Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week 22 of 52: SCHOOL'S IS OUT!

I sense lots of popsicles and sprinklers this summer.

It's great to be a kid, no?

This photo makes me smile. Felix is pure energy (and muscle) and the lighting and the simplicity of loving a sprinkle is so evident.
Ready for take off! 
This picture is from the same night as the first two, but I decided to keep it in color. Amazing how it has such a different feel. Even more amazing, if you know my kids, is that Miles is far more comfortable with the sprinkler than Felix.
Splash day--eating cookies!
Jump!
Splash day pops! Anyone else remember those nasty cuts you get on the side of your mouth?

Lest we forget Gus. He will scoot over to his crib (yes, it's a travel crib) and gnaw on the side and "ask" to go in for the sole purpose of securing a pacifier and his stuffed penguin. 

How can you resist that face? (I was hiding on the bed trying to avoid eye contact. Fail. Also, notice the 3 different kinds of black and white that I toyed with. Such different moods for each!

I have a feeling our summer is going to fly by, but until then, we will enjoy sticky Popsicle elbows and hemorrhaging lots of money on our water bill.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Weeks 18-21 of 52

The past few weeks in pictures...not sure my abilities are getting better, but the boys are certainly getting bigger!
Notice Felix's winter boots that are 3 sizes too big. I love this picture.

Gus's diaper is hanging out and I am teasing him with his "lovey" Douglas

Teefers! We actually have another 0.5 of a tooth on the bottom now. 

This picture cracks me up because I can see him at a metal concert screaming to his friend, "this song is EPIC!"

Please. Mid-air photobomb. CLASSIC FELIX.

Popsicle face. 

Playing around with Lightroom presets
I love this one, too. I feel like it's straight out of a magazine. For crazy kids.

Another classic Felix. 

...and classic Miles

Eye injury.

Where Gus spends his time dreaming about...my guess is breastmilk or pacifiers. Or Douglas.

GAK BATH

Yogurt Bath

Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. 
As you can see, I am still toying around with all sorts of filters and sliders in Lightroom. It's fun, but I honestly need to take some sort of course because I feel like the biggest challenge is figuring out how to adjust the white and black balance. I've learned that just amping up exposure does bad things. And I think I have a good sense of what kind of "style" I like. I'm a little more "moody" than most, and like things to have less "luminance" and more "sharpness." But with all that income I get from the release of my new book (see previous post), I am going to take a photography class. Right after paying for therapy. I'm not quite sure for whom, but it's been one of those weeks I'm pretty sure someone in this house could use some.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Transformer Nutrition

Oh, hi there...

It's been about 20 some odd days, no?

We've had a birthday (how do I have a 6 year old?), school's out, childcare is almost ending, and I STOPPED PUMPING. Can I get a Moo Moo? While I'm still nursing, you have no idea how liberating it feels to stop pumping. So now I begin to pen my book *on* pumping since I have so many more hours in my week when I am not cleaning membranes and microwaving nipples (like, the synthetic type, not mine), and harmonizing with Medela's rhythmic hum.

No joke. I'm going to write a book. Right after I get my hormones re-balanced. Because what I totally forgot about was how any sort of drastic lactation change can set one's hormone into a tantrum. Lawdy. In the past week I have diagnosed my entire family with things ranging from diabetes to acute hearing loss. And I think almost lost it over a load of laundry. And work stress is like a nice anxiety appetizer to a thanksgiving meal of panic and stress. And that license I gave myself to eat whatever I wanted because I was nursing and pumping needs to be revoked, because despite exercise, my body is not doing that thing that I dare not mention to get droves of other moms angry at me. You know, right before our first legit vacation to the beach. #timing

And then after that book on pumping, I am publishing a book of all the funny things my kids say. I thought that once you passed the 3 year mark, the insanity that pours out of their mouths abates. Felix is proving me wrong. Like all of my kids (save Gus--he is still an innocent baby who can do no wrong), they drive me absolutely CRAZY, but then say or do the funniest things and I'm all, "okay...you can stay."

The other day as I bore (beared?) witness to Felix's morning bathroom visit (brother holds court on the potty. Yawn! Stretch! And let's work on that valsalva maneuver speeding up, m'kay?), he informed me that he wishes he was as small as a strawberry seed. Like when he was little (um, what would that stage have been blastocyst or zygote or something?)...because he wants to play with ATOMS. Right. Okay. If that's the case, who do I call to set this said playdate up--a Mommy molecule? An element? If that's the case, I'm hoping for Mommy Molybdenum. I'm sure Eric could come up with some ridiculous pun regarding covalent bonds or something.

Last week Felix informed me his "penis doesn't work inside" after I told him that he couldn't pee on our azalea bush and needed to go inside to the bathroom. Then I thought about the rusting radiator and toilet that no matter how hard I scrub retains a bread crumb trail of little boys. And by bread crumbs, I mean urine droplets. So I ushered him over to the big pine tree and told him to go at it.

