Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I couldn't wait any longer!

Last week I was lucky enough to spend a few days helping my dear friend, Golda, around the house and with her new little baby, Bellalina June. It was amazing to be able to spend such a special time in her life and in her baby's life with her. I was also happy to be able to offer a photo session to Golda and her boyfriend, Mike, for their sweet baby girl. I am thrilled with how the portraits turned out and I can't keep them to myself until I'm finished processing them. So, here is a contact sheet of a selection of Bella's portraits. I love them!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


We now have a webcam and use skype, so anyone else who has and uses the same, we can video chat! Yay!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pay It Forward


1. Be one of the first 3 bloggers to leave a comment on this post and you will win a handmade item from me!

2. Winners, you must post this challenge on your blog, meaning you will Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift for the first 3 bloggers who leave a comment on YOUR post about this giveaway.

3. You have 365 days to make/ship your item which can be in any price range. Remember it’s the spirit and the thought that count!

4. When you receive your gift, blog about it and share the appropriate link love. Don't forget to post your winners and your handmade gifts when you're done, too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Getting Older Sucks!

It is with great disdain that I inform everyone that I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am, indeed, getting older. Here is how I know:

1.Kevin was watching basketball on TV the other day when it cut to a clip of the bouncing cheerleaders waiving their pom-poms and tossing their bowed and curled ponytails. I asked him if he was, for some odd reason, watching high school basketball. He asked me why on earth I would think he would be doing that and I replied that it was because all of the cheerleaders looked like they were 14. Kevin chuckled and informed me that he was, in fact, watching college ball and that the cheerleaders were all adults. That would have been enough, but he elaborated with, "See, if you are lucky enough to go to college strait out of high school and finish with your bachelor's degree in 4 years, that means these girls are probably in their early 20's. They just look so young to you because you're basically 4 years out of college. You're old, babe."

2. When watching America's Next Top Model I often put myself in the contestant's shoes. What would I do if I were given that challenge? How would I react if they wanted to do that to my hair? What would I do if she said that to me? Of course, all of my answers to these questions are much more rational behaviors than any one of the girls' on ANTM. And then someone on the show makes a comment about the models' ages. Oh, ya. I'm 8 years older than her....that makes sense....

3. I've been looking at some old pictures of myself and noticing how flat my tummy used to be, how smooth my skin used to be, and how perky my chest and butt used to be. Gravity has taken hold and it has an iron grip!

And worst of all....

4. I need to trim my nose hair. Yup. I took a good look in the mirror this morning and realized that the horrid curse on older women is starting to creep upon me. I have hair growing in places that it never did before! Not only do I need to trim my nose hair, I also have a couple of really annoying black hairs that keep growing out of the right side of my chin. Dang it!!!

I once heard a phrase, "youth is wasted on the young." Boy, is that true. If I could rewind time and have my teenage years back (smooth, hairless skin, perkiness, and all) and I knew what I know now, to quote my sister, "I would be awesome!" But I guess that would just be too much awesomeness to handle. So, we trade beauty for experience.

To make myself feel better I took a headshot of myself and then airbrushed the heck out of it! Ha! Take that, father time!

Check out http://www.iheartfaces.blogspot.com for the contest this photo was entered into!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Some more pictures from my crazy week

Sometimes I wonder why I bother writing anything at all. I am such a visual person and most of what I blog are pictures. I do like my captions though...

Super Catch Players Extraordinare: We attempted a beach trip when my sister, Tera, was in town. You can see that the weather cooperated with us. We tossed a softball around for a little while, even trying to "strike a model pose" while catching the ball like the contestants on America's Next Top Model have to do with some of their challenges. Yup. We are dorks...but the most fun dorks you'll ever have the pleasure to spend time with.

