Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 13 of 52: Experimenting with Lightroom's black and white filters

I'm a junkie for filters. And I love that Lightroom has a bunch of preset ones that I can apply and then go rogue and fiddle with the sliders in the develop section. It's kind of like archery in the dark, but at times I really do feel like I hit the unprofessional bullseye. This week, ehhh...

Last week and this week I have done some more black and white processing. Before having Instagram and Lightroom, I never realized that black and white isn't just as simple as removing the color from a photo. It's bonkers how many ways you can make the same picture look completely different by adjusting highlights, brightness, sharpness, etcetera etcetera.

In the next few years, I really do want to take a photography class to hone my skills. I've done a lot of experimenting on my own but am still a slave for presets and shooting on automatic. I'm just not good at manual. (Ask my friend Studs about manual car driving...)

***

We had a great afternoon recently of jumping off the bed and landing in a pile of blankets and pillows (we call it a "jumpy house"), but I couldn't seem to get my act together to get a good DSLR shot. So I have some pretty awesome fuzzy ones. Awesomely fuzzy that is.


And then my external flash drive decided to have a stroke this week and I couldn't find the battery charger, so the picture of Felix had to be converted to B&W because it was so washed out and my actual camera's flash decided to take over. And if I was a real photographer I would have figured out how to do something with a setting, but I'm not. I'm a lazy photographer. But you can't tell me this picture isn't cute.

While these onion goggles haven't been used more than a handful of times for actually chopping onions, they are a staple in Felix's dress up repertoire. And in the event we ever let him wield a pairing knife, his amazing eyes will be protected.


Finally. The baby. Who is turning one in a little over a week. And you should *see* the plans I have for his celebration. Actually, if you have any ideas please send them my way because at this point we will probably heat up leftovers and let him eat scraps off the floor. (In the words of Miles, "Gus contributes to this family because he eats food off of the floor. He's dedicated." Preach it, brothah.



And just in case you think that I've completely lost my sense of humor and ability to post anything of significance. I will leave you with a little story that I am titling: "the convenience of boys."

After I picked Miles up from school one afternoon this week, we all get in the mini (van--not cooper obvi), and as I am finishing strapping Gus in his seat, I see Miles doing what we affectionately call in this family "the potty dance." I had Felix and Gus already in their seats and didn't want the pomp and circumstance of unbuckling, going upstream against all of the carpool traffic, and buzzing ourselves back into the school to find a lavatory to shuttle in 3 crazy boys. (Notice how you have to say lavatory when referring to school bathrooms?) So I asked him if he could hold it until home.

Pause.

Why on earth did I ask? Right? I mean--is there an option?

Oh wait...yes, yes there is. Miles informed me that he couldn't, in fact wait, and was going to have an accident if he didn't go right now.

Option 1, suggested by Felix was to pee outside on a tree (not that we have ever suggested they do that when we play outside at home...ahem), which I didn't think the best decision in the parking lot of a very well manicured private school.

Option 2, which only came up in my head and I didn't officially offer it, was to find a diaper and let him pee in it in his seat and let him have a soggy size 3 diaper be a lesson to him for not asking to go to the bathroom while at school. (Another day, another story. But his anxiety comes out in an unwillingness to ask to use the bathroom when he is not with his mom and dad. Probably due to the hell I put him through to get potty trained.)

But then I remembered Option 3: I have boys--and they can pee with great aim into small containers and spaces. Unless they are at your home potty, then it's like they have Jackson Pollock penis and splatter urine all over the damn bathroom. There in front of me was my Starbucks reusable cup from the morning. So...Miles dropped trou in our van, in the parking lot of his school with everyone carpooling around us, and peed on the leftover inch of my nonfat vanilla misto. Do you think the development of "coffepee" makes me a barista?

Oh, but it gets better. Felix assured me that he was about to pee in his pants. Because once you see your brother pee in a cup, you realize that it could be great fun and who cares if your mom is mortified and just wants to get home. So, I crossed my fingers that the volume of his contribution wouldn't be greater than a venti, because then I would be looking at some sticky, smelly minivan weather mats. Aaand, I might just want to chop off my own hands that would be sure to get a warm tidal wave of the slurry.

