Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Introducing Charlotte

A lot has happened since I last posted. Yes, we finished the remodeling of our main level...enough to live in it for Christmas anyway. I will save the 'photo tour' until some more of the finishing touches are completed. But first, I'd like to share with you an addition to our family. No, not a child, although I'm sure my husband would love for that to be the case. And it is about time for another child, according to our two-year addition rate anyway. But I digress. Our new addition is none other than a puppy affectionately named Charlotte by our kiddos...

If you remember, our Saint Bernard Samson passed away this past spring. {If not, you can click on the previous link in blue and read about our Sam.} Was that ever a hard loss. Sam was our baby before we had babies. He was our first 'child' and was always a staple in our family from the time the kids were born, not only making Samson's passing hard for Jason and I, but for the kids too.

Ever since then, the kids had shared from time to time how they would love to have a dog again someday. Not to replace Samson, but to have a new dog to get to know and love. Well, for this dog-lover, the kids didn't have to do too much convincing.

I secretly began researching in late summer. I knew our next dog would be a soft coated wheaten terrier. This breed has all the wonderful personality traits of a Saint Bernard...loyal, good with children, loves to be with the family, playful yet gentle. But none of the physical downfalls...massive drooling and shedding. And when I found puppies in Des Moines that would be available in time for Christmas, Jason and I knew that one of them would be our new pup.

My friend and I, along with Gavin {my only child who can keep a secret because he's too young to tell} traveled to meet the breeder half way and pick up the pup. I was immediately in love and knew the kids would be too. Especially Gabe, our oldest son, who took Sam's passing the hardest and who just loves animals.

After two weeks of 'hiding' our pup, first at my parent's house, then Jason's parent's house, we discovered just how in love Gabe would be. Not that the other kids weren't happy too. It's just Gabe's reaction was over-the-top. See for yourself and watch the video clip of the kids meeting Charlotte for the very first time.

Just a little background information about the video...I took the kids for a drive, while Jason brought Charlotte to our house and got her all ready. He set up the camcorder to capture this first meeting, and are we ever glad he did.

Gabe may not like this video clip much when he's say 16, but right now he thinks it's funny. All the giggling you hear is our seven-year-old son Gabe, not a high-pitched little girl as you may think. 'Giddy as a school girl' pretty much says it all...


The giggling continued long after this short clip ended. Gabe's reaction was priceless. And I think it's safe to say, Charlotte is loved by all four kids...

And I think it's also safe to say that Charlotte's puppy energy is no match for my four kids. They know how to tire a puppy out...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jib Jab Fun

It's that time of year again when everyone seems to be posting their Jib Jab creations. I couldn't resist joining in on the fun once again. My kiddos LOVE to watch themselves star in these silly videos over and over {and over} again, laughing hysterically like it's the first time they've watched it every single time. Hilarious. I just had to share this one. Notice Gabe's face, as it really does add so much to the production, ha! Enjoy!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dare Devil

All of our kids have been climbers. Remember this post from when Chloe was in the climbing stage? Well, Gavin is no exception. It took him a little longer than his siblings to get started, but now he just won't stop. Gavin climbs up on the fireplace hearth, then onto the couch. He climbs up onto the toy box, then onto his sister's bed. And then he climbs up onto the chair, and proceeds to the top of the table. It's a full time job just removing Gavin from the heights he reaches over and over and over again, everyday. Yesterday his climbing got the best of him...

{Doesn't he look like he's thinking, "Mom...no photos please."}

I looked over just as Gavin was gripping the chair he'd climbed onto that was tipping over backwards. I ran to him and watched in what seemed to be slow motion as his chair fell. Before I could reach him, the poor little guy had landed face down onto the floor. I'm not sure if Gavin's face hit the back of the chair, the floor, or both, but it sure hit hard! And we have tile floors...ouch!

It's amazing how these accidents always happen when Jason is gone and I'm left to try to remain calm for the other kids while tending to the accident victim. I'm not sure I did a great job of remaining calm this time, since Chloe was running around the house yelling, "Oh no! I don't want Gavin to die!" and Cooper was bringing me the phone to dial, "the police and the hospital guys to come help!" Yes, I think the swollen spot in the center of Gavin's eyes and his uncharacteristic screaming fit for ten minutes got the best of me. I feel so bad when I look at his happy and very swollen little face. It really does only take a few seconds for a toddler to get themselves into trouble.

