Monday, June 30, 2008

Why I Love My Kids And My Quest For the Perfect Photo

It's a photo story day today! :)

Today is officially the first day of summer vacation for us. Josh is out of school now, so our schedules are changing around here! It's nice having him around for Matthew to play with. I love that they're such good friends. This morning I heard Matthew call for Josh from the den. When Josh yelled back "What?" Matthew said "I love you!". It was just a little thing, but it made my day.

I love hearing my kids being so sweet to each other. They have their moments where they're at each others throats, but for the most part they are good friends and that makes me happy. I hope that they always stay close.

So with that story, you get these two photos in honor of my sweet boys. I took these last year and they're two of my very favorites. The first one is is a little more fun and the second one is more artsy. I actually have a 16x20 of the second one framed in my front hallway and I love that I can see it every time I go up or down the stairs. I'm actually thinking of entering that one in the fair this year.

Ok, so there's photo story number one. Story number two is my quest to get a decent photo of the dove nest in my tree!! When I get a photo idea in my head I can NOT let it go until I've accomplished it, so this is driving me crazy. I can't get a photo from my bedroom window because the nest is too far back in the tree.

So today I hauled the big ladder back there to see if I could get one that way. That didn't work because there were still branches in the way, so then I went and got my big hedge clippers and went to work chopping off branches. (And then I got carried away and decided to trim the walnut tree while I was at it, which means that now my backyard is covered in tree branches that have to be cleaned up.) I forgot to mention that it's 100 degrees here today, so spending my afternoon hauling a ladder around and hacking away at my trees was not really that much fun!

Anyway, after all that work was done I climbed up the ladder again and was happy to see that NOW I have perfect access to the nest. So I balanced preciously on the top of the ladder, holding my heavy camera with the heaviest lens and proceeded to focus the shot...and the bird flew away. Apparently she's not fond of me or my big obnoxious camera. So I figured that she wasn't going to come back until I left the yard for a bit, so I came back in the house.

About fifteen minutes later I decided to give it another try. So I climbed the ladder, balanced precariously on the top run, lifted my big heavy camera with the heaviest lens, focused the shot...and the bird flew away.


So after spending the afternoon hauling around a ladder, chopping down my trees, risking my life at the top of the ladder and sweating to death in 100 degree heat, here's the amazing, fantastic, incredible photo of the doves nest:


I'm going to get a photo of that darn bird in her nest if it kills me!! So join me next time for further adventures of the bird paparazzi.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Four Things I Learned This Weekend

1. Beverly Hills 90210 is a lot cheesier than I remember.

2. I'm not 16 anymore. Crap, I hate it when I realize that.

3. Too much chips and salsa does NOT do a body good.

4. It's fun to spend a night without the kids, but it's even more fun when they come home. :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wendy White, Party of One

Wow, it's a busy day around here!

Today was Josh's last day of second grade. He loves school, so I think he was a little sad to leave it, but he's looking forward to summer vacation. They've been working on animal presentations for the past couple of weeks in his class and today was the day they got to present them (a sneaky way for the school to make sure that parents don't plan a vacation and take their kids out for the last couple of days, I think!), so we got to over there this morning and watch.

Josh did his report on ducks, thanks to all we learned about ducks when we got to observe them in our yard, and he did a computer presentation. He LOVES making little Windows Movie Maker movies for us to watch, so he decided to make one about ducks for his presentation. It was really cute and it turned out great. I think everyone enjoyed it.

As soon as that was over we said goodbye to his teacher and friends and we ran home so that he could get ready to go to a birthday party for a friend of his. As soon as he gets home from that, Shawn and the kids are packing up and going to a Father and Sons campout with people from church.

