Friday, February 27, 2009

Back to Front

Henry rolled over front to back a while ago, but back to front is usually the more challenging one. For a few days Henry has looked like he was going to do it, but his bottom arm would be sticking out in front of him, so he couldn't quite push himself over. Today, I put him on the floor and in a matter of seconds, he did it! He pulled his arm underneath him out of the way and was on his tummy like - whoa, look what I just did!

So, I ran and grabbed the camera and snapped a couple photos (since I wasn't video"taping" the moment). Here's his official picture to commemorate this milestone:Good job Henry! Now you're really on your way to mobility!


Well, yesterday I got my hair cut. This isn't really "news" but a couple people were interested, so I will tell you - I got a very small trim, a few more layers, and a wavy perm. My hair is not curly, I must emphasize, but wavy. I've gotten perms in the past (in the 80's and 90's) and they weren't so cute - more crimpy and inconsistently curly, and this is nothing like that! I'm really happy with it, but if it's dry and I brush it out, it kind of looks yucky. It might force me to style my hair on a more regular basis. I was nervous about getting a perm, but it does give my hair some more body and texture, which was much needed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Okay - I'm getting my hair cut Thursday. Do I just trim it and keep growing it out, cut it shorter, layers, bangs, what to do, what to do...? I am even considering a perm (eek!) because it is becoming increasingly flat and straight. I didn't think that were possible, but alas, my hair is practically disappearing. It's even falling out lately, which happened about 6 weeks after Lucy was born, and then it trailed off. This time around, it started around 2 months after Henry was born and hasn't stopped. Every time I shower, or brush my hair... it's really annoying since my hair was so thin to begin with.

I have made a doctor appointment to find out if this is at all correlated with my continuing weight loss - despite the fact that I drink beer and wine, eat lots of pasta, pizza, cookies, apples, milk, cereal, peanut butter, chicken, you name it - just a general mix of healthy foods and junk foods like I've always eaten! I also have an absence of periods ever since delivering, hair loss, fatigue (although that must be partly due to Henry still waking up a few times in the night). No I am not pregnant, and no I am not possibly pregnant. I am also not pregnant. The Internet self-diagnosis says I might have hyperthyroidism, or I might just be so busy chasing kids all day that I'm burning too many calories. Either way I am going to talk to my doc about it and see if there is a hormonal issue happening (or if I just need to eat more!), and definitely get a prescription for some good vitamins to help fill in nutritional gaps. I've started taking my leftover prenatal vitamins in hopes that it helps keep some more of my hair attached to my scalp, and in the meantime maybe my aunt/stylist can help give me a new look with the hair I do have!

"Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy"

Saw this posted on Facebook by a friend and thought I'd share it here... makes you think twice before complaining about the little "inconveniences" in life, if you think about what we are able to do in this day and age!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Today Henry was baptized at Spring Valley Community Church, officially becoming a member of our church family. We were very happy that a guest pastor, Chris Pieters was able to come and speak today, and perform the baptism, as our church is currently searching for a new lead pastor since Randy left in October. Henry was wonderful, didn't cry or fuss, and actually had a few smiles while he was up there! The pastor blessed him with the water on his head, chest, hands, and feet to symbolize his mind, heart, work, and walk. Both sets of our parents were there, and Lucy lasted through part of the ceremony but was very glad to head off to Sunday school as soon as it was over. Afterward our parents all came over to our house for lunch and coffee.

We really love our church and are glad to be bringing our children to such a friendly, welcoming place. The church will be building a new facility (near GVSU) and a lot of change is going on right now, but we find it exciting to be a part of it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

That Was Quick....

I can't believe it's already Friday! Ron had Monday and Tuesday off, so the work week (for him) flew by. My work week all blends together, so every day feels pretty much the same! The fact that it's Friday only means that tomorrow morning Ron will be around to drink coffee in his pajama pants with me.

