Thursday, May 31, 2007


Tonight was Clara's dance recital rehearsal. I sooooo love recital time, although it stresses me out! I'm so not good with hair and make-up! The emphasize how bad I am with hair, notice her bow falling out of her hair to the floor in the last shot.... note to self: more bobby pins tomorrow night. I love having a dress rehearsal and a recital... that means I can take pictures like crazy today and sit back and enjoy the show tomorrow. I may take a couple of "backstage" photos, but I'm not going to worry about stage shots.

They ran through their dance twice... above were taken with my 70-200 2.8L and below were taken with my 85mm 1.8.

Clara did soooo well.... I was so proud of her. She knew the routine without having to watch her teacher in the wings. That's a first for her (this is her third recital). She was very proud of herself for that as well. Honestly, the whole class did extremely well. I had grand plans of taking her dance portrait tonight before we left for the rehearsal, but it decided to rain at the very moment so it didn't happen. We'll try again tomorrow.

Okay... my MIL flew in tonight for Clara's recital so I should probably go and socialize!


ETA: I forgot, I scrapped a page today.... nothing like Clara's recital to motivate me to scrap last year's recital pics! LOL! :-)

details here

The Louvre

(my favorite thing about the photo above? a full shot with no people in it!! I'm not sure how i managed that)

Ugh... I'm getting behind on my Paris photos! Anything on the computer just wasn't happening yesterday. We started out our day with laundry and once it was semi-under control we headed out the door. The kids and I went to the Green City Market to buy plants for our garden. We got two kinds of peppers - one orange one that I can't remember the name of and one Giant Marconi. We got one more tomato plant - Mr. Stripey (Alex's pick... he doesn't even like tomatoes but promised to try this one if we grew it). And two more basil plants - one cinnamon and one lemon. We also had lunch there... crepes with cheese, tomatoes and herbs washed down with organic apple cider. YUM! After that we hit the bakery area for a loaf of sun dried tomato herb bread with asiago cheese and a couple of oatmeal cranberry cookies for the kids. I really wanted some produce and fresh flowers but I was running out of hands to carry things (note to self, bring tote bag next time) and we were running out of time since we had to do some school before we left for chess and ballet. There's always next time!

Tonight is Clara's dance recital dress rehearsal. I cannot wait to see them all up there in their adorable pink outfits. The costumes are just absolutely precious this year! I need to do her official dance portrait, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Her costume came "some assembly required" and we just got it back from the seamstress last night. Maybe this weekend I'll give it a shot, but we're expecting rain so we'll see. I need to get my camera stuff together for tonight as well. I found my battery charger and now I just need to get my battery into it and clear off a memory card. I'm not sure which lens I'll use so I'll probably take two - my 85mm 1.8 and my 70-200 2.8L. I used the 70-200 last year with reasonable success. I just have no idea what this theater is like and how close I'll be able to get. Ack... these things always freak me out!

Okay... I've got to get clean and start my day!

Maybe I'll be back tonight with some dance pictures!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Notre Dame - Interior shots

Just a few of the many. I struggled with my interior shots as it was very dark in the cathedral.

Alicia - you speak french? How cool! Maybe you can help us with the correct pronunciations with the games we purchased for the kids in Paris when you're here next month. Alex is so excited to see Alyssa again!

We went to the garden this afternoon to check on our plot. Our tiny little pepper plants were history but our carrots, cosmos and zinnias are sprouting. Our chives transplant was doing well too. Today we planted a couple of tomato plants and some basil. I think we may go to the farmer's market tomorrow to pick up some more plants. The kids have a fabulous time at the garden. Today they harvested lettuce and helped get radishes ready for the farmer's market tomorrow. Btw, I have a bunch of fresh organic radishes... what in the world should I do with them? A quick pass on and a google search didn't really turn up anything of interest.

I did scrap a page today too... here it is...details here

Well... I'm still dirt covered from our gardening today so I'm going to go clean up and head to bed!


