Thursday, May 27, 2010

manual mode

i'm taking a photography class in zebulon taught by one of the local photography "celebrities", leslie privette.  she's a super nice and down to earth woman - about my age, and has 4 kids about the same ages as melissa's kids.  i met her at faith's 2nd(?) birthday party years ago when melissa lived here - one of her children was there.  anyway, that was before i knew her as a photographer. 

i've never had anything done by her nor have i had any close personal friends have anything done by her (that i know of) - but, i don't exactly live in zebulon.  she is a super instructor and has definately caused me to put myself outside my comfort zone.

last week, our homework was to learn about (through practice) aperture and shutterspeed (and ISO).  i already know how to use these functions, but, turns out that i needed the practice.  especially after my horrible photos today.  last week, the kids gave me two toys (uncle rob and thomas) and i set up a sheet outside and photographed them out of the direct sunlight (but still bright light).  if i can find the picture, i'll update this blog and post it.

this week, we learned about white balance, metering, and using the effectiveness of a flash to fill in shadows.  we had to use two different models, both wearing hats for part of the time.  no way could my kids have been my model, so mom and dad did it for me.  i got some AWESOME shots of them both. (though neither of them actually gave me permission to post a picture, i'm gonna guess that mom will say "NO" and dad will say "I DON'T CARE" - so mom if you have a different answer, let me know so i can update.)

so, yesterday we were playing with the kids in the yard and i decided to practice yet again with my camera in the manual mode.  problem #1. kids don't stand still.  when they move from left to right, the light changes so i need to meter again.  i ended up just picking an aperture and just adjusting the shutter speed depending on where they were in relation to me and the setting sun.  my shutter speed is adjustable with my thumb.  so, i could do it fairly quickly while following them.
problem#2.  i still ended up with over/under exposed pictures.  and if they weren't over or under exposed, they were blurry - motion blurry, not out-of-focus blurry.  so, that meant my shutterspeed was too slow.  HOWEVER, my aperture was as open as it could get (letting in as much light as possible), as to allow for the fastest shutter speed as possible.  or so i thought.

after about 70 blurry pictures (well, a few of them were clear, but then i had to deal with bugger nose or weird faces or back of heads or a random arm or something like that...), i decided to put it into one of the program mode. 

i'm not so happy (but sorta happy) to say that i still didn't get that many clear shots.  i guess the bottom line(s) are these:
#1 my kids move fast.
#2 i need a lens with a wider aperature (a smaller f-stop number). 
#3 i am just limited to bright light conditions for photo taking.  i guess i could get a auxilary flash.  those cost more than lenses.
but none the less,
#4 my kids hate my camera (or me, i hope it is the camera though).  they will not look at me, not acknowledge me, run from me, ignore me, not participate in anything i suggest, avoid me, etc.  even the flip down see-what-i-just-took viewer doesn't even lure them in anymore.

so here are a few of the decent ones from yesterday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

how do you say what???

i tried a new food today and i think my biggest issue with it was the fact i wasn't sure how to pronounce it.  i hated feeding it to kendal and holly (who both LOVED LOVED LOVED it) without telling them what it was.  quinoa.  my southern self wanted to say kwin-o-ah.  but, i did a little internet search and found out that my instinct was wrong (no surprise there) and actually it is pronounced keen-wah.

anyway, as i was searching for the correct pronunciation, i found an interesting thread where people discuss the correct proununciations of words.  and, anyway, some dude put a list of "how to say" wine names.  i'm sure amy can read them all and correct the ones that are wrong, but, i always wonder how to say some of them.  i speak NO french except, maybe - well, none.  so, i thought this was pretty cool.
i definitely recommend going to the site and reading it (it is more than just wine).  you'll get a few laughs. like, the funniest thing the guy, steve, says is:
"I don't think it actually makes a damned bit of difference how you pronounce these wines. Just do the best you can. If you're talking to someone who sells wine who would make fun of you for mispronouncing the name of a grape or region, the proper term for what that person is pronounced  "ahs-whole"."

