Apr 30, 2008

Grass...oh how I miss thee...

When we decided to move to our new house last year, I knew there would be trade-offs. We'd lose our great neighbors but we'd have more space. We'd give up our awesome sunken patio but we'd have an actual master bathroom. We'd be walking away from the bathroom we remodeled with awesome floor to ceiling limestone...but we'd get one attached to our own bedroom.

The one thing I did not think about and have actually missed the most (besides the neighbors) is having grass (which we'll soon have again). The picture above was taken in our front yard one summer evening when my friend Shannon and I were hanging out with our kids on the lawn and our hubbies were off riding motorcycles.

This week we (by which I mean Toby) planted three trees in the front yard...grass is budgeted and scheduled for May....so hopefully we'll soon be lounging on lush green carpet again soon.

Robbie may miss the dirt...but with half an acre of room to play, I am positive he'll find another nice big patch to dig in.

Apr 29, 2008

Because Breakfast is the Most Dangerous Meal

Maybe he thinks if he wears it we'll go on a bike ride. Maybe when he wears it reminds him of all the bike rides he's enjoyed?

Maybe it's like eating a York Peppermint Patty....and wearing it gives him the sensation of zinging down the alps...er, down the street. If you didn't get that, don't worry. You're probably just under 30.

Buddy's Bowl-o-rama

Back in February when some family was in town from out of state we all went bowling (yes, bowling) in Tooele. What I remember most from that outing was that everyone was eating pizza and it was just killing me that I couldn't eat any (can anyone say "New Year's Resolution"?).

Anyway here are some pictures!

Teresa giving some bowling tips to Toby.

Toby swinging for the fences.



Grummy (Kathy) sportin' her supreme bowling form

Karla (AKA "Auntie K")

Robbie inspecting the alley

Carter bowling his first round

Robbie excited to be pushing something heavy down a ramp toward certain destruction.

World's sexiest footwear (and might I say, cleanest- to be sure)

Apr 28, 2008

My husband...

When he tills my garden he talks to the tiller like it's a plow horse.

"Giddyup - ha!"

and when it bucks back on some stubborn dirt...

"woa bessie!"

If that's not endearing, I don't know what is.

Apr 27, 2008

Backyard Farming

This weekend was spent working in the ol' "back forty" otherwise known as our enormous blank canvas of a yard. The fence is almost completely done now...and instead of making the yard feel smaller it actually feels bigger.

Besides watching our fence go in, we also prepared my new garden and finished the sprinkler system.

Because I'm too busy (lazy?) to start a separate garden journal to track what I planted and when, I'm planning to just record it here and then you can follow the progress too.

This is only my third garden. The first year I went a bit overboard and ended up with six separate six foot tall tomato plants among many other mammoth sized veggies. I was hauling sacks of zucchini and tomatoes to work on a daily basis. I was almost to the "knock and run" level of veggie sharing when I dug up the plants and called it the end of the growing season.

The second year I was more cautious but lost control for different reasons - I was working full time and had begun wedding photography.

This should be a good garden year. Robbie loves to be outside so it should be easy to find time to do a little watering and weeding each day. The trick is going to be keeping Robbie's dump truck, loader, rake and shovel from "helping".

Planted so far:
Red Cabbage
Sweet Peas
Ozard Beauty Strawberries
Provence Lavendar
Onion Chive

To be planted:
French salad mix

Around memorial day I plan to plant some warmer weather veggies like peppers, pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber, zucchini, tomatillos.

I'm most excited about the lavender (for me) and the strawberries (to get Robbie interested).

Apr 25, 2008

McDonalds: I'm Hatin' It.

I don't have a lot of childhood memories of McDonalds. I always thought it was because, with four kids, my parents didn't have a lot of money to spend on fast food. Now I know that it was probably more likely that my parents knew what torture lay in store for them if they took a small child to this evil den of iniquity.

My theory is that they spray a fine mist of a pro-psychotic aerosol drug through the ventilation system. That has to be it, because we hadn't even partaken of the factory-fresh goodness that is their food before Robbie was doing a full on impression of Charles Manson.

Let me back up. Last night we made the profound mistake of keeping Robbie up late by taking him my friend Jon's house for a Lost party. He was pretty good at the party but by the time we got home and got him in bed it was almost 11 pm. Misake number one.

