"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind... We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith." -- Margaret D. Nadauld

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Get This Albatross Off My Back

I have had some people ask how the pictures for Leo's wedding are turning out. I will admit, I've struggled with them. Most of the original pictures turned out VERY DARK due to the extreme light of the Arizona sun shining directly in everyone's faces. I have Photoshop Elements on my computer, and know how to do a few things on it, but I have struggled making these photos look finished with a professional touch. I got so frustrated that I haven't even looked at them for about 3 weeks. And now I'm ashamed to admit that we're moving closer to the bride and groom's two month anniversary and they still don't have their pictures. I tried to put it off forever... but knew that one day I was going to have to see their smiling faces.... and knew that I had to get working on them again!!!!
Enter Paint the Moon Photography. This wonder woman has designed a bunch of "action sets" that I can add to my Elements program that makes editing soooo much easier!!! I bought only one action set last weekend and I have had such wonderful results!! I am so excited to send these pictures to Leo now... (I was dreading it before. I felt like I had ruined her wedding memories.)
(I'm saving my money to eventually purchase all of her sets. This woman is a GENIUS!!!)
Here is a small sampling of a few of the finished pictures. Please remember as you view them... I don't have any illusions that I can be considered a wedding photographer. I still assert that I won't do another wedding... and if I do it will be YEARS down the road after my HUGE learning curve has been straightened out a bit.
I just hope Leo and JS like the pictures that I've gotten done so far! (I still have HOURS ahead of me with at least 100 more pictures to edit. I hope my carpal tunnel doesn't render me completely crippled when I'm done!)

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

N = What?

I wasn't going to do this, but I have to. My blog is for me and is my journal, so I like to put things on here that I can't save anywhere else. A lot of Inigo's school work goes on here. I wish I could save each and every creative thing he brings home (and believe me, I save a LOT) but the logistics of having box after box of his writings and art work just doesn't work out.

So, here I am -- AGAIN -- on my blog posting something he wrote that made me laugh.

For Valentine's Day, his teacher used Dye Cuts (Die Cuts?) and spelled out the word VALENTINE and then had the kids glue them all together to make a verticle banner. On each letter they had to write something that starts with that letter that is about Valentine's Day. It's fun to see how a second grader's brain works:

V = Vacations are really fun.
A = Awesome things make love.
L = Love is a reward.
E = Excellent is a good reward.
N = Narwhales are good lovable things!
T = Telescopes can look up to the stars!
I = Italy is a loving place.
N = Next year Happy Valentine's Day.
E = Ears can hear love.

NARWHALES? That's what he came up for the letter "N"?

(I added this after I orginally posted this blog.)

These are the valentines he handed out this year to his classmates! I would love to take credit for coming up with the idea, but I found it on the web... (sadly I don't remember where).

They were supposed to have Tootsie Pops as the suckers, but I thought they were just too big, so we agreed that Dum Dums would be better.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tap Dance

I think I've posted a lot of videos of Inigo playing the piano. Oh well... here's one more.

He's been taking lessons since he was in kindergarten. I was his first teacher, getting him through books one and two. He sailed through them pretty quickly, and to me (a very UNTRAINED teacher) he seemed to be grasping the concepts of both playing ability and technique.

This year, I wanted to make sure that he started getting taught on a higher level. We signed him up with the same music teacher that Buttercup and I went to for our vocal lessons. Bro. Opie has a Ph.D. in music from University of Utah. He directed their show choir for years and years. I asked him once why he never joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and he said he always wanted to, but he just didn't have the time. Now he's here in Florin, teaching religion classes at the University. And he teaches music at home (mainly piano). (He also happens to be the bishop of Buttercup's single's branch! He can't get rid of us!)

He has a unique style of teaching. Well, unique to us. His lessons are an hour long. There are 30 minutes of instruction, then the kids move to a computerized keyboard with earphones and practice for 1/2 hour what they just learned in their lesson. Bro. Opie also had us purchase a computer device for home practice. The lesson books we use come with a computer floppy disc that you insert into the piano computer, and it has orchestration for each song. You can speed up or slow down the song as you learn it. You can also take out the orchestration and just play the piano part. You can play right hand alone or left hand alone. It helps with rhythm/counting and it also teaches the students how to play with orchestras. I think Inigo plays better because of this piano computer.

Oh yeah.... and it's fun!!!

(Inigo plays the song Tap Dance.) (Then attacks the videographer.) :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mish Mash

The weather has been so gorgeous lately!! It's such a treat to see the beautiful blue skies and have the outside temperatures climb above the freezing mark. I actually saw GRASS today--on the edge of someone's driveway. It was a GLORIOUS sight!

I know it's only the middle of February, and the forecast says that we have 70% chance of snow on Wednesday, but it's days like this that give me hope that spring will come and that we've moved closer to the end of winter than the beginning.

I can hold on!

