Monday, February 28, 2011

Unemployement Day

It occurred to me over the weekend, as I reminisced about the horrible pain of my banking days and how wonderfully pain-free life had been since I left UMC, that every full-time job I've ever had I left at the end of February. Two years ago I left UMC. Four years ago I left BancorpSouth.

Happy Unemployment Day, people!

As it turns out, today is my father-in-law's last day of employment, too. He had to go into work this morning just long enough to turn in his badge. By now he should be officially and finally retired. It couldn't have happened to a better man. It's his second retirement, the first being from the Air Force, and I hope he enjoys every second of it. My mother-in-law is planning to retire in the fall, and my mother is seriously discussing retirement after my Dad's birthday in December. She would retire after her birthday in June, but she carries my Dad's insurance so she really need to stick it out until he hits the big 6-5. I may need a bigger house before January just to host grandparents.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Accidental Brilliance

Every now and then I do something brilliant and don't even know it. Let me start from the beginning...

Back before Kaycie's birthday in November I got to thinking that it would be cool to make a photobook of some of the better pictures I've taken of her over the year and get the fam copies for Christmas. Now, I have seen photobooks by some companies that looked pretty bad and I didn't want to spend a pile of money to get several made if they didn't look good, so I started shopping around for coupon codes to companies where I could order a cheap one to see how they turned out. Poof! The first one I found was a free classic canvas book from Picaboo. (Free, up to 20 pages, with a classic canvas cover. I had to pay the $8 shipping.) Perfect. I downloaded the software, put together a 20 page book of awesomeness, and ordered one. It arrived within a week and looked darn good. We decided to order from them, but made some changes. We decided we wanted the custom photo cover and added more pages (particularly of her birthday party and some 1 year portraits I shot myself) and spent a pile of money getting copies for grandparents, aunts and uncles. And ourselves. =) I loved it. But of course now I had two.

Skip ahead a couple of months. Kaycie is fascinated by pictures of the family. She begs me to hold her up to the photoboard in her room so she can reorganize the pictures and point to people as I name them. The other day she was wreaking havoc in our bedroom when she found the original free photobook. Light bulb! Guess what Kaycie's newest favoritest book is? We flip through it a dozen times a day! She can point out all the family members and has learned to say Mamaw and Papaw while pointing to their pictures. She had tried getting into our good copy and I had to hide it because I didn't want her bending or ripping the pages. This one is a spare, so I don't really care if she destroys it eventually. She likes it so much I'm thinking I'm going to keep an eye out for another free code this fall and get her another one when we make her next book!

I also got smart and made a travel sized version with a mini photo album I got at one of my baby showers. We're heading to visit the Emmer clan in a few weeks so in addition to a ton of pics of family I'm going to add some pictures of Lauren, Ed and the boys so she'll be familiar with them when we get there. Hoping it'll entertain her for at least a few minutes in the car on the way!

I posted this on FB right after Christmas, but if anybody wants to see the book we printed, here's a link. I can't say enough awesome things about Picaboo. The quality is excellent, the shipping was super speedy, and even though you have to pay extra for any pages over 20, they just cut the price per page in half. Which is great, since I've already started working on her second book and it's going to be a lot bigger than the first one!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Not Again...

It's 5:30am on a Saturday morning and I'm awake. I've been awake since 4am, trying to remember how close I came to actually dying during the five years I suffered from chronic upper back pain during my banker years. The years during which I consulted with 12 different medical professionals in search of treatment. The revolving door of medication. The diagnosis of the week. The physical therapy. The would be during the days BB. Before Blog. Because my employer at the time had better security on their interwebs and Blogger, along with all the bloggy goodness it contained, was blocked. Maybe if it hadn't been I wouldn't have hurt so much. Just a guess.

Over the past few days I've had this sense of pending doom. Dread. Actual tear-producing fear at times. You see, I haven't hurt like this in 4 years. Oh, I've had some back pain on music class days after throwing my giant of a kid around for an hour that morning; and sometimes when we go on longer road trips I arrive with a gentle reminder of how things used to be. Like that first road trip to Atlanta when Greg and I had to stop ever couple of hours for me to get out and walk and I still arrived thinking I might be crippled for life. Over the past four years it's gotten so much better. Hardly any pain at all since I left UMC. But this week I've been hurting. A lot.

