Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bird watching

Last week when we got home from our weekly grocery trip, I noticed something strange in the grass on our side yard.

This little fella:
It's a baby cardinal. He was just starting to lose his downy chick fuzz and sprout his real wings. I don't know if he fell out of the nest or was pushed, but mom and dad were close by, making sure nothing happened.

See:

Aren't they gorgeous? We have quite a few cardinals around our house - our next door neighbor has two bird feeders in her back yard and likes to set out a bowl of peanuts on her porch. You see the bright red male cardinals more often than the softer females, and I was lucky to catch them together like this.

Such a pretty contrast to the green leaves in the tree.

After putting the groceries away, I went back outside just to check and see how the babe was doing. He was hopping and feeling out his wings (though not really flying yet), but mama was always right there to make sure everything was okay.


By the time we were done eating supper, the baby had gone off. It must be hard for the mamas to let their babies go after just a few weeks. That kind of makes me glad we get 18 years with our little ones.

Though I'm sure I will be more than ready to push them out of the nest at that time!

Monday, June 22, 2009

I heart faces - week 24


This week's challenge on i heart faces is "Let's hear it for the boys" - which means no girl photos allowed.

That works out perfectly for me because, for roughly 2.5 years, I only had my boy of whom to take photos.

My entry for the kids category:

I took this at our state fair last summer. I love this photo because it just captures the kiddo so well. He's always curious, wanting to check things out and see how they work (I think he gets it from his engineer father). You can also tell he's the progeny of two farm kids - that's a hay rake he's inspecting.


This is my entry for the adults category. This was a bit more difficult as I don't have many pics of the hub (or really many adults) because I'm usually focused on the kids. But I remembered I have this one:

I took it less than 24 hours after the kiddo was born. The hub was snuggling with him on the bed at the hospital and it just looked so loving. Brand-new daddy with brand-new son.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

To my dad:





My FIL:

And my wonderful husband:


I love you all and am thankful and grateful for all the love and support you provide us!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

To market, to market

I went to our local farmer's market this morning. It's held the first and third weekends of the month during the summer, in our downtown area.

It's a very nice farmer's market, and I came home with some lovely fresh produce: strawberries, asparagus, kohlrabi and leaf lettuce along with a small jar of creamed honey.

Our downtown area was completely devastated by flooding last year, and it's encouraging to see the rebuilding that's going on. Of course, there are still many places that have a lot of work to be done before they can be used again (the main library being one of them), but it's nice to see the downtown have some life breathed back into it.

There were also beautiful handmade crafts at many stalls, including tons of jewelry and adorable dresses for little girls. I oohed and aahed over a few of them until I thought about it and realized I could make the same exact dress for about 1/3 of the price.

We all were taught how to sew while growing up. Our mom had a sturdy metal Singer sewing machine that lasted her almost 40 years before it finally gave up the ghost. That machine made a good chunk of our clothes growing up along with numerous prom and formal dresses and every single bridesmaids dresses at my and my sisters' weddings. Starting around age 8 or so, we practiced on Barbie clothes and home decor and then moved our way up to simple pieces of clothing usually submitted as 4-H projects. 

My two sisters and I all still sew - though some more than others. My oldest sister loves to piece and make quilts. My middle sister has made minky blankets for her girls and friends' children and other small projects. I have done everything from a t-shirt quilt for the hub 
to dining room curtains. If we ever run into any issues while sewing, we know we can always call up mom and she'll help us out (or, more likely, come down and finish it for us! Thanks, mom!).

Hopefully when we move and have more room, my sewing machine will have a more permanent place and I'll be able to sew more often. I can just see all the cute little dresses and skirts the kidlet will have. Maybe.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh boy

You know the photo of the adorable little boy I posted for the iheartfaces challenge?

Well, this is what he has turned into:
We're working on potty training, so I bought him some new big boy underwear to hopefully encourage him to tell us when he has to go potty.

He, however, though it was more fun to put on his head. Typical boy :rolleyes:

He's just so stinkin' cute! And hoo boy is he going to hate these photos when he gets into high school. I, however, am going to love showing them to his first girlfriend. That's what you get for putting me through 15 hours of labor and having a big head, buddy.

Oh man, do I love that kid.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Playing with photos

Even though I've worked with Photoshop on basically a daily basis for the past eight years, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of learning what it can do. It is seriously the coolest program ever.

I've professed my love for The Pioneer Woman before, but I only recently downloaded her Photoshop action set (because it's only been recently that I've had a computer that had a decent version of Photoshop).

It was overcast today, so I thought I would take some photos when I got home from work/picking the kids up from daycare. I really need to get the manual out, or read Understanding Exposure at the very least, and learn all the nifty things my camera (Canon Xti) can do. 

After reading through a few tutorials on i heart faces, I practiced a little. I took photos of some of the flowers outside our house because 1) they're pretty and 2) they don't move.

The first photo in each group is SOOC. The second one is after running a few PW actions in Photoshop (namely boost and warmer, both toned down in opacity. Then I also adjusted the levels slightly to get it to how I liked it.)
 
The clematis climbing over a decorative fence along the side of our house:


It's not a huge difference, but just enough to give it a bit more life.



Same fence, different orientation.


Dahlia in a pot on our front steps.

