Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just a few things...

- Yesterday at the doctor's office, I got weighed. I was disappointed. I've been diligently doing the 30 Day Shred, playing softball, eating pretty darn well, and I still weigh EXACTLY the same as I did at my 6 week postpartum visit. I honestly feel like I will never, ever reach my pre-pregnancy weight again. And that's frustrating. I'm trying to be positive and keep going, because I am down a pants size, but not seeing ANY movement on the scale is so sucky.

-Have I mentioned that Lizzy is hilarious at games? She's been to one of my brother's football games, and comes to our weekly softball game. She happily screams her head off the entire time. It is super funny.

-Is it a late year for tomatoes for anyone else? Almost all of our tomatoes are still green. I hope they end up ripening up before the frost!

-Yesterday in the baby food isle, I noticed "baby water". I am guessing this is water that is somehow specially made for babies?! No one ever mentioned this to us, so we've always just used tap water. Does anyone use the special "baby water"?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

#35 | Intimidation

My husband loves cheesecake. I've known this about him for quite some time. Once when we were dating, we attempted to make cheesecake bars together, but I'm pretty sure they were of a no-bake variety. Cheesecake has always been intimidating to me, so I've never attempted it again.

But, I put it on my 101 in 1001 list of things to do. Make Justin a cheesecake. I'd been dragging my feet, mostly because I didn't want an entire cheesecake sitting around our house. {And because I was intimidated}. However, last night, we had a dessert potluck to go to for our small group, and I didn't want to bring blackberry cobbler again, but did have blackberries that I wanted to use. So I searched through Pioneer Woman's recipes containing blackberries and came across her Blackberry Cheesecake.

And I decided to make it. Even though I don't own a springform pan. So, I did. And it was easy. I planned to take a picture once I got back from our small group {there were only like 4 couples, I figured there was no WAY we'd eat a whole cheesecake, especially with 4 other tasty desserts to try}, but when I came home, all I was left with was this:

One little itty bitty piece of cheesecake/berry goodness. So, I'm assuming it was good. I don't know for sure though, because Justin didn't comment either way!

First "Fall" Family Photo Session & #78

I say "fall" because it doesn't feel like fall. It was 88 degrees yesterday. That is NOT fall weather! But, it did allow for a beautiful backdrop for my first set of fall family photos:



Mullins (3)

Mullins (42)

This was such a fun family! I hadn't met them before, but it turns out that they literally live just around the corner from us. And we drive exactly the same car, down to the color.

The whole extended family was there too, and we did a secondary session including everyone. It was really fun.

This shoot also helped me come DARN close to fulfilling #78 from my 101 in 1001 list, which was "Do 5 photo shoots for non-family members"--this session brought me up to 4/5!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nothin But Snippets

- On Saturday, I had an AWESOME family photo shoot. I am so thrilled with the final results, and I can't wait to share a few after I have a signed model release. I've got another shoot this coming Saturday, and maybe a few little ones here and there too.

- After the photo shoot on Saturday, Justin and I got to go on a date. Our second since Lizzy was born. It was a great time, and we pushed through, even though the night was working out like it just wasn't meant to be. J and I went to Red Robin to grab a quick bite to eat before the game, and discovered when we walked in the door that it was homecoming. The place was PACKED with kids in formal gowns. The wait time was like three hours, so we went to the bar to eat, and proceeded to get kicked out because Justin's ID was too dirty. So, we went down the road to Applebee's, where they lost our food order. We eventually got served, and made it in time for the movie. Justin kindly bought me some frozen Junior Mints, only when we were eating them, one apparently fell into my purse and melted ALL OVER the keys of my Blackberry. That was just how the night went. But at least the movie was good {The Town} and the crazy events gave us something to laugh about.

-I am exhausted. I don't know if Lizzy is teething again or what, but her sleep has seriously deteriorated. The weird thing is that I hear her screaming, but I go into her room and I think she's still actually asleep. How early do night terrors start?

-My sidebar is lying to you guys. I'm actually reading Grapes of Wrath right now. I never read it in high school or college, and I'm surprised that I actually kind of like it.

