Oct 29, 2010

Details

Details.
Some I tried to catch, some I clearly missed with these pictures.

So in photography 101, the most obvious rule is pay attention to your background.
But I was pretty focused on the cute kids in the foreground.
I totally missed how un-farmy, un-country this patch was until I was going through the pictures later. It's just a few blocks from our house because it was just supposed to be a quick trip there and back.
We live close to the ghetto it seems.

Exhibit A: Who puts barb wire fence around their pumpkin patch?
Pumpkins are a hot commodity this season. Clearly.
Exhibit B: Yep, that's a cop car going by right as I shot this gem of a pic.
Just focus on Hunter's cute giggle.
I was. Clearly.
Exhibit C: The palm trees.
I was focusing on getting the scarecrow in with Ainsley.
Palm trees grow on most wheat and pumpkin farms, right? Clearly.
Oh Pish.
Just little details. Just crop in close and it looks authentic.
Exhibit D: The close crop.
Total pumpkin patch authenticity.

So moving on...
We got those bad boys home and started carving.
Hunter wanted a spider on his.
I accidently also shot a great exhibit of the hubby's fingers.
Yeah, that's a long story done a long time ago. The source of many fun jokes. Blah blah blah.
I just don't usually display them in my photos.

Hunter pulled out only a few seeds and decided this was not the chore for him.
He then spent a great deal of time picking off the goo.
He was unusually detailed about this.
Meanwhile, Ainsley stole the top and posed as a pumpkin head.
Ainsley also decided she was not about to get gooey.
She chose to paint hers instead with a haunted castle and a bat.
Her choice.
She carefully painted them making sure she hit every spot.
Detail work to be sure.
Daddy decided to do his all fancy.
He consulted with me several times about the best way to do the San Jose Sharks hockey team logo. He took the detail work very seriously. He had to represent, ya know.
We decided on this:
We lit those bad boys up and stuck them on our front porch.
Tada!
Perfection.

Smitten

So we went to pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins yesterday. Tone called to say he would meet us there from work.
My heart went pitter pat.
This is the man who walks from the front door straight to the back to put on a t-shirt and jeans. Which leaves me little time to gawk at his uniform. Or rather, HIM in his uniform.
This was a rare opportunity.
So I was supposed to be taking pictures of the kids picking pumpkins.
Yeah, so?
The camera went a little to the right...
I was so proud to be with him. Like a smitten school girl. Though there was no one else there to see what kind of hot hottie I snagged besides the grungy pumpkin patch man.
And I seriously doubt he cared.
Of course watching this man with his kids AND the uniform also makes my heart do a little flutter. He is patiently helping Ainsley pick one and she is so indecisive.
They are discussing the merits of each one (shape, scars, warts, tall, short, stem - ACK! Ainsley!).
What's that? I'm supposed to be taking pictures of the kids?
Oh.
Is that better?
And just so you know, the pilots can wear pink ties this month for breast cancer awareness rather than the usual black.
What a guy.

Oct 26, 2010

The Disaster I Called R2D2

Every year the birthday tradition at our house is that the kids tell me what kind of cake they want and I figure out how to make it. Hunter has wanted R2D2 from Star Wars for the last year. So I carefully planned it out, ordered a cake pan I thought would work out, and set to it on Saturday. I would like to explain how the day went in chronological order by reposting my posts from Facebook. Feel free to laugh away.

Facebook Post #1 (4:11pm)
"Attempting the R2D2 cake for Hunter's birthday. Daddy is snickering already at my lame attempt. Also sewing up the canvas teepee Hunter wanted. Actually he wanted a playhouse/fort, but being that our yard is the size of a postage stamp, we convinced him a teepee was better (not a permanent fixture). "

Judging by the look of this first photo, I should have been warned. Hunter had been looking longingly at pictures of professional R2D2 birthday cakes online just minutes before we started. Daddy was sceptical and snickering before I even started. Ominous.

That blue cupcake cake pan is supposed to turn into R2D2, I'll have you know. I just had this same cake at a friend's house the week before and it turned out fantastic! The best laid plans...maybe I shouldn't have been trying to sew a last minute teepee and bake a cake at the same time. I dunno.

Post #2 (5:33pm):
"Oh man. It has fallen apart twice coming out of the cake pan. I only have half done and baked and just ran to the store for another cake box to rebake again. The tent will unfortunately not really fit two people very well. It's going to be a tall narrow one I am noticing as I sew it."