After Felix unloaded successfully, I put the lid back on and slowly placed the warm cup back in my driver side cup holder. For some reason, feeling it warm just made it *that* much grosser.

I smiled at Gus and said, "kid, thank God you have a diaper."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week 12 of 52: Angst

This week I spent a few days capturing the frustration of childhood. So often our social media presence is filtered and makes me think that everyone else (but us) has perfect kids.
Perfect homes.
Perfect perfection.

While I think I err on the side of self deprecating humor, or even complaining in this space (it's my go to venting mechanism), what I have always promised myself from day one is to expose all angles of my pregnancy and motherhood. The saccharine *and* the sinister. I'm not here to prove I've got it all figured out. I'm not here to lay claim to doing it "right" or pretending to make it sound like being a working  mom and having 3 kids is the way to go. Or that it's easy. What it is--is fulfilling. Full. And incredibly filling. And sometimes, it's so filling, you feel bloated like after a great Turkey Day dinner. Yeah, sometimes you gorge so much on the good, you get sick.

Looking back, of course I want to remember and focus on the fun and revelry we have as a family. But I also want to etch in my memory those moments of pain and vulnerability.

My children are strong willed. Obstinate. Opinionated. And sometimes downright turds. Sometimes...wait for it...I don't like them. Rather, I don't like being around them. I think about it like "if I was your friend, I would not want to be in the room with you." But I unconditionally, unequivocally love these boys. Let's get that straight.

And I'm not sure what it says about me as a human and mother, but even in my boys' angst, there is such beauty. Dare I admit that the images below are some of my recent favorites. These images evoke what happens a lot to my little boys--frustration.

Frustration that Mommy is covered in salmonella-y cookie dough and can't pick me up and nurse my teething mouth into submission.

Frustration that Mommy told me that it was time to stop playing with the homemade GAK in preparation for my daily bath.

Frustration that Mommy told me that 1 enormous cinnamon bagel was enough for a snack.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week 11 of 52: POV in Black and White

Alert--late posting!

So we are already into week 12, but these pictures from last week finally made it off of my camera.

I was trying to get all theme-y and do parts of my children's bodies that are unique and I want to remember. Wait. That totally sounds creepy and wrong, but things like Miles's cowlick...Gus's cheeks...Felix's crinkle ear. 

So that was my self imposed project this week.

Aaaand, I didn't really do it. (SHOCKER!) But what I did do was try to do some "point of view" photos, whatever the heck that means. I dunno. It sounds official and when you take pictures that are off centered and run them through a magical black and white filter, it's like they turn into art. Or at least for some people.

Eh, I have some room to grow, but I really love each one of these photos. Felix especially looks gigongous (that's gigantic and humongous mish mashed together). 

And the last one is just Gus being stupid cute. I can't help it. He's my last. 





Friday, March 14, 2014

Soulpancake

for Lent, along with giving up ice cream (vice), I am committed to trying to spread more happiness, and this came across my virtual desk and just made me...happy.

I may be a few weeks behind the times seeing this, but this kid rules.

"You are made from love, to be loved, to SPREAD love..."


*corn dogs rule

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Week 10 of 52: The Look

First, congratulations are in order for Eric as he just hit the 4 year mark of being cancer free! The weekend couldn't have had lovelier weather to enjoy and feel an appreciation for life. I have almost hit the bottom of all the lobes in my lungs when I try to breathe deeply. One more year cancer free and I think I will be a lot closer.

I am glad to have finished the weekend on a good note as this past week we were *slammed* with a GI bug that literally immobilized the entire family, save Gus (thanks breast milk). And I'm convinced the bug left some sort of resistant strange of "fuss" in Miles as I feel like I am parenting a 2-3 year old again. I'm looking into creating a shirt: "(Almost) 6 is the new 3." I'd drown my frustration in sweets, but I gave up ice cream and eating past 9pm for Lent. My alternative has been drinking Izzy sparkling fruit juice. Sorry Izzy, you can't hold a candle to Ben and Jerry.