Guess what that means?! I get to spend one glorious night all by my lonesome. In the entire 8 years that we've had kids I don't think that I've ever been home without them overnight before. Well tonight is the night. They're leaving around dinner time and they'll be home tomorrow, so I'm having my own little girls night by myself here while they're gone. I'm going to give myself a pedicure, make something yummy for dinner that nobody likes but me and then I'm going to eat chips and salsa and watch the second season of Beverly Hills 90210 on DVD until I pass out on the couch. Woohoo! A whole night of things that no one in this house is interested in but me. Pure bliss. I look forward to the day that I finally have a daughter to spend these occasions with, but for now I'm on my own and I'm OK with that. A little alone time is a good thing sometimes.

Anyway, so between watching animal presentations, getting Josh ready for a birthday party, packing them up for a campout and getting myself ready for the alone night extravaganza, I've been pretty busy today.

OH! And I sold something on my website yesterday! I'm so excited for my first sale! Let's hope that wasn't the only one. I'm ready for business, so if you haven't been to my website yet, go check it out! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wendy White, business owner :)

After a few weeks of working like crazy on my photography, I'm just about ready to get my business off the ground. I'm still waiting for the design company to finish the updates to my website so that I can offer online ordering, but other than that I'm pretty much ready! The updates should be done any time now (they were supposed to be done by now, actually, but that's a different story), and then I'll be ready to go.

I've ordered business cards, a vinyl banner to use at art fairs, I've got frames, mats, photos, greeting cards and as of this morning I'm the proud owner of my very own tax ID number. I'm still in the middle of trying to figure out all the legal work that has to be done, such as registering the business name and all of that, but I'm getting there.

It's been really fun for me to get this going, I'm hoping to start selling locally and hopefully I can get word of my website around to people. It's been great to be able to share something that I love so much. I would take pictures whether anyone wanted to buy them or not, but it's exciting to me that someone would want to hang my work on their wall. That's pretty neat!

OH!! And in unrelated news, I discovered why we had a mourning dove in our tree yesterday!! There is a mama dove sitting on two eggs in a nest our tree!! YAY! Anyone that knows me knows how silly I get about animals, so a bird nest in my tree is pretty big news around here. We had robins last spring and the ducks this spring and now doves (we also had a swallows nest this spring until my stepdad took it down, which is a subject you don't want me to get into)!

Unfortunately the doves must have gotten wise to the crazy camera lady because they built their nest on the other side of the tree that I can't see as well from my window. I can see the nest, but it's hidden well enough that it's going to be really hard to get good photos of. Of course I'm going to try though! I'll get photos one way or another. If turn you on the news and hear about firemen having to rescue a crazy woman with a camera from a tree, that will probably be me. :)

So there you have it, I'm waiting to hatch a new business and the doves are waiting to hatch their new babies. There are all kinds of exciting things happening around here! :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The birds are back!!

Last year I went through some pretty serious problems with anxiety and panic attacks for a while and it was pretty crappy. While I was going through that I looked for ways to calm myself down and that's kind of how my photography came about. I had already been taking pictures, but I discovered that photography is very calming to me. It focuses my energy and forces me to concentrate on something else besides the anxiety. So to combat the anxiety I became pretty attached to my camera. A lot of my best photos came out of panic attacks! Prayer and photography are the two things that kept me from going insane last year, lol.

Anyway, during the worst of it I hung a bird feeder in the tree outside my bedroom window so that I could enjoy the birds in my tree. There's a huge honey locust tree right up next to the window, so I can open the window and lean out to hang the feeder and then I have a perfect view of all the birds when I sit on my bed.

So when the anxiety was bad, I would lay on my bed and watch the birds. And of course I can't watch any animal without a camera in my hand, so eventually I started photographing them. I clean both sides of my window really well and then I can shoot through the closed window with my zoom lens and I can get really great close up shots that look like I was right there with the birds. (I tried to do it with the widow open, but the birds weren't too excited about the paparazzi hanging out the window.)

So anyway, I thank the birds in my tree for helping me get past the anxiety. I've decided that animals and photography will cure anything.

So this year I've been really busy and although I've been meaning to get the bird feeder filled again I just haven't gotten around to it. But yesterday I was thinking about how much I loved those birds and I decided that it was time to fill the feeder again. It was SO fun to open my blinds this morning and see my tree full of birds again. I've been laying here this morning just watching them in my tree and remembering how much they helped me last year.