Cabernet Sauvignon: Cab-er-nay Saw-vin-yawn
Merlot: Mair-low
Petit Verdot" puh-teet vair-doh
Malbec: Two - Mall-beck or mal-beck
Carmenere: Car-muhn-yair
Sauvignon Blanc: Saw-vin-yawn blonk
Zinfandel: Just like it's written
Pinot Noir: Pee-no N'wahr
Pinot Grigio: Pee-no Gree-zhe-oh (or gree-zho)
Cabernet Franc: Cab-er-nay Fronk
Syrah: sear-ah
Shiraz: Shi-roz
Barolo: bah-roll-oh
Nebbiolo: Neh-bee-oh-low
Sangiovese: two possible - san-joe-vay-zay or san-gee-oh-vay-zay
  (The common error with this is leaving off the final "e". It's pronounced as a soft, breathy "A")
Albarino: Al-buh-ren-yo
Pinotage: Pee-no-tazhs
Reisling: Ree-zling
Meritage: two - Mer-ih-tazhs or mer-ih-tage
Valpolicella: val-poh-lee-chell-uh
Beaujolais: Boo-zho-lay
Muller-Thurgau: Moo-luhr Tur-gouw
Gruner Veltliner: Groo-nuhr Velt-lee-nuhr (or just "gruner", for the Wine Hip)
Gaglioppo: Gal-lee-oh-poe
Sauternes: Saw-tairn
Grenache: grin-osh (as in the final syllable of "nosh")
Mourvedre: Moor-ved-ruh
Tempranillo: tim-pruh-nee-yoh
Monastrell: Mahn-uh-stray (this is the Spanish term for mourvedre)
Touriga Nacional: Too-ree-guh nah-cee-yo-nahl
Torrontes: toe-rahn-tez
Chenin Blanc: Shin-uhn Blonk
Semillon: Seh-mee-yawn
Viognier: Vee-yohn-yay
Muscat: Moo-scott
Cinsaut: sin-sew
Chateauneuf du Pape: Shat-oh-noof dew pop
Rioja: Ree-oh-hah
Ribera del Duero: Rib-erra del dweh-row
Chianti: Kee-yahn-tee (accent on middle syllable)
Languedoc-Rousillon: long-doh roo-see-yahn
Alsace: ahl-sahs
Hermitage: air-me-tazhs ("Tazhs" is pronounced like the end of the word "massage")
Cote Rotie: coat Row-tee
Croze Hermitage: Crows Air-me-tazhs
St. Joseph: San Jo-seff
Gigondas: zheeg-own-dah
Vacqueyras: vah-kay-rah
Barsac: bar-sock
Fronsac: Forhn-sock
Graves: grahv
Haut-Medoc: hoht meh-dock
Margaux: mahr-go
Pauillac: paw-yock
Pessac-Leognan: pay-sock layo-g'nawn
Pomerol: pah-mer-ahl
Saint-Emilion: sahnt eh-mee-yawn
Saint-Estephe: sahnt a-stef
Saint-Julien: sahn zhoo-lee-aw
Soave: So-ah-vay
Brunello: brew-nell-low
Primitivo: prim-uh-teev-oh
Barossa: buh-row-suh
Colchaugua: coal-chaw-gwah
Condrieu: kawn-drew
Montalcino: mon-tull-CHEE-no
Recioto: ruh-show-toe
Vouvray: voov-ray

what's in a name?

what i didn't know then:

when i was married the first time, i decided that i just could not "drop" my name because, to me, i felt like i was loosing my identity to do it.  thus, i kept my whole name and added his surname.  i had 4 names (legally - according to my social security card, they were not hyphenated).  it ended up being a pain because you know when you have to fill out forms?  well, my last name was his surname.  my middle name - well what was my middle name?  no one ever knew (not even me). turns out that maybe i knew deep down that it was a mistake and me not wanting to give up "me" was just a sign that i didn't need to be doing what i was doing (getting married in the first place).  eh, hindsight is always 20/20, right?  i'm not saying that everyone with 4 names was making a mistake, i'm just saying that for me, it was probably a sign since the reason i did it was because i just didn't want to let go of who i was.
fortunately, when you marry at thirty something, you are much wiser than at twenty something (at least i was...)

what i know now:

taking a man’s name symbolizes the unity that you have created in a family.  it says you are his wife. the concept of women as property is outrageous and outdated, but the fact remains that God is the leader of the man, and the man is the leader and head of the household.  a wife who doesn’t have her husband’s name is not in full submission to him. she also isn’t fully committed to the marriage. she is, in effect, saying to him, “i love you, but not enough to change my name. i’m excited about our future, but let me hold on to this piece of my past.”

