Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Year Thoughts

I Wish: I were taller
I Love: unsolicited hugs from my Caleb
I Long: for time to read for FUN!
I Hurt: for people who've lost loved ones--particularly during the holiday season.
I Imagine: new ways to run my classes next semester
I Wonder: how what another year will bring
I Pray: Caleb sees Christ's love in his family and chooses to one day accept Him as his savior.
I Sing: alto, but I miss it since we haven't been going to church lately.
I Hope: to do a better job of focusing on what God has planned for me and my life, rather than focusing on my own agenda.
I Hate: that I don't always make time for friends.
I Talk: when I should sometimes keep my mouth shut, and keep my mouth shut when sometimes I should talk.
I Hear: there are some churches who are healthy
I Miss: spending time in downtown Chicago during the holiday season
I Misbehave: when I go to bed early, when I should be researching or preparing for my classes.
I Envy: people who balance motherhood and working.
I Fear: I'll never find a church family where I feel I can be myself, and be challenged in my walk with Christ.
I Need: to learn to be more open to people

This blog was inspired by Bri's blog!

Monday, December 22, 2008


While I don't have much time to scrapbook, I LOVE it! It combines my love of photography & my need to do something hands-on. I love cutting paper, getting glue on my hands, cutting shapes, and having a huge pile of paper scraps that I hope to do something amazing with someday. I love using ribbon, epoxy stickers, and stamps. Pretty much, if Hobby Lobby sells it for scrapbooking, I love it!

However, since having Caleb, my main concern is journalling. I want to make sure that I've written down all the cute little nuances that make me enjoy him so much. I don't want to someday forget these moments that have allowed me to be ok with NOT multi-tasking, but instead basking in the moment. So my journally occurs on the computer after Caleb goes to bed. I print these off, and keep them with my scrapping materials, to inspire my pages.

My organization of my photos and layouts have changed too since having Caleb. I no longer feel that I have to scrap "events." Instead I go more with themes like, "Truck, Trains, & Tractors" or "PJ's." So a reciepe box stores these photos by theme. So by the time I scrap the page, I may have photos from when he is 6 months old scrapped with ones where he is 2. It keeps me from feeling like I'm "behind" in scrapping, but allows me to always be thinking of journaling ideas as well as themes and even layouts.

My need for journally has also leaked out into my family. For Thanksgiving, I had family members write on some tags I made out of cardstock, a list of the 5 things they were most thankful for. I collected them, typed them up into a handout, and had everyone guess whose list belonged to who. It was fun, allowed us time to reflect, and will also give me and my sister-in-law something different to scrap for the Thanksgiving page.

So for Christmas, I'm having us all list our Fav's of 2008. I took photos of all my family members at Thanksgiving, (for a Caleb Christmas project) made them black & whits, and I plan on using those photos to display these lists in my scrapbook. I think it would be fun years later, to look back at our favorite songs, TV show, scripture, phrase to say, hobby, etc... Its a way to capture a moment in time! Luckily the family has been good so far in indulging me in my requests! :)

I'm Back!

Well, those of you who have known me for years know that I have had a passion for photography. And although I have an advanced degree in Educational Technology, I never fully made the transition to digital. I bought my first big "film" camera in the early 90's, a Nikon and it worked well for me. But since I wasn't taking photos for a photography business anymore, I wasn't sure the move to a digital SLR was necessary. Even when I was pregnant with Caleb, I didn't think I was ready for the jump. So the Pansonic DMC-LX1 was my choice. It had a lot of manual features, allowed me to shoot in three different sizes (4:3, 3:2, or 16:9). I particularly like the movie feature. However, since my bff Bri has gotten into photography, I realize how much I've missed it. I love talking f-stops with her and always looking for that "perfect shot." Plus I realized that there's no better subject than my little man.

Therefore, I'm Back Baby! With Christmas money, Craig bought me a Canon EOS Rebel XT via Ebay. I choose this particular model for its small camera body and for its ability to take great photos in low light situations! I've only had it for a few days, but here are some photos I took of the ice storm that is keeping us all indoors! I already love the aperture priority mode, the amount of photos I can take one right after the other, and most importantly, that the camera takes a photo the instant I release the shutter! I'm loving this!

