Brooklyn. Soon to be Birthday Girl.

During her first week.

A couple days before her 1st birthday

Turning 2!

Her 3rd birthday. The day before we moved to Texas.

Turning 4. Everything was about My Little Ponies back then.

My big girl, 5 years old!

I actually cried quite a bit going through her baby, toddler, and preschooler pictures last night. I have loved watching her grow up and she’s changed so much and I LOVE this age she’s at but my gosh, I’ll never hold my baby Brooklyn again, I’ll never lay in bed with her while she nurses, stroking her hair in the dark. I’ll never hear her adorable little baby voice with her baby phrases and silly faces.
I just can’t believe that’s all over. There’s something about your first baby completely exiting that baby, toddler, preschool phase that makes it too real. I’ll never get that time back.

I really love this girl.

A little bit about Brooklyn as she turns 6..
She’s a beautiful girl, isn’t she? A beautiful little girl with a huge heart and an intense love for life. She brings excitement and drama to every situation, she laughs easily and loudly. She is adventurous and curious and determined. She loves her family with her whole heart.
She is mischevious, impatient, impulsive, and gets easily riled up.
She needs to talk through her feelings. She needs lots of cuddles and eye contact. She needs lots of attention.
She is alert and always ready for the next thing. She gets excited over the littlest things, this is good and bad. lol
She is really smart. She learns quickly. She needs a lot of encouragement in everything she does. Though everyone looks at her and her behavior and wouldn’t guess it, she tends to be very insecure. She needs a lot of positive feedback. When she gets this feedback you can see the fulfillment on her face, her eyes will be lit up and she is the sweetest, happiest child you’ve ever seen.

She’s a perfect Brooklyn. I can’t imagine her any other way. I’m so thankful she’s in my life, bringing joy and love and excitement, and challenging me in ways I never thought I’d be able to handle.

She’s a very special person and I’m so excited to celebrate her coming into our family 6 years ago 🙂

My Kids Wore Clothes Today!

Yes, all three of them were clothed today!

Late this morning I gave the girls some cookies. Not for any particular reason except that I baked them yesterday during a sudden crave for chocolate. lol

They were eating at the table and Brooklyn left her cookie close to the edge.
Leaving your food at the edge of the table isn’t a good idea when there’s a toddler in the house.

He was SO happy about his stolen treat. He was cracking up and acting totally silly and laughing and saying, “mmmmm!” “mmmmm!”

Such a goofball!

I gave Sierra french braids yesterday and her hair was wavy this morning. I curled a couple pieces on the top with a curling iron and she looked SO adorable!

Since the kids were dressed I thought I’d record this great occasion with a picture.

I asked them to smile and got this:

In hopes of some laughs I told Sierra to tell Brooklyn a secret (Brooklyn tends to laugh easily at secrets of any sort)

My plan worked and they started giggling.

Then I asked Brooklyn how old she was going to be next week.

Yep, my baby girl is turning 6. Why is this happening to me??

Brooklyn took off to watch TV.

Sierra stayed behind and enjoyed some mommy time (after a few pictures of course)

This little girl is growing up way too fast. Can I please get a pause button on these children?!?

I love it when Sierra does her mad face for me.

I let out a scared squeal when she does it and it makes her laugh but she tries to keep her angry face and…. hilarious..

she is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

And I’ve said it before

and I’ll say it again

This one. This girl.

Is simply not allowed to ever leave home. She will live with me forever. No negotiations.

Really that goes for all my children. I’m not sharing.

Yesterday’s Messy Lunch

I already posted a couple pictures of Payson eating yesterday but I wanted to post some of them in color.

Wondering what that mix is?

Veggie Mix:
Lettuce (Romaine and Spinach)
Red Pepper
Garbanzo Beans

Fruit Mix:
I made a big batch of both. Payson eats a lot of things without being mashed but crunchy veggies he’s just not ready for yet. (He will eat them, I’m just worried he’ll choke)

He liked it. He preferred the fruit but he still ate all the veggies.

Want some?

He got pretty messy.

So he got another bath.

He loves getting a bath alone because he gets all the toys to himself.

After the bath he warms up in a nice big towel.