Monday, May 28, 2007

Notre Dame - exterior shots

Here are my shots of the Notre Dame Cathedral on our second day in Paris. Unfortunately, with the time we were there, I had no choice but to shoot into the sun. I experimented a bit and in the end, this was the shot I disliked the least.... see the lens flare? It's growing on me and sometimes you just don't have a choice. I know we always could have come back but I didn't know if we would get the chance on our quick trip (and we honestly didn't make it back down there later). So, here it is... love it or hate it! :-)

We had a nice Memorial Day weekend, trying to get back on track with things. I thought the jet lag would be worse than it was. My big accomplishment for the weekend was FINALLY ordering my homeschool curriculum for next year. I can't wait to get those big boxes of books!!! I'll write more about what I have planned for next year and my review of what we did this year soon... right now I'm still having too much fun playing with my Paris pics!

Thank you all for the kind words about the pics I've posted so far! I really had a lot of fun taking pictures on this trip.

Okay... I'm off to bed!


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Is there such a thing as...

... too many pictures of the Eiffel Tower? You'll have to let me know once I get done posting my Paris pictures... these are just a few from our first day. :-)

(look! straight pictures!!! can you believe it??? the one above is an in camera crop... i didn't think it could be done... lol!)

Okay... I'm obsessed with learning French now... so I'm currently researching French homeschool curriculums for me and the kids! :-)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

we're back!

and here's one pic of the Eiffel Tower with "le tilt" just for Meg :-)

(i'm too tired to edit so this is straight out of the camera with just resizing)

Friday, May 25, 2007

slightly damp

... okay... I'm actually I'm soaking wet. Note to self: if while standing on the Arc de Triomphe you see dark clouds behind the Eiffel Tower that keep getting closer, instead of standing there watching the clouds roll in, taking picture hoping to catch a shot of the Eiffel tower with lightening in the background.. get the heck out of there and take cover!!! We started down before the storm got there but the by the time we got to the bottom, the storm was there. Full force winds gusting through the arc and driving rain. We took refuge along with a group of British school children (some of them weeping and seriously freaking out) under the arc but the storm was too much and we were getting soaked anyway. So, Jeff and I decided that we were already wet so why not go for it. We made a break for it and walked down the Champs Elysees... thinking that our hotel was close. Oh, yes, it was close, but only if you don't walk right past your street and end several blocks away. We did a u-turn and finally found our hotel. I was so worried about my camera... but my Crumpler bag kept everything nice and dry. We were both so worried about my camera that we completely forgot about our iPods in the backpack. Currently, neither of them will turn on. :-( I'm hoping things might change once they dry out.... let's hope.

My account of today's outing will be brief since I still need to get dried off so we can figure out dinner. Once we finally got our breakfast, we took a walk to Napoleon's tomb and the military museums there. We thought this would be a quick tour... however, we really enjoyed it and spent more time than expected. From here we walked to the Orsay Museum. Loved it! It was another art museum, but I honestly enjoyed it much more than the Louvre. We did the Rick Steves audio tour of the museum and it was fabulous. We also had lunch in their dining room. I'll have to fill you in on the details later.... along with pictures, but right now I'm hungry so we're going to figure out dinner!

Tomorrow we head home!

Nouveau Message

It's kind of fun to click on that instead of the boring "new post" link in the English blogger! :-)

This is actually yesterday's post, but we got in late enough last night that it just wasn't happening. So, I'm sitting here typing while we wait for our breakfast to arrive. (I'm glad you don't think this is boring Kristen! lol!)

Yesterday we started out with a room service breakfast served out on our terrace with views of the city. (note to self: must take pictures from our terrace). We really can't see anything majorly exciting, but it's a fun city view. After that we decided to brave the Metro to head down to the Notre Dame. I was so impressed by the Metro! Especially since we ride the L system in Chicago as our main mode of transportation. The Metro was extremely clean and efficient... and very easy to navigate. At Notre Dame we started our Rick Steves Historic Paris audio tour that we had downloaded from iTunes. I just love Rick Steves' guides so this was perfect. It took us through the Notre Dame and then around to the Deportation Memorial. We then crossed the Seine and wandered through the Left Bank a bit. We had lunch at a nice little Indian Restuarant in the Latin Quarter which came with a shot of Cognac when the bill came. LOL! From there we crossed back across the Seine and toured the Conciergerie and then lined up for entrance into Sainte-Chapelle. I have to tell you the wait was definitely worth it! The stained glass panels were absolutely amazing! I took a ton of pictures but I'm sure they do not do it justice. It was just awe inspiring.

