Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snow days and shooting in Manual

I got my DSLR five years ago. At the time, I was amazed with its 12 megapixels and Aperture priority mode. It gets the job done in outdoor light, but indoors, I have been pulling my hair out trying to get crisp pictures of the kids. Because they never stop moving, it is quite a challenge.

So, I have been trying to dig deeper than the various modes and I refuse to use the flash (if I ever do, I turn the photo black and white!) I have been experimenting with Manual mode and plan for a 50 mm lens in my near future. I honestly just use trial-and-error and it is getting old. But all these days indoors and the white light outside gave me some opportunities this week...

 party invitations went out this week. 
 my "office area" is coming together
 excited to have a place to switch out pictures often
 our backyard in pink light
 It is so hard to get his eyes nice and clear and then when I do, there is noise everywhere else. Help!
 Why does he wear PJs every day? Because he pulls everything else off and it's too cold for that!
 getting ready for nap time by playing dollhouse
 OK, this one was finally clear because I had tons of light and she was perfectly still.
 I finally got her to play in the snow and she loved it!
 For approximately one minute, until her hand "got wet" and then it was over
 He loved bath time all by himself today. No one to dump water on him and take his toys...
 We love a clean baby
 Part of the Easter mantle. The rest of the picture keeps coming up either noisy or that will have to wait
 Some amazing hand-painted REAL eggs my mom got me a few years ago
I painted this one day and actually really enjoyed it. 

So, there we are. Suggestions?  Lessons, I know. I took about a billion and these were the best I got. Why do I have to pick between a blurry, noisy, or too dark photo?  WHAT WILL FIX IT ALL?!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

20 questions, pass it on

Is it around this time of year that everyone runs out of ideas, or is it just me?  We aren't really going anywhere interesting, I'm not doing any major projects (except for birthday planning, but that's top secret!)....

So, I thought I'd make up my own little 20 questions and interview myself. Feel free to copy them and answer them yourself!

1. Where and would would you eat if you knew it was your last meal?
Out of the million great local restaurants here, the most satisfying I ever eat is when I have the Sunday fried chicken dinner (with has brown casserole and fired apples) at Cracker Barrel. OMG.

2. What are you passionate about?
I get really fired up when I think I'm being unfairly judged or treated like I don't know anything. So I guess I'm passionate about being respected? I also love introducing my students and own children to quality literature and seeing learning breakthroughs throughout the day.

3. What projects are you excited about this year?
Coming up soon is the big Peppa Pig party! Then, the organization of my office space (under-desk storage), Spring mantle decorating has commenced, nothing major this year. The whole selling-moving-renting-buying-moving-renovating thing wore me out.

4. If the TV was yours for a whole day (imagine!), what would be on?
GMA from 7-9 AM, then off (I loooooove a silent house), The Chew at 1:00, then maybe Food Network or search for a girly little movie I can nap through, then the news. Then probably a more thoughtful movie at night. Honestly, it would be off for most of the day!

5. What household chore do you hate?
I get really behind on all of them because dishes and laundry and trash compile SO QUICKLY! Dishes and laundry are a tie. When my mom does a load of laundry, it is like angels singing. Ha.

6. What was your favorite subject in school?
Language Arts--writing of all kinds. I was the editor of our newspaper, which I thought might be a career path for me, but I didn't take that route. I loved writing papers throughout college (I did!) and learning new ways to cite sources, take notes, make presentations, etc.

7. I am really terrible at ______
Picking good recipes. I just don't anymore. I will only try making it if I have actually eaten it before!

8. But I am awesome at ______, so it cancels out the above
Ordering carryout

9. What websites do you check every day?
CNN and my blog list

10. If you had more hours in the day, what would you do?
More housework. Sounds depressing, but when I have a clean house (which is like once a month), I am so much happier.

11. What makes a good friend?
Forgiveness, understanding, patience

12. What is one really good lesson your mom taught you?
There are so many that I use every day! I do always look at drivers' eyes when waiting for them to make a turn or if I am waiting to make a turn. You know, those moments where you realize, "That idiot is going to pull out in front of me".

13. If you got one all-expenses paid trip, where would you go?
California. Permanently. Just kidding. But a trip that involves Napa, Sonoma, and beaches. And San Francisco. The whole Northern CA shebang.

14. What is your favorite outfit this season?
Considering I find a way to wear leggings almost every day of my life, I'd say that's it. Those long Mossimo tunic tanks have made my coverage dreams come true.

15. Read the book or watch the movie?
Allllways read the book. I will usually watch the movie afterwards and declare that it was a total waste of my time, though. It is just not possible to fit in all the details or cast the characters like they were in the book. Robert Pattinson as Jacob Jankowski? That was clearly written for Ryan Gosling.

