Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Camera Practice 102: Outdoors.

While Chris hung lights on the outside of the house on Saturday, I coaxed Ali into letting me practice my extremely fledgling photography skills on her. She obliged…sometimes happier than others.









Thursday, November 18, 2010

So I got my Camera!

After a bunch of research, I finally decided on the Canon T2i.

I settled on Canon because my point-and-shoot is Canon, I love it, and am already familiar with the terms and controls.

I chose the T2i because it is a) one of their newest models, and therefore has more features (and won’t soon be replaced with a newer, snazzier one that I’ll be wishing I had), and b) because it’s a step up from the lower end one, but not a super-duper professional one.

Also, on Amazon, they are running a deal where you got a free (!!) $200 Zoom lens, and the $200 zoom lens came with a free (!!) $16 UV protector. Plus the camera was on sale, so with all that together, I felt like I was getting a good deal.

(I adore Amazon.)

And, if you’re wondering, it wasn’t really a “push present” persay – really that was just my justification for spending the money --- because I’m romantic like that and all.


I got it last Friday (after an adventure of chasing down the UPS man after missing him by 15 minutes), and have been reading up on it, but am still definitely a beginner. I seriously have no idea what I’m doing.

But, luckily, the automatic settings are pretty good until I figure it out, so that’s what I’ve been playing with.

And, since I’m not so agile right now, my only photographical-practice-muse is that which is with me at (almost) all times – Ali.

And, oddly enough, she’s been somewhat willing to let me practice on her…

This was the very first picture I snapped with it:

I was impressed by how well it captured her eyes – they are often shadowed out with my other camera – and also how clear the photo was. I could zoom all the way in to her nose hairs.

(Yes, the poor kid has nose hairs. She’s got Greek Blood, after all.)


One thing this camera does that my old one didn’t do is purposefully fade the background out if I’m taking a portrait shot – I really like that. I was always trying to blur my backgrounds on my old pictures to make the subject stand out more, but now I don’t have to:



I played with the black and white settings a bit, and Ali started getting a bit silly…IMG_1562


And then she got really silly.


A three-year-old muse can only last so long, after all.

I know nothing about the zoom lens, but this is the one photo that I’ve successfully taken with it so far…


At any rate, I have a ton to learn, but I’m excited about the possibilities. And, I figure, this will really even the score on the whole second-child-gets-less-baby-photos thing – because even if he gets less, at least Noah’s photos will be a LOT better than Ali’s were!

Monday, November 15, 2010

34 Weeks – 5 Weeks (Or Less!) To Go!

(Notice the new camera?!?! More on that later. But don't judge it's goodness based on this pic, since it is through my dirty, dusty mirror and all.)

Total Weight Gained: 23.2 Pounds.

Cravings: I’m kinda done with food. I’m pretty sure the thing to go to make room for growing Noah this week was my stomach – there’s no more room for eating. But I’m STILL being a good girl and drinking my water!! Three weeks may be the longest I’ve ever consistently drank water in my life…yes, I deserve a reward.

Contractions: Yes, yes, and YES. He DID flip, thank goodness, so his soft butt in my ribs is a LOT more comfortable than his hard, gigantic, head. But the contractions have gone from being intensely pressurey to intensely painful - several times this weekend I ALMOST called in, but didn't. I seriously don't know how he is going to stay in there for five more weeks, but he probably will.

But, me believing that he couldn't possibly may help me make it five more weeks, anyway.

Movements: He’s not really slowed down any, despite the fact that he has no room to move. There’s often feet sticking out of my side and a butt sticking out of my ribs. I kinda look like the outside of a cartoon house where there are fighting cartoon characters inside that can be seen poking out of all the sides of the house…

Sleep: I’m doing a bit better with that one for the most part…I’ve gotten my pillows arranged just so, and am managing to sleep peacefully most of the time.

Level of Impatience: I’m not QUITE to the point of praying daily for him to be born (I’ll wait until his lungs finish developing next week before I start that), but five weeks can go by as fast as it pleases.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's the Yittle Fings, Part Thirty-Four

I thought Ali was coming down with a cold, but then she sounded a lot better. I asked her, "What happened to your snoggly nose??"