After we finished our tour we found ourselves near the Louvre. We were tired and it was already after 3:00 in the afternoon, but we had purchased the museum passes so we could easily come back again the next day. So, we decided to go in for a couple of hours. Now, if you've read my posts from February, you know that the kids and I spent hours and hours in the Chicago Art Institute, so I thought I would be prepared. It was just completely overwhelming. We tried to do the Rick Steves Audio Tour of the Louvre but the first item on the tour had been relocated due to remodeling in one area so we just turned off our iPods and started aimlessly wandering room to room. We did decide to hit a few of the "must sees"... we saw the Winged Victory, the Venus de Milo and, of course, the Mona Lisa. We also went to the Napoleon Apartments. I took pictures as they were allowed. I'm probably very sensitive to this being a (hobbiest) photographer but I am constantly amazed by the boldness of people and their point and shoot cameras. I saw numerous people taking pictures in rooms that clearly stated "no photography" at the enterance. And... everyone was using flash which is a no-no in art musuems. To top it off, they were using flash in the no photography rooms!!! Okay, vent over.

After the Louvre, we hopped on the Metro back to our hotel and relaxed until time for our dinner reservations. We just went to a little cafe close to our hotel and had a wonderful relaxed meal. An appetizer of Avacado Tartre, Steak Frites and Creme Brulee. Mmmmm.....

Then we took off to see the Eiffel Tower after dark. I took a ton more pictures (and yes, with "le tilt" Meg... I tried to take some straight but even those were slightly crooked! LOL!). I was impressed with the tower just lit up and then around 10pm, it began to glitter!!! Hundreds (thousands?) of lights twinkled on and off all over the tower!! It lasted maybe 10-15 minutes. I tried to capture it with my camera, but it just didn't work. I think I needed my tripod. We were going to take a boat cruise on the river but my camera was acting up (I'm hoping it was just the battery) so we headed back to the hotel.

Well... breakfast has arrived, so I'm going to go! I'll try to post again tonight about our adventures today!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

blogging in french

well.... not really but since our connection is here in Paris, blogger has decided that it needed to change to french for me. Hopefully all of the buttons are in the same place as they are in the english version so I'll be okay.

We had a very uneventful trip here.... except for the brief "life flashing before my eyes" moment as we came into Paris. We were making our descent into Paris and I was happily listening to my iPod... I figured that we should be close to landing but I hadn't heard the announcement to turn off electronic devices. I decided that it was close enough... I would turn off my iPod and connect to the in flight show (an old episode of Wings). About that time the plane bumped an unusual sounding bump and the whole plane shuttered! At this moment I nearly screamed as I was sure that an engine had just fallen off and we were plummeting to the ground... to leave my children as orphans just because Jeff and I wanted to go to Paris for our anniversary. I look to Jeff and he's looking at me like I've lost my mind... I couldn't believe he was taking our impending deaths so calmly. But then, beyond him, I saw buildings and trees out the window and they were level with us... we had landed... that was the bump and shutter.... not vital plane parts falling off. Whew... at least it woke me up!

By the time we got to our hotel, I the lack of sleep was setting in so I took a three hour nap, took a shower and then was ready for a walk. We walked down to the Palais de Chaillot to take a look at the Eiffel Tower. Just amazing! I took pictures and then more pictures (and then a couple more). We walked under the tower (didn't go up yet... I was too out of it still to deal with heights quite yet). We walked down the Champ de Mars, stopping along the way to have a fabulous Nutella and banana crepe. I took more pictures. We decided to walk down to Napoleon's Tomb (even though it was closing time) just because we were close. I took more pictures. We walked back to the Champ de Mars toward the Eiffel Tower and our hotel (and, yes, took a couple more pictures). After dropping off some stuff at the hotel we went out to a cafe for a light dinner... tomato and mozzarella salad for me, melon and serano for Jeff... then creme brule and strawberry tart for dessert. We ate with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. Now, I'm exhausted so I'm hoping I can sleep well tonight so I'm on track for tomorrow.