if the words "is not in full submission to him" makes you squirm in your seat or makes your blood boil, then you need to read Ephesians 5:22-25 and start praying!  um, i'll be praying for you too.  submission is a choice you make out of respect to him and faith in God, not something your husband demands from you.  if he demands it from you, just so you know, that isn't God's definition of submission.

marriage is about shifting from “you” and “me” to “us” and “we.” nathaniel never asked me to take his name. it was his gift to me when we wed.  to me, it said "we’re now one unit, one family. let’s forget our separate pasts and focus on making one incredible future. together. you and me.” and, so far so good.  heck, we've doubled our family size so far.

and, yes, when i left behind my name, i did give away part of my identity. good news, though, the piece i gave away was immediately replaced with a new one. a better one. a stronger one. one i have more say in the forming of, for future generations.

and forever recorded in my "permanent record"  is my name as
ms. first middle maiden married to mr. first middle surname
as recorded on our marriage certificate and our children's birth certificate.  actually, on their birth certificates, my name is recorded as first middle maiden surname.  so, in that respect, i haven't really given up anything!  my kids will always have access to my entire name.  and, that is important to me.  i want them to know my maiden history just like they know surname history... and i suppose that is up to me to share with them!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

bad news about BPA

"First used in Germany, in the nineteen-thirties, bisphenol A has a chemical structure similar to that of estrogen, but was considered too weak to be developed into a contraceptive pill."

why do we still have this on store shelves?  i can tell you for sure it isn't in our house!!!  if you ever use the baby food in the plastic container, you are feeding your baby food stored in this type of plastic!  i'm talking about BPA - #7 plastic!!!  check it - even the organic gerber - yup - #7 plastic!!!  if you are gonna buy yo' baby food, get it in glass jars!  and if you ever open a can of food and see it lined with plastic, you better not eat that either - that plastic lining is BPA!  lots of the older baby bottles and sippy cups were #7 too, but they are pretty much phased out now.  BPA is still on the shelf, but companies are advertising "BPA FREE" to lure you in (which is a good thing).  BPA FREE (or just plastic free in general) is the only way to go.

trip to RDU

kendal, holly, and i took an outing over to the RDU observation last week and rather than taking 70 to lumley road like i usually do, i went over to briar creek because i had to get lunch (we went to moe's because #1 they have cheese ques. that the kids can eat and #2 beans plus salad that i can eat). so after we left there, we went down the briar creek parkway over to lumley road and crossed over I540.  when we got to the runways, kendal said "go that way!" and actually pointed the right way to go to the observation area.

they were super excited for about the first 10 minutes, but there was another mom and 2 kids there and those 2 kids were running all around up and down the access ramp (accessing the parking lot to the observation deck) and kendal and holly wanted to run up and down it too - and i wouldn't let them. so, we had drama until those kids left.  then another kid showed up and he was excited about the airplanes but by that point kendal wanted to go home.

anyway, i got some cute pictures and a video

Monday, May 24, 2010

food lion vs kroger


back when we switched to organic foods, i searched high and low to find a "kid cereal" that was BHT/BHA free and also sans food dyes.  in particular, i was looking for one LIKE fruit loops.  one day on a trip to whole foods, i found three versions - i bought all three boxes and we taste tasted them.  anyway, cascadian farm fruitful o's was hands-down the winner. 

so, for quite some time now, i've been driving to whole foods once a week to buy two to three boxes of this cereal.  i haven't been able to find it around here.  not that i've searched that hard... but the stores i usually shop at (food lion, target, lowe's foods), they have cascadian farm brand cereal, just not that type of cereal.  (the purely o's and honey nut o's are also really good if you are looking for an organic version of cheerios or honey nut cheerios.)

