Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunset with Daddy

The sunset was so beautiful tonight and I had an idea for a picture. I called Conrad outside with Cate and took one the most breath-taking photos. I love this man.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bianca and Kevin, Tash and Ty and Portraits

I love taking pictures!! I'm taking a lighting class in mid-January, and my website will be published soon after! :-)

Bianca and Kevin

Bianca -she should be a model!

Natasha and Ty

Natasha -those eyes!!

Christmas Break 2010 Part One

It's the day after Christmas and I am already counting down the days until we can do it all again next year -that's how great this Christmas break has been!

With the girls out of school the week before Toymania, and Conrad still at work, I decided to load the ladies up and head down to Portland for a long stay.

Day 1: Bianca, Natasha, Bronwen, Ava, Cate and I went to my old boss's (from when I was in high school!) house for her annual Christmas party. She had no idea we were coming, and the look on her face was priceless! It felt so good to see her and some other familiar faces on such a fun occasion. To give you an idea of how much people love this lady, there was pretty much standing room only; the place was that packed! Bronwen and Ava were busy gathering all of her dancing stuffed animals, Cate was sleeping on me, and Natasha and Bianca were keeping us well fed. What I loved the most about the party was how much joy there was when she saw us. The comment of the night was, "Those Shedd genes sure do dominate!"

Day 2: Birthday party for my mom's boyfriend, Tom. Tash and I were busy making a fantabulous chicken enchilada dinner while Bianca made a cute black and white cake. My mom came up with a cute idea for a banner for his name. Tom looked very happy with his gifts.

Day 3: Engagement photos of my beautiful sister Bianca and her sweet fiance, Kevin. I swear, literally every picture of them was DARLING! Of course I was on cloud nine after this. :-D Then, my wonderful dad came over with the most delicious and mouth-watering homemade chicken wings and scalloped potatoes. They were perfect for holding us over for the Portland Zoo's Zoo Light Festival.

Bianca, Natasha and her charming boyfriend, Ty, and I took the girls to meet my sweet friend and her three daughters at the zoo. The displays were amazing! We got to ride a train that circled the park, then walked for about an hour looking at some animals. Bronwen's favorite display was one of an eagle swooping out of a tree to catch a salmon, then landing on another tree. Ava's was one of a crocodile that would open and close his mouth. I loved one where an elephant dipped his trunk into the water then sprayed himself. All the kids were squealing, laughing and running in delight, and let me say it, thank God for my sisters and Ty. They were a huge help in keeping the kids corralled! In all, the night had a very magical feel to it.

Day 4: Breakfast with my dad and his lovely girlfriend, Holly (Holly, I love you!!). This has become a tradition now, and the girls love it so much. I think they will always be fond of Shari's. Forever.

That afternoon I also got to meet up with one of my dear girlfriends and catch up.

Day 5: Load up and go home.

The girls love Portland so much that they never want to leave. I am also sad when we have to go. Every time I visit, it's like I get a breath of fresh air into my life. Besides getting awesome fashion advice (Bianca, I will buy that damn purple hat LOL!), I love the feeling of closeness with family. I know it's a bit personal, but one night when Tash was home and we were sharing the bed, I felt so happy and cozy in my heart. Almost like a little girl. I hope so much Bronwen, Ava and Cate feel as much love for each other as I do for my sisters.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ornament Fun

Where's Michelle?

This picture definitely sets the tone for the holidays :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Aren't the holidays magical?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our girls are getting so big...

Sometimes I wish I could stop time.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Auntie Bianca's 23rd Birthday Party

I was informed that we had been up for everyone's birthday except for Auntie Bianca's (last year I was 8 months pregnant though ;-) ). So, for the Veteran's day holiday, all five of us loaded into the Jeep and were off!

Bianca was radiating with happiness with her handsome fiance at her side! If you're wondering, her ring is gorgeous! I've got to take a pic next time!

I was trying to take a picture of Bianca's perspective of her party, but when she saw how close I was to her while she was eating, she made me stop hahaha!

I wonder what she wished for. :-)

Conrad, Bronwen and Ava trying to hit it big on a scratcher. Sadly we didn't even win a dollar!

Cate's favorite part of the trip was by far being in Grandma's arms.

I'm telling you, being close to your family is priceless. I am so thankful for them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This was by far my favorite Thanksgiving!

Our week started off like this:

On Monday, which was an early release day anyway for parent-teacher conferences, the snowflakes came tumbling down. It looked like we were in a real-life snow globe!

On Tuesday, after a few hours of sledding, this is what I saw at our front door. Ava (who was wearing gloves), "My hands are frozen, mom."

Wednesday was more or less the same, and Thursday, the all-day feast began!