This week I found myself taking last minute pictures Friday through Sunday again because I was too busy dumping bowls of vomit while holding back my own. There was a moment the night that everyone was puking where Eric was passed out on the couch in the family room rendered useless, Felix had just vomited, and I heard Gus startle awake with the "my ear effing hurts!" wail at the exact moment I also heard, "MAAAAA-MEEEE! *BLECH!*" (That's Miles puking.) I stood in the hallway, feeling queasy and thinking, "who the hell do I tend to first?" And then shed a tear. Puke trumped acute otitis media. And in those situations, I couldn't help but curse. But we are all on the mend, thankfully, and Gus is getting ear tube surgery this Tuesday.

***

I call this week "the look" because the pictures all have my boys giving "the look."
This is Felix's response when I said, "pretend you are a tree, Fe!" Either he was pretending to be a tree, or completely disinterested in my attempt at a posed picture. Dollar to doughnut on the latter. 
Okay, so this "look" is hard to see, but Felix told me he was a camouflaged ninja spying on me. It's such a typical Felix image. And far better than the tree I asked him to be above. 
And this "look" is Miles getting mad because I am slaying him on round 2 of trouble. Yeah, I play to win. Unfortunately, he got me in the rubber match.
And this "look" is Gus's apprehension about the 3 radio controlled cars that the older boys were zipping around him.
I had to add a happier Gus "look" because he truly is just such a sweet and happy boy. This "look" is him "throwing me shade" for giving him nature's toy: a piece of pine straw.  
And this "look" I love. Not so much Miles's screaming in Gus's face, but Gus playing cool and being all, "whatever bro. I'll just gnaw some more on my biscuit." 
Finally, this isn't "the look," but let me just say, look at that kid JUMP! I can't believe I caught his stomp rocket launch in action. I wish it was a clearer picture, but it still is pretty awesome.




Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week 9 of 52: Gazes-Mugs-Faces

My boys' faces speak volumes.

And if you think those volumes are filled with words like "poop", "breastmilk", "underwear" and "ninjago"...you'd be right. 

And the fact that I can throw around the word "ninjago" is a testament to my status as a boy mom. Just call me Nya. And if you follow that reference, please e-mail me so we plan a book burning of all things spinjitzu. 

For anyone still putzing around this neglected blog--thanks. Our family has lots going on right now--good...not that good...infected (ears), and our focus right now is solidifying our plan for the coming months with school, finances, and how we can operate effectively in our current space.

And then the biggest question--what photo should we put in our bathroom? 
We have black and white "water" pictures of each of the boys, and we can't decide between the following two:

GUS'S GAZES



If you ask me, the correct answer is #2. 

***
I love the following two pictures of Miles. 
For the first, I used some sort of cream-tone filter in Lightroom. What's interesting is I was taking pictures of him running around and launching this disc-toy-thingy (descriptive, eh?), and he was having a ball. Laughing, being silly, and telling me "Mom, I have SPRING FEVER!" But the camera caught this pensive and serious moment in a split second before he was back to leaping around the grass. I had no idea I took this photo until my card was imported.

The second one I caught a typical Miles flirty smirk as he was leaving to go to a birthday party. I need to print this picture out for those moments when he is driving me bananas and his behavior is what I willingly admit to be UGLY. That, or I need to learn some Mommy spinjitzu because the incline to 6 is kicking my a$$ at moments.

MILES'S MUGS




***
And Fe. 
Fe = periodic table for iron. 
This kid is as solid and tough as iron. 
Unless a spider is involved. 
My little entomologist has turned that developmental corner of fears and worries. Namely: 
spiders
shadows
gila monsters
and
the Sci-Fi tune on my iPhone (???)


I'm looking into investing in some device that is attached to him and records all of the hilarious things that come out of his mouth. The day he actually starts talking sense and realizes that coyotes cannot, in fact, run faster than a bullet train (thanks 10 minutes of Looney Tunes), will be a sad, sad day.

***

This final picture doesn't fit in this week's theme, but every time I look at it I get a little weepy. 
All of my boys have spent hours, cumulatively, standing on this couch gazing out at our front yard during the first 2 years of their lives. 
And all 3 have worn this exact romper.
The little striped legs. 
The full head of hair sprouting a cowlick. 
The bubble diaper butt. 
Knowing these are some of the last months I'll have a little one pulling up on the back of the couch may seem like a minor consideration. But it's these moments that make me realize how much I love having a baby around.