Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Pictures

Christmas Eve
This village was given to us by my Aunt who received it after my
Grandmother passed away many years ago.  My Grandmother hand painted
every house and it is beautiful.  We will enjoy it for many years to come.

This year we went with a real tree and COLORED lights!  I have always
been a white lights fan but for Annabelle's first Christmas I figured
why not spice it up and add some color.

All our stockings hung up and waiting for St. Nick!

"Is it time for presents yet?"

Putting out cookies and milk for the big guy and carrots for Reindeer.

Christmas Morning

OMG our living room exploded with presents.

She is taking it all in.

"Sure I will help you open your gift!"

She loves her little house gift from Santa.  This gift rocks!

Opening a gift from Mommy and Daddy.


Loving her new activity center from Grandma and Grandpa Collins.

Posing with Daddy.  That is one of her many faces.

Awww giving Mommy a Christmas morning kiss.

Posing with Mommy.  She looks like "huh?"

Annabelle loved all her presents from loved ones near and far and we hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

To Maria:  Thank you so much for your comments they mean the world to me :-)

I can not believe how fast Christmas has come.  Thankfully I finished up my shopping today!  Now just to finish wrapping and mailing out gifts.  :-)  Hopefully they will get there on time.

This year we got a real tree!!!  It was so much easier than setting up the fake one and it was a lot funner too.  Annabelle has been good with it so far and she has not trying to pull it over or anything.

Looking for the right tree

She is not so impressed with our pick

Daddy's little girl

Me and my little Santa's Helper
For now I am done with photo shoots for the year and it is a much needed break.  I feel like I have been running at full speed for a few weeks and I don't think I can keep up that pass for long.  I am very happy the business is doing well and I am happy I was able to help everyone get some wonderful family, birthday, Christmas pictures.

This is Annabelle's Christmas picture in my studio setup.  I made the Christmas pendant and I wrapped the presents in fabric and used a glue gun to make sure there would be no little fingers ripping them open.

Well this up coming week Annabelle is going to get to meet Santa!  Let's hope she doesn't get scared.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

9 Months

Annabelle turned 9 Months on Dec. 3.  She is growing so fast.  Slow down little angel!  He can now wave Hi and Bye and she goes "HI, HI, HI, Heyyyyyy"  LOL I am not sure if she really knows what she is saying but she tries.  Today she was playing with her little people toys and I watched her crawl across the room to get the little farmer then crawl back to the barn to play with him at the barn.  This little girl has got to be above normal when it comes to intelligence.

She had her 9 months appointment and she is about 50% for height and weight and her head is 80%.  The Dr. said that she is right on track for what she was at birth.  We also had NO shots at the 9 month.  Pheewwww that made me happy.

Here are some pictures:

The photography business has been really good and I have my last session for this month on Tuesday.  It was a very busy week trying to get all the Christmas photos taken and done but I did it.  My last session is a ONE year old session which are always fun.  

I hope everyone is doing well and having fun getting ready for the holidays.  We are going to be in a sea of plastic after Christmas.  LOL

Merry Christmas to all!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

It has been so long!

I feel like I have not written a post in so very long!  In fact November has now come and went and I didn't post a thing until now.  So some updates... Annabelle now has two lower teeth, she can wave hi and bye, she tilts her head to the side when we say "So Cute," and she can play pick-a-boo.  She is still doing her army crawl like crazy and we are now moving to eat purees 3 times a day.

For Thanksgiving we went to Maine to be with my family and this was Annabelle's first flight.  She did well and even slept through one of the flights.

She did very well with all the new family she met and though her first couple days there she was cranky she soon got over it.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Holidays.  Our Elf on the Shelf showed up a little late but he is now here.

He left her a nice note.  We still need to name him.  Annabelle wanted Da Da Da but Jerry said he is DaDa so we are back to the drawing board.  LOL

Happy Holidays Everyone and I wish everyone luck with all their Holiday shopping!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Busy Mamma

Oh my god I am so behind in both my blogging and reading blogs.  As I mentioned I started my own photography business and last week was the push to get the website done and out there for everyone, because as of this past weekend I am pretty busy taking pictures and processing photos.

We did get the website done and I must say I am very proud of it.

