Thursday, February 28, 2008

Leap Year

Since it only happens once every four years I decided to send a real, snail-mail Happy Leap Year postcard to some of my pals.
I thought these photos I shot at the orchid show last year would be fun.

I forget which story book these characters were from, but I came across them the other day and realized I'd never done anything with them, not even so much as made a print.
Now they will be my Leap Year Postcards.

Why don't you find a favorite photo of yours and surprise someone with a real live piece of mail?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Life is Just so Daily

Necessary for me DAILY:
Another necessity - read directions before laundering.
Ah, what the heck. I'm done with snow for this year anyway (and vinyl tablecloths).

Monday, February 25, 2008


I didn't feel like venturing far today for my daily photo, so I stayed in my backyard. Looking around on the deck, this struck me as funny. Do you think it might confuse the squirrels and birds as to what season this household thinks it is? I mean, we have beach chairs surrounded by a pile of fall leaves with the remains of this week's ice/snow slowly melting nearby. The backyard chores were definetly neglected this fall. Anyway, I thought I'd call this one "Three Seasons". Then peeking around the back corner of the house I saw my infant dogwood tree, bravely holding it's own through the last two winters of ice and snow. The poor hose stand was straining against the weight of the hose we didn't put away. What a pitiful sight.
I came in and pulled out my garden books. I have great plans for the backyard this year. In addition to "Wonderland" (the kid's special area) I am going to put my green gloves on and have a showplace out here this spring.
I'm ready for it.
Just looking at the seed catalogs and garden photos has a way of taking the gray right out of the day.
I promise I will post photos.
Now I am committed. (Maybe that should read "I should be committed.")

One more thing to look forward to beginning in March.
Cathy Z. has this great idea on her blog. I'm going to play along.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday morning

Things were pretty busy here after church this morning. Thanks to Grandpa Glen the kids were buzzing from a sugar high on the huge donuts he let them pick out. Just when things were getting wild the Gustapo Mamma came in to collect the little ones. She has a way of getting them to settle down with just one look. I used to have that look. It doesn't work anymore when you become a grandmother, I have found out.
So I saw that Linz is looking quite like the mamma-to-be now and I wanted to start taking some photos because I got those "9 month" 7 gypsies stickers and need to use them. She didn't want me to take pics of her tummy because she thinks it just looks like fat right now. Of course I didn't listen to that. Peyton ran over to his mamma to shield her tummy from the camera. It was even better than I could have asked for. See him holding the 4 fingers for 4 months? This will be the perfect shot to start the book. After her dad told her how pretty she looked she finally gave me this smile.
The boy wanted to get into the act. He's into graphic t-shirts these days. They are perfect for his personality.
Then we move over to little miss "ooh la la". That's her new nickname because she is liking all things French now, like her favorite book character, Fancy Nancy.
Since they were so good this morning I pulled out my new Flip Camera and told them they could make a commercial. Chloe grabbed her DS to be the spokeswoman, Peyton took over the camera. He was born to be a director. Wish I could figure out how to get the video on here so you could see how brilliant they were!

Off to work on the nursery. Wallpaper to be torn down, walls to prime.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Birthday fun and SNL

Just a little collage of last night's celebration for Abby's birthday. She made Joey promise that she wouldn't have to wear the sombrero. As you can see we totally ignored her wishes. We wanted the free shot of tequilla!
We all had a great time. Little Drew was sooo good! We tried to bring him home with us for the night but his momma wasn't quite ready for that yet. Abby got some pretty diamond earrings from her hubby, but I think she really liked the giant chocolate bar that I got for her.
Chloe and Drew enjoying the celebration.
Tonight was project night. My pals found me hiding out in my craft room and made themselves cozy. After we got out the supplies that they needed they got to work making Samuri's. Where do their ideas come from? Here they are hard at work........
...and look at the masterpieces they created! Aren't they the best little artists?

Happy Birthday to Libby too! She turned 7 on Thursday.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar moon and birthdays

photo credit Sun Earth Moon, originally uploaded by soulebro.

Did you see the lunar eclipse last night? I couldn't get a clear shot of it but found this on Soule Mama's wonderful blog. What a great shot! If you view it on Flickr you will see the progression.

