11 Nov 2016

10 on 10 :: November 2016

I haven't done one of these since May! Life's been a little busy to say the least!

But i really do love capturing of our day in 10 photos... life as it is at the moment, realizing that every day the boys are growing and changing, and there will never be another day exactly like today.

On this particular day the big boys were at preschool and a coffee playdate got cancelled, so we spent a "relaxed" morning at home.

playing the stacking game 

morning devotional + coffee 


 reading books

baby boy 

puzzles 

being a good big brother (he did this when i left for 30 seconds to move the laundry to the dryer!) 

build a bear 

fisher price bus 

lunch time 

brothers!
(this is actually from this morning but i added it to make 10 :)

1 Nov 2016

capturing & preserving memories {photography}

My blog has been a bit neglected in lieu of most of my energy going into trying to keep 4 little people alive, fed and clean! Anyone who has followed me for any time knows that there are seasons...



Recently i've been reflecting on how to best share our family photos with our kids. I read this article on the Huffington Post about Family Portraits and it made me smile... that at least we're doing a few things right. When we grew up photography and photo albums seemed so much simpler... like there were fewer options. The problem in those days was having boxes of negatives around... We held on to them wondering will i ever need to reprint or use these again? Now we have hard drives full of digital images. And the more time you've invested into learning photography, the likelihood is the more hard drive space you're taking up! But at least back in the day people got their film developed... they had to! And those photos usually made it into albums that you could open and look at. 

Can i share something? I'm concerned for our kids... that the most documented generation will have very little actually preserved, that we will hand our kids not a box full of negatives but a hard drive full of images... that they will never look at! So a friend and i are setting out to cull down our images, purposefully reducing the # of images stored each month to have a more useful collection of memories. But I also want to make sure we are printing our photos. Here are 3 ways:

1. Family Photo Albums - I've posted in the past that we love Blurb albums for our family year books. I've been making these since we got married (2010) and we love having them completed each year after Christmas and delivered soon after! What a joy it is to look back on our family adventures, and watch our family grow! But the kids don't get to look at these albums... at least not without an adult. We have .pdf versions as well and can always have them reprinted, but our kids are still small (the oldest of 4 being almost 6).

2. Kid Albums - It's hard to know what to do for the kids... i've debated this in my head for a long time. I really do want them to have something to look at, as kids LOVE looking at photos. (We usually have a slide show of family photos as our screen saver on our TV in our living room!) But this year with this amazing promo from chatbooks, i was sold. (If you haven't seen it yet, it is seriously hilarious!) So our kids will be getting custom chatbooks this year in their stockings! (or maybe a bit later, since Santa's sleigh aka. our north american delivery will be in January).


I used mostly instagram photos, because i love the daily aspect of 'life' that's captured there, and added a few of my favourites from my DSLR of each of the boys to make them look a little nicer and give them a nice cover photo. They cost $14 each, which is totally reasonable and i hope they survive little hands. But even if they don't, i still think it's money well spent! It will be a trial run this year to see how the boys like them and treat them. Maybe this will become a yearly tradition :)


3. Family Portraits - We try to take family photos 2x/ year. Every spring (once the weather gets nice) and every fall (while the weather is still warm).  The little guys are growing so fast, and we don't want to miss capturing the little years. But to be honest it's not easy. Taking family photos of 4 boys under 6, is hard. We usually use a tripod, and someone usually ends up crying... it's a great time to practice patience and extending grace... as well as handing out bribes! We have one of those family portraits (that my sister took!) large and blown up on our wall, and i love it. Within the next year or so we will replace it because we have a new member to our family :)

I have several other mini-projects going on... like making family films, 100 days of summer, special albums and i try to print when deals pop up. I love artifact uprising's square print set and right now zno has a free trial on for a free layflat album that i just ordered! (By the way none of these are affiliate links, except blurb - where if you order they will credit a small discount on my next order. I'm sharing these websites and products because our family really loves them and they work for us!)

How do you print your family photos? How do you share pictures with your kids? I'd love to hear!





28 Sep 2016

100 Days of Summer {a busy, busy summer!}

I set out to photograph 100 days of summer again this year. I wasn't sure i'd actually make it as it was the 3rd trimester of pregnancy with baby boy #4... but i'm so thankful to have captured these memories of our little guys!

The first part of the summer was around the home and our garden plot, trips to the park and friends birthday parties. We also went on family vacation to the playmobil play park {germany} and spent a few days in the Swiss Alps.


Then it was more time in the backyard, Elias' batman birthday party, keeping the boys busy at different playgrounds around town, visiting an Art Festival and the Zoo and getting ready for baby boys arrival.


The month of August was a fod for me, but a glorious fog. My mom arrived from Canada August 3rd, baby boy arrived August 5th, and the boys love their new brother! Since we needed to keep the big boys busy we also visited a castle, and re-visited a dinopark and the zoo. Baby boy was dedicated at church and we said good-bye and THANKYOU to grandma for her presence and loving on our family during this time of transition to a family of 6!


