Friday, March 30, 2007

My New Toy

My favorite man-in-brown came by yesterday and delivered my birthday present from my mom!! Wooohoooo!! Isn't it beautiful???

I had to break it out and start playing with it right away... oh my... so much fun! I can be clear across the yard and get such nice sharp close-ups!! Here are Beth and Kyle working up the nerve to pick up a toad they found.

Here is the toad.

The dirt road curving by our house.

Spike looking at something intently.

The birdhouse way up in one of our really tall trees.

Kyle's dumptruck that caught my eye through the lens.

The morning view from our back deck. I love when we wake up to a foggy morning... it just feels so good on my face! I also love seeing the sun peeking out behind the fog over the mountains.

We have a couple of brand new neighbors I thought I would show you. This little guy is only a couple of days old. His mama didn't really want his picture taken, so she ushered him off pretty quickly.
This little guy is about two weeks old. Isn't he pretty? I was taking his picture, and one of the neighbors down that dirt road drove by. She saw me shooting away (fully extended, that new lens attached to my camera is nearly a foot long) and stopped to tell me her horse is pregnant, and asked if I would like to come take pictures of it when it is born in a week or so. I cannot wait! I am sending happy labor vibes to my equine neighbor... LOL

I am looking forward to getting some candid portraits of the kids now. I will share more photos very soon, I am sure! Have a nice weekend! Thank you Mom!!!! I love ya!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

a more upbeat update

It has been a long week again, but I wanted to highlight some of the funnier things that happened. This first one isn't funny, though... just a bit of a brag. Jack spent the weekend building a deck railing all the way around the front porch, including a gate. Tonight we brought the BBQ out there and put the deck to good use grilling up some burgers and enjoying our lovely weather! "Doncha wish your hubby was handy like mine?!" (sung in my best Pussycat Dolls voice... lol)

I meant to post pictures of these little guys a few weeks ago when I first brought them home, and then I didn't get any great photos of them. Todd calls these our Scooby Doo dogs, and he is right.... they do look like Scooby. However, their names are Clark, Bruce, and Peter. If you are up on your superheroes, I bet you can guess which one of the kids picked their names... lol.... Todd) However, since I was too tenderhearted to only bring one of these guys home, and ended up with all three of the brothers, Jack has decreed that I am no longer allowed to even look at people standing in the Walmart parking lot holding sad-looking puppies that need a home.
This is not a good photo, but it is fun. I do love leprechauns.

The other day, what started out as Kyle's simple self-dousing with a waterhose became......
a very cold mudbath that eventually led to.....

mud monsters running around my yard.

If you are 3 years old and you leave cookies out on the new deck railing, it will attract mosquito hawks. Please, folks, don't feed the wild insects. They never go away if you do that.

When a dad and his baby girl are planting lavendar in the front planter, they should always use a spatula and a window ice scraper. Using standard gardening tools would not be nearly as funny.

And I do love beautiful things, and I love our beautiful spring, so I thought I would share some of the lovely-mous flowers growing on the trees around our yard. Talk to you soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

goodbye Barkley

Today was a sad day. Chet's dog, Barkley, was run over and killed by a truck he was chasing down our dirt road. Chet is absolutely heartbroken, which breaks my heart. This is the dog he got when he was so sick and wanted a dog of his own so badly, and the two of them have been inseperable since then. The only time Barkley wasn't under Chet's feet was if Chet was gone. All we had to say to him was 'Barkley, where's your boy?" and that little dog would get all excited and start barking.

Chet helped Jack bury him, and then he built the cross. The kids all gathered a bunch of the flowers that are growing in our yard. You can't see it because he wrote in pencil, but Chet put a eulogy of sorts on the cross. It says, "Dear Barkley. You were my best friend. God I love you. I will never have another dog like you. And if I ever have another dog I will teach it to not chase cars on the street. Love Chet." ( I would probably laugh about that last part a little if I wasn't feeling so down tonight.)

It hasn't been a good afternoon in a lot of ways, and I am not trying to be cryptic, but I just don't want to talk about it all right now. We have had a lot of bad news, but we are going to get through it like we always do.

There were good things today... I had parent teacher conferences for all of the kids in school, and all five of them are working hard and doing a great job. All of them have worked really hard in the subjects they have been struggling with and have brought their grades up in those subjects, and Jessica and Chet both made honor roll. I am really proud of all of them tonight.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

pictures from the weekend

I really didn't get any great soccer pictures on Saturday. Faith and Kyle were both playing, and Matt coached both of their teams. (He has been coaching their teams for several weeks now, and is even getting paid for it!) Faith had just kicked the ball in this shot.
In this one you can see Matt, Kyle, and Todd. Todd has never played soccer, but when the head coach asked him if he would like to, he jumped at the opportunity. It was hilarious because he was wearing his cowboy boots, and everytime they had a time-out he was out there dancing on the floor with those slippery boots! After the little kids, Matt played a couple of games with the older kids. All of the kids' teams won their games, and we were all really tired by the time the day ended.

Jessica also started her first job on Saturday, but I haven't been able to take any work
pictures of her yet since she is still in training. Those will be coming, though... lol... I promise!
On Sunday, Jack took Matt and Jessica to work with him so they could all spend the day together, and I took the rest of the kids to church, and then all the kids in church went bowling afterwards. My kids had a blast and cannot wait to go again. My favorite part had to be when Todd put on his shoes and said, "Mom, they fi perfectly!" okayyy... but those don't look very comfy to me!!