And then today I was schooled on transformer nutrition. Felix asked me, "do you know what transformers eat?" Well, of course my go to was "oil." And then Felix told me, "no, they eat fruit. Green grapes, purple grapes, orange grapes and apples."

So I was all "wow. They certainly are healthy. How do you know that's what they eat?"

And then Felix told me, "because that's what's on my transformer underwear."

Well played Fruit of the Loom. Well played.

***

I'm behind on posting my 52 weeks of the boys, but do have the pictures to share. They are just taking a nap in iPhoto. Until then, last week I decided to capture a quick picture of each of the boy's eye. Eric and I joke that people always comment on their eyes "wow, they have such amazing eyes", because their public behavior leaves a lot to be desired. But I also think they really do have some pretty epic irises. And one of each. We certainly purchased the variety pack on many fronts.





Monday, May 5, 2014

Car Talk (ie, an upgraded "kids say the darndest things")

I've mentioned before, but I have books that I keep on the shelf where I write down all the crazy things the boys say. Right now Felix is owning the crazy talk, while Miles's questions and conversations err on the side of, dare I say it, mature. (And you have to pronounce mature like mah- tour.) You know, things like "will you wait for me at the gates in heaven?" (I mean...kick to the gut on so many levels), and "what if a kidnapper comes into the house at night and I am asleep and don't hear him entering?" "Are fairies real?" "What happens to sewage after it goes down in the pipes under the house?" In comparison to Felix's "knock, knock" (who's there?) "alligator in your BOTTOM!" (mass hysterics ensue while Mom rolls her eyes and walks away.)

More than not, Miles and I have solo time in the morning as I drop him off at school before 8am as Eric drops the "littles" off at childcare. During that car ride, Miles and I have some really epic conversations.

Last Friday, Miles and I discussed politics. It stemmed from him asking who was President, and then we talked about elections, campaign funds, senators, pork barrel legislation, and even medicaid. And then Miles asked if when I grow up could I be president. So then I went all women's studies on his 4T briefs and talked about Hilary Clinton (and also thanked him for thinking I hadn't grown up), and somehow I tried to explain the differences between republican, democrat, and libertarian. Miles said he wanted to be President some day, and I told him "absolutely. You just have to make sure gay marriage is legal in all 50 states and run under a democratic ticket." Okay, just kidding. I said that he had to study really hard and get involved in local level politics--even run for student council when the time comes. Of course, Miles's next comment was classic, "okay, but I just need to make sure I get enough time off." Work-life balance, kid. Work-life balance. Maybe I can get him to pass some sort of law requiring all new moms to get a year paid maternity leave. It was almost surreal talking to him about politics. And one thing is for certain--it exposed how little I know. Somehow I feel very adept at talking political shop with adults, but the line of questioning he had really had me rattled.

Would someone ever want to be a democrat after being a republican?
What is foreign policy?
Why can't I be president more than 8 years?
What if I don't want to be President anymore, can I quit?
How much money do you need for the voting game? (love that he called it a game)

Sometimes I'm like, can't you just ask me about how babies are born or something? I actually feel better equipped to talk about that!

During this discussion, we started to talk about homeless people. I realized that I don't think Miles has ever really heard about homelessness before. He knows about kids who are less fortunate (why we donate old clothes, toys, etc), but I could sense the idea that some people don't actually have a home got him thinking. I told him homeless people live on the street. And as a "preK literalist" he asked, "but what happens if they get run over by a car?" I explained that by "street" I meant sidewalks and parks and even homeless shelters. Then I talked about soup kitchens, at which point he said "what if they don't like soup?"

I don't know if Miles will ever remember all these mornings the two of us shoot the $hit in the car, but I know that it will go down as one of my favorite parts of the day.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Week 17 of 52: My Lightroom Tutorial

In case someone reading this doesn't have the "tongue-in cheek" filter (camera pun intended), this post is not meant to really be a tutorial, but to exploit my inability to know how to use Lightroom beyond a novice.

I thought I would show you all a before and after of my weekly pictures for week 17. This week was a great example because I had so little to choose from. I usually have about 70 pictures for a week, but this week I took 23. And then my external flash wasn't charged so the 23 pictures I did take were terrible SFTC. (Oh, that's photographer language for straight from the camera. Actually, I don't know if anyone uses that abbreviation, but I like it.)

Here is my Lightroom process: Open Lightroom. Drag pictures from iPhoto into the application. Click "develop" Scroll through the pre-sets on the left side of the program. Adjust the "contrast" slider and the "sharpening" slider (I have a heavy hand on the sharpener, which I know is apparent...and bad), export to a folder on my computer drive and post.

Pretty easy, no? Call Clickin' moms! I actually also go all "pro" on myself and crop sometimes...or even take out huge under the eye shadows (for the over 30 crowd, that's code for BAGS) with the healing tool. 

So here you go. Before and after. The preset filter I used was B&W High Contrast. 

Oh, and that is Envirokidz Leapin' Lemurs cereal shoved in my children's noses and ears. #proudmama

AFTER:


 BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

Don't worry...I'm keeping my day job.