One thing I learned from my previous encounter with chronic pain is that it doesn't generally start all of the sudden. It builds up. The muscles gradually tighten until they stretch to their limit and and pull in places you didn't know you had muscles. Like in your ear.

Yes, people who remember those days, I woke up at 4am with my ear hurting. And I wanted to cry.

For me chronic upper back pain in the past has been a result of long term high stress and not taking very good care of myself. The thing that finally ended my suffering was leaving my job at the bank. It flared up from time to time while I was at UMC, but nothing like it was before. But I shouldn't be having high stress right now, right? I mean, I'm a stay at home mom, how stressful can it be? Har har. I suspect this new round of pain started back in the summer, when we put out house up for sale, had a good bit of disruptive work done, had 3 months of showings, had our house sold, stressed over buying a new one, then the whole thing kinda fell apart resulting in us not moving. Then we drove to Orlando, where we all got sick at Disney and drove home. Then the holidays threw me for my usual loop, then right as I'm recovering from that Kaycie hits a developmental spurt that was quite the test of my patience, THEN she gets sick... It's just a guess. All I know is that for the past few weeks it's been getting gradually worse, and now I'm up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning trying to stretch out my back and neck. Just a guess.

When I first woke up this morning I thought it was actually an ear infection because of where it hurt and denial. After a big of stretching and massaging the pain in my ear started to diminish and now it's my back throbbing again. Why? Why why why whywhywhywhywhywhy does this have to happen just a matter of weeks before we attempt another 10 hour, two day drive to South Carolina and back? I think it's time to put some serious thought into how I'm going to manage the pain this time, because physical therapy three days a week isn't an option when you have a one year old and no outside childcare.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

15 Months Revisted

We finally made it back to the pediatrician today for Kaycie's 15 month shots. We were supposed to go on the 10th but she was too sick to get the shots so we rescheduled her checkup for today.

My kid is freakishly tall.

Her official stats for 15 months are 23.6 lbs (75th percentile), 33 1/2 inches tall (greater than 95th percentile) and her head is 18 1/2 inches (75th percentile). The nurse was like, "Dang, girl, you are TALL." I don't get it. Other than her uncles and great-uncles, there isn't a tall gene in her DNA. Surely she'll grow out of it. Her weight is down a full pound from when we first took her in sick three weeks ago, but that's not a shock since she's decided food is something fun to throw at the pup.

Other than being a mini-giant, she's in tip top shape. We're returning the nebulizer tomorrow (she'll miss it). We started some new allergy meds tonight. Instead of the candy-like children's Zyrtec she's now taking Allegra and Nasonex spray. I told Dr. M that we had a flower bloom this week, we're doomed for the next 3-4 months.

And did I mention that while she was SCREAMING at the nurse giving her shots I noticed that teeth numbers 11 and 12 have finally broken through? Been fighting those teeth for months! And no, I'm not about to stick a finger in her mouth to check on them anymore, she bites!

Monday, February 21, 2011

How Things Change

I read a book this weekend. On my phone.

Now, I've read books on Greg's iPad before, so the ereader thing isn't new. It's still a little weird, I like holding a book, but it's not objectionable if the book is free and something I wouldn't be able to swap on PBS anyway. But my phone?

The screen's too small. I don't have one of the bigger phones, I have a Motorolla Milestone (also known as the Droid X outside of Cellular South circles). Shouldn't the print be too small and it be uncomfortable to hold? And the whole swiping to turn the page...

I've scoffed at the idea of using a phone as an ereader for a while. I get why people love their dedicated readers, particularly if they're paying for books anyway or can borrow library books with it, but the phone was just a step too far. Then I read a blog post the other day about how Amazon offers a few new books for free on the Kindle and assorted Kindle apps. I already had the Kindle app on my phone because I was tempted to actually purchase the Scrabble Dictionary to have on my phone (but soon realized the Scrabble Dictionary didn't mean squat to the people who created Word Feud and Words with Friends). I decided to download a handful of the free offerings and see how it went.

