Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Hodge Podge things - part two

Neil and I have this way that we dialog based on anything that we've seen or done in the past. Years ago there was an episode of Yes, Dear where the husband goes on this trip and ends up eating some cheese samples a la carte. He thinks he can handle the samples until the waiter informs him after he makes his selection that he's "not ready for that cheese". So, of course to make things interesting he eats it anyway and it's hilarious because there he is trying to eat this cheese and making these horrible faces. So now when there's something that we do collectively or individually that doesn't quite work, we say 'you aren't ready for that cheese'. This was what happened yesterday. We woke up late yesterday morning because we stayed up late Saturday night playing with and enjoying and updating our new computer. We went to the later mass, and decided to sit in the front row -something we never do but all our usual seats were occupied. The kids were fine, a little restless being that it was a different time and as diligent as we are, we forgot Drew's pacifier. And maybe it was just me and I was more observant of their behavior than those around us, but it sure felt like sitting in the front row we put ourselves in the spotlight. After mass, I turned to Neil and said 'we weren't ready for that cheese'. He knew what I was talking about. I think I like blending in several
rows back so we can make that sweet escape if necessary.
And so, I move on to the second topic - our new computer! I am so jazzed because I actually feel like I'm on the computer less than before. I don't like to waste time on things like pages loading up, or the pictures taking a long time to open in Photoshop. This is my first official iMac post to everyone and so far I'm loving it. There is an option they told us about at the Apple store where you can pay $x and get one lesson a week for an entire year at their store learning about the ins/outs of your computer. I may do that since there is a bit of a learning curve - and I want to take advantage of all it offers. I was surprised at how quickly Neil agreed to get a new computer - I wanted a laptop so I could blog from anywhere in the house and we also debated getting the kids their own computer for schoolwork, research and educational games. Then we realized 'hey!', our computer is 4.5 years old - if anyone's getting a new computer it ought to be us. Plus, there's nothing really wrong with ours and it'd be perfect for the kids. So, we did some research - Neil was determined to go Mac no matter the next computer purchase. I'm not sure I cared about what we got as long as I could continue to blog, post on my favorite sites, play with my pictures and send e-mail. My list was pretty short. I think aside from having to purchase Photoshop, there's not much I need to do the things I want to do. The biggest advantage for me is not having to wait around for a slow computer - that's pretty nice, I gotta say. Thanks honey!
So, I want to apologize for another post without pictures - yes, I know - boo hiss - you know you love me because you keep coming back. I know because I track all of my visitors - hee hee! Have a great Monday everyone!

Friday, March 28, 2008

She strikes again!

With all the hair pics in the last post, I thought I'd share one I just took. Ashley thought she'd be funny and put double piggies in his hair and as I was sharing that bit of info on my favorite website, she walked in and told me he had Kramer hair. Well, I couldn't pass that up! So, "hair" it is for you to enjoy, lol.

Here's to baby brother

At least once a day the kids will tell me 'thank you for having baby brother'. It's kinda weird since I was only part of the process, but I'll take it. Ashley goes straight for Drew when she gets home from school. We've actually had to talk about balancing homework with chores and specific "Drew time". I've talked to some other moms about this. It's apparently not uncommon for kids to {gasp!} choose to play with their siblings over doing the more mundane day-to-day stuff. Yeah, I know. Shock of all shocks, no? So, today I give you some photos of Drew that showcase his lovely hair and share with you some of the nicknames. I warn you now - some are cute, some just call it like it is.

Mr. Beautiful. This one is courtesy of Ashley. I think if you've seen any of the recent posts this makes sense. After all, if it were up to her the poor kid would wear piggy tails *all* the time...sigh, our poor little guy!
My little coco bean, Mr. Ficco, baybee bwu-thu. Paige loves to call him these names - the second one we have to curb, especially out in public - well, um, you get the idea. Try as we might to replace that word with a substitute, she comes back to that one.
Brother. A very simple and classic name is what Jonathan calls Drew. He is very tender with Brother and doesn't waste an opportunity to tell us that when he turns two he'll take care of him. Mmm, we'll see if that holds up in any capacity when the time comes, lol.
Baby brother, brother bear, peepers, An-drooly, ooie gooey pooey Drew-y or ooie gooey spewy Drew-y, monkey, munchkin, peanut, Mr. Handsome, laughy boy. These are the names that both Neil and I call him. I'm sure there are more, but this was all I could think of off the top of my head. Speaking of off the top of heads, I leave you with this last photo of Drew with his endless mounds of crazy hair. You just gotta love it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

