Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My most favorite thing

Well, my most favorite material thing from Christmas at least. I got a new lens, a 50mm 1.8D for any of you photography enthusiasts. It allows for a very shallow depth of field, meaning only a very narrow area of the shot will be in focus. The part of the shot that is out of focus makes some really interesting shapes and colors (called bokeh).

I love this lens! I have been waiting for it for months. I'll be able to take some wonderful nature shots with it and it is also great for portraits. Since the background is so out of focus, it means I'll be able to disguise the messes in my house when I take pictures of my kids. :) It's almost like having a maid. Almost.


See how it made the lights from the Christmas tree look like bright bubbles? So cool!


Happy New Year, everyone! Eric and I actually went on a date (yeah!) and discussed our goals for 2009. There are things we would like to do to our house, financial goals, and, yes, if God so wills it, we'd love to have another baby in 2009!

God bless you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

These are a few of our favorite things... The Christmas Edition

A quiet house on Christmas morning because the kids actually slept in!


Licking the pan after making fudge.


Homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.


New tea sets and tea parties.



Galoshes for both daughter and mommy.


Cool new blocks with grooves in them that create paths for marbles to travel through.


Fancy pink night gowns.


Tools!


Popping bubble wrap.


Baby toys that entertain the big kids, too.


Smiles for the camera.


New umbrellas.


New gloves being worn to bed even when it's 65 degrees outside.



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of my bloggy friends a very Merry Christmas! I'm sure you are all busy like me, wrapping the last few gifts, making insanely rich Christmas goodies and running to the grocery store for those last two forgotten (and essential!) items.

But, don't forget to take a minute to hug your family, enjoy the Christmas lights, indulge in those insanely rich Christmas goodies, and thank God for the best gift of all, his Son.

Merry Christmas, friends!


Friday, December 19, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 2)

Jen at Conversion Diary is hosting 7 Quick Takes Friday. Here's this week's quick takes...

---1---

I've recently discovered the joys of parchment paper. Now I understand what all the fuss was about. My cookies don't stick to the sheets and clean up is a snap! I also discovered one small problem with parchment paper. When you are trying to quickly remove a pan of hot cookies from the oven (quickly so no little fingers will get too near the hot stove while the door is open) and you ever so slightly tip the cookie sheet that has no rim, the non-sticking parchment paper and all those wonderful cookies will slide off the cookie sheet and into the bottom of the oven. To burn. Into a black, charcoal, stinky mess. Just thought I should warn you.

---2---

We had our very first ever Christmas carolers come by our house this week. It was so exciting! The only problem was that we had just removed all three of the kids from two separate baths and a shower. There were naked kids everywhere! So while Eric was being serenaded at the front door with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", I was desperately trying to convince my older kids that they really needed to at least have some kind of underwear on before they joined their dad at the door and run down the baby who was streaking through the house. I think those three minutes were memorable for us as well as the carolers!

---3---

We put up our Christmas tree last weekend. And, ever since we have had on ongoing battle of the wills. On one side we have Gustin, the resident 1 1/2 year old, who wants to pull every ornament off the tree in a relentless all day long attack. On the other side we have Mommy, who has to be in defensive mode all day long and often deep into the evening. The offense seems to be tiring, though, and we may have a victory in this battle by around Epiphany, in other words, around the time we take the tree down.

However, it is cute to watch his fascination with the tree. Such as, when the lights are on, he tries to blow them out like a candle. It's too adorable!

---4---

My newest nephew will be baptised two days after Christmas and I am honored to be his godmother. I just realized this morning, though, that it means my gift shopping is not complete like I thought it was. I still need to get him a baptism gift. Since his parents and grandparents already claim that he is a genius, Eric suggested I get him a catechism. You know, for a little light reading during that gap in his schedule between tummy time and the third diaper change of the day.

---5---

Remember the snow we had last week? The oh-so-brief snowfall that yielded me hundreds of fun pictures to go through over the past week. Well, this week my kids are wearing shorts, sundresses, and flip flops and the high today is supposed to be 79 degrees. So goes the weather in Texas.

Here's one more picture to prove, to myself as much as anyone else, that the snow really did happen.

Believe it or not, this is the picture with the most snow in it!

---6---

Many bloggers seem to use pseudonyms for their children on their blogs. I never have, and for safety's sake maybe I should look into it. But, I have thought about what psuedonyms I would use for each child, should I ever choose to do so.

Jonathan would be Huckleberry. Though Jonathan is not as mischievous as the legendary Huckleberry Finn, he definitely gets that impish gleam in his eye from time to time.