Halfway through I realized I was reading a book on my phone. It was a decent book, but not worth blogging about. The idea that the book mobile world I grew up in really is a thing of the past threw me for a loop. I'm still not going to pay for a book I can get for free through other means, but reading on an assortment of electronic devices is not longer a novelty.

How much longer will I be able to swindle free books?

Friday, February 18, 2011

What I've Been Reading

Finally found some time to dive back into some books. All three of these were recommendations from other people who are smarter than me.

First up was Sarah's Key by Tatiana deRosnay. This book is told from two points of view which interchange at each chapter for the majority of the book. First is Sarah, a young Jewish girl in Paris who is rounded up with her family during the Holocaust. These parts of the book were horribly hard to read as they portrayed terrible things that happened to her family. I won't lie, this would have been a much better book if I didn't have a toddler at home. I nearly couldn't get through the first half of the book for the sheer terror I felt in the cruel things that were happening to the little children. The second point of view is from an American born woman married and living in France. As a journalist she is researching the events of the little known French roundups while fighting to keep her personal life together. Her story as well as her life intertwine with Sarah throughout the book. If I hadn't been so heartbroken over the children, I would say this was an incredible book. Very well written and very emotional.

Next up was Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Ok, so technically the title is Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern Day Slave, An International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together, but that's a freaking mouthful. That aside, it's one of the best book I've read in forever and one of the few nonfiction books I've thoroughly enjoyed. A story of a old black man who grew up as a sharecropper in Louisiana and escapes to Texas where he lives a life of homelessness, crime and violence combined with a rich white couple drawn to volunteer at the shelter where he lives. Reading this book gave me a lot to think about. It ran the gauntlet, covering marriage, friendship, love, and family right alongside death, injustice, and poverty. The first half of the book is the story of the past, which I found fascinating. When you get to the middle of the book the focus takes a very sudden shift into the spiritual, and that's when you better have a box of Kleenex nearby. I was astounded at the depth of spirituality spread through the last half of the book. I didn't see it coming. The idea that this is a true story is amazing to me. I was humbled to think that there can be so much love wrapped up in one person and the incredible ways God will use that person to spread love. Just go read it. It's an awesome book. I got it from PBS and the lady who sent it to me sent a note that it was such a good book she almost wished she had kept it. I sent her a message to let her know I felt the same way, but was passing it on to somebody else who would appreciate the depth of it, and ask them to continue passing it along. Jennie appreciated that.

And now for something completely different...

Finally, I just finished reading Oyster by John Biguenet. I picked this up after reading about it on a post on Nicole's blog. There were more twists and turns in this novel than in Kaycie's fly dance moves. Set in the oyster fishing culture of South Louisiana, a deep secret leads to a murder, which leads to a murder, which leads... well. There's a good bit of violence in this one, but it's a pretty complex plot with a lot of back story. It's built around a strong, single minded young woman and a trio of brothers from a rival family, all of which take family seriously. Biguenet did a great job describing a culture and a landscape that most people will never see. It's a unique setting for a pretty unique book. While I wasn't blown away by it, I'm glad I read it.


I don't think I've actually talked about my 365 project here, but I should, because it really has become a big part of my daily routine. I started in December, so today is my day 53.

A 365 project can be done with most hobbies, but for me it's photography. I've committed to take and post one photo a day for a full year, 365 days, 365 pictures. At first I didn't think I'd be able to manage that so I decided to do a 5/52, which is 5 photos a week for 52 weeks. After the first month I realized I was well on track for a 365 so I sucked it up and kept going. Every. Day.

My sweet hubby, taken the first week.

There are some keys to doing a 365. The big one is to remember that it's one picture a day, not particularly one masterpiece a day. One day I ended up with a cell phone picture of the straw in my orange juice at Waffle House. That was the day I knew I would be doing a full 365, because that wasn't a masterpiece, by any means, but I felt compelled to take a picture that day.