- I will probably finish out the 30 Day Shred either this week or next. Woo for crossing off one of my 101 in 1001 goals!

-I feel like I'm in a recipe funk. Anyone have any good recipes to share?

Friday, September 24, 2010

M Grows Up

I had a photo shoot yesterday for a sweet family that I've done pictures for twice before--when their girl M was 6 months, again at 12 months, and now at 18 months. I can hardly believe how much she's grown! This family will always hold a special place in my heart because they were my first clients that I didn't know prior to the shoot!

Anyway, this whole photography thing has been in a bit of a limbo for me--I went through about a 6 month period where I just wasn't booking ANYTHING. I felt like I couldn't give a shoot away. I really wasn't sure whether to give up this dream of mine and look for a part-time job somewhere or what. But suddenly, I've had several bookings, and a few more that have shown interest in fall portrait sessions. I also have an idea for a mini portrait studio in my house that I want to try out with the cousins...

For the first time in awhile, I am hopeful about this!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Have a Photography Question!!!

Seriously y'all, I need your help. I've been noticing something when I'm shooting with my Canon 50mm f 1.8 lens, and I'm honestly not sure whether this is normal, or indicative of some other problem. Here's the deal--when using auto-focus, I have been noticing that the focus is good at about 2-3 feet, but beyond that, it isn't as sharp, even when the auto-focus has "locked" onto a point.

Take a look at these--all images were shot at f. 1.8| 1/100th sec| 800 ISO. All were set to focus on the middle point, which I aligned with the lamb's eye. In each case, I got the red "locked" focus point. 

2 Feet

4 Feet

6 Feet

Here's the 6 Foot shot cropped closer: 

The focus is significantly less sharp at 6 feet compared to at 2. Is this normal for using auto-focus?

5 Things You May or May Not Know (About Me)

1. For my daily vitamin, I take two Flinstones Gummies.
2. I *HATE* drinking out of glass glasses. I much prefer plastic.
3. The town that I grew up in has been listed as one of the top 10 best places for hippies to live.
4. I played competitive basketball from 3rd grade up to my junior year in high school.
5. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from college. I'm a total nerd at heart.

Now tell me five things about YOU that I might not know!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BQOTD: Medical Trials

Today's Burning Question of the Day: Would you ever participate in any sort of medical trial?

My allergist's office often has medical trials. I qualify for one of the upcoming ones, and I think that I'm going to participate. It's for a drug that hasn't been FDA approved yet (this trial is needed first), but has been tested before without any major complications.

So far, most people that I've told have looked at me like I have seven heads. But I figure that if others hadn't been willing to participate in trials before me, I wouldn't have access to some of the medicine that I do now to help with my allergies and asthma. I guess that I just figure that it's worth it to see if something is more effective, and risk the most commonly reported side effect, which is a headache.

Plus, the compensation package is pretty awesome--it's a one month study and pays $600!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rock On

Lizzy has always loved watching her dad, uncle, aunts, and grandpa play music/sing. Recently though, she's taken an even greater interest in the guitar, and loves when I put my old guitar on the floor for her to strum. 

She plucks at the strings, pounds on the body of the guitar, and "sings". It is ADORABLE. She also loves to sit on my lap while I pluck out the few chords that I know.

The other day, I even swear she was playing air guitar. She went at it for several minutes--"strumming", and "singing". I even managed to snap a photo: 

Maybe it's just me, but I think baby girl is well on her way to mastering the air guitar--hilarious!

Friday, September 17, 2010


This may be a long-shot, but are any of you familiar with the NOOMA video series by Rob Bell? Have you seen them? Do you have a favorite?

Ooey Gooey Cucumber Bread Goodness

Yes, you read that right. I said Cucumber Bread. Not Zucchini Bread. Cucumber Bread. Why? Because we planted cucumbers and not zucchini in our garden. And also because someone I know told me that Cucumber Bread wasn't possible. And there's nothing that makes me more determined to do something than telling me that I can't do that thing.

