Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here's to a great New Year!

I do hope that the outcome to our new year is not indicative of it's beginning. We took the children to their favorite park for a picnic and of course some playing. It was dreary and chilly, a lot of wetness that made it hard for little boys to stay upright on two feet. We forgot our beloved fruit salad at home. And in Isabella fashion it seems like we will have a night or two of limited sleep. I have been sick the past couple of days. I really thought that it wasn't anything major. I still don't think it is anything major....except that it is more than I was hoping for. I can count the number of times I have taken ibuprofen in the past 4 years. I took it after both boys births for about 5 days, and on one other day during that time period. Therefore I had every reason to believe that when I took it for my very sore throat and achy body (I needed a bit of support in light of going to the park to be running after little people) that I would have wonderful relief in about 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes came and went, and hour went by, an hour and a half....my throat still in tons of pain. Ummmm, that can't be good. Finally after eating it felt better. I suppose this was the reason for Jonah's extreme fussiness not long ago! Now I know why!!!

So it wasn't surprising that Isabella told me she had a sore throat. Of course, I thought. However she kept complaining that she felt cold. No fever.....hmmmmm. Well a few hours later Isabella has a very painful throat and now has a fever. No one else got a fever with their sore throat. But leave it to Isabella.....I know, like she can help it! That child has always been like that. If she gets what is going around she gets it in triple strength! Nothing like starting the new year off with a bang!

And so it is timely that we will soon (not on the first though) be revising our diet. It was upsetting to us to know that one, if not two of the girls actually gained weight during the soccer season! We will go with our diet plan from last year that we had such success with, but failed to stick with for various reasons. One of them was financially. Fresh, whole foods are expensive!!!! Some people see a savings when they transition to a whole foods diet, but for us that won't be the case. We already keep away from packaged foods and chips and cookies. Although I think in the last few months we had a few too many cookies :-) So for us there is an increase in cost. But we can not justify keeping our current diet when we see what it is doing to our health. All of us are excited, well all but I think Flannery. Flannery seems to have an "allergy" to green foods. I think she has "hives" just thinking about it :-)

There will be a couple of other changes going on here as well. A lot will be hard to put into proper context without writing a semi-novel, but I don't have time to write a novel so I will try to keep it short. Our family crisis has had us re-examine our priorities and the way we do things around here. We've come to some new conclusions and have been slowly implementing some changes. Although I don't recommend a crisis for anyone, this one is coming with blessings. It has been hard, and some days are still hard. But overall there have been many blessings. There is a lot of uncertainty as well, but we are learning how to really live by faith and wait for the Lord to reveal what He has next for us.

Some of the 'fun' things that will be new will be for ME! :-) Some of it you may have 'seen' already. That being my growing love of photography. I suppose since it is much harder to carve out time to paint or draw, it was only time that I would turn to photography. I've downloaded some free photo editing tools recently and have started to learn how to use them. Another thing that we have been doing already, but has had a stirring in my soul, is to dig in deeper with our learning sign language. It is hard to explain, but Jeremiah and I both feel that the Lord has a purpose for us learning this. (outside of it being our only way of communicating with Jed) And the other.....well, I hesitate to talk about, as we have gotten some negative feedback on this in the past.... Jeremiah and I both agree that I should start to study TBA, which is the therapy that Jedidiah is receiving. I am VERY, VERY excited about these 'new' adventures. I'm not sure how far I will get with any one of them, but it is an adventure that I am looking forward to and I am continually giving them back over to the Lord for Him to do with what needs to be done in my and others lives.

I would love to write more about our changes, but being that I am still ill, I need to go lay down for a while. After maybe doing some natural remedies. I pray that everyone has a blessed New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A fun day at a new museum

New to us anyways! There used to be this little kids indoor play spot called "PlaySpace". I suppose it got a lot of use as they moved to a larger building. They were there for quite a few years before they moved again, into a very LARGE building. They now have two stories and a ton more displays. For those of you up north, it's a lot like the kids museum there. The difference is that the museum in NY has much more intricate displays. The one here has more space and probably a few more things to do, but not as intricate. The one in NY has a very cool pretend grocery store to shop at. It has isles, and a few cash registers with 'working' machines. The one here has a little grocery store, more in the open, with one pretend toy cash register. Never the less the kids loved it! We had a lot of fun as well. Take a look at what they did.