Another early shot. My Christmas wreath the day I took it down.

Another key is to haul your camera around. I'm not so great at this. I'll throw it in the van but having a DSLR means not wanting to haul it (along with my purse, Kaycie's diaper bag, Kaycie, and periodically a stroller or shopping bags) around. It does make it easier to get more variety in your shots, but I would do better with a smaller point and shoot. I've taken to using my phone when I find something of interest that I don't want to pass up. Like this shot:

This was taken the day I had two doctor's appointments, Kaycie got sicker, and we ended up with a third appointment for her to find out she had RSV. I was hanging out in my GYN's waiting room by myself and snapped this picture with my cell phone. Did some editing on my phone (Photoshop Express app can be handy!) and viola! I had a picture on a day when I knew without a doubt I would not have time or energy to break out the Canon and set up something.

The fountain at the library in Clinton.

I knew I would need motivation and inspiration to actually follow through on this. I set u p a photo 365 blog on Wordpress called Photopotamus. It's a private blog because these projects are pretty popular and I really don't want a lot of random people finding me via Google and offering criticism. I'm perfectly open to criticism, but I'm not a professional and I'm not trying to be. I don't need somebody telling me a shot would be better if I had set up a strobe and reflectors to reduce the backlighting and blah blah blah. When people I actually know want to see my pictures, I tell them to send me a Wordpress ID and I'll put them on the privacy list. But posting what I take keeps me honest. And frankly, I like blogging, even when I'm slug slime at it.

Remember that first big ice we had this year?

I invested in Photoshop Elements (the cheaper and much more user friendly version of Photoshop) and downloaded a few free basic actions to help me edit. This has been useful beyond my imagination, especially since I got in on sale 40% off.

I set up some rules for myself. I'm taking one self portrait each month, and one picture of the exact same scenic location (actually two different locations at this point) each month to compare differences in lighting and record the changes in the seasons. I ripped of a list of "scavenger hunt" items from a 365 group I follow online and am trying to use those items as inspiration. I also started following a 365 group on Flickr and subscribed to some good photography related blogs. A lot of the info is still over my head, but I'm learning. And that's the whole point. I want to be a better casual photographer when it's all said and done. Not a professional, but having taken pictures of something other than my kid, looked at the world in a different way, and learned a little something while I did it. And it's fun. And while I love being a Mama, it can't be all I do. I needed a real hobby that had a scope beyond my little Totapotamus.

One of my scenic locations I visit each month. This was my parent's back yard last weekend.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Whew. It's been a wild few days, busy busy. I have about 4 posts in mind but they all require some organization of thought that I just haven't had the past few days. Got a couple in draft already though. One is going to be another book review post on what I'm reading, but I want to get one more finished before I post it.

Today we ended Kaycie's quarantine and took her to lunch at Cane's. The people who worked there had missed her. Tonight her grandparents' are coming to visit; they haven't seen her in nearly two weeks. We didn't go back to music class today because I still didn't want to risk her sharing any lingering germs, or picking up any! Her immune system needs a little more time to build back up before I expose her to a room full of carrier monkeys.

This illness has left us kind of in a weird place. We were just transitioning toward a new schedule with one nap a day and bedtime at 8 when she got sick. Now we're all messed up. Some of her meds knocked her out and she was taking at least 2 naps and then going to bed early. And she hasn't been eating well. At our last trip to the doc she'd started losing weight. I'm hoping we're finally past that. She only coughed a couple of times yesterday, and I haven't heard a single one so far today. I feel good about that. Now if we can just get the congestion to clear up we'll be back to good!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


A little background - there has always been much conflict in our house over the fact Greg can count by 8's. I can barely count by 1's.

Conversation in Huddle House which began with the fact that I'm always right:

Greg: What's 8+8?
Me: (after a bit of thought) 16!
Greg: plus 8?
Me: I'm going to the bathroom.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

15 Months

Really? I haven't done a progress update since 9 months? Since 15 months isn't exactly a big milestone month, how about I catch up?