Yet Gavin continues to smile. I think he could win an award for happiest baby. We are always getting asked, "Is he always this happy?" The answer is, 'YES!' Even with a head injury...

Regardless, the head injury isn't all bad. Gavin is being nursed back to health by his sister. Chloe has been so sweet to Gavin, bringing him his cup or some snacks, making sure he's entertained and comfortable. And I think he might be liking it just a bit...

{I just love this photo because this is so authentic of Chloe & Gavin. Chloe, attempting to hold her hair out of her face, and Gavin smiling with food in his hands. What a pair!}

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let it Snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We awoke this Saturday morning to the season's first accumulation of snow. The kids and I have been anticipating it for weeks, and it was a welcomed sight to gaze out the window this morning at our white lawn and neighboring fields. Whether you like snow or not, and obviously The Sanders Family does, it's hard to mistake it's beauty. And then there's the excitement it brings as kids pile on the snow gear and have a ball outside!

Here's a few shots of the kiddos outside today. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Friday, December 3, 2010

So much girlfriends

Cooper is home sick today with an ear infection. But that hasn't stopped the laughs around here.

I overheard Chloe {age three} say to big brother Cooper {age five}, "I'm gonna be your girlfriend, ok Cooper?" Cooper responds, "No Chloe, that's gross. You can't be my girlfriend if you're my sister. Mom! Tell Chloe she can't be my girlfriend cause she's my sister."

Me: "Chloe, you can't be Cooper's girlfriend because you're his sister."

A few minutes later, Chloe and Cooper are still debating about it. Cooper then says, "Geez. What is it with me anyway. Every girl tells me she wants to be my girlfriend. This girl and that girl, every girl! Even boys want to be my girlfriend! {Oh my!} I have so much girlfriends, I'm going crazy!"

I then say to Cooper, "I wonder why all the girls want to be your girlfriend?"

Cooper, blushing, says "Well mom, I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm so awesome. That's what *Jane {*name changed to protect her identity* ha!} says anyway."

See what I mean? With all these kids, the laughter never ends around here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Family Photos - November 2010

I have been booked solid this past fall with photo shoots every week. I was averaging four photo shoots a week, and that's coming from this so-called 'part-time' photographer! When you consider four days of shooting, and all the editing that comes after those sessions, I was definitely much more than a part timer the past two months! Just check out my photography blog and you'll see why this blog has been neglected!

Anyway, because of the busy schedule, I actually booked a session for my own family to get photos for this year's Christmas cards. I knew that if it wasn't on my calendar, I'd put it off until it was too late. So, a few weeks back, before this bitter cold hit, Jason and I gathered up our kiddos, headed to our field, and took some photos. Gabe took this one of us...

Then I took one of each of the kids...

And finally I set up the timer and took some of the whole family. It's always hilarious when the timer is set up. Boy, how I need a remote timer. Instead, I run back and forth between the family and the tripod trying over and over again to get just one photo where everyone is looking. Here's one of the better ones, which you'll notice on the header above. {Yes, I know! A new blog post AND a new 'look' for the blog! I'm on a roll today!}

For the above family photo, I actually had Gabe run back and forth between the camera to press the timer button each time. I tried once, but it wasn't very easy piling kids on top of me every time I returned. I'm sure I have some outtakes of that...I'll have to search the originals! ha!

I am saving the family photo I used for the Christmas cards for later, when I actually get the cards addressed and mailed out. Not to say the photo I chose to use for the cards is better than the above photo...just different. But after the cards are mailed out, I'll post THE family card photo and the actual card design. For now, enjoy this last one of the kids...

I hope your Christmas season is starting off Merry & Bright!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I've worked with minted on some projects in the past. Check them out here: http://www.minted.com/. They have some of the best designs out there. And the neatest facet of their business is that they are constantly looking for designers to showcase on their site. Amongst their card and stationary designs, they have chosen designers from around the country to be represented. What a neat opportunity for freelancers like me!

