Tuesday, August 28, 2012

my sister & brother (in-law)

My "little" sister came to visit a few weeks ago.  I think it was back when Emma turned 8 years old that we last saw each other. Emma will be 10 in October (not really, she's obviously only going to be turning four.  Okay, not really, but she can't be turning 10!  Where is the time going?!!), so it's been a couple years

I made sure to take some photos throughout their stay, much to Torin's dismay or horror.  You choose which.

*insert evil laughter here*

Here they are (hey, Ani, you made the face.  It's not my fault that I was then forced to post this photo on my blog for millions and millions of left handed people to read it).  In case you're confused, the black man is not my sister.  That's my bro-in-law, Torin.  It's the blindingly white person in the background (the one who looks insane).  Yep, that's my baby sister.

We had tricked Torin into holding the baby.  He pretended to not like it when the camera was out, but we know he did.  He would even willingly play with her, and she used her super cute baby powers to bend him to her will.  Shoot.  We totally did not take advantage of her power.  Maybe next time.

The stare down.  They didn't really have a stare down.  It just looks like it.

And, here is Ella on Ani's shoulders.  It was kinda funny.  It gave her really good access to her hair.  Ella couldn't decide if she was happy or sad.  So, she was a mix.

It was so cute!  Good luck getting her down with all your hair intact because I don't think I helped.  Sometimes I like to observe people in precarious positions try and save themselves while I take photos with my camera.

Thought this was funny:

Torin got to experience the joy of trying to work on the computer with a baby nearby.  I don't think he was actually trying to do anything on the computer, but it was funny.  It was always cute watching him with the baby.

They stayed with us for a week.  We had a special code word for them to use in case the kids were getting too overwhelming for them or they wanted a little break (it can be hard when you're not used to lots of little kids to suddenly be around them 24/7).  The word was "pineapple".  At first I would ask Torin if he wanted any pineapple to see if I should move the kids back.  They loved Ani and Torin.  Sometimes he did want pineapples and sometimes he didn't.  As the days progressed, he would randomly ask for pineapples when he needed some down time.  haha.  It actually worked really good!  He didn't ask for pineapples nearly as much as I thought he would.

Another sister, and her daughter, came over some.  It was really fun.  Here's Ella putting on the charm.  She's so cute.  It kills me.  And, her little outfit is too cute!  (thank you, you-know-who!)

This photo made me laugh.  Lovely expressions for both girls:

Another great face from Ella.  Did you die from her cuteness too?  Sorry, I should have posted a warning before posting these.  She's cuter in real life.

Crazy, beautiful sister...not sure what TS is doing!

I'm pretty sure she's trying to be that scary aunt that says, "Here give me a kiss!" with slobbery lips.

Searching for signs of a brain:

Pretending to be thinking:

This one made me laugh.  Especially love Torin's face.  It doesn't even look like him.

And, this one is really sweet...and, of course, slightly blurry.  I really like it.

They are both really racist people.  Okay, not really, but they always call each other racist names.  I'm not sure if I can join in or not, so mostly I just look frightened.

It was a really fun visit, and it went by way too fast, and I took way too long to actually post this blog entry (I wrote it the day after they left!).

Here's a video Torin has made of some of his skills:

Monday, August 27, 2012

sleeping rhys

You know how I mentioned Rhys likes to climb out of her crib?  It makes nap time and night time rather challenging with her.  I decided to put up a baby gate for her nap to see what she would do if she can't leave the room.  She was actually weirdly excited when I left.  She climbed out and wondered around (I spied on her a little bit).  I was gone for a few minutes and then peeked back in to find that she had fallen asleep on the rocking chair.  It was so cute.  

Violet came in to spy on her too.

Her head kept falling to the side, then straightening back up, the falling to the other side, then straightening back up, then falling to the other side, etc...  It was funny to watch.

I wanted into the kitchen to make lunch and found Violet hanging out in a toy bucket, watching a movie on my ipad.

And, here's Emma watching a movie.  hehe.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

things they say that make me laugh

I'm finding I absolutely looooooove natural lighting.  I think there's something deeper and more emotional about it (at least most of the time).  Here is one of Ella from today.  She loves to look out our back windows.  She looks sooo tiny too.  I usually use my 50mm f/1.8  lens, but I've decided to try out my 18-55mm kit lens a little more.  It's a wide angle so it lets me get more of the scenery in one shot, which I love, but it doesn't have very much bokeh and doesn't handle low light as well as the 50mm, which is why I rarely use it!  But after playing in photoshop with it a little bit, I thought it was sweet.

