Thursday, March 31, 2011

morning, noon, night: 1 and a surprise!

I saw a great idea on the beauty that moves blog. She took pics in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night for 10 days (at least - maybe she'll do more?? I hope so!). Now, this woman takes gorgeous pics that I could only dream of taking, but since I am on a quest to learn the ins and outs of my new camera (and it doesn't hurt that I love to photograph :), I have decided to do the same project.

Yesterday, I set out on my adventure and this is what I found:

I have a lot of work to do in figuring out the lighting issues, but hopefully after taking pics three times a day for 10 days I'll figure it out, eh?.

.....And, since I finally have pics of them together, I'll tell you my news: Amber is engaged!

She met Tino at Josh & Karen's wedding when Tino was one of Josh's groomsmen. They dated for a little while and broke up.

Amber pined over Tino for over a year, and in November they started dating again. They got engaged a couple of days after Valentine's Day.

They are thinking of getting married on September 3rd, but still haven't picked a location yet, so things might change. I'll keep you updated :)

They really are cute together, don't you think?

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

so tired

Which is different than sleepy, I've heard, though I don't believe it.

I took Michael to the doctor today. He has an ear infection. I'm so happy to finally have some medication for him. Poor, sweet little guy. Tonight, I'm hoping that there will be some sleep going here!

The cable guy came today, after reporting to us that there was a problem with our internet yesterday. The problem? Our internet connection is too fast. Yes, you did read that right. Does it make you scratch your head too?

My kids' school has a Silent Auction that I volunteer to do advertising for every year. It is on Thursday and Friday. I hope it goes great! (And I'm also glad that it is almost done for another year!)

And.... oh yeah. That is a secret yet to be told. Hopefully after tomorrow I'll have pics for that show and tell post. :)

How about you? How's it goin' in your neck of the woods? Is winter gone and spring intact? Or are you having bouts of random snow where you are too? Enquiring minds want to know! :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

about Heritage Makers / more about the etsy shop

I'm loving the idea of selling my prints. I've been thinking about it all day, in fact.

Last year, if you remember, I set up an etsy shop with high hopes. It was right around the time that the company Steve worked for was bought out by Heritage Makers. If you haven't ever looked at, or heard of, Heritage Makers, click by their site and take a look. If you are a scrap-booky person, I think you'll love it. If you are an artist and want to put your picture on a beautifully wrapped canvas, I think you'll love it. In fact, even if you just like to *look* at beautiful pictures, I think you'll love it!

This year, my mind has married the two ideas: an etsy shop filled with Heritage Makers's canvases and prints = an easy-shopping online store paired up with quality and beauty. What could be better?!

Now, wrapped canvases *are* expensive. Heritage Makers sells their 8" x 8" wrapped canvases for $35, and that is also the least expensive price I saw some go for on etsy. I haven't decided my price yet, but it won't be below $35 for a wrapped canvas.

BUT, I want to make my prints available to those who don't want a wrapped canvas based either on personal preference or budget, so I am going to offer prints *and* canvases of the same picture.

I'm so excited about this venture! I feel like I will never be in a better position than I am right now, so I need to jump on it.

About the quality: I gave each of my kids an 8"x 8" canvas for Christmas and they turned out BEAUTIFULLY! Heritage Makers' quality is truly exceptional.

Also, if you are interested in making a custom canvas, story book, scrap page(s), or card from your own pics, Heritage Makers is a great way to do it. It is versatile and has something for everyone.

So I'm on my way!

This pic is going to be the first one up for sale:

I have it sitting on a shelf in my bedroom in its box right now.

I'm so excited!! I hope that you'll love it too!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pics taken with my NEW camera! :)

Steve & I took a ride around the lake today, hoping to get Aiden to stay asleep for a nap. It didn't work, BUT, I got some great pics with my NEW camera! :)

Okay, before the pics, I'll tell you "the hunt" story behind buying my new camera. (if you want to skip the story, you can look at the bigger-sized pics here):

One Friday night, Steve & I were in Walmart shopping, and I asked him if he wanted to go by and visit "my" camera. Now, I have been watching this camera for a couple of years. Walmart had the lowest price I'd seen anywhere, so I had decided that as soon as I saved up my money, it was MINE.

We went over to the Electronics Department, pushed the cart on over to the cameras, stopped in front of the DSLRs and .... it was GONE!

My heart dropped, and I raced right over to the photo lab to find out what in the world happened to MY camera.