He can't be bothered with being a baby

My little guy is not interested in being a baby any longer. I knew towards the end of my pregnancy that I should start preparing myself mentally for him growing up too fast. All of my kids have been uninterested in just lying around and looking cute. They'd rather be "on the move" and look cute. Drew was about a week old when he started holding his head up and wanted to be facing out to check out his new digs. Now that he's four months old, it's not all that impressive anymore, and developmentally it's just expected that he should be doing things like holding his head up. A few people were surprised by the strength of his neck muscles when he was itty bitty. Now it's that they're impressed that he likes to stand up and hold himself up for long periods of time. And he's been doing that for quite a while too. I sigh because it'd be nice if he would just nuzzle and stay little a bit longer. But no. He's got things to do, people to flirt with and then there are raspberries to be made and spit. His day is chocked full of good fun. No, he can't be bothered with being a baby. That wouldn't be his style.
no pictures this time - I give you a simple observation

Monday, March 24, 2008

I tell you, I dread days like this and other hodge podge Monday things

Well, the kids woke up with an Easter hangover. All that sugar caught up with them. As if it wasn't hard enough waking up on a Monday, there was that sugar low to match the lack of enthusiasm at getting up early. I'm still struggling with the time change. The kids were out of school for Spring Break when it happened and then last week was a short week. Add in the fact that for me sleep is that constant out-of-reach luxury and you have a sure fire recipe for difficult mornings. Today was definitely a text-book Monday.
Today was also Drew's four month well-check visit. I wouldn't particularly label myself as a crunchie person, but for some reason when it comes to meds and vaccinations, I hesitate...
big time when it comes to my children.

So, we talked vaccinations for the first time today. I asked what was the fewest I could get away with and we did that. It *would* have been five separate shots (some combined) and one oral dose. I opted to do three shots. I was proud of my little trooper. He cried while he got the shots and then a few seconds later he stopped. He gave me a real lesson in what it means to choose how I want to react to bad things in life. And onto the stats: He was 13lbs. 3.5 oz (10-25%) and 25 1/4 inches in height (50-75%). Head circumference was 39.8cm.
Today after school, Jonathan asked if he could have some candy for snack. I reacted with an'eh, why not?' and he ate his chocolate pig (sorry, no pic of that). What was left was an interesting sight. I stood over this shirt and debated taking a picture of it. After a few minutes of thinking about it, I grabbed the camera and thought I'd share what boys do to their clothes. Let me also explain that this is the very least of what they do to their clothes. For those of you with first time boys, I don't want to spoil your experience, so you'll have to find some of this out on your own. ;)

what a mess

this shirt will *not* see any "roller rinking" tonight!


Finally, I took Drew's four month pictures today. So, I give you his official four month photos. I don't know if it's *only* because it's the day after Easter and I'm a little worn out with all the event photography, but I felt a little creatively drained. Hopefully next month I'll have something a little more exciting as far as background, props, location, etc. The subject is always great to work with, though. ;)

Drew, four months old
do I detect a hint of UT in this photo? Hook 'em Drew! Go Horns!
And there you have it. Our Monday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Look over hair!

Neil took Jonathan to get a haircut on Sunday after church. Jonathan's normally a hot-natured little kid, so I was using the cooler weather as an excuse for him to grow it longer. It just reminds me of when he was a baby and we'd keep it all long and shaggy. It was a good look for him. But with the weather "supposedly" warming up it made sense to get it cut. I tried to take him last week, but he informed me that that was his and Dad's guy time out. Ok. Couldn't really argue with that. I gotta be honest. I wasn't looking forward to all that adorable hair getting cut, but he walked through the door and was the most fantabulous looking six year old around. Seriously. His hair was all gel'd up and he had his bangs spiked up in the front. His haircut looked as Grandpa Simpson would say 'a haircut you could set your watch to' (he was referring to Johnny Unitus). It looked like a classic 50s boys haircut. I'm sold. This kid *has* to get his hair cut like this from now on. Each morning so far we've gotten out the hairspray and I've had to train myself on how to properly spike his hair. It's a pretty sticky process, but the result looks good. It reminds me how independent my kids are, though. I don't do hair. Ok, rarely I fix hair. And even then it's only Paige and it only involves detangler, a brush and a small rubber band. I don't do anything complicated. And if I'm feeling super "on top of things", I'll put a bow in her hair, but that's where Ashley comes in.

