31 March 2011

Camera Woes


I am having some issues with my camera.  My photos aren’t as crisp as they once were.  This is happening with nearly every photo.  I’m not sure if this is an issue with blur or sharpness or what.  It seems to be happening with both of my lenses, so I’m pretty sure it’s a camera problem and not a problem with a specific lens.  Even my nifty fifty lens, which before gave me tack-sharp photos, is not performing anywhere close to how it great it once did. 

So is this issue due to user error, an incorrect setting, or a problem with the camera itself?  Unfortunately I’m too much of a rookie to figure out where to go from here.  I’m hoping to find a photographer friend who can help me figure out if it’s something simple that I can fix on my own or if I need to ship it off to Canon. 

This problem has been going on for about a month.  You might not have realized it here because I’m using Photoshop to increase sharpness as much as I can.  The trouble is that I’m starting with slightly blurry photos as it is, so increasing sharpness is also introducing more grain in my photos.  Bear with me!

Day 90

GothGirl has a homework challenge assignment for her Discovery (advanced) class that’s due tomorrow and she needed a little help from Crockett and I.  Some of the questions were even stumping us.  When it was Crockett’s turn to help, I had to take a picture because they looked so studious together. 


30 March 2011

Day 89

Before I get to today’s photos, I’m going to share the Banana Split Cake recipe from Day 86.  This one’s for you, FruitFly!

Banana Split Cake

  • 2 c. crushed graham crackers
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5-7 bananas
  • 2 c. crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 1 lg. pkg cool whip
  • nuts (optional)
  • chocolate syrup
  1. Combine graham crackers & melted butter.  Press into bottom of 9x13 pan.
  2. Beat powdered sugar, softened butter, eggs, & vanilla for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Spread mixture on top of crust.
  4. Slice bananas lengthwise and place on top.
  5. Add pineapple, cool whip, & nuts.
  6. Refrigerate overnight.
  7. Drizzle chocolate syrup on individual servings.

**Note: this recipe uses eggs that are never cooked.  Some people don’t feel that it’s safe to eat raw eggs, but I live on the edge!  You will also note the healthy contents of this recipe {roll eyes}…which is why I posted it here rather than on my weight loss blog!

And now on to the pictures!

Santa brought LilCrockett & GothGirl a mini bike for Christmas.  To make it safer for them, Crockett added mini bike training wheels (improves stability) & he adjusted it would only run below a certain speed.  We also bought them both helmets.  Here’s LilCrockett on his sweet new ride.



LilCrockett has not ridden this bike by himself yet.  He’s only posing on it for pictures.  When it’s running, Crockett sits behind him and helps him steer, brake, etc.  He won’t be allowed to ride it by himself until Crockett is satisfied that he can do so safely.  After all, Crockett is a nurse and has seen plenty of recreational vehicle injuries back in the days he worked in the E.R.  Here’s a photo of the two of them together.


29 March 2011

Day 88

It was another day of coaching Girls on the Run today, so I thought I’d share a few more photos that I snapped with my iPhone.  Though we were short one girl, I made them pose for a group photo.



28 March 2011

Day 87

I was at work when I got the call that GothGirl’s glasses were ready, so I left early to pick her up after school.  She was so excited to finally get them.  I think she looks beautiful in her new specs and they enhance her best feature (her eyes).  She’s gotten lots of compliments already.  I think most people agree that they make her look older, which is not necessarily a good thing.  She is only 10 and already looks like she’s 14 or 15 years old.  Yikes! 


27 March 2011

Day 86

GothGirl wanted to make a dessert today, so she perused my recipe box for awhile looking for something that sounded good.  Much to my luck, she picked banana split cake, which happens to be my favorite (and a dessert I don’t make often).  By the time I got back from the store, her friend had come over.  I quickly put both girls to work, letting them do the entire thing by themselves with only a little direction and oversight from me.  LilCrockett flitted in and out of the kitchen while they worked. 




How does he do that with his arms?  Looks sorta painful (at least if I did it)!

