Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just Hangin'

What do you do when you are battling head colds & stomach virus'? You just hang. Poor B man caught the head cold I had last weekend, and has been down for the count. He's a trooper though, and has dealt with me wiping and sucking (with the aspirator ofcourse) snot all week long. What's weird is that he really doesn't mind the aspiration as much as the wiping... that silly boy! Here are some pictures I took when he was feeling pretty lousy:

"My name's Brayden Thomas, and I feel yucky!"

Mommy made me this pallet, and I got to watch Praise Baby for a long time!

On other news fronts, he's broken his right top tooth, bringing the total tooth count to 4. He likes showing his chompers too, as evidenced in this picture, taken on a better day this week.

"Look at all my chompers!"

We are definitely on the mend and praying that B and Drew don't catch the nasty 24 hour stomach bug I had on Wednesday and Thursday. It was nasty and definitely wiped me of any energy I had left after the head cold.

 
"I am the cutest!"

PS-- Monday, I was able to take care of little Laci for the day. Because of my head cold, I only was able to get one picture of the two of them, but they played so well together and Brayden loves to have friends over!


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Not So Knock Off

Today as I was changing Brayden's diaper, I was thinking about how some things (alot actually) are totally fine with getting the knock off. Save $1, smile, live to see another day. But some things, such as diaper cream, really are the real deal, and knock off's just don't cut it. I decided that I should start a list of knock off's that really don't hit the bar as far as quality is concerned. If you have something to add to the list, by all means, please leave a comment. Here's to helping out the fellow consumers:
Desitin diaper rash cream- I'm sorry Equate brand, but you really didn't get the whole composition of Desitin now did you? It's runny, the creams and oils separate, and it leads to a huge mess. Dirty diapers are bad enough, I want something that will come out fast, easy and go on clean and with one swipe. Thank you Desitin-- I will proudly dish out the extra buck just to get your purple tube!
Velvetta- Off brand veletta is like eating ground up chalk with orange dye in it. No seriously, it is. The Aldi's brand comes close, but if you're making cheese dip, do yourself and your dinner guests a favor and buy the real deal. People will thank you while they're licking their chops with cheesy rotel goodness.
Off Brand Mack and Cheese-- I really have only tried off brand mac and cheese once. When I was 11 years old. Our maid made us some for lunch (it was what mom left us), and I about threw up all over the freshly waxed floors (ok, they were just shined and lysoled, but do 11 year olds really know the difference?). I told Shirley that she had made chalk for us to eat, and she laughed so hard. Needless to say, mom bought Kraft from then on out.
Off Brand Sodas-- nothing beats a Coca-Cola classic, NOTHING. Dr Pepper would also be in this category (Mr. Pibb aint got nothing on the Dr.).
Off Brand Dishwasher Detergent-- Drew's about as frugal as a person can come, and he has begged me to purchase Palmolive. Apparently the off brand leaves residue on our dishes that dear Drew can't stand to have on there.
Off Brand Pads-- sorry if you're a dude and you read my blog, but maybe this will help you out if your woman asks you to go to the store for her. I thought for sure that the off brand pads would be as good as the name brand. I mean, can't hurt anything right? Wrong. Take my word for it. ALWAYS is named that for a reason. On a side note, off brand tampons work great, so I guess the money you save evens out in the end.
Off Brand Diapers/Wipes-- We've tried, on numerous occasions, to switch from Pampers to an off brand diaper. I mean, let's face it, diaper manufacturers have us mom's in a corner. Unless you are super granola and plan on cloth diapering (more power to you! I couldn't do it if my life depended on it!), you'll see what i mean. Brayden leaked out of EVERYTHING but Pampers. Even Huggies. I told Drew that what little money we did save on diapers was quickly diminished by all of the laundry I was forced to do because of leaky diapers. So, we've stuck to Pampers, and likely won't change anytime soon. Off brand wipes are the same way. We're huggies wipes fans, probably moreso because you can buy them by the case at Sam's. We've tried off brand, and I think you use 3 times more than if you use the Huggies brand.

That's all I can think of right now. Trust me, I am a very frugal person, but some things, you just can't buy off brand!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

I ♥ Faces: Autumn Beauty

Beauty? No. Handsome? Ofcourse! During a photoshoot of my 7 month old son (then 6 months) my husband decided to whisk together some leaves for a true fall experience. Brayden thought the leaves flying through the air were hilarious, and I was able to capture this pose. Nothing better than fresh fallen leaves and a laughing baby. Makes a momma heart smile! Hop on over to the I Faces website for more awesome autumn entries!






