Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pictures Pictures Everywhere!

I have photo albums dedicated solely to each kid. They are the size where four pictures are visible when the pages are open and I have it laid out so each open page (4 pictures) holds a month in the life of that child. Nola's is all in sepia, Logan's is black and white.
What usually happens is that I work really hard on keeping up with these albums for a few months... then nothing. I honestly can't remember when I last worked on their albums. I have to go back through pictures, narrow an entire month down to 4 pictures each, then move them to Photoshop to crop and edit, upload them to Shutterfly or Snapfish, and then order them and wait for the mail to come...
The way it's been going for over a year now is that I wait until I get one of those wonderful coupon emails from a photo-upload site that offers a really good deal on prints. I was JUST thinking about the kids' albums the other day, and damned if I ALMOST didn't start the selection process. But of course I put it off. Then I received an email coupon for 50 free prints which expires in a week or less. So now I have to find the time to get through this whole process ASAP so I can get the 50 free deal!

And Shutterfly decided to surprise me the same day with a free 8x8, 20 page hardback photo book coupon! This one expires in three days! And I have no idea what to create a book of.... Last time I received this offer I complied a bunch of my black and white photos and just made a book. I don't need to do that again because it just sits somewhere, not even sure where it is.... So I was thinking about trying to make a story book for the kids. Either with pictures or my drawings. But I have to really get on top of this idea and get moving... I only have THREE DAYS!

And on top of that I've started another photo project (so far it's mostly just in my mind). My sister Cayce is, and has been, making a quilt for me from Nola's baby clothes. It's technically for Nola but I may not let her touch it until she's grown. So my plan... I always seem to have a plan... is to get pictures of Nola in all the clothes, or outfits, that have gone into the quilt. Then I would like to make a photo book, in digital scrapbook style, of baby Nola wearing the clothes with the quilt squares as the backgrounds and frames. And of course pictures of the actual quilt... and maybe Cayce quilting it. I want it to be a really good memory book. In order to do this I have to really pull out the archives and sift through thousands of digital jpegs to find the outfits and pieces of clothing. It will be a ton of work. Plus I have to photograph the quilt squares and turn them into digital scrapbook papers and frames. It may be an ongoing project for quite some time! But I know it will be worth it in the end.
What I picture is me handing a large, beautifully wrapped box over to my pregnant daughter someday. She opens it and sees the quilt that was put together from her own baby clothes that she can now pass on to her own daughter. We can look through the book that shows her wearing all the different squares at all the stages of her early life. I see smiles, memories, tears... yep, it will all be worth it.
(if she has only boys... well then I'll just give it to her to pass down to her own first granddaughter) Memories here, people! We're making memories!

So, needless to say I have lots of photo-related jobs ahead of me, two of which I should be working on RIGHT NOW! So I'mma get to it!

Oh! Here is a picture of the quilt, not put together, just laid out:

Friday, August 27, 2010

FotoFriday - 8.27.10

On our go-nowhere-far-away vacation this year we went to the St. Louis Zoo twice. Once in the morning and did one half of the Zoo, the second time in the later afternoon and covered the parts we missed the first time. The second time I was much more entertained. The animals are always the same, mostly. But the people are what really fascinate me. So if you were expecting a Friday post of animals, and probably thinking to yourself "oh goody goody, more animals", never fear, I have something much better today!

This guy was not only interesting in his style and dress, but he was camped out outside the penguin exhibit (which smells like a seafood restaurant baked in the sunshine) and sleeping on the bench with his mouth hanging wide open. I have no idea if he was there with a group, or alone for the adventure. But he obviously paused for some much needed rest.

I do have to say... this dude was only the runner up for the highlight of my trip. Apparently it was also Amish Day at the Zoo.... and the Amish completely, absolutely, fascinate me. It's like a hole in the space time continuum ripped open at the Zoo and out walked a slice of history. I had to make myself stop staring. And all I wanted to do was take pictures of them. But unlike Mr. Sleepy Pants, they weren't passed out on park benches for my picture taking pleasure... so I thought it might be slightly offensive. I did try to sneak a few shots but they didn't turn out very good...

I hope you enjoyed this FotoFriday. Be back next week with something even better, I hope. (Although what will really top this dude?)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It Went Well...

The party's over. But it went really well. We've had several really fun days with the boy's birthdays, Kirk's vacation and the party.

