Thursday, August 31, 2006

do bad things really come in threes?

Okay... so in the whole scheme of things this isn't bad stuff at all... but little things add up and get to you. Today I got my letter from the State Fair letting me know that my photos did not place and to come pick them up. Okay... that in and of itself doesn't bother me too much. I seriously don't understand the fair though.... my first year of entering, after having my camera about 5 months and knowing nothing about how to truly use it, I got a big ol' blue ribbon. Since then, after frames and frames of practice, lots of research and reading, etc.... I get nada. Don't get me wrong.. I'm not throwing a fit... I'm just confused... it seems like the more I know the less I know... does that make sense. Now I also do realize that the State Fair of Texas has a HUGE number of entries and although my photos this year were technically better than before, I see that they lacked that something special that set them apart. I've been working so hard on the technicalities that I've lost a bit of the art... aaah... someday I will find balance!

Anyway back to my bad things in threes... I'm just lumping them together because they are all competitions of sorts and they all announce the same week... the State Fair was supposed to mail out on the 5th of September (but they were early as usual), calls go out for the MM Idea Book tomorrow morning and MMM calls start on the 5th. Now, I seriously don't expect anything from either of the remaining two, but not making the cut always stings a bit no matter what you're expectations are. However, like I've said before, I have to play along! I'm definitely more upset with myself for not trying than I am for not making it.

No pictures today. I thought about getting my camera out but it just didn't happen. Things are a bit crazy here getting ready for our weekend away. I have to figure out which lenses I'm bringing plus I need to locate all of my compact flash cards. Those things are strung out all over this house.

I did do some scrapping but again, I can't post it. In looking through photos to scrap today I did come across this one that I had never really looked at from our 2peas photo playdate in June... I edited one similar to it but after closer inspection, I think I like this one best...
There was something else I was going to ramble on about, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Oh well.. it's late. Have a great weekend and I'll be back with lots of Sea World pics on Monday!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

much better day!

woo hoo! nothing terribly odd happened today!!! I was even able to have a good laugh with the service guy at the dealership while I tried to explain my door locking problems with the mini.

We also did not really leave the house... until soccer practice at 6:00. I know I promised that I would take pictures today... and I did. It was just that they were really bad ones. And I don't mean that in the "just being hard on myself" way. They were truly terrible. I was using my 70-200 2.8L lens and I just couldn't hold it steady. I was shooting in Al Servo like I usually do for sports/action shots but I just didn't have the mental (nor physical) stamina today to track Clara as she played. I shot about 10 frames before I got terribly frustrated and probably there's only one where she is in focus. Okay... I just recounted... I took 11 and managed to get three in focus... here they are...

I did manage to scrap two pages today... one just because and one for the Muse at Scrapartist. Here's the one I can post...

details here

Just the kids on our last day with Shirin before she left us to go back to college.

Tomorrow is a crazy schedule day... piano lessons for Alex, Clara's preschool, and martial arts for both kids (plus the given of homeschooling)... but then it's off to San Antonio on Friday for the long weekend!!! We're taking the kids back to Sea World and we're going to hit Fiesta Texas too while we're there. My cousin and her family is going to try to meet up with us which will be great since her son is just a year older than Alex. Fun stuff!

Okay... I"m off to clean up the kitchen! 'nite!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

i just want to celebrate...

... another day of living! I know... corny, huh? I've had such a bad day today but somehow that song from the 70's by Rare Earth on my iPod has kept me sane. It is currently my mantra... I've got to do something or I'm going to lose it! LOL!!!

*** Major Rambling Alert ***

Okay.... my day wasn't all that bad... just little picky things that piled up to push me over the edge. AND the fact that these things make absolutely no sense doesn't help much. Okay... I drive a mini-van.... I know... not so cool, but it works and all of the cool little features makes it so worth it when carting kids around... that is until said features no longer work. Last night after the cub scout meeting Clara's door wouldn't open using the neat little button on the key fob. No biggie, Clara is notorious for getting things wedged in her door... she can just get in Alex's side and we'll deal with it in the morning. Now morning is here... it's 9:02 and we're leaving the house to get Clara to preschool which starts at 9:00 (at least this time she had something besides the all orange lunch). The door still won't open AND we discovered, it won't even unlock. Didn't have time to deal with it... went to school. I never take my purse into the school... there's really no reason, I just throw it in the floor, lock the door and go. Coming back out, I discovered that assuring little beep the mini makes when I push the lock button is a LIE!!! The left side, the only side that opens, now no longer locks!!! So I have one permanently locked side and one permanently unlocked side. I'm not happy but at least Jeff is out of town and the bmw becomes my mom-mobile. No biggie, it will even be fun to take it to San Antonio this weekend on our trip (provided Clara doesn't throw up in it).... BUT, as Jeff reminds me later, that means no DVD player for the kiddos. Our kids are good travelers, they've had to be since we've never lived closer than 7 hours away from either set of grandparents... but part of that has been being able to watch movies (its a novelty for them since we never let them watch tv in the mini otherwise). sigh... off to the dealership between now and friday....

