Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 8 of 52: Swing into Spring

I always talk about percolating posts, and so as a teaser for you, and a selfish mechanism to hold me accountable, I have a drafted (is that a word?) two posts that will be showing up soon on:

  • why I am playing favoritism with my boys. (oh, no she di-int!), and
  • why I am *not* superwoman, or lipstick on a pig parenting.

But for this week's photos, I admittedly took them all today--Sunday. It was a stunning day. Breezy, partly cloudy, and 70 degrees. That's paradise for me. I'm not the type who dreams of sitting on the beach in a bikini by the beach. I want to be outside WITH PANTS ON and a light jacket or long sleeved shirt. No sand. Just green, dry grass to either nap on or challenge my brood to a sick game of Mother May I?. 

We have a park near our house that is located at an airport and have been going there for years. It's hard to go there in the peak of the summer as there isn't a lick of shade, but this weekend was a perfect opportunity to inhale the jet fuel and swing for a spell.

But first we needed to indulge in some smoothie for some pre-activity fuel. Today's recipe was apparently a combo of chia seed and Smurf:

I encouraged (ahem forced) the boys to elect their aviator sunglasses as opposed to the standard plastic pairs they tool around in. 

Maverick, Goose is calling. He wants to challenge Iceman to a game of shirtless pick-up sand volleyball.
Miles wouldn't bite, so he had to endure the direct sun. Unfortunately, he poorly groomed cowlick provided no shade.

I'm still working on getting my kids to be proficient "pumpers" on swings, but they default to the belly swing, which is fine, except within 5 minutes they complain of GI distress.

And for most of the time at the park, Gus was content doing what he does best. EATING. (And check out the reflection in his glasses.) While I don't know if Eric and my genetic combination could ever produce a child who is morbidly obese, if it is going to happen, it's going to happen to Gus. (Is it normal for a 10-month-old to out eat his 34-year-old mother?)

If today was a teaser for more weather to come, Atlanta, your heart is mine forever. Or at least until the temperatures start flirting with 78 degrees plus.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 7 of 52: Snowpocalypse version 2.0

A week stuck in the house due to (another) southern ice storm can only be made more special with traveling pink eye, ear infections, fevers, and antibiotic diarrhea. Throw teething in there and perhaps some drink umbrellas, and we are the next spring break hot spot.


So, after we exhausted our run of cardboard box forts, puzzles, baking, and even copious amounts of television, we were left feeling kind of like this:




(And that's saying something because Miles is playing gummy snack math here. Outside of whining and playing the victim, math and gummy snacks are two of his greatest loves.)

And then slowly but surely, the ice melted and we headed straight for the outdoors. I think the wonder on Gus's face is disbelief that we ventured outside of the house.

That, or he's pissed I continue to put baby leggings on him.

Today's photobomb brought to you by Eric's running short-tights:

This picture I call: "the retreat." Gus was all, "get me away from the crazy males behind me."

I'm not going to lie; this past week gave me a lot of reasons to continue my day job. I also had some pretty epic moments of questioning how I am going to successfully raise a house of boys who have created a new language with roots words of "poop", "diaper" and "underwear." But there were also some really awesome moments amid the body slamming, light saber swinging, tantrum slinging episodes when I realized that our house may be small and loud, but also full of a lot of laughter...and drool. And toots.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My 2014 Valentine's Day Advice

And by my advice, I mean information from an awesome infographic shared by one of my best friend's husbands. I've shared below, but it's too small to read in its entirety, so I recommend clicking on the link embedded above.

