at night. :) Every night I have a hard time falling asleep and sleep fitfully until about 5 am... then I am like a ROCK until I absolutely have to get up in the morning. And I'm definitely not making public what time that is. :) I've trained my kids well.... Reason #45 for homeschooling? You don't have to get up early to get your kids to school on time!

Johnny & I saw New Moon tonight.... and wow. Um, wow. The movie was beyond terrible. I was actually laughing out loud during some of the intense scenes because they were so awful! Its disappointing because I enjoyed the books... the really sad part though is that I'll probably see the 3rd and 4th movie regardless of how bad I thought the first two were... :)

On a random note: Has anyone from this area made the long road trip to Orlando with small kids? We're playing around with the idea of driving it but its daunting... though not quite as daunting as the price of 4 plane tickets.

Weddings for 2010 are booking up. I'm about at my "limit." I try not to take more than one wedding a month so with maternity leave this year that is really limiting me! I've had to say no to several people already - which makes me sad. I LOVE doing weddings. You can see my most recent one on my photography blog.

I think our most exciting family news recently has been the birth of my new nephew, Carson! He is so precious. I had the privilege of being there when he was born and photographing him when he was just days old - thanks to my brother-in-law Adam who flew me out as a gift for my sister. :)

Here's a little sneak peek but I'll be posting more pictures of him soon. :)

Carson blog

And here's a little snappy of my kiddies. As you can see Nick's gaining weight! I think we've been a little lax with his diet because he was always so skinny... time to cut back on the sweets kid. :)

3 muskateers

Monday, December 28, 2009

My only girl.

Its funny how the timing of information makes all the difference in how you respond to it.  Just a little over a week ago I found out that our 4th baby is going to be another boy.

And I cried.

Okay, I kind of cried a lot.

I laugh about the timing now because had I started with three boys and just found out I was having a girl I'd be DELIGHTED. ECSTATIC. Beside myself!!

I don't think I even realized how deeply I was hoping to have another girl until I found out. Its not really that I prefer having girls over boys... its really just that I wanted Adeline to experience the joys of having a sister as well as the joys of having a brother. I have a sister I adore and love and couldn't imagine life without and I wanted that for her too. However, since this is more than likely our last natural child (okay Johnny - DEFINITELY our last natural child :)) I knew that unless the Lord brings her a sister through another route that she would be a princess amongst stinky boys. :)

Its okay. I know some of you are cringing right now thinking, "Oh, how sad! I hope that little boy  never reads this blog!" But the truth is A.) He probably won't. and B.) Even if he does by then he should know how incredibly happy I am that he's a boy and that he's mine. :)

The original plan was to wait and be surprised to find out what we were having - but in the end I'm glad I know. Already I can't imagine this little boy being a girl.... and its given me that many more weeks to savor the fact that Adeline will be my only one. My only daughter. My only little girl to train in the wonders of femininity. My princess.

And WOW has it transformed the way that I treat her. I look at her differently. I appreciate her in a new way. I savor her in new ways too... I cherish the memories I'm creating now of her playing with her Lucy lambs, of her playing in her doll house... of her bossing around her brothers (though I'm sure those memories will remain fresh throughout all of our lives... hehe). And I'm glad to know. I'm glad I can use these last weeks before this new little guy is born to savor her femininity because each stage is one I'll never witness again.

She's our joy and our delight... and she'll be the family princess for life. :)

And with intimidating looks like this I'm sure she'll be helping me whip this house full of boys into shape in no time. :)

big trouble mister

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Boy & His Bath

This little man LOVES his bath! He especially loves it if he can take a bath with his brother and sister. :) If he has to be the first one out everyone on the block hears about it. :)

Here's a little "snapshot" of bath time with little Nick-O.

Nick storyboard web

Monday, November 23, 2009

See that?

Its amazing to me that we are days away from Thanksgiving! We are so incredibly excited to have all of Johnny's family in town. The Maples are actually staying with us so the kids are literally beside themselves ready to have a crazy party with their cousins. :)

I have to admit though, I have some mixed emotions! This is the first ever Thanksgiving I won't be spending with my family. My parents & my brother are in Atlanta waiting patiently for my sister's baby to be born. He/She is scheduled to come meet us tomorrow! I'm predicting a boy but I know my mom's hoping for another girl. :)

I'm not 100% sure what Nicholas' first words were... but I'm almost positive it was "See that?" I love the 2nd picture in this series because its just after he said, "See that?" Every time he wakes up he points to his toys and asks me if he's seen them... It makes me wonder if he sits in his crib and stares at them while he waits for me to come get him. :)

Nick laundry basket webNick laundry basket 2 web

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Houston, we have a walker!

