Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So another month has come to an end and I'm not even going to tell you about how I did on my monthly goals.
Obviously that last sentence said it all. Now, I have gotten better but not up to my new years goals.

This photo was taken at my nephew Donovans 5th birthday party. We all had a nice time at my brothers house for a family party.

So I just need to drain my brain for a minute so bear with me.
March is not a great month for me. It most ways it is an absolute downer.
March is the month that besides being my Dad's birthday it was also the month he asked my mom for a divorce. Yes, I remember.
This is also the month for two of my best friends birthdays. Two of my best friends that are both now deceased.
Growing up Natalie was always there, our mom's were best friends from high school. We are six months apart in age with Nat being the elder. In the 6th grade my family moved just around the corner from her house and we spent countless hours together. We graduated high school together.
35 years ago today she was born.
15 years ago this year she was taken away.
I still think about her often and miss her.
She was a very creative spark and rarely had a bad word to say about anyone.

Kim was my other birthday girl. My first friend I made here in Tucson. The two of us went through a lot of crap together. She was there when I got the call about Natalie. I was there for all the good and bad for Kim too. It will be three years in May since Kim passed. So much has changed and yet so much is still the same.

So both of these women have been on my mind alot this week because both of their birthdays were this week.
I'm not really looking forward to this April much either, not because of any thing bad. Actually our anniversary is in April, it's because the month is so darn busy. I'm looking forward to May. Nothing has been planned for May so far. I think I will arrange for a camping trip but dang it I want to relax.

Okay back to semi normal broadcasting.
At the kids' school is this beautiful hawk. I really thought this photo was going to be blurry but it came out great.
One morning on the way to school I could see from quite the distance that the hawk was perched in this tree. We pull into the parking lot and I'm grabbing my camera. I realize that from hustling I'm shaking and I can't steady the camera. I run back and grab my tripod. Just as I start to focus on the hawk again he flies away. This is when I realize there were 2 hawks in the tree and the second hawk which is a female, and much larger, was lower and back to the left and that was the hawk I saw from the road! I never even got a chance to snap her picture because a few seconds after the male flew off she followed. I haven't seen either one since. I know I will, I look every morning and I have my gear ready to go. I'm being very patient. Not easy for me. :)
I will also report that I have gone slightly around the bend.
Yeah I know, this is old news.
I was provided with a link from someone at to see these barn owls Molly and McGee. Molly had 5 eggs and I have watched sporadically as each one has hatched. As of today there is one egg left to hatch and we are waiting for it. Rob doesn't get it but Kelly, Chelsea and I have learned alot. I tend to leave the sound on but I will do other stuff around the house or the computer. This is a Ustream video with a chat line and you learn all about this set of birds and owls in general. The next few weeks as the babies get bigger this will get more interesting. If you want to check it out Molly and the owlbox .
I will say I'm not the only one fascinated by these owls. There have been over 5 million unique viewers that have checked this site out and schools have done interactive video chats with the gentelmen Carlos whom this is happening in his back yard. There is also an e-book being written and talks are in the works with one of the national networks to do a story.
So I'm not the only looney one.
This weekend is gonna be crazy, cooking for Alpha tomorrow (50+ people), Rob is off Friday so we are doing easter eggs and then getting ready for the egg hunt on Saturday and the Grandma's are coming here for Easter dinner.
Yeah I'll be in the looney bin and hopped up on sugar by Sunday night.
Happy Easter weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I read a few things this week that reminded me that we all have to start from the beginning. I was reminded to look at what you admire in others and use that to take off on your own adventure.
Now I have said this many times, that I want to put up my own art (photos, scrap pages) for our home.
I haven't put up very much since I did my inital jumpstart. But it thinking about putting up more I just haven't done it yet. I'm a major procrastinator. Anyway with this new lens comes a learning curve and an inspiration to try new things, maybe new things I might one day put on my walls.
I have started digging out and rereading all the books that I bought when I first bought my camera. Things I didn't understand then I'm understanding better.
A friend of mine has purchased her first SLR and has been asking me my opinion about lenses and basic photography questions. Her enthusiasm has refired my passion. Plus it's spring time here in AZ and I love spring in Tucson.

