Sunday, December 14, 2014

December, December...

The last 48 hours have been nuts!  Good nuts though (with maybe one bad nut).  Friday night Tony surprised me with tickets to see the Nutcracker.  It had been over a decade since I last went to a ballet, and he's never seen one so I was super touched by that thought of his!  We went to Kneaders for dinner first and then over to the Mesa Arts Center for the ballet.  On our walk to the place I decided to instagram something when my phone slipped out of my hand and crashed to the floor.  When I picked it up I noticed my screen was SHATTERED!  It happens everyday to SOMEONE but I never thought it would happen- even to me, the biggest klutz there is.  Serves me right for buying a cheap case that didn't protect it fully.  I just wasn't worried because I had my first iPhone for over 3 years and never had an issue dropping it (well, I dropped it constantly, it just never broke).  yeah.  I only had my new phone since it came out back in September so that was quick.  Anyway, the next day I woke up before the sun and went out in the rain to work out.  When I got home I scurried to get Greyson's birthday party set up with the help of everyone and then we had his party, and I was able to do a friends hair for her family pictures, and then I made cheesy potatoes and we went to our ward party.  After the kids were in bed I went to my appointment at the Apple store to find out I needed to buy a whole new phone since mine was damaged so badly.  That sucked but lesson learned!  Anyway my mom requested I make a bday party video for Greyson too since I did for Hyrum this year.  I don't mind, I enjoy it!  We had a hot cocoa bar, peppermint cupcakes, cookies, and apple spice cake with "fat sauce" that was in charge of making for the relief society Christmas dinner this year and loved.  Sugar coma!  It was a fun little time...
Greyson's 1st birthday party from connie balluff | films on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December Things

The month has just begun and there are so many great times to be had but I'm not sure I'll get to document them until it's all over so I wanted to share a few things so far!  You already saw our tree set up.  Tony and I were able to go to the EVMCO concert at the Mesa Arts Center for a date night.  I HIGHLY recommend it, the choir and orchestra are amazing!  My sister-in-law plays the viola in it so look for her if you go (;  I've been able to continue to work with amazing clients through this month and keep up going to the gym too.  Other than that we FOUND A HOUSE so stay tuned for our NEXT big move.  It's been nice to Christmas shop, watch the Christmas devotional, build our traditional Gingerbread house, go to the annual Relief Society Christmas dinner at my ward, visit Santa at the Superstition Springs Mall, and visit the temple lights at the Mesa Temple...among other things.  Brody told me his favorite thing about the season is looking for Bo Jingle our Elf on the Shelf each morning.  That's our month in a nutshell.
IMG_1957blog IMG_1963blog IMG_2638blog
One other thing I am especially stoked about this year is our Christmas cards!  I went to tinyprints.com of course.  Not only could I get my address printed on the envelope (take that carpel tunnel) but I was able to print envelope liners of an alternate family photo to share with friends and family.  Kenley wasn't looking happy in the card pic so it was awesome that I could do that.  I know I could've gone with an accordion card or card with multiple pictures but my heart was set on just one pic on a flat card.  I think they turned out so cute!  I could've even had tinyprints MAIL MY CARDS FOR ME!  Maybe next year I will (;  I will share more family pictures from that photo shoot with Daniel Kim soon! xo IMG_2608blog IMG_2618editblog IMG_2635blog

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

First FHE in December

Our first Family Home Evening of December is always the night we get our Christmas tree and decorate it.  All that good stuff AND pizza.  It's one of my favorite nights of the year!  This year we went to the lot I wanted to go to LAST year and I was very pleased with the place.  My kids pretty much just ran around the entire time- they had a blast!  We were going to get our usual Noble Fir tree but instead opted for a Fraser Fur that Brody picked out on his own.  It's a perfect little tree, skinny enough for our living room and tall enough for my liking without being ginormous.  I've been wanting to make a video about this for a while now - I always like reasons to make little videos!  I'm more into videos than pictures lately so don't be surprised when you see more (;

