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February 2008
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March 2008

Snippets: our day

This morning, we have cereal for breakfast. R and I have Special K. V has Kix. This is the second box of Kix I've ever bought for her. The first one was long enough ago that she doesn't remember it. She loves the Kix. She picks them up one at a time and eats them saying, "I see a Kick!"

***

Last winter, V and I each got sick six times from January to March. This year, I've kept us home a lot. Neither of us has been sick, which is wonderful, but now V is afraid of all other kids. Last week I took her to the little inside playground at the mall. We got there right when it opened and stayed half an hour - until she started getting uncomfortable as the kidlets poured in. She wouldn't slide down the slide even once because other kids were there, and my natural-born climber needed help climbing up into the little red car they have. Today we were going to go to the park, but rain was threatening so we went back to the mall. She still avoided/ran away from the kids but she managed to slide several times, and she climbed up into that car on her first try, no trouble at all. I love progress.

***

After dinner, R drove back down to Georgia, where he'll be most of the week. I've been relatively ok with his absence, but as he was leaving he told me he loved me and I couldn't say it back immediately because I didn't want to cry and make him sad. V sort of understands what it means when we say he's going to Georgia, to work, and will be back in a few days. She hugged him hard, but she's ok. I know that over the next few days, she'll mention him often, like she did last week, and that when we video call on Skype (love Skype!), he'll give her "kisses" and she will squeal and laugh as though he were actually in the room.


I love the Sunsphere

I went to the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, TN, with a church group. That was the only time I'd been to Knoxville before I moved here. I know that many, many people have made fun of the Sunsphere, but I love it. I'm so glad they've fixed it up and opened it to the public. The view from inside the Sunsphere is quite nice too. V loved it - she ran around and around the circle of the sphere.

v Sunsphere 108

Sunsphere Flare!

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Happy Easter!


Sunsphere/tutorial

So, yeah, we did go to the Sunsphere today. Supercool, I must say.

Just now I saw a great little Photoshop tutorial on the Phaunt Actions blog. So I tried it out really quickly on a photo I took today. I had been looking at the picture knowing that I did not have a clue how to bring the sky out more to see the great clouds, but not make the Sunsphere part of the photo too dark. I need to work on my technique more (R is waiting on me to watch No Country for Old Men, so I gotta go!), but I thought I'd share the results. So go watch the tutorial and try it yourself - and if you do, let me know how it goes! Kylie has a great blog and I always learn a lot from her tutorials. She has also started Phaunt Forum, which I'm really excited about - I just haven't found the time to participate in any photography/Photoshop forums yet. I know I'm missing out, but I'll get there eventually.

Before

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After

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Happy happy

V & Donald 1

Happy Easter weekend. R is off today and this weekend, so life is good. The next two weeks are going to be rough on all of us - R is going out of town for a good 10 days - but hopefully in that time we'll have some good news about where we will be moving. Fingers crossed.

I found this post through Parent Hacks and it's something I'm definitely going to do. V loves to put stuff on her food - to shake whatever we'll let her shake, to pour ketchup or syrup. Most of the time we have to stop her long before she thinks she's had enough. Shaking ground flaxseeds on her oatmeal will thrill her little heart.

This morning we went to IHOP for brunch - really yummy omelet! And after naptime, we're going to see the Sunsphere. Definitely taking my camera ...


Through the viewfinder

rocking horse ttv

My new fun thing - through the viewfinder photography. I saw this post the other day and just loved the photo. I assumed it was something she had done in Photoshop, but I was so very wrong! TTV is taking a picture with two cameras - an old one, like the Kodak Duaflex II I just got on ebay (not at all expensive), and a new one. Then you can make a contraption (see what one looks like here) to help you shoot a photo with the new camera through the lens of the old one.

I haven't made a contraption yet, but I had to try it out. I want to use it with my point and shoot, for ease of transport. I know I could clean my Duaflex - and maybe sometime I will - but I just love the dirt and grime on the lens.

I think this could be addictive...


