by gillian claire: February 2014

2.28.2014

portraits of asher / 31 months.

IMG_6847-3editsharpwebnewIMG_6856editsharpwebnewIMG_6853-3editsharpwebnew i love this boy + these pictures.
he radiates joy and appears so wild and free here. which is exactly how he felt in these moments:
frantically climbing from rock to rock, mountains as far as the eyes can see, happily running and breathing in the fresh air while slyly posing and looking to the side for his mama who loves to take
his pictures.
looking at these photos, i feel once again the peace and quiet and happiness of the moments in when i took them.
just a little glimpse of time,
saved.
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2.27.2014

thoughts on sleep.

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our current sleeping situation consists of a full sized bed and a twin sized bed pushed together to make one sort of mega-bed in our room. and yes, we all sleep there together.
roman and asher do have a bed in their room. it exists, but pretty much solely serves to house a surprisingly large collection of stuffed animals. roman has fallen asleep in his own bed for periods of time in his life. but right now, it's all of us, all together, all night, every night: family bed style.
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yesterday, i was telling roman how i think that he and his brother must have little magnets inside their bodies that pull them towards me every night. i'm always scooting someone over or pushing a leg off of my back. these little boys make their rounds all over the bed, and all over us, every night.
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sometimes it can be frustrating, but talking to roman about their little "magnets" and seeing him smile that sweet-still-a-little-boy smile, made it worth it in that moment.
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 i have so many sweet nighttime memories with my boys and i've felt thankful to be able to love on them all night long for so many years. one favorite memory pressed tight into my heart is of roman when he was less than a year old and nursing for the millionth time in the night. for whatever reason, i just felt so grateful and alive and i stared into his round, moon glowing face, feeling happy and so in love. i still remember perfectly how that face looked, and i still remember that special small moment that i pulled into my heart and savored, many years ago during one random night.
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 co-sleeping, or "bed-sharing" is definitely not for everyone, and frankly sometimes it's not for me either. in fact, i am really struggling right now with asher's sleeping situation, and yeah - it would probably be much better if he didn't spend each and every night right next to me. i'm not one to say never or forever, so maybe one day i soon i'll ship these boys out to their own beds; or maybe they'll stay and stay.
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so no, it's not always perfect and my decisions are hardly the best or greatest parenting decisions of all time. this is not a co-sleeping public service announcement.
but it is what we chose for our family thus far and right now i'm just mulling it over in my mind.
right now, i treasure these sweet, soft little angels in my bed.
and when I push their warm sleepy bodies aside, trying to find a little bit of space for myself,
i'm at least thankful that they are still there to find me :)
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2.26.2014

pictures of cows.

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we were driving around the reservoir over the weekend, looking for new spots. and first of all, let me just say that i was so dang happy to get a picture of those cows. i have been thinking about taking pictures of cows for years. no really, i'm not just saying that.
many times as i drove home to our house in indiana, i would look at all of the cows that i passed and think about taking photos of them. indiana is full of so much pretty scenery: old barns, endless soybean and corn fields, pretty hazy sunsets and wildflowers. and there are so many cows. they truly became my favorite animal when we lived out there.
but i never took the moment to get the pictures that i wanted. i'm really bad about that; just stopping and getting out of the car to take a photograph. i'm too lazy i suppose.
and frankly, it never seems worth it.
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but this day. the other day, when i saw these black cows grazing in the hills like this, i finally had aaron pull over the car and i rolled down the window and i got it. it was just too, too perfect. because if there is anything better than cows grazing in the fields of indiana, it is certainly cows in the mountains. hands down.
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asher was stressing out in the backseat and roman was yelling at me and i had one of those mother-fail moments where i snapped for a moment.
and i just told everyone in the family to get used to it.
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sometimes i'm going to hang out the window when it's 20 degrees out to take a picture of the creek by the mountains. and sometimes i'm going to ask aaron to turn the car around so that i can get a picture of the orange and aqua sunset even though everyone is tired and wants to get home. in times like these, little boys are sure to squeal at me from the backseat.
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but gosh darn it, sometimes i'm going to pull over the car and take a picture of some cows.
and it's going to make me very happy.
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oh, and my family is cute too. they forgave me and then i snuck in some pictures of them as well ;)
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2.21.2014

happy thoughts.

just some happy things lately:
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mountains, duh.
i pretty much died when i saw this view the other day: perfect, perfect sunny-blue-sky-day reflecting into the water. amazing in person.
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more colorado. if you don't live here yet - move here now.
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sunshine. :)
and may i note, this little boy is the most intense bath-taker out there. he really goes for it.
and a soaking wet bathroom is the aftermath.
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wyoming road trip // denver road trip.
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roman and i went for a photography + target date the other night, and he was his usual sickly-sweet-with love self.  // "i follow the leader" train in cheyenne
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mama + baby love // my favorite horse pasture
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winter everywhere.
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(( follow me on instagram here! ))

2.20.2014

circle sidebar photo tutorial / sponsored post.

