28 February 2011

Day 59

While my mom was in town this weekend, we surprised GothGirl with tickets for the Taylor Swift concert in August.  The three of us girls are going to have a fun girls night out with dinner and a concert. 



GothGirl opened up the envelope with the tickets and there was a pause as she tried to figure out what she was holding.  She’s never seen a concert ticket before so she had to read what it said.  When she finally figured it out, her eyes lit up, she let out a little squeal, and she had the biggest smile  Luckily I caught her expression with my camera.  While I was expecting to hear loud screaming and see her jump up and down, I should have known better.  Now that she is 10, she has become more reserved (trying to be cool!).  I know that she was very excited though.  But actually I think my mom and I are even more excited than GothGirl!  Too bad we have to wait 5 months to go!

27 February 2011

Day 58

Today we held a joint birthday party for GothGirl (whose birthday was January 7th) and LilCrockett (whose birthday was February 22nd).  I had originally planned to hold the party in between their birthdays, but Crockett had knee surgery and I wanted him to be able to participate comfortably.  We rented the high school pool in a neighboring town and it was fabulous.  Besides the neighbor girls, about 20 kids were able to make it.  I think all of the kids enjoyed playing in the water after a long winter.  We took beach balls & squirt guns for the kids to play with and the pool had a diving board as well.  All in all a fun 2 hours!  Best of all, I didn’t have to clean my house or figure out activities to entertain the kids!



The 2nd photo is not the best.  The cake table was in a dark corner of the room and I had to turn on my flash so that the picture would turn out.  As a result LilCrockett, who was closer to the camera & flash, looks really washed out. 

26 February 2011

Day 57

Today was full with sports.  We started the day off with GothGirl’s volleyball game at 8:00am.  Yes, that’s a crazy hour to have to actually function.  Luckily all I had to do was sit in the bleachers and watch.  She’s the one who had to be at the top of her game.  I was a little nervous on how things would go.  This was her first official game, which followed a mere 2 practice sessions.  Obviously, I didn’t have high expectations.  However, I was wrong.  The girls did quite well.  There may not have been a lot of back-and-forth volleys in the beginning, but that got better by the end. 

GothGirl’s team, the Top Servers, won 2 out of the 3 games.  The last game was quite intense.  Our team came back from behind and ended up winning the game after some on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments.  GothGirl ended up serving quite a few points for her team and made a really awesome save at one point.  For someone who isn’t very coordinated, she did remarkably well, so perhaps her coordination is improving. 




After GothGirl’s game, we were able to head home for a few hours before needing to get to LilCrockett’s basketball game.  I have a hard time getting good photos at his games because the action is faster and my pics have a lot more blur.  Here’s a shot of them getting ready to play after half-time.  LilCrockett is wearing the maroon #12 uniform. 


And here he is getting ready to catch a rebound.  Excuse the blur!


During today’s game, LilCrockett made 1 basket and had a lot near-misses.  He earned the Best Defense star for his team, the Ponies. 

It was so fun to watch both games today, which is surprising to me because I don’t normally enjoy sports.  I am certainly getting a kick out of watching my kids though!

25 February 2011

Day 56

We have a lot of weekend plans and so my mom was driving up tonight.  The kids are always so excited to see her, as are Crockett and I.  Due to winter weather and crazy schedules, we haven’t seen her since Christmas, so the kids were even more excited than normal for her to get here.  Couldn’t resist taking a shot of Seth looking out the window for her van. 


You’re going to laugh at the next photo.  My husband had his big, winter parka inside for a bit and LilCrockett quickly snatched it up and ran into the other room.  When he came running back in a bit later (carrying a book), he was wearing the coat, which was almost as tall as him.  I think he looks like a cross between an Eskimo (because of the big, fuzzy hood) and an oompa-loompa (because the coat nearly reaches the ground and makes him look short and squat).


24 February 2011

Day 55

Lately our cat, Kenai, has been super affectionate.  I don’t know if it’s due to the seemingly-long winter or what.  But there are times when you can’t keep him away from you.  Tonight he weaseled his way onto Crockett’s lap, despite getting kicked off once.  Take a look at how the cat’s paw is wrapped around Crockett’s arm.  Cute!