Obvious tips, I know

A while back, I posted some writing tips because my friend Shelli tagged me. I'm finally getting around to coming up with my three photography tips that I said I'd share.

It's not difficult to find an overwhelming amount of photography tips out there, so rather than focus on the technical stuff that I don't know nearly enough about, I thought I'd try to come up with more practical advice for taking pictures of kids.

  1. Give them something to hold, especially when they're younger. Whenever I take my daughter out for a walk at the park and think I'm going to get lovely pictures, I get about five photos of her looking cute and about 257 of her looking at the ground, where all the fun stuff is! Taking a ball or cute toy or picking something interesting up off the ground for her to hold at least gives me a chance that I'll get a shot of her face.
  2. Don't let your significant other wear a hat or sunglasses if you plan to take pictures of him with your kid. I know it's a pain in the butt for him, but marks on R's forehead and face from his cap and sunglasses ruin my pictures! Or worse yet, he'll want to leave them on because now that the marks are there, it doesn't matter anyway. And then he's all bright orange because we live in Tennessee.
  3. Wipe her face off! I cannot tell you how many photos I've shot that I thought were just perfect. Oh the excitement! Then I download the photos and open that perfect one in Photoshop and see the remnants of snack time. Grrrrrrrrr...foiled again!

Obvious tips, I know, but I still forget sometimes. What are your best tips? Please share!


A public service message

I was about 8 years old when my neighborhood friends, Laura and Sarah, got sick of all the cars speeding down our block. They were twins and two years older than I, so they pretty much ganged up on me and I pretty much did what they said until the day I got so fed up that I cracked a stick over Laura's (Sarah's?!) head.

So one day after a particularly speedy racer drove by, we came up with a public service message to be delivered to anyone who passed. The plan was for my younger brother to lie in the middle of the street with his bicycle beside him, as if he had just fallen. Then Laura, Sarah and I would wait on the side of the road for a car. As the car neared, we were to walk out into the street and hold our hands up to signal the driver to stop. Then we were to sing Stop! in the name of us, before you kill our friend! a la The Supremes.

Once the car had stopped and we had sung our piece, Sarah planned to walk over to the driver's window and give a little prepared speech about the Very Serious Dangers of Speeding Down a Residential Street and how all the kids on the block would appreciate it if they would just slow down when driving through. Then we would carefully help B up and walk him to safety.

If that went over well, we were going to work on some flyers to pass out too.

We practiced a lot when there was no traffic.

The problem was B didn't want to lie in the street when a car was coming. And I didn't really want to explain to my mother how I got my little brother run over. And then our song didn't really make sense without him. And we couldn't come up with a better song.

And really, we were just chicken.


Clinton, TN

Yesterday afternoon we were feeling a bit stir crazy, so we jumped in the car and drove out to Clinton, TN. Clinton is about half an hour from Knoxville and V waited until we got there before she started screaming her head off. So I did the best I could and didn't get to explore like I would've liked. I'm starting to wonder if V gets car sick sitting in the back seat like I do.

Clinton is an interesting town. There are only about 10,000 residents, yet the whole area is hopping. Clinton is the place to be if you want to go antiquing (including one shop called Antique Heaven). I saw at least six antique shops there. It's a little more spread out than some of the other towns I've visited recently, and it looks like there are some newer buildings mixed in with the old. But the old buildings are certainly lovely.

v trip to clinton 151 crop

I'll bet that getting those air conditioners in there was no mean feat.

v trip to clinton 067

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There were so many cool houses, it was hard to decide which streets to drive down.

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One of my favorite houses - I love the roof and it has all these crazy angles.

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I'm sorry I didn't really get to drive around Clinton enough, but I'm glad I got to see it. I got a lot more pictures, I just haven't had time to go through them.

My honey comes home early tomorrow evening. Halelujah!


Perfect expression

I think Miss Kitty has the perfect expression on her face of how a cat really feels when a 2-year-old hugs her.

gracious 014

gracious 008

V and I took a trip to Clinton, TN, today. It was way too short of a trip, since V started screaming once we got there. Later she puked at Target. So that was fun. That's the first time that's happened to me. It was ... an interesting experience.