The Boys and an ISU Basketball Game

Craig took his Dad and Caleb to an ISU Basketball game. They were all decked out in their ISU wear, and ready to cheer on the redbirds! Caleb got to open a Christmas present early, so he could take his ISU sippy cup to the game! They had a great time!

Decorating for Christmas

Being a family of three has changed my view of family traditions. Making cookies and decking the halls mean a lot more for some reason. Here are a few shots of us trimming the tree. You'll notice that when Caleb was given complete decorating control, that one side of the tree was more heavily ornamented than the other side! And I was ok with that! Also...I learned that bulbs that are sold as "shatter resistant" does NOT mean they won't break or crack. It just means the pieces aren't as dangerous as the glass? hum...

Caleb and Santa

Well, Caleb went to see Santa for the first time. We went to the Gridley Fireman's Breakfast. Caleb LOVES anything to do with firetrucks. This summer we went over the see the trucks whenever the doors were open. And Grandpa takes him to see the Chenoa firetrucks too. So we thought this would be the perfect environment to introduce him to the large, jolly, white-bearded fellow. He was fine during breakfast, fine as we posed in front of the trucks, fine while we stood in line, but NOT fine when put him in Santa's lap. Ah...we tried! Cute photos anyways.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Cookies

We decided to make Christmas cookies this past Sunday. Caleb enjoyed the rolling of the dough and sneaking bites here and there.

He then helped Dad ice the cookies.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Basement Remodel

We are fixing up the basement to be a playroom for Caleb.

Fall Shots


Caleb dressed up as a lion for Halloween. We went to just a few houses, and remarkably he kept the lion's mane on. We worked all week on getting him to "roar" but when we got in public, he would never do it! Oh well.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Farm Photos

My bff Bri and I took our boys out to her family farm to grab some photos. Although we kept a spontaneous mood throughout the photo shoot, these were photos we both had been wanting to take for years. And honestly, they couldn't have turned out any better. Although you'll notice more photos of the boys backs than their fronts! Self explanatory! Here are some I took, but Bri's turned out even better. Go check out her blog and flickr account! The ones above I took, the ones below, Bri took!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Garage Sale Finds

These are 2 old school chairs I bought and fixed up. We will be putting these in the basement for Caleb's playroom. This is our winter project.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I had the wonderful opportunity to watch Gabe this morning. Caleb and his friend had a blast. They played inside with, what other than tractors and trucks. We then loaded up the wagon with sippy cups and animal crackers and headed to the park. What a hoot these boys are together. What a blessing to have them able to grow up together. And they are the luckiest boys alive, because they have the best moms ever! Here are a photos I snapped!

Washing Machine Fun

Grandma Hippenhammer set it up so that Caleb can climb up to help putting clothes into the washing machine. It includes an aerobic step (won't be missed, belive me) and an old chair. Caleb climbs up and pushes clothes into the water. Well last week, he figured out that his finger was the PERFECT size to get into the little hole that allows you to watch! This was a wonderful moment, and I have it captured (Yeah, that's right I practically have my camera attached at my hip.) Please ignore the dirty water, Daddy's clothes come home pretty dirty!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hartzler Hog Roast

Well, our friends had their semi-annual hog roast and we had an absolute blast. Caleb loved sitting on the tractors, riding in a train, playing in the sandbox, and running down the corn rows. My joy was seeing life through his eyes, and in capturing some photos. Here are a few.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lov'n the Slide!

Caleb is such a little boy now. There is a slide at one of our parks that is perfect for him. He loves going up the stairs all by himself and then scooting to put himself in position to slide down. My favorite part is that, for whatever reason, he has decided that giving me a kiss as he goes up the stairs is part of the process of sliding! I'm loving this age!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Basketball Boy

Craig has been playing basketball with Caleb and its one of the cutest things I've seen. I just love seeing my boys playing together.

When Craig was at work today, Caleb took it upon himself to walk the basketball over to the hoop and tried to make a precious!