26 March 2011

Day 85

I know you’re probably getting tired of seeing sports photos, but volleyball and basketball have become a big part of our lives lately.  GothGirl’s team played first this morning at the crack of dawn (OK, so it was 8:00 am, but we had to be there early so the parents could take team photos).  I did get a decent photo of GothGirl getting ready to serve.



They won the first game, but lost the next two.  The score in the 2nd game was only a couple of points different, so that was encouraging.  After the game, we took the kids to the local farm store to see some baby chicks.  Looks like our visit might have been a little late as there were only 4 chicks left.  The rest had all been sold.  I snapped this photo with my iPhone. 


We ran a few errands then went home to chill for a bit and have lunch before LilCrockett’s game, which was at 1:00 pm.  I was a little nervous about how he would play because he was very moody, tired, & cranky up until game time.  He sat out the first session of play (only 4 from a team are allowed on the court at a time).  Perhaps that game him some time to think because when it was his turn to play, he turned up the heat and played the best game of the season.  He scored 4 baskets and got a ton of rebounds.  It was great to see him playing so well.  Because of his efforts, he received a gray star for Best Offense.  He was VERY excited to say the least.

Here’s a shot of him getting ready to shoot a basket and then another shot where I captured him in the air during a jump (I think he was trying to catch a rebound). 

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Just one more week of games left and then basketball and volleyball are over.  Don’t worry though, there will be plenty of sports photos still as LilCrockett starts T-ball this week. 

25 March 2011

Day 84

I likely wouldn’t have taken any photos today, but I came across this post by The Pioneer Woman, where she told me (and all her other readers) that I have to download the Instagram app for the iphone.  So of course I had to download it and try it out.  LilCrockett was the only one around and the light outside was fading fast, so I made him pose by the window.  The photo itself wasn’t anything stellar, especially considering that it was taken with my phone and part of his face was in shadow; but the app was pretty awesome.  It allows you to select from various filters to give your photo different looks.  This happens to be the Lomo-fi filter.  I like how it actually made my photo better by giving it an edgy look.  Too cool!  Note: LilCrockett has a big wad of Big League Chew bubble gum in his mouth, which is why his lips look so funny.


24 March 2011

Day 83

Today was all about the girls.  First, I coached Girls on the Run after school got out.  Here’s a shot of Coach Kelly giving the girls their lap instructions.   


After we got home, it was time for Girl Scouts.  Though I am a co-leader, I was in charge of the meeting tonight, so I didn’t get much chance to take photos.  Here’s a shot of the girls at the end of the night listening to my co-leader wrap up.  I didn’t have the right lens on, so there was barely enough room for me to back-up enough to get most of the girls in the shot.  Though I wasn’t sure how the pictures would look, there were a few good ones.  I like this one because GothGirls’ head is in focus and the rest of the girls are visible, but blurry due to Depth-of-Field.  It’s a little more art-y looking that I expected and that’s why I like it.  


By the end of the night, I was quite giggled out.  10 year old girls are so silly!

23 March 2011

Day 82

I lucked out and got some more shots of GothGirl today.  It wasn’t intentional, but necessary.  She had an appointment at the eye doctor.  I wanted him to see her because she has been hard blinking since December.  I figured it was likely just a harmless habit; but since it hadn’t gone away, I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a physical reason for her doing it.  My mom actually helped encourage the visit.  On Tuesday night, I told GothGirl that she had an appointment for the next day and she surprised me by saying that she has been having a little trouble seeing her teachers’ writing on the blackboard (GothGirl sits in the back of the class) whenever her teacher writes small and/or in cursive.  This was news to me.

So we get to the appointment and they do the regular eye exam tests.  Like me, she was not fond of the pressure test where they blow air into your eyeball.  (I don’t know about you, but I’d rather get a 1,000 papercuts on my fingers than do that test!)  Then they had her read the eye chart.  Not good.  One eye was particularly bad.  The assistant kept having to dial up the numbers bigger and bigger so she could read it.  I was sitting by GothGirl and couldn’t believe that she was having that much difficulty.  At this point, I knew glasses were going to be a reality.  So, I figured I had better document the rest of the visit with some photos for a future scrapbook page.  Luckily, I had my iphone with me. 