Photos coming soon (of Clinton, not of the puking incident. Ha. You wish.).


Just another manic Monday

021 as if

I wish it was Sunday.

R is off to Kentucky for a regional meeting, so it's all mommy, all the time. It's hard work, that. Plus, I just miss him.

So here's a lot of background just to show you a picture: V almost always has a balloon around, because she loves them. The cats like to chew on the ribbon tied to the balloon. We're always yelling, "No Gracie, no!" and grabbing the balloon from the cat. So V was playing in her crib this morning with her white cat stuffed animal that she calls Grace, after the real cat. I was working on some rush rush story for my company's website and I keep hearing her say "No Gracie, no!" over and over again. When I finally looked, she had set up her stuffed cat as if she were gnawing on the ribbon tied to the balloon.

Crazy cute.

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I always get depressed when R goes out of town and then I start ordering pizza. But so far so good, this time. Of course he's only been gone four hours. Ha.


Dipper

Do you ever feel that things in the past are in exactly the same place as you left them? I often feel that I could get into my car right now and drive down to Georgia (save for the baby sleeping on my shoulder). I could park in my grandparents' driveway and walk in the door to the back porch. Immediately to my right I would find the spigot with the old galvanized steel bucket underneath to catch drips. And sitting on the little brick ledge would be the gourd.

This gourd my grandfather had as far back as I can remember. He grew it, cut it, hollowed out the fat end, dried it, rubbed oil on the outside. He used it as a dipper to water the plants in the garden. There are a few items that always say Granddaddy to me: a two-toned, caramel-colored 1976 Volare, an old metal level, an emerald ring from Penney's, and that gourd dipper.

After years and years of regular use, he glued the gourd when it cracked. Then he taped it with duct tape when it leaked. He made other gourd dippers that he never used because he liked that one. When he died, I got the gourd. I had it for a couple of years but gave it to my brother. As much as it means to me, it means even more to him. But I have the level. And the ring.

So in my mind, when I want things to slow down, I go to the back porch and fill up that bucket. I carry it to the garden, the thin handle putting dents in my palm with the weight of the water. I slowly water each tiny sprout, careful not to disturb the roots. I feel the sunshine on my back, smell the laundry drying on the line, and watch the light reddish dirt turn dark as it soaks in the water.

It's all still there, just like it was.


She stacked them herself

she stacked them herself 002

Is it just me, or is this really cool for V to have arranged her cans of Play-doh like this? I was in the bedroom and she got down her bag of Play-doh. I told her that it was almost naptime, so we weren't going to play Play-doh right now, but she could play with the cans if she wanted. I walked into the room a few minutes later and there they were. Kind of reminds me of the Kaleidoscope House.

she stacked them herself 008


Still with the waiting

v Oliver Springs TN 003

Waiting...

We still haven't heard about R's job and it's really all I can think about now.

We've turned in our 60-day notice on our apartment, so we're moving somewhere come May 1st.

I'm not very good with the waiting. I get stressed. I get obsessive. I run it around in my mind, going through all the possibilities. I don't want to go out or do much of anything, I only want to sit and wait.

So that's what I've been doing since Friday. Which is to say, not a lot.

Here are some of V's favorite phrases as of late:

Oops, diaper!
Just a little pinch.
Just a little cheeky/crackle/bokeh hanging out.
Whaa-pow!
Occupied
Holy crap! (could be worse, y'all...)
Diaper no diaping! Diaper no diaping! Diaper no diaping! ... Oh man! (swiped/mutated from Dora the Explorer)

And don't even think about the word hell or you'll get a looped chorus of what the hell! what the hell! what the hell! (Is it bad to admit that makes me laugh?)

Her favorite songs to sing:

Hey Little Playmate
See the sleeping bunnies
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Pretty much the entire repertoire from Yo Gabba Gabba

Every day I say to myself, oh, I can't wait to do x, y or z when we get to the new house! It seems so far away, though it's not really. Did I already say waiting drives me crazy? Yeah, it does.