Cate's First Thanksgiving :-)

Following dinner, we watched The Last Airbender while drinking coffee (Conrad and me) and hot cocoa (girls). This day was so relaxing, I wish it never had to end, ahhh... :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow in Seattle

A little bit of snow turned out to be about 3 inches out here, and it is soooo cozy! As I'm listening to Bronwen, Ava and their little friends sledding down the huge hill behind our house saying things like, "Now THIS is fun!" "That was the funnest thing in my life!" "Who let the dogs out? Woo-woo-woo-woo" (they spontaneously burst into song when they're happy), I can't kept but feel happy! This was even after Cate was just laughing while swinging her little legs in her highchair because she was so content. Conrad and I are enjoying a cup of coffee together and I swear, I have the best life ever!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cate's Big Week

At 10 months, Cate is finalllly crawling. And, in case those of you are wondering, she is also talking! I went to get her out of her car seat after dropping Bronwen off to school, and said, "Hi!" She looked up at me, and with her biggest smile said, "Hi!" For the rest of the day I was taking her here and there to show off her new skill (albeit she's been saying mama and dada forever, but this is truly a new word). Like I've been saying, our girls may take forever to move, but they're all early talkers. :-)
Here is a darling picture I took of her. You may have noticed the logo on it -yep, I'm going for it! I'm starting my photography business and will have a link to my website by the end of the month. Hooray!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Little Miss Popular

The cutest thing happened yesterday.

Ava, Cate and I picked up Bronwen after school, when one of Bronwen's little classmates asked if Bronwen could stay and play at the playground for a little bit. It was a gorgeous 65?! degrees outside, so I said, "Sure!" The girls took off running, and I stayed with Cate, who was very busy eating grass and leaves.

A few minutes later, while Bronwen was doing tricks on the bars, I heard some of her classmates talking. Lana said, "I'm going to play with Bronwen." Rachel said, "Me too!" Naomi said, "I want to play with Bronwen."

I smiled and felt so happy in my heart. As a parent we all want our kids to do well, be happy and fit in. It was a wonderful present for me to see that Bronwen does.

Crocodile DunMom

Ava and I were eating bean burritos and when she finished eating, this dialogue took place:

Ava: "Look, mom," while pointing to her empty plate.

Me: "Wow! You must be growing again."

Ava: "Yes, and I got protein from the beans."

Me: "You're right. Protein is good for your muscles. And for your long hair and nails." Then I made the mistake of flashing my gorgeous (finally long) nails toward her.

Ava: "Ya, but you need to cut your nails [pause] Or else you'll look like a crocodile.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

On Parenting

Over the last few months people have been asking me for parenting advice. Whether it's about babies or handling multiple children, I feel like I have some good tricks since I have three girls. In the spirit of helping other moms, I've come up with my favorite hints for survival.

1) Grow up! I know it sounds condescending, but I've seen many mothers and fathers fall into the trap of throwing pity parties for themselves. You chose to have a baby, your life changed, so now it's time to focus on how AMAZING it is that you get to raise a family. I know it's hard, and it sucks sometimes (like when your sleep, routine, "veg-out" time and basically everything is dictated by someone else), but working through it and laughing at the challenging moments really is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Sometimes I hum the theme from Rocky and it instantly puts me in a can-do mood ("Aha, you want to box with me little one? I'll show you!") versus falling apart.

2) Be supportive of your partner. Moms and dads are usually on the same team and probably have the same wants and needs. I know for me, I feel great when I think Conrad needs a break and I say, "Let me take Cate for you," or "Why don't you go and work out." etc.. It feels much better to try and anticipate each other's needs and give little gifts (of time to relax, doing a diaper change), versus getting into an argument on whose turn it is to do "X", or who does more. Focus on how good of a job your partner does.

3) Take children to the doctor. You are your only child's advocate. I get so mad when I hear someone say, "Well, he/she was crying for several days, and I just found out he/she has an ear infection." If your child isn't acting like his/her normal self, don't wait around like a dummy to get them checked out. How would you feel if you needed antibiotics for three days and no one took you?!

4) Clean your children. Diaper rashes happen, yes, I know. But, there is a correlation to cleanliness. I can say this because Cate has never had a rash. It's not because she's less susceptible to them, it's because I change her diaper frequently and I wash her after she poops. Imagine pooping all over yourself and wiping it up with a wipey. For those who do that, I challenge you to smell your baby's butt afterward and see if you don't gag. It is not okay not to bathe children.

5) Try to be in tune with your baby. If you're hungry, tired or cold, your baby probably is too. Who hasn't seen the parent in a coat and pants and the poor baby in a diaper and top. Are they crazy?!

6) Keep doing your core activities that define you as a person. Do you run? Have a recurring Thursday night out with friends? Work? Doing the things you like to do the most in life liberates you (expand your interests!) and helps get rid of the martyr syndrome. It also makes you more interesting.

7) Never be too busy for your family. Time is not static, and I firmly believe that you reap what you sow regarding relationships. If you're too busy for your kids now, they'll be too busy for you when you're old. Spending time with your family allows you all to grow together and become comfortable with one another.