Then, the part the started the very rapid downhill slide was losing my internet connection at about 11 am. I really won't get into that right now... I don't think I can without losing my PG rating here. Long story short... I didn't realize some nut in a work truck forgot to lower his boom and drove down the road taking out power, cable and internet lines.... I thought it was our router and/or modem. The rest of day consisted of frustrating phone calls to various computer repair places... oh... did I mention that since we have no actual paper phone books in our house, I had to call one of my friends to look things up on the internet for me so I could make calls. I seriously did not realize how much I used my internet for... I was helpless for crying out loud! LOL!!!

I'm beginning to calm down now though... thank goodness we had chocolate in the house! :-)

I did manage to do one layout today since I couldn't surf....

details here

Oh... I totally forgot... yes for those of you who asked... Clara is much better today. Her fever never came back and neither did her headache. It seemed to be about a 12-24 hour deal... thank goodness!

Okay... I'm up past by bedtime AGAIN... I will take pictures tomorrow! :-)


Monday, August 28, 2006

cub scouts, fevers and layouts.. oh my!

Interesting day at our house today. Clara woke up with a fever so no dance class for her today. She spent the bulk of her day curled up in her chair watching tv. At bedtime her fever was gone, but she had taken some motrin earlier so we probably won't know what's going on until morning.

It was a good day to be lazy though... it rained off and on all day. We really need the rain.

Alex had his first cub scout pack meeting tonight. Wow... I really didn't know what to expect, but it seems like a really great group. They seem to have a really great time together. Our first official den meeting is in two weeks so it will be fun to see what our little group will be like.

It seems like I had something else to ramble on about but I'm too sleepy to remember what it was.

Anyway... here are my two layouts from today....

details here
details here

'nite! Hopefully I'll be more with it tomorrow!

Sunday, August 27, 2006


I maxed out my d: drive today. I knew this day was coming with all of my photos and digital scrapbooking kits. I have an external drive for back-up purposes.... but now I think I'm going to have to get one to work from. Does anyone work from an external drive? Does it slow things down?

I took no pictures today... I did do two layouts but only one I can post (the other one is for the sweet shoppe treat of the month and its not really finished anyway since it was during putting it together that I maxed out my drive). Here's my layout done with the Indian Summer kit at the Sweet Shoppe - its a free gift with $15 purchase until Tuesday the 29th....

Our fantasy football league's draft is this week! I can't wait to start this year!!! BUT... I'm lacking a team name... I desperately need help this year. Last year several us had poker related names (mainly from the celebrity poker tourney on bravo) so I was Shuffle Up and Deal. The two years before that I was Faking It. I'm just stumped this year... I need something witty. Jeff is going with Funk Soul Brother. I just don't know... any and all suggestions welcome!! I was thinking the One Hit Wonders since I won our league's Super Bowl my first year of playing and have never even placed after that... but I'm just not loving it.

Well... I know its early, but I'm going to put my tired, maxed out computer to bed and hope it feels better in the morning!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

backlighting... ugh..

So, after seeing Anne's (painted moon on 2peas) examples of backlighting I had to give it another shot... especially under more controlled circumstances with only one child, indoors and no one watching me and making me nervous. So here is the best I got....

(yikes... that one pic is way pixely on here)

Not great, but there was improvement. I need to get more light bounced back onto her face though. I did use my reflector (hence the catchlights), but I didn't feel like I had it aimed right to give me the boost with the light that I needed. Something new to play with though.

We went and got Alex's Cub Scout uniform today! He is soooo excited about his first pack meeting on Monday night! I did take my camera but the scout area was swamped today and they had the nicest man working that area that had us outfitted and ready to check out before we knew what hit us!

Well... that's it for us today! 'nite!

Friday, August 25, 2006

that's my girl! :-)

We went to a birthday party this afternoon and look what she chose to play with....

