Sister Love

I’ve been amazed since day 1 at how much Baby C adores her big sister.  For now, big sister also adores her baby sister; frequently asking to see her, kiss her, hug her and commanding I go check on her baby sister when she hears Baby C fussing.  I love watching them interact and while Baby C likes me and her daddy, she absolutely has a favorite…her big sister.  Here’s proof, a random Wednesday morning before dance class.

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I got Photoshop Elements for Christmas. Until now, I’ve managed to load it on my computer and that’s it. Yesterday, I finally figured out how to add a watermark to photos (a process so simple it should have taken me 5 minutes to figure out but instead took several hours thanks to the 2 littles). I also found some free actions from MCP Actions and I’m in the process of trying to download them and install them into Photoshop. Trouble is, this takes time. There are instructions to follow and since I have NO CLUE what I’m doing, I kind of need to focus. Wich is impossible since my life is lived in 5-10 minute segments these days. There is a very fine line between caring for and devoting yourself to your children/family and still taking time for yourself. Sigh. Frustrating evening last night and it’s still with me this morning. Having 2 kids is fun, but it’s not for wussies.

Push Presents

This is a funny story, I promise. But first, a pregnancy update:

I, for one, cannot believe I am still pregnant.  My husband cannot believe I’m still pregnant.  My girlfriend, who’s a nurse, cannot believe I’m still pregnant.  But alas, here I am, most definitely, still pregnant.  My appointment on Tuesday with the midwife was interesting to say the least.  My blood pressure was too high which landed me a “resting” period to try to get it to go down.  There were also traces of protein in my urine.  Cue slight freak-out from me because I figure I’m only moments away from being walked across the skyway and admitted for an immediate induction.  Hubs was at least an hour away and I really didn’t tell A goodbye the way I would have wanted to when I dropped her off at school that morning.  My blood pressure was taken again and it came down slightly, but not by much.  I’ve had no (substantial) swelling, no headaches or dizzy spells and I’ve generally been feeling fine.  The midwife came in, took a look at my file, noted that I’m practically dead on a normal day (BP of 112/60 is about my norm) but decided that I didn’t have enough classic signs to admit me right away.  Instead, they took some blood to check my liver and kidney functions.  She also stripped my membranes, definitely more invasive than a normal cervical check, but not the excruciating pain most people talk about.  She confirmed I am now a good 4 cms and she was able to stretch me to a 5.  She also confirmed I’m about 80% effaced.  W.  T.  F.  The sweep definitely brought on some steady contractions yesterday afternoon, but about the time I decided to start timing them, the little boogers up and left.  Leaving me, well, not in a good place and slightly devastated.  I’ve had quite a bit of, uh, “discharge” since my appointment and I spoke with Monica this morning to confirm everything was going ok.  My blood work came back totally normal and the “discharge” is perfectly normal as the cervix continues to efface (which makes me think I basically have no cervix left…not sure what’s keeping this child in at this point).  Lovely.  I also officially turned down my opportunity for an elective induction on Friday; which makes me both proud of myself (for resisting temptation) and kind of makes me want to hang my head and cry.

Anyways, let’s talk about push presents.  I think the idea of push presents is a fairly new phenomenon and depending upon where you live, may or may not be something you’ve ever encountered.  Traditional push presents are jewelry, and believe me, if the Hubs presented me with some brand new, large, diamond stud earrings, you wouldn’t hear me complain.  Problem is, neither of us would EVER make that kind of a purchase without consulting the other and well, I control the money around here so he’d have a REALLY hard time getting that one past me.  Someday he’ll surprise me with new earrings, just not right now.  I’m not really sure I believe in push presents.  I mean, it’s a really nice thought and all, but the whole idea of expecting a gift for having a baby seems a little odd to me.  I LOVE getting gifts, don’t get me wrong, but in this case it just seems like you’d be setting yourself up for disappointment.  When I purchased Julian back in December, there were several accessories I wanted to go with him but I wasn’t going to buy everything all at once.  The first accessory on my list was a new camera bag.  I really don’t have anywhere to store Julian, and all my lenses don’t fit into the camera bag I DO have.  I was looking for something to safely STORE my stuff in as well as something more functional to use when out and about.  Since I do the monthly budgeting around here, I noticed we had some extra this month and decided to buy myself a push present.  Not because I believe in them, but because it was a perfect excuse to buy myself the camera bag.  So I put it in the budget and ordered the Lowepro Sling Shot 202 AW for myself.  That night, I informed Hubs that he bought me a push present.  He looked at me with a bewildered look on his face, which I expected since I honestly never expected anything from him.  He asked me what I’d ordered and I told him.  Turns out, he had intended to buy me the exact same bag, as a push present!  I know he was being honest because he’d asked me about using some extra money and since the guy never does that, I didn’t think much of it.  I figured he’d come across a few books or who knows what, that he wanted.  Anyways, I felt bad because he never and I mean NEVER gets to surprise me but at the same time I find it incredibly hilarious since I hadn’t discussed this bag with him since December and hadn’t brought up the concept of the push present.  On the other hand though, I’m thrilled to be getting a bag to safely store all my gear in and I’m excited to have something I feel more confident taking out and about.  I tried to tell him about a few other accessories that I would like, but he quickly informed me I wasn’t getting anything else.  Bummer.  Staying true to form though, I’ll eventually need an additional camera bag/purse to use in a day to day, more casual setting.  I’ll bet he didn’t even know these existed…

