"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." ~Angela Schwindt~

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Well, its official...

Well it is official, Abbyroo is a toddler. I was given notice from her daycare yesterday that she would be transitioning to the toddler room at daycare. This room is considered a preschool, they have a daily schedule along with a monthly calendar of things they are learning and class participation activities. They work on colors, numbers, have song time, and line up for snack. Let me just tell you that this mommy is nervous! I went in there today and the children in this room seem so much older than my sweet little Abbyroo. The director, Shanna and I were talking and I asked her if she was sure that Abby was ready for this?!? I just can’t picture her standing in line, wearing her tennis shoes all day, and not having her 3:00 bottle! I can’t picture her not sleeping in a crib, walking to the cafeteria for lunch, and going out to the play ground two times daily.

I hardly sleep last night. I felt like I was starting my first day of school today. I was nervous for her, however I know that she will be happy to play with the new toys. I went through the same thing when she transitioned into the second nursery that she is in now. It’s hard letting her grow up. I held her on my lap for the whole 10 seconds she would let me hold and hug on her, and I looked over to Jason and said, I just want her to stay little. He said, part of the joy of being a parent is watching your children grow up, and there are going to be so many special times as she grows. So my little girl is growing up.

So tomorrow she will be in her new room all day long. Her current teacher when I talked to her today was choked up when she talked about Abby leaving her room. Yesterday when I picked her up, the afternoon teacher talked about how much they would miss her that she was such a happy child. I walked in there today, and there were 4 other kids in the room. They were all sitting on the floor playing and I could hear Abbyroo singing. She loves to sing and clap. They said she would truly be missed, however lucky for them she will be right down the hall.

I think she is going to miss her friends in this room. There is one little girl in there, that also refuses to take the 9:30 AM nap, and the teacher has told me, that they will lay in their beds, and one the lights turn out, they will talk and laugh at each other. Ms. I had to move Abbyroo’s crib out from the wall because Abby liked to reach up and flicker the light switch. Such sweet moments with her, I just want to bottle this time up and never forget.

Oh how she has changed in these last 14 months…
This is my goof troop now!

This was taken when Abbyroo was one day old!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ready, Set, Shoot

I have learned something very valuable recently. That you don’t need a really expensive high end camera to take beautiful pictures and capture that sweet moment of your little one. Since returning from the beach I have been asked by several people about taking pictures and some “tips” I could give.

It’s funny because since as long as I can remember I have always carried a camera with me everywhere I went. Even before I had a digital camera I was always taking way to many pictures. I have always had a love of photography, however something about having a baby has made we want to take better pictures, and more creative pictures.

While I was on maternity leave I started reading about photography and processing digital images after taking them with Photoshop. I would read anything I could get my hands on, and I will actually put together a book recommendation list at the end of this blog of books that I have read and that I thought were really helpful. This past May I enrolled in an online photography course where they would critique your pictures and give you feed back on the picture, different settings you could use, and how to take the best picture with the equipment that you have. I have also followed the http://thecreativemama.com/ which has been wonderful giving tips.

I think that professional photographers are funny, they aren’t eager to give out the information that works for them. I have had a hard time with photography blogs gaining much information that has been “down to earth” that I could understand in lemans terms. I guess they don’t want to give the tips that help make their pictures great. I am no way a professional however I have learned a few tips along the way.

Anyway, here are my tips in shooting with your good old point and shoot camera that has been requested by more than one of my friends. I want you to realize though, one of the reason that I can take decent pictures though is because my daughter is absolutely precious, in every moment and face that she makes.


1. Straight out of the box the camera isn’t set up properly, it is set for AUTO everything, to get a higher quality picture you will need to change some of these settings.

2. Set your camera in the highest pixel it will let you take. It would be worth your while to purchase a higher GB memory card. If you are about to purchase a new camera purchase one with at least 7 megapixels because that will give you enough information to compose and crop properly. Go into your camera setting, because unless you have changed it, it isn’t set on the highest pixel setting. Choose highest quality with least amount of compression.

3. Set your ISO to the lowest setting on the camera. By default your camera is probably set on AUTO, this allows your camera to change it by itself depending on the amount of light available. Lower ISO is higher quality with less digital noise. Digital noise is kinda equivalent to grain and the less the better.  Especially if you are shooting up close.

4. NEVER USE YOUR DIGITAL ZOOM. It is always best if you have a digital zoom to move in and out from your object. If you use your zoom, it decreases the quality of the picture. Also the zoom in the camera is not as good as cropping/ enlarging in photoshop. I own Photoshop elements 8.0, you can purchase it for about 75$ and it is definitely a wonderful investment. I would definitely like on of the higher end versions of Photoshop, however this one does everything that I would like it to do.

5. Turn off the flash. I like to use natural light as much as possible, and I think you get a better picture using window light to illuminate the shot, or just take pictures outside, which I do most of the time. I prefer to keep the flash off most of the time. I think that natural light looks better in the picture; the flash gives a really harsh tone.