Summer of 2016, you were grand! So thankful for the many ways God continues to bless us and take care of our family on this adventure called life.

10 Sep 2016

Baby Jonas {Newborns}

Life is super busy with 4 boys around our house now. So thankful i was able to get some pictures of Jonas at just 7 days old! I love that we have newborn sessions of each of our boys. Taking newborn photos is far from relaxing and easy... but the memories are worth it! Enjoy ~


















10 Aug 2016

What's in a Name?


 


I posted this 4 years ago when our second son was born... What's in a name? ...reflecting on the meaning of names and sharing the meaning of our second sons name. 

The newest addition to our family (baby boy #4) arrived just 5 days ago! We gave him the name Jonas Benjamin. Here's a little about why...





Jonas. When i think of Jonah i think of the rebellious prophet who wouldn't do what God was asking of him. Although in the end, he actually did obey and God used him in a great revival of a rebellious people for His own glory. Jonas is a form of Jonah, that is slightly more popular in Europe. We like the name for a few reasons, first we felt that it worked really well with our other kids names (Lucas, Elias & Alex). Secondly it works well in both Polish (Jonasz) & English (Jonas) which is important to us because our kids live in Poland and will mostly likely spend most of their lives between two languages and cultures. But mostly we were sold on the name when we found out that it means "gift from God"! There couldn't be a more perfect name for this little one that we prayed to God for, and yet wondered if there would be another baby in our home.

We now have 4 boys in our family! God has done beyond all that I would have hoped or imagined in giving me a family. At 30, I was a single missionary living in a foreign land and wondered if i would ever be married or have kids. There were days i hoped. And there were days i lost hope and cried, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24) I knew that nothing was too difficult for God... God brought an amazing man into my life, Benjamin.




Benjamin. Our little guy has his daddy's name as his middle name.  It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to meet, fall in love with and marry Ben.  To serve the Lord alongside him and be on this adventure called life together with him. I love watching who God is growing him to be and the passion he has for men and helping them grow spiritually. I hope that our youngest grows to have a godly character like his daddy and a passion for God and his kingdom! Benjamin also means "youngest"In in the Old Testament, he is the 12th and youngest son of Jacob. 

Welcome to the world Jonas Benjamin! You are a gift from God and our youngest. You are greatly loved and we can't wait to see who you grow to be!



3 Aug 2016

Elias' 4th Batman Birthday Party

This little guy LOVES batman! So when i asked him what theme he wanted for his 4th birthday party, i kind of already knew the answer ;) This was supposed to be a low-key birthday party as i was 38 weeks pregnant expecting #4. 



To kick things off i found these amazing Batman Capes & Masks and bought them for the party guests!! (seriously for $2.89 how can you go wrong?!? and they are really good quality! Just order early... as it can take up to 6 weeks for delivery!)

I also found this really fun graphic of Batman Villains and had 4 of them printed at our local printers. They printed them 50cm x 50cm and the total cost was about $10. They doubles as party decor and we used them for one of the games later. I was really happy with how they turned out.



I printed out this free Batman printable and used a Batman figure toy we had around the house for the snack table. 




Let the Bat Games Begin! We played 4 games:

1) Batman Training Camp
2) Stomp the Villains - i didn't get any pictures of this because it happened too fast, but we blew up balloons and taped pictures of Batman villains on them. For some reason the balloons were super fragile, should have checked that so they had to work harder!
3) Conquer Batman's Enemies (with silly string!)
4) Bad Guy Shootdown (with water shooters)



My husband led most of the games. For Batman Training Camp they ran around the yard to practise flying skills, had a race, did 10 push-ups and burpees!



We have these silly adult costumes (one-eye and pigeon head) and had the kids chase some of the dads around the yard Conquer Batman's Enemies. The 5 year olds did great... it was a bit hard for the smaller kids.


Bad Guy Shootdown was the most successful party game, as we had enough water shooters for everyone and the kids really loved shooting the bad guys! We had 2 buckets of water set up where they could re-fuel.  We were ready for it to turn into an all out water fight but that didn't happen with our crew and we moved onto food.



Opening presents with his buddies.


Found this cake i liked on Pinterest and ordered it!



Singing Happy Birthday in Polish :)


Our little Bat Girl guest! She was super shy, but put on her cape right before she went home. All the kids were thrilled to take their capes and masks home and we're sure they'll get some good use!

We have 3, soon to be 4, little boys... so boy birthday parties are kind of my thing. I love making the boys feel special on their day, but also keeping the birthday parties low cost, fun and pretty! I think there is something about inviting your friends to your home (and it helps keep costs down) so we try to do most of them at home. For other ideas check these out ~ 




I realize i didn't blog all of the kids parties... sometimes life gets busy! Other themes we have had include:
  • jake & the neverland pirates (3rd)
  • train birthday (2nd)
  • frog prince (1st)
  • baseball (3rd)


Other future boy party ideas:

  • dinosaur
  • hotwheels
  • lego
... and i'm going to have to think up a million more! Thankful for Pinterest! Check out my Boys Birthday Party Idea board here.