SO, this past weekend, i drove to raleigh to buy more fruitful o's.  i got my reusable bags, walked in whole foods, went to the cereal isle, and began to search frantically for the cereal.  there was none on the shelf.  not only was there none, but there was not even a label for it!  customer service offered to order a case for me. 


our local food lion has a good organic section.  i've asked the store manager about carrying the FO's and they indicated that i needed to call corporate and make a request.  so, i did about a month ago (with my story about having to drive about an hour to whole foods to buy 2 to 3 boxes a week...).  so, not having a UPC, i called the store again (the local FL) to see if they have heard anything yet (the woman knows me by this point, i'm always requesting stuff for their organic section - of which nothing as been obtained yet.) she said she's not seen anything so to call corporate again.

so, first, i needed the UPC from the box.  since we were out, i had to call cascadian farms.  they were so helpful, they told me two krogers in raleigh that "supposedly" had the cereal.  of coarse, when i hung up with her, i called the closest kroger (in wake forest) to verify, she held 3 boxes for me (they were on sale), we loaded in the car, and i went to get them.  would you believe that i got the last 3 boxes - if she hadn't held them for me i wouldn't have gotten ANY???  they had 8 in stock when i called.  the check-out lady also gave me a rain-check so i can get more boxes at the sale price.  incidentally, kroger also has a pretty good "natural" section.  i may be back...  kroger also has kid-sized carts, which kendal and holly love. (well, they actually fought over who got to push it.  it was a little bit of drama.)

so i called food lion later in the afternoon (corporate) explaining that i'm requesting it AGAIN.  i further asked her what i had to do to get it on the shelf - like did i need to call every day and request it - and she said that it would depend on how many people called and requested it.  THEN i told her how whole foods offered to buy it by the case for me and, since i preferred to buy it by the box IN a store, the cascadian farm customer service line indicated that a kroger 3 miles away has the cereal on the shelf, which i verified by going there that morning and buying all they had on the shelf - which was 3 boxes and within 1 hour they had 8 boxes and i got the last 3 only because they held them for me.  i then told her that i preferred to do all my shopping in one store and that my mom always shopped at food lion and that i guess that is why i always preferred shopping at food lion.  AND, that i would hate to move my business over to kroger over a simple box of cereal.

she changed her tune really quick and decided to enter my call as a SEPARATE call/request.

so, i wonder if it will actually make a difference.  i still prefer shopping at FL. i will, however, use one evening to go to FL and then over to kroger and compare prices on their "natural foods" because, really, the bottom line is price, price, price.  i'm gonna shop at the store that has the cheapest prices.  they have the same brands of foods.  in the past, food lion has always won out on price.  so i wonder where i'll be shopping in the future!??  food lion or kroger!!!???!???!?!??!?

**disclaimer** walmart is excluded from the price comparison!  i will not shop at walmart except on a rare or desperate occasion (or by a lack of choice - you know, like when you live in washington and there isn't really any other choice). 

Friday, May 21, 2010


mom got kendal a book about trucks and in the book it has pictures of every type of truck you can imagine with word name beside it.  i mean, dump trucks, fire trucks, ladder trucks, cranes, trash trucks, dump trucks, car carrier trucks, pick-up trucks, etc.  hundred different trucks.

yesterday we went to the airport to watch the airplanes (that video is forthcoming...).  as soon as we got on 540, kendal said "mommy, look!  dump truck!  trash truck!  carrier truck!"  he was naming all the trucks.  it was adorable.

on the way home last night, a pick-up truck crossed us as we were stopped at a stop sign.  he said "mommy, what kind of truck was that?"  i said "pick-up truck".  he said "ok, hic-up truck.  hic-up!  hic-up!  hic-up!"

he's such a ham.

friday five

having a blogging brain freeze, so i'll blog about something that i did recently, which is i went the grocery store BY MYSELF wednesday night, so here is a top five list of where i spent my time... READING LABELS!  no kidding, i spent nearly 2 hours in lowes foods reading labels.  i came home with a cart of food and most of it was my normal stuff - i guess i was reading the labels of new/different things to see if "we could eat it" - most things did not make the cut.  either there were preservatives or colors or, frankly, too many non-food ingredients.  i seek simple!  (and, just for the record, i usually just shop the "outside isle" of the market - last night i ventured inwards.  i bought some things, but not too much.  most of it was things that i carry around for the kids, snacks, quick pack meals, pasta, flour, etc.)