Monday, November 24, 2014

Color Me Rad 5k

Tony and I were able to run the Color Me Rad 5k in Goodyear this month sponsored by Connie B Photography!  It was such a blast!  Tony was a little skeptical (so was I) at the kind of event it would be but it was really family friendly and just what the doctor ordered.  It definitely was the most fun "workout" I've ever had.  Being with Tony was the best part- he knows how to make a fun activity even more fun.  You'll see.  He and I have never ran a race together so this was such a treat!  I can't believe we let 8 years of marriage go by without doing something like this.  I've ran several races with my mom and sister since marrying Tony but this is the first one with HIM.IMG_9012blog  
Hmm... how did that handprint get there? (; He started it.IMG_8898blog IMG_8905blog
IMG_8921blog IMG_8913blog
We ran it without stopping and just under a 10 minute mile pace.  Considering how out of shape we've been, we did good(:  I ran a mile at 8:27 at the gym recently that I'm pretty proud of.  Especially since I have a healing ankle and a bad knee.  Man getting old blows sometimes.  Tony also has a healing foot.  We're animals at the gym so we keep getting injured haha!
IMG_8988blog IMG_8939blog
Look at me (above right) all clean right after the race and then Tony went and wasted me GOOD!  The blue powder entered my mouth pretty heavily.  I wouldn't recommend snacking on that stuff.   Such good times!
IMG_8960blog

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hyrum's Ninja Turtle Party

Hyrum turned 4 on Monday!  We celebrated that day by going to Firehouse for lunch, the park, Churn in Phoenix for ice-cream (as he requested) and then ended the day with presents at home.  We also had a fun little extended family party today for him.  At first he wanted Thomas the Train.  But then a few days before asked for a Ninja Turtle party and he loved it!  I don't like to spend too much money on decorations and things but I do like to make it fun so here's what I did: (All for about $20!)

I think the most interesting thing I did was the Ninja Turtle cupcakes.  I'm sure this idea is on the internet somewhere but it was an idea all my own.  I just cut some fruit by the foot and fruit roll ups into masks and added mini chocolate chips to make their faces.  To cut the holes in the eyes I used a single hole punch.  Haha!  It worked perfectly.

IMG_9888blog IMG_9352blog IMG_9354blog IMG_9355blog

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two Year Old Kenley on Film

When Kenley turned two in August I decided last minute one day to go out and take some pictures of her.  I needed another excuse to practice my film and use my new light meter!  Perfect excuse.  She's an awesome two year old (a little addicted to chocolate milk but we still love her;)... She makes you feel like gold when you come home and greets you.  One day I was teaching relief society and she walks in and screams "mommy! Hi!"  She made everyone love her instantly.  She sucks that thumb A TON which I still love but I have a feeling I won't be as fond of it in the coming months and years.  So if you have suggestions for me for her quitting THAT, please share!  Anyway we love you Kenley! Film Connie B 2-5blog Film Connie B 2-3blog Film Connie B 2-4blog Film Connie B 2-1blog Film Connie B 2-6 Film Connie B 2-7blog Film Connie B 2-9.blog

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Our October

October is always such a fun month for us.  I guess most everyone can say that though since who doesn't love the start of fall, pumpkin everything, and cooler weather.  So here's a little peak into what our October was like:

IMG_8550blog IMG_8103blog IMG_8100blog IMG_8247blog
For drug-free week at school they had a new theme each day like "mustache day" and "team shirt day".  I was good at getting brody to participate until the last one (tie day) because I got violently ill...
One of the crafts I was talking about in my last post:  You can kinda see the completed rocks in a picture below (one of me).  We just put sticky foam on the rocks (first cut them out how I wanted) then the kids were free to paint and not worry about making a mistake and we peeled the stickers off when the paint was almost dry.  They loved this one!