Here are some funnies from the past month or two:

Conversation I had with TS, my five year old:

TS:  "Emma hurt my bun."
ME:  "Your bun?"
TS:  "Yes.  My left one."

Bun = buttock (not buttocks)


As I was walking by the bathroom door, I heard this conversation between Vi & TS:  

VIOLET:  (very frustrated) "Mom & Dad told you not to say that word!"

ME: (stopping to check)  "What word?"

VIOLET: (very annoyed) "Poop! He said 'poop', Mom!"

TS: (who is currently sitting on the potty, peeks his head around so I can see him) "Mom, I told her I had to go poop."

Violet looks at me like, see?!!  She couldn't believe he had said it again.  Clearly he's just insane.  I didn't bother to explain to her that he can say it then, he just can't go around using poop as every other word, because I'm not sure she'd get it.


Ella pretty much always ends up sleeping with me in bed.  She sometimes wakes me up with kisses.  Though she wakes me up much faster when she starts sucking on my nose.


The kids are still working on their name calling abilities.  Here are some examples:

Violet was upset at Rhys for helping her wipe down the table when she didn't want any help.  She venomously said, "You're a rock, Rhys!"  As though that was some type of insult.

Emma regularly calls people "crooks" when they irritate her.


I was getting breakfast ready one morning, and TS was sitting at the table.  He sweetly asks me, "Mom, can I call you a germ?"


I had made the kids some food, and this was the following conversation:

TS: "Mom, this is disgusting."

Vi: "Don't say gisgusing!  It makes me taste gisgusing things!"

TS: "Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting..."

Vi: "Don't say gisgusing!!" while she is very upset & worried that her food is now going to be gross to her.

TS: "Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting..."

Vi: plugs her ears and closes her eyes while I got him to stop.

ahhh...the days when we all could argue like that as little kids (okay, I might still argue that way for fun).  I reassured her that only TS's food was disgusting and that I made hers different and yummy, which was actually true.  I had put peanut butter in hers, and since he's allergic, he didn't get any (and his food really probably was disgusting).


Vi:  "Rhys, you look GROSS."

Gotta love the sisterly love.


(Warning: this next section has a mild cuss word.  I'm not sure why I'm warning any of you, but I am!  Maybe in case you're having your five year old read our blog...)

Emma and I were giving Ella a bath.  We heard a really loud bang, and Emma yelled, "What the hell was that?!"

Then another time (today, actually), the kids were running to go outside for the five minutes that it's not a million degrees outside, and they can actually play out there.  TS reached up and unlocks the door, and Violet yells, "What the hell?! When did you learn how to do that?"

I cannot stop laughing hysterically when they slip out cuss words.  We honestly have never cussed in front of them or around each other.  We just don't do that in our house, not even with the simple cuss words.  So, it always surprises me and sounds so funny when they do it.

That's all of those for now...

Oh, and I've finally decided to try to get back to my normal weight.  I just haven't felt like doing it until now.  I'm using the "my fitness pal" app, and it's very handy!  I've lost 4.2 lbs in three weeks, and I've lost three inches from my waist.  Yay!  

Ever since I got prego with Rhys, close to three years ago, I haven't lost the baby weight (of course, I've been pregnant twice during that time).  Luckily it's only about 15 lbs, but still, it will be nice to feel back to normal.  If you haven't used the "my fitness pal" app (it's also a website), you should try it out.  It's nice!  And, if you have belly fat you want to get rid of, there are foods that go to the belly and pack on the weight there.  Avoid those foods, and you do lose belly fat.  I've been following the "Abs Diet" recommendations (as well as my sister's recommendations), and I really think that's why I've already lost three inches from my waist.  

I'll stop rambling now!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


This past week has been one of those crazy weeks.  Rhys has learned how to climb out of her crib.  That translates to meaning that we will all be sleeping peacefully - okay, I'm joking, that usually means I just barely have gotten Ella back to sleep after trying for like two hours because she's teething, or mutating into some type of creature with horns, causing her to toss and turn and cry unless I'm holding her.  In which case, even when I'm holding her, she'll still toss and turn and cry, only now she can pull on my nose and smack me in the face unintentionally while she flails, but somehow she sleeps better...while I'm sleeping worse, but feeling like I'm actively doing something helpful.  (Ella doesn't always sleep like this.)