Ashley and Paige work on the perfect hair creation

A little sass for the photo

the finished look topped off with a smile

She loves to fix Paige's hair with so many doo-dads she looks like a small hair accessory display from The Icing, lol. That's their bonding thing, so I leave well enough alone. Now that I think about it, I hardly fix my own hair, so I try not to be too grossed out when I have to spray that sticky stuff on Jonathan's hair.
It's definitely a good look for him.

As you can see, no one is safe from Ashley once she gets on a roll. I can't decide if he looks ready to cry or laugh. Maybe it's a little of both? Either way, he's still just as adorable to me!

I thought long and hard about whether it was a good idea to put up a blackmail photo of Drew - and the devilish side in me won out. I think he's masculine enough to pull this look off!

Monday, March 17, 2008

May have bitten off more than I can chew...

...those of you with school-aged children will know where I'm coming from on this topic. Most of us get really excited when our little ones are old enough to head off to preschool. First come the school supply lists, the scholastic book orders and depending on where they go, sometimes you'll get a snack list sign up sheet or maybe even a fundraiser. This is all very exciting...until it happens year after year after year after...well, you get the point. Our first double dose was last year when Jonathan started kindergarten. Both he and Ashley were at the same school, so we got twice the paperwork in their weekly folders, twice the book order forms, fundraiser forms, remembering to deposit money into their lunch accounts, paying an extra fee online if I didn't remember to send that check in on time for the lunches. This year, it was deciding to pay for a brand new flute for Ashley, paying for yearbooks, school t-shirts, mandatory PE t-shirts, band fundraisers, PTA fees, remembering to help with homework, fees for their CCD classes, snack sign ups for that, and lastly any and all things related to whatever sport we sign them up for. Jonathan's swim lessons are the least demanding beyond price. You pay for the session, get 11 lessons, you use them up and you pay all over again for another session. Ashley's volleyball, while a little more involved, *is* closer to home and costs less than swim lessons so it does have it's advantages. This being her fifth season, I decided to go ahead and coach. She hasn't really made a big deal about wanting me to, but I thought about how much I like teaching (or instructing in this case) and I also thought it would be a great way to get to know some more of her friends and parents too.

Ashley's third season volleyball professional photo

The problem: Drew is at this "super-clingy can't be satiated" phase from about 5-7:30 p.m. when I may have practice with the team. This is the *only* reason I am hesitant about coaching. I think the overall experience is going to be great. I've seen how the parents come to practice, stay and help the coach out, offer to get the shirts printed with the girls' names. It's just a really good sense of comraderie. This is also the season that if the girls are really good they can try out for their middle school teams, so I feel like I'm getting in at a formidable time as far as coaching goes. She will be considered part of the 7th grade team in the spring because they bump them up to what grade they'll be in fall. Ashley's even helped me write up a practice schedule with warmups, stretches and exercises. I've been asking her input on what kinds of exercises they should do, what season did she like best and with what coach. What did she like best about the practices and she's excited enough that she wants to be my assistant coach. Ok, so maybe a mini assistant coach considering she'll be on the team, but I'm definitely not opposed to taking help...even from my 11 year old, lol. I think it'll be a lot of fun and give me a chance to see Ashley in a different role from our usual mother-daughter one.

I have to admit, I'm having a lot of fun being a parent these days. I look forward to Jonathan's swim lessons, I can't wait for Ashley's volleyball season...who knows what Paige will get involved in...only time will tell.

Friday, March 14, 2008

This is a random post, but I don't want to be responsible for...

...those of you wandering around singing the wrong lyrics to Across the Universe. So, I leave you with this lame attempt of a Friday evening post, lol. Set the music list below to Across the Universe by Rufus Wainwright and enjoy! And yes, I realize it *is* a Beatles song. ;)

Hugs to everyone! and Happy Palm Sunday :)

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
Possessing and caressing me.
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world.
Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes,
That call me on and on across the universe,
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box they
Stumble blindly as they make their way Across the universe
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world.
Sounds of laughter shades of earth are ringing
Through my open views inviting and inciting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a Million suns,
it calls me on and onAcross the universe
Jai guru de va om
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world.

How much smaller could my world get?

