Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Hungarian Goose Down. Vintage European linens. Oh so soft. Heaven.


It's contagious.

You just can't help but smile.

They are so lucky to have one another.

I remind myself of this at least 20 times a day when they are stealing toys, tackling each other, and shrieking until my head hurts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I love hats.

I love hats.

They just look so stinkin cute in them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

What's not to love about an afternoon at the pool? On the last Sunday of the pool season. When you have the pool all to yourself.

And ducks. To squirt mommy and her camera. Good thing he generally has bad aim...

And Connor swimming by himself to sneak up on them and spring a surprise attack in retaliation while they were refueling.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Playing with the train

The boys ran straight to the train table. They were so excited.

Connor was hesitant to touch it. Ryan had no such compunction. He grabbed his train and was off to the races. They played with it all morning. We had to force them to stop to come eat breakfast. And when it was over they were right back at it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Parameter 2

It sounded like a good idea at the time. With a name like "increases vibrance." Where could you go wrong?

Now I know.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Train table

Kevin: Like the boys really needed another toy.
Brandi: Yes. They did.
Kevin: And one that takes up half the living room.
Brandi: Well, actually it will be half the dining room. Speaking of which, I am glad you are here... You can help me move this stuff so there will be room for the train table in here.
Kevin: And where's this stuff going?
Brandi: Upstairs.
Kevin: And let me guess, I going to be the one who has to carry it all up there?

[After 8 years he is starting to catch on...]

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I am not indecisive. I am just visual. And tactile. And dimensions are a hard thing to get a grasp of over the internet. Even harder when you have a camera. With a lens. And you want to know if it "fits." Sure the specs seem to indicate it "fits." But then it doesn't. And then you have to get a bigger one. But how much bigger??

And for the record, the smaller one is too small. The middle one holds the camera and the lens, just not while they are attached to one another. And the big one? It holds it all. And the kitchen sink. But wow that's heavy. I think I am keeping the middle one. But I have until the UPS man gets here to decide...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Picture Day

It was picture day at school today. I thought since they were already "dressed up" for fall pictures that we might as well see if we could get a picture or two with one of our pumpkins.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going Manual

It's daunting. That big M on the camera dial. M for Manual. ME telling the camera what to do. Like I know best. HA!!

But I made the leap. And I have to say... the results aren't half bad.

GIANT Pumpkins

I couldn't help myself. I saw giant pumpkins at Sams this weekend. I had to bring a couple home with me much to Kevin's chagrin.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A little light

The boys and I went to the store today to return some bath rugs. We came home with under cabinet lights which were surprisingly easy to install.

Now if only the rest of the counter tops were this clutter free....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's more than a pile of toys.

The boys helped me pick up every single toy in the living room today. Yes, it was an arduous task. And yes, I could have been done in 1/10th of the time had I just done it myself. But this is more than a pile of toys.

It's a start. A start to a better routine. One I hope we will continue for a long, long time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Aperature Practice

Took the opportunity to quickly try out a couple of aperature priority shots outside today before I went to get the boys.

Oh how I wish that these priority modes adjusted ISO and exposure, too.

Because I am really, really bad at realizing that I need to adjust them before I get back inside to a whole CF card full of dark pictures. The good news though is that I think all of it finally clicked tonight as I went back through the pictures and could see where some things were too high and others were too low and I *think* I now know how to fix it...

Certainly the indoor pictures I took came out better than they had previously.

There's still not quite enough light, but at least I am figuring out where/when to adjust things to the right levels to make IMHO dramatic improvements.

Aperature Homework

This week's lesson is on aperatures.

I will probably never get the whole open, closed, little number, big number concept down enough to have a coherent discussion as I just don't have enough brain cells to dedicate to it at the moment (need more sleep!!), but I have been experimenting and definately see the potential here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Notes from School

Notes I found in the boys backpacks tonight when we got home from school.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Homework

Sheesh - it's like I am back in school again with all the homework. Only I don't recall school being this much fun back then.

As a bonus lesson we got a short technique lesson on panning. Thank goodness I picked a subject who didn't mind repeating that same motion a few (million) times as it took a while to get a picture that wasn't extremely blurry. I think I mentioned at one point or another that my hand may not be as steady as I thought??

In panning you essentially choose a longer exposure (Tv like 1/15 or 1/20) and "follow" a moving object until the shutter closes. The goal being to have the main part of the image be in focus, and the background/surroudnings show the motion or something along those lines. Sounds easy enough... right?? :)

I also remembered to bump up my ISO this time around so that the pictures weren't pitch black given that I was shooting indoors. At night. UNDER the dining room table. Don't ask. You really don't want to know.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why I take pictures

I am such a goober sometimes. I was sitting here today and couldn't for the life of me remember what I did on Sunday. It might have something to do with that constantly reliving that totally embarrassing conference call over and over in my head where I rattled on at 110 MPH. I have no idea what came over me. My mind however just keeps it on repeat so I have this constant urge to just put a giant L on my head (LOSER) and am having a bit of a hard getting it to switch tracks and do something useful. Like remember Sunday. It is also embarrassingly focused on the deputy constable who showed up at my door (I thought he was the UPS man) because of a 911 hang up call. The only plausible explanation I could come up with is that is what happened when I was trying to call in to the ill fated conference call and I didn't have a dial-tone and couldn't for the life of me figure out why. And OMG, seeing my house through someone else's eyes has given me all new motivation for cleaning all this crap up. Tomorrow. When I have more energy. Uh, huh...