1. flour  -  we rarely eat flour - i rarely cook with it.  i don't want fancy stuff, i want whole wheat.  my whole wheat flour doughs, though, never rise.  found gluten for it.  yay, hopefully i'll stop having non-rising crusts now (and maybe i can make bread!)
2.  cereal - bought none of it.  learned to be wary of "natural" vs "organic".  in particular, annie's has a "natural" brand and an "organic" brand.  they are different.  i want organic, not natural.  (organic IS natural, but also organic.)  guess i'll have to keep going to whole foods for the cereal - it is the only place i can find a kid-type cereal my kids like.
3. mac&cheese - in the box.  again, "natural" vs "organic".  turns out, the "organic" part is just the noodles, not the cheese - why can't they make cheese from "organic" cows? (like the ones they get the organic milk from?"  seems simple enough.
4. noodles - i'm not why i took so long here, but i was desperately searching for a noodle that looked like the kind you get in the mac&cheese boxes.  finally found one but it wasn't organic.  called mini-ziti.  kendal will only eat it if it looks like it is out of a box.  i prefer to make it myself and not out of a box, obviously.  i bought the non-organic noodles figuring that i'd give it a try and then if he'd eat it, i'd seek out a mini-ziti of the organic variety.
5. whole grains:  lowes foods doesn't have a huge selection of organic grains.  my concern with the non-organic ones is that they are laden with pesticide residue OR they are genetically modified.  i ended up buying a box of quinoa and a box of non-organic, but natural, couscous.  i'm excited to try the quinoa.

so here 5 other things i bought that i don't usually buy:
1. a quarter of a water melon (already sliced).  it was kinda pricy but i've been craving one.  i can't wait until they are ripe.
2. snow peas out of the bulk organic section.  dad planted some but something is eating them as fast as they grow.
3. about 6 bags of beans, dried, to cook.  all organic except for black beans.
4. 2 bottles of metro water - peppermint and spearmint.  i tried the spearmint/lemon flavor last saturday and LOVED IT.
5. annie's organic version of "hamburger helper" and "tuna helper" and "chicken helper" - they were all three on closeout special.  kendal loves that sort of thing (so long as i run the meat through the food processor first so he can't detect it).

Monday, May 17, 2010

phone photos

my phone takes horrible photos.  but, sometimes it is all i have to use.  like saturday, for instance, we went to the nick's storytime live play at raleigh memorial auditorium.  said "no cameras" so i left mine in the car.  of coarse, everyone had (and used) cameras.  not sure what the rule was for.  anway, here is a shot of nathaniel and the kids before the show.

before that, i took a picture of the train table at tookie's toys.  this is what i want to do with our nilo table.  we are a long ways from having a train set this cool.... better start getting train kits!  :)

last, this morning, the kids woke at 8am after sleeping for 12 hours straight.  these pictures were of the video monitor about 7am, when they usually wake up.  it appeared as though they hadn't moved from when we put them down.  they went to sleep in the car, we took them upstairs, nathaniel PJed them, and then we moved them to the beds without them waking.  they were so pooped.  we went to a birthday party yesterday and well after the big day saturday too, they just were worn out from the weekend!  they are on hour 2 of nap right now...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5:31 am

for the past 5 or 6 mornings,  the first bird chirped at 5:31. s/he made 2 or 3 chirps and then the rest of the morning birds joined in. sort of like a band leader saying "one, two, three" and the rest of the band starting to play the music for him to sing. on monday morning, kendal was in the bed with us.  nathaniel was already gone to work by this point, so it was just kendal and me.  he was awake too and he said "mommie, birds awake!"  it took a lot of explaining for him to go back to sleep.  it wasn't light by any means - and no way was i letting him get up at 5:31 am for the day.

this morning, however, it was 5:34 when i heard the first chirp.  i wonder why the little bird slept in.  i was waiting for him!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

fun with the Bs

I had a lot of fun with one of my friends from stamp club and her family this past weekend at the old tobacco district in Durham.  Her boys (husband included) were precious.  Her youngest, who is a month older than holly, has the most adorable eyes - they are the perfect shade of blue especially paired with that blonde hair!  Her oldest one - well, he just liked to run and climb which is very appropriate for his age.   (He also had blue eyes and blonde hair - everyone knows i'm a sucker for blonde and blue!)  I am very happy with the pictures and I hope you are too, P!

Monday, May 10, 2010

10 days with daniel

after seeing all the fruit and veggie stands loaded with brightly colored produce (and a grill it with bobby flay episode today where they made grilled watermelon), i've decided that maybe the time has come for me to try the daniel fast. i've arbitrarily picked 10 days as my goal.

the daniel fast is basically a vegan diet except stricter.

