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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summertime....an' the livin' is easy...

Well, it may not technically be "summertime" yet, but it sure feels like it! And it feels GOOD! :)

Here are a few photos from last few weeks... playing catch up here.

Let's start out with a Mother's Day tribute to three hard-working moms - My beautiful mother-in-law Carol, my tender-hearted, gorgeous sister-in-law Kelley, and little ol' me. We've known each other for around 12 years now, yet this is the first photo of the three of just the three of us together.



I've been very blessed to have great in-laws that I care so deeply about, so I'm thrilled to have this little token of our "togetherness".

I also managed to achieve a photo of me and my sweet Elizabeth together on Mother's Day. We don't often have photos taken with each other (since Mom's always behind the lens), so this is a real treat, too.



Mother's Day photos courtesy of Marc (good job, honey!).

In mid-May, I was a vendor at the 2nd annual Mom 2 Mom sale. If you haven't checked this sale out before, you're missing out on tons of great deals on beautiful new or gently-used clothing; not to mention meeting some fabulous moms like I did!

I made quite a haul this year, and since I had sold a few larger items that belonged to Liz, including her pink push car and Power Wheels quad that she'd outgrown, we decided to get her another ride-on. And we found the perfect car to fit her personality...a pink Mustang!





There goes the neighborhood, right?!? If you're ever on our court, be on the lookout for a speedy little Mustang driver wearing shades and a princess hat on...backward.

On an especially warm day in May, close to bathtime, my offspring snuck outdoors to see what mischief they could find.

I discovered them in the front lawn, (almost) fully clothed, running through the freshly cut grass and getting soaked in the sprinkler.



While the mom (and maid) in me wanted to yell to them to get inside, and that they were going to make a big, wet, grassy mess... I paused for a moment and just watched them.

I saw the exhuberant smiles across their little faces as the water sprayed their bodies.

I heard their giggles and cries of joy in the air as they tried to escape the water's path and bumped into one another.

I watched my three children, whom often fight like bear cubs, enjoy each other's company and have good, old-fashioned, sprinkler-runnin' fun.

I tried to remember what it was like to have no worries. To just run through the sprinkler. Not caring about the mess it would make on the floor later, or how clingy and uncomfortable regular clothes can be when they're wet.

I tried to remember the excitement of school coming to an end, when the sweet smell of bbq mixed with freshly cut grass was in the air, and the sounds of children playing drowned out the drone of a neighbor's lawn mower in the distance.

I tried to remember my effortless tan, and how my own hair would turn pool chlorine-bleached blonde, and how my feet were filthy because I was running around carefree and barefoot.

So I let them play. Sometimes, you just have to let them play.




This spring, we mail-ordered a few caterpillars so we could watch and learn about the life cycle of the butterfly. It was quite interesting, and though we really enjoyed caring for them, the day came to release our friends.







(On a side note, doesn't Liz look SO stinking adorable in those braids?!?!? She'd NEVER allow me to do that to her, but she'll do anything for her "second mama", Sue.)

After our "release party", we ventured next door to our awesome neighbors', Todd & Michelle's, house to visit in their beautiful back yard while the kids ran laps on their little woodsy path.

I'm SO thankful I still had my camera in hand, because had I not, I might have missed this beautiful moment between a big brother and little sister. Check it out:




Memorial Day weekend was Alexus' big day - her graduation party. Her family threw an awesome luau-themed party with pig roast and all, and I was able to capture a few quick shots of them together before Lexie heads off to MICHIGAN STATE, including this fun one:




And of course we had to get a shot of the kids with one of their all-time favorite babysitters.




The following day, we had a neighborhood cookout (fun, fun, FUN!) and let the kids go wild in the sprinklers.



So, there you have it, folks! Our entire lives for the past month, in one post! ha!

You'll be seeing more posts from me soon, as my 'busy season' draws near. Next week, we'll welcome Miss Hestyn into the world with a newborn shoot, and possibly celebrate Sammy's first birthday with a rip-roarin' cake smash! So stay tuned!


"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." ~James Dent

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CSN Stores/All Children's Furniture.com Review & A new prop!

I was SO stoked when I was contacted by CSN Stores to review a product from one of their 200+ online retailers.

When I set out to decide on a product, I couldn't decide if I wanted to purchase a decorative basket

(Photo Courtesy CSNStores.com)

to use as a newborn prop, a new stool or maybe a chair

(Photo Courtesy CSNStores.com)

for my seniors. What I really considered was one of these awesome backpacks

(Photo Courtesy CSNStores.com)

for my camera and equipment, but unfortunately, my choice was out of stock.

I even considered getting some lighting for my basement studio.

Decisions, decisions! :)

FINALLY I decided on this adorable chair from AllChildrensFurniture.com, one of CSN's online retailers.

(Photo Courtesy CSNStores.com)

I intend to use it as a prop for babies and toddlers.



Let's just say it got here a LOT faster than it took me to decide what to order! I was really surprised at the timely shipping, which, by the way, was FREE!!! As a matter of fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of items from CSNStores.com shipped free. (Especially the large items that would normally incur extra shipping fees!)

We had a busy weekend, so the large box sat dormant in my entryway for a few days as I procrastinated on assembling it. When I finally ripped that box open last night, imagine my surprise... it was already fully assembled!

So...let's get down to the nitty gritty and talk about the good, bad, and the ugly.

THE GOOD:

FREE shipping

FAST shipping

No assembly required

Very neutral color; would look great in just about any setting

Child-sized, but not so small that it looks like a "novelty" chair. Fits in nicely in a living room setting and looks like a functional piece of furniture.... for someone of smaller stature, of course. :) In fact, it matches my living room furniture perfectly.

Nice little pedastal feet,



just like my real furniture, shown below:



VERY sturdy. I attempted several times to see how easily it could knock over. This was incredibly important to me, as I would never want someone's child to be injured by one of my props, of course. This baby was NOT going anywhere. It will NOT tip over.

All three of my kids, ages 3




7



and 9



could fit in it. Yes; the nine-year-old may be a bit of a stretch, but he said he was comfortable, so I'll take his word for it.

THE BAD

No protection during shipping

Does not have a lever to recline the chair... though this could be a GOOD feature as well, because I could see something like that being easily broken in my house.

Fabric does not seem to wipe off well. In fact, I was so excited about ordering, I guess I didn't read all the details, because I thought it was leather. The fabric is nice, though... don't get me wrong. But you'll want to make sure to keep grubby hands off of it.

The fabric also seemed darker than pictured on the website, which didn't bother me, but might throw off another purchaser if that's important to them.

The tacks (or what-have-you) in the back that hold the back piece of fabric down seem to have somewhat sharp edges and seem to poke through a little. I don't foresee this being a huge problem, but if you were running your hands up and down it, you might notice.




THE UGLY

Honestly, I cannot think of anything that would keep me from purchasing this chair again. At less than $70, fully assembled and shipped, I think it was a heck of a steal!







I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Jessica and CSN stores for this opportunity. I really enjoyed shopping for the perfect item and really am thrilled with my new prop!

Stay tuned to see this chair put to use during Sammy's one-year photo shoot...coming soon! :)

Disclaimer: I was given a $40 credit to CSNStores.com to put toward this item. I was not paid for or coerced into giving CSN or this product a postitive review. It is solely my opinion.