Caleb's Baby Signs

Here's a short clip of Caleb doing some of the signs he knows! (Age 14 months)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

More Baby Signs

Well, you'd think the "Baby Sign" company is paying me, with the amount I like to talk and blog about baby signing, but that isn't the case. I had a wonderful opportunity to talk about the book "Baby Signs" by Drs. Acredolo and Goodwyn on a local radio show. My office mate, at ISU, Norma, has a radio show, called the Broad View on WJBC: 1230 AM, and she had me, along with a colleague of mine, Ryan, on her show to talk about baby signing. Here is the link in case you are interested in hearing the podcast. (Here is another link to the same thing.)

Well, Caleb's over 30 signs now, I won't bore you with the list, but its working out quite well. His favorite signs are animal signs, and signs associated with loud objects like trains, trucks and telephone. In his list of favorites are cheerios, bath time, and hat.

I continue to be amazed at how signing has allowed us, as Caleb's parents to gain access to what is going on in his mind. It has also helped us to reduce frustration. For example, once after feeding Caleb peanut butter sandwiches he did the sign for "toothbrush" which is with a pointer finger brushing the mouth. Although we weren't in the habit of brushing his teeth after the noon meal, I wanted to let Caleb know that I understood him. So while we were in the bathroom I realized that he had a bunch of bread and PB stuck to the roof of his mouth. I was so pleased that he was able to communicate with me, a need that he had! Baby Signs help us to sidestep a possible tantrum!

There will be other times when I think that he has misunderstood a sign, because I don't see what prompted the sign. But sure enough, invariably I'll look closer and find what it is that initiated the sign. Have I told you how smart my kid is?


Well we finally got Caleb up north to see some of the sights in Chicago. We put our bikes on the back of our SUV and got around that way. We'd never done that, and it worked out just great. No taxis this time around.

A priority of mine was to get to Millenium Park. I love "The Bean" and seeing concerts in the park. What a great place to be!

This photo is a personal favorite of mine. It shows the beautiful skyline of Chicago, Buckingham fountain (the location of my first date with Craig & then where he proposed!). But the shadows show Dad helping our little toddler over an obstacle. This is currently my desktop photo!

Here's Caleb signing for a cracker!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Little Swimmer

Caleb LOVES the water. Once he finally got acclimated to the uncomfortable life jacket, he realized the freedom the constraint actually provided. (Is there a lesson for us in this?)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Where's Trouble? (TP)

Where's Trouble? Well Caleb's at the age where when its quiet I have to wonder what he's up to. Here's where I found him one morning and what he was up to! Its self explanatory! Enjoy :D

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mirror Buddy

This video shows Caleb really looking at himself in the mirror. Although he's always seen himself, somehow, this time he sees a new buddy!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Walking at the Cottage

There's no better backdrop for a "first steps" video than Lake Maxinkukee! Caleb loves his ability to walk. It started with him pushing anything and everything. He maneuvers each well, using his body weight to get it to go where he wants. In this video, he is pushing a toy car and when it gets stuck, walks right toward me and Grandpa Hippenhammer.

Baby Signs

Here is a photo of Caleb signing "more." We were in the car headed home from the cottage Memorial Day weekend.

I did some research on using sign language with babies. It is a trend right now, and wanted to see what research was out there. The two women (both Ph.D's) who made this popular have research to back up its success. It does NOT delay language development, it actually improves their vocabulary. I enjoyed reading about how their children inspired them. The songs with motions that they love so much... and making up their own signs.

So I decided to give it a try. The research says that once a baby begins to point to things is the point at which they are asking for its name. This is the perfect time to be repeating both orally and physically with the signs. So we started modeling signs around 9 months. And his first sign was "food" at 11 months old.

At the age of one:
  • Caleb know signs for: more, dog, train, all done, hot, and food.
  • Caleb's actual words: moma, dada, dump truck, and ga (not sure if it means Grandma or Gunner, our neighbor's dog!)

I am so amazed at how much he understands. We can say "kitty" and he immediately looks around for Laney. Craig and I loved it when he started to do the signs without prompting. He started by immitating us, but now does them when he wants to talk to us! Its so fun.