Food That You Can Eat In The Daniel Diet:
All Whole Grains
All Legumes/ Beans
All Vegetables
All Fruits
All Nuts and Seeds
All quality Oil
Pure Water and Juice
Vinegar, Salt, Herbs and Spices

Food to Avoid in Daniel Diet:
All Dairy products
All Meat and Animal Products
All Deep Fried food
All Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes
All Leavened Bread
All Food Made By White flour
All Food containing preservatives or additives
All Caffeine, Carbonated and Alcohol Beverages
All Solid Fats
White rice

i don't eat much meat as it is.  i do eat sugar, so that will be tough to eliminate for 10 days.  i rarely eat bread or anything that isn't fresh/whole right out of the fridge or freezer.  will have to give up rice, which is one of my staples.  and, no butter.  :(  oh, no tea either.  no tea, coffee - nothing, except water.  i can make freshly squeezed fruit juice which i do all the time already.  oh, and no cheese or eggs.  whew, that one will be the hardest.  suppose i shall be buying a calcium supplement!

tofu = bad.  i'll be putting NO soy products into my diet during the fast - i consider soy an altered product since it is impossible to find GMO free. that's  my own add-in to the diet!

darn it, i left mark and amy's recipe book at their house... guess the internet will have to do for ideas! 

happy birthday to maggie

well it's 3 am and i can't sleep.  may as well update my blog, right?

2 weeks ago was mag's 10 year birthday.  mom and dad sang happy birthday to her and we've been talking about it ever since. this week she goes to the vet for her spring check-up, which i'm sure will be just fine.  she's healthy as an ox.  well, if she'd quit eating grass, anyway... that's the only thing that makes her sick.  why do dogs and cats do that, anyway? eat grass and puke?  lacy does it too (except it is one of my plants she eats and then pukes up...)

so yesterday at mom's for lunch, kendal was kissing on maggie so i tried to catch him doing it.  she kept kissing him back which he thinks is funny.  the lighting is bad and i was trying not to use the flash 100% (my camera has flash compensation, which means i can turn down the flash - i was trying NOT to give her the crazy green eyes).  i didn't actually catch the actual kiss, but i tried.  holly won't get close to her when she kisses, which is probably a good thing since she still gives open mouth kisses.  :)

next is outside play time - mags got some of the fresh-baked rolls mom had just pulled out of the oven.  she was "dancing" and you can see kendal dancing with her.  he held his hands up like her and would spin around. he didn't get a treat though.  his tricks were for free.  hahaha..

anyway, once we started eating lunch (which we did outside), maggie assumed her normal position beneath the kid's chairs.  she knows them too well... 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"cows, come see kendal!"

they not only looked, but one obliged him and actually came over to the fence!  how cool was that?  same thing happened yesterday with the horses but i didn't have my camera with me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

survey from amy

1. What's the last mistake you made? smoothie with blueberries:  too seedy for the kids. plus, it is purple which doesn't come out of the carpet.

2. Is the sun shining? yes! brightly.

3. Can you successfully blow up and tie a balloon?  yes!

4. Do you like text messaging? yes, i guess.  i'm kind of getting tired of it though.

5. What do you eat the most at your best friend’s house?  well, i live with my best friend.  so, we eat pretty much everything together.  lots of quesadillas and eggs and macaroni and cheese.  (not together).

7. Are you wearing any make-up right now?  Nope, rarely do anyway.

8. What are your plans for later?  picnic at the botanical gardens, nap, to mamaws to drop off the kids, then date night with my "best friend"

9. What is your favorite DDR song?
I have no clue who or what DDR is.

10. Is there any drama within your life?
never,  i repel drama.

11. What is a song they need to stop playing on the radio?
i don't know. i listen to xm so i pick the station i like and they play ALL the music i like.

12. Are you happy with life right now?  yes, and if i weren't it'd be my own fault.

13. Does anyone like you? my kids always love me, and other people do too i guess.

14. What is your current obsession?  organic food, photography

15. Do you have a dog?  no way.

16. Ever been kissed under mistletoe? yes

17. Would you ever smile at a stranger?  always do!

18. Ever pulled your pants down in the street? actually yes, and it was between two parallel parked cars and i peed. 

19. Do your toenails have nail polish on them?  yes but they need new, so do holly's!

20. When's the last time you wore eyeliner? never.  my eyes aren't dark enough for it.

21. Last curse word you said was? ass

22. Are your lips chapped? no thanks to tahitian noni's lipgloss

23. Are you currently jealous? never

24. Do you own an ipod? for what?  to give to my kids to dismantle?

25. Did you have a dream last night?
i didnt' sleep last night.

26. Are you mad at anyone? no

27. Who is the loudest person you know?  KENDAL

28. What's going on this weekend? shooting photos for two families tomorrow and then mothers' day celebrations on sunday!