So today I'm going to spend some time with the birds. I've got my camera, my window is clean and I'm ready for them. I'm also going to spend some time being grateful for life without anxiety. My birds are back, but the anxiety is not. You just don't realize how nice it is to feel normal until you've spent some time feeling out of control. In a way I guess that makes me glad for the anxiety. Without it I never would have appreciated birds, my camera and the ability to look out the window in peace.

UPDATE: There was a mourning dove in my tree today! I rarely see those, so I was excited to get a photo of it!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

We're back from vacation! :)

We had a lovely vacation in the basement and now we're back to regular life again. :)

So since I don't really have anything interesting to report today, I thought I'd share a photo that I took this afternoon. I took it for a photo challenge where the topic is "Single Line". I had to create a photo where a single line was the main subject. I think that most people will interpret that to be an actual LINE of some sort, but I went out of the box a little and used a line from my favorite poem. Which is fitting, since the poem is about going you own way and taking the path less traveled.

So anyway, here's the photo. I don't think that Blogger will post it full size, so you'll have to click on it to see it in all it's glory. :)


Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary to us!

Two quick updates:

1. We got out I600a approval in the mail today! YAY! That means that we're officially approved by the government to go forward with the adoption. It was just a formality, since there's really no reason that they would have turned us down, but it's nice to know that that part is out of the way.

2. Matthew is no longer sick and our quarantine is over. YAY! We celebrated by going to Walmart to buy plastic storage containers for a project I'm working on. Fun stuff. :)

OK, so on to the real reason for the post. We're gearing up for a fun weekend at our house! Remember when I said that we tend to overcelebrate holidays? Tomorrow is our 11 year wedding anniversary, and I'm planning a whole weekend Anniversary extravaganza! YAY!

Originally Shawn told me to book a cabin for the weekend in the middle of nowhere town an hour from our house, which is my absolute FAVORITE thing to do, but that's not exactly an inexpensive weekend getaway and at the last minute I decided that I didn't want to spend that much money on it, so we're planning a fun weekend at home instead.

There is a nice guest room and a bathroom in our basement that we very rarely use. I only go down there when I need to clean it, and otherwise I kind of forget that we even have those rooms. So every now and then we go on vacation to our basement. We sleep in the guest room, the kids sleep on the floor in the playroom and we pretend like we're out of town. We let the kids stay up late and watch movies, we go out for breakfast on Saturday morning and we spend the weekend doing things that we don't normally do. Yes, we're weird, but it's really fun! The kids absolutely love it and it's a fun break from normal life.

So this weekend for our anniversary we're taking another vacation in the basement. I have all sorts of fun things planned for the weekend, and at some point I'm hoping to drop the kids off with friends so that we can go out for a romantic dinner. So we're leaving for the basement tonight and we'll be home on Sunday. :)

In honor of our anniversary I originally decided to tell the story of how Shawn and I met and got married, but I decided that it was too long and probably only interesting to us, so I've edited the post to give you the extremely short version.

We met at work in 1995. He says he knew that he wanted to marry me as soon as we met, but I was still getting over an old boyfriend and wasn't interested in dating. He was persistent though! We started spending time together outside of work, something I called "hanging out with a friend" and he called "dating the girl I'm going to marry". Needless to say it was kind of complicated relationship for a while.

Two years went by, and during that time I moved in to the apartment next door to Shawn, something I called "moving close to a friend" and he called "moving my girlfriend next door to me so that I'm that much closer to being married to her".

We became best friends, absolutely inseparable, but I still had issues with the old boyfriend that I couldn't seem to let go of and I couldn't even think about falling in love with someone else until I had resolved that. Shawn stuck with me, he was there the night my dad died, he was there when I found out that the old boyfriend was marrying someone else and he was there when the old boyfriend called off the wedding and came back into my life briefly, and he was there when the old boyfriend broke my heart again.