Yesterday both kids had their awards ceremonies. Thankfully both kids received High Honors in their classes. As I was watching Wyatt receive his award I remembered how scared I was about him starting Kindy and with his teacher. I'm so glad I was wrong. Wyatt is thriving in his class. Kelly girl is my rock. She doesn't give herself enough credit. She is sweet and quiet and smart but doubts herself. This year, just like her teacher said, she is coming out of her shell. I'm excited for both kids and their upcoming school year.
This morning after looking at a photo article about 41-delicious-flower-photographs, it inspired my to try again. I love flowers and I love these photos. The one thing I learned is that I most assuredly need a macro lens. Yes I know, add it to my wish list. As Burgess Meredith once said you can wish in one hand and crap in another and see which one gets filled first. If I don't have these dreams i might as well put down the camera. I can only do so much with what I have and believe me I'm trying to figure out and push these limits. I know I have a long way to go and as I tell my kids practice makes perfect.
So this morning I went out into my weed filled back yard to see what I could do with my new lens. I put my camera on the tripod and flipped the center column and flattened the legs. This put me on my belly, no biggie except Chlesea decided that I was wanting her to jump on my back for a pony ride.
I tried a few different things and this is the best I got.

My favorite is this last one. The stem is crisp and clear, which isn't exactly where I wanted the to focus to go, but I'm flat on my gut and it's hard to even see through the lens at this point. Don't forget I also have the midget bouncing on my back too. Thankfully my phone rang and I abandoned my mini shoot to talk and upload to see what I got.
Boring stuff for most of you I'm sure but it's what I do. When I go back and look at these photos 30 years from now I can this is when I was just beginning.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy big, huge 60th Birthday Dad!

The following are pictures of one of your presents.
This is completely homemade on top and unfortunately due to shipping box sizes and cost I had to disassemble so that it would fit in the box.
Even though I shipped it UPS on Friday, the lady said it would not make it to your home till Thursday or Friday.
This is completely my fault because I had it in my head that your birthday was Thursday and not Tuesday.
Oh well, knowing our family history that the gift is making it the week of your birthday should be cause for joy.

Now Dad, when the box arrives you may not open it. HAHA!
Please give it to Gerry so that she may open the box and re-assemble the bouquet. Gerry will give you your gift.
Plus, who knows in shipping it may now need some repairs.
It was a very snug fit getting it in the box.

So 60 years!
You have seen so much and yet you seem to remember so little! hehehehe
You have been through the, 50's sock hop era(sorta) and Elvis, the 60's Vietnam era and woodstock, the 70's Disco era and the birth of your children,  the 80's, I loved the 80's, (whatever happened in the 90's)
Wait!I remeber something from the 90's- the Clinton era,  your childrens graduation, your divorce and remarriage, walking your daughter down the aisle.
With the new millienium came, grandchildren, hip surgery, your sons wedding, more hip surgery (right?), more gray hair everywhere.

Some things never change,
Your still drinking Pepsi products, you like Lays potato chips with french onion dip, still watch drag racing and nascar. You still wear Stetson cologne, Your still go bowling. You buy a TON of magazines every month. (You do know that getting a subscription is cheaper right?)
I'm sure you still visit Taco bell a minimum of twice a month. You prefer vanilla ice cream.
You still live in the Town/county you were born in.

Knowing all this we still love you and wish you a very Happy Birthday!!
Now go eat some chinese food,(new favorite) and go to a hockey game!

Love you Dad!
Carrie + Mikey
plus our spouses, kids and Mom.