Needless to say after the party and our recess earlier... the girl is waterlogged and ready for bed!


this is what homeschool recess looks like (well, sort of, there are about 12 other kids in the pool but I don't have their parents' permission to post their pics)...

Who says homeschool kids don't have fun?? :-)

I just love days like today!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

cat stevens??

What is wrong with me? I just purchased two more Cat Stevens songs for my iPod... what has brought this on? Should I be concerned? Perhaps I'm in desperate need of new music suggestions.

Today was a sad day in our house... it was Shirin's last day... she starts back at college on Monday... sigh. I tried to take some pics of her with the kids but the girl was a pain in the @$$. I don't know what her problem was but she wanted nothing to do with being the pictures with Shirin and Alex. For some reason Clara has issues with group pictures... she posed happily with the dog after I gave up on the group pic but I refuse to post those pics just because I'm annoyed at her! :-)

Alex is a full blown Lego fanatic now... which I think is so cool! I love legos and its great to see him really into something... he just spent $21 of his hard earned money on a Batman Lego set tonight... he's already assembled the thing.

Why does nothing every work at once? A week or so I was on a total scrapping roll... but in a photography funk. Now I'm coming out of my photography funk and I can't scrap anything to save my life! I guess sometimes they are in sync because for a while I could neither, but I blamed the scrapping funk on having no good photos to scrap... now I've got the photos, so I have no real excuse.

I was thinking about my evolution as a scrapper the other day. I used to scrap alot of portrait type shots of my kids... now I just can't make myself do it. I still take those photos but I can't ever scrap them anymore. I need for there to be a story to tell or I just can't do it. I have several portrait type shots I would love to have on a page, but I'm stumped when I try to start. Another crazy thing... I used to scrap only one photo layouts... now mine are almost all (at least over half) multiphoto layouts. Maybe one day I'll find "my style".

Well.. enough of my ramblings about scrapping... here are my pics from today... one of the kids with Shirin (the only one Clara sort of cooperated for and that was only because she was trying to roll across them) and two from martial arts (odd crops on those but I was working with my 85mm and we were too close together).


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

today we went nowhere!!

woooo hooo! Well... except soccer practice... but that wasn't until 6 o'clock. I love stay at home days. Shirin came by this afternoon and made Clara an adorable hot pink poodle skirt for her 50's Sock Hop birthday party in October. It is sooo cute! I just saw online that payless has saddle shoes, so guess where I'm off to tomorrow! LOL!

This was Clara's first practice with her new team... the pink ponies. So, of course I had to take some pictures. Sorry... I'm addicted to these slide shows, so here's another...


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

our day

Today was Clara's first day of preschool... I'm so out of practice with the preschool thing... I forgot to buy lunch stuff so Clara had an all orange lunch (mac and cheese, oranges, cheese stick and cheetos... LOL). I forgot her extra set of clothes, I forgot to have her decorate her journal until about 8:20 this morning. The kids set down to breakfast at 8:40 and were still in their pj's at 8:50... did I mention that school starts at 9:00??? So... we were 15 minutes late for the first day of school... sigh.

After that Alex and went downstairs to practice his piano lesson on the church's piano. We stayed for another hour or so doing school work and then we headed home for lunch and to change clothes for recess at the pool. After an hour of swimming, we came home again to change clothes so we could pick up Clara at 2:00 and head to the library to meet our friends. Whew!

Here are some snapshots of our day....

Monday, August 21, 2006


why won't my freakin' slideshow load??? ...sigh

the haircut

the girl's haircut that is, not mine... at the rate I'm going I'm going to need another one before I can post a pic... I think I'm beginning to get a bit shaggy already.

Anyway... got Clara's hair cut today and I think I had them take just a tad too much off. It's a little short, but it will grow...

Nothing much new here... just lots of good scrapbooking stuff I can't really talk about yet. Even if I could talk about it, I'm not sure I would because I would be afraid it would just all go away if I did.

It was a tough homeschooling day... I'm not sure why Alex had the meltdown he did, but he did... it took all morning for him to do three pages of work. Then he just snapped out of it and had it done within minutes. Jeff and I wonder if it has something to do with his travel and possibly all of the attention Clara has been getting lately with starting preschool (tomorrow!!), dance and soccer. He has his own stuff.... he's starting cub scouts this year... but it doesn't start until next week (at least I hope it isn't until next week - I've forgotten to check the schedule again). Our recess group is meeting tomorrow at the pool so that should be fun for him and we're meeting our homeschool friends at the library tomorrow afternoon as well.