So, on Wednesday I took Jonathan to swim lessons. It must take very little to *wow* me these days because there was a complete camera setup inside and some really "cut" looking athletes walking around. I had to sign Jonathan up for a new session so I asked the lady behind the counter what all the fuss was about. I couldn't help it. After doing wedding photography for a while and with my renewed interest in photography, I just had to ask! So, she goes on to tell me that they're finishing up their third day of filming a Nike commercial for the Olympics. I promise you one of those guys looked SOOO familiar to me. Now, I'm not much into remembering things like who was part of the Olympic swim team in 2004, but it bothered me so much that I actually went online looking for some clues or pictures. I couldn't find anything.
These are times when I'm proud to be an Austinite. If swimming is your *thang* and you do it well, this is honestly the place to be. The University of Texas puts out a LOT of swimmers who go to the Olympics. To the best of my recollection the coach at UT was also the Olympic coach in 2004. Not that I expect my children to have the talent of an olympian, lol, but if they should become that dedicated to their sport, this is a good place to be!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Keeping up with the Joneses

Since getting my dSLR camera a few weeks ago I've been having a lot of fun taking pictures, but what's more, I've discovered how much more I have to learn with all the new technology jargon and lingo and hoopla. SOOC and RAW, post process, etc. are all terms I'm having to learn with respect to my camera. It's a bit of a learning curve right now, but I'm learning to (ok, re-learning) tweak my photos before posting them...slowly but surely anyway. It's one thing when you're paid to take pictures and another when you have to remind yourself to take the camera out to use it! It's been just over four years since I decided to return to the world of "hobbyist photographer" and leave the paid gig part of it out of the picture. Anyway, I'm going to try to incorporate my pictures into my posts and maybe play around with them a little before posting them. My page layout is flooded with *so* many different kinds of things, so this is a small attempt to get it more organized - behind the scenes anyway.

So, how is this keeping up with the Joneses?? Well, when you post as frequently as I do and get to know all these other lovely ladies who blog and photograph it tends to keep me focused and on top of the things I want to accomplish. If it weren't for Emily's blog (yeah, a shout out for ya!), I wouldn't have gained a renewed interest in photography. I had been wanting a new digital camera for almost three years, but since I put the professional thing away, it didn't make a lot of sense to buy a new camera, particularly since they can get pretty costly. After reading that thread on BBC though, I made it a priority and started researching and asking questions. For my level of "expertise" it made sense to go with the Canon 40D. I opted out of getting the flash for the time being and whenever possible I like to use natural light, but I also have my Bogen with my Sunpak 622 on standby for those more "portrait" type pictures I want to capture. It's been a lot of fun rediscovering my passion. I am loving working with photos in PhotoShop. I'll never forget the guy who showed me how to use it. His name is Dave Rossman and he was the photographer in my small hometown. It was my first photojournalism internship - this would have been back in 1995. Hard to believe that's been almost thirteen years ago!! I had a lot of fun learning about photography from a computer standpoint - I even remember the old school negative scanner and having to use the lupe to find the "best" negative to scan in. It took so long to scan, it made more sense to pick one using the light table and the lupe first.

The elusive Spring Break...

We never do anything for Spring Break...and I mean never. Call it a tragic side effect of Neil's job, but March is usually one of a handful of "hoppin" months in the fence and deck industry. So, to miss a day is to essentially choose to miss out on sales. This year, Spring Break snuck up on us. I thought it was next next week, not starting today! I actually wanted to take an extended weekend, head up to a state park for some camping. Maybe it's a little ambitious considering we still don't sleep nights through...ok, *I* don't sleep nights through. *and* Drew.
I found out earlier this week that for the first time, possibly ever in Neil's career, all of his vacation time was used up. Each March 18th-ish, he gets his vacation time "restocked". It equals three weeks time off, but apparently between our trip to Myrtle Beach, his trip with his brother to Vegas last June, flying up to Virginia for his lil sis' wedding, time off for visits with his folks and the birth of Drew (which only ended up being two days off of work), it was all used up. That means we have to wait until the end of this month for vacation time to renew. It kinda stinks because I want to make family vacations more of a regular thing. I'm hoping we can put something on the books in the meantime. If the camping thing doesn't work out, maybe a trip to Sea World or maybe a theme park. We took Ashley to Busch Gardens years ago and stayed for three days...we had a blast! Jonathan's now the same age she was then, so it'd be a lot of fun to see him on the roller coasters and thrill rides.
I guess in the meantime, we'll have to plan out vacation time to include Spring Break next year. So, while I'm a little bummed right now, I know we'll plan something fantastic for next year.