Monday, March 22, 2010

A week ago Sunday the whole clan which includes Mikey's family all trekked up to the Phoenix zoo.
The sky was a beautiful blue with a gentle breeze and absolutely perfect temps.
Our family loves going to zoos. I love trying to take the perfect picture of some of my favorite animals.
Hey, I don't know when I'll be able to go on a safari so I make do with what I have available.
The last two times we have been there I have made it my mission to get a good photo of the sumatran tiger. He is fabulous.
We arrived at about 9:30 and I immediately want to head in the direction of the big cats. Get them early and fresh.
Or so I thought.
The following pictures will show the state of things at the zoo that morning.........
The tiger is relaxing......
behind his exhibit is the lions
the lioness is napping....
The lion....
Spreadeagle on his back napping!!!!!
So I just go with the flow and make plans to visit the big cats again before I leave.
I return 5 hours later. I'm not kidding you the lion was in the exact same position! While it was a cool pose it did not fulfill my perfect photo dreams. hehehe.
That morning was more of the same. The mandrill splayed out. There was another one who was really sprawled out. The African dogs sleeping, the cheetahs, you guessed it were also relaxing.
Maybe that's what we should have done, was stay home and relax in the sun.
I wouldn't have traded that trip for anything.
It's going to make an interesting scrapbook page!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Well we did it! Rob and I made our first piece of furniture together. We had to tweak some of my plans but everything went very well.
Of course we both learned a few things along the way. I think I learned the fun stuff and Rob learned more of the planning and execution.
I learned how to use a circular saw (little scary), nail gun (fun), and the drill (easy peasy). I have gotten proficient at counter sinking screws but need to work on my wood filling technique.
The hardest part of the whole project was painting.
I think I had almost as much paint on myself as I did the cabinet. Thankfully it comes off fairly easy.
Rob has begun stalking the Knock off Wood blog. Rob would love to make the farmhouse bed and I would love to make a table for the back yard. Something we could all sit around.

I have a few other plans that I have found on her blog that I  would like to make like a bookcase/toy box and I would like to make myself a dresser similar to one that Kelly has but bigger. It's nothing fancy at all but very practical.
Rob has been going through the knock off blog looking for plans of all the projects he would like to make.
So far, we have a bed, table, dresser, scrapbook island (his idea), and bookcase, that I know of so far.

Rob is saving all his plans in favorites for that "someday". 
  Here is our lovely center primered in bright pink. I had to reassure both our mothers that it wasn't going to stay this color. We are quirky people but not that quirky. No, no it was painted Mark Twain House Brown. After a couple of coats of paint I think it needs to be roughed up a bit but the old man likes it.  

Here is my hero, installing the million miles of cables to hook up so that we can use all our modern technologies.

My camera lens couldn't get wide enough so
I had to shoot at a funky angle.
I still have to find baskets for the bottom cubbies, but right now the cedar chest that the tv used to sit on is sitting right in front until I
 can move it out to our already crowded shed.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Christmas in March!

The kids received a box for my dad the other day filled with goodies.
Each kid has been thrilled with their presents. Kelly got a barbie doll/ giving a doggie bath, Chelsea is loving the crayons and coloring book. She also received a sesame street purse and cell phone.
Wyatt is over the moon with his robot. 
At one point Wyatt waved to the camera and said, "Thank you Grandpa Percy"
that kid is such a ham.
So Thank you Dad for our Christmas in March!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top of the evening to you!
This was the kiddos this morning before school. I spent most of the morning in Wyatt's class for the "green"  party his class was having. Every student had green on. It was so adorable.

So I have lots to catch up on and I think I'll string them in posts scheduled throughout the rest of the week.
The other day Wyatt pushed Chelsea on the big kids swing. Kelly had done it also a week or two ago but it's a big deal when Wyatt did it because he tends to ignore Chelsea. Chelsea was of course thrilled to being on the swing and wasn't thrilled when it was time to come in for dinner.
Picture was taken by ms. kelly.
I think I have a budding photographer on my hands. I'm just become very nervous when she wants to handle my camera. I have rules for when she wants to take photos. The strap must be over her head and she can't run around with the camera. Now that I have my new lens on it I'm even more paranoid. The camera was heavy for her before, it is even heavier now, but she did great and got this fantastic shot.
Chelsea is getting real good at keeping her glasses on. She tends to only take them off when she is mad or tired.
When she does take them off it throws me for a minute, I've gotten used to her having the glasses on. She is just so cute.
Happy St. Patrick's Day

Friday, March 05, 2010

My beautiful girl with her face covered in baby powder.
She was being quite a stinker that morning when I was changing her diaper. I was chasing her around the house trying to get a photo when I had the brilliant idea to open the front door and when she came to inverstigate snap some shots in the lovely diffused light.