Somewhere along the way I realized that the most that anyone could ever ask for in a husband was for them to be kind, loving, someone who picks you up when you're sad, someone who makes you laugh and someone you want to spend every minute with. And that's when the light came on. I was madly, head over heels in love with my best friend. Who better to spend the rest of your life with than your best friend? I call that "my epiphany". Shawn calls it "about freakin' time". :)

So thanks to my best friend Shawn, who eventually became my boyfriend, fiance and husband, I was able to mend my heart and give it to someone who will always keep it safe.

And we lived happily ever after. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Quarantined-Day 3


No seriously, being cooped up with strep infection kid for three days is getting kind of old. He really seems to feel fine and isn't acting sick anymore, but I don't know how long he's contagious for and I don't want to pass it along to anyone, so we've been stuck in the house for three days. I'll give it another day or so and then I'll feel OK about exposing him to the world. In the meantime, we've watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books and played a lot of Thomas Trains. I can tell that he's going a little stir crazy and so am I.

So it occurs to me that for a blog that is supposed to be about adoption and photography, there hasn't really been a whole lot of either. So today you get an adoption update and a random photo.

In adoption news...there is absolutely nothing new. Great update, huh?! We turned our updated homestudy in to USCIS and now we're just waiting for them to approve our 1600a form. That usually takes about 4-6 weeks or so, so we should be hearing something in the next few weeks. I'm not worried, it's basically just a formality, but it will be nice to get it out of the way.

That's the last thing that has to be completed until they match us with a baby. Once we get matched there is a TON of paperwork that has to be done and we get to send them all of our money again. But at least then I'll have our baby's sweet photos to look at to remind me why we're doing all of this. I hang out on a Korean adoption message board from time to time and seeing all the referral photos just melts my heart every single time. I'm so happy for all the families who are being matched with their babies, but I'm so impatient for it to be my turn!!!

You know, it actually just occurred to me that it's now been a YEAR since we started this whole process. It was right about this time last year that I was researching agencies and we were picking a country. Hopefully by this time next year we will know who our baby is and we'll be waiting for her to come home. I can't wait!

Ok, so there was my adoption update, and here is my random photo. This is an old photo that I took last year, and it's not really anything too special but it's one I'm particularly proud of.

It was this time last year that I was taking photography classes and learning to really get the most out of my camera. One of the very first things I practiced with when I still didn't really know what I was doing was freezing motion. It's particularly tricky to take a photo of a moving object without it being blurry. Even now that I've had a ton of practice at it, it's still tricky. It involves a high shutter speed, perfect lighting and a lot of luck. So last summer we went to a lavender festival, (which I LOVED and am planning to attend again this year!) and in the midst of shooting lavender I realized that bees apparently love lavender because there were a ton of them.

So while my family impatiently waited in 100 degree heat, I became obsessed with capturing a bee in flight. Several hundred photos and two cranky kids (and a cranky husband) later, I got this shot. I'm proud of it because it was probably my first good nature shot. It was the first time that I was confident enough with my skills to be able to capture a tricky shot.

That was also the day that I realized how much I really love photography. I'm not particularly fond of bees and I'm definitely not fond of 100 degree heat. But I love photography SO MUCH that I will sit in a field of bees in 100 degree heat all afternoon until I get my shot and I'm happy as a clam doing it. So while this photo probably wouldn't win any awards, every time I look at it it reminds me how much I LOVE photography and how hard I've worked to get where I am. This photo is currently framed and hanging in my main floor bathroom, so if you ever come to visit, be sure to visit the bathroom so that you can admire it on my wall, OK? :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Scout Camp and Strep Infections

Well we're off to a crazy week already! Matthew woke up this morning covered head to toe in a bright red rash, so we took him to the doctor and he has a strep infection. So we're quarantined in the house this week. Not the way we planned to spend the week, but what can you do? Matthew is really funny when he's sick. He absolutely refuses to admit that he doesn't feel good, even when it's obvious that he doesn't. I don't know why, he's just our tough guy I guess. So I just put a movie on for him and told him that if for some reason he feels like sitting down and watching a movie, that would be OK with me. As long as I don't mention watching the movie and resting because he's sick in the same sentence, we'll be OK. :)