Sorry if I bore you with details but I'm trying to use my blog as my travel diary while we're here so I can remember what we did! LOL! Oh... cool stuff... before we left we downloaded audio walking tour podcasts from iTunes. We did our first one today... we really enjoyed it. I can't wait to do the historic Paris walking tour podcast tomorrow. I'll post more details about them when I get home if anyone is interested.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

spiralling out of control

I have so much to do before we leave for Paris on Tuesday... craziness! I promised a longer post today and it's just not going to happen... I'll try again tomorrow.

Fun news though... I got an email from Angie (wags) and my layout Love Letters from Alex is going to be spotlighted on DiScTalkRadio's Dishing the Digi Coast to Coast this week (5/22-5/28)! How exciting is that??? I can't wait to hear the broadcast.

Hmmm... I can't get the blinkie to blink (but click on the unblinking black box to get to their site). I'll sleep on it and try again tomorrow!


Saturday, May 19, 2007

just a quick post

I promise I'll type more tomorrow, but right now I'm exhausted... AGAIN! Here's the brief run down of our day:

9:00 - Jeff drops Clara and I off at dance for her to get her costume, get pictures taken and have her recital rehersal
9:05 - Jeff drops Alex off at a friend's house for a playdate
9:15 - Jeff picks me up at Clara's dance and we go home
10:30 - A/C repairman is supposed to be here now... but isn't
11:00 - A/C repairman shows up
11:30 - Jeff and I leave to drop off Clara's summer camp registration
12:00 - pick up Clara from dance
12:20 - pick up Alex from playdate and try to find something for lunch
1:30ish - arrive at community garden to work on our gardening plot and do some planting
3:00 - leave garden to go home
3:30 - walk to local burger place to get an ice cream but we're by the park and the kids know it, so...
3:45 - 5:45 - play at the park

Whew!!! Then it was dinner, baths and family game night! I'm soooooo tired... but a good tired! I'll fill in details and other stuff tomorrow!'nite

Friday, May 18, 2007


and our weekend of chaos is only beginning.

Just one pic from Clara's choir performance tonight. While she was singing she was perfectly positioned behind the music stand the soloists used... sigh. But I got one as they left the front... can you see her searching for us... in entirely the wrong direction since I was hanging out into the aisle directly in front of her! :-)


Thursday, May 17, 2007

ten years ago today...

... I got married! Wow! Ten years! Ten years, six moves, two kids... it's amazing sometimes that we even still speak to each other! LOL! I have to be honest, I actually kind of forgot that today was our official anniversary since we're heading to Paris next week for our anniversary trip... I guess I've just been projecting it onto next week.

My ear is feeling much better now... it still hurts some but I'm no longer taking 12 Tylenol a day just to stay sane. However, the sleepies are catching up with me since I've barely slept since my ear started hurting.

I've completed two more Disney layouts! I'm on a roll... well... sort of, now I'm down to the pics that go with autographs and my whole involved plan. I may wimp out a bit and just photograph the pages from the autograph books instead of scanning them since the scanner still isn't hooked up. Anyway... here are my pages...

details here
details here

I've made the decision to finally buy a color printer! I'm so excited... but so overwhelmed! I don't have clue as to where to even start. I want to be able to print pictures, but it will not be my main option for printing pics (I'll still probably send out to WHCC for most of my prints). I probably will not print my 12x12 layouts that often but I would like to be able to print 12x12 (or close) because I do feel the urge to dabble with hybrid scrapping/projects. If you have a printer you love, would you mind posting so I can at least have somewhere to start? :-) Thank you! I'm saving up my publication payments for the purchase, so I'm going to have a while to research! LOL!

Well... I'm off to bed!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

on the mend

Thank you all for the get well wishes! I'm not feeling great, but feeling better.... I think the meds are finally kicking in.

I didn't get much accomplished today.... just one layout....

details here

I really need to get my Disney pictures scrapped. Problem is that I have this grand plan of scanning in the autograph pages to scrap with the pictures... but I'm not seeing that happening any time soon.