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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend in Review

This will be a short weekend in review since most of the weekend I have battled sickness. Not really sure what I have, but I don't think it's swine :) thankfully. It started Friday night with sinus drip, and Saturday AM my sore throat came on. By Saturday evening I was feeling pretty lousy, and went to bed a bit early, hoping that would shake it off. But Sunday AM I felt the worse, and stayed home from church so that I could get some rest. And rest I did, sleeping from 9 to 12:30 straight through-- like a brick. I seriously think it was some of the best sleep I have had since having Brayden!
Friday night we did have some friends over to play Settlers of Catan. No pics, but trust me, it was fun. And I won, which added to the fun meter :)
Saturday I did 2 photoshoots; one of a family of 3 and one of an infant. The weather could not have been better for pictures, and I believe that this was the last weekend of the November warmth so it was good to get these in before teeth start chattering :) Because of me feeling so crappy, the only pictures I have from this weekend are from my photoshoots. Hope you all have a great week!

Little Brianna-- isn't she precious? She is very much a little diva, and knows how to work that camera :)

 
 





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Friday, November 13, 2009

Photography Tips: Shooting in Av Mode

I've met a lot of people recently who own Digital SLR cameras but still shoot on auto. To me, this is a travesty, and is comparable to owning a luxury sports car but only taking it on 20mph drives. Sure, you look awesome driving in your fancy-shmancy-pants car, but you really haven't gotten use out of the awesome engine! So, in order to help my fellow photographers out (and perhaps bore the rest of you), I thought I'd post a few blogs about tips that have helped me become a better photographer (and let's face it, I still have a long ways to go!). The first one I thought I'd post about is Av mode (aperture priority; your camera sets the shutter speed and you set ISO and aperture), because I am a junky for awesome DOF (depth of field).
Before you start using Av, it'd be good to know what aperture is. Simply speaking, your aperture determines how much light reaches the image sensor. Most lenses will have an f-stop-- the lower the number, the wider the aperture. For example, my Canon 28-135 lens stops down to 3.5; this is as wide as it will go. The wider the aperture, the greater the DOF (this is also called bokeh). For portraits, I like to shoot wide open, but for landscape shots, I like to close the lens down a bit so that everything in my picture is in focus. If you'd like to read a more in depth description of aperture, Wikipedia has a good article HERE. Now to put it in motion...
Set your dial button on your camera to Av mode. I always try to shoot with the lowest ISO possible; this ensures that I have minimal noise on my images. So typically I will shoot at 100 or 200, and a rare occasion will I shoot at 400 ISO. To set your ISO, there should be a short stop button on the back of your Canon. Simply press that button and the different ISO options will pop up. You can also go to your menu button and scroll to ISO that way as well. Next, I have to decide at what aperture I want to shoot with; like I mentioned before, the lower the f-stop, the wider the aperture and the more shallow the DOF. To set the aperture (this is on a Canon) there is a scroll button located on the top right of your camera, next to the shutter release button. To make your f-stop lower, simply scroll to the left, and higher, scroll to the right. Now that your ISO and your aperture are set, you are read to shoot. The tricky part is making sure that you can shoot with all 3 (ISO, aperture and shutter speed) with what you have set. If there's not enough light, chances are, your camera won't be able to shoot the picture very well, if at all. If your camera is unable to shoot, your f-stop number in your viewfinder (the little green line of numbers that are on the bottom of your viewfinder show your shutter speed, f-stop and exposure meter) will flash. If it is flashing, you will need to increase your f-stop until your camera feels like it can expose the image correctly. If you get to the highest f-stop (my 28-135 goes up to 22) and is still flashing, you will need to increase your ISO setting. Be careful in increasing the ISO too high though, because like I said before, this will cause increased noise and decreased image quality. You might have to fiddle around with your settings until you are satisfied, but that is basically how you shoot in Av.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thankful

Thankful: thank·ful. Pronunciation: \ˈthaŋk-fəl\. Meaning: conscious of benefit received.

There are so many things I am conscious of. Other things, not so much. Lately my goal has been to become more conscious of the things I benefit from, no matter how big or small. Sometimes I feel like saying I am thankful for my husband and my child is cliche. I mean, I am grateful for them; it's hard not to be when you hear stories of people's spouses dying suddenly, or watching friends grieve the loss of little ones. But what about the little things in life that we take for granted? What about: running water? being able to do your laundry at home (or at all!)? Food on the table for every meal? The ability to speak, listen and see. Those are things I do every day, but rarely do I take a moment to say "Thank you God for these little things that allow me to experience life to the fullest." This week I Faces is a "my story in photos" week with the theme of thankfulness. While I did include pictures of my beloved husband and my sweet baby boy, I also included things that I feel like I overlook on my daily "thankfulness" list. My home, my dishwasher, my washing machine, running water, God's word (religious freedom should also be included with that picture), food , and, ofcourse, my two boys! I am also thankful for Toby, but sadly my storyboard didn't have enough space on it for a picture of him :( Be sure to check out the other entries at the I Faces blog by clicking on the button below my pictures.