23 February 2011

Day 54

I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures today.  After work, I had training for Girls on the Run since I am going to be part-time coach.  By the time I got home, both kids were in bed and the couch was calling my name.  So, here are some shots from last night.  We took the kids to the Incredible Pizza Company for Seth’s birthday.

There were lots of video games….



Mini bowling….


Go carts….


And a pizza buffet of course.  The buffet is in the background behind the full-size, old-time Bel Air. 


It was a fun night, that’s for sure!

22 February 2011

Day 53

Today was LilCrockett’s 6th birthday, so I figured I would share a photo of him and his birthday cupcake….vanilla cake, vanilla frosting, & sprinkles!


21 February 2011

Day 52

I had been planning to take the kids to see Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never movie on Friday afternoon, but illness kept me from doing that.  I promised them a raincheck and since today was a holiday for all of us and everyone was finally feeling well, we decided to go.  Brian is not a Bieber fan, so he opted to stay home. 

Actually, I wasn’t really a Bieber fan either; but after seeing the show, I have a newfound respect for him.  They did a great job of documenting his life and rise to stardom, alternating between the informative bits and snippets of his concerts.  Turns out Bieber is more talented that I had imagined, even though I still think he sounds like a girl!

I didn’t have my camera with me, but I did have my new iphone; so I was able to snap this pic of the kids before heading into the theater.  Love that I finally have a phone that takes decent pictures.  In fact, I would argue that it’s capable of taking great pictures as illustrated by this straight-out-of-phone (SOOP) shot!


20 February 2011

Day 51

After being down with a bum knee followed by a virus, Crockett was itching to get something done around the house.  He set out to do some light yardwork (picking up dead/overgrown vegetation from a few places around the house).  As soon as LilCrockett saw his dad outside, he had to rush to put on his boots & work gloves too.  Here are some straight-out-of-camera (SOCC) shots of them. 





Sadly today, GothGirl came down with the same virus that Crockett and I had.  She was even running a fever.  Needless to say, she spent most of the day on the couch so she’s not in any of the pictures.

19 February 2011

Day 50

I’m adding a 2nd post today to make up for having no post (or photos) yesterday.  Besides I wanted to share some photos of Crockett showing LilCrockett some good basketball offense tricks in the neighbors’ backyard.  The photos are a bit dark because we were in a shaded area, but I actually like that they give the photos more of a silhouette feel.  It helps showcase their actions rather than their faces, etc.




Day 49

Sadly, I didn’t take any photos yesterday.  I woke up briefly at 5:30am feeling very cold and nauseous.  When I awoke for good a few hours later, I was no better and actually a headache had set in as well as body aches.  I was barely functional and had taken two 2-hour naps by 2:00pm.  Crockett came down with the bug at about noon, so we both spent the day slumped in our recliners fighting to feel better.  The body aches were the worst.  Crockett described it best: “even my toenails hurt”.  Needless to say with the way I was feeling, I didn’t even pick up my camera.

Fast forward to today.  We woke up feeling a little better, except I had a killer left-side headache.  Luckily it had subsided to a tolerable level in time for LilCrockett’s basketball game.  The shots I took today were worse than the ones last week due to the poor lighting in the gym.  I did get one shot of him running through the cheerleaders as they announced his name at the start of the game.  It was taken on straight automatic settings and then edited in Photoshop to make I even half-way decent.  


After the game, we went home to eat some lunch and relax.  Crockett & I were fairly exhausted by even this little activity (sitting to watch a game).  A few hours later, I took the kids up to our church with a friend and his kids so that the girls could practice their volleyball skills.  I had originally planned to just watch but ended up getting my second wind, so I hit the balls around a bit too.  It was more fun than I expected and because I was busy, I failed to get some good shots of the girls. 

I did manage to snap a cute pic of the boys playing (snapped on the other side of the shelf from them) and a cute pic of Mia getting ready for a little snack.  Both of these photos were edited with The Pioneer Woman’s Fresh & Colorful action.



17 February 2011

Day 48

LilCrockett is growing up so fast.  He looks so cool with his hat turned backwards and sporting some awesome shades.  What a handsome devil!  Tonight he was outside taking advantage of our awesome temps just before sunset as were the rest of the family.  It feels so good to be outside in short sleeves enjoying the fresh air.