Today is Halloween and I wish I could say I spent the night handing out candy but instead I spent the day at the Dr. and now the night resting.  My good old upper respiratory infection as come to see me again.  She never really tells me what it is all we know is the Z-pack makes it all better.

I have two photo shoots this week and I need to be feeling better for them.  One is Friday at my friends home and the second is on Saturday at the park.

Jerry bought me a new cart for pulling around all my props while on location and it is pretty cool but pretty heavy.  Man I am so out of shape I was sweeting walking back up hill through the park pulling that thing.  Note to self pack lighter.  LOL

Annabelle is growing like a weed and she is so darn cute.  When I sing "Dancing Dancing Dancing Machiiiiinnneee, She's a Dancing Queen" to her she starts rocking back and forth dancing and smiling. She now has two of her bottom teeth in and she is getting around very well in her army crawl.  She started that at 7 months I think that puts her ahead of the curve there.

She is mostly still eating formula but she get puree 2-3 times a day depending on what is going on.  I have even tried giving her little pieces of broken up puffs and she is getting better at picking them up and getting them to her mouth.

I hate being sick because I can't hug her and kiss her good night.  I miss my mini me.

Last week we had our family pictures taken for the first time.  The photographer did a great job but Jerry and I are not pleased with how we look but there is nothing she can do about that.  We need to get serious about losing this baby weight.  It's just so hard to do anything when you have a baby because everything revolves around nap time and feeding that we find it easier just to stay home.

I will leave you know so I can write a post on my photography blog and then try to get some sleep as I have not slept in two nights because of this illness. I hope you are all doing well!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Stopping by for an update

Wow do I win the slacker award or what?  These days my days are consumed with baby and when she is sleeping I am either cleaning, editing pictures or working on my website.  Crazy crazy busy....

So Annabelle went for her second flu shot this past week and she is now 18 pounds Can you believe that, my little 6 lb. peanut is now 18 pounds.  They grow so fast.

Maria this ones for you - I'm up very late blogging :-)  Earlier I was exhausted after a very trying visit to the hair salon with a 7 month old (not so happy) baby, and I passed out after putting her to bed.  I slept on the couch for about 2 hours until Jerry got home from teaching his night class.  Then even though I was tired I kind of woke up and here we are, 1:30am and I am awake.

This up coming Tuesday we are having our family pictures taken!  This will be the first good family picture we will have of us, since she was born and I am very excited.   Hence the need to get my hair done even though I had no one to watch Annabelle.  Ughh I swear I will never do that again if at all possible in the future.  She was not a happy camper, it was her cranky time of the night and we got home well passed her bedtime.  But my hair looks good :-)

Annabelle is also getter her first little teeth on the bottom.  She has done pretty well with it but when she gets cranky we give her advil and orajel.

Last weekend I had the chance to take pictures for a couple good friends of ours.  I really think I am getting better every time and I learn something new about taking pictures each time I go out.  Here is a few from the session.

On another note.  We tried to take Annabelle to a pumpkin patch last weekend.  I think she hates pumpkins. See photo...
She does not like sitting on the ground and she hates pumpkins.
Later that day at the park after taking Jonathan and Nora's pictures I tried to get some of Annabelle and her pumpkin....
"ahhhhh what are you?  Get away from me!"
"Take that pumpkin I am bigger than you!!"

"Ok I guess you are not going to hurt me so we can be friends for a minute until I start crying again."

This up coming weekend will be my last weekend without taking pictures before the Holiday rush starts and I am booked every weekend until we leave for Thanksgiving.  Wish me luck!

Monday, October 8, 2012

7 Months - No Words Just Pictures

Yes she is on the move

Testing out the new back drop for cake smashing pictures. 

Coming to get my camera

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Starting My Photography Business

For years I have been saying how I wanted to start a Family Portrait photography business.  However life happened and I was working full time, buying a house, getting married and having a beautiful baby girl.  Now that Annabelle is the big 6 Months old I am finding that I have more time at night to get done what I need to when it comes to editing.

So I started by making a page for my business Rachel Warren Photography.  - come like my page :-)

Because of Annabelle I have started making some really good friends who also have little babies.  I started taking pictures at our play dates and found that everyone really liked the pictures.  I had always told myself I am just not that good to do this as a business but I have learned that I do have what it takes I just need to keep protecting my skills.