Elizabeth would be Molly after the heroine of my newest favorite classic, Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I couldn't name her after my absolute favorite because it would defeat the purpose of a pseudonym. Elizabeth Darcy from Pride & Prejudice is such a wonderful character and I'm sure was a subconscious factor in my choice of Elizabeth's name in the first place! My second choice would have been Beth from Little Women, but again it's a little too close to the real thing.

Gustin's pseudonym would be... now don't laugh... Wilbur. As in the pig, Wilbur, from Charlotte's Web. The thought of naming him after that pale pink, cuddly, chubby, sweet little pig just seems to be perfect for my little boy. The fact that pigs like to wallor around in mud and make stinky messes just makes it all the more perfect. Now, do you think I've scarred him for life by wanting to name him after a pig?

---7---

Jonathan had only a half day of school today after mass and a class Christmas party this morning. So, we are now officially on Christmas break. I'm so glad that I'll be able to have my little boy all to myself for the next two weeks! At least at this point in my life, I can't imagine being one of those moms who dread school holidays because then they have to deal with their kids being home all day with them. I just can't relate and I sincerely hope I never do!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Elf Yourself

Everyone else is doing it, so I thought I would, too (even though most of you did it last year, I'm a little slow on the uptake.)


Send your own ElfYourself eCards

One thing it was good for, it sure did make me laugh! Elizabeth was mesmerized and wanted to watch it again and again and Gustin danced to it.

Come on, you know you want to do it, too! :)

h/t: Christine

Friday, December 12, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 1)

Following Jen's lead at Conversion Diary, here are this week's 7 Quick Takes:

---1---

My kids are still talking about the light snowfall we had on Wednesday. Such a rarity in Southeast Texas. The looks of excitement and awe on their faces were priceless. I wish I had thought to get out the video camera, but I was having too much fun snapping still shots. Please bear with me, but I have to share a few. You can see the wonder in their eyes!



And, I know it's hard to tell, but there really is snow in these pictures. You can see it on Elizabeth's eyebrow and hair and on Jonathan's eyelashes and hat. I know you northerners probably think our little snowfall is pretty pathetic, but to us it was breathtaking.

---2---

An unexplainable mystery is lurking in my laundry room. My dark clothing regularly comes out of the dryer with greasy looking spots sprinkled all over it. The spots weren't there when I put the laundry into the washer, so often clothes look dirtier after washing than they did before! I've put my ace laundry detective and master Googler on the case (aka my husband), but he hasn't been able to crack it. These are the facts:
- The spots only show up on dark clothing and look like grease stains.
- Changing detergents/prewashes/etc. has not effected the outcome.
- My washer and dryer are old. We bought them almost 10 years ago from people who were getting rid of them because they were old. We have been unable to determine which one, the washer or the dryer, is the culprit. The way to find out is to line dry a load and see if the spots still show up, but I just haven't bothered to do it.
- Unfortunately, these spots are not a good enough reason to go buy a new washer and dryer.

Stay tuned for more updates in the Case of the Greasy Spots on my Dark Laundry

---3---

All Elizabeth wants for Christmas is a purple bathrobe. Unfortunately, "Santa" has already completed all the Christmas shopping and really doesn't want to buy anything else. But, Elizabeth doesn't know that and has been asking for a bathrobe daily for the last few weeks. She even knows what store to find it at. Santa came to visit at Jonathan's Christmas program on Wednesday and my shy girl went and sat on his lap and even spoke to him just because she wanted to make sure he knew that she really wanted a bathrobe for Christmas. So what is a Mommy...I mean Santa, to do? Should she get the bathrobe? If she does, does she then have to get one more gift for each of the other two children? Dilemmas, dilemmas...

---4---

From the "When I'm a Mom, I will never..." Chronicles:

I always said that my kids will eat the crust on their sandwiches. I was not ever going to cut the crust off my kids' sandwiches before putting them in their lunch boxes. It's wasteful. It's silly. The crust doesn't taste any different from the bread. And, it's one more extra thing to do in the morning that I wanted to avoid.

So, every morning I cut the crust off of Jonathan's sandwich. Why? Because, he refuses to eat the crust and he'll only eat two bites out of the middle of his sandwich and throw the rest away. He dislikes the crust so much that he won't even eat within an inch of it, lest he be contaminated.

That's why I now am a crust-cutter mommy. Because throwing away the crust is much less wasteful than throwing away an entire sandwich with only two bites taken out of it.

---5---

I made a new chocolate discovery this week. I try to keep dark chocolate around the house because it's kind of healthy and satisfies my chocolate cravings. This week I tried Lindt dark chocolate with cherry and chili. It was . . . interesting. I can't decide if I like the little kick that the chili gives it or not. It's definitely very intriguing and Eric loves it. All you chocolate lovers should give it a try.