Although he hasn't made the switch to exclusively walking Nicholas has definitely passed the first stages of learning to walk! He now regularly chooses to walk instead of crawl and can take 15 or so steps at a time! I can't believe my baby is old enough to walk. It seemed like it happened fast this time too. He went from having absolutely no interest in walking to full blown walking in about 6 weeks.

Nick Walking webNick Walking web bw

In my book, that makes him a walker. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Argh, Matey

On any given day you can find John Michael dressed up as a pirate. Last year for Christmas Tara & Adam bought John Michael & Addy pirate costumes and the novelty has not worn off since!

He's also my little drama child. He's the most expressive and I think the most imaginative. I'm regularly overhearing him fighting imaginary bad guys or rescuing people in distress. It warms my heart.

Pirate John Michael 2 webPirate John Michael web

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fashion Hypocrite

I feel a bit like a fashion hypocrite. When I leave the house I try to look cute - I love wearing things that are in style and trendy and unique. But when I'm home, which is the majority of my life, I wear my pajamas. All. Day. Lately my pajamas are oversized t-shirts and pants that are two sizes too big so you can imagine Lucky magazine has been breaking down my door for a photo shoot and a list of my winter must haves. :)

I'm the same way with the kids. My children have been blessed with a grandma who loves to buy them clothes - so their wardrobes are nothing short of adorable. But when we're home they wear mismatched clothes or run around naked....

Which leads me to my title. I feel a bit like a hypocrite! People think I'm SO stylish and SO put together because they see me once a week in public... but then they come over to my house or see me when I'm running out to the grocery store and they look at me compassionately and ask if I'm sick. "No," I kindly reply, "I just don't usually wear make up during the week."

So you see, its out. I'm really just a lazy bum at heart.

Though I will say that if Addy has cute cotton dresses I will put those on her every day. My mom recently bought this one from Target and I happened to have tights that matched perfectly. I figured I better take advantage of the non pj moment and grab a few snappies.

adeline outside 2 web Adeline outside web

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chatty Cathy... or should I say Mumbling Michelle?

Blogging is actually one of my favorite things to do. I think I've always liked to hear myself talk so having a place where nobody is doing the talking but me has to be appealing to my inner chatterbox. Its so different than being with people and always asking myself... "Am I talking to much?" In those situations you're worried because you know that person is "stuck" listening to you for the sake of being polite - even if they're bored to tears and wishing your mouth had a remote control... but in blogworld you can just click your little red dot (or that little "x" for PC users) and shut me up in an instant if you'd like.

I recently read that what makes a great photographer so great isn't necessarily her pictures... but her personality. That you aren't just selling someone your "work" you're selling them yourself... because you are pouring a part of yourself into all of your work - and especially when someone books you for their wedding you are literally sharing every minute with them for 10-12 hours! So, its important they like YOU and not just your pictures... though I promise I won't talk your ear off on your wedding day if you book me. :)

All of that to say that you can expect this blog to be a bit wordier than its been this past year. I'm feeling chatty again and I plan taking it out on you, dear Internet.

And because even I know that words simply aren't enough.... here's a peek at our Halloween this year:

Addy is Cinderella blog

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If you mess with the bull...

If you mess with the bull...

Mess with the bull 2 web

you get the horns!!

Mess with the bull web

But don't worry, he's a nice bull. :)

John Michael texture web

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall is fleeting

Fall is fleeting... which means that these shots I grabbed of the older kids in the leaves might be the only leaf shots I get this year. :( I'm hoping for ONE nice day this week I can sneak Nicholas out for one too but so far its forecasted to rain every day.

At least I got these while I could!

Addy leaves blog

John Michael last week: "Its too spicy."
Addy: "Here John Michael, have another."
John Michael: "I don't like it."
Addy: "Yah, you don't like too spicy."
John Michael: "Yah Addy, I don't like three spicy either."