29. Done any spring cleaning lately? need to...

30. Anything bothering you? nope

31. Do you do cheerleading? i'm always cheering for something.  potty, eating peas, you name it.  mothers are glorified cheerleaders.

32. Did you wish for anything last night on 11:11? sleep?

33. Do you drink coffee on a regular basis? no

34. Do you wish you were someone else? no

35. What jewelry are you wearing? wedding band.

36. Funniest thing that happened last night?  holly getting stuck under the puzzles.

38. Are you easily amused? with my kids, yes.  with other things, no.

39. Can you lick your elbow?  no

40. Do you know this song, "we stay fly no lie you know this"?  that makes no sense.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

catch me, daddy!

just some fun playing with my camera - holly reaped the benefits as she loves being thrown in the air.

Guest Blogger - Where's Honey???

Introducing my friend, "T".  This TRUE story about her and her fiance, "M", who do a lot of sailing in Eastern NC.  They have a Chihuahua named "Honey" who always goes with them.   -Analee

Our "vacation" turned into a nightmare.  On the second night out, the engine quit right in the worst possible spot in the Neuse River so we bobbed up and down all night long.  We got towed in to Oriental the next day and it took all day for "M" and a friend of his who lives there to make repairs.  We had planned to head to Wilmington but that day messed us up so we went to Cape Lookout.  But as soon as we got there, we had a new problem.  The engine was overheating so we couldn't use it anymore.  So the rest of our trip was under full sail (which "M" loves, but it makes for a lot of heeling over.....which makes me feel a little on the sick side).  Then the kicker........the dog went overboard.  

We had been under high seas (which she doesn't like) coming in from Lookout but we had returned to calm water and just after we went under the highrise bridge in Beaufort, we realized Honey was not onboard.  She couldn't have been gone more than two minutes before we realized she was missing.  She didn't have her life jacket on because she had been down below with me and she has never offered to jump in the 4 years she has been on the boat.  With no engine, we were limited on how far we could look but we turned around and used the sails and anchored right in the middle of the channel thinking she would eventually drift or swim towards us since the wind and tides were pushing our way.  But we looked for over an hour and there was just no sign of her anywhere.  

I called the coast guard but they don't rescue animals so I gave them our contact information just in case someone found her and called.  I called the local shelters and authorities as well.  So we cried and sailed all day and into the night and figured she had drowned even though we know she is a strong swimmer.  I was upset because we had left the area but with no engine and needing the winds to get us home he said we had no choice.  What an awful feeling and day that turned out to be.  

BUT........later that night, the coast guard called and said someone had rescued her from the water and she was with a lady who is involved with animal rescue and fostering pets.  The guy who found her said she had swam against the tide and wind and was in the 60 ft. deep turn basin between Morehead City and Beaufort struggling to stay above water.   At that point, we couldn't sail back to Morehead with the winds pushing us away and towards home and we knew they were going to shift 48 hours later and it would take us that long to sail home with no engine.  The foster home kept her for 3 days until we could get ourselves home and rent a car to go get her.    We wanted thank him but we just weren't in a position to offer any money other than their expenses incurred.  But we were so grateful for their help.  It's like the guy was just in the right place at the right time on the right day. 

Some vacation huh?   But at least it ended well and we have Honey back.  You can believe she will have her life jacket and ID tags on anytime she is on the boat from now on.    We finally got the overheating problem fixed last weekend and went out for the day.  I figured she'd be scared but it was as if nothing had ever happened!

Analee's Wish List

yesterday, nathaniel said "i have to get you something for mother's day" at which point i said "a new lens?" and then he said something along the lines of he wouldn't know where to start or what he was looking at/for, etc.  in case you were wondering, my power of suggestion (for gifts) typically doesn't work for him.  for example, i asked for a side-by-side double stroller for about 3 holidays before we actually got one.  and yes, nathaniel, i know you're reading this and i'm not trying to "suggest" now.  it is a list for me too, so i can keep up with what i want!

so, without further ado, a post about what i want for my camera.  not that i'll ever get any of it.  camera accessories are expensive and, well, i don't have a job.  so, the more pictures of YOU i can take, then the more money i can SAVE and thus BUY things like these.  these lenses (and accessories) will improve my photo quality.

this list is not in order.