I am excited because in about a week or so, I will be getting a new camera body and a new lens to add to my slowly-growing collection of gear. The new camera body is more of a big deal, because it's a step into the semi-pro / pro level as opposed to the enthusiast/hobbyist level. I'm getting the Canon 40D, which isn't This Year's Model, but in many ways it is equally good (some prefer it) and of course, much less expensive. Canon has a way of cranking out new products so that if you buy something 6 months after it is released, about 6 months to a year later they'll have a new version of the same thing, and the older version drops drastically in price, although it might still be an outstanding product. This is what I gathered from extensive forum and review reading, and also my own experience buying the Canon Rebel Xt (not the Xti which was released right before I got the Rebel Xt. The Xti was preceded the Xsi by such a short amount of time, I am glad I didn't get swindled into spending the extra money, and just went with a reliably nice, but not too outdated camera). Then again, I wouldn't like it if Canon (or your camera manufacturer of choice) wasn't constantly improving their technology. A camera is a little bitty computer in many ways, so the same rules apply. It also helps keep the various companies competitive. Part of me still thinks they pace it out for marketing purposes, but that's their perrogative... being a business and all!

As I noted on Facebook, I am pondering which wide-angle lens to buy. I have learned so much about lenses that it is making my head spin, and it really isn't a simple choice. I want something that isn't going to fall apart or feel cheap, I like the USM, I want it wide but practical for portraits (too wide = too distorted), as I'm not necessarily shooting landscapes and architecture. I love primes, but am being lured by the practicality of zooms (I probably still won't get a zoom though, until I can afford an L series zoom that I know will be as sharp as a prime). I'm thinking third-party brand like Tamron or Sigma because I don't want to pay double, or triple for Canon's name brand, especially since this will be a lens that I use at every session, but definitely not my primary lens. If it is a piece, then I can upgrade in a year or two. By then who knows what will be available!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This was taken early this morning, while the sun was still coming up and Lucy was eating her oatmeal...
Sometimes I still hold him while he is drinking his bottle. But sometimes I unload the dishwasher or drink my coffee... or do a number of other constructive tasks!

He's eating more baby food these days, and seems to like whatever we throw at him...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Updates

I've been such a slacker when it comes to blogging lately. What's new...

Henry is big. His 6-9 month onesies (brand new out of the package) aren't long enough, and stretch all down by the neck if you snap them at the bottom. Yeesh. He wore an 18 month shirt today. What's the deal? Here he is "sitting up" but it's the kind of sitting up that could easily result in him throwing his weight backward and not being able to maintain balance. I was in arm's reach so he was safe. I had to Photoshop Lucy's naked butt out of the background, however.

I went to a jewelry party at Katie's last night and bought a pair of silver hoop earrings, which I needed. I can never justify purchases like that but I'm glad I got them because I should treat myself to "wants" (not just "needs") from time to time!

I am having a hairdo dilemma. I think I want to keep growing it long, but I go back and forth about whether to have bangs or not. Sometimes I clip them back and like it, other times I think it looks awful. I might even consider getting a wave-perm to give my hair some body, because it couldn't be any thinner or flatter. Then I see people with sleek, angled bobs and think about chopping it all off again. Last time I did that was last April... just as my hair was getting officially "long". I immediately wanted my long hair back. I am so indecisive... help!

I finally removed the tiny little pumpkins from our front porch. Already? you ask... Yeah, I'm on top of things around here. I lifted one by the stem and it came out like pulling a spoon out of a cup of pudding. I had to pick them up with my hands (gross!) and the skin was barely holding them together. Why I let them sit all winter, I do not know. Probably just a case of "I'll take care of that later" meets "out of sight out of mind". I didn't want Valentine's Day pumpkins, so they were chucked into the bushes into ploppy little orange piles. I'm hoping Mother Nature takes care of the rest.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Preschool Visit

Yesterday I brought Lucy to her future preschool to meet her teacher and check out the classroom. I left Henry with my in-laws and got to spend some time with Lucy alone in the room, and then later with all the other kids. The other kids were all coming up to her, introducing themselves, and Lucy was clearly a bit intimidated. What a difference a year can make (and being accustomed to preschool, which Lucy is of course not)! She quickly discovered that this room had more cool stuff than our house ever will, and was happy to explore by herself, and interact with some of the other kids a little.