Well... it's late and I'm sleepy (aren't I always?)... 'nite!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

shoes, shoes and more shoes

Can you believe that we bought Clara FOUR new pairs of shoes this weekend??? Tap shoes, ballet shoes, soccer shoes and closed toe shoes for preschool!!! Isn't that ridiculous? They all seem to hit at once because I wait until the last possible minute to buy them so she doesn't outgrow them before she uses them for the first time... and she'll be using all of them this week. Our chaotic schedule begins tomorrow.... ack!!

I have to write more about our Spanish and Art curriculums... we used the for the first time last week and I am totally in love... so perfect for us. I'll have to elaborate later, but right now I'm sleepy.

So, I will leave you with a pic of the girl from today...

or... maybe not... I'm not sure what's going on with blogger and adding pics... it looks like I may have had some security update thing that's causing the problems. I'll try the photobucket thing again tomorrow.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

pics from today..... maybe??

fair park

**** Blogger nor Photobucket is cooperating with me at the moment... photos to come ****

Today we had to take my fair entries down to fair park, so while we were there we decided to hit one of the museums there. Apparently since the last time we were there, the Science Place and the Natural History museum have become one... so that sure made our decision easier...we got to do both! Here are just a few pics.... (oh... fyi, Clara likes to pick out her own clothes lately and as long as what she picks out isn't totally inappropriate... we usually let her go with it)...

Alex looking at the dinosaur skeleton.

Clara and Jeff checking out the ant farm (with all dead ants... figure that one out)

The kids doing the dino dig in the 104 degree heat... needless to say, we had that exhibit to ourselves.

The kids entering the dental exhibit... it just amused me.

I used my new 85mm today just to get used to it... I think I'm going to like it... but I have to get used to finding space to back up!!

Other than that... we just went to the dance store to get Clara's new dance shoes. Gosh I feel guilty for cramming her feet into her size 9 dance shoes at the recital this spring... she got 11's today!!!

Well... let's see how this works... I wasn't able to upload photos using blogger so I'm hosting them on photobucket... wish me luck!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Don't mess with Clara!

(yes, Brenda, that is your red seamless... I probably owe you a roll by now... sorry :-)


Thursday, August 17, 2006

head hurts

Darn sinus headaches! Getting ready to take some nyquil and head to bed... but I thought I would post a few of my first shots with my new 85mm 1.8 lens that just came today. Just Clara and all of her craziness!!!

Well crap... blogger isn't letting me upload more than one photo tonight! Here's another from our little mini-shoot at 2peas.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Totally in shock today! I submitted two layouts to the digital call at BH&G's Scrapbooks, Etc. and within two hours I had an email requesting one of my layouts for the January issue!!! Its the one of Alex with his wings, if you happened to catch it before I took it down. Wow! I still can't believe it.

Tomorrow is a big day here... Alex has his first ever piano lesson, Clara has her preschool "meet the teacher" day, my prints should arrive for the state fair AND my box of goodies from B&H photo are scheduled for delivery tomorrow! I cannot wait to start playing.

And this brings me to my second plea for help in two days.... yesterday I needed (and still need) help with a new wardrobe. But I need help with ideas of pictures to take! I know, that sounds nuts, but this Texas heat is getting to me. It's too hot to be outside and its all brown and dried out looking out there anyway. I'm tired of the pool.... both being in it and taking pictures of it. I don't mind playing with portraits indoors but I need to shake things up a bit with some new idea to make it fun again. How sad is this... I'm actually planning outings and trips so I can take pictures! This weekend we have to go to fair park to drop off my photos so we will probably hit a museum while we're down there. At some point Alex needs to go to Elliots Hardware to get his cub scout uniform (that could be a fun photo shoot). Oh... and just this evening on the phone I convinced Jeff that we need to go somewhere for Labor Day weekend (Sea World here we come!). There for the longest time I happily played with portraits and I still do at times, but I am really loving attempting to get good photojournalistic type candids of the kids. That's hard to do when you don't go anywhere. So.... besides the big stuff... anyone have any fun little photo op outing suggestions for us?

Okay... with that I'm going to go finish the dishes so I can go to bed!


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why am I still up???

I feel kind of icky (allergy/cold-ish) and promised myself that I would go to bed early... but alas, here I am updating my blog.

