Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Story Behind the Picture

This past weekend, we had family pictures taken. The true intent was to get my immediate family (Mom, Dad, sisters, grandkids) pictures taken, but we snuck in some family pics for our Christmas card, too. While I am always pleased with the end result, taking family pictures stresses me out more than anything on the planet. As my family can attest to, and I've confessed to previously, I turn into a maniacal, raging lunatic who screams at her children, sweats like a marathon runner in the heat of summer, and in general, am just a wretched person to be around for the duration of the photo shoot. It doesn't matter how much I "prepare myself" for the chaos that will ensue, I am unable to control the anxiety that comes over me every time. And to make matters worse, this time my mom was around to insert comments such as, "Stephanie, just take a deep breath. The girls and Burke can sense your anxiety. They'll calm down if you calm down." 

You can only imagine how helpful statements like these are in the middle of my wrath. 

That evening when I saw the miracle of photoshop final results, I was more than pleased with how sweet my children appeared, and how un-sweaty I appeared. I couldn't help but laugh, however, at the irony of this moment captured. Allow me to illustrate the events that transpired just moments before this picture was taken:

1. Burke screaming like crazy because he is approximately two hours overdue for a nap. I plucked out his paci and hid it behind Kyle about .2 seconds before our amazingly patient photographer snapped this.

2. If you super zoomed into my head here, you would see that my hair is actually wet on one side due to my anxious perspiration and attempting to manhandle all of my children into their proper positions. 

3. Campbell face down on the blanket crying because she is just plain mad at the world and wants 
n-o-t-h-i-n-g to do with taking pictures. 

4. To her credit, Sophie is just a rock star when it comes to taking pictures. She loves nothing more than being the center of attention, and absolutely eats it up when people try to make her smile. Especially adoring strangers. 

5. Kyle telling me that I'm "acting crazy again" and need to chill out. And also, "are we almost done?"

I know that when most people look at this picture, all they see is my adorable children, and two parents that are pretending to love taking family pictures. When I look at it, I see Campbell's whispy hair in her eyes and still red nose from a carpet burn 3 weeks ago, Burke being more fascinated with his hands than the camera lens, the excess weight I'm still carrying in my face from having three children in two years, and Sophie's neck of her dress stretched out because she insisted on pulling on it all morning. A lot of imperfections that sum up our family pretty well. 

So at the end of the day, I suppose I'll take our imperfect family, our messy hair, sweat, and double chins. 

In fact, I'm not sure I'd have a family picture any other way.  

Happy Holidays, friends. :)


P.S. If you're looking for an awesome family photographer, check out our friend, Kat. She's amazing, sweet, and so patient with crazy kiddos. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Yummy Crock Pot Meals

I'm pretty sure the cold weather is here to stay. At least this week. Last week I made the first pot roast of the year (but certainly not the last), and now I'm all gung ho about the crock pot because good golly it makes cooking 4,000 times easier around here. After about a 50% success rate of pinterest-found crock pot recipes, I'm a little hesitant to try many new ones. I find myself going to back to the tried and true favorites. So I thought I'd share two of my faves that I plan on making in the next few weeks.

Debbie's Chilli (I have no idea what the name of this is, but my most favorite boss ever used to make it once a year for all the teachers at my school. It's DELISH.)

1 lb. hamburger
1/2 lb. bacon-diced
1/2 c. onion chopped
1/2 c. catsup
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. mustard
2 T. vinegar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 can pork and beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 can cooked large butter beans
1 can lima beans (optional)

Brown hamburger and bacon in skillet, dump all ingredients into crock pot and cook on low all day. OR Bake 45 minutes at 350. I omit a can or two of the beans because it makes A LOT. And beware...there are still quite a few beans in it! It's amazing with corn bread or over fritos with cheese.

Kay's Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 can rotel
1 can diced tomatoes and onions
1 can ranch beans
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
1 pkg. taco seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Do not drain anything but the meat. Bring all ingredients to a boil then simmer. OR brown meat, drain, then dump everything in crock pot on low. Serve with tortilla chips and cheese or corn bread.

Oh and happy cyber Monday! Hope you all found a deal or two (or three or four like me)! Why is it that Kyle never gets as excited over 50% off sales as I do?

Happy cooking :)


P.S. Another oldie but goodie from a few years ago.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Little Skellies

What a difference a year makes...


Burke {4} Months

There's something about saying "four months" that makes me gasp a little. Can it possibly already be that long since our little man came into this world? I mean, in two months he will be HALF a year old. And before we know it, he'll be shouting commands at me like "I neeeeeeeed juuuuuuuiiiiice" like his beloved older sister, Sophie, now does. Like all parents find out, our babies growing up is a bittersweet journey. I captured a few *adorable* pics (if I do say so myself) of my little charmer on his four month birthday. 

It's smiles like these that make me cover that sweet face with kisses.

Big boy sitting in his bumbo and playing with one of his sisters' old toys. Sorry about the pink, buddy. 

More often than not, Sophie can't contain all the love she has for her Burkey boy. She needs pretty constant reminders on how to "gently" hug her brother. 

We had several fun Halloween events this year. I'll do a separate post on that soon when I have more time and energy. ;)