Thursday was Logan's actual birthday. We woke up and sang happy birthday a few times. Then I made chocolate pancakes (that's Bisquick + hot cocoa powder) in the shape of smiley faces with banana accents. Here's Big Two enjoying his 'cupcakes', which is what he calls pancakes.

Look how long those legs are! Much longer than a two year old needs in my opinion...

Then we let him open some toys - a 50 pack of army men plus tanks and accessories, and a little motorcycle with two little guys. He loved them! Loved them! Thank you Walgreens!

We played for a while then headed to Chuck E. Cheese for the afternoon. Over all it was a good birthday for little man.

Friday was Big Man's birthday. He had gone out the night before to celebrate grown up style with the boys, so when he came home his gifts were waiting in the living room. The kids were really excited for him to open his presents since they helped me pick them out this year. And kudos to Nola for not spilling the beans for almost an entire week!
His first present was the Perfect PushUp. (as seen on TV) He's been all about working out. We've lost him to P90X, we're in week four I think... So I knew he's love this gift. And he did.

The second gift was his real present, which the kids did actually help me pick out. A new Fire Pit! He loves to burn things and our old fire pit is about five years old and completely junked out. It's a shallow bowl type which is now warped and rusted... just old. The new one is a deep cauldron style with a cute criss cross design on the side. More room to burn stuff, looks nicer and will probably last longer.

He loved it. Then it rained all day.... oh well.

Saturday was the party. It started at 3 and I was barely ready. I felt like I was making decisions all day just to get to three o'clock. Shower, or no shower? Shower and wash hair, or shower and not wash hair. Kid's bath before lunch or after? Make up? What to wear? Ice cakes before shower and make up? Some how it all managed to work itself out... even though I was still icing cakes when the first guests arrived. But I was showered, hair done AND make up on. So at least I was presentable while running around like a chicken with it's head cut off...

People came and we gathered outside (Logan still taking his nap for the first hour of the party). Eventually he woke up and we grilled some hotdogs. All the kids got to eat on their ZOO PALS!

We hung out in the back part of the yard where the shade of the pecan tree made it much cooler. There's Kirk in the background putting together his new fire pit.

After some pool, some grub, some playing and chatting we came inside for gifts and cake!

Kirk and Logan, matching in their camo shorts and wife-beater shirts, ready for presents.

Logan loved all his gifts! He was a good opener, and not easily agitated by the two assistants he had (Nola and Allyson). The grown ups were the ones yelling for all the other kids to get out of the way so we could all take pictures... I guess it's just always that way.

After presents we moved onto cake and ice cream.
Going back in time, here are the un-iced cakes, ready to be turned into Zoo Pals

I chose to go with Punky the Monkey and Shelly the Turtle. Here are the results:

I'm very aware that Punky looks more like a bear than a monkey... But I had all of fifteen minutes to whip these suckers out... that left little time for careful details and a slow steady hand. Shelly was all I got done in those 15 min. Then I was doing Punky with an audience and I really just wanted to be done so I could visit... I rushed him a bit.

Logan was asleep for all this so it was a surprise to him when I brought out the two cakes... and he made all the rushing and mistakes okay by exclaiming, "Zoo Pal Cakes!" He didn't care if Punky was a Bear or a Monkey... he just wanted to eat him!

And as the question was being asked around the room, "Turtle or Monkey?" everyone else seemed to enjoy them too. After cake we went back outside for more playing, visiting and pool. When there were the chosen few left behind (kidding, it was just the last people there) we roasted marshmallows on the new fire pit, chased lightning bugs, drank some wine... We wrapped it all up by 8:30. It was really fun. I'm glad we had the party here and I'm SO GLAD that Mother Nature cooperated and took away all the rain that was in the forecast.

Now I'm ready to plan a grown up get together in the yard ... no kids allowed! (But I can still make animal cakes!)

FotoFriday - 8.20.10

I know, I know... it's a shot of the kid. And it's two days late. But I was very busy this past week since it was the boys' birthday week and we had activities and a party to plan... excuses excuses... blah blah blah. But this isn't your typical shot of a three year old. Although I think it is a typical pose for a three year old. I remember hanging my head off the edge of the couch with my feet up on the wall until I felt like my eyes would pop... just because it was a different sensation. And hey - check out those abs! Would you not kill for those? My three year old has a six pack... boy is her father jealous.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two Years Ago Today...