"I think my snoggly went to heaven. It died."
Her snoggly nose isn't the only thing that's been dying around here. She told me Thursday, "All my party friends (imaginary friends) died today."

"Really? What happened?"

"They all got sick and went to heaven."

Then, yesterday, she referenced one of her party friends.

"But I thought they all died?"

"Yes, but they're not dead anymore. They're back from heaven."

When we kept Radford last week, he and Ali had some riveting conversations. My favorite was the following:

"Radford, what's your favorite color?"


"What's your other favorite color?"


"Mommy, Radford cracks me up!!! His favorite color is yellow and his second favorite color is yellow too!!"

"Radford, what's your third favorite color?"


"Mommy, his favorite color is yellow, his second favorite color is yellow, and his third favorite color is blue!! Isn't that silly?!?!?"
Ali is often creative with her after-bedtime-callbacks. Only once has she ever done the typical-kid "I'm Thirsty!!".

My favorite thus far happened last week.

"Daddy!!! Daaaaaadddddy!!!!!!!"

Chris goes in... "What, baby?"

"Daddy, my bum is too big!!!"
Another day, Ali started this conversation randomly in the car:

"What is it called when you talk with your mouth but you don’t move?"

"You mean a ventriloquist?"

"No, that's not it… what is it called when you talk with your mouth but you don’t move?"

"A Ventriloquist! They do puppets. They can talk without moving their mouth."

"No!! What is it called when you talk and DO move your mouth, but you can’t move anything else?"

"Oh! You mean someone that is Paralyzed!"

"Yes!! That's it, Mommy!."

"Who were you talking to about people being paralyzed??"


"I don’t know. I think I made it up."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Processing and Calculating The Week.

The past few days have felt like a strange twilight zone where everything comes in extreme highs and lows in an odd string of events. I think if I made a super-geeky-yes-I’m-an-Accountant-what-of-it-balance-sheet for the week, it would be on the plus side, but I’m not sure until I process it all…

Monday: I got this unbelievable urge to clean up Ali’s living room toy corner (a tinge of nesting maybe??). She’s quite the little hoarder, and has mixed up every possible combination of toys into a jumbled, unplayable mess, so she’s been actually playing with all of like 5% of the monstrous mess that is her corner.

And although I’m all about getting a kid to help with their junk issues, a total toy overhaul is just not one of those things that you want to do WITH your kid, because then she rediscovers every toy and can’t stand to part with a single one.

So Chris, after realizing how much it was under my skin to get done, suggested that we do it together the next night during election returns – perfect combination.

Tuesday Night: Wow, did the organization process become a mess:

(And that was just half of it, since I don’t have a wide-screen camera lens and all.)

But, besides the extreme therapeutic satisfaction that came from getting everything in a properly organized and sorted through manner, I got an extra reward.

I found this at the very bottom of her toy box:IMG_1454
My heart has been painfully distressed for about three months, ever since it went missing. It was a very special, romantic gift from Chris, and I had laid it on the counter one day after Church. It disappeared. We rooted through the garbage – no luck. I grilled Ali, and at first she said she hadn’t seen it, but then when I showed her the matching earrings, she confessed.

“I took it. I broke it. But I don’t know what I did with it.”

I bribed her with all sorts of wonderful promises if she could find it, but no luck – she just didn’t remember.

I searched high and low through all of her things, but apparently my search never made it to the bottom of the bottomless pit that was her toy box.

Ah, the reward of finding it – and it wasn’t even broken!! I was ecstatic the rest of the night.

Wednesday Morning: Chris discovers a water leak. The dressing room floor is wet, and the living room ceiling has a slowly growing water stain.

Nothing distresses my husband more than a water leak. Nothing.

(Except maybe squirrels.)

I promise to schedule a time for a plumber to come out when I’ll be at home, and we both dread the possible end result.

Then I head to my doctor’s appointment. Wearing a sleeveless dress, thanks to my last horrifically traumatic weigh-in.

But it paid off – my weigh-in was completely redeemed, and so I rewarded myself with a Reese’s Cup.

And then – as if the visit couldn’t get any better after being four pounds less than that obviously erroneous former weigh-in, the doctor confirmed that Noah had, indeed, finally flipped – no more breech!!