Today around lunchtime I took Robbie with me to pick up some vinyl I had cut for his new room. The lady that makes the vinyl for me also runs a day care in her home and has a bazillion toys and children that Robbie immediately locked onto. In order to get him out of her house without him disolving into tears and fits, I whispered in his ear that I'd take him to McDonalds for a chocolate milk. Mistake number two.

He immediately perked up and said "McDonalds?" with an eloquence of diction that should have put me on guard. He's only been inside McDonalds one time, when he was 13 months old. Being able to repeat it back so clearly should have warned me that someone (Grummy?!) must have introduced him more recently. I was too busy being proud of myself for distracting him. Mistake number three.

My faulty thinking was that I could just swing through the drive up window for his milk and get us on our way home. When we got in line at the drive through he started lunging toward the left side of the car (as much as you can lunge in a car seat anyway) and moaning "That way!" while pointing at the Play Place. "Ok" I thought, I'll take him inside and he can play for a few minutes (you can laugh now) which was my biggest mistake of all.

I'll make this story shorter by just saying this: there was laughter, there was tears, there was a show stopping scene of a full on tantrum that made me wonder when someone would call the police to report me for kidnapping. Surely no child would react so violently to being picked up by their own mother, right? There was falling on the floor, there was kicking...and then there was the head butt he dealt me that I'm fairly sure is going to become a black eye.

That was two hours ago. To this minute he's upstairs in his bed moaning "more Donald's" while fighting against sleep.

McDonalds? Not again in this century, pal.

Apr 23, 2008

Update on the "Big Boy Bed"

Since the infamous incident of the bloody feet Robbie has been doing really well in the Big Boy bed. Last night he asked to sleep in his crib - but calmly and without any drama. He's now had two full naps and one full night's sleep in the bed without getting up once.

It does take him quite a bit longer to fall asleep at nap time (about an hour), but he never gets out of the bed.

From the Mouths of Babes

Robbie's vocabulary has really taken off in the last three weeks. He's gone from one and two word demands...er...requests, to three, for and even five word sentences. Along with this comes a lot of funny moments.

Some of the words he says don't come out quite the way he meant them. Luckily we know what he's saying, but in public it can be a little bit unnerving to have your toddler son shout
"Fork Lift" ...but that's not how it sounds. Or point to the wall and shriek "clock!" but again...that's not how it sounds to any other ears but his and mine. People who aren't familiar with toddlerese probably think we're letting him watch late night HBO.

A new pastime of his seems to be to get us to sing by asking something like "tinkle star, mommy?" and then when I start to sing he says "all done mommy" or, in Toby's case he says "daddy, stop it!"

Funniest of all is that now he is starting to sing too....his favorite is the Bob the Builder theme song. he asks me to sing it, then when I stop he sings "Baaaaaaaab Builder........DONE!". It's pretty cute and makes me wish I could keep him right this age for 6 months or so.

Apr 22, 2008

The Mystery of the Bloody Feet

Last night was Robbie's first attempt at sleeping overnight in the "Big Boy Bed." We had tried it at nap time too and it was an utter disaster.

He pretty much considered the bed a cool place to chill as long as he was entertained. As soon as I would turn my back he was out and running around.

We went through the usual routine of stories and talking again and again about how he has to stay in bed...but 10 minutes later Toby went to investigate and Robbie was out of bed again - only this time he had started screaming bloody murder and shouting for "mommy".

I came running up the stairs asking what was wrong and Toby said he though he was frightened because that's how we was screaming - not "temper tantrum" crying but "help me I'm dying" crying. It was dark, so we didn't immediately see the problem, but after a minute I saw that there was blood all over both of his feet...and my hands...and my shirt...and Toby's shorts.

We flipped on some lights and couldn't see where the blood was coming from and there wasn't any on the sheets or bed but there was a little on the carpet. We inspected his feet and couldn't find any gashes that would justify that kind of bleeding. After a lot of searching I found one super tiny nick on the outside edge of his pinky toe. It wasn't bleeding anymore but we decided that had to be the problem.

We looked all around the room and in the carpet for the culprit and came up with nothing. We checked the carpet, the bed, the bed frame, the bed rails, everywhere.

By this time Robbie was calmer and insisting he sleep in the Big Boy Bed and not the Little Boy Bed. We put him back in bed and he slept all night without getting up once.

Then this morning while we were all getting ready he explained the mysterious injury in his toddler-esque combination of charades and words.