Since the little guys aren't really up to power-rolls yet, it was really funny to see the kids roll their ball, and then wait and wait and wait for it to reach the pins.

The funniest part of the whole thing is that it was Beth who won the game... LOL... she bowled a 74.
Monday morning started with Jack telling me to get my camera... quickly. Matt gets frustrated with all his curls, so he asked Jessica to help him use the flat iron to straighten it. We have been telling them they need to find common ground and to not spend so much time bickering, but whoda thunk it would be primping... lol

Here is with the straightened do. He really liked it, but as soon as he got done with off-season training and took a shower, all the curls were back in full force... lol

I took some pictures the other day to make a new avatar. The one I had on here is a couple of years old now, so I was due for an update I guess! These didn't come out well straight out of the camera, so I played with the black and white and urban wash actions on them a little. I might take more later, but for now I am going to use the one I put up there in my profile box.

Jack is on his way home, and we are going to some yardwork done. So I am going to sign off now, and I will be back soon with new updates. talk to ya then!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Little Beauty

Faith has been so excited about her very first beauty pageant, and last night was the big event. As soon as she got home from school we started curling her hair and getting her ready to go. She wanted an up-do with lots of little curls. At one point I had her bangs looking like this, and asked her if she would like to go with the 80's bangs look, and as you can see, that idea didn't make her very happy... lol

So we got the bangs styled in a way she felt happy with, added a little glitter to her face, put her dress on and went off to the beauty revue. I hadn't planned on putting any make-up on her, but once we got there I decided to go ahead and let her put a little on. I went and got Jessica, who never goes anywhere without an arsenal of cosmetics, and we gave her some mascara and lipgloss. (I just wasn't willing to put eyeliner, foundation, blush, and bold lipstick on her for this.)

Then my usually extremely confident and out-going little girl got very big case of stage fright just as she was heading out on the stage. She did remember to smile, but she was the littlest one on the stage, and we could tell she was feeling very, very nervous. But that is okay... we were all there to see our little beauty queen and cheer her on, and that is what we did. Seeing us smiling and clapping for her seemed to calm her down a bit, and she got around to all the places she was supposed to be on the stage. (this isn't a great picture of the kids watching the show, but at least you can see Beth's dress... she insisted on wearing one of her really nice dresses to the pageant as well!)

I knew going into this that she probably wouldn't place in the finals at all, and she didn't, but after her initial heartbreak she felt good about having participated. Two things happened that really highlighted what is important here. The first was when I brought her back out to the rest of the family and she was still crying, and all of the kids gathered around her and tried to encourage and comfort her... that just warmed my heart to see them all caring so much for her. And then when she had dried her tears, she told me that she was just really glad her dad was there to see her in the pageant. It made her day that he took some time off work to make sure he could be home to see her get ready and then go to the pageant, and I think it meant even more to her when she overheard another little girl asking her mom why her dad wasn't there, and she was given a really heart-breaking answer.

It sounds trite and euphamistic, I know, but beauty really is subjective and truly is more than a set of nice facial features highlighted by a pretty dress, styled hair, and full make-up. There are a lot of things about beauty pageants I really do not like, but in the end I think this was a really good experience for Faith. She wants to do it again... and next year we still won't spend hundreds of dollars on a dress, we won't take her to a stylist to do her hair, and we won't deck her out in full make-up... but we will be there to cheer her on, and to encourage her to let all of her REAL beauty continue to shine, shine, shine!

I was playing with some color modes and vignette styles on these when I was editing them, which is why they all look different in color. When I go to print them, I plan on using the same color actions on all of the photos to make them match.

Afterwards we went to Walmart to pick up some shin-guards for the kids' soccer tournament today, and people kept smiling and complimenting our little girls. When we got home Beth absolutely crashed on the couch... our little Sleeping Beauty,LOL

Today was spent at the gym watching Faith, Kyle, and Matt play (and in Matt's case, coach) the tournament. We are all exhausted again tonight... lol.. so I am going to go get some sleep. I will post those pictures in the next day or two! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Busy Weekend

On Saturday we borrowed a bobcat to finish getting our garden put together. Jack got called into work, so Tony came over to help me get stuff done. We started out doing really well, and got the flower beds and the strawberry bed filled in in the front yard.

Todd was determined to help as well, so he stayed busy bringing shovels of dirt over one at a time.

Then he went over to the spot we were pulling dirt from and built a robot.

Unfortunately, in an attempt to get the bobcat unstuck from one part of the yard, Tony ended up burying it in the deepest and marshiest part of the property. We couldn't get it out, in fact the tow truck couldn't get it out with the regular truck. They had to go back and get their semi tower, and then use the really long chain they use to pull trucks up mountainsides to pull it out. Someday this is going to be a really funny story.

All of our bushes and trees are blossoming with a bunch of different flowers. Faith and Beth can't leave them alone... they keep plucking some and bringing them to me or trying to replant them.

Today was an absolutely gorgeous overcast day in the 70's, and completely perfect for pictures. I took Beth and Todd into town to use some of the walls and get some shots. I go this one of the two of them.

Todd wasn't really in the mood for pictures, though. This is the only where he was relaxed and acting naturally... because he didn't know I was tkaing his picture. Beth cracked me up as she held up her skirt while she was running.
Most of my pictures of Todd turned out something like this.

But I did get this one in a pallet we found leaning against a wall.

Beth, on the other hand, was thrilled with the camera today, and posed all of her own shots... LOL. Hopefully the weather will be great for more outdoor shots this weekend because I want some new portraits of all the kids.

I will be back with a new Easter digi kit in the next day or two. Have a good week!

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