Post #3 (9:57pm)

"My R2D2 cake is collapsing on me, pooching out the front and the bootie falling off in the back. There are tons of skewers in it, but I finally had to resort to flattening, wrapping and stuffing the holes with rice krispy treats. This is aweful! SO. NOT. GOOD. "

This is where it all went wrong. Stupid boxed cake mix. Super moist and fluffy does NOT work for 3-D cakes, for your information.

Post #4 (10:40pm) People are really getting into the botched cake saga at this point and the comments are rolling in....

"Well the cake officially collapsed out the backside. I have no idea what to do now. This is the WORST cake I have ever made in my life. It was too airy and not dense enough. It looks aweful! It would have been great but those stupid box cake mixes...I will never attempt a 3-D cake again."

The rice crispy treats were for the legs and rotating eye (or whatever that thing is on his top). but it actually ended up propping up the cake as well and fixing holes. Oh dear.The kids cleaned up the pan earlier in the afternoon when they made the treats with me - so at least it tasted good at this point.Post #5 (10:42 pm)

"So for those that actually do this stuff well, what cake mix DO you use? I need a dense one...which usually means yucky. Most advertise being airy and moist which is NO GOOD to me here. How does one go about finding a "bad" cake batter recipe?"

Suggestions are rolling in a this point.

Post #6 (11:10pm)

"I just looked over at it and a leg was falling off as well. Welp, it's a pretty sad cake. Every time I look over at it, I feel like bursting into tears, but I managed to prop it up (kinda) and get it as decent as it can get (which isn't saying much). Poor Hunter."

At this point, it was close to midnight, the cake was falling apart and I just needed to have SOMETHING for the boy to wake up to in the morning. Here it is. Hardy har har! Hunter saw it and laughed his head off at "his fat stinkin out tummy, Mommy!"It was standing up straight at one point, but not now. The front is pooched out and the back is completely collapsed in. At midnight I was quickly putting on the black and blue detailing. You can tell how mad and disgusted I am with it by how messy the decorating is. My bed was calling me and I was close to tears!Follow up posts on Sunday (the day of the party):

Post #7:

"I used bamboo skewers through the whole thing, but I just couldn't keep the bottom half together. I finally had to prop it up with leftover rice crispy and let him kinda look like he's falling backwards. It's ugly but Hunter doesn't seem to care. Whew! Cakewrecks.com would have had a hay day with my cake! But it tasted good tonight! Luckily they only feature professional cakes on that site. Whew! "

Church friends must have been following my epic cake saga because I got many snickers and words of compassion and encouragement when I arrived at church that morning. Most just wanted to see pictures of the failure I called R2D2.

Post #8:

"Because I am no professional - you wouldn't believe how many skewers I picked out of the thing (from my desperate attempt to hold it together) when I was serving it tonight. Ha!"

Hunter received a exorbant amount of Star Wars paraphenalia, enough to make any 6 year old's dreams come true so we'll still call his party a smashing success. Next year I won't set my sights on such a lofty cake goal.

As far as the teepee referred to here, he is in love with it, and as soon as I get a few pictures of them I'll post them.

