30 June 2011

Day 180

It’s been a rough week for me.  I managed to stay at work all day everyday this week, but would come home completely exhausted at night.  The fatigue and shortness of breath with activity has really worn me down.  So, today I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor.  Until now, I had been seeing his partner since my regular doctor was not available when I first when in for these issues.  Basically, my doctor feels that allergies and/or a sinus infection early on triggered a bit of reactive airway issues with my lungs causing the symptoms I’ve been having.  He told me he could give me some prednisone to help it get better and that if I wanted to get aggressive, I could get a steroid shot.  I opted for the shot since I’ve been suffering with this for nearly a month.  Hopefully I will be better in the next day or so. 

After my appointment and work today, I came home exhausted once again.  LilCrockett had his last baseball game of the season, followed by a gathering of the team and their families at the local Buffalo Wild Wings.  I really wanted to go, but was just too worn out.  I spent most of the night on the couch just relaxing.  As a result, I only got one photo. 


This is my new radio for my Highlander.  The radio stations around here are mediocre-at-best and it seems like I am constantly changing stations to find a good song, often without success.  And when we travel, it can be even harder to find a decent station.  So, I decided to get an iPod radio for my car.  This one, which has a direct USB port so you can use your regular iPod cord, was around $120, plus I had to buy a wiring kit and dash kit.  Crockett & his friend installed it.  I am so happy to have some good tunes when I drive now.  Even if you have to pay for installation, a new radio will run roughly $200.  Well worth the small investment.  Care to hear a little Seether by Veruca Salt?!!   

29 June 2011

Day 179

There are some new blooms in my yard, so I had to capture them with my camera.

Variegated hosta – the light purple blooms are a little dull in the photo up against the light brick background.  I need to get some close-ups of the flowers to better show off their beautiful color.


Mimosa – we have a gorgeous mimosa tree in the yard.  The pink fingerlike petals of the flowers are a big hummingbird draw.  We usually have a handful of birds fluttering around when the tree is in bloom.  Here’s a view up into the canopy.


Close-up of a few flowers backlit by the sun.


28 June 2011

Day 178

I know this is getting a bit redundant, but we just love our new kitten.  And he’s so photogenic.  Here are some shots that I found on my camera.  Since the kids aren’t really allowed to use my 7D, I’m guessing that Crockett took these.  There’s quite a bit of glare as his hideaway playhouse is right in front of the big picture window in full sun.  Also, please pretend that my windows are clean and streak-free.  Much appreciated! 



This evening I had GothGirl sweep the floor near the litter box and when she did, Felix wanted to play.  So I used the video function on my camera for the first time.  The picture quality is a little low (grainy and dark) so I need investigate this feature a little more closely.  It’s still pretty cute.  Almost looks like he’s dancing with the broom at times.

Felix & the broom

27 June 2011

Day 177

The only pictures I took today were of the kids playing laser “tag” with Felix.  These were taken on automatic settings due to the low lighting.  Just a candid shot, and a low quality one at that, but it’s all I’ve got for today.


26 June 2011

Day 176

Just a lazy morning today as I knew I had to spend the afternoon taking LilCrockett to a swim party in a neighboring town.  It’s about a 20-25 minute drive to the pool so it’s hardly worth coming home when the party is only 2 hours in length.  I decided to take my computer and edit the photos from a maternity session that I did earlier in the week.  Being present there also allowed me to take some photos.  It was fairly dark in the pool area and I didn’t have my external flash, so I made do with what I had.  I have to say that my new 7D does so much better under low light than my Rebel, though I still need to practice with the settings.  I’m not used to having an ISO that can go to 6400 (my Rebel only went to 1600).  Here are a few shots from the afternoon.

LilCrockett doing a front flip off the diving board.  He is such a daredevil like his dad!


LilCrockett & the birthday boy…


I was able to photograph a bumblebee with my new camera this afternoon and the results are SO much better.  So glad to have crisp photos once again (well, except when I don’t get the focus set quite right!). 


And who can end a post these days without a pic of our little kitten, Felix.  LilCrockett wanted to name him Captain, but the rest of us wanted Felix.  So his official name is Captain Felix, but we just drop the first part and call him Felix for short so that everyone is happy.  This photo was snapped by Crockett.


25 June 2011

Day 175

We spent the morning doing some cleaning around the house.  Then my dad and stepmom arrived in town to watch LilCrockett’s baseball game.  We got to the ball diamond and shortly afterwards, it started to sprinkle.  Before long the rain came.  We were able to finish 2 out of the 3 innings before they called it.  Here’s a shot of LilCrockett rounding the bases between 2nd & 3rd.


Though we were a little bummed that the game ended early, it gave us more time to grab a late lunch at the local BBQ place.  We ate, opened belated gifts (we had missed a few birthdays and minor holidays), and visited.  Since it was late, we nearly had the restaurant to ourselves.  It was wonderful to spend time together but all too soon, it was time for them to head south to see my stepmom’s mom.  I made sure to get a few photos of the kids with their grandparents first.