Little Anslie is starting to overcome her fear of sand. She won't walk on it, but she crawls on it just fine! Oh, and she eats it just fine, too.
Me and my sisters, Tera and Audra.
My other dear sister, Rachelle, and cousin, Dalen.
My sweet Aunt Gina and cousin Devon
Devon made these amazing pieces of jewelry from a bunch of my grandmother's old things. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces...it was really special being able to have something of my grandma's and actually be able to wear it because Devon had either fixed it or updated it. Really great!
This is the first time I have ever thought that Anslie and I look alike!
Tera and her cutie-pie Ethan
We met up with my sis, Rachelle, for lunch in Northridge and had an interesting experience, to say the least. The waitress and/or cooks couldn't seem to get Tera's or Rachelle's order right. Our entire table's meal was comped. Because of Red Robin's generosity, I will be a faithful customer...when I have the opportunity to eat there, that is :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Most Annoying Parent

Now, I am not claiming to be a saint, or anything, but I sure felt like one at the park today!

Anslie and I were playing in the wood chips on the playground this afternoon when along came Isabel and her daddy. I thought to myself, 'how nice to see a father bringing his daughter to the park,' and I was doubly impressed when I saw that he even brought snacks and milk with him. Way to go dad, right? Wrong.

Dad sits little Isabel down, whom I am guessing is around 3 years old, and picks, and nags, and criticizes everything she does;
"Drink your milk, Isabel! Go play on the slides, Isabel! No, you have to finish your yogurt before you can play! Isabel, stop playing in the wood chips- they're dirty! Do this, don't do that, blah blah blah." This all happened within the first 30 seconds of their visit.

Once poor little Isabel finished her yogurt she was off to the jungle gym, with dad's close supervision, of course. "
Slow down! Slide down this slide! Don't hang on that! Be careful! Don't stick your head through there! Stop running! Don't crawl-you're not a baby! Come play over here! Take another drink of your milk! You can't do that because you're wearing shorts! Let's build a "casitas" with the wood chips" (that he stearnly reprimanded her for playing with just minutes before).

Anslie is still a little young to be playing hard on the park equipment, but, as her mother, I feel like it's my responsibility to show her how to climb the stairs, slide down the slide, etc. Maybe she will suffer a few bumps and bruises along the way - she'll learn from them and as she grows she will know how to play with the other kids safely and without fear. She needs the exercise and the stimulation and I think it's really nice to have something else to look at besides the four walls of my house. I try to encourage her to explore and be independent and praise her for the discoveries she makes, both on her own and with help. Sometimes I worry that others think that I am "too hands off" or that I am "too uninvolved" because I let her run ahead of me or play on her own. But if being a "good parent" means acting like this guy, I'll take my chances.

I think Isabel and her daddy were only at the park for about 30 minutes and I was
really tired of him just in that short period of time. Good luck, Isabel. I hope your mommy balances out your parenting.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sweet Sisters

A couple pictures of my sisters and I. I am really blessed to have them in my life.

Family Pictures

Dear Family,
Here are the pictures I took this weekend. Feel free to download them if you like!

As sad as funerals are, one good thing that comes from them is being able to see your family. It seems like such an unnatural time to have a family reunion, but I guess you have to seize the moments you are given and enjoy the short time you have with your loved ones. I am so grateful for the comfort the Gospel gives me. Because of it, I know where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going after this life. It gives me a unique perspective on death- it's not the end. Our spirits are eternal and we can be with our families again, forever. I am thankful for the opportunity this knowledge has given me to celebrate my grandmother's life during this time of mourning. I am sad that she is gone and I will miss her, but I know that I will see her again. I rejoice in this truth and the peace it provides me and my family.
The Martin, Herle, Donovan Family
Rest in Peace, Dear Grandmother
The "Uncle Joe Series"
Dad and Joe
Joe and Anslie
Joe and Rachelle
Audra and Joe
Tera and Joe
Cousins: Rachelle, Dalen, Danior, Tera, Shillawna, Audra, Devon

I'm sorry that I wasn't able to take pictures of everyone and everything.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Dear Grandmother