I can tell the biggest difference in the dahlia photo. The colors just pop a lot more. Of course, if I would have been thinking, I would have written down what settings I had my camera on. I know it was on AV mode for the first two and macro mode for the last one. There's just so much to learn!


Monday, June 15, 2009

I heart faces


iheartfaces is a super cool photography blog site that lets users submit photos of (wait for it) faces.

They have weekly themed photo contests. This week's is faces in sepia.

I love taking photos. I'm not very good (and looking through some of the photos on that site makes me simply pea-green with envy) but I'm always excited about learning new ways to improve. So I thought I'd try and enter a few of their contests, hopefully learn some new tricks in composing and editing photos, and maybe find some new blogger friends.

Sepia - kids category:

My entry for this week is a pic I took of the kiddo almost two years ago. He had pulled that hat on by himself and was running around the house, being silly.

Gah. I miss my little baby boy. I love the goofy big kid he's turning into, but I miss that baby.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Favorite

It's been a while since I've done a Friday Favorite. No particular reason, just lazy.

But today I have one to share:

Burt's Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream.

I picked this up at Target a month or so ago when I ran out of my last face wash.

I love it. It's got a nice, clean, soft smell and makes my skin feel fabulous. It leaves my face soft and smooth. In fact, when I went to the dentist last week to get a cavity filled, she (the dentist) even commented on how nice my skin looked! It's very reasonably priced. I've even quit buying the pre-moistened face wipes for bedtime (I was always too lazy to wash my face, and the wipes were so convenient) and just use this for both morning and night.

I've generally been very happy with everything I've tried from Burt's Bees, but this is definitely one of my favorites.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ready to Run

Two years ago I did the Couch to 5K program in an attempt to lose the baby weight I gained with the kiddo and work on incorporating a healtheir lifestyle into my daily living.

It went well. I ran a 5k (mostly, there were about 3 blocks I walked because it was just too darn hot, but other than that I ran). I lost 40ish lbs. I felt great.

And then 5 months later, I got pregnant with the kidlet and gained 45 lbs.

I was determined not to go as long as I did living with the extra weight after I had the kiddo. I started keeping track of what I ate with LoseIt on my iPod boyfriend in January. And I haven't missed a day.

Most days are really good. There are some days that are *really* bad. But I mark down everything. Keeping myself accountable is the only thing that works.

I also decided to get back into the C25k program and run a 5k with my sister.

After putting it off and putting it off (mostly because now I have to get up early to do the running sessions and I am *not* a morning person), I finally started the program again in the beginning of May.

It's gone okay. There's a cool app I downloaded for my iPod boyfriend where I can use my own music playlists to run to and it gives me the prompts for when to run/when to walk.

I'm halfway through the program. I had to take a week off two weeks ago because my knees were just killing me. But since then I've felt good. Even running in the morning is going well (except I still can't wake up as early as I'd like).

It feels good to push myself, even though I'm not a runner. I still love walking, but it's nice to do something different a few days a week.

I'm down almost 30 lbs since the beginning of the year. I'm fitting back into clothes I haven't seen in almost two years. I still have 15-20 to get to my ultimate goal, but I'll get there.

I just hope I can keep this up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Dynamic Duo

I love my kids.

I think they're going to get along just fine. I hope. At least until they hit high school and they're suddenly thrown in the same building and then they'll pretend not to know each other.

I was giving the kiddo a much-needed bath tonight while waiting for the hub to get home from softball. I was holding on to the kidlet while she stood at the edge of the bath watching her big brother. He was playing with a crocodile spray toy and she was just having the time of her life watching him splash in the water. He would screech and splash and give the crocodile funny voices and she would just cackle and laugh.

Poor dear, she does not have a girly laugh. She has a full-on belly roller. But it's so cute to hear coming from her [not-so-little] body!

I think the kiddo enjoys having an audience, to tell the truth. And the kidlet, well, she is more than willing to watch his antics.

The question of how many kids to have is a constant in my mind. I grew up in a family of 5, so I know what having two siblings is like. Yes, one will almost inevitably be left out (ahem, that was usually me) but we all get along great now and holidays are a lot more fun with more people. The hub grew up in a family of 4, so he thinks two is just fine.

I don't know.

Most days I lean towards three. And on some days, when I'm feeling particularly crazy, I even think four might be fun. We'll see about that.

But I know for sure I love my two with all my heart and I love watching them interact. And I would like to see how another would fit into the mix. But not yet. Heck no!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Discovering Dogs



The kidlet turned eight months on Monday. I can't believe she's eight months old already! We also discovered she had her first ear infection on Monday, poor bub.

It's so fun to watch her develop and grow. I don't remember all these moments with the kiddo. I'm sure they happened and at the time I was all "my baby is a genius!" but I don't remember them.

The kidlet has discovered our dog. And she thinks our dog is the funniest thing in the world. I think she thinks all dogs are hilarious, but ours is the one she sees every day, so, in her eyes, our dog is the Robin Williams (or pick your comedian of choice) of dogs.

Whenever the kidlet sees our dog, her eyes light up, she gets a big grin on her face and she lunges to grab a chubby handful of fur (or the tail, which is easier to hold on to). Our dog is not amused, but she tolerates it well. When she's had enough, she just moves and looks at us as if to say "Hello, this thing is annoying me."

Our dog is a good dog. She can be a bit whiny/barky at times, but she's a good dog.

She's just sad she's been bumped down two notches on the totem pole. We still love you Ripley.