And then some by themselves…look at this handsome boy and this gorgeous girl!!  I’m a proud mama (and happy that I got some great shots!).  Have I mentioned how much I love my new camera!!



After our visit, we went home to this cutie pie…


24 June 2011

Day 174

I decided to take today off from work so I could get some extra rest.  The day started out restful when I snapped this American Goldfinch outside my window on the coneflowers.  Though he’s a bit hidden by the flowers (I couldn’t move to a better angle for fear of scaring him off), the summer plummage of the male is gorgeous.  The female was nearby as well but she was more skittish and flew off before I could get the shot. 


After that, the day got more hectic and was not at all restful.  My doctor had asked me to come in to his office for bloodwork since I wasn’t getting better.  Turns out the test was to check for the possibility of a blood clot in my lungs.  I figured it was a bit far-fetched, but went through with it anyway.  They sent me home and I thought that would be the end of it.  However, about an hour later the nurse called and said that my bloodwork was elevated and that they were sending me for an emergency CT scan.  She went on to say that they were going to make me stay there until the test results were finalized and that they had to get approval from my insurance, but that I should get over there right away anyway.

My heart started pounding immediately.  I called Crockett at work and asked him to come home so he could take me for the test.  At this point, I’m trying not to panic but not having much success.  While in my head I knew that it could turn out to be nothing, I couldn’t help but think the worst.  And the panic was making me feel like I was having a mini heart attack.  All I could think was “settle down or you’re going to make yourself have a blood clot”.  After several needle sticks to start the IV, getting the actual test done, and being released several hours later after finding out that there were no blood clots; I was emotionally spent and decided that we needed a diversion.

Prior to all the drama of the day, I had planned to take GothGirl out to preview some kittens at the local animal shelter that afternoon.  So I asked Crockett to join us.  We narrowed it down to 3 kittens that we liked and then went for a short drive before making our final decision.  In the end, we picked a male Siamese/tabby mix who was the perfect combination of spunk and snuggle.  Felix seems to be the main name in the running so far.  It’s a play on the genus name for cats….Felis

WARNING: cuteness overload ahead!







23 June 2011

Day 173

The kids earned a special treat for their good grades during the school year.  LilCrockett had been wanting some Bey Blades, so we make a trek to the toy store last night.  He picked out 2 tops and a fighting stadium.  Not cheap, but we made him pay for part of the purchase.  GothGirl ended up getting a new game for her Nintendo DS….Style Savvy.  She paid for part of her game as well.  Both kids were really happy as it’s not often that they get to go to the store to pick out a new toy.  They usually end up getting most of their toys either at garage sales or during birthdays, Christmas, or other holidays. 

The Bey Blades has actually been fun for the whole family.  It’s pretty cool to see which top will win.  Crockett remembers a similar toy when he was young.  Here are a few shots of LilCrockett and SoccerGirl (our friend’s daughter) playing with them before summer care this morning. 



Please don’t be jealous of LilCrockett’s outfit (Iyou know you are!).  He likes to dress himself and most of the time, he doesn’t match.  It’s something I’ve decided not to fight him on unless we are going someplace nice or it’s a special occasion.

This evening, LilCrockett had a baseball game.  GothGirl and I had to work in the concession stand, but I managed to sneak out for a bit to take a few photos of LilCrockett at bat, getting a high-five from his coach for a great hit, & getting read to run the bases.




22 June 2011

Day 172

Today I had the privilege of taking maternity photos for not one, but two of my dear friends.  These ladies are not only friends; but they are also my coworkers and they are due within a week of each other.  The extended grounds of our office offer some amazing photo backgrounds, so we walked out to get some shots. 

This was my first time shooting photos with my new camera and they turned out fairly well.  I am pretty critical of my work though and I can tell that my focus wasn’t spot on for several of the photos.  During this shoot, I could barely even figure out where the various settings were, so it was quite the challenge.  This was a test shoot anyway, so I’m pretty pleased.  I had never really set up a portrait shoot before, especially maternity shots, and I wasn’t sure how the poses and such would work out.  Having a double maternity shoot made it even more challenging, but also a lot of fun.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from today (I will be editing the first photo so that the sign on the right side is removed from the photo):


z120   z161








21 June 2011

Day 171

Just a little shot of the view out my back dining room window before I share the exciting news…


Look what came in the mail today!!!


My new camera!!  I think I’m in love…..LOL!! 

Having decided I wanted this camera several months ago, it has been quite the wait and I was squealing for joy when the FedEx guy rang my doorbell.  My decision to buy this camera came right after the earthquakes and tsunami hit Japan, during which Canon took quite a big hit.  Production was greatly slowed and stocks of this camera (and many others) were nearly depleted.  Those that were still available were fetching higher prices than normal.  And my situation was even more dim as I had decided to buy a refurbished camera through Canon’s Loyalty Program (LP). 