Apparently he had gotten out of bed to shut the door (he always sleeps with it shut but I had it open because of the new bed and wanting to hear if he was up). When he shut the door, the bottom of it nicked his toe and, apparently, he kept rubbing his feet together because one of them hurt - thus blood on two feet. This was right when Toby walked in and picked him up (blood on shorts) and handed him to me (blood on shirt).

So the moral of this story is: if you're having a hard time getting your toddler to stay in bed, just sprinkle thumb tacks all around the carpet. Then they'll be too afraid to get down.

Apr 18, 2008

More Sneak Peak

The new project involving the blue carpet stain is Robbie's new room. He's pretty excited about it...and that's a good thing. I've been building it up for three weeks now and he has been fascinated with the progress. Every morning when he wakes up he points to the room across the hall and says "new room!" and we talk about how he is going to get a "big boy bed" and a new room.

The colors are going to be pretty bright - blue, orange and aqua. Sort of a "Finding Nemo" palette - aquarium with a dash of bright orange. Kind of like the blogger interface now that I think of it. In addition to the bright colors, I'm making up several decals in vinyl that match his paint scheme.

Today we go to pick up his dresser and this weekend we should be pulling off the masking tape...so hopefully within a week he'll be making the move.

My hope (and it may be futile) is that he'll be so in love with his new room that it will be incentive to stay in his "big boy bed". The alternative....his cage...er....crib will still be assembled across the hall in his old room.

Apr 14, 2008

Sneak Peak

We've been working on a little project here. Yesterday we hit a little snag... I am not sure what happened since I was just out in the hallway when Toby must have dropped something - probably his paint brush. Anyway, the result is that we've officially christened the new carpet in the new house with its first irremovable stain -and it's a doozy.

Apr 11, 2008

Wide Open is Delicious

Before I had the final bits to make the pocket wizards work for my flash I was playing with my 50mm 1.4. This is a lens with a really large maximum aperture which basically just means it lets in more light, so I can take pictures in lower light. I chose as my test subject, Robbie playing on our bed. The light is just morning window light from a west facing window.

Later that day I took a few more in the living room.

Wow, Nice Diffuse Highlight Transition Area!

Most photographers I know have a love/hate relationship with their flash. Most beginners are afraid of their flash and most of us that know how to use it still don't like the harsh shadows and the harsh specular highlights it causes. But - we all need it sooner or later.
For Valentine's Day this year Toby bought me a really romantic gift - a set of Pocket Wizards. I wanted them for studio sessions - so I could ditch the cord I was using to trigger my lights.

Pocket wizards also let you trigger your camera flash without it being on your camera.
Recently I acquired (thanks again to Toby) the last couple bits of hardware I needed to make these fun gadgets work with my flash units. Let me say - its like a whole new world!

I apologize if I am boring the non shutterbugs out there, but look at these pictures. Would you have pegged them as shot with a flash?

They look like we just had lots of great overhead and window light in our house - but these were shot in the evening and at night and the overhead light in the room was off.

Daddy's New "Mo-Icle"

Toby recently got a new toy and its hard to tell who is more excited - Toby or Robbie.
Buying the new toy was kind of a long process - as all auto purchases tend to be. Surprisingly, Robbie was an angel through the whole process. It must have been because of the surroundings and the free popcorn.

Apr 4, 2008

Well it is called a Radio FLYER!

Yesterday Robbie saw me folding laundry and just had to wear his new Thomas underwear. I thought it would be a good way to get him interested in potty training but that's not exactly how it worked out.

Instead, wearing big boy underwear made him really excited and he started dancing, jumping, hopping and lunging all over the main floor. It was pretty cute so I grabbed my camera and got a bunch of great shots of him being silly.

Then I said "pull your wagon" and somehow he heard "swing your wagon like a viking battle ax!" and that's just what he did.

I was using a wide angle lens. A very wide lens.
For all you non-photographers out there, this means that to get this shot I was extremely close. The radio flyer missed my lens and face by about 2 inches.

Needless to say, this shot wrapped our little shoot.

Apr 2, 2008

Don't Bother Me, I'm Having a Tantrum.

He's cute and funny and charming...when he wants to be.

When he tries to "sooth me" after doing something naughty by ever-so-gently patting his sticky hand on my shoulder and looking intently into my eyes with his knit brow... I want to laugh and cry simultaneously.

When he shouts "Wow!" in the most amazed voice, eyes as big as golf balls and mouth wide open and knees bent... he makes me feel like a kid myself.

When he spontaneously crumples to the floor, covers his face and starts moaning like a bad professional mourner....he makes me want to sell him to the gypsies.