Disclaimer: I recognize the infographic as heterosexist and "white". And since infographics are more of  a visual conversation rather than true, peer-reviewed pieces of science that are generalizable, let's just acknowledge those particular shortcomings as I comment on what I feel are the most salient bullet points:
  • "Married couples are unhappiest when kids are in preschool."
So...I wonder what happens when you have 1 in preschool and 1 on deck? I'm hoping they cancel each other out. In all honesty, I totally get it. These young years have moments of bliss, hilarity and joy...but I am the first to admit that at least for us, they are HARD.
  • "Based on a British 20-year study, people who are happiest in their marriage:
    • Have been married 5 years or less
    • Don't have children
    • Have college degrees
    • The man's employed"
But--I think a real important message is less obvious; ignore all the (questionable) stats in the infographic.
Look at the images. 
In my non-scientifically based opinion think the graphic designer unintentionally nit the nail on the head:

Successful marriages are based on couples who hold hands...a lot.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 6 of 52: Lashes

Losing a camera's memory card throws a wrench in a 52 weeks of photography plan, huh?
Even better is when said card is found 2 days before you want to post and so you are restricted to 12 hours of time during which you hope to get some candid images of your children.
Best of all?
When you go to process in Lightroom and your trial period has expired. See, I have been putting off registering Lightroom (we have a teacher's edition, so I have to send in proof of Eric's profession), and it caught up with me.

Complicating things: Gus has joined the ranks of perpetual motion #1 (Miles) and perpetual motion #2 (Felix) and has been crawling for realz. Granted, his "go to" is the booty scoot, but brother is on his hands and knees and getting some knee burn to match the booty burn. I haven't quite mastered the action shot on my DSLR without it looking like a frantic moment at a London rave.
And recently, I haven't even touched my camera since my last 2 days have been spent without a free hand as I am met with the below reaction any time Gus is placed on the ground:

Did your heart just weep? Did you milking Mamas letdown? Because I sure did.


And if you know Gus, you know that's not a typical Gussy/Guster face. Both Miles and Felix absorbed every blessed fussy gene, so Gus has no option but to be perpetually happy. Unless he has an ear infection. (Speaking of genes, what long lost cousin has Eustachian tube anomalies? Because we have hit the jackpot in that department. I'd like to personally thank you with an invoice for all of our doctor co-pays. Our family tagline is, "lining pockets of ENTs since 2010.")

And let me just say that there is something so raw and inherently pathetic about Gus's crying. This picture makes me ache just looking at his little mug, until I notice the folded orange towel in the hallway. Huzzah! While it hadn't made it to it's appropriate home in the kitchen drawer, THERE'S A FOLDED PIECE OF LAUNDRY IN OUR HOUSE! Crack out the champs, kids. (And by kids, I mean someone of the 21 and older variety. And by champs I mean anything with a cork and bubbles. Alcohol optional.)

What, you don't think that's a miracle? It is when this is how your clean laundry exists many weekends:

And there is Felix--digging for gold. Sochi, I have a new event to add!

(BTW, in case you think my child will hate the fact I took pictures of him picking his nose. The rule is, you pick your nose, you have to go wash your hands immediately or Mom will take a photo of you and plans to put it in your high school senior yearbook along with all the photos we have of you with underwear on your head.)

So while waiting to fill a prescription for Gus's antibiotic this weekend, I let him take a car nap. Even thought Gus is the third child and has become an accessory to our already scheduled and busy lives, I have been pretty militant about car naps and avoiding them. But he had just had a huge ear violation at the weekend pediatric clinic, and was sleeping so peacefully in the car that I decided to hang out in the Walgreens parking lot with him while he snoozed. And because I figured my behavior ought to match my rag-tag appearance (baby bangs sticking straight up, breast milk stained shirt and sweatpants from the night's a miracle I had a bra on), I jumped in the back and sat in Felix's booster seat to take pictures of Gus while he slept. I was waiting for a passerby to wonder who the vagrant was cramped into a Britax frontier taking pictures of a sleeping baby.

Because that's what all crazy moms do.