So, as I'm laying down to close my eyes after finally getting Ella to sleep, I hear the bedroom door bang open and this psychotic two year old comes running into our room with the BIGGEST smile on her face, while she giggles her crazy-psycho-two-year-old laugh.  Yes, Mom!  I figured out how to climb out of my bed and come visit you at night!! is no doubt what she is thinking.

I feel a mixture of emotion.  I'm sort of weirdly happy to see her.  I miss her when she's gone all night long.  Then, I look at the clock, see that it's 2am and that I've yet to get any sleep.  Then I see that the toddler is now climbing the barricade bed railing on my side of the bed (to keep small children from falling off my bed).  Rhys has been our only one that wouldn't/couldn't cosleep for some reason.  I have actually quite missed it!  She's so snuggly and sweet and so part of me thinks that maybe she'll actually come fall asleep by me.  Then wouldn't that be nice.  We could all go to sleep peacefully instead of trying to figure out how to keep her in her crib.

So, an hour later, after she's obviously made huge strides her preparation for world domination, which is obviously what she must be doing as she tosses and turns and squeals and lays there WIDE awake thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking (or whatever she does in her little brain)...we decide we should give up on the co-sleeping thing (it really is so much easier when it works, though!) and put her back to bed.

One of us lays her in her crib and then stays in there to make sure she stays in her crib and goes to sleep (and because we can't just leave her in there to scream and cry!).

By this time it's about 5am, and I'm finally going to sleep for the night.

After a few nights like that, we started putting her right back to bed instead of trying to get her to just lay by us, and it still takes her about two hours to go to sleep.  What's up with that?!!  Rhys is actually a pretty good sleeper overall, but when she's not, she really is not.

Soooooo...for some reason, I have been a bit grumpy and impatient this week.  I usually can handle bad sleep pretty good.  But when we're down to 2-4 hours of interrupted sleep at night, I don't do so hot.  I started going to bed immediately after they did at night and was able to manage about six hours of very interrupted sleep.

So, I'm sorry children for being incredibly impatient and grouchy!  I promise I love you!  Hopefully this week will go better.

In trying to figure out what to do to keep Rhys in her crib, some people suggested switching it to a toddler bed.  So we did.

I think that lasted for about a day, and then we switched it back to a crib because it was nearly impossible to keep her on her bed without sitting on her.  Maybe she's defective for it not working?  I don't know.

And, I do tease a lot about Rhys, but I absolutely love this little girl.  I do think she's insane, but really, what two year old isn't (though, she's a bit nuttier than our other two year olds have been...probably because I have Ella to take care of too so she gets to get into more things easier).  She definitely keeps me on my toes.


I have started venturing out and taking pictures of other people for free.  I'll probably always do it for free.  I briefly thought I would want to do it professionally one day (in many years), but I'm not sure I will.  Maybe I'll change my mind, but I would like to learn & get skilled enough to be at pro level because I think that would be neat-o.

Anyway, here's a few of my favorites.

I took these a little less than a month ago, and I've since learned a bit more about exposure.

These ones I took just a couple days ago of my old neighbor and her daughter (not that my neighbor is old!).

And, I want a new lens.  If only they didn't cost so much!

I like Clickin' Moms.  There is so much info there to teach about photography.  I've seen one guy on there too, so it's not just for women.  hehe.  But, if you're into photography, it's an awesome site.

Monday, August 20, 2012

the door

Rhys decided to speak again today!  Her usually speaking consists of lots of "ahhhh" and "uggg".  She sometimes says words, but not a lot.  Then out of the blue, she said a full sentence.  She said, "The door was open," right after she closed her bedroom door.  It's strange the sentences she chooses to use.  It's so weird and kind of funny that she does this.  I can't wait until she talks more!

On to other news...

Violet and I went to the "jungle" and took a few pictures earlier.  It was way too bright for very nice ones, but I thought these were cute.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

the hubby & light metering

Usually Tyler isn't a big fan of me taking pictures of him.  More like he's not a fan of making normal expressions when I'm trying to take pictures of him.  But this afternoon he was a surprisingly willing subject (and I'm so glad!).