Who gives a rip about plumbing problems?

Oh yeah – me. And Chris.

Before I left the hospital, I went ahead and filled out my pre-admission paperwork – and signed so many papers that I think I might have refinanced our house at the same time. But my favorite blank to fill in was under “Section II: Spouse Information” – question five asked “Relationship to Patient.”


Like, other than “Spouse”?

I know it’s Alabama, but still…

Back home. Back to the Plumbing Fiasco.

To find the leak, Plumber had to cut a hole into our Living Room Ceiling – nothing could be more horrific.RoofHole
And as if that wasn’t traumatic enough, the cutting of that diagnostic hole cost us $474 more – before the leak was ever touched.

Two seconds after cutting the sad, sad hole, he said “Yup, there’s a leak. I’ll now have to cut a hole in your bathroom cabinet.”IMG_1458
Chris and I sat in dread as the number of holes in our house and the dollar signs rose.

I couldn’t stand it any longer. I told Chris that I believed that this plus all the repairs afterward would, for the first time ever, get us over our homeowner’s insurance deductible and that we should, most definitely, start a claim. And so, to prevent further psychological trauma, I left the scene of the crime and began the conversation with State Farm.

Thursday: Leak now fixed, damage all known, so now it was time to finish our claim and get State Farm to send us a check.

I ADORE State Farm.

Instead of adding “Carpet Cleaning” into our settlement for our now-stained dressing room carpet, they figured in “New Carpet for the whole dressing area”.

Instead of adding “Fix hole in vanity” into our settlement, they figured in “Replace entire 6.5 foot, two sink vanity”.

They asked questions such as, “How much time did you spend sopping and mopping? We will pay you for your time because we would have paid someone to come out and do it for you.”

And so, after all of the claim dust settled, and even after our deductible, thanks to the wonderful, lovely, adorableness of State Farm, instead of the dreadful dollar amounts Chris and I were discussing the night before, we are now looking like we’ll come out ahead, even after all the repairs are finished.

And, in even more amazing fashion, I filed the claim yesterday morning, and got the check in the mail TODAY.

Thank you, State Farm. I dearly, dearly adore you.

So, to sum up,

  • Ali has a nicely organized toy corner (for at least the week)
  • Found my precious necklace
  • Noah finally flipped
  • My weight was redeemed
  • Plumbing fiasco scared the wits out of us, but then
  • Plumbing fiasco turned into a net credit, rather than a huge out-of-pocket expense
  • I love State Farm.

Yes, this week’s balance sheet turned out pretty good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

32 Weeks – 7 To Go!

32 wks

Total Weight Gained: 21.2 Pounds. Of course, that’s using my own at-home weight, not the doctor’s horrifically bad weigh-in at my last visit. I’m really hoping to redeem myself when I go back on Wednesday.

Cravings: PEZ. Sorry, Ali, your PEZ stash is now completely gone. At least they only have like 35 calories a pack – I figure it’s a good craving to have.

Contractions: They are seriously getting bad. I think, hope, and pray that Noah managed to turn around (de-breech) during the night Saturday night – I woke up Sunday morning nearly unable to move from the pain and soreness, and since then, everything has felt very different, very painful, very contractiony, and very like-the-bottom’s-gonna-fall-out-any-minute. Of course it’s not time for that, but I just think the difference in feelings HAS to be because he finally managed to turn around, and maybe he’s not such a fan of the upside-down position. I go to the doctor on Wednesday, so I’m anxiously awaiting the prognosis of whether he’s still breech or not.

Movements: He’s gotten a bit more violent in there – there is often a visible protrusion where a foot is sticking out of my side, or a head is sticking out, or an elbow is trying to come through my belly-button. Ali’s been enjoying feeling him kicking around in there, though.

Sleep: Not so easy these days. I’m waking up a lot with soreness and contractions, but I’m not exhausted from the lack of sleep, so that’s at least a positive.

Why I’m Proud of Myself: I actually started drinking water regularly! And it’s not so bad, now that I’m getting used to it! I’ve never been much of a fan, and it’s something I have to force myself to do. So two weeks of drinking significant amounts of water is a huge victory - I totally deserve a reward.

I wonder where I can find more PEZ around here?