6. When you open up your photos in your editing program, such as Photoshop, open your files in either a TIF or a PSD (which is a Photoshop file). These image formats are uncompressed image formats, a JPEG is a compressed image format which looses quality with modification. If you work on a JPEG if degrades the quality of the picture. If you save the picture in a TIP or a PSD it improves the image when you save it, doesn’t degrade it.

7. Have fun with your pictures! I think that is the key to taking really good shots, is to have fun with what you’re doing. I usually try not to intrude with the moment by just doing candid photography.

Thanks for reading! I would love to read any tips you have for me! There are a lot of advantages to using your point and shoot camera, one of the best advantages is that it is always with you and easily accessible. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome Fall 2010!

I absolutely love fall, the cooler temperatures, the colorful leaves, the desserts and food. Abigail and I welcomed fall this year with our first batch of Crockpot apple butter, very simple recipe using applesauce, all spice, cloves, cinnamon, and sugar. We love it! We simmer it in the crock-pot about 12-14 hours on low, and it absolutely makes the house smell wonderful. I’m ready to change out Abigail’s wardrobe; however it was 93 degrees today, hardly pants and leg warmer weather.

I have recently gotten back into sewing. About 8 years ago I use to make purses to sale on eBay, and use my scraps to quilt. It isn’t something that I continued doing due to time, and the quilting wasn’t very rewarding. I absolutely love to sew clothes for Abigail though, I have made her 3 dresses, pair of pants, Halloween treat bag, and 4 pairs of leg warmers. I’m enjoying using my sewing machine, however I can’t wait to get a new one for Christmas, and I have already picked it out. The machine I have right now is ancient, but I shouldn’t complain because it does the job. I will probably pass it along to a friend when I get my new one. It will be bittersweet to let it go.

I look forward to Halloween this year. Abigail is going to be a ladybug. I bought her costume back in August, I was afraid they wouldn’t have her size when it got closer to Halloween. Now I am wishing I had given it more thought, I would have absolutely loved her to dress up as pebbles. However we have ladybug costume with no receipt, so I would only be able to get store credit if I took it back. I pulled out her Halloween tutu that we made, found her Halloween beads, and bought her a Halloween shirt so she is ready to go! We went to Meijer today and bought 12 mini plastic pumpkins to put Gerber gummies in them for her friends at daycare. We are ready!

Last year we didn’t go trick or treating; she dressed up as a frog and helped pass out candy at the house. She was the most adorable frog I have ever seen. I look forward to walking her around at trunk or treat at church this year and the neighborhood on Halloween.

Other things about fall I love is the foods, I usually don’t cook chicken and dumplins, chili, and vegetable soup during the summer, I think these three meals could be a food group of their own, they are my favorites. Not to mention the apple butter, pumpkin pie, and fudge!

Well last week we were at the beach, and this week I have been at home all week. It is going to be so hard to go back to work on Monday. I have enjoyed being away and just being a mom and wife. I truly believe that becoming a mommy was why I was created. I didn’t know my purpose in life until I held Abigail in my arms for the first time. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, and now I want to be a mommy. I truly pray that Jason and I are blessed to be able to have another child someday.

Well enough rambling, I am off to watch some mindless TV. I look forward to my last full day off work tomorrow… I can’t wait for the weekend and the critter dinner on Saturday. It will be Abbyroo’s 2nd critter dinner. Last year we dressed her up in the cutest overalls, just precious. This year she will probably have to wear some UK attire, since it is game day! Go CATS!

Dress that I made for Abby

Abbyroo cheering the CATs on game day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

South Carolina

There comes a point during vacation that you start dreading the drive back home. I am at that point now, and don’t want to spend 8 plus hours in the car to travel back to KY, I would be fine leaving all my belongings there and just staying put. I’m sitting in the hotel room right now while Abbyroo takes her nap thinking about maybe starting to pack up some of my stuff… I told Jason that I would love to live about 3-4 hours from the coast, far enough to stay out of the bad weather if it were to come, however close enough to make a day trip
and get my ocean fix. I would love to live in Ashville NC; I worked near there the summer after high school and feel in love with that area.

We set off for our first beach trip with Abby this past week for Isle of Palms, SC. I actually googled “closest beach to Lexington, KY” and Charleston SC area came up. Jason and I had been here before, and loved it, so what better place to go…

We had an absolutely wonderful time traveling down here. I had prepared myself for the “worst” car ride ever however Abby was a wonderful traveler, she took two naps in the car on the way down and stopping for meals allowed us to get out and stretch our legs. We watched so many episodes of Mickey Mouse Club House, I kept telling Abby, in 4 more episodes we will be there, 3 more episodes, etc etc…

I absolutely love being at the beach, Abby woke up on schedule at 6:30, so with the sun rising every morning between 6:50 – 7:05 we got to watch the sun rise every morning. It is so beautiful – I took some pictures of this, however my camera can’t capture the beauty of this. The pictures I took, doesn’t do it justice – sooooo beautiful!