Here's what you need:

-3 eggs
-2 cups all purpose flour
-1 cup whole-wheat flour
-2 cups grated or mashed cucumbers (Some people prefer to peel and de-seed. I didn't do either)
-1 cup applesauce
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder

If you're a good little baker, you'll beat the eggs first, then beat in the sugar. Next add the cucumber, followed by the applesauce and then the vanilla. Then you'll slowly add the rest of the dry ingredients. {I am NOT a good little baker, and I just throw everything in a bowl and whisk it all together.}

Pour into two greased bread loaf pans/ two muffin tins/ one of each. I know there won't be a lot of batter in each pan. If you don't make bread all that often, it won't seem like enough. Still, do NOT combine into one pan, no matter how tempting it will be. TRUST.

Next, bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

In order to get the full ooey gooey effect, eat a warm piece of bread with a pat of butter. As you probably noticed, there's no oil in this bread, so don't feel too badly about the butter. I didn't. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BQOTD: Stuff

What do you guys do with your "stuff"--you know, books, movies, treadmills, Xboxes, wakeboards, four guitars? Basically, stuff that you do use, but don't use on an everyday basis? 

Is it all in your garage? Your attic? Basement? Tossed into a spare bedroom?

We have an attic, which is apparently "non-functional" for some reason unbeknownst to me. Justin has explained it to me a number of times, but I honestly just don't understand. I cannot believe that our attic cannot be made to be usable. I would LOVE to stash things like Christmas decorations, and the maternity pillow {that I LOVED at the time, but now takes up the entire guest closet}, and some of Lizzy's too-small clothes up there.

We also have a garage that doubles as a laundry room, pantry, and houses a spare fridge and freezer. Needless to say, there isn't much room left for storage. Though I would like to build some floor to ceiling shelves in there eventually.

So right now, most of our "stuff" hangs out in our guest room. I would REALLY like that room to actually be a guest room, but I still have no idea how to accomplish the task, other than weeding through things that we have been hanging on to but don't use on a regular basis. I just took six bags of that stuff (mostly clothes) to Goodwill, but we are still left with a lot of "stuff" that just doesn't have a home. People always tell me to sell the books and DVDs, Xbox, guitars, etc., but that just isn't an option--Justin would be extremely upset, and it's his house too.

Are we the only ones who have issues with "stuff"? How do you contain yours, and keep it organized?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We Give Books

Are you a Mom? Dad? Aunt? Uncle? Cousin? Babysitter? Have friends who have kids?

I want to tell you about a really cool website called We Give Books. It's a really simple concept--you read a children's book online, and We Give Books donates a book to an organization that you select. The titles available to read online change seasonally, so there's always a variety.

It's free, so go do it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Date Night

Last night, Justin and I put Lizzy to bed and watched the movie Date Night (yeah for Redbox!). I wasn't sure whether it would be hilarious or stupid, and maybe I was just in the mood for a silly movie, but I thought it was HILARIOUS. One scene in particular had me laughing so hard I was crying.

Basically, the two characters (Tina Fey and Steve Carrell) are a married couple discussing their fantasies. The husband asks if the wife ever fantasizes about leaving him for someone else. She responds something to the effect of,

'God no. If anything I fantasize about being alone. Leaving and going to a hotel for the afternoon. Being in a quiet room where I can eat my lunch with no one touching me. And drink a diet Sprite in peace.' 

I about died. I SO understand! I never really understood until I became a mom how exhausting it can be just to be touched 24/7. But I also didn't have any understanding of how heart-warming and fulfilling it can be either.

Friday, September 10, 2010


- I'm really tired. Lizzy and I both have colds. On top of that, her sleep has been seriously deteriorating. She used to sleep through the night, but now she's not anymore. She's usually up at 3am or 4am, standing up in her crib, and hysterical. Nothing that I've tried so far (bottle, rocking, lullaby music, motrin, etc) seems to make any bit of difference. If Justin gets up first to go to her, he tends to take the, "YOU LAY DOWN RIGHT NOW AND GO TO SLEEP" approach. I definitely approach the situation differently, and that causes some friction between the two of us as well. It's just a frustrating situation all around.

-In the same vein, we need a date night really badly. Time to reconnect. I'm just not sure when that will even be feasible with Justin's crazy and unpredictable work schedule.