So I am starting the business if nothing else then to allow me to do one of the things I love the most and that is capturing memories to last a life time.  I expect for now it will be mostly Moms in our play groups who need or want pictures of their little ones for Holiday Cards or to remember the mile stones, but that is ok with me.

Wish me luck!

6 Months Old

This is my favorite picture I have taken of her so far

Our little pumpkin is 6 months old.  How time flies.  Heres the break down from her last checkup on 9/4/12.

Weight:  15 pounds 9 oz 42%
Height: 25 3/4 inches 51%
Head: 17 inches 72%

She is growing beautifully!  We are so very lucky to have such a happy healthy little girl.

Monday, September 3, 2012

6 Months Old

6 Months Old

Today at 5:55am Annabelle Rose turned exactly 6 Months Old!  How time flies by.  It seems like yesterday I was holding her little body in my arms in the hospital.  We are truly blessed to have her in our lives and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for having a happy, healthy, beautiful baby girl.

For those of you out there expecting your first I must say the 6 month mark is amazing.  She is getting more mobile, she laughs, sleeps from 7:30pm to 6:30am, and we will be starting solids soon.  What is also so amazing is we have met some of the most amazing Moms and Babies and we are growing our friends network.  Now at 6 months she can be more interactive with others and she is getting to experience so many new things for the first time.

She is 100% the best baby I could of ever ask for and Jerry and I are very lucky!

Tomorrow she has her 6 month Dr. apt and we will find out where she stands with height and weight.  I did sneak a peak at home yesterday and she was just over 18 pounds!!!

Until tomorrow have a wonderful night everyone.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Just Because Cake Party - Apple Crisp Caramel Cake

Yesterday we had a "Just Because Cake Party" with some of our friends.  The star of the party was a cake I invented and it was a 4-Layer Apple Crisp Caramel Cake.  Everyone said it was wonderful.  Though I didn't come up with the recipe for each individual piece of the cake I did come up with the combination so this is my recipe.

4-Layer Apple Crisp Caramel Cake
Serves approximately 18-20 people
Skill level - Moderate Baking Skills Needed
Kitchen Mess Meter - HIGH

Yellow Cake – Makes 2 layers
To make a 4 layer cake make this 2 times.

1 cup butter
1 ½ cups white sugar
8 egg yolks
¾ cup milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 – 8 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped. Cool 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.

4.  Allow the layers to cool complete before using.

Caramel Filling – Buy original caramel topping in the jar (usually found near the ice cream toppings).

Apple Filling


6 medium apples – peeled, cored and sliced
½ cup white sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup whole milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart casserole dish, or coat with non-stick cooking spray.

2.Place apples in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir spice mixture into apples until evenly distributed. Spoon into prepared dish. Pour milk evenly over apple mixture, place small slices of the butter on top of apples and sprinkle the apple mixture with the sugar.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until soft and bubbly. Allow the mixture to cool completely before using.

Caramel Frosting – This will just cover the tops and sides of a 4-layer cake.  You might want to make 2x as much if you want to decorate with it.

This is the last thing you make as you want to use it the same day you assemble the cake.


½ cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons milk
3 cups sifted confectioners sugar

1. Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in the brown sugar and the salt. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the milk, stirring all the while.

2. Return to heat and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat and allow to cool until lukewarm (approximately 20 to 25 minutes). Stir in the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth and cool enough to spread. You might need to add a few drops of milk if frosting gets too stiff.

Crumb Topping


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 35o degrees F

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour and butter. Mix until crumbly.

Place in a greased 8 inch pan
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown (you will have left over)

Cake Assembly

1.Cut all layers to have a flat top
2.Place the first layer right side up on a cake board
3.Pipe the frosting around the upper edge to keep the apples from mixing with the frosting on the outside
4.Place a thin layer of apples on the layer
5.Place the second layer of the first face down
6.Use a fork to poke hole in the layer to allow the caramel frosting to go into the cake
7.Pipe the frosting around the upper edge
8.Pour the warm caramel over the cake making a thin layer
9.Place the third layer upside down over the second layer
10.Repeat steps 3 and 4
11.Place the last layer on the cake
12.Frost the cake
13.Crush up the crumb topping into small chunks
14.Place Crushed topping on the cake
15.Drizzle the topping with Caramel 

Serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beach Baby!