During "circle time" someone brought in a doll to pass around for show-and-tell. It got passed to Lucy and I was holding my breath that she wouldn't throw a fit when she had to give it to the next kid, but she got the idea and passed it on, and I was relieved. The doll was a winged sparkly fairy with long hair, no less... probably something she would love to hold on to. In preschool she will learn more about cooperating, following directions, and sharing, and I got a glimpse of how much progress 3 year olds can make in that department over the course of a few months into the school year - and it's pretty amazing. There is a big difference between a not-quite 2 and a half year old, and a room full of 3 and a half year olds who have been in school since September. I am excited to see Lucy mature in the same way.

She did a painting, and played with legos and other toys while I talked to the teacher, who seems really nice and laid-back. I didn't really have any pressing questions, as it seemed like a typical preschool situation. The only "problem" is she will be in the PM session (AM's were full), and will probably have to totally drop her nap (if she hasn't already by then, which she seems close to doing now). Hopefully her nighttime sleep will extend a little later into the morning, so she's not going there already tired and cranky.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Pacifairy Did It

Last summer we switched Lucy to her toddler bed. After she became used to it, we took away the pacifier. It went surprisingly well. Then, after a couple days, it became impossible to get her to sleep without one. I have to admit that we caved and went back to the pacifiers. We thought maybe we just tried to do too much at a time. Over the last several months she became almost more addicted to them than ever, wanting to get it even when she was awake (even though we'd take it away). She had to have them for naps and bedtime, and would start asking for it as soon as she got out of the bath and we were putting her pajamas on.

Then Sunday she didn't nap all afternoon when she was at my parents' house (which allowed me to get a lot of painting done). That night, I figured she was really tired and it might be a good time for the Pacifairy to visit. I explained about how the Pacifairy heard she was such a big girl so she was going to bring Lucy a special treat but Lucy could have no more pacifiers, because they are for babies. She shrieked and cried and eventually I got her to stop screaming long enough to listen to a story - which I made up - involving Princess Lucy and a bunch of other key words such as "beautiful", "magical", "pink", "kitten", "fluffy", "adventure", "forest", and "flying pony", and various combinations thereof. She fell asleep just as I was starting to annoy myself... but I think she enjoyed it. Yeesh. The next morning I let her inhale an entire Hannah Montana candy bracelet right after breakfast, because I had to come up with something and we happened to still have it from Lucy's Christmas stocking from my Grandma. I mean, the Pacifairy brought it. Just like Santa Claus.

Then yesterday she didn't nap (possibly due to the candy bracelet?), as I indicated on my Facebook status. I was so irate trying to get her to stay down, that after an astonishingly wasteful 2 hours I realized it wasn't worth it, and I could have spent that time letting her chill out on the couch watching Noggin while I did just about anything else, which would have been much more productive. I know some peoples' kids nap at age 5, 6, or older, but ours is not one of those kids. I'd rather her go down easier at night, I guess. Last night was a primo example of that, as it only took about 5 minutes of Ron telling her a magical unicorn tale for her to be completely out, by 8:20.

So - the moral of the story was the first time we took the "fires" away she pitched a fit and we got desperate and let her have them again. This time, they literally had to disappear and we had to make the commitment not to go back to them ever again. It has taken a little extra effort but we figured it wasn't going to get any easier, and now is the time to take them away cold-turkey, permanently, no exceptions.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Na Na

Took this of Henry this morning. Whenever I read his shirt I start singing "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot but with the alternate lyrics: "I like Big Trucks and I cannot lie..." Now that is probably in your head. You're welcome.

Anyway, today I became smarter than my camera. I know this will sound like nonsense to many people, but usually I would just shoot in aperture priority (Av) mode, but somehow my dial got switched to fully manual. In Av, I could adjust the depth of field / aperture and the camera would adjust all the other settings according to what it thought it needed to expose the photo correctly. In manual, however, I can adjust all the settings how I want. It seems like a no-brainer that everything would turn out better, but I just didn't trust my own ability to make those adjustments on the fly, and opted to go with Av in order to get the best exposure. That often resulted in me using a really wide aperture to get a fast shutter speed (esp. indoors), but that made it a lot harder to get the focus spot-on (or I'd get one eye clear and the other eye, maybe angled a little further away from me, out of focus - which can be a desirable effect, but not usually).