Kaycie started walking the first weekend in October (10 months). Crazy talk, I know. I wasn't prepared for that much mobility quite that quickly. She went to spend that weekend at my parents' house so Greg and I could celebrate our anniversary, which was Sept 30. When they brought her home that Sunday she was suddenly a walker! She had been taking steps since Father's Day, but not walking consistently. She hasn't slowed down since.

She may have taken to walking in a hurry, but talking is another story. She still won't give me a Mama or Greg a Daddy on a regular basis. She has the sounds, but doesn't associate the words with anything. She's given Greg a good Daddy once about a week ago at bedtime. That's about it. She does know the words and just recently started pointed out Mama, Daddy, grandparents, and assorted other family members in our picture book. She can point to all kinds of things I call out in our other books. But short of "bye bye," "ball" and the occasional "good job," nothing. Don't get me wrong, it's not something I worry about, just something I've noticed. I figure she'll be one of those kids who soaks it all in and starts spitting it back out in complete sentences when she's older.

Her birthday party this year was supposed to be a small informal gathering at my parents' house - and it was - but she was very sick with a high fever the entire day. Immediately after the party we took her to Urgent Care and discovered she had a nasty double ear infection. I don't think I've ever seen her so miserable. We decided to go ahead and have second party at home a week or so later with Sharonda, Victor, Jen, Rob and Addyson. She stayed well for that one and even got to smash her cake!

Christmas was great. We got to spend a lot of time with Aunt Misty and her cousin Randy, as well as the grandparents and other extended family. She really seemed to enjoy being with the family, which always makes me happy.

14 months was a game changer for us. As I learned from reading The Wonder Weeks, around 14-15 months kids usually go through a developmental spurt where they suddenly start displaying all kinds of new abilities that they've never had before. Poof. Almost overnight the second week of January I noticed she started playing differently, interacting differently, and communicating differently. She suddenly started going to the fridge when she wanted her milk, and wanting to reach in and get it (and sneak a couple of grapes) herself. She wanted to "help" with anything I did. She quit being such a good eater (sigh). She started enjoying interactions with other people more, even with the pup. She'll go over to him on the couch and hug him. Or chase him around the kitchen with her little broom. She tried to copy things I do sometimes. We play games in the car where she tried to copy sounds I make (or make me copy her). She really likes going ttthhhhhbbbbb. She's learned to hold my hand to walk to the mailbox or in parking lots. She will walk herself to the van and wait for me to put her in. I can tell her to go get me her shoes (or my shoes) and she does. I can tell her it's time to brush teeth and she runs to the bathroom. I can tell her to go put her paci back in the crib where it belongs and she'll run to her room and toss it in.

Which leads me to another thing. I'm kicking myself for not going through with Operation Paci Freedom before her first birthday. She wasn't that attached to it until she hit 14 months, now it's life or death at bedtime. My theory was it would be easier to take away later than her thumb would be if she started using that. Now I'm not so sure...

As I mentioned in my last post, she's finally started really enjoying being in her music class with other people. This semester she's started interacting with some of the other kids and the other adults. I really want to get her in a Mom's Morning Out, but the wait lists are ridiculous. I'm hoping for next fall. Maybe. We both need a little change of scenery every once in a while. I really think she gets a bit tired of hanging with me every day!

We go back to the doctor today, but not for her usual round of 15 months shots as originally scheduled. We'll be getting her lungs checked to see if the RSV is progressing. She seems to be coughing a little less, so let's hope she's getting better. Earlier in the week she hit the scales at 24 pounds, which isn't a whole lot of change from when she started walking. I would bet whenever we do get around to her regular check up we'll see some change in her height, though.

Ok, I'm sure I missed a thousand things, but that's the gist of what's going on. I don't think we'll need to do monthly progress reports at this point, maybe just highlights for the big ones. Hopefully I'll be keeping up a little better as we go and it won't be necessary! Thanks for hanging in there.