We are so thankful we brought her jogging stroller with us. 1st off it folds up a lot smaller than her travel system stroller, and it goes so well on the sand. We were able to take a lot of walks while we were here. It went everywhere with us, and I would say we walked several miles a day and used it. There were times though that Abby wanted to walk so we would push an empty stroller while she walked along side.

Jason and I aren’t ones to get in the ocean, both of us love the beach, but we are beach walkers and poolside people. We will walk where the water goes up to our ankles, but we don’t get wet. Abbyroo is the same way, she is a beach walker! We put her down on the beach and she just walked with such “persistence” towards the pier, like she was on a mission to accomplish something. I am not sure why she felt the need just to walk while we were there. The problem we faced was that she only wanted to walk one direction. She wouldn’t walk back the other direction, which who could blame her I didn’t like walking towards the sun either.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Separation anxiety…

Well I couldn’t be more excited about going on vacation. It was so wonderful to change my voicemail message at work, my out of office auto reply to emails, and to write on my board beside my door that I would be returning to work on September 27. Yay...

I just checked the 10 day forecast and it looks like we are in store for clear sunny skies with 85 degree weather. We still haven’t decided which day we are leaving yet. Our hotel check in is 4:00 on Monday. We have debated on leaving Sunday after church about 3:00, travel a couple of hours, stop for dinner and get Abby in her pj’s, and hoping she would sleep the rest of the way there and get there by midnight, and stay an extra evening. Our other option is waking up early on Monday morning and traveling all day. So we still don’t know, and we honestly may not know until Sunday what were going to do.

I’ve started putting things on our guest bed to pack but I’m positive we will forget something. Jason keeps reminding me that they have grocery stores and Wal-Mart’s in South Carolina. Just have to remember the important things: Jason, Abby, contacts & glasses. Everything else we can get while we are there

I’ve decided to only take my point and shoot camera. I am absolutely in love with my DSLR Nikon, however it can become a distraction. Its big, I focus and set it all manually, and with a one year old it can be hard to use. I just want to enjoy every moment of being there, soak up the moments and use my baby Nikon point and shoot camera to capture the memories. I am positive that I will go through separation anxiety, and will probably be wishing I had it several times on the trip, however I will love the moments I capture on the baby Nikon. I think I keep going on about this, because I am still having to convenience myself not to take it… haha, we will see what happens.

I went to Wal-Mart today to pick up some of the things we would need, suntan lotion, disposable sippy cups, trail mix, and Mickey Mouse Club House DVD. I went down the clearance isle while I was there, as I always do and saw that they had some beach towels, originally 7.50 which didn’t have a reduced price marked on them. I put them in my buggy and when I checked out told her I wanted to know how much they were before she rang them up – they ran up $7.00, I told her never mind, that wasn’t much of a discount for September for beach towels in a clearance isle – the lady said, your right, I can give them to you for $3.00 a piece. I was so happy, so Abbyroo now has 2 additional beach towels, toy story & Disney princess. What a bargain.

I'm ready to smell the ocean, to feel the sand between my toes, to take walks on the beach, see the sunrise, feel the breeze, and collect seashells with Abby.  We plan on going to the aquarium while were there, take a boat ride to Fort Sumter, see the Yorktown, visit the market, and hopefully see some dolphins!  So were off, either Sunday or Monday with a car load of beach chairs, sand buckets, bathing suits, beach towels, Tylenol, teething tablets, lots of giggles, smiles, and wonderful road trip moments. I can’t wait for Abbyroo to see the ocean.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Fairies and Pixie Dust

When do we lose that since of awe and wonder? When did we stop believing in the tooth fairies, pixie dust, and that we could be anything we wanted to when we grew up. I wish that I could be more like Abigail. Everything that we do is exciting to her. Everything seems to have that “wow factor”. About everything we do she thinks deserves applause and saying yay! Not just one yay though, a long “yaaaaaaaayy”.

Its bath time Roo – “yyaaaayyy”, it’s time to eat your sup sup baby girl – “yyaaayyy” , its diaper changing time – “yyaayyy”. No matter what we do, it is yay and claps! She is so excited about life, just being alive, and being Abigail. She truly is such a happy girl and has added so much joy to our lives. You can only imagine what she does when we pull out the bubbles – she acts so goofy and laughs so hard she can’t hardly sit up straight.

I can’t wait to see what she does when she sees the ocean for the 1st time next week! I always stand in amazement at the beauty of God’s creation at the beach. I always manage to see the sunrise and the sunset and praise God for who he is and this beautiful Earth he has given us to live on. I can live in more of this awe and wonder when were not living our normal daily life full of work, laundry and cooking dinner. Something about eating every meal out, having housecleaning straighten up your room everyday makes things a lot easier.

Well Abigail is going to have a lot more 1sts next week – 1st long car ride, 1st sand castle, 1st seeing the ocean, 1st time at the aquarium, and 1st time in a hotel, the list goes on…

I pray I can be more like her and see the awe and wonder in everything. I learn something new from her most every day. I hope she continues to still believe in fairies and pixie dust for a long time.