Josh is off having fun today. We took him out of school so that he could go to scout camp. He started cub scouts when he turned 8 last month and he really seems to be enjoying it. I'm sure they've having a great time today, but I've been sitting here anxiously all day waiting for him to come home. I'm totally having seperation anxiety with that kid lately. He's getting so big and growing up so fast! I don't want him at scout camp shooting guns and arrows, I want him home where I can keep an eye on him 24/7 like I could when he was little! It doesn't work that way though and I'm learning to let him go out into the world without me. He's a great kid and so responsible. I don't need to worry so much about him, but what can I say, I'm a mom. That's what we do.

Anyway, so that's what is going on in our world today. Shawn is working overtime while they look for a pharmacist to replace the one that just quit, so I think we're going to be seeing a little less of him this week. He's currently hiring if you know any pharmacists that need a job! Shawn's a great boss! :) I hope that they find someone soon, so that Shawn doesn't have to do the work of two people for much longer. I miss him when he's gone!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Boats and Barbecues

We had a REEEALLY busy day at our house today! I absolutely love holidays of any sort and because of that we tend to really overcelebrate them. We turn birthdays and anniversaries and other holidays like that into big weekend extravaganzas, and Father's Day is no exception.

I bought Shawn a big inflatable raft for Father's Day. Last summer we used to go out to the lake quite a bit to let the kids play in the water and every time we did we would mention that it would be really fun to buy a raft to float around the lake in. So I decided that it was time to stop talking about it and actually do it. I did some shopping and bought a great raft and we gave it to him last night. (Because part of my overexcitement of holidays includes never being able to wait until the actual holiday to give presents. I get too excited. I'm like a five year old. It's a sickness.)

So today we packed up the raft and the portable grill and way too much food and everything else we've ever owned in our entire lives and we packed it all to the lake. I swear we're like pioneers ready to cross the plains everytime we go out there. Like it's going to be so long before we see civilization again that we'd better pack everything just in case. It's obnoxious.

So the kids played in the water, we tried out the new raft, which was all kinds of fun, and we had a really great day.

A few months ago Shawn won a really cool portable charcoal grill/outdoor fireplace thing from a drug company promotion that we've been excited to try out. The problem is that we're total morons when it comes to using a charcoal grill. Shawn's really great with the gas grill in our backyard and we always enjoy using it in the summer, but give us a charcoal grill and we're like 90 year olds trying to download MP3's to an Ipod. We don't get it. We used it last weekend and I think we didn't use enough lighter fluid, so the charcoal didn't get hot enough or something and it took forever to cook hamburgers. So today we thought we'd get smart and use LOTS of lighter fluid, and then we didn't wait long enough for the coals to get ashy. So when the smoke eventually cleared the two of us were sitting there like the two stooges staring at the grill trying to figure out how to cook hamburgers without burning down the state park. I'm happy to say that after scrapping the first batch we DID eventually manage to cook some pretty decent hamburgers and no one even had to call 911. We rock.

So now we're home, we're all sunburned and exhausted and we're ready for round two of the Fathers Day extravaganza weekend tomorrow. Tomorrows gift for Shawn is the fifth Harry Potter movie on DVD and a pile of candy so that he can cozy up and watch a movie tomorrow afternoon in peace and quiet while he eats until he pukes. The kids also made him some fun gifts that I think he'll enjoy. After that I'll make him is favorite dinner and we'll have something fun for desert. It should be a fun day!

Happy Father's Day weekend to all the dads out there! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A normal sized fig leaf would do it.

I have nothing entertaining to report today, so thanks to a link I found on my favorite message board today (Hi, ladies!), I've found something else to entertain you.