Last week we took Annabelle on her first official vacation and first trip to the beach.  We went down to Myrtle Beach for 3 nights and thankfully my sister was able to come down and take a vacation with us.

Day 1 - It took us about 3.5hrs to get there and when we did we couldn't check in yet so we went to a local restaurant from some lunch/dinner at a place called "Mr. Fish."  While we ate we watched it pour like cats and dogs out.  The rain continued for a while and then it broke to leave clouds with a threat of rain.  The food at Mr. Fish was very good though I didn't care for my fish tacos because they were to spicy for my taste.  Jerry and Holly loved their food though.  Annabelle was very fussy as she had been stuck in the carseat for a good part of the day and had, had enough.

After eating we checked to see if we could now checking and sure enough we could so they gave us our room number over the phone as they had done all the other necessary paper work and given us keys during our first attempt to check in.

We went to Springmaid Beach Resort, our room was nice and had two beds, a small sitting area, two TVs one near the beds and one in the sitting area, a ocean view balcony, a full size fridge with a microwave and granite counter area (perfect for keeping Annabelle's cereal and formula handy).  The sink was outside the shower and toilet area (that shower/toilet area was cramped but manageable).

Being exhausted from the drive we didn't do much, I unpacked while Annabelle napped and Jerry and my sister went to pick up a few things we needed at the store. Once they got back and she woke up we took a quick walk around the property and the pier before calling it a night.

Day 2 -  Annabelle's first experience with the beach!  Jerry and I had this image in our head of her giggling and playing in the water and in the sand and her just loving it.  WRONG!!  After packing up our chairs, sun tent, umbrella, towels, camera, boogie board, and bag of food and bottles and good stuff we headed down to the beach.  After getting setup I sat with Annabelle for a few minutes, she was not a happy camper, she looked miserable. I took her down to the waters edge to put her toes in the sand and as soon as the water touched her toes she started crying.
Annabelle was not happy
After taking several pictures of her and trying to cheer her up we went and sat down with her in the shade.  She was still not happy at all.  After determining she was not going to be happy I said I would take her to the room.  Jerry and my sister said no to sit and relax that they would take her for a walk but when they returned she was still not happy.  So my sister and I took her to the room while Jerry watched our things on the beach.  I got her down for a nap and my sister stayed and watched her so I could go swimming.  Jerry and I both needed to relax a bit.

After about an hour we packed up and and Jerry and I took everything back to the room.  After that we agreed we need to get a beach mat and leave the chairs at home next time and just use the umbrella and her tent.  God that was a lot of stuff!

I really think her teeth were bothering her and she had a tiny temp because later on we gave her tylenol and oral gel and she was much better.

Day 3 - Take TWO on beach baby attempt.  We brought nothing but the camera, towels, a bag and her tent along with the boogie board.  Instead of taking her down to the waters edge we went to a location that had a warm tied pool for her to play in and she LOVED it.  Then we took to the water and let her get used to the waves and she still liked it.

Now that's our happy baby!

Our little family at the beach.

She was so excited!

She was still happy here she was just giving me a serious look.

She graduated to the waves.  This was all fun and games until Daddy mis judged a wave and she got it in the face.  She didn't let it bother her though.
Laughing it up with Auntie.

All tired out from having fun in the sun and she took a nap.

That night we had an AWESOME dinner at RIOZ
Then we took a walk on the pier her bib says "My Aunt is Hot and Single"

That's us!

That night Jerry and Holly went fishing on the pier and Annabelle and I went back to the room so she could sleep and I could rest and pack.  I wish we could of had one more day with our Happy Beach Baby at the beach but all good things must come to an end.  The next day Jerry and I took a walk on the beach after breakfast while Annabelle napped and collected shells for her scrapbook and then we hit the road.

What did we learn - There is no need to take a bunch of chairs to the beach when you have a baby to carry too.  Her sun tent I got on Amazon was very easy to put up and take down and it folded right back up into the bag.  Also, having a 3rd set of hands and eyes is VERY useful when it comes to vacationing with a 6 month old.

We had a nice time and I can't wait for our next vacation!