16. What makes you proud?
My sweet babies. Also, hearing success stories about my students--even if it is just that they love coming to school. Perhaps there is nothing more important than that, actually.

17. What are you trying to change about yourself?
Being a more thoughtful, helpful person. It is hard when my mind is going 4 different directions, but it is important work.

18. What makes you happy about your partner?
He truly loves nothing more than our children. And he works hard to support us, even though it is difficult work. Also, his cologne.

19. What is your dream job?
Something completely right-brained and creative. Like NO paperwork involved. Making all of my Pinterest pins come to life in birthday parties, showers, weddings, etc. Being involved with happy days of people's lives.

20. What keeps you up at night?
Currently, the childcare situation when Larkyn goes to preschool 3 days a week next year. And then kindergarten the next. No idea how she is going to get to school and back.

And with that on my mind, goodnight! I want to hear your answers....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rhys is 11 months old!

So this is it...our last month before he is one year old. This is insane. It is strange living life as a teacher because we literally start our routines over every August and do the exact same thing each year. So, as I was pulling out Valentines Day activities and teaching the kids about dental health, I was reminded of being HUGE this time last year. Of the intense anticipation of what was to come in less than a month...meeting my son!  So let's fast forward to today with our 11 month old guy.

Loves to:  Show us how he can stand on his own. He will look around like "Are ya seein' this?"  He still climbs the stairs like a maniac and loves going through boxes and bins of anything. He cruises around the room while holding onto furniture to pull piles of papers and laundry off the couch. He loves laying down with cars and making them drive on the floor or wall. 

Eats:  His favorite is definitely mac and cheese of any sort. Those little Gerber trays of diced fruits and veggies are so convenient and he loves those too. Honestly, he eats everything we put in front of him. Except Pedialyte when he HAS to have it. 

Sleeps:  For one glorious week of my sleep career, he slept through the night. Consequently, this was the week he happened to be sick as a dog, so I wouldn't trade it. But, man that was nice. He is up a few times a night again for the amount of time it takes me to recover and reinsert his binky.

Firsts: Just by chance, he graduated out of the baby tub and sits just fine with Larkyn in the bath tub. He still LOVES baths!  Like I mentioned, he stands on his own every now and then. 

Dislikes:  Being sick? His usual even-temper was a bit off...he wanted things and wanted them NOW.

How he is different from big sis:  Rhys is a little clingier than I remember Larkyn being. He is a little shy around both grandpas and if I have to hand him off (like to a nurse 50 times last week). He eats a lot more than she does even as a preschooler! 

It's a strange juxtaposition. I feel like he has always been with us, yet I feel like I don't know him yet. There are so many personality traits yet to be discovered. Will be be a more quiet observer? A social butterfly? He is already starting to voice his opinion when Larkyn takes something from him. I'm wondering when he is going to chuck something at her and the fun really begins...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The 15 year puzzle

So many cliche metaphors ran through my head as this post has been brewing in my head for the last few days. I am going to skip all of them. 

I have spent my whole post-high school life chasing something. Running after leadership positions, Buckling down to get the GPA I wanted, taking the job search by storm and applying to every school district within 50 miles of Columbus. Doing things, re-doing things. A house! Babies! A simple wedding done the way I wanted! Another house to fit the new get the picture. 

That always leaves me with either a.) wanting more or b.) finally FINALLY coming to the realization that I am where I want to be and don't need another major life event anytime soon. Luckily for all parties involved, I chose the latter. It is a conscious acceptance, and a new outlook. 
Rather than being caught up in nursery plans (which I love, though), saving for the next house, going back for some sort of degree, I am finally ready to embrace where I am in life. 

Does that make sense? There are no more pieces to the puzzle (I had to, sorry). I am excited to see where we go from here...where we travel as this little family, our routines, how we make this house a home, centering our attention around the kids' accomplishments rather than ours, and getting back to things that have always been in my heart but haven't had the time for since I was about eighteen.
Have you had this moment yet? Does it call for party planning? Just kidding...maybe just some UDF ice cream.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cupid hates us

On Saturday, I was busy worrying about Rhys contracting measles on our flight to Charlotte (hooray! we just booked tickets to celebrate my Godson Henry's first birthday!) While arranging the details over the phone, I drove us to the mall where I had promised Larkyn she could play at the playground (while I zone out with my Starbucks. Win-win). Rhys wanted out of the stroller and was so excited by all the kids racing around him, so I let him out too.

