Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

I have a mish-mash of thoughts and comments for this Tuesday's post:

1. First and foremost. Today is a special friend's birthday. This special friend is the one shown with me in this post. Suzanne and I have known each other for probably 35 years. I grew up in her house (figuratively) with her great family. Suzanne is enjoying her XXth birthday today in the hospital recovering from surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. I am wishing her a speedy recovery and a wonderful birthday.

2. A couple weeks ago I was given the book Twilight to read from a friend. I started reading to see what all the hype was about. EVERYONE's talking about it...so I really needed to check it out. Well, now I have finished the first two books in the series. My family just looks at me with open mouths as I fly through these books. I'm not much of a reader since I had children. I'd much rather sleep, do crafts, clean, do yard work, take pictures, watch TV.... you get the drift. Well, I watched the movie On Demand Sunday and I have to admit, I'm hooked. Can't wait to get the next book, can't wait for the next movie to come out, totally hooked. Last night Chris came to bed and we watched some TV. He reached over with his cold feet to try and warm them on me. (I didn't even have cold feet and I'm the one that wears the Smartwools to bed all winter). I can't even tell you how cold his feet were. I thought to myself, this is what it would feel like to touch Edward Cullen.

3. Six more days until the Red Sox home opener. Ya hoo.

4. Deb was over the other day and she was giving me some photography pointers and tips. One pointer was about shooting with backlight. Here is a practice picture of Chica that she took:

And here are two shots she took inside which I made black and white. They truly are Chica faces.

5. Right now I'm in the middle of a project to download all of Chris' CD music collection to his MacBook so I can get rid of the CD's. We just don't have the storage space for the CD's anymore and they are becoming obsolete anyway. Chris and I take turns downloading several CD's at a time. My grand plan involves selling the CD's and saving the money towards a Canon 5D. There are probably close to 600 CD's. If I could sell them all for $2, that would make a nice dent. Doesn't hurt to dream.

6. Deb introduced me to yet another blog which I love. The blogger is a mom of 7....six boys and one girl! And the boys are all very into baseball. What's not to love? Click here and look for her post entitled 25 Easy Steps. Hilarious. Click here and look for a post entitled No, He Can't Win. This one reminded me of my hubby and me. This woman is a modern day Erma Bombeck.

7. Easter is right around the corner. One chilly afternoon Chica, Luke and I decorated a little tree out front with the Easter eggs Nini got us.

8. We have been having some beautiful weather and I'm pleased that when I look out the window I'm seeing more of this lately:

9. My favorite cereal growing up was Lucky Charms...with Corn Pops a close second.

10. I just reached 4,000 blog hits since I started with this last August. Thanks to all who stop by!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ritual of Spring

Burning brush is a spring ritual for my hubby. The ritual goes way back to his childhood. I think his family would bond in their brush burning. And now that ritual is part of our family. Unfortunately I didn't get many pictures because I was in the front yard collecting piles of stuff for the burners. I didn't get a picture of Jack proudly hacking away at random branches in the woods with a little ax (such a guy thing), or Luke tossing in sticks and branches (after carefully inspecting them to be sure they weren't awesome weapons). But I did grab a shot of Daddy's best helper....

Here is the burn Master. Don't hate us because our woods are beautiful.

And here is the Master's helper, sporting the adult-sized mismatched work gloves.

Burning brush just got a little bit cuter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - Before and After

I hope you all think this is as cool as I do. I recently scanned in my absolutely-positively-favoritest picture I have of my mother. She must be three or four in this picture and I just love everything about it....her little coat, her tight curls under the bonnet, her beautifully round cheeks....and most of all, the way she is standing. Just love it. Here is the photo...and you can see the many, many folds, wrinkles and discolorations.

I decided to try a little photo restoration using Photoshop Elements. Using the Clone Tool and a little bit of Spot Healing I restored my favorite picture to THIS:
Can you believe it??? Here is a side-by-side to show the comparison:

I also adjusted the lighting some and sharpened a little. It was fairly simple to do overall. Tedious, for sure, but fairly simple. I am extremely excited to print myself a new and revised copy of my favorite picture!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - Looking Ahead

It's dang cold here in New England these last several days. Very cold mornings and cool days. My boys desperately want to start wearing the shorts to school...but it's just not time yet. There is still more brown than green outside. But I'm happy the sun is shining and the sky is ultra blue today. For today's post, I pulled ten pictures which represent our upcoming spring and summer.

Looking forward to it.