We are home on a snow day. Ice, sleet and snow. It's a good day to stay in and catch up on some reading. My favorite sales associate at B&N remarked the other day that I must be a very fast reader. HA! I buy them, bring them home and here they sit. Last week I bought three Jane Austen novels for my mom to read. After watching the movie "Becoming Jane" (2 star rating here) and "The Jane Austin Book Club" (5 star rating here) she mentioned that she had never read any of her books. The first one she picked up came with the realization that her mother had read this book and taken the name of the main character for her! She said told me that her mom had gotten the name and different spelling from a book she had read. Turns out it was "Pride and Predjudice" Now she can't put the book down. It almost feels like my grandmother has joined us for a little while.

Tomorrow would have been her (my grandma's) 100th birthday. I will bake a cherry pie in her honor. Tomorrow is also our Abby's birthday. I will make HER a chocolate cake, because she is one of us (chocolate lovers).

Hope you are staying warm and safe.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Plan to have Fun

Joey called me today. He told me to check my email because he was sending me some photos of the ski trip he & Abby along with her cousins, Jill and Lisa, went on last week. As I was looking at them I came across one that just cracked me up. Here it is: Joe the PLANNER. You see him there, holding that map on the slopes? No wrong turns for this guy! When they came home from their honeymoon he was telling us the schedule of their days...Abby added, "Only Joe & I would have a schedule on our honeymoon!"
Anyway, here are a couple more from (I think) Lisa's collection of photos.Joe & Abby looking good in their new ski jackets.
OH NO! He's got Abby in on a planning session!
Looks like all that map reading wore somebody out.
Jill and Lisa, kicked back and relaxed.
See Joe? This is what it looks like.

Glad you guys are back.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Couple of Characters

This idea was planted by my friend, Gayla a while back. I had forgotten about it until today when the kids were watching a Spongebob marathon. I told them they were going to turn into Spongebob. Then I remembered. Got some cardstock, scissors and a sharpie.
They thought this was hysterical. Their giggling will last me the rest of the week.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hot Property

Let me start by saying that I am (now) a law-abiding citizen. I would never even think of stealing so much as a grape from the grocery store, and never let my kids eat anything while shopping until it was paid for.
That being said, I was sitting in my dining room this morning and happened to glance at this old wooden courthouse bench. I love this bench. It has a story (well, probably many stories) to tell. Here is mine.

My dad worked in the circuit attorney's office for years. If you mentioned anyone's name or wanted to find something he knew who they were and where to get what you wanted.
One day I mentioned that I would like a wooden bench for my dining room to sit beneath a large window. He knew where they had some old benches stored from a remodel at the city courthouse. He called me the following Monday and told me that it was okay to come downtown and pick up one of the benches. He had gotten permission to take one and all I had to do was to pick it up. I loaded up my three little kids in my big conversion van and drove downtown to get that bench. Was I ever excited! I arrived a little past noon and drove around the three city blocks that surrounded the courthouse. No parking spots were available where my dad told me to meet him.
Finally I spotted an opening and managed to parallel park my big van close to the spot I was told. I got the kids out and went up to my dad's office. After a short visit with his co-workers we went to the storage room and carried the bench to the freight elevator and started outside with it, kids following behind. Since I was the one walking backwards, my dad spotted the fiasco before me, but Joey said "The police are at our van!" My dad put the bench down and started over to them, sternly asking me as he walked by "Didn't you see the sign there that says "Parking for Judges Only"? CRAP! I had blocked the entrance to the judges underground garage entrance AND had a courthouse bench in my hands. CRAP! Did my dad really have permission to take this bench? Would I be accused of stealing city property? Was I going to go to jail? What would they do with my little kids? CRAP! And was my dad ever mad at me for parking there! That was the worst part. I didn't like it when my dad was mad, especially at me.
I told the kids to sit on the bench and I ran over with my keys. By that time my dad had the policeman putting his ticket book away, the tow call was cancelled and the judge who was blocked reached out his hand to me, joked about being late for court and waved to my kids.
I looked at my dad, who told me to get in the van with the kids while a couple of police officers loaded the bench into my vehicle.
Whew! I was free to go. That was a close call, or so I thought. When I got home he called to see if we made it okay and told me he'd be by after work to help me get the bench in the house.
Good. He wasn't mad at me.

