Friday, March 30, 2007

Things That Smell Good (at least to me!)

  • Starbucks Sumatra blend coffee
  • fresh carnations
  • molasses cookies
  • freshly washed babies
  • grilled onions
  • baking sourdough bread
  • Surf laundry detergent
  • Christmas trees
  • root beer from the tap
  • wild onions
  • tomato juice
  • new cars
  • brand-new cardstock
  • Bath & Body Works stores
  • Papa John's garlic sauce
  • tea bags
  • the air right before & after a spring rain
  • the neighbors grilling in their yard
  • fresh paint

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Great Positive Thinking Debacle

For the endless horizon of positive thinking that inundates us every day - I say 'Pphhhhbbbbbtttttt!!!!"

To listen and read some of the "just believe in yourself" jargon reminds me of listening to a high school valedictorian's address. "You can achieve anything you dream - just believe in yourself!" Hug, hug, smooch, smooch. Pass around the warm fuzzies!


In a previous attempt to lose weight, I fell prey to the "I can do it if I set my mind to it" lie. Yes, folks, that's exactly what it is - a lie. I can believe in myself all day long, but at the end of the day, I am destined to fail.


Because I am a dumb homo sapiens. Because since Adam and Eve, man is predisposed to sin. Because when I rely on my own strength, I come up painfully short.

So I'm going to take a different approach this time. Instead of focusing on losing weight, it's going to be more about not seeing food as an idol. I'd be lying if I tried to convince myself otherwise. I had gotten to the point where I was sneaking food, and that's not good.

Forget "believe and you can achieve." I have a new motto: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My Baby Is Four!

It is so cliche, but my, how time flies! We decided that instead of bestowing our child with surplus toys, we would spend the day together and just have a good time as a family.

It was a great idea.

We started at the Creative Discovery Museum. Braeden was too little to get a lot of it, but it is such a cool place! We will definitely take him back when he's a little older. The first thing you do is play in the water. They have a series of mini-locks, dams, and all kinds of fun water activities. Above this is a play gym big enough for adults. I didn't think we'd get Bebo out of this room. After that, it was a blur of him running from one station to the next.

Then we decided it would be cool to see Deep Sea 3D at the Imax. I'd never seen a 3D movie, and it was only 45 minutes, so we thought Braeden would do well. He was a little freaked out by the noise, and we couldn't get him to wear his glasses. Still, he didn't cry and run away screaming, either.

By then, the sky had clouded over somewhat and a breeze had begun blowing (it's been unusually hot for March), so we tromped over to the Aquarium to play in the fountains out front. I snapped a couple hundred pictures (not an exaggeration) of Jeff & Bebo splashing and chasing each other.

It was a fun day. I would much rather play together as a family than spend 20 minutes opening more toys that he didn't need. This will be a much more memorable day.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Here we go again...

The "5 Things to Do" post has to wait.

It was 85 degrees today. My air conditioner is broke. Again. It happens every single year, and it never gets easier. Because of the way this house sits, absolutely no air can circulate through it. It sucks.

On the bright side...

Tomorrow I am doing engagement pictures for a couple of my "kids." They were in the youth group when Jeff & I first came here 8 years ago. I told them I needed somebody to practice on, and asked if they'd mind if I used them as guinea pigs. I am really excited about it - I'm just hoping for a breezy and overcast day tomorrow. We'll be outdoors probably all afternoon, and an overcast sky makes for better pics. Even so, after seeing the pics from the beach, I'm not too worried about it. We should have fun - it will be nice to take pictures of someone actually willing to pose and hold still!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

5 Places

There are some places I want to see.

1) Scotland - yes, I've been there before, but I couldn't get enough, even in six weeks. I'd love to backpack through the Highlands, wander the streets of Edinburgh, and photograph the gorgeous spring countryside.

2) Paris - only to see the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. I could care less about France! LOL But the art - oh, how I would love to spend days staring at the art in the Louvre!

3) China - If adoption works out, this is one country I hope to visit. The culture is mysterious and fascinating and frightening all at the same time.

4) the Grand Canyon - coming back home to the U.S. - I haven't been west of Oklahoma and Kansas (except for a flight to Phoenix, and all I saw there was the road between the plant and the hotel), and there's a lot left in this big country that I want to see. The majesty of the Canyon is high on the list.