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Monday, November 9, 2009

7 months old


Um, excuse me, did I just write 7 months?!?!?! Hello world, what has happened to my baby boy?! I always used to shake my head in agreement but not really understand when people with children would say "time flies SO fast." I mean, time really does fly fast, but when you have a child, it's like someone put your crockpot life in a microwave and made you an instant dinner instead! To celebrate 7 months, Brayden broke his 3rd tooth (top left), and is working on several more. He now eats: cauliflower, apples, pears, peaches, plums, kiwi, blueberries, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, acorn squash and butternut squash, along with rice and oatmeal cereal (he prefers oatmeal). He LOVES to eat, and will start kicking his legs whenever he sees me preparing his meal.

He can sit up on his own now, and loves to make the "razzing" noise (especially when his diaper is being changed). He sleeps about 11-12 hours through the night, and takes 2, 2 hour naps during the day. When daddy gets home, we go to the door to greet him, and he starts waving his arms and kicking his legs. Mommy's really do turn into chopped liver at 6:30 :o] Brayden has also learned that if he hits toys, they will turn on, so he is all about hitting toys (oh dear!). I am working on the screaming to get what we want, and think it's finally turned down a notch. He definitely knows what the word "no" means! He hasn't quite figured out crawling, but he gets SO excited when he gets up on all fours and rocks back and forth. It's even better when mom and dad cheer for him while he's rocking-- he loves to be cheered on!

We dedicated B a day before he turned 7 months old. It was so special and so important to me to publicly make known the fact that we recognize this child is not ours. He is on loan to us from God, and it is our duty and privilege to raise him in a way that will honor the Lord. Brayden means "brave" and Thomas means "redeemed"; it is our prayer that this little man will come to know the redeeming love of God at a young age and that he will be a brave warrior for Christ. Brayden Thomas we love you so much and are so proud of everything you are and are learning to be!
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Weekend in Review

This weekend was a whirlwind but so worth it, since we got to spend it with my parents! I know I keep saying this, but the weather was absolutely phenomenal and we took full advantage. On Friday we went to the park, and the perused the downtown a bit for a monthly festival they put on. The theme this month was Christmas toyland, and they had all kinds of new toys that are out this year. It was a bit over B's head, but so fun to watch all of the other kids going crazy! Unfortunately I left my camera in the car during our outing, so I have no pics :( On the way to the park we had stopped at Target so that mom could get B some shoes. We also made a quick detour to the toy department to get B a Tonka truck (I had told mom about it last week, and she wanted to get him a little gift). He LOVES it and smiles so big when it revs up and honks. I think it's so funny that boys are already enamored by trucks and cars at such a young age!


Saturday we went to a birthday for a friend of our's little girl (or should I say Brayden's friend? ;o])
She turned 1, and it was decorated SO cute. They call her little Laci bug, so the party was lady bug themed, decorated with reds, whites and blacks. Laci LOVED her lady bug cake and dug right in... isn't she adorable?


After the party we came back home and watched the Hogs put a stompin' on South Carolina. I love it when we tick off another coach, and the Ol' Ball Coach is no exception. Man was his spitting mad before halftime. Cracked me up!We spent the rest of the day watching football and playing cards.

Sunday was Brayden's baby dedication at church. My mom's brother and his family came, along with my parents. It was neat having them there, as they are really the starting legacy of faith and good decisions for our family. After church we went out to eat, and then the boys went to play golf while me, mom and B caught up on some shut eye!



And that was basically our weekend. It was really fun but it went by way too fast!
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Exhilarating