Virginia Marie Donovan Herle

For those of you who don't know, my grandmother passed away on Saturday at 1:52pm. She died peacefully in her sleep after many years of home health and hospice care. She was 90 years old, born in 1918. I don't know as much as I would like to about my grandmother's younger years and I am in awe of her every time I learn something new. It has been really wonderful to be able to read what some of my family members have written about her in their blogs because we each remember something different about her. One thing that I have learned after reading all of these tributes is that she treated each of her grandchildren like we were someone rare and special and always made us feel like we were her most treasured possession. I would like to share some of my favorite memories of my grandma, Virgina Marie Donovan Herle:

Breakfast! Every time I came to visit on a Saturday or Sunday morning, my grandma would make THE best homemade hash browns. I could never get enough of them and would often eat an entire pie tin all by myself!

The way my grandma said the word "something". She pronounced it "somethint." It made me laugh every time.

When I was little my grandma had this miniature furniture set made out of tin cans. They were painted and upholstered and looked very real. It was a treat when she let me pull them out and set them up for my Barbie dolls.

My grandma was a very crafty lady. She often had little things for us to put together but never made us conform to a pattern. She always encouraged our creativity and reveled in our creations, even if they looked nothing like what she had intended the finished product to be. I always felt a little sad as I got older and I was too "busy" to sit and do crafts with her...

I think my grandma must have been a very stylish woman in her youth. She always took painstaking care of her hair and nails. You would be hard pressed to find her sitting in her easy chair without an emery board nearby.

The Golden Girls. I remember falling asleep to that show many times while spending the night at her house. "Thank you for being a friend..." When I hear the theme song it still makes me feel peaceful.

My grandma always let me play in her makeup. Even when I didn't ask before using it, she never got mad when I came out of her bedroom with bright magenta lipstick all over my face.

Before bed, my grandma gave us a midnight snack, even if it wasn't midnight. Graham crackers and (sometimes warm) milk. She always bought whole milk and I will always love whole milk, even though I don't drink it anymore.

I used to get so mad as a child when I got socks and underwear from her for Christmas! I wanted toys! But as I got older, I learned to look forward to her very predictable Christmas (and sometimes Easter and Birthday) gifts of socks and underwear. Because of her, one of my favorite sensations to this day is putting on a new pair of socks for the first time.

My grandmother celebrated every holiday. We always got little candies and gifts no matter how big or small the occasion. One of her best craft ideas was taking the little green strawberry baskets and turning them into Easter baskets by weaving yarn and ribbon through them and stuffing them with Easter grass. For Halloween she always made sure she had baggies of different candies tied with yarn for us and all of the neighborhood children.

It used to bother me that several of the children who lived in my grandma's neighborhood used to call her grandma too. I would think to myself, "she's my grandma, not yours!" Now I realize how truly gifted she was with children and how special she made each one feel. I am grateful that they loved her enough to call her grandma too.

Some of my favorite foods that my grandma made were her homemade macaroni and cheese, Top Ramen, pot roast and potatoes, terriyaki (or was it bbq?) chicken, pancakes, chicken noodle soup, and tuna fish sandwiches (on toasted white bread with lettuce). If you've noticed, half of these things are packaged foods. That shows just how wonderful she made each meal. No one can make Top Ramen like my grandma did! (Although I do know her secrets for the ramen and mac and cheese, so if there is anyone who is interested, let me know!!! :)

I don't really like apples. I don't remember ever really liking apples...unless they were yellow apples that my grandma cut up for me. She always peeled the skin off with a pairing knife, cored it, and then cut it by hand into perfectly shaped slices. The best!

My grandma was the sweetest, most gracious, gentle, and demure person I have ever met! The scariest thing I have experienced in my life is when she got mad. Dissension amongst the grand kids was the fastest way to incur the wrath of my grandma...and if you cried about it, the worst thing in the world was when she said, "I'll give you something to cry about!" This, due to my grandmother's unceasing patience, happened very rarely.