---6---

All of my children seem to start talking around a year and a half or so, and Gustin seems to be right on schedule. He can say "ball" and "book" and this morning he pointed at his sister's baby doll and said, "eyes," correctly identifying the feature. He can also say "mama" and "dada", but he seems to prefer a generic "Na Na!" yelled at the top of his lungs. We interpret it to mean "Hey you!" and it is usually directed at the closest big person who will give him what he wants.

---7---

We have a lot to do this weekend. Jonathan has pushmobile races with the Cub Scouts. I don't know what to expect from this event, but it sounds like fun! We also have to put up the Christmas tree and the rest of the indoor decorations, put up the outdoor Christmas lights, write our Christmas letter, stuff, address and mail the Christmas cards, make fudge and cookies to give to the teachers next week and finish shopping for and wrapping the gifts for the family we adopted from church. Whew! I'm worn out all ready!

These 7 Quick Takes posts are a lot of fun. But, they're really not all that quick. It's ridiculous how long it took me to write this post! But, I hope to make it a more regular feature on this blog.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Picture of the Day: Snow!

Snow! In Texas! And it was so much fun! The kids had a blast trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues (more pictures of that will be forthcoming) and just running and playing with giddy excitement.

This is the best we could do for a snowman, though. :)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Photography silliness

This is my brother and I just minutes before his first child was born. My poor sister-in-law had been in labor for more than a day but she didn't progress and was being prepped for a c-section delivery. So, what are my brother and I doing during this exciting, emotional, and anxious time just before he enters the OR?

Playing with our cameras and the convex security mirror.

I think this photography obsession is getting a little out out of hand!

Note: This type of mirror is not exactly kind to a woman's hips.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Family Pic

We finally got our family picture done for our Christmas card and I got our cards on order today. Two tasks checked off the list.

Our first attempt at a family portrait was not all that successful. After church on Sunday, we propped my camera on the exercise bike (I don't have a tripod) and set the timer. One thing I learned from the experience is that it is impossible to get a natural smile from a child when waiting for the timer on the camera to go off! Jonathan's face cracks me up!

Also, I really should have paid more attention to the background when I picked a spot for all of us to sit. Jonathan seems to be wearing a picture frame as a hat!

(By the way, Eric is actually sitting on a dictionary for this picture. Our height difference is even more exaggerated when sitting because I have a long torso. In the first picture we took, my head was at least six inches higher than his. Don't tell him I told you!)

But, later that day we went to visit my newest nephew (what a doll!) and my brother offered to snap a family pic of us. The results were much better.

It's not a perfect picture either, but I'm happy. I like the outdoor light much better. All the kids are looking to their right because my mom was over there doing jumping jacks and tap dances to get them to smile. Whatever it takes!

(If you look closely, you'll notice that Eric's bottom button on his shirt came undone at some point. No dictionary was needed this time. Again, don't tell him I told you!)

I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going well!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kid quote of the day

Elizabeth: Mommy do you know how to pray a rosemary?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Welcome to Advent!

I love Advent and not because of all the Christmas preparations, lights, carols, cards, etc; though I love those, too. Advent is such a wonderful time to celebrate our Catholic faith and share it with our children. So, we're pulling out our Advent wreath and for the first time this year, we'll be doing a Jesse tree. I've always wanted to, but I've never gotten myself organized enough to prepare all the ornaments ahead of time. But, then I found these great downloadable ornaments that all I have to do is cut out (now that's a level of craftiness that I can handle!) and there are also reflections to go with each one.

Enjoy this time with your children. Less than four weeks are left until Christmas!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New nephew

Here's our newest addition to the family, Payne Daniel, my brother's first born son. I was able to be there for the birth (via c-section) and it was a wonderful experience. This was the first time that I was the one in the waiting room rather than the one giving birth. I think being in the waiting room is more nerve wracking!


But, we are so thankful for little Payne. Our family has so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. We've had five new cousins born this year. Yes, it has been a very blessed year indeed!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What do you eat for lunch?

I'm trying to improve my eating habits lately. Since Gustin is now weaned, it's even more important that I make some changes or the extra pounds that breastfeeding kept at bay will start to pile on. I think I do a good job at breakfast and supper. My weak spots are lunch and sweet snacks. I know how to fix the eating sweet snacks issue (just don't!) but lunch is tough. I'm so busy preparing the kids' lunch, changing out laundry, cleaning up the present that the dog left on the carpet, etc, during the lunch hour that what I eat becomes an afterthought. An unhealthy, grab-what's-easy afterthought.

So, any suggestions of easy and healthy lunch ideas? I could really use some help.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Picture of the Day: You take what you can get

Sometimes two out of three isn't so bad. :)