Oct 21, 2010

October

We made our yearly trip to Branson Missouri this last week to see Tone's parents and sister, Shari's family. We really packed a ton into one trip. We went to Silver Dollar City amusement park, saw three shows which were fabulous (Dixie Stampede dinner theatre, Noah the Musical, and Jeerk - a rhythm group) and the kids loved them. Did I take pictures? Nope. I'm so lame this time. Then grandpa, the dads and cousins all went backpacking over the weekend - along with Shari's best friend's husband and son. They boated into a wilderness area on the lake and camped and swam. Even Ainsley went.
Though she wouldn't swim with the rest of them, she was still having a blast I am told. Here she is holding her blankie and watching from the shore. They all came back grossly dirty, tired out, and with big smiles and stories. These pictures are curtesy of my husband who snapped them. As long as they had fun and came back alive, I figured they could have them. Ha! May the force be with you, right?Hunter also celebrated his 6th birthday. I did not bring my good camera so excuse this picture of him getting to make his own ice cream sundae. Yes, I happen to love my red sailor dress with skinny jeans thank you. This picture does not do it justice. So what did we women do with the menfolk and children gone? Went shouting gleefully with a bit of madness down the street? Close. We went shopping of course! The prices in the stores between Missouri and California is amazing! California is so over priced I tell ya! But I was mostly excited by the Dollar Jewelry Store. Seriously. A whole big store with everything one dollar. And they didn't look crappy - but rather just like stuff I would buy at Charlotte Ruse or Forever 21. I just about lost my mind with excitement. I controlled myself and spent exactly $17, which if you know me, is an amazing feat of self-control. Because, CLEARLY, I need more funky jewelry. Shall I show you the current collection hanging on my bathroom wall? Those pegs below have at least 10 or more necklaces a piece on each of them. This picture doesn't do it justice since most are hiding.The sad thing is: I am kicking myself for 3 necklaces that I put back on the rack. At a buck a piece, I should have sprung for them! Such a big spender, right? CLEARLY, I need more earrings too, right? Oh and I have a lot strewn on the bedside table that I am too lazy to hang up after getting in bed to watch TV at night.
As if they would fit on this rack anyways...Why didn't I make it bigger while I was at it?I am loving that black flower pin/hair clip I bought for a buck. My mother and sister-in-law don't know what they have started. I will demand to go back every time I visit there now. Ha!Small digression: I just thought I would give you a peek while I'm at it of my bathroom counter next to my sink. I have the long big counter space in our bathroom. Tone has the small sink and vanity on the other side. Obviously this makes sense. Duh. We are talking about me here. My makeup bag, straightener and blowdryer are on the other side of the sink. CLEARLY, all of this is necessary, right?Ehem. CLEARLY. So how do I look? I never step out of the house without some funky jewelry on. I feel like I'm not quite complete without it. Even if it's just simple like this. Ok, well I just blew in from the homeschool park day before taking this picture. The hair has some blown away pieces out of the pony tail.You know what's not simple? Trying to get a photo of yourself in the mirror and get the camera to focus on just the right spot. 50 shots later...I got this one and called it quits. One odd quirk about me? One eye is a lot bigger than the other when I smile and I only have one dimple. Just thought I'd point it out while I'm at it. I'm lopsided.Anyhow, moving on. That was WAY too much excitement for me. It would be very very dangerous to have one of those stores here. I couldn't believe what you could find on the clearance racks in the regular stores either.
Hunter was just as excited and benefited from the better shopping in Missouri as well. Mom and I found these Lego sets at Walmart while we were shopping for 40% off! That's crazy! He had asked for a castle Lego set, and I had told him no because we just couldn't afford it. I mean, Legos might as well be gold the way they are priced. But I guess we can at Missouri clearance prices. I was so excited to surprise him with it! We never never have clearances like that here. He was so excited, and built the whole thing as soon as we got home yesterday. Daddy helped a bit. I'm not really a fan of the spot he chose - right in the middle of my living space for me to step over, but I guess for one day...
Mom also found this cute little yellow shirt for Tessa for a buck. A buck I tell you! Tessa is chilling in her usual spot on the quilt I made her. Actually, you can use the word "quilt" loosely here. I bought a soft blanket at Walmart for $8 to use as a backing, cut some large squares from scraps, sewed them together, and sewed it to the blanket. It took me all of an hour. It's so small I only top stitched around the edges and called it good. Yep, when I'm not sewing for my shop, I get lazy. (One more small digression: Tessa is almost 15 pounds already. Uh huh. She's certainly hefty and at the top of her growth chart. I didn't know we could make chunky babies after the last two skinny ones.)
So there are some highlights of my trip. Actually, the fun I had with my Mom, sister and her best friend was my highlight, but when four women are let loose on the town without men or kids, well, you act a bit crazy and silly. Looking back on some of the things we did and said, well, unless you were in the moment, it's probably best left unsaid. The freedom probably prompted a bit of hysteria. Ha!
But now I am home with a bunch of shoe orders waiting for me to sew and get out. That thought is such a killjoy. Oh Ugh.
I am instantly sobered.

Oct 10, 2010

Quieting the Soul

Friday and Saturday were spent in quieting the soul at a hotel directly on the beach. This shot was snapped from my room door with my 50mm lense. Which means...no zoom. The surf really was just a few yards from where I was sleeping. I could hear it roar all night. Both days were clear and bright and the ocean was absolutely beautiful.This dear couple made the weekend possible for me. My mom invited me to a women's retreat with my childhood church and paid for me to go with her and my stepdad watched the kids (except for Tessa who went with me). At the end of the retreat, Rick brought the kids over and we spent the rest of the day enjoying the sand and surf. It was wonderful to have a couple days free of distractions, in such beauty to reflect on God's love for me, His beloved. I reflected, basked in His love, and came away rejuvenated with some new thoughts.
I am His beloved and nothing else. There is a hole in His heart in a shape that only I can fill and He yearns for me. I enjoyed being wrapped up in this comforting thought all weekend. Secondly, I wear a lot of hats that can distract me from truly communing with God- wife, mother, teacher, friend, business woman, community outreach. Yes, I chatter to God all day long in my head. He is a part of every moment. But wearing so many hats leaves little time to hear Him and leave room for Him to respond or to prompt me. At this moment in time, there is really nothing that I can cut out. I feel that I have made good boundaries in my life. It's more that I need to make room for silence as well. Some days I am distracted and treading water rather than seizing the day.