My FAVORITE memory of my grandma was when she would put me to bed at night. She would always recite a poem while she gently tickled my face and ran her fingers through my hair...
"Winkin and Blinkin and Nod, one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe
Sailed on a river of silver light
Into the Sea of Dew
Now Winkin and Blink were two little eyes
And Nod was a little head"
She would recite this over and over until I was either asleep or very drowsy. If I was the latter, I would pretend that the last recitation was a magic spell that would be broken if I opened my eyes. This helped me fall asleep on restless nights.

My grandmother was a very special woman. I wish I knew her better than I do, but I have so many wonderful memories of her and I am at peace with what I have in my heart and with the legacy she left behind. I think I can speak for all of her grandchildren when I say that she has forever changed us for the better and she was the kind of grandparent we want to be. I love you, grandma, and I will see you again someday soon. Tell grandpa we all say 'hi'!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Have I ever mentioned how much I love my sister, Tera? I love reading her blog almost as much as I love her. This is her latest blog entry and I thought I would share it's eloquence and humor with all of my blog readers. You rock, sister! Thanks for putting into words what I experience all the time! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
You Suck Exercise

Can I just say I'd like to punch whoever said exercising is good for you in the throat. I don't feel good. I've been trying so hard to lose these last 15 pounds of baby weight for a couple of months now. It just won't budge. It sucks. So, I thought, maybe if counting my points isn't going to be enough to get the last of this weight off, I'll have to start exercising. Exercising, shmexercising. It is horrible. I worked out 6 days last week, for a grand total of . . . 0 pounds lost. Yep, that sucks. Tonight I tried a step workout. I like step aerobics, as much as I can like any type of exercise - which have I mentioned that I hate exercising? I should have known when I turned the DVD on and the bouncy, hyper, anorexic looking, devil horned woman with a witches cackle (was I the only one that heard it? Who cares!) said that this wouldn't be "a normal step workout because I'm not the aerobics type of girl" that it was going to suck lemons. For once I'd like to see a workout video being led by a normal looking girl who is sweating and crying and yelling obscenities at the TV. Because yes, I yell at the TV. When she tells me to do just "one more" of anything, I yell "no. I hate you. You suck". . . and then I do it. It was so hard. So now I sit here, my arms are so jello-y that it's hard to type, my legs are shaking, my stomach is a little queasy, and I feel like I'm going to cough up a lung. So yes, I want to punch someone in the throat for saying exercising is good for you. I disagree. It sucks and it makes me feel crappy and it doesn't seem to be making a bit of difference. Unless that is, you count the fact that tomorrow every time I pick up my baby my arms will scream out in pain, or as I walk down the stairs I will have to grab hold of the railing to keep myself from falling down the stairs as my legs collapse out from under me. The only difference it isn't going to make is in my weight. You suck exercise. I hate you.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

From Summerland to Winter Wonderland

Just to illustrate how COLD Chicago was, here is my "artistic rendition" of the climatic difference between San Diego and Illinois in the winter time. Out of control. I'll take SD, thank you very much! You Chicagoans are CRAZY!!!

A visit with my brother

My brother, Ryan, moved to Illinois a while ago and we had the opportunity to visit him one evening while in Chicago. We had a great time hanging out and eating delicious tacos and chille rellenos THAT RYAN MADE! It was the first time he met Anlsie so it was a very special experience. Food, Family, and good conversation. The ingredients for a very enjoyable night!

Death by Chocolate

My mother-in-law makes this fabulous dessert called Death by Chocolate. It consists of double layers of brownie, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and crushed Heath bar. These pics attest to it's faboulousness.


These are a few pics from our family trip to the bowling alley while in Chi-town. Kevin said he didn't remember ever going with his parents before...and they were both surprisingly GOOD! They bowled impressively! Kev's brother, Pat, was pretty good too. Kev's sister, Laura, and I pulled up the rear. My high score was an outstanding 61 (out of a possible 300) So, anyone who would like to challenge me to a game of bowling, beware!
Me in all my blowling awesomeness
Kevin did pretty well...if the goal of the game was to get the ball in the gutter every time :)
Even Anslie had fun! Well...sort of....
Hanging out with grandma and gangsta Uncle Pat
Brothers Kevin and Pat
Our little family