I talked to the woman and found out that... Walmart has discontinued selling the Canon Rebel XS.

After picking my jaw up off of the floor and commanding myself that I would not cry right in the middle of Walmart, I asked if she could check and see if any other Walmart nearby had any left.

She called one Walmart: none.

Next: ONE! The display model. They will sell it to me for 20% off. $399 for a $499 (and usually more like $599 at any other store. I know. I've looked.) I asked them to put it away for me until 4:00 the next afternoon.

By this time, Steve is looking at me like I've lost my mind! He knows that we do not have the money for the camera. But, he also pities me because he knows that I've saved up my money several times just to end up paying for this or that that the kids have needed.

Now, I have to tell you, in case you don't rememeber, that Steve & I do not believe in going into debt if we don't have to. If it isn't absolutely necessary, we save up our money instead of looking to the credit card.

But this was different, wasn't it?!

We stopped at Customer Service and asked about the Walmart credit card. I had figured out in my head where at least $300 was coming from, and we knew we were getting a tax refund... it would be fine, right?

We decided that we'd go home and sleep on it.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and could not go back to sleep. I got up, but what is there to do at 4 in the morning? I definitely did *not* want to wake up my kids. So I farmed on farmville.

At 6, I took a shower and got ready to go. At 7 I woke Steve up and asked him to go with me, so he showered and got ready.

Did I mention I had a funeral to go to at 10? My uncle died, and I knew that we needed to be there on time. So at 7:30, we left the house to go pick up my camera in a town about 40 minutes away.

We got there, I rushed back to the photo lab and told the woman who I was. She got out the camera and walked me up to the customer service to fill out the application for a Walmart credit card.

The guy at customer service punched in my information. The information wouldn't go through. He tried another register. Still nothing. He said that their connection must be down and told me to come back later. Seriously?

I asked Steve to call and see if the next town over had any cameras left; I was a little concerned about the quality of a display camera, and since this store's connection was down, maybe we could go to the next store anyway.

The electronics guy said that he had a Canon Rebel XS bundle left over from Christmas for $50 more than the display model, which comes with the same lens, but had a camera case too. The guy said that he had two of them, he thought, so I figured, "What is the chance of both of them selling today, after they haven't sold since Christmas?"

Well, so much time had passed that I was worried that we were going to be late, so we went to the funeral, figuring that it would give us a while to mull everything over.

After the funeral and a trip home to change clothes, we decided to go to get the bundle, but to first sign up for the credit card online.

I got on the website, filled out the application, watched for the form to print out for the cashier... it wasn't there. We decided that the customer service person will know what to do.

So we drove to the store with the camera bundle and found that ... it (they? who knows if there was one or two??) was GONE.

We went back to the other store to get the display model. I explained what had happened to the customer service woman and she called the credit card customer service. The woman on the phone apologized and told me that I would have to wait for 7-10 days. Seriously? By this time I was nearly in tears. I had Steve sign up for the card. They punched in his info... the system was still down. The customer service lady apologized profusely and said that they would call the credit cared customer service and see what they could do.

The credit card customer service lady filled out the form on the phone, Steve got approved for the credit card, and we bought the camera. FINALLY! AND the customer service lady took pity on us for trying to buy the camera and gave us $10 off. Finally it was over!

Then I went home and kept the camera in the box, thinking of returning it because of the money. I finally decided to keep it since I'd never find such a great camera for such a great price.

Then, I was talking to Maren yesterday, telling her that my confidence was low with this new camera and that since I know my old camera inside out, upside down, and backward that I've just been using it. She commanded me in her best older sister/mother (/super-great-friend :) voice to "Get out that camera and start taking pictures!" So, today I did. (Thanks for the stern talking to, Maren. I needed it! :)

Okay, such a long introduction for these picures:

And this was Aiden pre-chocolate-chip-cookie:

And post-chocolate chip cookie:

The first pictures are good, IMO, but those last two have KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF! Look at Aiden's blue, blue eyes! My old camera did *not* do that. I have been given the confidence that I need to keep going. Thanks Maren! :)

I had one of my pictures printed out as a wrapped 8" x 8" canvas and it turned out beautifully, so I am thinking of selling 8" x 8" wrapped canvas pictures of my photography over at etsy. What do you think??

Now, the pictures above are small because of bloggers 400 pixel max, so I am going to upload them to a website so that you can see them better, okay? So, click on over if you'd like. :)

I hope that you have a great rest-of-your-weekend!