And one more

Me, at dinner: "John Michael, stop picking your nose."
John Michael: "Mommy, I'm not picking my boogers out, I'm putting them back in."

John Michael Leaves blog

Friday, November 13, 2009

24 Weeks

I'm 24 weeks pregnant... and my butt thinks I'm 40. Someone send it a message to STOP. GETTING. BIGGER.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wear Mumus.

Wear Mumus. Because you can... and they make you feel fancy, even when you're not. :)


Monday, November 02, 2009

Worth coming home to.

I've been doing a lot of sessions lately. Its my busy season, what can I do? :) As much as I enjoy it though it definitely wears me out... so you can imagine how sweet it was to come home to this little guy waiting for me tonight.

coming home 1 web

coming home 2 web

Promise: Every post won't be exclusively about Nicholas. :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The toothless wonders

My children aren't exactly concerned with "normal." They're either abnormally big or abnormally small, never right down the middle. They either do things quite advanced (okay, maybe not) or quite a bit on the tail end of normal.  Nobody walked before they were a year. As a matter of fact it was several months afterwards. :)

Teeth are no exception to this precedent. I even thought Addy might make it to her first birthday without any teeth but around 11 months she finally popped one through. Nicholas seems to be on the same boat. He's 13 months old and just has two bottom teeth... but any day now I think we'll see 3 or 4 new ones on top!

Its a good thing I think gummy smiles are so cute. :)


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Light Saver

John Michael loves the lightsaber he got for his birthday from TuTu & Grandfather! But I can't quite convince him its a lightsaber. He insists on calling it his light "saver." Well, I guess he's gone green. :)


Friday, October 23, 2009


Don't be afraid of the teeth... he doesn't bite. But if I were you I'd be afraid of the drool!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nicholas "Doonka" - our little monkey!

For those of you who don't already know, Nicholas' was affectionately nicknamed "Doonka" by Adeline when he was just weeks old. The nickname, unfortunately for him, has not only stuck but in true Hamstra-Kotynski clan form has morphed into a variety of names: Doonks, Doonkster bottoms, Doonky boy, etc.

Nicholas is the baby everyone says looks like me. He's got the dark hair and his eyes aren't as crystal blue as Adeline's or John Michael's. In fact sometimes I think they look green!

Nick October 20 2009 2 blog

He's a ghetto crawler. He usually crawls with one knee and one set of toes. If he's not using that method he'll resort to hands and toes and on a rare occasion (though more often these days) he'll actually crawl properly. I'm sad to admit that the hands and toes thing might have originated from his unwillingness to touch my dirty floors. :)

Nick the ghetto crawler Oct 20 2009 blog

Getting pictures of him is tricky. He doesn't really like to look at the camera and he's constantly moving - though I guess most moms of 1 year old boys don't expect much more. :) Here he is trying to catch the little dusties you can see in the window light. It made me laugh.

Nick catching dusties oct 20 2009 blog

Nick catching dusties 2  blog

And my very favorite physical attribute about Nicholas right now is his hair. :) I've never been able to grow John Michael's hair out - its too course or frizzy or something... but Nicholas' just looks so cute I can't bring myself to cut it!

Nick fave blog

With the exception of a short time in John Michael's life, none of our kids have shown a strong preference for Mommy or Daddy. They seem to love us equally and prefer us equally. Some nights its all Mommy and others its all Daddy... but Doonka ADORES his Daddy. He looks for him outside (until he gets distracted by the barking dogs and starts barking back) and gets SO excited when he gets home.

Nick peeking blog

He's going through a rough stage right now... not sure what things are upsetting him but he's definitely crabbier than normal. I keep thinking teeth are the culprit but he's 1 year old and still only has the two teeth on the bottom! He also has some food "issues" that I can't quite figure out - some slight excema and some bad diapers but nothing seems to be the reason for it. Part of me is pretending that if I ignore it he'll outgrow it... is that silly?

Anyway, we love the little guy. I can't believe he's going to be a big brother in a few months! He's still such a baby. But, I'm sure he'll love it and adapt to it the way he adapts to most everything else, with a smile. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Adeline, our 4 year old Princess.