2.  i really want this fisheye lens - but i suppose in the spirit of saving money, these filters will be ok (though they are hardly a replacement).

3. 85mm lens like this one with an f/1.8.  i would prefer one with 1.4, but we're talking like almost TRIPLE the price for that tiny bit of [aperture] ratio. so, um, i guess if someone would say "hey, spend $1400 for me", i'd take this one.

4. yea, so this one is for when i make it "big."  i suppose i can always dream.  i know i have lenses that already cover this "zoom" range, but what makes this one different, again, is the f/2.8.  my lenses are f/3.5-5.6 which means i need more light.

5. a flash

6.  a high-performance card

7. a remote for the shutter...
8. a nice tripod.
9. a 35mm prime lens

oh, a girl can dream, right?  oh wait.  next i'll be wanting an updated camera.  don't worry.  my "next" camera will be compatible with all these things!  :)  i'll definitely upgrade with another nikon! 

holly's potty accomplishment

i know this seems trivial but in our house, we have to celebrate every little potty moment, as i'm sure it is in most houses with two toddlers.

this morning, just moments ago, i gave holly her toothbrush.  i had to pee, so i sat on the toilet and so she also sat on her potty.  she looked at me, grunted, and then got up and kept brushing her teeth.  the girl pooped!  in her diaper, but, she was sitting on her potty when she did it.  i think it was an accident, but she got lots of praise.  i wish she liked stickers.  i think candy (chocolate) would work for her since she likes it (kendal doesn't like candy).  maybe i'll have to buy some just for her.  i wish they made m&ms without food dyes... it is really "slim pickins" when it comes to candy like that when you choose not to eat foods laden with poison. 

speaking of candy-like substances, this morning i made yogurt smoothies for us (after the kids ate a smaller portion of their regular breakfast) but today i used raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries (frozen).  they did not like it.  it was very seedy, and i could tell with one swig that kendal was turned off by it and i'd say with confidence it was because of the texture - but i was proud of him for trying it (so i gave him more fruitful o's).  holly gave it several swallows (she probably drank 1/2 cup of it) before she just couldn't take anymore of it.  i thought the flavor was delish and the color was really pretty (almost like a neon purple- mine was more magenta than the one in the picture since i had the red fruits in there too), but i have to say that i was also kinda turned off by the seeds.  i'll have to figure out a way to de-seed before drinking.  and, before it thaws.  anyone know the trick to that?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

before and after

i had a friend ask me if i could touch up some of her pet pictures - she was having trouble with eye reflection for both a dog and a cat. 
i gave it my best shot - just so you know, "red eye" correction doesn't work for pets.  their eyes reflect green.  it was not as easy as i thought and actually became an art project to correct.

so, here are my before and afters... (remember, these are her pictures, not mine...)

the first one: by the way, i love a brindle colored dog.  he looks like the rock "gneiss".  if he was mine, his name would be gneiss.  his or her. whatever.  gneiss would be the name.  :)
that was the first one i did. not only were his pupils green, but his acual cornea was red (blood shot?).  the end result was pupils that were a little too black, but it was hard to get it otherwise.  eh, it was my first try.  i was learning.

so, here is #2.

what a gneiss dog, isn't he cute with that underbite?  this one was a little better.  i was more "experienced" i guess.  haha.

this last one was the doozie.  cats pupils aren't round, they are more oval/elongated.  i learned a lot about changing the shape of my "brush" in photoshop.  oh, and of coarse i know more and more about layers...

i thought the cat turned out ok.  his/her eyes are black, but i looked up other pictures of cats online and their eyes are black like that too.

if you've ever had that problem,  i guess the only things you can do to avoid that is to #1 not use a flash (at all) or #2 use a directional flash (so that you aren't flashing directly into their eyes).  you'd have to have a (d)SLR with an auxiliary flash for this option.  remember, you'll never get reflections (red eye, green eye) using natural light (no flash)!!!  natural is always the best option.  if it is darker out, use a tripod and slow down that shutter!


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