Big news in regards to scrapbooking for me... I got an invitation to be on the Creative Team for Scrapartist! I was honored, humbled and completely overwhelmed to receive the invitation. I accepted and I am still in such a state of shock that it has paralyzed me! LOL! I went through the shop to find a kit to scrap with and my brain went on overload and just shorted out! I need to snap out of it soon though or they're going to think they made a big huge mistake asking me to be on their team.

I actually did three layouts today!!! One is for the thing I can't talk about yet (but Miss Tina knows what I'm talking about ;-) and the other two were for the 2peas 2sday chat on the digi board. The challenge tonight was a "grid" layout and/or a scraplift of Lauren aka Ms. Scrappy Pants. I ended up getting both done and here they are...

Grid paper by Misty Mareda Other papers by Holly McCaig (Office Chic) Stamped Alpha - Shmootzy Alpha by Nancie Rowe Janitz @scrapartist. Fonts - AL Modern Type and Bookman Old Style.

This is my scraplift of Lauren's Smile Layout. Papers - Mommy's Little Boy by Mindy Terasawa (I think this is at least the third time I have used this kit since I got it just a couple of weeks ago!!). Stitching - Misty Mareda. Stamped Alpha - Nancie Rowe Janitz. Round brush by Rhonna Farrer @2peas.

Yay!!! While I was typing this I just got confirmation from the editor that I've been in contact with and my layout Defining Alex IS finally going to be in Creating Keepsakes Magazine!!! Look for in the November Tips and Tricks segment!

Okay... one last thing and I'm off to bed... I need new cool clothes! I really need to start watching What Not to Wear again (the british version of course). I want cool, yet comfortable clothes that don't scream "MOM" yet are totally appropriate for a mom. Does that exist? If it does, where? Especially an online source! I need help!

Okay... I'm off to bed... I have something else I need help on but that can wait until tomorrow.


Monday, August 14, 2006

a little retail therapy & a LO

Woo hooo... I did a little impulse shopping at B&H photo yesterday! One was a planned purchase... the 85mm 1.8 lens... but the other two items were impulse buys. I got the Lastolite EZ Balance Collapsible Light Balancing Disk - Grey, White - 12" and the Blue Crane Digital DVD: Understanding the Canon Speedlite 580EX/430EX. I needed a grey card and was totally intrigued by the whole collapsable aspect of the Lastolite... we'll see if it works the way its supposed to. And as for the DVD, that's not the flash I have (I have the 550ex that was discontinued before a dvd was made for it) but I'm hoping it's close enough to glean at least $20 worth of info out of it.

I did one layout this weekend that I can actually post here. I did a couple more but one is for a project I can't talk about yet and the other is for this month's SWTSB prompt at the Sweet Shoppe and will be revealed on the 15th. Here's the layout I did...

I used the Surfer Dude kit by Paislee Press... beautiful kit (check out their embroidered eyelet too!).

Yikes! It's 9:35 am... I've got to jump in the shower so we can start school!!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Just for kicks... our curriculum this year

I've been meaning to do this anyway, but I got a comment about it and it was the kick in the pants I needed to get it done. This is our second year of homeschooling, Alex is in 1st grade and Clara is technically pre-k but has insisted on doing school this year too. So here goes...

Both Alex and Clara:

Sonlight Core K with advanced readers (for Alex) - with them being so close in age we decided to split the difference and go with the core that fell between the two of them. I think we made the right choice... such great read alouds and the kids have been totally loving the science program so far.

La Clase Divertida Level 1 for our Spanish. We haven't started this yet... we'll add it in next week. I can't wait to get started... it looks like a lot of fun.

Atelier for art. This was an impulse buy at the homeschool curriculum fair but it looks like exactly what I wanted. It combines art instruction with art appreciation AND big bonus here... its video based so I can learn with the kids! We'll be starting this next week as well.

Lollipop Logic and First Time Analogies for thinking skills. The kids are loving these... Alex is definitely taking them at a much quicker pace than Clara but they both really enjoy them.

A Reason for Handwriting - Alex is doing A and Clara is doing K. I'm not sure what to expect out of a handwriting program... it seems fine... although handwriting seems to be a struggle in our house.

Math-U-See - Totally in love with Math-U-See!!! I have no other program to compare it with, but it just really clicks for us. Alex is in Alpha, Clara is doing Primer.

Stories of the Great Composers for Music Appreciation. Haven't started this yet. We will probably alternate weeks with the art program.

Just Alex:
Explode the Code - We like these books for fun and reinforcement. Alex is currently on book 2 (almost finished) and I have a feeling I should have purchased the Ready, Set, Go for the Code series for Clara this year (still might).