I'll just let it speak for itself. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Photoshop Overdose

Ok, so I'm totally excited about the idea of selling my photography at the Saturday Market. But it recently occured to me that in order to sell my work I actually have to have an inventory to sell! Since I've mostly been selling things online I just order things as I need them, so I actually don't have much just sitting around ready to sell.

So I've spent the last few days trying to find good bulk prices on mats and frames and editing a million photos to get printed. I'm going to be selling several different sizes and different types of things. I'm going to do some greeting cards with my photos on them, a few canvases, some larger framed pieces, lots of smaller, matted pieces, some three panel 10X20's and some other assorted things.

It's been fun to go through all my work to decide what to sell, but it's been a bigger job than I expected it to be! I also got sidetracked revisiting some of my older shots and playing around with them a bit. I really LOVE Photoshop, so I can get distracted playing around with things pretty easily. I sat down to work on it after the kids went to bed last night and the next thing I knew I looked at the clock and it was midnight! I finally went to bed and had dreams about Photoshop all night.

Anyway, after gluing myself to my computer for the past couple of days I've gotten a lot accomplished and I have a big order on it's way from the printer. Yay! Now just watch, I'll sell two pieces and end up giving the rest away as gifts until the year 2030. I hope my family has a lot of empty wall space. :)

Oh, and I also think that I'm going to setting up and Etsy shop in a few weeks. I have a website gallery right now, but you can't order from it, so people have just been contacting me through my e-mail to order things and I sent them Paypal invoices, but it's getting to be hard to keep it all organized, so I think an Etsy shop will be easier. I'll just list the inventory I already have and then people can order directly from there and I can get things shipped out immediately. It will be a lot easier.

So if you've been thinking about ordering something, hold off for a few weeks until I get that running and it will be a lot easier. I have a few orders I'm in the process of right now and then I'm not going to take anymore until I have the Etsy shop up and running.

I realize that all this photography talk is intersting to no one but me, but that's all I have to talk about today! Let's all hope that I put the computer down for a while and do something more interesting so that I have a better story for you tomorrow.

OH!! Someone posted in my comments the other day that I should do a flower test with my new Ikebana vase and a regular vase and see if the flowers in the Ikebana vase last longer. Woohoo, a project!! As soon I get a chance to get my hands on some more flowers I'm totally going to do a test. I know you'll all be hanging on the edge of your seats waiting to find out which flowers last longer, right?! Ok, maybe just me. But still, it will be a fun little test. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday Markets and Things That Go Bump In The Night

Brace yourselves, I've got two stories for you today. :)

So last night around 11:00 we were in bed and both of us were just right on the verge of falling asleep when suddenly a noise that sounded like a tornado came rushing through our bedroom, followed by a huge crash. It seriously scared me SO bad that I just about hit the ceiling. So of course we jumped out of bed in a panic and flipped the lights on to see what had happened.

We looked out in the hall and there were both of our cats, their tails and fur poofed up higher than I've ever seen it looking TOTALLY freaked out. We couldn't figure out at first what had happened, so we looked all over to make sure that nothing had fallen off the walls or anything and everything looked fine. It was actually really weird.

So here's what we THINK happened. We have an old cranky cat and a very spunky kitten who don't get along very well. Our old cat hates everyone, and I think the kitten is at the top of her list. They mostly ignore each other, but every now and then they get into a tussle. All we can figure is that the kitten must have been really wound up and been trying to chase the old cat and they both came flying into our room at top speed, where one of them ran over a stack of binders that Shawn has been using for a project he's working on, skidded on them and then went crashing into a small garbage can that we have in our room, knocking it over. That doesn't seem like it would make such a loud noise, but we've searched everything and we can't figure out what else it could have been. Both of the cats were totally freaked out for about 20 minutes after it happened. I was freaked out for about an hour and a half. I don't like loud crashing noises in my house in the middle of the night!! Nothing phases Shawn so he went right back to sleep but it took me forever to calm back down. From now on I'm feeding sleeping pills to the cats before I go to bed.
(OK, not really.)