I think everyone has something in their life that makes them come alive. It's that breath of fresh air that we all need... and everyone's is different. My husband, for example, thrives in the outdoors. I always joke with people that if I die there is a true possibility that he will hole himself up somewhere in the woods, sipping on stale coffee and eating Ramen noodles for the rest of his life. The mere thought of being holed in the woods makes me want to cry. It's so lonesome to me (and the rustling leaves can be frightening if your imagination rigs up some bear/beast thing coming from behind you). This morning I was thinking about what makes me come alive. It's been on my mind alot lately actually... this who "making you come alive thing." Drew and I have been talking about it because he wanted to know what I did to experience God, to experience life. I am such a homebody that I really find comfort in the normal everyday occurances. But as I was perusing through photography blogs, it hit me. Photography makes me come alive. Something in my heart just pounds a bit faster as I grab my camera. It's like the worries of everything else just disappear, and but for a moment I am behind an article that will freeze a moment in time for eternity. It's powerful, it's invigorating, and I LOVE it. I think what makes it even greater for me is that I am such a 'big picture' person (not literally, figuratively, as in life). I always look at things measuring them on how they will affect 20 years down the road. Photography makes me stop looking 20 years down the road, and focus on the little, minute occurrences that 20 years down the road you will forget were it not for a picture. Like Brayden's chubby fingers grasping a small pumpkin, or how he closes his eyes and smiles when he lays outside in the sun; those details would probably be forgotten after the next day comes, but my camera, it has captured those moments for me to treasure forever. What's even more incredible to me is that it makes me see things the way God sees things. I find beauty in things that are otherwise overlooked. A cracked bench. Worn out concrete. An old dead tree. To a photographer, those things that are overlooked can sometimes make the picture. Makes me wonder how much God chuckles at us when we think we are old, worn out and not worth much. Maybe we're making the picture for God. It's a thought!
On a completely separate side note, my parents are on their way up for the weekend and I am beyond excited! Brayden will be dedicated on Sunday at church and they wanted to make sure they were here for that event. I am so grateful to have such wonderful parents, and for Brayden to have such awesome grandparents! Life is so sweet! Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekend in Review

This weekend was full of fall festivities! Friday B and I went to Drew's work were they were celebrating Halloween. I really hate the phrase celbrating Halloween because I don't really agree with the principle of Halloween, but don't really disagree with letting your kid dress up and trick or treat. I know, I am conflicted... perhaps someday I'll figure out how to really approach the entire situation. Anyway, Drew's work really goes all out. Each "pod" is decorated according to a theme, and the employees kids all come and trick or treat around the office. It was incredible! They had a pirate ship with castaway:



They had snow white and the 7 dwarfs (Jennifer Bowen, I thought of your daughter when I saw this):

 

And Drew's pod was decorated as a mechanic shop, so they were aptly called the "grease monkeys":


The outfit was complete with a tail and hat (with monkey ears sticking out); unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture of the tail on Drew. It was cute though, to capture both of my boys with monkey ears:


Mr. B-man, cheesing it up for Drew's coworkers

I can't wait till next year, when Brayden will really understand what is going on! Friday night Drew helped me attack the task of making more baby food. I was running short on a couple of things, and always try to make baby food on the weekend so I know I have an extra set of hands. Just for the record, 4 large sweet potatoes will make SO much baby food! Next time I'll only get 2 :) We also made cauliflower, which B has never had before so I am curious to see what he thinks. I hate cauliflower, so hopefully he won't acquire my tastes on that one!


 
The 2 pics above were taken on Saturday morning while we were just hanging out at the house. I bought Brayden a couple of little pumpkins a while back to play with... I try to teach him "bumpy," "smooth," "orange," and that Jesus made the pumpkins and that He made Brayden too! I know it sound so corny, but babies are like little sponges, so my goal as a mommy is to incorporate as much learning experiences into the fun things of everyday life so that Brayden is always learning something new. Ofcourse, as you can see his most favorite thing to do is just suck on the pumpkin... but hey, atleast I try!

 
Drew got all culinary on me and cooked up some eggs and stuff for breakfast (I had already had a bowl full of mushy oatmeal, so sadly I did not partake)

Saturday we had another costume party for B with all of his friends. It was so fun to see everyone and actually have one of our own to have there dressed up. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I had my macro lens attached to my camera, and so I wasn't able to really get any group shots. I am having some emailed to me, so once I get them I'll post them later. I did get this good shot of B though, so this is from the party on Saturday:


Saturday afternoon mommy and daddy got to go on a date thanks to Mrs. Linda (a lady that I worked with before I had B). We got to go to the Hog's homecoming game! Someone graciously gave us free tickets, and they were SUCH good seats-- 50 yard line! We had a blast, even though it was a total blowout (as referenced by this picture, taken during halftime. please note the score!):



 
Best University in the country. OK, maybe that's a stretch, but we LOVE our Hogs!

Sunday was daylight savings time AND it was our Sunday to serve in the nursery. Brayden actually did OK, and woke at 6:30 (which would have been 7:30, which is what I had adjusted him to before the change). I can't complain! He didn't take a nap during any service at church though, so Sunday afternoon was a little rough. Drew graciously watched B while I took some photos of a friend of mine's daughters. The pics came out so cute and I can't wait to show off some of my fave shots! I am still in the midst of editting, so it might not be until later this week.

And that my friends, was our weekend. Hope you all have a SUPER-D-DUPER week!
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