A Reason for Spelling - We're on book 1 and started it mid-year last year. I really have liked it so far... the only minor complaint that I have is that it was written for a classroom type situation v. homeschool.

Learning Language Arts through Literature - Blue Book. Totally agonized over this decision, but I bought it at the curriculum fair in the spring. We will start it next week.... so we'll see!

Just Clara:
Mountainwood Talking Letters - we're giving this a go for Clara. I needed something for Clara that would teach her some basics and entertain her while I worked with Alex. I tried starting her on the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Your Child to Read, like I did Alex, but she just has a totally different learning style... plus she's too young to be pushed too much. She's currently doing school just for fun and to be in on what Alex and I are doing.... so I thought this looked like a good start for her. We just got it out for the first time on Friday and she seemed to enjoy it.

Well... I'm sure I'm probably forgetting something... but this is at least most of it! We're off to good start so far... we'll see what happens though when we add more subjects in this next week!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

it's about time...

... I update my blog again! LOL! I've been in a funk lately about a lot of things... but I think I'm coming out of it.

We started school this week! Absolutely loving our new curriculum! The kids really seem to love it too. We've had a great first week, so far.... except for today... but that was just because my day got out of control with pictures. Can someone please explain to me why... if I'm not officially doing portraits did I have three shoots this week? Anyway... back to the school talk... if you want to see some pics from our first day... click here.

OOoooohhh... big news... the boy (aka Alex) has a loose top front tooth!!! I'm both excited about the fun gap toothed smile pictures and extremely sad that my boy is growing up!

So... I think my scrapping slump is over... I've done three pages since yesterday and two of them I actually like! LOL!


details here

Well... the kiddos are in bed and I'm worn out! 'nite!

Friday, August 04, 2006

i s*ck at backlighting: or what I learned on my summer vacation

Why, why, why did I even try it, especially with my one chance at the "cousins" picture? Sigh... but I did and here's what I got....

We ended up not going to the Ozark Empire Fair to see my pics... the results were posted online and it was just too darn hot (plus we were worn out from our night with no a/c). Anyway... out of ten photos that I entered, I got a 2nd and two 3rds. They don't list HM's online, but I'm really not counting on anything more. The big shocker of the group was my photo of my dad's tractor, taking third in the Missouri Tractors category.

Ack... I planned on typing more... but it's too hot up here (did I mentioned that our upstairs a/c unit died while we were gone???).

More pics to come! And possibly one of the new hair at some point! LOL!!!

Oh... btw... talk of the m-o-v-e have resurfaced again... sigh.

still sweating

we're home and lucky us... upstairs A/C unit? dead.... 94 degrees in the kids' rooms and my office! the fun never stops!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


That's what we're doing right now. We've been without power now for about 6 hours and it is sooo hot and sticky. We finally got the kids to bed down here in the family room on a blow up mattress in front of the windows. In just a sec I'm going to try my luck at sleeping on the couch. Thank goodness we're flying tomorrow instead of driving since there's no way we would be awake enough to be on the road. Ugh... I miss my A/C!!!!!!!!!!

Gotta love laptops with cell phone connection thingies (how's that for a techincal term?), now I can vent about this to people outside of this house!!!

Hi from Michigan!

Just checking in real quick from Michigan! I survived the flight without causing any kind of a scene, which is an improvement over our last trip. We couldn't get four seats together so I ended up in charge of Clara on the last row of the plane (row 13, can you believe it?). The one thing is that being in charge of high maintenance Clara doesn't allow time for full out panic attacks. Having my ipod full of tunes helped too.

The kids are loving it here! They have spent no less than about 5 hours per day in the water. They are sooooo brown (and blonde) right now.

And yes, I have taken an abnoxiously large amount of pictures already. I had to burn some discs last night so I could clear off some cards. I really am proud of myself.... I'm probably in manual 90% of the time (maybe more) and although I've goofed a few, I've actually done quite well. I can't wait to get home and go through them all. I attempted portraits of the kids last night on the sea wall with the sunset in the background. The first year I tried it, I was in av mode and the kids were severely underexposed. Last year I decided to go the flash route and they were okay.... but I'm just not a flash person (perhaps I could be if I used how to use it properly). This year I shot in manual and used a reflector to brighten their faces. I'm going to play again tonight as well... it's our last night. I'm going to attempt the cousins pictures as well... it may not happen though, the other party involved has been less than cooperative with arranging a time.

Well... I need to shower... today is our little photo safari trip to the lighthouse.