Friday, March 18, 2011

....for all these things make me truly grateful

Do you remember when I chose that thought ("for all these things make me truly grateful") as *my* thought back in January? It has been exactly what I need, yet it is making me stretch to new limits.

It is so much easier to think of things as "bad luck" or as simply not going my way, than it is to be truly grateful for seemily aggravating events.

Take, for instance, the events of this past week.

Last Friday we went to Shriner's Hospital to meet with the Orthopedic Surgeon. The one we were to meet with was gone for the day, but another doc was to take her place.

So we met with him. He was very good; he was incredibly thorough and kind. Steve & I were impressed.

It came time to schedule surgery. We told him and the scheduler that the psysiatrist said that we needed to have Michael's surgery within 3 months, which would be no later than May. The scheduler said that there was no way to have surgery with the doc we just me any sooner than 4 or 5 months out. When she went out to check exactly when surgery could be scheduled, the doc, Steve, & I were talking about Michael's situation and the fact that botox had bought us a little time, so maybe the extra month wouldn't matter.

The scheduler came back in and told us that she had amazingly good news: the main O.R. scheduler had just had a cancelation for this doctor in just 10 days. Wow!!

As I went downstairs, I noticed portraits of some of the VIPs in the hospital... and one of them was Michael's new doctor! I went over to the plaque to see who he was. He is the Chief of Surgery. Everything had fallen in place so well that we just knew it was God's hand.

Fast forward a few days.

On Thursday, Jared got a rash of little pin-point dots on his eyelids. A kid at school asked if he had black eyes. We had no idea what the rash was from.

His blood sugars were out of control. 350. 210. 275. Never normal, no matter that he had increased the long term insulin at night and increased the short term to a 1:10 carb ratio instead of his normal 1:15 carb ratio. (1 unit insulin for 10 & 15 grams of carbs)

I realized that he had something going on, whether it was a virus or bacteria I didn't know, but *something* was going on. Jared protested, saying that he didn't feel sick at all.

On Monday, he showed me a rash of raised bumps on his thighs. I immediately thought of Scarlet Fever. Jared seems to attract Scarlet Fever and has had it on at least 2 other occasions. I had him show me his chest. His torso had a fine, pink, lacy rash, and sure enough, the tell-tale sandpaper rash on his chest. Though he protested, I told him that he was staying home from school the next day and going to the doctor.

At the doctor's office, Jared's temperature was normal. He said that he didn't have a sore throat, and when the doctor looked in his throat, he said it was only slightly red. The doc sure didn't seem convinced that Jared had strep though. (For anyone new to Scarlet Fever: Scarlet Fever comes when one doesn't treat the strep infection. If left, Scarlet Fever turns into Reumatic Fever.) He looked at his rash and agreed that *something* was going on, so he cultured his throat.

When the doctor walked in the room, he pointed at me and said, "That is the doctor of the day, right there!" and said that he was surprised that I'd realized what it was. (That was the best part of my day! Have I ever told you that I'd wanted to be a doctor when I was growing up? :) The doc gave him a script for amoxicillin and said that he would no longer be contagious in two days (today).

So, there has been lots of hand washing and sanitizing going on at our house, and Jared has felt like an exile. And still....

Michael's seizures have increased again. Right after his CT scan, he quit having seizures altogether, though beforehand he was having 3 a day. In the past few days, he has had no less than 2 a day.

So, I pondered on all of those things: Michael's increased seizures and his being exposed to Scarlet Fever / Strep. I agonized whether to call and cancel the surgery or to keep the appointment and hope for the best. I decided, instead, to call the same woman who'd scheduled Michael's surgery and ask her opinion. She was unsure, so she said that she'd talk to the anesthesiologist and see what they said.

She called me back today. Said she'd talked to the anesthesiologist and he said that he wanted Michael to wait a minimum of 4 weeks before surgery.

My heart sank and tears sprang to my eyes.

I know that waiting could prevent complications (and possibly save his life), it is just hard to see God's plan sometimes. I thought His plan was for Michael to get right in, but it seems that perhaps that *wasn't* really His plan.

I will continue to pray that His will will be done.

I am very thankful that I was able to know that Jared needed to see the doctor and get antibiotics. Had it been my first time seeing Scarlet Fever, I would have missed it.

So, I'm trying to live by "bad luck, good luck, who knows" and to be grateful for all things.

But sometimes it is easier said than done.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Have you visited my creative writing blog yet ( I started it a few years ago when I felt a desire and need to hone my creative writing skills.