Oh... fun news today... I got an email requesting one of my layouts for the October issue of Memory Makers Magazine! I just started submitting again so it's fun to get something picked up now and again. Perhaps I should actually start scrapping again too! LOL!

Okay... it's time for another dose of pain reliever and a trip to bed!


Monday, May 14, 2007


I'm out for a few days.... I have a monster ear infection that had me spending Mother's Day afternoon at the ER. Right now it throbs like crazy and I've already maxed out the number of Tylenol I can have in a day.... plus my fever won't come down. An added bonus is that my dh is out of town, yet again, so it's just me and the kiddos. Thankfully I have a pretty responsible 7 year old who just "cooked" dinner for himself and his sister.

I'll be back in a day or so once the meds kick in.

Friday, May 11, 2007

oh... fudge

I got an email from Scrapbooks Etc. today requesting a layout I had sent them back in January for their October issue... unfortunately, that same layout was picked up for an idea book back in March. So... a bittersweet moment... I'm thrilled that they contacted me, but totally bummed that it was already taken.

I took photos this afternoon at our homeschool playgroup... however, we went straight from the park to a parents night out thing, then Jeff and I went out to dinner and then picked up the kids... now it's late and I've only just now downloaded the pics. Maybe I'll post some tomorrow if I don't take more tomorrow that I like better! :-)

I do have one from this morning that I may have to post later as a "what is wrong with this picture" contest. It's good that we live in the city where weirdness just blends right in! :-)

I did do a layout today! I used the fabulous freebie kit that Scrapartist is giving away as part of their birthday celebration weekend. Here it is...

details here

I even dressed my avi up for the occassion!

Okay... I'm tired!


Oh... Meg... fabulous suggestion for the splinter... I need to try it, but honestly Clara has pushed me to the limit the past couple of nights so I haven't got a chance to do it yet... do you think it will still work??

Thursday, May 10, 2007

the garden

Today we went to the garden for our orientation. We're not sure which plot is ours yet, but we can't wait to get started! Such an amazing project! An urban organic garden!! There are individual plots and a community garden as well. A 10% of the yield from the individual plots and all of the yield from the community garden goes to a local food pantry. All of the planting is done on top of an old tennis/basketball court in the old Cabrini-Green area.
We rode in the front car of the el on the way there... so the kids enjoyed looking out the front with the driver.

The "before" pictures....

And lastly... a pic from the platform as we waited for our train home.
Wow... I've been on a picture taking binge, haven't I?? :-)


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

slightly nuts

We got a little crazy at the noodle shop at lunch. We had the "garden" (I'm using that term very loosely here) all to ourselves... so we were able to get a little goofy.Trying something a little different with the first one.

Why are their mouths open in all of the shots above????

I tried not to angle this one... it was straighter SOOC but I tried to make it straighter when I cropped it... instead I angled it more... I couldn't get it right, so I left it like this. What in the world is Clara doing in this one??? And, now... what's with the fish faces????
What can I say... she's a nut!
Making wishes! Alex is already wishing for Christmas presents now that his birthday is past. He desperately wants the Lego Cargo Train... so much that he wished for it with this entire bunch so he would have a better chance of getting it.
Clara wished for the splinter in her foot to come out.

We got the house cleaned up today! Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Guys, we need to clean up the house today.
Alex: What do we need to do? (said with a huge sigh while watching tv)
Me: Well, it's 1:30 now, how about at 2:00 we start. I was thinking that we should vacuum and swiffer.
Alex: (jumping up) I want to vacuum!!!
Clara: (jumping up too) I want to Swiffer!!!
Me: Okay... we'll start at 2:00.
Me: (10 minutes later) Ummm.... Alex, what are you doing?
Alex: I'm picking up my stuff so I can vacuum sooner!!

You've just got to love it when kids think this stuff is fun! My goodness... they thought vacuuming and swiffering were some huge treat! Now that I know this, I'll use that as the motivator more often! I may soon have the cleanest floors on the block! LOL!

Okay... I'm signing off to work on my homeschool curriculum order!