He’s happy. He loves being wrapped in a towel 🙂

This is totally unrelated but I love this picture of Sierra..

Brown-Toned Black and White Conversion Tutorial

I decided to do a tutorial for that brown-toned black and white conversion I did on the pictures of Payson eating in this post.

This is what I’m going to show you how to do:
Take a color image:

Convert it to a brown-toned black and white image:

You don’t need the full version of photoshop to do this. I use elements for everything I do.

Step 1.
Open the picture you want to convert.
Step 2.
Go to Filter > Adjustments > Gradient Map

Closer view of where gradient map is in elements.

Step 3.
Once the gradient map box is open you’ll choose the black and white gradient- the one that has black in the top left corner and white in the bottom right corner.

Closer View

Don’t click ok yet.
This is where you add the brown tone in.

Step 4.
There is a long narrow box of gradiation from black to white. You want to double click on a point near the black end.

Closer view of where to double click:

When you double click the select color box will pop up (label 2)

Step 5.
You want to be in the orange color family.

Once you’re in the oranges you want to choose a nice deep brown color.

Step 6.
Once you have selected the right color of brown, click ok on all the boxes.
Your image will be a nice, brown-toned black and white image!
Step 7. (optional)
Add some contrast to your image. I always add contrast to my black and white images.
To add contrast you can go to
Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Brightness/Contrast.
Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Levels

Step 8. (optional)
I also sharpen my images.
Enhance > Unsharp Mask > and values 60/2/0

Feel free to ask questions.
Good luck and happy converting 🙂


Payson’s a little bookworm. I grab a book and he sits on my lap, listens intently, looks at each picture, helps turn the page and points to each picture that especially strikes his fancy and asks, “ah dah???” (what’s that)


*so photobucket removed an image I had of Sierra finger painting. I guess they consider a shirtless 3 year old nudity >:(

Anyway, here’s just the ones of Payson. I can’t imagine they’ll remove the shirtless baby boy pictures. I mean, his nipples are so much less offensive and all. *can you picture me rolling my eyes?*

So I decided to let Payson try finger painting but I knew he’d eat the paint. I colored some vanilla pudding with food coloring and it worked out great.

You can see just how much he loved pudding by his goofy grin.

You just can’t consume pudding fast enough when using your fingers. Going straight for the plate (or lid in this case) is much more effective.


Allan says I should mention that this silly grin of his isn’t his real smile. He does this to be silly and make us laugh.

And it works.

We all laugh every time he does this.

Finger painting with pudding is a messy activity.

And he even does that crazy smile on request! Lucky me, huh? Instant pick me up 🙂
I say, “Payson do this face” and scrunch my face up like his, he does it.

I’m so thankful for this little boy in my life 🙂

A First!

I made homemade bread today for the first time.
I didn’t have the right kind of pan and I let it rise too long, but it tastes good anyway 🙂
Recipe here

And I also made more of these. I am addicted to them. Addicted to anything blueberry. Which is nice considering blueberries are in season and cheap. Woohoo!

I made mini muffins this time around and they turned out well. They’re perfect size for snack time.

Do you like to bake?
Have you tried any new recipes this week?
Do you like blueberries??

Sack Race Practice

Yesterday our church had a get together for the kids. They played a bunch of water games.
They also had sack races. Brooklyn’s not the most coordinated girl in the world so we decided to play some more at home to get some practice in.

Both girls are now really good at sack racing 🙂

That evening we had a gorgeous sunset. The rays were going further into the sky than I could capture with my 50mm lens!

Can you see the airplane?

What Do I DO With This Girl??

Every time she’s allowed to color she ruins something.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate.
Anytime she’s allowed to color and I leave the room for a minute she ruins something.
Today it was our couch. With markers.

The saddest part was I left them coloring at the kitchen table so that I could go print out some stuff for a craft we were in the middle of. I mean, if you’re going to ruin my stuff at least be mad at me first!

Sierra is so funny about being all hyper and happy and talkative and then Brooklyn joins in the fun and starts screeching and laughing and being cuh-razy and Sierra suddenly feels the need to suck her thumb. I can relate, Sierra. I can relate.