Lately LilCrockett has been testing us with his attitude and words.  He’s trying to act & talk cool and sassy.  As parents, it’s our job to find a way to teach him to be respectful while encouraging his outgoing personality.  It’s not an easy thing to do.  But then again, nothing about parenting is easy!  I’m glad he has a lot of spunk though….keeps life very interesting!


16 February 2011

Day 47

I mentioned on here before that GothGirl was taking guitar lessons using a guitar borrowed from a friend.  Her first class session is over and we asked her if she wanted to continue on.  She immediately said yes.  So, we knew she would need her own guitar.  There were several styles at the shop in her size, but she fell in love with a beautiful turquoise one.  And she even agreed to pay for half of it.  Can’t wait to see her learn to really play this instrument so we can have some nice tunes around the house.  




Though I love the first shot because it shows her face and her bare feet (hello, Taylor Swift!), the last photo is one of my favorites too.  Check out the little peace sign nail tattoo on her thumb.  She’s all about the peace symbol these days, so I’m glad I captured it in a photo (even if it is upside-down due to her hand position).

15 February 2011

Day 46


Thought I’d share my Valentine’s present with you.  I’ve been wanting to get an iphone for quite awhile, but we were waiting for our contract with Verizon to expire in April so we could get the phone through AT&T.  But then our luck changed for the better.  Verizon announced that they were getting the iphone, which was great news because we wouldn’t have to leave our preferred carrier. 

I’ve only had this phone a few days, but I’m already loving it.  And so is GothGirl – she loves the game apps and has already installed quite a few.  I’m definitely going to have to reign her in with it.  It’s my phone after all, not hers!





I know that the Valentine roses are not going to last long, so I took a few more pictures of these beautiful flowers today so that I can remember them at their peak beauty. 

In the interest of time, I’m no longer going to be posting the EXIF data for each photo here on my blog.  I doubt that anyone is really paying attention to that anyway.  If you ever want to know the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and focal length for a particular photo…just leave a message in the comment for that post.

14 February 2011

Day 45


Brian and Seth bought a bouquet of roses for Mia and I.  As soon as I got them arranged in a vase, Kenai jumped up on the table and started nosing them.  Apparently the baby’s breath has catnip-like qualities and a sweet taste that appeals to cats.  Soon, he was biting off the little flowers.  At one point, he knocked the entire vase over, so I had to set it on a side toaster counter in the kitchen.  But before long, he had found them again and leaped up onto the tiny ledge to harass them once again. 

Couldn’t help snapping some pics because it looks like he’s smelling the roses.  Make sure that you remember to take time to smell the roses in your life!

Editing: cropping, adjustments in ACR, the pioneer woman boost action

  • f/2.8
  • 1/25 sec
  • 800 ISO
  • 42mm


And since it is Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t resist getting a photo of my 2 little Valentines. 

Editing: cropping, adjustments in ACR, the pioneer woman boost action

  • f/3.5
  • 1/25 sec
  • 800 ISO
  • 28mm








Here are the Valentines that Crockett and I got from the kids.  Simple notes that they designed in AfterCare.  So sweet!

Editing: cropping, adjustments in ACR

  • f/3.5
  • 1/40 sec
  • 800 ISO
  • 30mm

13 February 2011

Day 44


Ah, the great Snow Melt of 2011 (which follows the Blizzard of 2011).  Today was so nice outside temp-wise.  After we got home from church, LilCrockett wanted to head outside immediately.  Who could blame him.  This winter has seemed so incredibly LONG.  Mia and I joined him after awhile so that we could build a snowman.  Crockett usually loves doing this with the kids, but the snow was very unstable (it was melting underneath) and not meant for someone who has just had knee surgery.  The great thing about the melting snow was that it packed so nicely (like slushie ice). 

When we were done, I snapped some pics of the kids.  It was incredibly bright outside, so LilCrockett has the dreaded squint even though I consciously had them build the snowman in the shade.  GothGirl had the right idea and wore her shades.   

The temp was so nice that I actually got too warm building the snowman despite only wearing a medium-weight coat.  By late afternoon, the temperature climbed to 50 degrees and it was fabulous, especially coming on the heels of last week’s minus Fahrenheit temps.  Spring is in the air and we are so ready!