It turns out that GothGirl is nearsighted (like me).  The doctor told her that she needs to wear her glasses at school and when she’s out and about, but gave her the option of not wearing them when she’s at home reading or on the computer, etc. 

After the exam….waiting to get her eyes mapped with the OptiMap machine.


Looking at the selections.


Her new specs!  Well, she doesn’t have them yet as they are on order.  I’ll post pictures once we get them in hand.  (Note: the black spec by her left eye is the brand sticker for the glasses). 


I was worried that she would be upset at having to wear glasses, but she’s actually very excited.  I think she likes the new-ness of it and the attention.  Hopefully she won’t hate them in a few weeks!

22 March 2011

Day 81

I’m well aware that GothGirl has been absent from my last few posts.  I set about correcting that tonight by informing her that we were going to have a photo shoot.  Luckily I caught her at a good moment.  No, she wasn’t thrilled to be posing, but she had just put her hair up into a side ponytail and it looked really cute.  The middle photo was taken after I tried getting her to laugh.  She was trying not to, but couldn’t resist a little smirk as she pretended to be mad at me. 




21 March 2011

Day 80

Spring is in the air, as was evident by Mother Nature outside my office today.  Our resident turtles made their debut on the little island in the middle of the pond today and a mama Canada goose was nesting in the grass (area circled in white). 


While we’re used to seeing these animals on a regular basis, there was another visitor to our campus today that we don’t see often.  A turkey.   


Photos were taken with my iphone.  The bottom photo was particularly grainy, so I can’t blow it up very big. 

20 March 2011

Day 79

I’m behind and trying to catch up on posts, so this will be short & sweet.  On Sunday, LilCrockett decided it was time to build a fort in the living room….again!


After I got done taking a serious photo, he wanted me to take a silly one.  What a goof!


19 March 2011

Day 78

Seems like a broken record, but it was another day of basketball for us.  There was no volleyball game though, which was nice.  I hate having lots of scheduled activities every weekend.  Though it’s fun to watch the kids, I like having less on the agenda for a change.

Here’s LilCrockett waiting for a rebound.  It’s actually funny to see.  Once someone shoots, nearly all the kids are raising their hands waiting to catch the ball.  It reminds me of little baby birds waiting for their mom to bring food.  Very cute!  LilCrockett is actually one of the faster and aggressive players on the team, so he gets the rebound quite often.


Before and after the basketball game, we spent the day doing odd jobs around the house.  We had amassed quite a list of things to be done, so we set out to cross some of them off.  I’m happy to report that by the end of the weekend, we had eliminated a lot of tasks.  Love when that happens. 

One of the tasks on my list was to finish hemming some of our pants.  I started this task a few weeks back, but then my sewing machine broke.  I took it into the shop for repairs and a good tune-up/cleaning.  It had been years since I’d had that done.  Now that it’s back though, it was time to get back to hemming.  I set out the stack of pants on the kitchen table near my sewing machine and got to work on a pair of pants.  Before long, I looked up and this is what I saw.


I’ve told you before that Kenai cannot resist laying on things….backpacks, newspaper, bookbags, and (evidently) stacks of pants!  Maybe he was just trying to give me an excuse not to do them.  But unfortunately, I gave him the boot when I needed the next pair. 

18 March 2011

Day 77

I mentioned here before that my mom gifted LilCrockett with a pair of John Deere boots for his birthday.  And though he does LOVE the boots, he’s had a lot of fun playing with the box they came in as well.  You see, this was no ordinary shoe box.  This shoe box turns into a 3-D barn.  It’s really the coolest thing.  And what’s most surprising is that LilCrockett has yet to destroy it.  It’s unbelievable how destructive boys can be!


If you look closely, you’ll see that there’s actually more to the picture.  This box also sparked some creativity in my little boy.  Those Army men didn’t actually come attached.  Who says soldiers can’t use a barn to launch an attack?!! 