Tomorrow Kaycie will be 15 months old. Normally we would celebrate with something fun like lunch with daddy at Cane's. But not this month.

Yesterday's doc appointment revealed what I had feared. RSV. Kaycie is under quarrentine for at least a week.

We got permission to go ahead with our trip over the river and through the woods this weekend, provided she stays out of public, nobody there is sick ‚ and we keep her away from my Grandma, who is considered elderly. I figure at least it will be a different set of walls and people in the middle of our confinement.

The good thing is, today you wouldn't know she was sick until she actually coughed. She hasn't missed a beat. Chasing the pup around the house. Dancing. Helping with laundry. But when she does cough... I just want curl up in a ball. She sounds terrible.

I really hate that we are going to miss at least one if not two weeks of music class. Last week she really started enjoying the class as a social time and not just fun with mama. I hope we don't have to start over.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I downloaded a blogging app to my phone. Testing to see how well it works. This is what happens when I spend too much time in waiting rooms.

Had a gyn appointment this afternoon, so when my dentist told me I needed a filling I scheduled it for the same day so that Greg wouldn't have to take off more than once to hang with Kaycie. Brilliant, right?

Except I got my time confused and arrived at the dentist a solid hour early. Then right as they took me back Greg sent a text saying Kaycie, who has been sick for two weeks, was worse. Woke up coughing so bad she was crying. So in between numbing shots and changing drill bits I'm texting back and forth trying check on her and make sure Greg was able to get her an appointment at the clinic. We go at 4. My dentist is very patient as well as awesome.

And there is a zero percent chance I won't bite the daylights out of my lip before the numbness wears off.

So now I'm at the Women's Clinic waiting. I was 40 minutes early. Dr T is running so late that the nurse said thry hadn't been to lunch yet. It's 1:00. That's not a shock, she delivers babies on Tuesday's, just super bad timing.

Did I mention I left the house in such a hurry, thinking I was late when I was really n hour early, that I forgot to grab breakfast? Had time between appointments but can't chew for a couple of hours thanks to the filling.

Meanwhile my new blogging app just posted this before I was ready. Sigh. Excuse me while I go look for a new one. I have plenty of time.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I thought I'd take a moment here (mostly for my own reference) and make a note of a few bloggy resources I've found that have been uber-helpful to me as I navigate the world of parenting.

Ask Moxie

Back in the day when Kaycie was totally uncommunicative and I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on with her sleeping/eating/teething/etc., I would generally go to this site and search for posts on whatever was going on. The language is occasionally not family friendly, but the advice is usually quite good, whether it's from Moxie or in the comments from her readers. She often admits that she has no idea how to help somebody with a problem, but puts it out there for others to chime in. She also provided me with the motto that helped me survive the difficult sleeping periods - "Nobody has ever had to move to college with their kid to rock them to sleep every night. They will, eventually, learn to sleep." I can't tell you how many times I searched her sight for the phrase "sleep regression." I also picked up a couple of books recommended on her sight, such as The Wonder Weeks. This is my top pick for common sense approaches to parenting freak outs.

Rookie Moms

Rookie Moms is more activity related than problem solving. I didn't find it as useful, but I think it will be moreso as Kaycie gets older and more into structured activities. They've started a new series to challenge new moms to do a certain activity with their infant each week. I wish they'd had that series when Kaycie was itty bitty.

Wholesome Homemade Baby Food

Ok, that link isn't to their blog, but they do have one. This was my go-to site for feeding Kaycie when I started her on solids. It was actually pretty easy for me to make her baby food at home, and this had handy guides on what was safe to feed her at certain ages, as well as recipes for more interesting things to fix and methods for fixing it. Now that's she's grown out of "baby" food I've started following the Weelicious blog, but Wholesome Homemade Baby Food does have a toddler section, too.

Baby Cheapskate

Awesome resource for sales and deals on diapers, formula, clothes, and baby gear. They have a weekly post for best diaper and formula deals and a ton of posts all week about sales online and in-store for baby/toddler/kid and maternity wear as well as toys and baby gear as well as coupon codes, etc.