Editing: slight exposure increase in ACR, the pioneer woman boost action

  • f/13
  • 1/80 sec
  • 100 ISO
  • 53mm


During the afternoon & early evening, I had the kids help me make cake pops. 

Editing: cropping, adjustments in ACR

  • f/2.8
  • 1/50 sec
  • 800 ISO
  • 28mm



The neighbor girls were over so they got to help as well

Editing: cropping, adjustments in ACR

  • f/2.8
  • 1/60 sec
  • 800 ISO
  • 30mm


And finally, the finished product.  See below for the recipe.  Note that my cake pops never come out looking that great.  I can never get the candy melts the right consistency or get the cake batter the right temp.  But, they are yummy nevertheless and the kids enjoy the mess!

Editing: adjustments in ACR

  • f/3.5
  • 1/100 sec
  • 800 ISO
  • 28mm

Cake Pops

  • 1 baked cake
  • 1 canister of icing
  • 2 bags of candy melts

Bake your cake as directed and let cool completely.  Crumble the cake up in a bowl and stir in 1 canister of icing.  Chill mixture in the fridge or freezer.  Roll cake/icing mixture into small balls.  Chill balls in fridge or freezer.  Melt candy melts according to package directions (I melt mine in the microwave).  Dip balls in the melted candy coating and set on waxed paper until the coating hardens.  Insert a sucker stick if desired before the candy hardens, if desired.

Experiment with different flavors.  My favorite is yellow/white cake mix, white icing, and vanilla candy melts.  For professional cake pop inspiration, visit Bakerella.  She puts mine to shame times 10!  I should really study her technique sometime.  

12 February 2011

Day 43


I’m well aware that GothGirl has been woefully absent from many of my daily posts, so today I wanted to make a concentrated effort to get some pics of my girl.  This entailed actually making her pose, versus just trying to get some candid shots.  She came out after getting ready for volleyball practice and I thought she looked so cute with her hair pulled back.  Thus, I figured it was a good time to take some photos.  The session started out pretty boring, with some half-smiles. 


I wanted to get some real smiles and all it took was 2 simple words…..dookey bits.  Taught to them by our friend in Maine, both of my kids crack up over this slang word for poop.  So here’s a real smile.










As soon as she stopped laughing, she was a little pseudo-mad that I got her to laugh.  So, here’s the little “I’m peeved at you smirk” that she gave me next; which just goes to show that with kids, you should keep clicking that shutter because it’s the shots you aren’t expecting that turn out to be your favorite!  This one really makes me smile because it’s so “her”.  I usually get this look when I tease her about liking Justin





103aThen, just for fun, I had her add a prop (her purse).  This is my favorite shot of the day because it captures her spirit so wonderfully.  Isn’t my girl a beauty?!!!      












Editing: cropping & adjustments in ACR, icing action, the pioneer woman boost action

  • f/2.8
  • 1/160 – 1/250 sec
  • 400 ISO
  • 38 – 40mm

And while I would be content to finish a post with only photos of GothGirl, today was LilCrockett’s first basketball game, so I need to share a few of those.  The photos are a little grainy and blurry due to the poor lighting and constant movement by the kids.  I definitely need to work on getting better at shooting gym shots.


Here’s a pic of LilCrockett  (#12) dribbling down the court to the basket.  He made quite a few shots today, but failed to get any of them in.  He was trying to hurry his 173ashots and as a result, his aim was pretty bad.  The 2nd shot is of him catching the ball on a rebound. 

The entire game was hysterical.  Watching kindergarten-age kids play a basketball game for the first time was a riot.  At the start, Seth’s coach told him to stand in a certain spot.  The opposing team got the ball and everyone moved down the court, except for Seth.  He was still standing in the same spot.  I think he thought he wasn’t supposed to move!  It was so funny.  But, the best part of the game came after half-time, when the teams switched baskets.  Seth got the ball and started running towards their old basket, which was now the other team’s basket.  Everyone was yelling at him to turn around.  He got about 3/4 of the way down before he figured it out.  Luckily, we got it on our Flip camcorder.  I think we should pull it out when he has his first girlfriend over years from now!

Editing: cropping & adjustments in ACR

  • f/2.8
  • 1/200 sec
  • 800 ISO
  • 28mm


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