On that note: when we're talking about photos of people, usually the most important part to get in focus is the eyes. If the rest of the face is slightly soft, it's forgivable. The eyes (maybe because they're wet and reflective) have got to be sharp. With small children, it can be hard to achieve since they are constantly moving. Or you have a fast shutter and the image is too dark. Wide aperture speeds up the shutter and lets in more light, but you might miss the focus mark because you have to be that much more accurate. Sound confusing? It kind of is, but over the course of a year and a half I have gotten a much better grasp of these concepts (while taking thousands and thousands of photos, 75% of which are deleted almost right away). This isn't meant to be a lesson in photography technicalities, so thanks for bearing with me here.

I'm just excited because now I feel like I am justified in my need for a new camera body, sometime this spring. I am not going to get "this year's model" or top of the line anything, but a decent step up from what I have now (which is a Rebel Xt). I think it's only right to move up a step when I feel like I've mastered the camera I have. Now that I can shoot in manual mode confidently, I think my pictures are going to be turning out even better. The one above might look a lot like many other photos I've taken, but the amazing thing was even with him moving his head side to side, almost all the shots I took turned out just as sharp-eyed, which isn't typical.


Our basement was finished when we bought our house, but it still felt kind of like a basement. We wanted it to feel more inviting, like a real usable living area that you could relax in, without feeling like you were in a basement. We are grateful that it is a daylight basement - but with only one daylight window at the end! Oh well, during the day, plenty of natural light comes in, thanks to the tree-removal in the fall. The bedroom down here has 2 nice daylight windows, and the bathroom has one too. Creative lighting, as we renovate the basement, will be a must. I don't want just overhead lighting, so we're going to incorporate a couple more floor lamps, three some large back-lit panels on one of the larger blank walls, that will serve as an accent light, as well as an art piece. It will also visually anchor the poker table and make it feel like it's in it's own little designated spot. It's a cheap project that we have been working on in our heads, but hasn't begun yet. I keep stressing how important good lighting is in a room, especially one like this where you want to feel cozy, and not like you're in a drug-store.

I have spent the last couple weeks with a dragged-out painting project hanging over my head. Now I am almost done with this one! Our basement, aside from the fact that everything is in disarray, is repainted! Well, the main rec/family area is. We have the same medium sandy gray color, as well as spicy orange/brown accent walls. The hallway, bedroom, and bathroom down here are next on my list, as well as the stairway... but I'm not thinking about that. At the moment I am just trying to enjoy the new warmer, cleaner look. It always amazes me at what a difference it makes in how the space feels. Not to mention we patched holes and the paint covers all the scuffs. We are hoping to replace the carpet with a DIY install later this year. We will probably get a lighter neutral (beige with flecks) Berber or something fairly durable and easy to keep clean, and easy to ride tricycles and push shopping carts on! We're not too picky about the exact color, and are certainly willing to go to the clearance room if we can find enough of the same kind. The basement area we need to carpet is 48 feet long by 12 feet wide. Any suggestions on THE place for carpet? We've been getting it from Columbo's on Port Sheldon, and are very happy with their service, but we aren't as worried about service, delivery, and installation this time around as we are about thriftiness. This actually has the potential to become our favorite place in the house when it's completed to our vision. It might take a little while, but we'll get there. We jsut have to try to be patient (which we usually are not very good at when it comes to home-improvements). By next fall/winter we believe we should have a very nice looking rec-room!

How about that game? I really thought the Cardinals might pull it off, even though I'll admit I was one of the many nay-sayers. Ron had more faith in them than I did, but we both still figured the Steelers would probably win. I don't follow NFL football that much, but I do like to root for the underdog. Oh well, it was still a very exciting game! We had our own little party here (meaning, just us) and I actually ate chicken wings. I tried, but I am sorry - I just can't force myself to love chicken wings! They're too messy and too much work for a tiny little shred of meat, IMO.

Springsteen, and the commercials, were the highlight for me. I think I still love that talking E*Trade baby the most. There were some other really good ones too, which I am sure are all getting lots of hits on YouTube today.