IMG_7831blog IMG_7897blog

It's always a little bittersweet when October is over- no more Halloween for another whole year!  Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  It has been flopping back and forth from rank no.1 and rank no.2 since I was a little kid.  Christmas takes the lead at this point but Halloween is a very close second.  I always use the holiday as much as I can... I usually wear two costumes each year.  One for the ward trunk-or-treat and one for Trick-or-Treating with the kids on Halloween.  This year at the ward party I was a cave woman and Greyson was my pet dinosaur (like Brody and I 6 years ago!)  Kenley was an angel like she was last year and the boys were Darth Vader and Buzz light year. Brody has gotten  a LOT of use out of those costumes (see HERE and HERE)- I love that they want to use the same ones each year!  Last year Brody was a Ninja Turtle and Hyrum was Buzz for the first time. I'm big on letting kids choose what THEY want to be for Halloween.  Let them!  Anyway for the ward party Tony and I were in charge of the "costume show".  So we did a little red carpet and curtain and the kids got to go on the cat walk while someone talked about their costume and music played.  It turned out cute.
IMG_8320blog IMG_8329blog IMG_8338blog

The other thing I love about October is my anniversary!  This year Tony and I celebrated our 8th year.  We decided no gifts.  We have a move to save up for, kids to support, and really no need for anything material.  We do that a lot.  So what did we do?  We went to Red Lobster with a gift card we had and saw "Alexander and The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day" in the theaters.  It was one of my favorite books as a kid so naturally I had to see it on opening night.  It was a cute movie...

There is ONE thing I did for Tony though (and gosh I wish I could tell you what he did for me.  It made me cry, it was so sweet...  We said no gifts but that really just means no junk we don't need.  As far as sentiments go, that's always a given.)  I don't want to post what he did for the world to know since it was so personal, and I doubt I will forget that moment, but I do want to remember the fact that he gave me a card after our date while we were sitting on our couch and next thing you know I was soaking his shirt with happy tears.  *Sigh.  True love.  (;
IMG_7545blog IMG_7551blog
I was able to give Tony this metal frame from Tiny Prints with a picture of our kids on it, holding hands, in front of the temple.  I didn't know what I was going to have it say- I was considering "The Balluff Kids" or something like what the website suggested but I just didn't feel like that was meaningful enough.

So one night while Tony and I were reading our scriptures together I came across this verse: Alma 43:47.  The part I wanted to remember that by was this: "Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed"  To me, that scripture became kind of a motto.  No, my family isn't at a physical war- but I do believe that the scripture can be likened to today's world and how we are in our own battles as families.  In likening it to my life- it just reminds me of the real WORK I have to put into maintaining a strong family.  That sometimes it's messy and a hard thing- and a lot of times it's a sacrifice- but it's worth the work.  Because family is what life is all about.

IMG_7649blog
Also in October I got top 10 in a pumpkin carving contest which I thought was pretty good for me and I've been busy with my business.  Then there was Halloween day- the moment we all wait for anxiously and then are sad it's over -but excited at the same time, because then that means guilt-free Christmas music listening.

My parents live in Germany and they sent us this authentic German dress for Kenley when she was a baby.  I finally had her wear it.  I figured she'd just go as a little german girl but then Kenley was like, "FIA!" (for Sophia - the first).  So there you have it: Frauline Sofia.
IMG_7595blog IMG_7582blog
And Greyson reusing Hyrum's first Halloween costume.  I love reusing.  And looks like I make my kids be more than one thing each year too (;
IMG_7586blog IMG_7593blog IMG_7620blog IMG_7632blog
Low light at night + an excited 6 year old to trick-or-treat + a slow shutter speed = a ton of blurry pics. My second costume was this mime thing I threw together.  I hardly ever buy costumes- just use what I already have (even if it is 6 years old like my cavewoman costume).  I didn't document it but last year I was pregnant and I just made a skeleton shirt - you know the ones, where you can see the baby skeleton in my belly as well as my own bones.
IMG_7668blog IMG_7680blog IMG_7685blog

I'm not wearing my hat or suspenders in these pics but if you follow my instagram you saw the whole thing: @connieballuff
IMG_7696blog IMG_7697blog IMG_7701blog IMG_7708blog IMG_7719blog IMG_7726blog
The next best thing about Halloween is the after Halloween sale at Target.  You better believe I was there *cough... and at two different locations. (;  It's like Christmas morning the next year when I pull out my Halloween boxes and have all this new decor and stuff.  I already have my costume for next year and I'm excited about it!  Speaking of Christmas, I'm loving looking through Tiny Prints Christmas Cards!  I usually create my own design and send those off each year but this year I think I'll let them do the work because the designs they have are so adorable.