I did persuade it to cough up Saturday. Saturday I drove to Winnie for 2nd Monday. It was a complete and total bust. With the exception of the food. It's nothing like Canton. The food on the other hand was delicious. There were all kinds of cajun dishes I would have had to try had I stayed more than just an hour. Like the crawfish etouffe that was calling my name. I seriously debated asking them for a sample taste like I did with clam chowder in San Francisco. And the shrimp and crawfish pistolettes that I had no idea what were. But I just couldn't pass up the sugar glazed pork kabobs. They were YUMMY.

So I pretty much drove there, looked for an hour (did I mention it was HOT?), grabbed my pork kabob and then turned around and drove back. As I came into town I decided to make a stop at IKEA where as usual I spent far longer than I intended. Then I caught up with the boys at the Little Gym party. Afterwards we were invited to dinner by one of Ryan's friends' parents. For some reason I can't explain in the least Connor went bezerk and just wouldn't sit down. But overall it was a nice dinner (thanks in great part to the prepared mom for bringing a gazillion train toys and cars for the kids to play with) and I am glad we got to know the other kids' parents a little better.

Sunday? Yeah. Still a total blank. Though I recall Kevin left on Sunday (mostly because he's still gone and the kids made a giant mess at breakfast which I lamented over having to clean up). So it really cracked me up when I opened my trunk to put groceries in and noticed the remnants of the Sunday I couldn't remember. I do now vaguely recall that I went shopping at the dollar store and might have bought a thing or two. Uh, huh.

This is why I take pictures. To remember.
I also found this on the camera when I was downloading the pictures from Sunday.

Apparently I have a bit of a plaid fettish. And I do vaguely recall a trip to Target Sunday evening though I couldn't for the life of me tell you what I was looking for. And I have the urge to explain that the shoes run small. Because I usually wear an 8, not a 9. And yes, I NEEDED more flip flops. That's my story and I am sticking to it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why the boys love my new car

It is getting a little more real every day... The boys have fallen hook line and sinker for the new car. I am not saying that the DVD player is totally responsible for the "I want to go in Mommy's car!!!!" attitude, but being able to watch Lightning McQueen and Toy Story sure doesn't hurt. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Since I had a meeting at the crack of dawn today I had time this afternoon head home a little early to work on my homework before I had to go pick up the kids. I am taking an online photography class. And this is the first week. I have high hopes that it will teach me practical ways to use my DLSR.

This week's lesson was on shutter speeds. So I took pictures of the fountain at the duck pond, bubbles, and every other water features in a 2 mile radius. :) And in fact I learned quite a lot. Like what the Tv setting on my camera means. It stands for time value, by the way. I also learned:

- If I use shutter priority over 1/250 the photos start getting a little dark. I am guessing that means time to bump up the ISO...
- I see noticeably nice flow/blur at 1/40 in things like water. 1/4 seems to be my sweet spot for dreamy waterfall pics.
- I shake like a leaf. A tripod is required for anything below 1/40.
- You can go too low in shutter priority which results in totally white/washed out pictures. There is such a thing as too much light. Who knew?
- 1/400 seems to be the sweet spot for freezing action in flight (if you remember to bump up the ISO).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Take a Picture of My Car, Mommy!

I was snapping some pictures of my new car today. Ryan wanted me to take a picture of his car, too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

We helped Kevin's dad celebrate his birthday tonight. Though "helped" might have been a slight overstatement. The boys were a handful tonight. I have no idea what got into them. But I hope it has been thoroughly exorcised...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A New Car

I picked up my new car today. In the rain. I can't explain it, but it just doesn't seem quite real yet.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010


Because what kid wouldn't want to see 20 ft tall dinosaurs whose eyes track your every move, and whose heads follow you around while growling ferociously?

That would be Ryan who was wide eyed and terrorized by even the small herbivores. Connor on the other hand "ROAR"ed back at them and eagerly dragged me from one terrifying monster to the next. Twice.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Learning to fly

It's terrifying when your heart insists on climbing up to the highest point it can get to while still obeying the laws of gravity. With no fear. Above the tree tops. Out of arms reach. Nearing treacherous falls at every turn. All while laughing merrily and going as fast as it's little legs can carry it.

I know it's all part of the letting go that I will have to do sometime. I just wish they could wait just a little bit longer before spreading their wings quite so far and wide.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Work In Progress

It's a work in progress. It is slow going. And of course it is always worse before it gets better. And HOT. Who decided that the 1st of September in 100 degree weather was a good time to work out in a hot garage in the middle of the afternoon? Oh, yeah... This was my bright idea...

Friday, September 3, 2010


I am ashamed to say that it started on their 1st birthday. We "temporarily" relocated some things to the garage to make room for the masses. Then their birthday came along and before we knew it a whole host of new outdoor toys took up residence. Before long we could no longer get a car in. Months passed and we were both lazy, and too exhausted from chasing two toddlers eager to try out their new running skills (in opposite directions of course) to take the time when they were asleep to do anything about it. Though things have come and gone and it has gone through varying stages of organization and cleaning it has finally reached rock bottom and it's time. Time to clean it out once and for all. Time to restore order and function.

Wish us luck! We are definitely going to need it...

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Yes, more shelves. Plural. I say more, because if you had seen our garage you would be amazed that there could be room for more. For when we moved into this house you would think we shopped at a wholesale warehouse or something as we had already filled it practically wall to wall with shelves. 6 similar to these, and 1 mammoth rack if I remember correctly. But even with the spring cleaning to come I think we will need more storage space. Kids I have learned, can amass quite the collection of toys, outdoor, or otherwise.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Something Brown

Something brown?? We have to fill this thing with something brown?? It turns out there is a lot more brown than I realized. From horses to cows, fences and shoes, paper bags and lions manes, pennies, rocks, pincones, branches, and leaves just to name a few. Bunny rabbits, dionsaurs, teddy bears, and footballs, too.
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