So often, I leave little room for God to talk back, for Him to walk with me, for Him to whisper, "This is the way. Walk in it. (Isaiah 30:21)" I don't listen to His nudges as He prompts my day.
I often just blaze a trail and invite God to come with me. So backwards forward. I needed this weekend.
But beyond this weekend, what I am I going to do to listen better? I realized that I needed an object, a reminder. A sacred place to meet God or it will happen just as haphazardly as it is now.
I will be making a prayer rug in the next week. I plan on attaching scriptures to it and making it pretty. Something to roll out and to get down on my knees before Him on. Something to make me stop and assume the posture of humility and openness to what He may tell me in the quietness of the soul.
I plan on meeting Him there quite often. I am rather excited about it. The lover of my soul is calling. I can't wait to answer.
Psalm 27:4-8
One thing I have asked of the Lord, that will I seek after;
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire at His temple.

For He will hide me in His shelter in the day of trouble,
He will conceal me under the cover of His tent;
He will lift me high upon the rock

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melodies to the Lord.

Hear O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, "Seek my face."
My heart says to you, "Your face Lord I do seek."

This is how the Message Bible translates that last verse:
"My heart has heard you say, "Come, talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'"

A beautiful invitation isn't that?
Lord, I am coming.

Oct 1, 2010

Fall Decor

The fall decor is up and we are ready for fall. Ainsley keeps asking everyday now that it's up if it's Halloween yet, and gets pretty mad when the answer is "No, not today."
The crows from the Dollar Store are up again this year. I just really love those guys. I'm not into decor that is too cutesy or overly "halloween." Though I guess the BOO sign counts - but I draw the line there.
My paper wreath with the flowers and birds on it got flipped around so it's just a plain wreath now. I'll flip it back when it's spring again.
This is the current decor on my table. I should also point out that I don't like to decorate with the color orange very much. I prefer to decorate with white, black, and shades in neutral tones for fall. I just think the orange is too bright and would clash badly with my living room which has a lot of pinks, reds, and greens. I'm considering changing the "B" on my BOO sign but maybe that's just a little too over-the-top.
I had a few leftover mini pumpkins in orange and a couple crows and I gave them to the kids to "decorate" their own room. They were thrilled and showed me all the spots that they put them. It was so funny seeing pumpkins and crows sticking out of the toy buckets and doll houses. They were so very happy getting their own items for their rooms though they have no idea how to artistically arrange anything. I do the same thing at Christmas with all the cast-off Christmas decor. Hmmm, look at our front door. Can you tell a homeschooler lives here? He's very proud of his skeleton on the front door I'll have you know, and that was also his science lesson for the week - bones, that is.
Here are the three kiddos sitting with Tessa who is thrilled to be with them can't you tell? They are leaning up against a couple of quilts. The top one is the lap sized one I made quickly for Tessa to roll around on when she is on the floor with her toys. It's in pinks, browns and lime green. Bright!
Hunter got a mustache and war paint drawn on his face during the homeschool park day. He also is sporting a Star Wars tattoo on his arm. Hunter fell asleep sobbing last night because the fake tattoo he is wearing is his favorite Star Wars character and he was already crying about when it will come off (it was still fresh). He loves it THAT much and was crying in anticipation of the tragic event. The woes of a five year old. Tonight was the Saturday night bath routine before church tomorrow. This brought on a fresh onslaught of tears and he tried to figure out how to keep it totally dry so it wouldn't wash off. We had one clean boy minus one dirty arm which he was bound and determined to keep dry and dirty. Anything to keep that tattoo on as long as possible. Finally I took over and washed every square inch around the tattoo while being carefully supervised by Hunter to make sure that I didn't get a drop on it. Heck, at this rate, that baby oughta last for days!


Speaking of Halloween and Star Wars, the boy wants to be Chewbacca this year. Oh help! He wanted to be a "big fat hippo" last year and I thought that was a stretch for me (though I managed to pull it off). I found a cheap $12 mask, but with fur at $13 a yard, I don't know if I can swing it cheaply....I'm still on the hunt and my creative wheels are turning. Why does he do this to me every stinkin' year?????