Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blustery Day Photo Shoot

What's a girl to do on a cold, blustery day in Chicago, trapped indoors with 2 crazy kiddos? A photo shoot, of course! We like the way you think, Miss Heather. Thanks for these fab shots, capturing the girls' personalities and relationship so well!






Sunday, December 12, 2010

Black Friday Photo Shoot

The Westrom fam donned their best and played the role of models for a Black Friday family photo shoot at Como Park in St. Paul, MN. Many, many thanks to Tracy's friend, Melisa Bergin, for her patience and creativity in capturing our crew. Here's a peek into the fun we had.

Adorable skirts compliments of Aunt Tracy & Aunt Katy!

Our little Eskimo baby (poor girl... she was at the worst of her teething...).

Awesome Aunt Tracy spins round & round & round & round...

Four generations, Siira's/Westrom's

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hilton Head & E's B'day (a little late...)

Better late than never, right? Ahh! That's a phrase I seem to recite a little too often of late. Ah well, a sign of the times, I suppose...

At any rate, WAY back in September we enjoyed an awesome family vacay to Hilton Head Island. We road tripped with my parents (yes, they are saints to endure a looonnnngggg car ride with our crew), crashed at Aunt Tracy's in Atlanta on the way, then crashed my p's time share condo, and basked in relaxation. R, S & A flew back on Wednesday while E took in a few more g'parent days and the beach/pool before road tripping back.

Though my p's had this vacay on the book for some time (to celebrate my dad's retirement), we built it up with E as a celebration for her birthday. We may regret this later (she's already asking about Hilton Head for her next b'day), but for now, it meant no big shindigs back home. So, on Monday, 9/13, we celebrated Miss E's #3! What did this little lady ask for? Swimming - check! Cupcakes - check! And hotdogs - check! Oh, how I hope the requests stay so easy... We took in a relaxed day with her marked by a morning on the beach, a bike ride for ice cream, and a poolside hotdog/cupcake picnic in the eve. Wahoo! Here's to our sweet Miss E and another fabulous year.

Wahoo! We made it to the beach!

One of many early morning beach rides w/ G'pa Kev.

Birthday morning sandcastle tutorial with Daddy.

Birthday afternoon bike ride & ice cream (ahhh... to be 3!:).

Poolside birthday cupcake!

LOVE the zero-depth pool!

A sunset dinner out!

We loved you Hilton Head (there was an alligator under this bridge)!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sisters

It's difficult to keep up with the fun sisters photos we're capturing of late. And even more difficult to capture the sweet moments with the camera.

It's no secret that my kiddo's first 3-6 months are not my favorite as a Mama. They just feel like so much work for so little return (okay, I'm selfish...). But once the kiddos start movin' & shakin' and sharing their emergent personalities the light really comes on for me. And I'm finding this time around it's even more exciting to experience the bond emerging between the girls. Elynor has always been tops on Annikah's list, but this love has gone through the roof in the last month or so as they learn to play together and even communicate with one another. Most days they can be found "chasing" one another around the house, "playing with" each other on the back porch, and "sharing" food. Along with Annikah's movement and growing presence in the fam have come some terrain challenges for Miss Elynor, but all in all, the good still outweighs the bad.



Halloween Festivities

Our Halloween celebrations started about 2 weeks before the actual event, when Elynor donned her Cinderella butterfly costume for her preschool dress-up day. Yes, a Cinderella butterfly is correct. She couldn't decide. We had a Cinderella dress hanging around the house from a garage sale and then she saw a butterfly costume on the cover of a magazine... so Mama (and even Daddy) went to work making some wings.

But while she loved this costume, it turned out the sleeves were a bit itchy (or so the Princess said). So for the next week's mom's group festivities she shifted from Cinderella dress to tutu (another garage sale find hanging around). And, much to her Mama's chagrin, skipped the wings.


Like a movie star's Oscar wardrobe, the Princess's actual Halloween costume selection was a mystery to all. Daddy did his best to encourage the return of the Cinderella dress (maybe the tutu was a bit too short for him?). And Mama continued to push those hand made wings... But it was ultimately up to her, and for the big day it was a tutu + wings = a ballerina fairy. This fairy was accompanied by an adorable dragon (also a garage sale find just 1 week before Halloween = perfect!).

On the Trick or Treating front, Miss E approached it like an old pro. Last year's NYC experience definitely broke her in and she excitedly recalled the most important detail - CANDY! She led the pack of her novice buddies (whose parents may have preferred they not yet meet this American tradition) and bravely ran from house to house. Her only scary moment was a close encounter with a boy in a freaky mask on a house's stairway. Tears were shed, but she happily returned to the Trick or Treat adventure once the boy removed the mask and assured her it was pretend.


Even R & S got in on the dress-up action for our friend's party. Ink steals - $.95 for the full arm! Who knows, maybe we'll make the looks permanent for our 10-year anniversary this summer!? Poor A... she must wonder who the crazy is holding her!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Splish Splash

Thanks to Grandma Sue's inspiration, the kitchen sink has become the preferred bath time locale for our two little monkeys. It's faster. Uses less water. The kitchen's typically warmer than the bathroom. And it's much more manageable for me to execute w/o Rye's help (meaning we can do them in the morning, when there's more time & we're all happier). Hey, and with all the splashing my counters, cabinets & floors even get a quick clean.