So, maybe someday soon I’ll actually be able to accept my push present, from the Hubs, bought my me, but mentally bought by him.  Until I have this baby though, no push present for me.  Somebody send me some labor vibes.  Please.  I really want my bag.

Photography Class #1

I say #1 because I fully intend to take more.  I just had so much fun, learning, and I want to do it again.  I’m also thinking about looking into a local photography group to join…in all my spare time.  Here are a few shots that I took after the class was over.  I was at a great location and didn’t have anything else scheduled, so I stuck around and for an extra hour or so.  We had worked on metering, talked a lot about exposure and practiced under and over-exposing things (who knew one may DESIRE to have their photo be under or over-exposed?) to see the different effects (affects? I can’t decide at the moment) and also worked on my focus issues.  Turns out, I have a depth-of-field issue and not a focusing issue.  Most people tend to back away from the object they are photographing and use their zoom.  My natural inclination is to get close, too close it seems.  So, I’m working on taking a step or 2 backwards and adjusting my aperature setting accordingly, which until yesterday, I was using way too wide open.  I’m also jumping into manual ISO settings.  Up until now I’ve left my ISO on auto, but Julian and I can’t seem to agree on what the correct ISO setting is, so onto manual I go.




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I think I’m in love.

I’ve loved a lot of men in my life. Maybe not in the same way, but loved them all the same. The one I love the most is my husband, of course. Well, maybe not “of course” since the older I get the more I realize a lot of people are stuck in loveless marriages and relationships. I don’t understand it and it makes me sad, but I digress. I may not be giddy and silly in love with my husband all the time, but there is always an all-consuming love for him present in my life. The kind of love that recognizes what we’ve endured and recognizes there are greater things for us to do together. The kind of love that leaves me never wondering if I’m truly with my soul mate.

I also love my dad. As most of us do, we look to our parents as examples of how to raise our own kids and then we change a few things. Overall, my dad is a great father and I’m lucky to have him in my life. A few months ago he randomly called one Sunday just to say he was pleased with me. Even at 31, married with (almost) 2 kids it meant a lot. Sometimes only the approval of your father will do.

I have a handful of friends/family from college that I love. A different category of love than the 2 previous paragraphs, but men I would grieve if lost and men I enjoy having in my life. Men that helped shape my college experience into what it was.

Now that the sappy stuff is out of the way, let’s move on. Sidebar: I have got to liven up this blog. Frankly, I find myself hilarious. I’ll add that to my 2012 goals…to make you laugh more. Anyways….I’m also in love with several “men” in my life. See what I did there? I tend to become fairly attached to inanimate objects. My child seems to have inherited this trait which is currently played out by the ridiculous number of stuffed animals she possesses. If I really like said object, I give it a name. Does this make me crazy? Let me introduce you to a few of the “men” I love. Yes, they all take on a masculine form. Probably says something about my insecurity but, whatevs.

Number 2
Over the years, Hubs and I have acquired home-improvement items as gifts from his parents. We’d ask to borrow something then Hubs would get a replica as the next Christmas/birthday gift. At first it was useful. Then it was comical. Then it was irritating. Then we just stopped asking to borrow stuff. We don’t have a garage you see, so by borrowing the item, we didn’t have to find a place to store said item. His parents didn’t seem to get the hint, so we just stopped asking to borrow anything. The last thing they get him/us though, was a shop-vac. The thing is glorious. I adore him. With 3 dogs it’s the only way my baseboards get really clean. Even my Dyson can’t compete. I get such a sense of satisfaction sucking up enormous amounts of dog hair and dust and whatever else I use it for. I truly enjoy using Number 2 to clean behind the fridge, beside the washer and dryer, etc. I named him Number 2 as in, Hubs is Number 1. I don’t get to use it often since it’s so loud, and also because I won’t get it out of the scary shed.