- I've made Blackberry cobbler probably seven times in the past two weeks, using a modified version of this recipe. PS- please note that the original calls for self-rising flour. I didn't notice this for the first cobbler, and it didn't turn out so well. If you only have all purpose flour, just add 1.5 tsp baking powder and 1tsp salt to make your own self rising flour.

Dessert 9.08.10

-I've been taking photos of what I've been eating this week.You can view the Flickr set here if you're interested. I probably won't do it every day, just because I'm too cheap to buy a Pro Flickr account, so there's a monthly limit to what I can upload.

-I've had a few people ask about In the Photo Friday. My original commitment was to do ITPF until September. I'm not sure if I want to continue to do it weekly, or just every so often. If anyone else wants to host it on their blog, maybe that would be a good idea? What do y'all think? 

-I've been alternating the 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown, and let me tell meltdown is NO JOKE. I've done yoga before, but I have never sweat doing yoga like I did with that DVD. Holy COW.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Letter to Lizzy- Eight Months

Dear My Long-Legged Lizzy Girl, 

In a few days, you will officially be eight months old, which is absolutely ridiculous. At eight months, here's what you're up to: 
  • Crawling, pulling yourself to standing, and "Cruising" on furniture. Occasionally standing unassisted for a few minutes. 
  • Bouncing up and down when you're holding on to furniture. 
  • Saying "Mama", "Dada", "Hey", "A-Boo", and lots of other sounds.
  • Playing Peek-A-Boo and "Getcha Getcha" (you LOVE being tickled)
  • Sometimes waving hi or bye, but you turn your hand around and wave at yourself instead of whoever you're waving at. 
  • Eating. Lots. Right now, you especially love corn on the cob, pizza, and the Up & Up brand of white cheddar puffs.  
  • Not sleeping. Like, ever. 
  • You also constantly shake your head side to side, doing the motion for "no". I don't think you're actually saying "no" though, I think you just like how it feels. 
  • And, you have four teeth--your two bottom teeth, and your two eye teeth up top!

One thing that has really developed this month is your temper. In the above set of pictures, you'll notice some pretty intense crying photos. No, you hadn't hurt yourself--you were madder than a wet hen that I took my cell phone away from you. And a 15 minute tantrum ensued, complete with arm flailing, rolling around on the ground, and an occasional pause to make sure that I was still watching. Despite this behavior, I didn't really mind your tantrum, because shortly after you were done, you crawled into your Boppy pillow and fell asleep. I was shocked, because nothing like that has EVER happened. Most kids fall asleep in their highchair or jumperoo from time to time, but not you sweet girl. Normally, it is really, REALLY hard to get you to sleep--in fact, this morning at 3am, you were standing up in your crib and happily screaming, ready to play.

Another thing I've noticed this month is that you are really starting to ham it up (another similarity you have with your dad). If people are watching, there's nothing you love more than to let out a happy scream and make a silly, mischievous face.

You've begun gaining weight at a more steady rate this month, and now top out at just over 14 pounds, and you're *just* beginning to fit into 6-9 month clothes. You're doing very well with formula bottles, and meals are SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL than when I was battling you to nurse. Still, you much prefer to eat "real" food, and are starting to develop preferences there as well--last weekend, you would not eat the quesadilla that I ordered for you, but banged on the table for Grandma Joyce's black beans and rice.

Everyone is taking bets on how many more weeks it will be until you walk. While I wouldn't be surprised if you were walking by the end of the month, I kind of hope that you wait another month or so...because once you're walking, I think you're considered a "toddler", and I just want you to stay a baby for a little while longer!

Love forever and for always,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Homegrown Yum

Have you guys ever seen a photographic food diary? I am kind of fascinated by them, and have considered taking a photo of everything that I eat for one week. I've heard that embarking on a photographic food journal is usually very beneficial to one's diet {who wants to show the world that they've been eating a nasty fast food hamburger that day?}. I'm not sure that I'm ready to dive into that kind of commitment just yet, but I decided to snap a photo of dinner last night:

beer-beef on a hoagie roll with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, home grown tomato and pepper
corn on the cobb (from our garden!!!)
freshly picked blackberries and strawberries (the strawberries are also from our garden)

Friday, September 3, 2010

In the Photo Friday

Thrilled to be up before 6am...again.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Parenting-- Saying No.