She may look like a Hamstra but Adeline is all me when it comes to personality. I have to admit, its both cute and sanctifying to see your own personality displayed in its raw, uninhibited form day in and day out!

IMG_9039 blog

For whatever reason getting Adeline to actually look at the camera is always challenging!

IMG_9014 blog

Her favorite things to do right now are to read books, play in the basement with Mom Mom, play babies with her many Lucy's (but never baby dolls), and go to Steak & Shake!

IMG_9053 blog

She also loves to dress up as princesses. John Michael can often be found donning his pirate outfit while Adeline, the princess, is bossing him around. John Michael will usually go along with what she says but he's getting a bit of a backbone himself.

She's the queen of arguing, and effectively too! She often has a good point, its too bad that being "right" isn't worth much in the economy of God. So, we're doing what we can to teach her to be kind and respectful... and we're doing what we can to teach me the same. :)

IMG_9042 blog

Everyone has a nickname for Adeline... and she could tell you all of them. But don't you dare call her by a nickname she hasn't accepted or she'll be quick to correct you. She's my porcupine, her daddy's dear, Mom Mom & Bampa's "punkin", GG's goofball, Bampba Doodle's princess apple and everyone's joy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My 3 year old little man.

Its hard to believe John Michael is 3 years old. Sometimes I still think of him as 2 and other times I think he's been 3 for forever! He kind of gets lumped into the same age as Addy since they're basically connected at the hip. :)

IMG_9071 blog

John Michael is the sweetest and most tender hearted little guy. Don't get me wrong, he has his moments ;) but overall he's our snuggler, our kisser, our concerned one, and our sensitive one. He's easily overjoyed... and easily devastated. One of these days I'm going to have to post a picture of him pouting. Its seriously like a cartoon!

He loves pirates. He regularly dresses up in the pirate gear Tara & Adam got him for Christmas. Here he is making his "Argh matey face" halfway.

IMG_9068 blog

Nobody's sillier than him in this house, even Johnny! He is one endless jokester and does. not. stay. still. He's loved learning to wrestle with Johnny this year and his newest version of snuggling with his Daddy is knee diving into his stomach. :)

IMG_9061 blog

He warms our hearts. Johnny & I often lay in bed these days and talk about how much we're enjoying his 3rd year. He's really turning into a little man with a LOT of personality. Now... if he'd just finish up potty training. :)

IMG_9055 blog

You gotta do what you gotta do

Well, its official. I'm a bad mom. I have very few pictures of Nicholas' first year of life. Its really quite depressing. And now, with #4 on the way (yes, I'm pregnant) I'm a little worried I might end up with NO pictures of the next little one! :o

So, feeling guilty, I pulled out my camera today and took a few snapshots. I thought I'd throw 'em up here even if they aren't quality work. After all, its a family blog, not a professional one, right? :)

The kids jump on the couches. This makes things interesting when we go to other people's houses and they jump on their couches. Usually people like to say things like, "Your mommy doesn't let you jump on your couches, does she?" To which they get a confused look from my children and a "Yes, she does." response. Classic.

Here's Addy jumping in her favorite outfit.

family snapshots

family snapshots

family snapshots

John Michael sets up the table in between the couches and plays Buzz Lightyear yelling, "To Infinity and Beyond!" over and over. :) He has so much energy its almost comical. Too bad it isn't contagious.

family snapshots

family snapshots

There's nobody like him. He's goofy and crazy and wild and endearing in every way imagineable. Even his pouting makes me chuckle... at least temporarily. He's a middle child to the T and I love it. :)

family snapshots

And he still adores his "B."

family snapshots

And my baby. My sweet little peanut. He's still quite tiny (I'm not publicly announcing that he's in the 10th percentile for weight). He's beginning to stand on his own, though he's not walking at all unless he's "cruising".

family snapshots

He recently developed a love for the piano.....

family snapshots

as well as pulling his sister's hair.

doonks pulls addy's hair

We can't quite figure out how he is so skinny... he LOVES to eat - for breakfast he can easily down a container of yogurt, 3 waffles, applesauce, grapes and Cheerios. He's got the metabolism I would die for. :)

family snapshots

I won't say more soon... how cliche of me... and you wouldn't believe me anyway. But if guilt has its way it won't be too long before I post again. :)