And why limit your creativity.  Who says a 3-D barn has to remain a barn.  Perhaps it would make a great hat or hide-out instead, Army men and all!


17 March 2011

Day 76

This photo was taken a few days ago.  Crockett was out of town and I was home sick, so I let the kids whip up a little treat…a yellow cake with chocolate icing.  I didn’t get a picture of the finished product (it was just a simple cake, nothing fancy), but I did snap a photo of the kids getting ready to start mixing it together. 


16 March 2011

Day 75

The weather is starting to warm up and our couped-up-for-the-winter kids are itching to spend time outside.  Crockett was out of town and LilCrockett and I were killing time between drop-off and pick-up for GothGirl’s guitar lesson, so we hussled outside.  LilCrockett spent a little time trying to “organize” our shed, which is too full to really do anything with until we get the riding lawnmower moved from it into the garage.  After moving things around inside the shed, he looked for bigger and better things to do, like

jumping on a pogo stick (remember these!),


toting around his toy gun,


and looking cool (that’s the protective ring from the pogo stick on his arm).



15 March 2011

Day 74

I stayed home from work today because I was feeling so lousy and LilCrockett was feeling a little crummy as well.  Since both kids were out of school on Spring Break, I kept them home with me.  I could have sent them to our Passage daycare, but figured they probably needed some down time too as we’ve all been dealing with sickness. 

Being home sick meant that we did a lot of low key activities.  I sorted digital photos and caught up with all my reality TV shows via DVR.  GothGirl read and watched movies.  LilCrockett watched movies and played.  He spent a good chunk of the day playing in front of our big front window where the light was great for photos and I could enjoy watching him having fun.

Puzzle time!


Construction toys!



During late afternoon, we all met up in the living room for Family Movie time.  Our movie of choice was Ramona and Beezus.  For those of you that don’t know, this movie is based on the beloved children’s book of the same name by Beverly Cleary.  The book was one of my favorites as a child so I was thrilled to get to watch the movie with my kids.  It turned out to be pretty cute and LilCrockett even enjoyed it (I was worried it might be a little too girly for him since it’s based on two sisters). 

14 March 2011

Day 73

Guess what arrived late last week?


Girl Scout cookies!!

Since GothGirl is a Junior Girl Scout, we had to buy a few boxes for ourselves.  Trouble is, I am the one who has the hardest time staying out of them.  I need to get Crockett to hide them from me.  In the meantime, here’s a photo of one of my favorite varieties….Lemonades.



13 March 2011

Day 72

I’ve been recliner-bound for most of the day due to an annoying head cold.  I have gotten up throughout the day of course (I’m a mom after all!), but I haven’t felt like doing much of anything for too long.  I sorted through some old photos (film & digital), did a little cleaning, supervised kids who were cleaning rooms & completing homework assignments, etc.  Despite everything going on, there weren’t many cool things to photograph today. 

At one point, I checked in on GothGirl who was listening to music and looking through her Tiger Beat magazine.  Do you remember it?  This mag was popular when I was a teen and it’s still around.  Like GothGirl, I used to spend hours reading about the latest teen celebs and heartthrobs.  How cool is that?!!!  But the sweetest thing was seeing our cat Kenai hanging out with her. 


I didn’t have much of a taste for anything today with my cold, but the smell of Crockett’s corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes cooking in the crockpot all day was tantalizing.  Dinner couldn’t come soon enough.  It was delicious, as usual; but the meat wasn’t quite as flavorful as normal and it was a little on the dry side.  I think it’s because we bought a more expensive cut of corned beef this year.  The cheaper stuff has more fat and thus, more flavor and moisture.  It’s a good lesson for next year.  But in the meantime, we’ll still enjoy the rest of this batch.


We’re still bummed about missing yesterday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade here in town.  It is our annual family tradition and we love participating.  Unfortunately LilCrockett’s basketball game was at the same time as the parade, so we had to miss.  Here are some photos of us and our neighbor from last year (unedited & taken with our point and shoot camera).


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