The other day, I was with a bunch of mom's from Mom's Group, and I couldn't help but notice one of the parenting techniques that one of the moms was using. It seemed to work really well for her, and really intrigued me.

I noticed that even when she was correcting the behavior of her kids, she rarely told them "no", "stop", or "don't". For example, when her boys were playing in a part of the house that they weren't supposed to be in, she said, "Boys, you can come out of that room now." When her boys were running through the house, she said, "Boys, you can walk through this house please. You are so smart, and I know you're going to do a great job listening to this rule."

It sounds silly, but I was kind of blown away. Especially when her kids DID listen, and DIDN'T run in the house, even when other kids started to again. 

That's not to say that she never said "no", "don't", or "stop"--when one of her boys hit the other, she said, "John, no. Don't hit your brother again." But I noticed that she used no/don't/stop sparingly, and usually only when the boys were doing something that was harmful to themselves or others. 

It reminded me of something I heard a few months ago. When I was at work, there was a man who taught parenting classes. Once, I heard him mention that there is usually a 1 to 5 ratio in terms of positive things we say to kids versus negative things or correction. He said that correction and boundaries are very important, but that we have to be careful that our words don't sound like we're saying 'Everything you do is wrong' and that the ratio really should be more like 5 to 1. Think about's easy over the course of a half an hour to say:

Don't jump on the couch.
Don't lick the cat.
Stop making that noise.
Sit still.
Be quiet!
Don't play with that.
Don't hit your brother.
No, you cannot have some more candy.

What if positive redirection could be used on all of those instances except 'Don't hit your brother' ? It's a hard paradigm shift, and even harder to put into practice. Believe me. Over the past two days, I've been watching two of Lizzy's older cousins. They are GREAT, AMAZING, and SWEET kids, but it is *still* so easy to fall into the trap of saying "no, no no" all day, when really, they're not doing anything terribly wrong. When I remembered, I tried to use positive redirection on the small stuff, and it typically worked really well. I'm going to make it a goal to keep at it. I do think it's important for kids to have boundaries and to hear "no" from their parents, but I also think that it's important to build up self-esteem and self-worth in our kids. Maybe this is a way to do both? 

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August 2010 Photo Hunt

Have y'all checked out Ashley's blog Ramblings and Photos? Her blog is *the place* to go to learn all about different photo challenges. I have some serious admiration for the girl and all the photo challenges she does. Two days ago, I read about the August 2010 Photo Hunt on her blog, you can read about it here, but it's basically a list of 20 things to take pictures of during the month of August (between the first and the thirty first). So, with two days remaining, and Lizzy actually down for a nap, I decided to have at it. I'm so glad that I did. Here's what I came up with:

1. Flag that represents you: 
I love this flag--it's the American flag, with Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech on the red lines, and the Declaration of Independence on the white lines.I love the idea of placing both statements about human rights together!

2. Something comfortable:

3. Something in season:

4. Feet (archive shot):

5. Repetition:
In my opinion, there is nothing more repetitive than laundry!

6. Culture or Ethnicity:
I love the foods from different cultures. Justin isn't a super adventurous eater, and doesn't like a lot of ethnic foods, so I try to have them occasionally for lunch, or when he isn't home for dinner.

7. Contrast
I have always loved the contrast between a black tux and a white wedding dress

8. An indulgence

9. Macro/ Close-up:

10. Masculine:
Be still my beating heart...I LOVE the smell of Old Spice.

11. Feminine:

12. Light:

13. Eco-Friendly:
Nalgene :)

14. Business:
The back of J's work truck yesterday.

15. Arrow:

16. Something wet:

17. Something dry:

18. Butterflies:

19. Heart-Shaped Clouds:

*** There is a special meaning behind the butterflies and heart-shaped clouds shots. Read about it here. I had to get creative, because I didn't see any butterflies OR heart-shaped clouds in the two days that I had to take these photos. They're my rough interpretations! 

20. Strength:
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