5) Montana - there are times when the thought of wide open spaces is so very appealing.

Next time: 5 things I want to do before I die.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Making a Break

I have officially split into two blogs. The pictures were overwhelming this one, so I will only post pics here as relevant to the topic and save the other blog for photographical experimentation. I don't have any posts on the other one yet, but check it in a day or two and I should have something.

Moving on to other things...

It's entirely possible that I will lose my mind before summer sets in. Yes, I know the topic of weather is so mundane, but I can't help it. Two nights ago, we had to run the heater. Last night I woke up under a sheet and light blanket (and no heater), soaked from head to toe in sweat. My hair was wet, the sheets were wet, my T-shirt was wet. Yuck. So much for showering before bed. I hate that! It just keeps reminding me that summer is drawing near.


I do not enjoy the summer. As I frequently tell people, I would be perfectly content to move to Alaska and never be forced to endure temps higher than 80 degrees again.

At the moment, the skies above Tennessee are enjoying their usual early spring games. One day it's 50 and cloudless, the next it's 80 and raining. No wonder I can't shake my allergy problems.

Enough grumbling. I've been in quite a funk lately. Don't know why, but I need to chill out a little.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I think I need to do a photo-only blog. I didn't intend for this to become all pictures!

Maybe tomorrow. I want to share some fireworks pictures. It was my first time to attempt photographing them. I knew the show would be short, so I was snapping off pictures as fast as I possibly could. Wish I had a remote for the camera - It would be nice to use the bulb setting (I control when the shutter opens and closes) without jarring the camera.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Brief Synopsis of My Florida Excursion

I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Florida. Truthfully, I never expected to like anything in Florida, but I think I understand its appeal to the masses a little better. Port Orange was one of the most immaculate cities I've ever seen. The weather was perfect - temps in the low 80s, cloudless skies, and a pleasant breeze constantly blowing. Quite a change my usual small-town pace of life - my friend has access to Starbucks, Target, Ritter's, and nearly everything else you could imagine. I admit that I am quite jealous.

Of course, I didn't go to see Starbucks. The whole point of the visit was to see Mr. Iain - Aimee's perfectly gorgeous 3-week-old. What a cutie! Braeden was absolutely adorable to observe - he kept Iain under close surveillance at all times. He'd sing to him in the truck, rock him when he was in the car seat waiting to leave, and even brought wipes, bottles, and pacifiers when needed. One of these days, Bebo is going to make an awesome big brother.

I wondered how I would do with the baby - would I forget everything I'd learned when Braeden was that age? I was a little concerned that four years would render me incompetent. Turns out I had nothing to fear. It felt so natural to be making bottles, changing clothes, and comforting the little guy. In fact, it felt pretty good.

Of course, I was glued to my new camera. I got some fabulous pictures of Iain, which of course I will share in a moment. We set up a makeshift backdrop using a clothes hamper and crutches (don't ask) and got some very sweet pictures of both Iain and Braeden.

The highlight was really the beach, though. I wasn't sure Braeden would do well. He tends to be a little timid about new things. At first, he only wanted to build a sandcastle. He would run to the edge of the water with his shovel, fill it up, and run back to dump it on his pile of sand. He did this countless times. Finally we got him interested in the water. I took him to the edge where the surf was coming in and we sat down in the water together to let it splash us as the waves rolled in. He would emit this high-pitched squeal every time he was a wave coming. Sometimes he'd yell "Shark-whales! I'm afraid of da shark-whales!" We both had a blast. There was hardly anyone on that stretch of beach. It was quiet and wide open for us to play. Now I know why people love it so much.

I needed that break. It was good to hang out with a friend (something I rarely get to do these days). Braeden was so good all weekend. I really needed that chance to relax.

As promised, here are the adorable baby (and Bebo) pics:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Camera Heaven

I am so stinkin' excited about this new camera! I was absolutely floored at how well it does - after only a couple of days and using only automatic settings, I got some fantastic shots. I can't wait to really learn how to use the thing. I couldn't be happier with what I chose. I went with the Nikon D40 instead of the D80 for cost reasons. At this point, I see no need to upgrade anytime soon. I absolutely love it - having the freedom to take as many pictures as a card will hold and not having to worry about wasting money on crappy film pictures is thrilling.