I also spent some time researching iPhone camera apps to see if I could take a good picture from my iPhone that would look good enough to work for my 52 week challenge. The truth is, I honestly think some of my best photos are from my iPhone. And I'm slightly in love with Instagram over other social media outlets. Here is my assessment, Facebook is the unhealthy marriage between Instagram and Twitter. I'm totally team Instagram (IG) because you can rely on other's cuteness to sustain. Twitter you have to be clever. And hope your fingers and phone's autocorrect aren't having a bad day. Sure, IG creates overly processed photos with highly artificial filters, but there is no ISO, f stopping required.

I found a new free app called VSCO cam and know some real photographers who use it on their phones, so gave it a whirl:

Not my DSLR, but I kind of like the simplicity and the fact it isn't too "Instagrammed." There are all sorts of photograph-er-y settings you can do like exposure and contrast and temperature. But who has time for that?
I posted sweet baby Gus to my IG feed and someone commented on his eyelashes. What struck me as funny is that of all the boys, his are probably least remarkable. And then what struck me was that I could go home and get 2 more pictures of Felix's and Miles's lashes and call week 6 of 52 done!

Tarte cosmetics? I have some eyelash models for you...(want to hook me up with some free Lights, Camera, Action tubes?)
Chances are, the way this week may go (Atlanta is gearing up for another winter storm, followed by a Zombie attack), I may not get time to register Lightroom. Or I may...and document the insane asylum my house transforms into after more than 3 days housebound.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week 5 of 52: Showers

Snow showers? In Atlanta? 5 day weekend?

It happened, folks.

And thanks to some cookie sheets and about 2 inches of snow, my boys finally got to witness what it is like to play in the snow (and then 20 minutes later scream to come inside because their rain boots weren't enough to keep their feet from the early stages of frostbite).

The last time we enjoyed snow showers and cookie sheet sledding was the first month Felix was born 4 years ago. After this week of frigid temperatures and a city immobilized by snow, I realize that if we ever move up north we may need to desensitize our children to the cold with ice baths or something. 

While Eric and I have said to each other "do you know when the last time I took a shower was?" more than I like to admit, we are very religious about bathing the boys every night. More than anything it's a matter of routine. Gus and Felix take a bath, Gus gets out and Miles gets in with Felix. Miles is slowly getting more interested in showers (have I mentioned my children hate water in their faces and are allergic to anything even remotely close to swimming?), but Felix acts as if acid is pouring from the shower head. So we usually end up doing the environmentally unfriendly maneuver of running the shower for Miles to enjoy while I cover the floor with towels (because clearly the curtain has to be open the whole way lest the bathtub boogie man comes and eats up Miles), and I plug the tub so that the bottom fills with water and over time Felix can creep in the back and enjoy a "bower" (bath-shower). Then the shower turns off, and we have water WWE. (Put your money on Felix. Always.)

After the boys hopped out of the bower the night I was taking pictures, they asked for me to take pictures of their respective scars. Miles has one from an incident with a princess castle at a friends out over 3 years ago. And Felix's was from early in January when he had an incident with a door at childcare. It's pretty hard to see Felix's, actually. 

And for Gus this week? I couldn't fit him into my shower theme. Instead, I captured him doing his favorite thing-eating. Brother can INGEST food. I'm pretty certain he consumes his body weight in fruit, veggies and quinoa each day. And still knocks back three 5 oz bottles of milk at school or nurses many times a day when at home. How he is only in the 22nd percentile of weight at 19# 3oz is beyond me. (I demand a recount! My assumption is the doctor's scale isn't calibrated for cheeks.)

And guess who is crawling? Nah, not Gus. But he sure looks cute trying!


See that black and white photo of Gus fussing for more food? That is the skilled photography of Miles. Since my camera is out more frequently (yet not nearly as much as it was 2 years ago), Miles has been asking to take pictures with it. What he really likes doing is taking a picture and then using the buttons on the back to zoom in on body parts. I still hold the external flash when he is taking the pictures in the event it slips out of his delicate hands, but he's got a good eye. I mean, look at his other two entries for this week. 

Keep your day job, Miles.