I would like to say that my baby is turning two today, but the truth of the matter is that he's been no where near a baby for some time now. He walks, he talks, he counts, he argues with me, he says the word 'actually'. Babies don't answer a question with, "No. Actually.... Yes!" Babies don't climb into their own car seats. Babies don't wear size 9 shoes. My baby is growing up. Happy Birthday Baby Logan.

After searching through the archives of this blog, looking for some sort of birth story from last year, I realized that I never wrote one. Not even anything about Logan's first birthday. So I looked back to August of 2008 for a post from when he was born and all I found were a few pictures. No story. What a bad mommy/blogger I am! So here goes.... geez, I hope I can remember.

It was two years ago today that we woke up before the sun to drive to the hospital. I had waited and waited for those labor pains, those contractions, that water to break. I waited in vein. After my emergency c-section with Nola I was bound and determined to not have a repeat c-section with baby number 2. The term is VBAC - you can look it up if you want. But in this scenario they (the doctors) get a little nervous if you go too far into your pregnancy or you appear to be having a rather large child. My OB scheduled my repeat c-section for the week after my due date. But as the dates got closer the measurements got bigger and she pushed me to up the date. I did. So it was to happen a week before my due date (I think, the dates were really wacky with this kid, they kept changing my due date... it was complicated) unless I went into labor on my own. I never did.

So with Nola safely at Grandma's house we woke up in the dark to drive to St. Luke's, a hospital we were unfamiliar with (my OB was at MO Baptist and my ultrasounds were all at St. John's - does this pregnancy sound confusing to you yet? it was!). Basically, we got lost. Kirk was driving, it was dark, he was sleepy and they decided to redo Highway 40/64 during my pregnancy to screw with him. Construction, a wrong turn this way, an inability to stop and figure things out... and we were late to the hospital to have our son. I was freaking out in the car... because I HATE to be late to anything, especially something so important as the end of my pregnancy and the birth of my child. I was almost panicking when Kirk tells me, "Just calm down, they obviously can't start until we get there..." He was right.

We arrived late and come to find out my OB, who was also traveling to a hospital she didn't normally go to, was even later than we were. We were there for quite a while actually, and she was still a no-show. The nurses asked me if she knew she was supposed to come to this hospital... As if I needed the added responsibility of keeping up with my doctor while worrying about being cut open in the very near future... Eventually she showed up with some valid reason. And the games began. They got Kirk into scrubs, and prepped me. Off we wheeled into the OR. It was such a strange and unwanted change from the last c-section. With Nola, it was an Emergency. Capital E emergency. It was fast, it was quick, there was no chit chat, no moments to contemplate the surgical knives, the bright lights, the cold OR... I was rushed in, baby out, bing bang boom, here's your daughter. This time it was s-l-o-w....

There was no rush, no hurry. The nurses all took their time to explain everything to me, to show me things I didn't want to see. My doctor was very chitty chatty, apparently while sitting in traffic she had a few cups of coffee (which I would have killed for at that moment because I'd had no sleep). I remember worrying about Kirk. Worrying about the baby. Wishing it would all go faster. They sat me up to give me the epidural and had me lean into Kirk. I was so cold that I don't even remember it hurting. That OR was freezing, especially when you're basically naked. And then they told me that I had to speak the words out loud that I was there for a c-section. The nurse was telling me that my doctor would be asking me, "What operation are we doing today?" and that the correct answer was, "I'm here to have a c-section." They told me this twice. Apparently there have been mix ups where doctors have preformed the incorrect surgeries on patients so it has become policy to have the patient speak it outloud so there is no question... I must say, a real confidence booster in the medical profession, again, while naked and numb from the mid-section down... Like I could get up and walk away now? Anyway... so several other things were said and preparations done.

The my OB says to me something like, "Are we here to have this baby?" and my response was something along the lines of, "Ready when you are..." She says, "So, how are we going to do this?" To which I replied, "Quickly?" They all looked at me like I was a damn fool... And one of the nurses said, "You're supposed to say you're here for a c-section..." Oh yeah! The question you already told me the answer to, twice... Well, she asked the question wrong... and I'm NAKED here people... Cold, naked, and cold... and naked... get on with it already! So I said it.

I remember getting very nauseous. And they gave me some medicine for that in my IV which was hot in my veins. But the nausea went away rather quickly... Oh, I love you IV. And then the party got started. Surgery while you're awake is a very awkward thing. You're looking at the person who is cutting you open... the top of their head anyway. They glance over at you from time to time and smile... just keep your eyes on your work! I could feel pressure of touch but no pain. Amazing epidural. I love you epidural. But... you can however smell the cauterization of your flesh. Yep... I said it... it ain't pretty. And... when it comes time to actually get the little monster out... well, that's not pretty either.