Anyway, I thought of that when I was looking at my bench today. I do smile about it now when I think of that day. Oh, yeah, and I always pay attention to where I park whenever I am near a courthouse.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Back in Time

Boy does this snow donut take me back. We had a shower of sleet yesterday that left an icy frosting on the ground, just perfect for doing donuts!
All of a sudden I was in the competition blue, fast-back Mustang Mach I, driving a-round, without a care in the world. Seventeen, sassy, in love, and not afraid of a little danger. Nothing at all like the responsible adult I am today. Older, caretaker, worrier, cautious, driving slowly in four wheel drive so I won't so much as slide an inch on the road.
I don't know what came over me, but all of a sudden I wanted to show Chloe what a snow donut was. Of course, I wasn't as wreckless as I used to be many years ago but never the less, there are just some things I think these little kids should know. She didn't want me to go too fast. She is cautious, but not afraid. She did think the pattern in the snow was cool and then wanted to know if I could make a "number 7".

No, Chloe, snow donuts are round. REAL snow donuts dont's have the tidy lines as this one does. REAL snow donuts have fishtail marks (a round of questions for that explanation).
REAL snow donuts are definetly in the past and will be kept there.
But it was fun for a brief moment today.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ooh la la and Ho Ho Ho!

I am soooo excited that my very favorite French Gourmet Bakery & Cafe has relocated practically within walking distance from my house! I've been there four times in the past week, lunching and indulging. Time to take a little break, but in the meantime, how delicious does this Macaroon look? Let me tell you, it is melt-in-your-mouth good! While I was in the other room eating the prop for today's photo, a little elf was busy working her magic on her eleventh hand-made Christmas stocking.
She is glad that she has more than one month (last time frame for Gracie's) to get this one finished. This one is for Baby Bozo, who is due to join our family the end of July. Being of that generation that worries about having everything done not only on time, but way ahead of schedule there's no doubt that this will be hanging on the mantle this holiday season.
Can you guess who the main character is on this one?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What made you smile today?

If you answered, "Nothing made me smile today," then this should do it.

This is the sweet, cuddly baby I shared with you a few weeks ago. Little Nicholas was 4 months old yesterday. Calling him cute just doesn't cut it.

Peyton and Chloe got to meet him yesterday. They fell in love with him and asked me if his mom and dad could go somewhere so we could babysit him. I think I'll ask.

Had a wonderful weekend. Spent Saturday morning shooting photos, then went bumming all day with my mom, sister and my two little buddies. They LOVE eating shrimp at Joe's Crab Shack so I made them close their eyes in the car right before we got there to surprise them. They were so much fun this weekend. Sitting in church with them on either side of me this morning I thought that I was about the luckiest Grandma in the whole world to have these little bookends flanking me.

I have a lot to smile about.

I hope you do too.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Recycled Love

Peyton and Chloe wanted to know why I save glass jars. I told them that they could be used for storing things. I remember my grandpa's homemade contraption with baby food jar lids nailed to this spinner thing and the jars would screw off to get whatever contents they held. I always liked playing with that thing. Today baby food comes in plastic containers. What fun is that?
This year I decided to put those jars to use for the Valentine's candy treats I give out. I think it looks real pretty in the glass jars. A little paint on those lids (waiting for a nice day to spray paint outside), some red silk ribbon and a few hearts.....they will be charming gifts. Besides it's the thought that counts and my little kiddies love candy and are really adamant about recycling and conserving energy. They will appreciate this. (I'm just hoping that the Snickers don't taste like pickles.) Above is the shot straight from the camera. Below is the shot tweeked in Photoshop with a vignette. Couldn't decide which I liked better.
Here is Chloe working hard on those Valentine's day cards she made. She has spent four evenings working on these and did them all by herself. Next comes the "mailbox". Will get that done this weekend.
What did YOU recycle today?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hail Storm and Indulgence

We have been having the strangest weather here in the midwest. Yesterday it was so warm for February - up in the low 70's. Today it was gray, dreary, and cold. Out of nowhere this afternoon we had little pockets of hail storms. Of course I was parked in one of those pockets. When I left work at 4pm it looked like someone dumped a giant slushie on my car. These little ice pellets are strange. They don't melt very fast so they rode all the way home with me. I pulled into the garage and snapped this shot of what was left on my windshield.
It's been a wierd week for things on my windshield. Did I mention about the giant hawk on my car last Saturday? Apparently he was having lunch up there and my windshield was covered in (ick!) bird feathers!

Today is Fat Tuesday which is the day of indulgence. I have been waiting for this movie to come out on DVD and it made it's debut today. I got the last copy at Target tonight so I plan on staying up late, eating a big bag of peanut M&M's and watching this:

EDIT: This movie was really, really good! The singers had incredible voices! Thoroughly enjoyed watching this.