Goddess in Progress

This one isn't particularly geared toward taking questions or providing a resource, but I got hooked on it when Moxie linked to the post on the uber-swaddle, which saved my sanity when my child was a couple of months old. She has twins who are (I think) 4ish and one on the way, which makes her life way more interesting than mine.

Most of my recent finds are more activity related for toddlers. I found two main sites that linked to a whole lot of other sites, and I've added a ton to my feed reader in the past two weeks to follow and see which ones are most appropriate for what I'm looking for. Instead of listing all of those, I'll list the two main site:

1+1+1=1 (mostly the section called Tot School) and the related site Totally Tots. From these sites I have added a lot of blogs of moms who participate in the Tot School program. It's basically a more organized system of what Kaycie and I spend a lot of time doing, but has a lot of new ideas for developmental play. Since I really have no idea of what I types of skills she should be developing at this stage, I'm finding these resources extremely helpful. My favorite site from Tot School so far is Chasing Cheerios.

The other set of activity based blogs is from Play-Activities and Pink and Green Mama. A lot of their stuff is going to be too advanced for Kaycie for a while, but I like getting a look at what's ahead!

I found some of these sites through the Raising Playful Tots Index, which lists a ton of useful, educational sites. Several of the blogs I'm following now are Montessori based, which I find interesting and hope to learn more about if I can ever find some of the books I'm looking for. I have no intention of going all strict-Montessori on my kid, but the ideas and concepts look challenging and I think some of it could be incorporated into our fun time!

Ok, I think that covers most of what I've been reading online lately, other than a big list of photography and food related blogs! I doubt if those will be very helpful to anybody but me at this point, but at least I now have a list for myself.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Have I Done?

This seems crazy. Even for me. But my Nikon D40 has gone wonky over the past few months. Really wonky. And I take pictures every day. Literally. I'm doing a 365 project this year where I'm taking at least one picture a day as a way to improve my photography and an excuse to take random pictures of things that aren't my child. I have been trying different things to fix it but nothing was working. The D40 is pretty "old" in terms of technology (I bought it on closeout when it was discontinued 2 years ago, it had been in the market for several years before that) so Greg finally convinced me to give up on fixing it and just upgrade. So I did. After much internal debate, I switched to a Canon. I'll have to replace one lens and my remote, but I don't think it'll be that big of an extra expense in the long run. The lenses on the Canon are generally cheaper than the Nikkor lenses anyway. But that's neither here nor there.

Today was gorgeous. After a week of total nastiness, the sun came out, the temp warmed up, and I had a Superbowl related errand to run. So I threw my camera in the car, make quick work of a trip to Walgreens, then hit a couple of photographic spots on the way home to give the T1i a test drive.

I should say up front that when I started this project I did invest in Photoshop Elements software and I did throw a few basic edits on these, but I'm not really talented enough to do anything intensive. I'd like the flag picture better if the cloud wasn't behind it. That one will probably get retaken at some point during my project. The fountain is my picture of the day for today. I loved the sparklies from the sun. The last one is a marble globe on campus at MC. It seems like a great photographic subject until you realize it's totally reflective so every picture is a self portrait. And it's scratched up pretty bad anyway. But I liked this shot. I didn't even crop it, just toned down the light some (the sun was BRIGHT today).

I think I'm going to like my new camera. I'll like it a lot more when I get another prime lens to go on the end of it. I've been spoiled by my Nikkor 35mm/f1.8 AF-S. It makes gorgeous portrait and bokeh shots. Going to get a 50mm/1.8 for the Canon, but not today.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I won't lie, this week has been challenging. I convinced myself last night that today would be a better day, then went to bed.

The pup woke me up at 4am. I couldn't get back to sleep until right before Greg's alarm went off, before 7. Kaycie was up before 8, coughing worse than she was yesterday.

I knew that with the pending blizzardpallooza, which is more likely to contain ice than snow, I need to go ahead and run my Friday errands today. Kaycie seemed to know I was in a hurry and it took us FOREVER to get out of the house. Without my gloves. And my gas tank was sitting on empty.