I think these shots prove this new approach is a hit -






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Sunday, October 17, 2010

A HOT day at the pumpkin patch

The second weekend in October seemed the perfect time for a trip to an apple orchard. That is, until we learned unless you wanted to drive what seemed like forever we had missed this year's pick. I know - it always seems so crazy that orchards no longer have apples to pick this early in October! Still itching for some fall fun, we decided an excursion to a pumpkin patch/petting zoo (and other carnivalesque craziness) would fit the bill. Despite the HOT (80+) temps, we headed out with our friends the Chatburn's for what proved to be a fun day (if not exactly prototypically fall). Here are our summaries from the day -

S: HOT! Oh, and OUCH... that is, my forearms after holding a heavy, screaming toddler while she does her business in a steaming HOT port-o-potty. I think there's a market for a kiddie version of these dreaded boxes.
R: Overwhelming. We left the city for this crowd? And did I mention it was hot?!
E: Two words: PONY RIDE!
A: HOT! And mmmm... yummy grass.

Hooray, we're here! Now can I go ride a pony?!?!

This front row view of the pig races is all well & good, but what about riding that pony (seriously, she was relentless)!?

Annikah *clearly* enjoys her first pig races.

After a 30 minute wait, I STIIILLLLL want to ride that pony! I'm next! I'm next!

A mixture of pride & sheer bliss as she independently rides the pony (Honestly, we were shocked she didn't bail... and then didn't require Rye walk alongside her. This focused, relaxed joy we've only also seen on swings or when riding in the kid's seat of a bike. Maybe we need a pony!?).

Annikah's almost as thrilled about the pony ride. Did I mention it was HOT!?

The heat didn't seem to bother Elynor & Keegan.

It's difficult to pin A down for a photo when there are pumpkins to climb.

The best sisters shot we got. Did I mention it was HOT?!

If only the shopping cart was large enough to fit everyone on the trek back to the car.

Monday, October 4, 2010

R & S take DC

A dear friend's wedding (it was lovely Paul & Audrey) gave Rye & I a great excuse to escape to our nation's capital for a kiddo- free weekend. Grandma Sue arrived in Chicago Thursday eve, allowing our adventure to take flight on Friday (thank you!!!).

We touched down Friday eve and filled the next 2 days with the gorgeous wedding, exploring DC's many neighborhoods, sleeping in (on a heavenly bed... Ahhhh...), and playing tourist by bike (HIGHLY recco this!). Spending a little time with Jen, Wes & Hadley, and Tracy were icing on our cake. Ahhh... I wonder how long it will take to feel tired and running on empty again?! For now, I'll enjoy my relaxing flight home.

We did not take our camera, which was kind of nice actually (allowed me to enjoy the exploration without thinking of good shots). So here are a few iphone shots, taken simply to document our adventures (and not win any photog awards).



Not used to hold-outs on the iPhone!


Shortly before the rain...


Bringing greetings from Chicago to the Obamas (E asked us if we were staying at the prez's house).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy 7 Months, Annikah Kate!

I'm so happy Heather keeps track of things like today was Annikah's 7 month b'day! And conducted a photo shoot to celebrate the occasion...


If you're curious what she's up to (WARNING: This is baby book kind of documentation) -

Miss A continues to be a sweet, cuddly baby, even as she's growing like a weed. She still nurses 4 times/day and has taken a liking to every solid food she's met (peas, green beans, banana, apple, peach, squash, sweet potato, pear, rice). When eating solids she often finds a way to also get her feet and/or hands to her mouth, making for some interesting clean-up. She's been on the move for a few weeks - Army crawling everywhere she sets her mind to it (usually making b-lines toward Elynor's most coveted toys, creating some not-so-fun encounters). I predict it a brief period before she finally gets that tummy off the floor and really takes off! And with all this eating & moving she also continues to sleep well, like a baby... She goes to bed when Elynor does (usually 8:30 or 9pm) and then we typically have to wake her at 9:30am (no, that's not a typo!). If we're at home she then naps from about 10:30-12:30, is awake for another 1.5 hours, and naps again from about 2-4:30 or 5. THEN, if we're home, she'll take another catnap from about 6:30-bedtime. Boy, do I wish I could sleep that much. At night she sleeps in a pack-n-play in the basement (makes the mornings much easier when we're all awake in this smallish house) and during the day she plays musical beds depending on what everyone else is up to (we have pack-n-plays set up in the basement & our room and then her crib in the girl's room). She doesn't really sleep anymore when we're out & about, but she loves to snuggle in the Mei-Tai carrier... moments which I cherish since Miss E rarely snuggled. Elynor continues to be her fave person on Earth - almost always prompting giggles. But A shares her beautiful, big smile with most everyone, always! She sometimes cries when left alone, but for the most part, any crying is reserved for when she's tired or when a certain person who's name starts with an E and ends in an R gets a little too rough.

As far as our family's life 7 months in to joining the 2-kid club -
In complete honesty, right now it feels like life in this home is moving at the speed of light. Most days I feel like I'm running on a treadmill with the pace set a few notches too high. You know that feeling, right? It's okay when you're pushing yourself, like, for a minute or two... but the entire time your legs are moving as fast as they can just to prevent an embarrassing face plant and all you can think about is notching it back down to something more manageable. And you're just hoping beyond hope that you can make it. Yea, that's what it feels like. All. Day. Most. Days.

I keep telling myself this feeling just comes with the territory of this stage of life. The trouble is, it seems this will be our stage for the foreseeable future. So maybe instead of focusing on notching the treadmill back down (fighting the current pace) I should just accept it as our new norm, adjust my gait, and pray that my lungs & muscles catch up before I face plant.

So when you keep checking back to our blog and wonder where we've gone... just picture me adjusting to this pace and please say a prayer for us. Oh, and keep checking back. My best intentions usually do get actualized... eventually!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Highchair fun!

A little food... a little more drool... LOTS of smiles!






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Monday, July 26, 2010

Monet?

...and yes, she's wearing clip on earrings. She asks to get her ears pierced all day, everyday. So this is our compromise.









- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone