Wednesday, May 30, 2012

hair & swimming

I'm attempting to learn how to use RAW files with my photos instead of jpg.  Actually, I have it set to take both per shot, so that I can choose.  I hear they are better to edit when in raw, and I'm finding this is true.  I still have a lot to learn about them, but I like it so far!  So, for my fellow pretend photographers, lets shoot in raw together!  Then we can unite with all the left handed people and take over the world!

But, in the meantime, here are some photos of my new hairdo:

BEFORE:  I did like it long.  But, each time I have a baby, I shed massively and have a ton of regrowth (by massively, I mean, I literally get bald spots in the "mickey mouse ears" part of my hairline, my hair feels about 1/3 thinner, and my hair line seems to move back 1/4-1/2 inch from shedding so much.  I HATE IT.  After about a month of two of falling out, it'll start to grow back).  I'm kind of like a tree, only instead of determining my age based off of the number of rings, you can base the number of children I've had based off of how many different lengths I have to my hair!  :-)

Back to the before photo, taken very late at night when I was very, very tired:

Definitely needed several inches chopped off:

I have side bangs!  I used to be a bang hater, but now I love them. 

It's really fun how much easier it is for my hair to feel fuller and not so thin.  One day I might grow it back out, but for now, I really like it!

I'll try posting a non-camera phone photo someday soon, but by the time I thought of having Ty take one, Emma had already done my hair, and it looked like this below (the rest was pulled back in a ponytail):

After the haircut, my sister watched the kids, except Ella (she's my little nursling, so she is never too far away!).  I think the last time we went on a date was...hmmm...maybe a couple years ago?  I really can't remember.  We do have dates in the living room, but it's kind of novel to actually leave the house together. 

Here's proof that we actually went somewhere:

We went to Applebee's during their old people hour, apparently.  Good thing we like old people!  It was kind of funny, though, because I'm pretty sure we were BY FAR the youngest people there. 

One lovely lady at the table next to us, (a youngin compared to the rest.  I think she was probably only 50-60 years old) had trotted off somewhere (not literally trotting).  I noticed when she came back because she was laying on the floor.  It took me a second to realize she had forgotten there were steps, and she tripped and fell.  Flat on the ground.  Face and all.  She hopped up with a smile on her face and sat down. 

Since I was raised with savages (all sisters), I find inappropriate things to be really funny.  But I managed to not laugh!  I don't think I even cracked a smile.  I actually felt really bad for her because it had to be SO EMBARRASSING.  (I am clearly a very compassionate person since I'm now posting it on our blog for all to see.  If only I had taken a photo of her, or asked her to lay back down to reenact it, so then I could post a photo.).  But a nearby table, they couldn't control themselves.  They were hysterically laughing.  It probably lasted for 10 minutes or so.  It was hard to not laugh at how they were laughing.  The lady didn't seem bothered at all.  She might be like me and my sisters, it makes us feel better when someone laughs at us when we do stuff like that.  She was from out of town, and I think she was glad she was. 

We're pretty creative with our dates.  After Applebee's, we went to Lowe's and Super Target and bought the kids a pool: 

Rhys especially loved it.  Oh, and we bought them all buckets and shovels.

They even went swimming in it:

Had a couple water fights:

My sister was there and couldn't stop laughing.  It looked so funny to have four crammed in this tiny pool.  We have a pool about a two minute walk away.  It's part of the neighborhood, but I wanted some type of water toy in the backyard.  We still have that big water slide pool that I need to see about getting out sometime...

Anyway, baby is crying.  Hope everyone is doing well!

Friday, May 25, 2012

my hair!

Our house is officially sold!!  Yay!  We signed the papers today.  There were only like six papers to sign.  Much faster than when buying a house.

So, I decided it's been long enough.  It's time.  I should cut my hair.  It's only been 18 months-ish since my last hair trim.  I know, it's awful.  Aren't you supposed to trim your hair every few months?  I also think you're supposed to shower every day.  I'm still working on that.  That makes me sound like a greasy fly.

Anyway, I've been trying to figure out how I want to do my hair.  I need to cut a lot of length off of it because I've gone through post-prego shedding, and it needs a good trim so it can look fuller again.  We're also working on a hairstyle for Emma and a new one for TS.  I think he looks better with longer boy hair (as in, not a buzz), and Emma really wants bangs.

Back to me, I searched the web for several ideas since I've felt very undecided on what to do.  So, I decided to do what anyone else would do, and I asked my kids what I should do. 

This is the conversation:

EMMA:  "No"

TS: "Yes!  That one!  I want that one.  I want my hair cut like that."


ME:  I gave TS a confused look when I realize he is saying he wants his hair cut this way and explained it was for me, which he then said no to.


EMMA:  "No."

TS:   "Yes!  That one for me!"

VIOLET:  "No."

ME:  Confused again and tried to re-explain that this was for my haircut, not his.  (it was making us all laugh...)


EMMA:  "No."

TS:  "No."  (not even for him!)

VIOLET:  "No."

Emma:  "Yes!!!  That one!!  Do that one!!"

(all of us give her a crazy look)

TS:  "No!"

VIOLET:  "No!  Yuck!"  as she starts spitting to get the taste out of her mouth.

Emma kept insisting that this was the one.  And she was serious!  haha!!!  I had included this one only for humor's sake.  Definitely didn't expect Emma to love it.

EMMA:  "No."

TS:  "No."

VIOLET:  "No."

EMMA:  "No.  The other one.  The one with the bangs.  Do the one with the bangs!"

TS:  "Yes."

VIOLET:  "Yes!  Do this one!  I like this one!"

So, as I write this, I'm planning on following her advice and doing this one.  Sad to say, I will not be doing the hair cut from #4.  Maybe I'll do my makeup that way instead.  I would ask for opinions, but I'm getting my hair cut early tomorrow morning!  Not enough time for opinions!  Though, if you happen to read this between now and 9:30 am tomorrow (as in, Saturday morning) feel free to tell me what you think I should do.

And, we won't be cutting TS's hair like #1 or #2 above.  I'm thinking something more along the lines of...a boy hair cut.  Such as this, or slightly different, but sort of like this. 

Thanks, Kyrie, for the idea!

I'll try to do a before and after of my hair. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

my plan...

On Friday, I got a voicemail telling me about an endocrinology appointment for Emma for Monday (today).  I had scheduled it nine months prior, so I didn't really remember it was on the calendar...since it literally was never written on the calendar.

Now enters my plan...

Endocrinology wanted blood work & an appointment.  Hematology wanted bloodwork & an appointment (yet to be made).  Pediatrician wanted blood work (already had appointment).  What's the best way to get all the needed blood work, as well as appointments, done?  Schedule a hematology appointment for the same day, only do one poke for all three tests, and take half of Emma's blood from her body to fill the 20-30 vials it would take to get all the testing done (perhaps that is a slight exaggeration).  Not only would the blood work/appts all get done, BUT we'd save on gas too!  So, I scheduled her hematology appointment for the same day, just a couple hours after her endocrinology appointment.

It all seemed like such a good plan.

Oh, did I mention that I'd be taking all five kids?  We're currently sick (on tail end of it), and I don't want to leave my sickos with other people in case it makes them sick, AND due to Emma being immune compromised, I don't want any of the kids to pick up any illnesses from anyone else (obviously the hospital has less germs!  wait...).  Remaining options would be for Tyler to take work off or for all the kids to come with me.  Tyler couldn't take work off, so all the kids got to come with me.

But, it would be fun, right?  

We planned well.  We were up, ready, fed, and in the car 15 minutes later than schedule.  But...I also scheduled in a 15 minute window knowing I'm always 15 minutes late.  So, technically I was ON TIME!!  We had prayer that we wouldn't die on our way and thus started our 45 minute journey to the hospital. 

It all seemed so simple. 

We get there, park, and I pull out The Beast (aka the double stroller).  Ella had napped on the way down and was fully rested.  Neither Rhys nor Tyler had puked on themselves on the way, so that's always a good sign.  We walked into the hospital, got up to the third floor, walked out of the elevator, and I thought, "Hey...this doesn't look right."  Then I realized I was in Building A when I needed to be in Building B (I probably shouldn't point out that I had walked past Building B to get into Building A, making for a much longer walk).  The buildings were attached, so I followed the sign to Building B.  After walking around in a complete circle (actually, it was a square), I realized there was something wrong with their signs, and I ended up having to go a different way that I knew better (and was also a longer way...).   In my defense, one of her other doctors was on that floor in Building A, so I was getting the offices confused.

Summarized version:  We managed to get to the hospital on time, and we would have gotten in the doctor's office on time, but I failed to schedule in the predictable 15 minutes of getting lost.  So, we ended up 15 minutes late.

Appointment went well.  Emma talked to the doctor (a first with this doctor!).  She's the cutest little lady.  She's actually married to Emma's hematologist.  Emma's hearing aid batteries died almost as soon as the doctor walked in.  It was a fast appointment and soon we were done.  We had about 1 hour 15 minutes until the next appointment. 

It was all going as planned. (Well, minus the getting lost and Emma's hearing aid batteries dying.)  Next, we would go get lunch, eat, and then go to the next appointment. Oh, but first we'd get Emma new hearing aid batteries from the pharmacy.  So, we went and did that.  While we waited in line to buy them, Ella started crying.  So, I added "nurse baby" to the list. 

We left the pharmacy.  As I sat down to nurse Ella, I noticed Rhys had illegally lifted some Bengay from the shelf while sitting in her advantageous front-of-the stroller position.  You know, we had also walked by some candy.  But apparently she needed Bengay?  So, I ran back in and gave it to the cashier lady. 

Things were still going good. 

So, stolen item was returned, Ella was nursed, and Emma announced, "I have to go to the bathroom."  If we were in a movie, the camera would have suddenly zoomed in on me while I made a shocked face.  The bathroom?  Really?  Emma, you notice there are five little kids here, right?    And, you want to go to the bathroom?  Where there are BATHROOM GERMS?!

Violet announced she needed to pee too.

Clearly I had no choice.  We would have to wage war with the bathrooms.  The restrooms were, of course, in Building B.  I was already back in Building A.  So, thus began our journey uphill in snow.  I mean, through the hallways to the restroom.  We got there.  Even managed to fit the stroller in the bathroom.  Emma took a stall while Violet the other stall.  There were only two stalls.  TS kept going back and forth between the two.  I'm not sure what he was doing, but he was literally going back and forth over and over and over.  Door open, door closed.  Door open, door closed.  Finally I told him to pick one and stay put. 

I had not planned this part out in my plan.  
Neither of the girls could get on the toilet, since I don't let them touch them.  (Am I weird to not let them touch them?)  So, I had to help each.  Emma could reach and wash her hands, but Violet couldn't.  I'm seriously a germaphobe in bathrooms.  Always have been.  Even before FA entered our lives.  So, I held Violet and washed her hands, while saying things like, "No!  Don't touch the faucet.  I'll do it," while the lady drying her hands off watched me out of the corner of her eye. 

Meanwhile, a line had formed and women had stolen the empty stalls (and I had to pee!  Yes, I know! You probably never knew that about me.) So, I waited until they were empty again.  Meanwhile, a new lady had walked in and smacked Emma really hard with the door, almost knocking her over.  My bad.  I had let her stand in front of the bathroom door.  (and you thought I had been exaggerating when I said we were going to wage war with the bathrooms...)  Luckily she was okay.  Not sure the lady was.  She felt horrible.

Anyway, 15-20 minutes later, we were done.

We had survived!

We left the bathroom and went to get lunch.  We got in line at the Chinese restaurant (seriously so good!) only to realize after several minutes that we were waiting at the wrong end of the line.  It was so busy, and we were running out of time, that we decided to walk to the other building (D) to get some food.

My plan was beginning to unravel just a little bit.

As we were walking to the other building, Emma's stomach started hurting a lot for some reason.  I think she was feeling scared, and she didn't want to walk.  She looked wiped out, so I had her sit in the Beast and hold Ella.  Violet had wanted to sit in there and was mad that I wouldn't let her.  There was no room.

As we were walking by the cafeteria, with big, open glass window walls and everyone could watch, Violet decided to throw a little fit for everyone to see.  She wasn't going to walk.  She wanted in the stroller.  I tried to explain things to her, but she had decided what she wanted.  So, I ninja kicked her - okay, I didn't.  I had her hold onto the stroller because she had stopped walking with us.  She wouldn't hold on.  I walked a little ways ahead, and she wouldn't come.  So, I took her hand and held it onto the handle while I pushed.  She wasn't throwing a big fit, but she was obviously being defiant, starting to yell, and it would have been a fight the whole way to the other building (10 minute walk usually?).

My awesome plan was unraveling a little bit more, and I wondered how good of an idea this all was.  Though, we did save on gas.  But I think I started losing my sanity a little bit.

So, we drove over.  Violet's mood improved.  We only had a couple minutes left.  We grabbed some Oreos from the giftshop there, and got to our appointment on time.

By the I was feeling a little frazzled.  The kids were hungry and whiny.  Ella was starting to cry because she was tired.  The Beast wasn't very easy to maneuver and I kept accidentally locking the wheels, which made it harder to turn and maneuver...for some strange reason. 

Emma had blood work done.  Violet held her hand and covered her eyes when Emma started screaming.  She couldn't bare to watch, but she wanted to comfort Emma at the same time.  It was sweet.  TS was next to her and had to look away too because it was too upsetting to him to hear her scream.  (She screams because she has no control over any of it.  She has had her blood taken on average of every eight weeks of her life - sometimes more sometimes less.  She feels angry about it.)

Blood work:
Hgb was 8.9 (should be over 12.  they do transfusions under 8)  This explains her fatigue lately.
Anc was 700 (this is low.  it's basically the strength of her immune system)
Platelets 31/50 (machine said 31.  then he manually counted with his eyeballs, and it was 50!)

So, Dr G told us his wife (the endocrinologist) had called to say Emma had talked to her.  Emma wouldn't talk to him.  hehe.  She started talking when he told her he'd take in her in to see the microscope in the lab.  Both she and TS went in to see.  They thought it was really neat to see her blood up close. 

Meanwhile, Ella needed a nap and feel asleep in the baby carrier. 

It was really funny how many people commented on all the kids.  How did five kids become a large family?  I remember growing up thinking five was kind of small.  But now it really is on the larger size.  We got a lot of "Wow!  Five kids" and "You are so blessed to have five!"  "Beautiful family" and things like that.  A lot of people were shocked when they counted them all.  It's really amusing to watch.  Luckily people aren't rude here for the most part, but it's really funny how many people stare.  I feel like we're putting on a show for them, only the kids usually are very well behaved so there's not a lot of show from them.

Anyway, by the time we got back out to the car, I was pooped.  I didn't want to move.  I didn't mention it above, but keeping Ella and Rhys happy at the same time as everything else was busy!  At least they are pretty content kids for their ages.

So, there's my story.  I am currently too tired to make sure it makes sense.

I know...several of you have emailed me and it's been weeks since I've emailed back.  I'm sorry!  I'll email.  I promise.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

my model

I've decided to slowly learn how to use more of my camera's abilities.  I say slowly because I don't have time to go quickly!  Back in the day (you know, before we did our part to multiply & replenish the earth), I used to be able to spend hours at a time learning new things and get a lot done in a short amount of time.  Now it's ten minutes here or there, hoping it's not in the middle of the night since I won't be awake enough to retain any of the information!

So, back to the part where I said I've decided to learn more about the camera's abilities...  I've been shooting mostly in manual mode.  I find it super nice for indoor shots and avoiding the blinding flash.  The natural light can make photos look so pretty!

Such as these ones of Ella.  No diffuser or flash, just the lovely natural light.  Like how slobbery she is?  She's eating her first solids and was soooo funny about it.

Today I read on DPS about aperture priority mode.  I wanted to try it out.  I have a hard time using manual mode outside.  I think I'm backwards.  Most people comment that indoor shots are harder for them?  Outside, I find it's harder to see the photo on the screen to see if I have the settings right when compared to being inside (I do have it set so it'll blink on the screen in any areas that are over exposed...very handy when it's hard to see the screen).  Then the other day I was taking photos of Rhys and the clouds were flying on by.  One second it would be kind of cloudy.  The next all sunny.  Making for a need to change settings regularly.  Aperture priority mode seemed like it might make it easier since the camera would do some of it itself.

I asked Violet to be my model.  She wasn't sure what that meant, but I assured her I would help her.  I think she misunderstood my direction to her initially (as seen in photo below), but luckily, after a few photos like this...

we got some like this...

Then we regressed back to this (hehe):
Then back to this:

Aghh!  Did you scream? 

Rhys came outside to join in the fun.  Photographing Rhys is similar to photographing a ninja in stealth mode.  Like in the photo above, when I started it, she was further back (which would have made more of her face in focus!), but by the time I was focused on her (just a split second) she had chased me down. Sometimes I think her goal is to make sure she's always too close for a photo.  Either that or she'll refuse to look when I call her name.  It's all about power.  And world domination.

After calling her name several times, and her ignoring me repeatedly, she accidentally looked at me.  yay!

I quite like aperture priority mode!  It makes for faster photos than manual (at least for me!), but it lets you have more control than auto mode.  You get control over where you want your focus, and it lets you control the aperture (aka, how much it blurs)...and I love being able to control the aperture.

Oh, and the only reason I'm mentioning all the camera details is because I have several friends into photography.  Several know much more than me, but there are a few who are newer at it than I share:-)  Plus, it'll help me remember for when I tomorrow.

And, here are a few other photos:

Rhys was spying on the neighbors dog through the fence (so cute!):

 Ella hanging out outside.  Her eyes looked sooooo blue outside:

And, we'll end with a little kiss:

Sunday, May 6, 2012


My favorite food...PHO.  It's soooooooo yummy. 


I know, I know.  The excitement on their faces is contagious.  (Okay, so last time we had this, they LOVED it.  This time, not so much for some reason.  I was fine with it since it left more for me!!).

 Violet watching the world go by:
 I thought she looked so cute.  She was happily sitting there watching everything.

 Pics of Grandma and Ella:

We don't eat ice cream a whole lot typically, but we went out to eat some ice cream a couple times.  It was fun.  Emma might have had ice cream cones before, but she was really, really little, if she had, and had no memory of it.  The other kids never had.  So, it was fun for them to get to do that.  Emma couldn't remember what they were called (they've had ice cream, just not in cones).  After the first time she had one, she asked the next day for more (this is also where her hearing impairment plays a role).  This is how our conversation went:

Emma:  "Can I have an ice cream cube?"

Me:  "You mean cone?"

Emma:  "Can I have an ice cream come?"

Me:  "Cone."

Emma:  "Can I have an ice cream comb?"

Me:  (haha) "Cone."  She watched me that time so that she could figure out what I was saying exactly.  She got it right after that.  We found it amusing.

This time when we went to Braums, we decided to get the kids out of the van so they could eat without it being too messy in the van (used a grassy area in the parking lot).  As I was handing them their cubes/comes/combs/cones, I was reaching over TS to give Emma hers, and TS wasn't looking at what he was doing with his cone, and he accidentally stuck it in my armpit.  That was pretty funny.  Who gets accidentally poked in the armpit with an ice cream cone?  Luckily I had handy wetwipes to clean it up.

And some in sepia and b&w:

It was fun having my momma come and visit.  I'll try to remember next time when she's coming to visit so I can shower before she gets here...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

grandma surprise!

Having my mom visit is exciting.  Exciting and surprising.  Why surprising, you ask?  Because I can never remember when she's coming.  She'll tell me.  I'll pretend to store it in my memory (I say "pretend" because I know that I have no memory to store it in currently).  A few weeks will go by, and I'll remember she was planning on visiting, but I can't remember when.  So, I email & ask.  She'll tell me again, and usually I have only a few days to remember by then - short enough time to retain the information.  And usually I do remember.  On Friday she told me she was going to be here on Monday.  For some reason I remembered she had said Tuesday.  So, it was quite the surprise when she was suddenly at my front door Monday night.  I couldn't figure out why she had arrived a day early.

I do it to make her feel loved.  Who doesn't feel loved when their child can't ever remember when they are coming for a visit?

Today we went to a local park.  It's a beautiful park around a pond.  We decided to start off with a little picnic:
If you notice my mom making a disgusted face, it's because Rhys had just puked (not a ton...she choked a little and gagged on her food).  I'm not used to having someone else there to help clean up the puke!  Thanks, Mom!

Emma mom trying to reenact her disgusted face from before.  I don't think she reenacted it very well.

While I was telling my mom about a crazy squirrel Emma and I encountered when we were leaving the doctors once, we noticed a squirrel walking up to us right then.  More like hunting us right then.  It was probably 20 feet away when I first saw it.  Then it would run a few feet, stop, stand up and smell the air...trying to catch our scent so it could stalk us and kill us.  Then it would run closer, then stop and smell the air.  Then come closer.  It was ironic, considering the story I was in the middle of telling!  It kept running closer and closer until it was just a few feet from us and was ready to keep running closer!  My mom was screaming, and so was Emma.  I was laughing hysterically.  My mom was too, when she wasn't screaming.  My mom shooed it away in time before it attacked her.  Okay, so maybe it wasn't going to attack her, but it definitely wanted our food.  It ran up a tree and then kept peeking around the sides of the trunk to watch us.  It was pretty funny.  I don't have any pictures of it, but I do have video.  I might post it sometime, but video always takes a lot longer to post!
I so wish I would have brought my fancy camera!  But, I didn't.  I only have my phone.  So, here are a few photos of the kids feeding the ducks with grandma.  We brought a whole loaf.  The kids spent a bit of time feeding the ducks all their bread.

It was so cute.  A momma and her many baby ducklings:

We walked for a while.  Emma and Violet illegally picked flowers (isn't it illegal here? or everywhere?  maybe not...).  

Violet caught in a funny pose:

The kids also had fun laughing & chasing the geese into the water.  

Here is my mom pushing the stroller.  Near the end, Emma and Violet and Rhys were too tired to walk.  So, they all rode (Emma and Vi sharing a seat).  

I think we were there for about 2.5 hours.  It was a lot of fun.  I got a little tired of holding Ella, who did not want to ride in the stroller.  If only I had remembered my baby carrier!!

It was really funny.  As we neared the parking lot, we saw this van with the back door not closed.  We were really confused, wondering why it was open.  
It was my van.  I had pulled the stroller out, got the babies in it, and gotten them up and out of the way of the parking lot, and it apparently slipped my mind to close it!  That would explain why my lock button on my keychain wouldn't work...

Yep, I'm a dork. 

Anyway, it was a fun time...and now I'm exhausted.  Oh, and Rhys & Ella fell asleep on the ride home.  Since we didn't want to wake them up by taking them out, we decided to go get ice cream cones...with ice cream in them, of course.  Yummy.  

It was a good day.