Gas - check. Bank to get my weekly cash - check. Walmart - groan. We made it through. Kaycie was not a happy camper and I realized after we started shopping that the seat belt clip on the baby seat was broken. Grreeeaaaat. My little escape artist would NEVER crawl out of the buggy. I don't even want to talk about the rest of the trip to Walmart. Or the total meltdown she had while waiting in line, in the car, and continued after we got home.

I finally got Kaycie down for a nap, which is already 10 minutes more nap than she got yesterday. The child is inconsolable when she doesn't get a good nap. I need to come up with something fun to do this afternoon, as it is waaaay to cold to be outside and we will both have a better day if she is entertained! Perhaps I will go make some playdough.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wait For It...

What? You thought I'd return to blogging without some pictures of my baby girl? Crazy talk.

Helping unload the dishwasher. (Notice the only silverware left is HER spoons. Those always come out last, after a bit of reorganizing.)

We started a new semester of Kindermusik, which is FUN. Kaycie likes to play the drum.

And finally, my baby girl has been sick with the ickies for a week and today we went to the doc for better meds. Thankfully just an upper respiratory thing. She was coughing so bad last night I was starting to worry about RSV. Doc said she'd seen a whole lot of it today, so hopefully we didn't bring it home! (Ignore the bruises on her face. I promise we haven't been beating her. And she's actually added a couple more since I took this. Sigh.)

La Dee Da Dee Da

So this is the post where I pretend I haven't abandoned my blog since October and just keep moving like nothing ever happened...

So I'm thinking about moving my blog to WordPress. I've messed around with it a bit and it offers a lot more flexibility but it can be more complicated as well. (Although If I'm only going to post once every 4 months, I guess it won't matter...)

My baby girl has become the biggest helper ever. She helps unload the dishwasher. She wants to do it two or three times a day. Even when it's empty. Or half full of dirty dishes. She wants to load and unload the washer and dryer. By putting dirty clothes in the dryer and clean clothes in the washer. She wants to help fold the laundry too, by unfolding things and tossing them back in the basket. She has her own little broom and likes to sweep. I wish I could get some of her silliness on video but the nanosecond I pick up the video camera she moves like metal to a magnet. But she's such a sweet girl, I adore her even when she's making me crazy.

I need some suggestions for developmental toys. Preferably of the inexpensive variety. This is the problem with having her birthday and Christmas so close together. She got some great stuff for both, then had a big developmental growth spurt the minute she turned 14 months and POOF, she's doing all new things I never saw coming. If I had realized what all she'd be doing by mid-January, I would have shopped differently for the holidays. Next year I'll know better. Meanwhile she LOVES playing outside and LOVES being challenged more and requires more structured play much of the time. Over the weekend I did some researched and subscribed to 8 or 9 new blogs (685 new posts...) related to developmental activities for little folks. I got some cool ideas and have an idea about some things to plan in advance, but I have to start looking for more new stuff for her to play with!

Along those same lines, I need new travel toys. Before March 17. We're taking another trip. Because driving to Orlando wasn't nutty enough, we just can't stand NOT to make the trip to visit Kaycie's pet Lauren in South Carolina ASAP, which turns out to be St. Paddy's weekend. I cannot wait to get there! Not so excited about the 10 hour drive. But we've done it once, we can do it again. I just can't find any fun (new) travel toys that might keep Kaycie's interest more than 2.5 minutes. Why can't my kid watch TV like every other toddler on Earth?

Ok, more catching up to come later this week. We're sorta getting into a better routine so maybe I can seriously post more. I won't lie, the holidays were not a good time for me. I had some good days, and had some really, really, really bad days. The holidays have always been like that, but add a growing baby girl in the mix and blogging just wasn't on my radar. January gradually got better, so hopefully we're back on track. Tomorrow I get to go meet baby Maggie, who was born in November, and Thursday I've got a lunch date with one of my BFF's that, weather permitting, will result in some photography opportunities. Looking forward to the rest of my week!