Tomorrow I will fast, reflect, and pray.
Tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of my dad's death.
After attending mass, I will go say some prayers at his graveside.
My dad read Bible stories to me and my sister. I owe a lot of my upbringing and Christian faith to him. He always made sure we knew right from wrong. He always led by example. He was a good man. I try to be like him and teach my kids to be like him.
Tomorrow I will say some prayers and remember my dad. I will try harder to be more like him.
That is my lenten promise.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lovely Gift

My kids and G surprised me with this Pandora bracelet for my birthday last month.
I had bought one for my mom when she was sick and they knew how much I liked it so they got this one for me. Today my friend, Sandy, came over and we went to get her some batteries for her baggie full of watches. While we were waiting I picked out a couple new charms.
Here's the story (if you care to know).
The cross represents my faith in God.
The mother-of-pearl hearts represents my love for my family.
The little doggie is for my dog, Murphy.
Beaded spacer I got for Abby because she filled a space in our family I didn't even realize was there.
Spiral snap clasp for Amy, because she is a whirlwind.
Cell phone, for Joey - whom I used to talk to daily.
Breast cancer charm, from my mom, because the purchase price is donated to research.
Little boy, for my pal, Peyton.
Silver puffy heart, from Glen.
Little girl, for my sugar bean, Chloe.
Starburst snap clasp for Lindsay, because she is always watching over all of us.
Hen - for the mamma who used to lead her little pack in a line like little chicks.
Harlequin is for Jeff. It is the strength he needs to keep up with Lindsay.
Sea Shell for my love of the ocean's calming effect on my soul.
Owl, from my dear friend, Sandy, represents our history.
Garnet is my birthstone and I love red.

I have always loved charm braclets but this is my favorite so far.
If anyone of my kids is reading this, you did real good with the bd gift this year.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I've also been busy setting up a website for the O'Fallon Photo Club, which I co-founded in 2003.
It's just in it's beginning stages, but if you'd like to take a look you can see it here.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Another one of my "rules"

Hey, all I was doing was telling these two what Mardi Gras was all about and the story behind the King Cake (as told by my friend Pierre at the French Gourmet Bakery). In following with tradition the oldest person at the table gets the first piece of cake and the beads go to the youngest people. Grandpa said "Grandma sure has a lot of rules". Peyton agreed. So Chloe got two strands of beads and Peyton only got one. But he looked at me with those big brown eyes and was the winner of the firework decoration. Chloe got baby Jesus with the crown.
Happy Mardi Gras!
Off to watch Mary Poppins with my little buddies.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Northern Exposure

I used to love a show "Northern Exposure". It was set in Alaska and I always thought it would be cool to live there. Not only for the small town atmosphere, but for the beautiful snow they always seemed to have. I love the snow. Yesterday it wasn't much fun driving around in it. Actually I had a little incident, loosing control of Big Bertha IN 4 wheel drive. Scary. Anyway, today I stayed home until I was sure all roads were cleared and didn't venture out until after 4pm. Before doing that though, I wanted to get a couple of shots out in the snow. I went out back and started shooting. I was in aperature priority and it was still blown out. So I finally braved it and went into full manual. First time ever with this new camera (which actually I've had for about 8 months). All of a sudden I LOVE this camera! This is how I learned to shoot and why I thought for one second that some fancy camera was smarter than me I'll never know. What was I thinking?
Here's an example of what I'm talking about and the little experiment I did today.
Shot #1: Snow Fairy in the Birdbath was shot using aperature priority (which means I set the aperature and the "smart" camera selects the shutter speed). Snow is always tricky anyway, so I will forgive the "smart" camera just a little teeny tiny bit. Anyway, as you can see below this is way overexposed, as I saw in my LCD (or whatever that little viewing screen is called). Switching to MANUAL mode, I set the ISO, shutter speed, and aperature here's what I got:
Snow Fairy in the Birdbath #2.
Much better, huh? You can see the contrast and the shadows of the tree on the snow. That is what caught my eye in the first place. The "smart" camera didn't see that.

Step down one more notch, add a vignette (an engraving, drawing, photograph, or the like that is shaded off gradually at the edges so as to leave no definite line at the border) and liking it better. But I really wanted to see more detail in the fairy. Snow Fairy in the Birdbath
It is showing up a little darker here than the print. It's so pretty irl.

So today I realized that sometimes technology isn't really as smart as the human.

Have a great weekend!