Story number two is much more exciting than story #1. (Well, to me, anyway, it still may be snore fest 2008 for you. I don't lead an exciting life, so you might as well get used to it now.)
I recently became aware of a REALLY cool Saturday market that they do in downtown Boise. We live way out in the suburbs, so we don't go into downtown Boise very often and every time we do we feel like we're on vacation. (What can I say, we're not city people. We're easily amazed by lots of buildings and people.)

Anyway, the Saturday market is this really great place where all sorts of crafty people get together each Saturday in the summer to sell their stuff. There are fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and all sorts of fun arts and crafts for sale. It's awesome! What I discovered is that there are lots of artists and photographers that set up booths there to sell their art. I realized that I can do this!! Woohoo, look at me, I'm selling art! :) I'm going to sign up for a booth in the next few weeks and then park myself in the Saturday Market for the day and see if I can sell some of my work. I've sold quite a few pieces over the past several months, but mostly over the Internet and to people I know. I've never had strangers browse my work in this type of setting before, so I'm a little nervous. I figure that it's a good way to get my name out there and maybe make a little money though. It's really inexpensive to get a booth and it looks like a lot of fun. There were a TON of people there today.

Wait, maybe I have three stories today. No, let's just call this two stories and a tangent.
While I was at the Market I discovered the booth of a local artist who makes pottery and I discovered Ikebana vases. They're Japanese, apparently. Am I the only person that has never seen those?! They're so cool! They're shallow round bowls with plastic spikes in the bottom. You fill it with water and then put fresh flowers in the spikes and it's really beautiful! The idea is that when you put fresh cut flowers in a regular vase, the bottom of the stems shrivel up and they won't suck up water. When they're sticking in the spikes it keeps the stem open, so the flowers will last longer, and plus they're just really pretty to look at! I bought one and then ran right home to cut some flowers from my yard to put in it. All I have blooming in my yard right now is Iris, so I now have some pretty Iris in my vase. As the summer goes on I'll have roses and other flowers in my yard that will look pretty in my vase. I'm really way too excited about it. I'm so easily amused.

So there are my two stories and a tangent for today. My house isn't crashing down around me, I'm going to sell photography at the Saturday Market, I'm the proud owner of a new vase and my living room smells like fresh flowers. All in all it's been a pretty good day. :)

Edited to add a photo of my new vase! :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Heroes

There's not much going on around here today, so today you get a random photo and a story to go with it.

This is the story of my heroes.

These are my grandparents, my mom's parents. I admire my grandparents more than anyone in the world. My grandparents raised 7 kids in a loving home, who have all grown up to be really great adults. They raised them all in a tiny little house in a tiny little town and my grandma was superwoman. She still is. She sewed all the clothes for all her kids when they were growing up and my mom said that she was 12 before she realized that you could buy dresses at the store! She's a great cook, a loving mother and grandmother and most fun person I know. The best memories I have of my childhood are being at my grandparents house. It always smelled like pot roast, cookies and my grandmas lotion, and there were always lots and lots of cousins to play with when I was there.

Somewhere along the way someone forgot to mention to my grandparents that they're getting old. :) My grandma is in her 80's and my grandpa just turned 90, and they are still the busiest people I know! They volunteer at the family history center for our church several times a week, they bring meals to the sick, they make visits to the elderly (which I don't think they consider themselves!), and they've also served two missions for our church, moving to Portugal for 18 months at one point and learning to speak fluent Portuguese when they were in their 60's. They're just the nicest, happiest, sweetest people on the Earth. I always joke that my grandma will make the dinner for her own funeral and write out the thank you cards, lol. She truly is Superwoman.

My grandparents are also such an example to me of a happy marriage. They got married as soon as my grandma graduated from high school, so they're been married for over 60 years. I often see them holding hands and snuggling with each other and it's my goal in life to still be that much in love with my husband when we're in our 80's. It's obvious how much they love and care about each other. You rarely see one of them without the other.