I've finally discovered the light meter on the camera (am I a dork for not knowing this until now?), and I've brain wrinkled on how to meter things to help get the correct exposure.  I practiced some on Tyler while he was watching TV.  I metered off of his skin, setting it at just over +1, I think it was. Here's my favorite one.  I warmed it up just barely, but that's all.  (I would like to get it figured out well enough that I don't need to edit things unless I want to for fun).

(I'm going to start including photo info because I joined a site that has a ton of photograhy info, and some of the ladies have dropped by over here, curious of the photo info, so I'll try to remember to include it.)

I think he's so handsome...and I love his blue eyes.  I love it when he looks at me like this.  And, I love that he's ALLLLL MINE!!
(50mm: ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/320 sec, no flash)

There's a few other poses of him making his crazy faces, but I'm in a hurry because it's apparently date night and we're going to watch a movie together in the living room (we are pretty creative with our dates, what can I say.)

But before I go, here's a few more:

It stormed tonight.  I know it's a really dark photo, but it was dark like this.  They were all perched up at the windows watching out at the sky.  Only I caught them right as they were all getting ready to get down (so I didn't get more than one or two like this).  I like that they are almost silhouetted   I metered off of the sky.
(50mm: ISO 400, f/2.0, 1/250 sec, no flash...obviously)

Here's one with Violet. She's wearing a headband, only she didn't put it under her hair in the back.  haha!
(ISO 500, f/2.0, 1/250 sec)

I know I have lots to learn with it, but knowing how to meter has made a lot more things make sense with figuring out exposure and lighting.  Like this.  I hadn't ever known how to silhouette (though I know she's not fully silhouetted, I did take some others that were).

I've also learn the Kelvin white balance thing...and just learned about the back button focusing, which I think will help me get focused photos easier.  It's been so fun to suddenly learn some new things that will hopefully improve my photos a lot more.

Anyway, time to go watch a movie with the Tyler!

the boy...again

The past week or so I've been reading a bit more about photography stuff than I usually do.  Since I can't really hang out on the computer all day long, I find other things to do, such a stalk the children with the camera and try these things out (yes, if you've emailed me, I really am planning on emailing back.  I just try to stay off the computer during the day...).

I know these aren't perfect with the focus a little off, but he looked too cute.  So, I have to share.  I don't usually take photos outdoors, and when I do, I am not used to using manual mode (it's typically the middle of the day when it's so bright and I can't see the screen, so I use Av mode).  I really wanted to try manual, though, so he was my little model.

I need to remember to do his hair before I take pics...

EDITED TO ADD:  I think there might be something wrong with my lens because my focal point was on his face, not the wall.  But it looks like it's on the wall.  Lately I've been having a hard time getting it to do what I'm asking it to do.  Frustrating!!  I thought it was me, but now I'm thinking it's the lens.  I was just reading about other people having similar issues.

It kind of seems like he should be holding something more than a tiny piece of grass in his hand, but he's not!  I still liked it.

He was cute on the...whatever this thing is called.  He enjoyed listening to the wind chimes on our neighbors house.  He was fun to take pics of.  And, it worked just fine to use manual.  I think he's such a cute kid.

Now I need to learn how to meter properly, get the white balance correct, and something else.  But I can't remember what it was because I need to go to bed!  So, good night!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the Middle Girls...

Here are some more photos.  I'm still focused on learning more about natural lighting.  Violet was more than happy to model for me.  Rhys had fun jumping in randomly.  I'll start with her first...

For those who have asked, this is Rhys' natural eye color.  It's also very similar to Violet's natural color.  Ella's eyes are a bit brighter blue.

 Above:  I did mess with her eyes a little here...because I can't help it.

Then some of Violet.  She's wearing a shirt of mine.  I'm pretty sure she had it on backwards too.  She actually has a pretty good sense of style for a four year old.  I look forward to the day that she takes me clothes shopping.

She did her posing herself.  All I did was encourage her to look towards me.  I have several, but these were my favorites (she's so fun to take pics of because she enjoys it and is quite photogenic).

When I showed Tyler these photos, his response was "And this is why I have a shotgun."  He gets a little stressed thinking about his girls growing up...and boys...and his four daughters...

She loves to be goofy!

Then she got not so happy.  Rhys started coming over and getting in her space too much.  It made for cute pouty picture, though!

Sometimes I want to eat her because she's so cute.  Apparently I want to eat all my kids.  She has such an adorable way of talking too.  She cracks me up.

And, then Rhys tried combing Violet's hair a couple times.  Wasn't so fun for her!

Now time to go watch a show with the hubby...