The dog is a complete ass. He makes my life significantly more challenging. He sheds, he doesn’t mind, he still chews up things even though he’s almost 9, barks constantly, won’t walk on a leash and insists on having my spot on the couch in the evenings, I suppose because it’s warm. But I love him. Dearly. It’s like an abusive relationship, honestly.  I can’t leave.  He can’t leave.  I just don’t feel like he’d survive without me and I’m not sure I could live without him. I secretly love nights when he curls up beside me on the couch…which is hilarious since he’s 80+ pounds and convinced he’s a lap dog. Very rarely he’ll sleep in my bed when Hubs is out of town. The truth it, he’s our guard dog. I feel more safe here by myself when Hubs travels and I fully expect Cosmo to do his job should the need arise. It helps he’s easy on the eyes.

Ol’ Sarge
Our new Keurig. It’s maroon. And we (proudly) added an A&M decal. And Ol’ Sarge is an Aggie reference. I’d wanted one last year but couldn’t justify spending the money. We drink a lot of coffee around here so it will actually cost us more money in the long run. This year, we spotted the maroon one (it’s actually being discontinued) and just knew he had to come live with us. Plus, we’d just been gifted some money from Hubs’ grandfather to buy our own Christmas gift so it was a no-brainer. He’s beautiful, makes splendid coffee, and just makes me smile when I see him on the counter. He also makes cider, hot chocolate, hot tea and has the ability to brew cold tea and iced coffee beverages. Haven’t tried it yet given the temperatures, but I plan to give it a whirl once it starts to warm up. I hate, hate, hate reheating my coffee in the microwave. It just tastes gross and burnt to me. I’m thrilled at the idea of a fresh-brewed cup any time of day once Baby C gets here.

Ladies and Gents, I’ve saved the best for last. I’d like to introduce you to Julian.  Julian arrived on Friday around lunch time and I’ve been completely smitten since taking him out of his box.  He’s so sexy.  Lots of buttons and dials and a HUGE LCD display screen.  You see, I’ve been researching cameras for some time now.  I knew I wanted to purchase a new lens, but I also had the intent of purchasing a new body, just farther down the line.  I did tons of research.  Then I did more research. Then I decided on one.  Then I changed my mind.  Then I did more research.  Then some more.  Then I made another decision.  Then I announced to Hubs I had no idea what I actually wanted and had no idea what to do.  After breaking down in tears for the 3rd time, the Hubs had had enough and announced we needed to find a way to buy the new body NOW.  I wasn’t able to get any clear shots of Christmas and that just breaks my heart.  Not having a working camera was like missing an appendage.  We couldn’t even locate our point and shoot.  I knew my kit lens was broken.  I had an inkling I’d also damaged my camera body, but wasn’t sure.  Either way, all my images have been blurry, or the focal point was off.  Shooting indoors is hard enough since I’m not usually working with a ton of natural light.  Also, I loathe the on-board flash and I don’t own a speed light so….the results aren’t pretty.  Anyways, I was determined not to make a purchase until I could pay for it, IN CASH, and I was able to do just that.  Some birthday money combined with Christmas money and redirecting a few cash flow items allowed me to purchase this beautiful new kit and even get it shipped 2-day air!  I’m normally such a cheap-skate that paying extra for shipping felt really extravagant.  I decided to go with the whole kit which got me the Canon 7D along with the 28-135 lens.  I’ve got my eye on an L-series lens, but that will have to wait until I save up some more mula.  I’ve already had Julian hard at work and so far I’m very pleased.  I’ve got TONS to learn as this camera can do things I can’t even describe, but I’m thrilled to grow into him.  Isn’t he lovely?


And PS. Please do every photographer you know a favor. Whether they be amateurs, hobbyists, professionals or somewhere in between. Don’t ever make the comment that their “camera will take great pictures.”  It’s insulting.  It’s not the camera that takes the pictures, the person using it has a little bit to do with the final image.  Mmmkay?  Thanks.