It's that time of year where the wild African daisies invade my mother in laws neighborhood.
There are just a couple of homes where the homeowners let these flowers takeover their front yards for a short time. The blooms only come in yellow and orange and just scream to me that spring in Tucson is here.
I have found that these flowers are actually quite hard to photograph. I haven't been able to get the colors just right. On this day the sky was completely overcast and I thought that would make a satisfactory result but yet again I have not accomplished color accuracy. I have a few weeks yet so I'm sure I will try again.
A little over a week ago I took Chelsea to see an Opthmalogist. Chelsea had begun to go a wee bit cross eyed on occassion. The doctor determined that Chels is far sighted and that this could be corrected with glasses.
So off to the eyeglass center we go. We tried on a few frames, Chelsea likes to try on glasses it seems
We settled on this last pair and 7-10 days later I'm trying to keep them on her face. Every day has gotten better but it is still a struggle.
How cute is she??
I'm not sure for how long she will have to wear these but we will see the doctor in April for a checkup.
Chelsea's vocabulary has been growing by leaps and bounds. Since she turned 18 months in December we are used to hearing her say, "bye, see you later", "eat" (this is usually said to Wyatt because he eats so slow), "go get it", (this is said to the dog as she throws him her food) "stinky", (when she needs to be changed). Now at 20 months she is adding, "no thank you", "please" is also more consistent but then so is "yes" and "no".
Gosh I have so much to catch up on...I still have to post about Kelly and Wyatt's report cards, cookie booths, building the media center (which I will be doing tomorrow), Rob's crazy tree trimming, the finches have started laying eggs and Kelly pushing Chelsea on the big kid swing.
Life sure does move fast sometimes, but now I need to go change a stinky diaper.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Oh my goodness, we all have had one sickness or another for the last couple of weeks. This makes for some long days and even longer nights. Chelsea's bug is still lingering, with a cough, but she seems to be on the mend.
It's been so long I don't know where to start.
I'll start with the top photo.
On Thursday, two weeks ago, All of this showed up in my mail. While I was thrilled to get all this at once I wasn't feeling the greatest so my enthusiasm level was a bit off. I have never had so many packages for me at one time, hence the photo.
The next morning I was exhausted from not sleeping and still feeling sick but that was the day that my new camera lens and my new cell phone were to arrive. So wouldn't you know that every time I would finally fall asleep, either Mr. Fed Ex or Mr. UPS showed up. I know I sound ungrateful but take that as a hint on how awful I felt. I was sprawled across the couch with my boxes sitting next to me. I'm one of those people that if I'm not feeling well I just want to sleep because I know that when I wake up I will feel better. Not being able to sleep just seemed to make me feel worse.
Later that evening, after a nap, I broke open my boxes and played with my new toys.
It was all a bit overwhelming. I had purchased new scrapbooking tools and books, cricut cartridges, gypsy, accessories for gypsy, new camera lens and filters, upgraded my cell phone, new monopod, cuttlebug folders. It was quite a haul.
Now everything has been ooh'ed and aahhh'ed over, looked over and checked out.
I'm learning how to use both my new lens and my Gypsy. Both have a slight learning curve. But I'm definitly loving them both.
I spent most of yesterday cleaning out my scraproom so that I can actually scrap there.
Oh yeah photo #2! Rob has been wanting a laptop for over a year and I was ready to cave and let him get one. When I came up with the brilliant solution....are you ready for it????
Call your mom and see if she would like to sell her laptop!
It is a year old, she used it maybe 10 times and it has been sitting in the family room plugged in ever since. There has been nothing added to it. This was a case of she wanted it but didn't want to take the time and learn to use it.
So Rob is enjoying the new laptop. But his mom wouldn't take any money for it, he just has to fix a skylight for her. Simple.
So some nights when the kiddos are in bed you'll find Rob on one end of the couch with the laptop and me on the other end of the couch with my Gypsy designing. Modern Family indeed.

Last photo was taken with my new lens and practicing using it in low light.