Fast forward to Sunday morning. 6:45, Rhys is not up. 7:30, Larkyn is up and eating breakfast. 8:00, I go in and have to WAKE up my morning buddy. He is approximately one million degrees and his face is red. He bursts into tears and I remember:

Cupid hates us.

Every year since we had kids, they have been sick around and on Valentines Day. Here are some of our romantic Valentines Days past...




And this week, 2015

Nothing NOTHING is worse than seeing your baby in pain. Well maybe worse is being told over and over "There is nothing we can do" and "Keep pushing fluids". Meanwhile, we missed a week of work (totally worth it, but always a little tough). We laid with him all day, because that is the only thing he could do. He threw up full bottles, had 1 wet diaper a day, and let's not even talk about his sister. OK, I will. She vacillated between ultra-helpful and out of control. She was getting no attention and (like all of us when we are sick) Rhys wanted QUIET. Which Larkyn does not do. 

Anyway, after a week at home with 103 degree fever, he is on the mend. He is eating, smiling, and doing better. Still mostly tired and grouchy, but the nasty fever finally let go. 

There is a world in which I prepare mini pancake, strawberry, and Nutella kabobs and provide thoughtful and creative gifts for my kids. There is also a world in which we have dog eye blood on our sheets (because I forgot to tell you that HE was at the vet twice this week TOO), we go to four pharmacies to find the dog prescription and pull something together for Valentines day, and we end up with two 4 foot tall stuffed animals in lieu of anything resembling creativity. Guess which one is real life?

Maybe next year, we will have our Pinterest-worthy Valentines Day. In the meantime, you can find me wearing that exact sweatshirt in the first and last photos, snuggling with my Valentines.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Life Lately

Well, the minute I brought home my new computer was the minute I suddenly got too busy to sit down and blog.  Having Rhys home today, I have a few minutes to catch up on what's been going on in our house...

Yippee!  My jewelry has a new home. I ordered this shelf from Hudsonlace with an etsy gift card from my class. She custom-builds each piece, so it takes a while, but it was worth it! I stained the unfinished barn wood, immediately regretted it, and painted it white for a "weathered" look. Good save. I think.

Rhys almost made it to one year without getting sick. This is exactly when Larkyn got sick for the first time, and always seems to be sick around Valentines Day!  Poor Rhys is miserable...he is sleeping all day and just wants to be held when he is awake. No flu, though. Just lots of Ibuprofen, baths, and snuggles for this guy.

We've been making valentines around here!  I pulled up a bunch of ideas on Pinterest that Larkyn was completely uninterested in until she saw a photo of Hershey Hugs (her Kryptonite). She didn't care what the valentine looked like, as long as she could give (and steal) Hugs. I was excited to find these free printables and my mom helped me put one together so I knew how to do the rest.

Next up is lots of birthday planning!  We are having a joint birthday party for both kids since their birthdays are about a month apart. I have a secret Pinterest board so everyone doesn't know the party before they walk in. But here is a little glimpse of the details...

This week's Pen + Peplum #52handlettered prompt was "A quote about love". I knew immediately that I would try something that I could hang in Rhys' nursery if it turned out decent. I need to buy a copy of The Giving Tree now that I am a mom. I totally understand it now.

Have a good week!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Five on Friday

It was not awesome when my laptop was accidentally flung off the couch a few weeks ago. But luckily, it is tax refund time.  On our lovely day off together, Matt and I welcomed this new family member. I am so excited to have my own space (yes, all 48" of it) for my work/hobbies. And I do not miss having a laptop at all. If I wake up early and have an idea, I can just get out of bed and do something with the idea. I can't wait to decorate the wall.

Valentine sweets. This is my favorite time of year for sweets!  Chocolate everything, pink, red, just so feminine and I love it. I posted this recipe a few years ago, but this year I had Larkyn to help me sprinkle them.

I have been eyeing these suede booties for about 6 months but kept thinking I'd look stupid in them. Then I tried them on in DSW in front of Matt and noted that I thought they were "cute and maybe I'd pull the trigger one day". Well, lo and behold, they somehow ended up as a stocking stuffer from my shoe-loving man. I LOVE them! I can comfortably wear them all day and they are a fun change from tall boots. The only bad part is that you have to be so careful with them, I already have two small spots from a drooly baby!

Surprise Snow Days!  This time I year, I go from rabidly watching the weather to see if we will have a day off to refusing to watch it so I don't get my hopes up. Apparently, I was the only one surprised to get the 6 AM voicemail to cancel school this week. We were off every Monday in January...I love and enjoy my job, but who doesn't love a three day weekend with their babies?

This hilarious video that Jill sent me. So, so true.


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