My grandparents are getting old now and I know that our time with them is getting shorter, so I savor every minute of it when we're together. My grandparents have never had a lot of money, they've never had a big house or fancy things, but it's been a life filled with children, grandchildren, service to others and lots and lots of love. I think that my grandparents are the luckiest people in the world.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is it too early to talk nursery decor?

Ok, so I really do realize that Clarissa isn't going to be here for at least another year, so decorating a baby's room seems a little premature, but the waiting is driving me crazy, so picking out room decor is what I do to entertain myself. And lucky you, today it's what I do to entertain you! Just humor me. :)

Our house has six bedrooms. We've got rooms for the kids we have, the kid we're planning to have and a few left over. But when we first bought this house there is one bedroom in it that just screams out GIRLS ROOM to me. It has big bay windows (I always wanted those when I was little) and for some reason I just see that room being totally girly. So even though we didn't have a girl when we moved here and had no immediate plans to expand our family at the time, I saved that room for our future daughter. I know that's silly, for all I knew at the time we were never going to have a daughter. I don't care, I saved it anyway! So now that I DO have a girl to plan for, I'm dying to get to work on that room!

For the past three years that room has been the home to our Thomas trains and it's been known as the Train Room, but it's shortly going to be known as Clarissa's Room. (The kids are outgrowing the trains, so I don't think they'll feel too bad when the trains get sent downstairs to join the rest of the toys in the playroom.)

So a few months ago I was browsing (a really fun website if you've never been there) and I came across the most fantastic artwork EVER! For some reason I'm just totally drawn to it and I immediately knew that I wanted to decorate Clarissa's room around it. Here's the Etsy link if you want to take a look at all her work, there's a lot of it!
And here's her website:

I don't know what it is about it, but I'm just crazy in love with her style. I knew that I wasn't going to want to do a baby's room in the standard pastel pink with little bunnies or bears, that's just not my style. I like things that are a little different and out of the ordinary, and I think this will qualify!

This is the piece that I'm planning to decorate the room around:

I think that I'm going to paint the room the color of her dress. Then I'm going to accessorize with the colors from prints like these:

I don't know if I'm going to use those last two prints specifically, because there are several that I'm still trying to choose from, but I love the green tones in the apple print and that reddish color from the paper doll print and there are several prints to choose from with those colors in it. The artist also sells fabric squares of her artwork that can be used to make a quilt, so I think I'm going to buy several and have my mom make me a twin sized quilt for her bed.

Because Clarissa is going to be probably 9-10 months when she gets here and we tend to have our kids out of their cribs and in to twin beds before they're two, I'm planning bedding more for a twin bed than a crib. I'm not sure what I'll do for crib bedding in the meantime, so if anyone has seen crib bedding that matches this color scheme I would love to see it! I haven't figured that part out yet.

Anyway, I'm absolutely LOVING it, and the artist actually does commissioned pieces as well so I'm trying to contact her to see if she can turn my Heart On The Line dress photo into artwork! Wouldn't that be amazing? If so, that will definitely be a centerpiece in the room. I'll keep you posted on that!

Anyway, there you have it. I'm trying to force myself not to run to the paint store today and get started, because it really is too early. We'll see how long I can hold out. :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ho Hum!

I have absolutely nothing to blog about today, so it may just be a random photo day! Shawn has the cold that has been going around our family, so he was home from work today and we pretty much just hung around the house. Nothing too exciting! Today is Matthews first week without preschool and I can tell that he's going through withdrawl. He misses it. I think he'll be more than ready to go to Kindergarten in the fall!

Anyway, since I have nothing interesting to report you're just stuck looking at a random photo from my portfolio I guess! Hopefully something more interesting will happen tomorrow and then I can entertain you with my witty stories. :P

This is a photo I took of Matthew a few weeks ago. I took it for a photo challenge where the subject was "sun". It just had to be something with the sun in the frame. It didn't win, but it scored pretty well and I'm happy with it! Enjoy!