For all of my photos, I shoot in raw and use Lightroom and Photoshop for my editing. Way back in the day, when I had my first "real" camera, a Canon Rebel, the first editing program that I used was an online site called Picnik. Does anyone else remember when Picnik was around? When I was recently given the opportunity to review a new online photo editing site, Fotor, I was pleasantly surprised to find that is it basically the new and improved Picnik!
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Fotor.com is a great, free, easy to use online site for editing photos! It features all kinds of basic editing adjustments to play around with as well as curves and even "beauty" adjustments such as skin softening. I  highly recommend checking out Fotor if you are a new photographer or someone who isn't really interested in pursuing professional photography but would like to better your photos! I feel like starting out in Picnik all of those years ago introduced me to the fundamentals of editing so that when I first started using Lightroom I already had a little bit of a grasp on my own unique editing "style".
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Another great feature of fotor.com is the collage feature! I have to admit, I have wanted to make a circular sidebar photo for a while now but just haven't put in the time to do it! Surprisingly, when I went to browse Pinterest, I didn't feel like there were a whole lot of great tutorials out there for creating a circular photo! I've never done a tutorial before but I'd love to share how I was able to quickly and easily make a circular photo for my sidebar using Fotor's collage feature!
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Okay, once you are on the editing page at Fotor, click on the photo collage tab on the top. Or click here to take you directly to Fotor's collage page! It will ask you to update your photo first on the far right hand side. Click on "add photo" and then choose "computer" to select a file. Once your photo is uploaded, it is time to choose a template!

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Fotor offers a lot of great pre-made templates, but to find the basic circle template that I needed I chose the second tab down from the top on the far left hand side. (It is pictured as a heart in front of a square.) Then, click on "design your own".

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Choose the circle shape from the basic shape category. Then, drag the photo that you have uploaded from the box on the right hand side of the screen and drop it into the circle template in the middle of the screen.
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Alright, now we need to get rid of all that white space around the photo. To do this, click on the first tab on the top of the screen that looks like a paintbrush. (Note: each time you click to a different screen, a pop up will ask if you want to apply or discard your progress; click "apply" to save what you have done so far and move on to the next step.) Now click "crop" and make sure you check the "keep proportions" box. This will ensure that your crop is going to stay a perfect square. Cut your crop pretty close to the circular photo, leaving a little space around it. Click "apply" to complete the crop.
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The last step in getting your photo ready for your blog is to resize it. To do this, click "resize". Again, make sure you check "keep proportions." I resized my image to 200 x 200 pixels. This is a pretty standard size for a blog sidebar, but it will depend on the particular look that you are after. Click apply and your photo is ready to go!
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To save the finished photo to your computer - click the save button. Then on the left hand side, choose .png and click save! I always use a .png image vs. a .jpg image when I am adding something to my blog design. It comes out clean and crisp. Now your photo is ready to load onto your blog template! (Which could be a whole other tutorial itself!)
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I also love how you can add text on Fotor, choosing from TONS of free fonts as well as make cards! I know that Valentine's Day is over, but look at this cute Valentine's Day card that I put together using photos from one of my clients!
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I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! Check out Fotor and let me know if you found anything worthwhile!
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Are you following me yet on Pinterest?
(I was compensated for sharing my opinions about this company. Thank you so much for supporting my family by reading!)

2.13.2014

asher, at two and a half.

2R6A62912R6A6288-2(photos from the fall, canon markIII)
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i just want to share a few things about asher right now, at a little over 2 and 1/2 years old.
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asher is still wild, wild, wild as can be.
he also has the sweetest, most precious little heart,
and is sensitive to all of the sweetest parts of life.
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he has taken to his little white tiger stuffed animal that we bought on the road trip out to colorado. he carries it in the crook of his arm. he is so gentle and kind with, "baby tiger".
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he has always loved to play "baby". i have no idea where he gets this idea from since we are never around babies. i really think he might just be savoring feelings that he has in his memory.
he lays in my arms and pretends he is a baby, and then a cat. he does this the same, everyday.
he lays in the laundry basket while i fold clothes and makes little newborn cooing sounds as i cover him with blankets.
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he still sleeps next to me every night.  he still adores my hair; it's his security blanket.
"biiiiiig hair," he says. this boy can twirl hair like nobody's business.
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we took the boys the denver museum of nature + science recently on their "free day".
the way that asher reacted pretty much sums up his soul entirely.
he was literally running full speed and yelling in excitement from one thing to the next.
his face was completely lit with joy.
i can't even explain to you how excited this child was.
of course all of the kids at the museum were cheerful and delighted, having a good day with their families.
but i am willing to bet that asher was by far,
 the happiest of them all.
this guy can scream and throw a tantrum like crazy.
and he does, everyday, multiple times a day.
but when he is happy,
he does it full force as well.
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he still talks about the museum, everyday. he lists off all of the things he saw:
"i saw allisaurs!"(dinosaurs) "i saw baby fish having nani! awww so cute!" (baby manatee nursing!)
"i saw spooky monkey in a box!" (a monkey/human hybrid, yeah it was spooky - he's right.)
and then, of course, he talks about how sad he was that he couldn't touch any of them.
including the hissing cockroaches.
this is the boy who, on his first birthday, pushed all of the children out of the way at the tiger exhibit and then cried against the glass when he finally realized that he wouldn't be able to go inside the enclosure with them.
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much of asher's life has been surprising and new to me.
he is fiery and fierce.
thinking about all of these tiny, perfect things about him swells my heart.
i love this little boy.
i could go on and on.
he is passion, and hope and love.
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he is going to do great things. and he is not going to let anyone stop him. ;)

2.10.2014

monday things.

IMG_6638-2i haven't really blogged in a while, but i'm hoping to get back into it. ;)
things have been busy and changing around here.
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the winter in colorado really hasn't been too bad. every other week seems to be warm and springy and we're able to go without jackets and spend time outside.
but when it IS cold and snowy, dang is it ever cold and snowy. and icy. and did i mention cold?
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hopefully i will be back soon to share more.
until then, here are some of my favorite links of late:
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of opinions + social media,
and a lovely essay by natalie jean.
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also, is anyone interested in some free advertising on my blog??
i'd love to swap ads, so let me know if you are interested!
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