Not that I entirely HATE winter. I don't! We chose to live in this area specifically because it has 4 distinct seasons -- as opposed to the Oregon Coast* where the seasons were raining or not raining. Sure, here in Florin, some seasons are longer than the others and sometimes it even seems that we will totally skip an entire season, but the reality is that we do have amazing and beautiful springs; summers that have moderate temperatures so we don't melt into puddles each day; and while fall seems to be the shortest season, it's also lovely!! Winter.... well, that makes up the majority of our year, so I've learned to tolerate it. However, I do wish it would be a little shorter. (This year we've had a constant cover of snow on the ground since Thanksgiving.)

*Disclaimer: Don't get me wrong! I LOVED living on the coast!! It was a wonderful time in my life and I cherish the memories and friends that I made while I was there!!!

So, as we move closer to the end of February, I look longingly to the coming months ahead and the coming of spring... I think I can... I think I can... I think I can.... SURVIVE!!! :)

Today is Valentine's Day. For years I have blogged my opinion on this terrible day. Last year I told myself I wouldn't need to say it again. If you'd like to re-read my rant, click

'Nuff said.

A week ago we got new phones and I got this sweet little piece of technology:

Droid X - Verizon Android Phone
The Droid X.
I have heard that it's a "smart phone" and agree with that. It's much smarter than me. But I am determined to conquer it!! After all, I have TWO YEARS to figure it out!

Some have asked why we didn't buy the iPhone (since we switched to Verizon). I will admit, it was a temptation. The cost was about the same. And since I have an iPad, there would be a smaller learning curve. But after thinking about it, I realized that we have already given enough of our money to the iGods. We have iPods, iTouch, iPad and iTunes. Isn't that iNuff already?

Buttercup had a wonderful moment at school on Saturday. She finished cutting a 5 year old girl's hair. It was a shoulder length, pixie bob and I guess it turned out wonderful! The instructor who was supervising the cut -- who is also the same instructor who screamed at her (in front of the client and the entire school) that she picked the wrong profession because she made a mistake in a woman's haircut -- praised her in public and in private, telling her that she was proud of Buttercup and proud of how well she's doing. After wanting to rip this woman's hair out and teeth out, I now want to give her a big kiss and tell her thank you. That's all Buttercup needs... a little positive reinforcement goes a LOOONG way with her!!

Inigo was diagnosed with The Influenza last week. Poor little guy was pretty sick. Steck heard that he was feeling down and did the nicest thing! She came over and "Heart Attacked" him!

Have you heard of Heart Attacks? Nah... I'm not talking about the killer kind. There was no numbness in his arm or a heavy feeling in his chest. No shortness of breath. These Heart Attacks leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy and totally loved.

Usually, they are done in secret and anonymously, but we just happened to be home and Inigo just happened to be in the living room when she came over. I felt bad that we caught her. She even parked her car up the street to be even sneakier!!

And what's even nicer than caring enough to cut out a bazillion hearts and write nice things on them? THAT SHE DID IT IN 14• WEATHER!!!!

Now, that's love.

(Here it is, several days later, and the hearts are still up! They haven't fallen off yet! But I think I'm going to have to take them off tomorrow. Especially since it's supposed to snow again.)


(Hey, Andy, I'm pretty sure we'll be calling Eth this spring to make those dingy windows sparkle!! I didn't realize how bad they were until I looked at these pictures! UGH!!)

Inigo and I were supposed to drive to New Florin and visit Max over the weekend. But since he had The Influenza (that's just fun to say... not fun to have though) the doctor advised that we stay home. Influenza is highly contagious and we didn't know how long Inigo would be feeling terrible. Since Max has just started a new job, he hasn't built up any PTO and (I'll be honest) he doesn't do well when he gets sick. Max always needs TLC when he feels bad and I wouldn't be there to give it to him. We just didn't want Max to get sick.

So we followed the doctor's orders and decided to stay home. We were very disappointed that it would be TWO WEEKS until we got to see Max again.

We got up Saturday morning and over texts (on my cool new phone) I asked him what he was going to do that day. He went into work for a while and said that if the wind died down, he might go flying.

We have house rules in regards to flying: He always has to call before take-off and always call when he safely lands. A text while he's in the air is a good idea to let me know how things are going, but there isn't always coverage at 14,000 feet.

We talked about the rules and I told him to be safe and have fun.

Well, Inigo and I went to the movie (Tron) and when we got out I didn't see any texts from Max. I wondered if he had gone flying so I texted and asked what he was doing. (Of course, I was getting geared up to be mad if he went flying and didn't follow our rules!)

I didn't hear from him for a while, then I got a text that said he'd be home in 20 minutes.


Yes, he said. He was flying over a prominent landmark east of town and he'd be at our airport in about 20 minutes.

Holy cow!!

So Max flew home and surprised us for the weekend! It was pretty cool!! And so, so nice to have him here!!

He didn't have a lot of time with us, but he took the kids flying Sunday after church. Ever since he updated his pilots license, Buttercup has been begging him to take her to the skies... so he did. It was a very nice day for them. (I can't go flying in small airplanes. I get TOOOOO SICK!!! So I stayed home and they flew over me so I could wave at them from the driveway.)

The pictures in the air were taken by Buttercup!! Nice job, sis!

My house is down there! Can you see it?

The lovely town of Florin

Ready to go!!

(For a GREAT shot Max took on his flight home, make sure you check out my cloud blog!!)