Anyway, today I am busy trying to get life put together for tomorrow's doctor's appt for Michael, so I am going to give you a link to a post from jumpingwritein from awhile ago, okay? You can find it here. A story of a real-life R.O.U.S. (do you remember Princess Bride's Rodents of Unusual Size?) that I found on my lawn in KY.

Wish me luck for tomorrow, and I hope that you enjoy my story. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

The sun is shining.

I have finished a really great book (Fablehaven), and I have the sequel waiting on my desk.

I am eating peas.(whoda thunk that peas would be such a treat?!)

My house is feeling more put together.

Josh, Karen, and Aiden are visiting for the day.

Did I mention the sun is shining?

What more could I ask from a day?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Catching Up

My blog has been so neglected!

I was reading Pioneer Woman's advice on blogs, and one of the suggestions was to just blog... even when you don't feel like it... even when you haven't got anything to say.

On that point, I'm just not sure. I don't think you all would like to hear the echoes as I rattle around in the empty-of-anything-creative part of my brain, nor would you like to hear all of my worries in the overly-used-worrying part of my brain. You know the adage of: "If you can't say somethin' nice don't say nothin' at all". That is the rule I'm living by for now.

It sure makes my blog bare though!

I do have some news to share, just as soon as a I have a pic to go along with it. :)

Hmmm... oh, and Michael's doctor's appt at Shriner's Hospital is next Friday, so I'll have an update then.

Michael's seizures have started again, but this time only a couple of times a week instead of 3-4 a day like before the CT scan. Which makes me wonder *why* he would stop having his seizures after a CT scan?! I was kidding around with a friend and said that maybe the CT scan's energies just rebooted his brain... who knows?!

OHH! This is totally blogworthy!:

Did I ever mention to you that my oldest son, Josh, dropped out of high school in the 10th grade? Okay, I probably didn't, because who wants to talk about that, right? BUT, on Wednesday he finally got up enough courage to take the GED pretest and.... HE PASSED! WAHOO!

After taking the pretest and waiting for the results, he went up to the desk when the lady called his name and the first question that he asked her was, "So what did I fail?" (see the problem with this mindset?!) and the lady said that he hadn't failed anything at all, and that he could take the GED and pass!! She was shocked that he had dropped out and yet did so well. But, eh hem, I *was* his teacher you know. ;)

I'm so glad that things pass, and that the ebb and flow of life make everything work out eventually.

So now he is planning on taking the GED after brushing up on a few things, just to make his score higher and look better. I'm sooooo glad that he found his confidence and can now look the GED in the eye and not flinch.

As a side note, especially if Josh gets on here and reads this: Josh is brilliant. He is a fast learner and retains information for a long time. The only thing that he was lacking was confidence in himself. I am sooo thankful that he just bit the bullet and took the test. It was blocking him for 3 years, and now he'll be able to move on.

Which brings me to wonder: what is blocking *me*? What would I pass with flying colors, but I don't because I don't want to fail? Because I know that I have that same tendency that he had. Hmmm. I'll have to think on that for a while and maybe set some goals.

On another note, Steve & Karen's birthdays were in February, so we had a family dinner to celebrate them. I'm so glad that they are both in my life and part of my family!

After thinking about my blog today, I realize that in addition to "just blogging", I also need to give the blog a makeover. I need to take down the pic of snow (though I LOVE that picture of Emily and Matt!) since it is ALMOST SPRING! I am seeing green shoots coming out of the ground and I can't help but smile about it!!

I hope that you find lots to smile about today too! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

here comes the sun

I love it when the sun comes over the mountain top and pours in to my home, warming it.

I took many pictures of the sunshine and my "hi" sign, trying different angles and compositions. When I was finished, I looked down and this is who I saw:

Meg. My trusty companion. She waits for me patiently and quietly during most of my tasks.

The past few days have been full of recuperation, wonderings (many questions in my head), and work. Hopefully soon I can kick this flu bug and be back to normal... whatever *that* is. ;)

I have noticed that the sun is coming up before 7 o'clock a.m. now. I'm so super excited that winter is almost over and that the warm weather (and lots of sunshine!!)is coming. March 1st, I am sooo happy to see you!!

And to all you, my friends: I have been thinking a lot about you all. I hope that you are doing well and are staying safe, and warm, and dry with all of the crazy weather throughout the country: flooding, twisters, lots of snow. Crazy!

For today, though, I hope that you have a perfectly sunshiny day!