Some one is reaching into you to pull out someone else. Just think on that one for a second... There's only so much room in there. So your organs get a little pushed around. The pressure on your stomach and your lungs is a lot to take. And if you're a breath-holder like I am then you basically feel like you will be passing out the whole time. The nurses kept telling me to breathe. And I'm glad they did because I didn't until each time they told me to. I tend to just hold my breath and tense up in physical situations. But then, the pressure was removed. The weight lifted. And that momentarily felt almost as bad. It was a very strange and empty feeling. But it passed quickly and was replaced by the urgency to know if the baby was okay.

The doctor handed him to the nurse and up in the air he went. And out came his cry. Man did that kid cry! It was loud and long and alive. I briefly saw him before they took him into a side room to check him out. Kirk went too. I just laid there and cried as I took deep breaths.

Then my doctor said to me, "I think you made a REALLY good decision to go with the c-section!"
"Why? Is he really big?" They hadn't officially weighed him yet so I didn't know.
"Well, he looks normal sized, but man, he has a BIG head! That would have hurt!"

And he did. He does. My big headed baby boy! He was eight pounds, one ounce. And all head. He was really skinny and really long. He looked a little like an alien. He had long fingers and long toes. And I kept thinking to myself, 'That means he's going to be really big...' and then I remembered that's what they say about dogs, not babies! Kirk said he looked like Uncle Pauly from the Rocky movies... and he did, in those first few days when babies are all wrinkled and look like the elderly. But he was beautiful. He was born.

And now he's two. Even though he claims he's three. (He refuses to accept the fact that he's two and keeps telling me: No, my two! My thfree, like No-ah!) Sibling solidarity, whadda ya gonna do? I guess he'll just think he's three. People might believe him, he's still huge. Maybe we can get him into kindergarten early!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birthday Boys

Coming Soon!

Logan will be TWO on Thursday!
My tiny baby (okay, he's a giant baby) will be a little boy soon. I've been told that he hasn't been a baby for a long time now, but I refuse to accept this bit of information for fear that once I accept the fact that he isn't a baby I may, just maybe, just might, have thoughts of having another one.... Yep I said it. Another baby.
But don't go freaking out yet... there is no way we are having another baby. It has been decided, officially, that we are done. The baby machine is shut down. I just think I would have to entertain thoughts about having more babies (or just one more baby), while knowing it wouldn't happen. Maybe this is why the youngest child in a family gets to be babied much longer than necessary - mothers have to hold onto that feeling that they have a baby in order to squelch the desires to have more. It's mental birth control.

Logan is head over heal crazy about this one particular commercial on television. Zoo Pals. They are paper plates made by Hefty. Simple, and admittedly flimsy, paper plates with animal faces on them. The song is catchy and the commercial is very colorful. So what's a mom to do? Have a Zoo Pals party! I have the cups, I have the plates. I have plans to make balloons to look like them (balloons + sharpies = animal faces on balloons). I also plan to make not one, but two cakes in the shapes of Zoo Pals (which would be a circular pan plus two cupcakes for the ears or feet). Other than that - well, he's two - he won't care. So I will make sure to take lots of pictures of all my little crafty plans. Oink Oink Zoo Pals! Hoot Hoot Zoo Pals! Ribbit Ribbit Zoo Pals! Zoo Pals Make Eating FUN!

Also Coming Soon!

Kirk gets old! Well, as old as me anyway. He is nine months younger than I am so this is the time of year I look forward to. I have 3 whole months where he can't get away with calling me Older, or his Old Lady... yuk! Kirk's birthday is the day after Logan's. I plan on making him enchiladas that day (one of his favorites) and giving him his gift. I would tell you all what I got him because I think Hell would freeze over before he sat down to actually read my blog... but as soon as I posted it Destiny would think she was funny and he'd peek. So you'll have to wait until Friday... But it's a good one, for him anyway.

And Kirk is on vacation this whole week. So far our plans are to get out and do something every other day or so (if it were up to Kirk he's spend every waking hour laying on the couch).
Today: Zoo,
Tuesday: home
Wednesday: Shopping at the Mills, errands, etc.
Thursday: Chuck E Cheese (Logan's Birthday)
Friday: Home, Errands, etc. (Kirk's Birthday)
Saturday: Logan's Partay!
Sunday: Home, clean up, recovery
Monday: Grant's Farm
Tuesday: Home
Wednesday: Logan's two year check up

Well - I guess I'd better get ready for the Zoo....