So, now that I've rambled a bit, allow me to post some more pictures. I'll tell more about the Florida trip tomorrow.
Notice his feet - they aren't touching the ground.
Bebo in the kitchen, just being silly

How is this for cute? (I got catchlights on a baby! Woohoo!)

I love baby fingers. This is Iain and his daddy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Back from the Beach!

I'll post more pics later, but I couldn't resist tossing in a couple right now - 'cause I finally got the Nikon and I simply must show off a little!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Whooo boy...

My child is a piece of work. He has a "pow" (a toy rifle) that is one of his favorite toys. It came with batteries, but we removed those after the first ten minutes. He never forgot that the pow was supposed to have sound effects, though. So Monday night this is what he says to us:

"Daddy, you're gonna hafta go to Wal-Mart and buy badderies for my pow. I'm gonna go wif you, and I'm gonna cry, so you're gonna hafta buy me a toy."

Perhaps we should have scolded him, but instead we looked at each other in bewilderment and asked, "did he just say what I think he just said?"

Somebody needs to explain to him that you don't give away your strategy before the game.

By the way, he didn't cry, but we did buy him a $2 book.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Books I've read

Part of my resolutions for this year included reading. I'm a little behind where I wanted to be, but still it seems good to me to post about three that I have read.

The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle

This is an interesting fiction read. The story revolves around a widowed mother of two who unexpectedly takes in her best friend's son when the woman and her husband are arrested for child molestation and child pornography. It's engrossing - I couldn't put it down. The horror of what happened to the boy in the story kept me turning pages. The family eventually adopts the boy. What I found sad is that this is about a Jewish family who has no more faith in God than they do in Jesus. Instead of relying on their faith, the experience pretty much destroys it. Still, I'd recommend the book. While it's not terribly graphic, I would not let a teenager read it.

White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick

I normally love Lori Wick's books, but I prefer her stories to take place over a few months instead of several years. She starts the book with main character at 11 years old, and takes her into her late 20s. The story is interesting, but slow. Nothing stands out about it, but sometimes I like to read mindlessly, and this book fit the bill.

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

It has nothing to do with divorce - instead, it's one of those lovely twists where you realize at the very end of the story that it was all a dream. A man travels from Hell to Heaven, and has to make the decision whether or not to stay. The fascinating part of the story is the interactions of others in the story - their own internal battles against God and themselves. It's a short book, but it leaves you thinking for a long time afterward.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Playing Nurse

Hubby came home from work last night with the flu. He was chilled, achy, and sick to his stomach. He didn't feel any better today, but he went into work anyway. I tried to convince him to come home early, but he said that everyone else at work was sick, and somebody had to work. While I greatly admire and appreciate his tenacity, I still wish he'd just stayed home in bed.

I did everything I could for him, though. I bought medicine, cooked oatmeal, and made the bed. I brought him water, DVDs, and even the cell phone so he could get me if I was needed without having to get out of bed. I figured it was the least I could do. He was working awfully hard for us despite feeling awful.

Now if I can just keep the germs isolated to him so that Braeden & I don't get sick before our trip next weekend...

Friday, March 2, 2007

I am happy to report that my college roomie & her hubby have a brand-new baby boy, Iain! Of course, it would unrealistic to expect me not to actually visit the little guy and his momma, so a week from today I will load up my own not-so-little bundle of joy and drive to Florida for a few days.

Now, it is quite possible that I am the only adult living in the South who has not been to Florida. I'm feeling a tad bit apprehensive about trekking to Daytona at the beginning of Spring Break season, but my friend tells me that I have no need to feel intimidated by the beach. I'm praying that she's right and I can avoid a total freak-out.

In the meantime, I have one week to finish the baby album that I'm giving to her. Did I say "finish?" Step back to avoid lightning - I haven't even started yet. I'm having trouble deciding how to fit journaling and pictures and accents on a 6x6 page. Never fear - I have a plan, and somehow I always manage to make it happen.

Hmm... Florida. Somehow the warm weather sounds rather nice....