This holiday season, I was humbled when Minted chose to showcase some of my photography in their Christmas card designs. So, go to the above website, search through the holiday cards, and see if you recognize any familiar faces. You should be able to find not only all of my kiddos, but also our whole family represented amongst the many seasons greetings.

Ok...here's just one example...

But go to the minted site for many more!

So in conclusion, Merry Christmas from the 'Burke' Family...And no, we haven't changed our last name ;)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Re-Elected Again!

For the past several months, we have been campaigning. In case you've missed it thus far on the blog, my husband is a county supervisor which is an elected public office. {Some states call them commissioners instead of supervisors, if that helps you out-of-state blog followers.} He first ran for office back in 2003 and successfully won against the then democratic incumbent. Jason was only 24 years old when he was first elected into office, becoming the youngest supervisor ever elected.

After a four year term, Jason ran for re-election. Jason again faced the same man he had beat four years prior, who this time ran as an independent. And there was also a democratic challenger, making it a three-way race. Jason won handily.

When it came time to decide whether to run for re-election once again, Jason struggled with it. I told him I would support him in whatever he decided to do. After much prayer and prodding from county constituents, Jason did decide to run again. This was after the county convention had already taken place, which meant that Jason needed to be added onto the ballet via a write-in campaign due to the fact that he hadn't decided by the deadline to turn in declaration papers. Long story short, Jason successfully won a write-in campaign, only to face...you guessed it...the same man he had beaten four years prior, and four years prior to that! Well, the third time wasn't a charm for that man, because Jason once again is our county supervisor winning by over 60 percent of the votes!

We are so very blessed to have so many people willing to support Jason, not only with votes, but with hard work helping to getting him elected by putting up yard signs, walking in numerous parades, handing out literature door to door, etc. So a BIG 'thank-you' goes out to our family, friends and neighbors who helped us get elected. Jason does not take the position lightly, and truly strives to do what is best for our county to continue to have it be a place we're proud to call home.

Nevertheless, we are glad to have campaigning and another election behind us, and the kids are proud to say their dad won! Gabe's response: "I knew Dad would get it. He's the best! Why wouldn't he win!?!" Nothing sweeter than a son proud of his father...well, except four kiddos proud of their father of course!

Four more years!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween 2010

I am so behind on my blogging. So much to share, so little time. And since time remains lacking for me these days, I will make this a 'few-words, many-photos' post of my trick-or-treaters. I think the photos speak for themselves.

So without further ado, here is my little pumpkin...

my fairy princess...

my Batman...

and last, but not least, my cowboy...

Oh how I love this crew of kiddos!

Really, I look at these photos and my heart bursts with joy. And with overwhelming humility that the Lord would bless Jason and I with such a great bunch of beautiful kids. Blessed, indeed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vacation continued...Washington D.C. {Photo Overload Ahead!}

This will be the final post on our family vacation, I promise! And since this is the last post and I have many, many photos to share, let this be your warning that there are a lot of photos ahead. So many memories from the Washington D.C. portion of our trip, so much history. What a neat place to take elementary school kids who are learning about our country in school. We'll definitely be venturing back when all the kids can appreciate it. It was all a little over Chloe and Gavin's heads.

Anyway, enjoy!

The Air & Space Museum was a favorite, of course...

As was the Museum of Natural History. How could dinosaurs not be a hit with kids, right...

Gabe enjoyed posing with a scared look in front of the dinos...

And Chloe was happy to join in as well...

The four kids in front of the Lincoln Memorial...

And looking out across the mall with the Washington Monument in view...

Freedom is not Free, so true...

Future President, perhaps...

Our whole crew in front of the White House...

Just the girls...

Jason and the kids in front of Georgetown Cupcake, the focus of the TLC show, DC Cupcakes. There was a line around the corner waiting to get inside to buy cupcakes, so needless to say we just got a few photos and didn't actually get a taste of the goods inside the store.

I love this snapshot of Chloe with her head on Cooper's shoulder. So sweet...

And Chloe, posing against a Georgetown building...

What a wonderful vacation we had! And that's how memories are made.