Through this program, you simply trade in a broken camera (I traded in a cheap, broken Canon point-and-shoot camera) in exchange for a greatly reduced price on a refurbished camera of your choice.  I read on several photography forums that often times the camera is not refurbished at all, but simply a return of a brand new camera.  And everyone had great things to say about the program.  So I called Canon and was told that there were no 7D’s in stock via the LP and that I would have to call back.  Several days and a couple of calls later, I learned that this camera was in high demand and that some people were calling several times a day to check on availability.  Before long, the 7D was totally removed from the refurbished portion of Canon’s website.  I was a little heartbroken.  Several months and many unsuccessful phone calls later, I was just about to give and buy a new 7D (at higher than normal price); but, I decided to try one more call last Thursday. 

Lo and behold, the LP phone line was busy.  I tried back a little later and it was still busy.  This had never happened before and it was a signal that maybe something was going on.  I called back later that night thinking that they were probably already closed, and heard them say “yes, you’re in luck….we have the 7D in stock”.  I about fell over.  And then I jumped up and down like a little kid in all my excitement.  Not only was I getting the camera I wanted, but I was saving roughly $700 on it.  Wow!

Cut to today and my camera arrived.  I opened up the package and it was Brand. Spanking. New!!  I’m so excited.  I got it out of the box and inserted the card & battery and went to take a picture and quickly realized that the 7D is VERY different from my Rebel XTi.  I didn’t even know how to take a photo in manual setting because the buttons, knobs, and placement of everything is so different.  Ack!  Looks like I have some reading to do….time to become one with my instruction manual! 

But, did I tell you that I love it already?!!!

20 June 2011

Day 170

It was my first day back at work today since my pneumonia diagnosis.  I made it until about 2:00pm and then had to head home for a nap.  Seems that I hit a wall mid-afternoon and I can barely function from exhaustion.  I have been listening to my body and trying to give it the rest it needs. 

After my nap, Crockett and the kids got home and the boys went to LilCrockett’s baseball game while I dropped off Mia and a friend at guitar lessons and then did some shopping at Babies R Us.  Our office is throwing a surprise baby shower for my friend Ann on Wednesday and I was responsible for collecting money and buying the gifts.  When I got home, I had to wrap the presents.  By this time, I was tired so I spent the rest of the night relaxing with my computer and a book.  I’m reading The Hunger Games trilogy and I can’t seem to put them down…they are a fantastic read!  

Since I didn’t take any photos today, I thought I’d share a photo of the gifts I made for my friend’s daughters and the baby.  My friend Emily found the cutest big sister shirts online HERE for her girls.  Though I loved them, I didn’t want to spend quite that much money, especially since I had three shirts to buy and I still wanted to chip in on the group gifts.  So, I decided to try to make my own big sister shirts.  I used Stampin’ Up!’s My Digital Studio software and created a design that was similar to the one online.  Here’s the digital image I came up with:cropemily

Next, I printed the design on t-shirt transfer paper (follow the directions that they give you), cut directly around the circular image, and ironed it on a new t-shirt.  I made similar designs for the middle sister & the baby.  The middle sister’s shirt reads “big sister” and the onesie reads “baby”.  I used the name Junior on the onesie because that’s what they’ve been calling the baby so far since they do not know the gender and don’t have names picked out.  Here are the finished products:


And the baby’s onesie by itself….


The shirts turned out way better than I had imagined.  I spent $16 on the shirts and $3 on transfer paper.  Quite a savings from the $50 plus shipping that I would have paid for the online version.  Thanks for the great inspiration, Emily!

19 June 2011

Day 169

It’s Father’s Day, so of course I had to take a few shots of my awesome hubby with the kids after they gave him the cards they made.



And here they are later in the neighbor’s pool.  This photo was taken shortly after Crockett snuck up on the neighbor’s garage, which is next to their pool, and squirted the kids with a squirt gun before jumping down into the pool.  We made sure to tell the kids they were not allowed to do this themselves!


And because they are like family to us, I had to include a photo of our neighbor Joe and his girls, Lupa & Ambo. 


Joe’s son, Ryan, and his family stopped by later so I had them pose for another photo.


18 June 2011

Day 168

Today our church was hosting their annual Garage-a-palooza event for kids.  One of the church campuses is housed in an old auto dealership building, hence the name.  During the day, the kids get to try 2 different activities and learn more about God.  LilCrockett chose magic card tricks and fishing for his activities.  GothGirl chose cooking and cake decorating.  Here are 2 of her creations…

Dirt cups complete with gummy worms and silk flowers.


Decorated cake (the cake was pre-made for them).  Since Father’s Day is tomorrow, she decorated hers for Crockett.


Both kids had a wonderful day.  Our church and all the volunteers go out of their way to make it a fun-filled time. 


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