8) Do the best you can. You know when you're making the right choices -go with that.

My Superman

In this picture taken Halloween '10, Conrad benched a clean and staggering 425 lbs! Notice how he even keeps his friend way back to make sure no one even touches the bar during this feat of strength! ;-)

About a year ago Conrad was telling me about a meeting he had with a group of his peers from work. They were going around the room saying little facts about themselves. One of Conrad's attributes is that he is freakishly strong (note the picture and caption above). Conrad has always been very strong as a young man and throughout adulthood. Besides doing well in weight lifting, he actually took first in state, in form, for martial arts in New Mexico.
It's amazing to know how strong he is on the outside because he is equally strong on the inside. I know I've said it before, but Conrad is amazing. He is the best and most loving husband to me, a beautiful father, and a wonderful person. I am so proud to be his wife and blessed to be the mother of his children. He is my Superman.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ava is 5!

Ava, a.k.a., Squeakmouse, turned 5 this week! We celebrated her birthday last weekend at 321 Bounce with her classmates and some of her close friends. We had so many people show up that I found myself almost teary-eyed at the amount of support we have grown in 2 short years. It makes me proud of Ava to see her with peers who love and care about her. The generosity of everyone was amazing. When I mentioned it to Conrad, he reminded me of the old saying, "You reap what you sow." What a great lesson to learn re. relationships.

Speaking of relationships, my beautiful sisters came up from Portland to celebrate. Little did they know they were going to get roped into making 60 cupcakes for everyone. :-p Auntie Tash and Bianca, you're the BEST!!

Thank you to everyone for making Ava's birthday special. She is so happy to be 5!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photography Class

I began my photography class two weeks ago and I am just loving it! It is so liberating to take a picture, review it, then know what I need to adjust on my camera for it to come out the way I intended. I have been having a blast learning, though sometimes I laugh when I wonder what people are thinking when they spot me 1) laying under trees; 2) creeping in the grass on my stomach; 3) taking what looks like pictures of random things (i.e. my for sale sign!).
I posted this on FB, but I'll say it again; I highly recommend taking an intro to photography class for anyone who takes pictures.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Random Stories

We've had some cute things happen over the last few weeks, and I realized that if I don't write them down now, I'll forget.

When I picked Ava up from school a few weeks ago one of her teachers stopped me to tell me something. She said, "Ava was the only one who knew the difference between fresh water and ocean water [they're learning about salmon lifecycles]. I asked, 'Does anyone know the difference between fresh water and ocean water?' Ava raised her hand and said, 'The difference is that the ocean has salt in it, and fresh water does not.'" Ms. C further commented, "Yes, Ava sounded like a scientist." I supressed my chuckle and thought to myself that I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Bronwen and Ava were invited to a birthday party held in a Tae Kwon Do studio (awesome!). Part of the package was that the children got about a 30 minute general lesson with the instructor. During the lesson he had each child kick a hand pad. Unfortunately for him he was holding it too close to his face when he was leaning over for Bronwen's turn, so when she kicked it, it hit him in the face. So much for his Tae Kwon Do catlike reflexes. "Hee-yah," my karate kid!

I started my photography class last Thursday, and Ava told me, "Ooh mom, I wish it were show-and-tell in your class. Then you could bring us." I love that little kid!

Why do I think it's so cute when that little baby yawns, stretches and farts in my bed? She is 100% love to me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Someone's Birthday

I love you my true love.

Snoqualmie Falls, WA

Conrad and I were enjoying our morning coffee while watching the news when we saw that it was supposed to be 74ÂșC and sunny today. Perfect weather to visit Snoqualmie Falls! This majestic site is about 30 minutes away from our house. Ava packed us some snacks and we were off! Here are some of my favorite pictures. :-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cate's Interesting Choice in Teething Rings

We went to a birthday party last week and my sweet friend even made a party bag for Cate. The look on Cate's face as she was chewing on it was priceless! I love my goofy little girl!

There's a birthday party in the house! Whoop, whoop!

We celebrated Mr. C-Rad's (because he's awesome!) birthday on Saturday with some good friends. The menu was my chicken stir-fry and rice; the music was Sirus XM's The Coffee House; the theme was having fun! One of my favorite things about looking at this set of pictures is that you can tell how much fun everyone is having -from the kids to the adults. Thank you Steve and Miki for tracking down Conrad's favorite beer, and Megan and Jeff for coming. You guys are simply the best!

Ava Began Pre-Kindergarden!

Ava and her best school-friend, Kitana -they were the only two who remembered the old routine of finding their names on their spots and turning them into Ms. Colleen

Ava hanging her lunch box underneath her cubby

Ava and Ms. Jen, the AWESOME program director

Our other big girl in the house began "Pre-K, mom, not preschool" this month! :-) I think she is excited about the fact that her program has a new, more grown-up title more than anything else.