Friday, August 13, 2010

FotoFriday - 8.13.10

Well - today is FotoFriday! And guess what? I forgot... So I looked through my camera, and found nothing. I looked through the past month or so's pictures on the computer... still nothing. I was busy today with house stuff and Kirk was working all day so I also didn't have an opportunity to shoot anything new (unless Logan throwing all his crayons down the vent is FotoFriday worthy... no, it's not). So I decided to pick a few of my favorites from the old blog, A Cup of Black & White, that no longer exists... These aren't my all time top favorite five, just the first five I ran across that were favorites.

Nola Playing

Bamboo Fruit Still Life

Rose Bud, or Baby Thorns

Snack Time


Since the photo blog is what inspired me to start the whole FotoFriday thing in the first place, I don't consider it cheating too much to recycle some oldies but goodies. Let's think of it more as a tribute to the old blog, may it rest in peace.

But I really will try to be on top of things next week.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tom-Ickles (or Pick-Ah-Toes)

Or Pickled Maters.
All names will work.

I have these super cute, teeny tiny, currant tomatoes in my garden.

Here they are in my hand, so you can see how small they really are... and isn't the way they ripen pretty? In a rainbow almost.

I had so many green ones on the plant, which seemed to be dying off, and I didn't want them to go to waste. So I looked up a recipe for pickled green cherry tomatoes.... supposedly they will taste like pickles. Here is the recipe that I roughly followed. First I gathered and washed all the green ones, and some yellow and orange ones, too.

Then packed them into the jars with some garlic, onion, a hot pepper, and pickling spices.

Then poured the brine (cider vinegar and kosher salt, boiling) into the jars to cover the tomatoes.

And here we have jars of pickled currant tomatoes.... They're now in the refrigerator for at least two weeks... I can't wait! I hope they don't taste horrible. I'm not sure what I will do with them other than eat them straight out of the jar... but who cares. It was fun to do.

They've been in for a week now - only one week to go before the tasting.... will let you know if they turned out okay.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Cup of Black & White

I used to have a photo blog. It no longer exists. It was called A Cup of Black & White. I did a 365 photo project where I was supposed to post a photo a day. I almost made it through the year... but I don't think anyone really looked at it. And I'm not sure anyone really looks at this one either... but... I miss my photo blog. It motivated me to take pictures. Not just pictures of the kids and the plants and what not... but pictures with a photographic eye. Fotos.

So I may start a new blog... NO! I'm kidding. Enough is enough. But I may start posting a few more photos here on this blog. I just now (this very second) decided that I will in fact post pictures here with some regularity. I will start a Foto Friday. So on Fridays I will post some pictures. And not the regular snap shotty type if I can help it. But don't judge me if I end up posting pics of the kids... sometimes they are the only things I can get my camera on in a week. But I do think I will try to motivate myself to take more pictures... so, this is my plan.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Rainbow of Fruit Flavors

Tomatoes are fruit. We all know this. But so are peppers and okra as well! So apparently I don't have a vegetable garden this year but a fruit garden! And here is a wonderful fruit salad I made the other day.

Chocolate Cherry tomatoes (purple ones), Snow White Cherries (yellow ones), Red Currant tomatoes, and Red Baby Bells (the peppers). All these colorful fruits came from my garden and went into my belly!

Here they are all washed an in a bowl

The I chopped up some avocado (also a fruit) and some lettuce (the lone veggie in my salad) and piled my halved maters and chopped peppers on top. A little oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and OH YEAH - yummy fruit (and lettuce) salad!

I'm going to try some pickling soon... first time ever, wish me luck. I will be pickling some green tomatoes. The tiny currants and small cherries... supposedly they will taste like pickles. I will let you know how that turns out (process to be done soon, final tasting will be in a few weeks).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Venice Triptych Part 4

Yesterday Kirk took the kids to his Mom's house all day! So after some Target and St. Louis Bread Co. I painted for the entire rest of the day. It was awesome! Unfortunately I have little to show for my efforts other than a few windows, a brick wall and a sore shoulder. I only worked on Panel 2: Waterway. It was the least worked painting in the set.

Here is my progress so far:

At this rate this is gonna be one hellofa Christmas present!