Boys, a Red Ryder and a Disclaimer

Disclaimer: Other than the Red Ryder BB gun displayed in the following pictures, we do not own any guns that are not toys. The BB gun resides at Grandma's house and is only used when Dad is with the boys. Mom did not approve of the BB gun purchase and wants nothing to do with the BB gun other than occasionally photograph my boys being boys with their Dad. Your children are safe playing at our house.

A couple of weekends ago we took a trip over to Grandma and Nini's to say hello and to let Ben and Chris finally meet the newest addition, Kiah. It was a glorious day. Nini was doing her annual burning of brush and it truly felt like spring. Before long, the boys convinced Dad to go get the Red Ryder for some target practice.

Here's Dad and his boys having a little pow-wow and reviewing the safety rules.

Ben went first. Notice the winter coat and shorts. He was excited to wear his new shorts despite the chilly temps.

Luke gives me a pose before his turn to show off his cool eye protection.

I love his little feet kicking up in the air in this one.

Lastly, Jack gets his turn.

Enough of the males in the family.....here is the beautiful miss Kiah ready to go inside for a nap. She is too cute.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Great Reveal

I'm finally getting around to posting some before and after pictures of our kitchen and family room updates. Back in early December we updated our counter tops and backsplash. The counter tops were an outdated laminate in an off-white color. The backsplash was also off-white tiles. I struggled with the off-white since all of the trim throughout the house was white....except the family room which was all dark pine. So when we changed out the counters and backsplash, it allowed the opportunity for complete consistency. We eventually had every speck of dark pine in the family room painted white an the kitchen and family room walls were painted a nice neutral. I love the way it all looks!

Here is a before on the kitchen. Key changes for me were getting rid of that ledge separating the kitchen counter from the bar area. That was a fun place to accumulate junk. Also I got rid of the appliance garage in the corner, added some more under-counter lighting, and got a new stove too! The new stove has a glass top which is much nicer than our previous stove with the electric coil elements and drip trays (yuck!). And you can see the plaid wallpaper I had in kitchen had off-white but some of the trim was white. Not a good match.

Here is the after:

Here is the view from kitchen to family room before the changes. The walls were painted in a Ralph Lauren suede which was cool. But I DO NOT miss the dark pine.

Here is the after view. I think the colors make the couch, TV cabinet and pictures just pop. Who's with me on that?

And one last picture to get a better look at the tile backsplash.

Fresh and new - lovin' it. Last step - new curtains!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Way Back

July 1970 was when this picture was taken. That's me at 2.5 years old learning to go under water with my Dad. I believe this is the only picture I have with my Dad. And you can see my natural curls were there from the start. Mom kept them in a little 'fro.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cockapoo Lesson 101

We have learned our first cockapoo lesson. While the hair is on the longer side, be sure to brush the coat after baths while still wet. Otherwise, you go from the cute woolly mammoth cockapoo......

to the freakishly skinny, malnurished looking cockapoo.

The snarls were just too big and too tight to the body. Tough lesson....but we learned.


Today I am going to Costco to return the last box of Huggies size 6 diapers purchased last Sunday that still remains unopened. After 9.5 years straight of diaper purchases, I am finally free. Now of course this is bittersweet because it means my baby, my Chica, my Sweet Pea has grown so fast and is almost ready for school! But it is also liberating because I don't have to worry about having diapers and wipes with me at all times. Heck, I don't even have to buy pull-ups because she has such good control that she is dry in the morning. She gets it. Thank God for small favors.

She was ready faster than her brothers. None of them was trained before 3. I had heard girls are easier and faster. Now I can confirm that statement.

The key to my training with Chica:

The jelly beans were hers and only hers for when she did her business. She loved having ownership and control over her choice.

Let's hear it for Chica!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A New Addition to the Family

As excited as I am that my Chica is on day four of big-girl underpants I am most excited to have taken a bunch of pictures today of our newest family member. Nini brought home her new baby, Kiah, yesterday. She is an 8-week old Mini-Australian Shepherd and beyond adorable. Chica and I snuck over to meet her this morning while the boys were in school. Here are some of my favorite shots of my new niece.

And one Black and White of Chica giving her a smooch.

Seriously, isn't she the cutest? I've been watching her grow on the breeder's website, Triple R Mini Aussies. The breeder posted pictures almost every week of all of her pups. Today, I finally got to meet her in person! As much as I think I know about dogs, I never knew about the Mini Aussies until a couple months ago. They are beautiful dogs and a great size.

Welcome, Kiah!