Jedidiah couldn't pass up the opportunity for a spin (the car does not actually move). I was surprised by how patient he was while waiting for his turn at the wheel.

Jonah really loved the bead play. He's the only one of the six that loves to play with these types of toys. Jedidiah comes in second, the girls were never interested in them....at all.


This one is blurry, but it was too funny to pass up. Jed got this lovely steal of a deal at the pretend grocers and carried it around playing with it. He didn't seem to get the shopping theme. Another one of those "Jed moments". Jonah, on the other hand, got himself a cart and started putting in the groceries. He even went out and shared his purchases with other people!


They had this neat little 'tree house' set up with a bunch of play houses. Jed seemed to enjoy these.


This museum has a play ambulance, and nursing station set up. Here the girls are examining some x-rays.


They also have a water play area. This area is smaller than their last place. The kids didn't know this :-) They loved it! The water was freezing though! I was surprised at how long they played in it.


Jonah and Jed love to pull up chairs to our sink to make a mess...er I mean, to help with the dishes. Jonah was fascinated to be able to walk right up and splash in.


Jed playing with some boats.


Flannery and a funnel.


Jonah at a command station. Behind the water play they have this neat room with a fish theme to play around in. Outside of that room is a pretend submarine, and a pirate ship. Jonah first took command at the sub.


Then he was off to take command of the pirate ship. This was a neat ship, with three levels. It was a bit chaotic since school is out due to winter break. We are hoping to go back on a less busy day.


They have a traveling display on the second level....Mr. Potato Head Goes Exploring. Seriously, it was really neat. Here's Jonah going down a slide.


You get to pretend you are on an archaeological dig. They had a bunch of black chips, for dirt I suppose, that you would put on a conveyor to look for treasures. The girls spent a lot of time there.


Flannery getting ready to put her dirt on the belt.




Isabella and Jed going down the slide. It was great because the stairs were easy to navigate so that even Jonah could climb up by himself.


What's a Mr. Potato Head exhibit without the main potato himself! Jed LOVES Mr. Potato Head. He was head over heals about this exhibit.


The easy climb stairs that I was talking about earlier.



Jed and Jonah in command central of a space ship. Jeremiah made up a very, VERY funny spoof dialog for this photo. I don't think he saved it though. I'll have to look because it was too funny.

They had these enormous legos/building bricks. The girls went goo-goo over them once they saw their potential.



After a while Jed decided to check out the 'build-a-car'. After building a car you could then challenge other kids to a car race on this declining race track. The other children did not appreciate Jonah's help....as he would wait at the bottom of the track to collect cars to keep for himself :-) Silly boy!


Here are the girls at the start of their project. They decided to make a house. You can see the large structure on the left of Jed.


You can see that they added a window to their house. I took the two boys downstairs to the train play area while they continued to work on their masterpiece. They tried putting a roof on, but it caved in. Bummer. They have plans for another model for the next time we go back.


Here is Jonah at the train play. They have three train tables, that are connected. The boys spent a lot of time here. The girls eventually came down from their house building and went on to the stage area to put on a play. Isabella was a natural at directing!!! She had given everyone roles, and told them what they were to do/say. They spent most of the time planning and directing. It got to be closing time, so they quickly did their play. I was running after a boy and didn't get to see the final outcome. I heard though that it was a hit :-)
Jeremiah took the girls to Bible study tonight while I stayed home with the boys. I woke up sick and it seems to be a bit more than a simple cold (nothing serious, but more than the sniffles). I downloaded a couple of photo editing softwares to try out. We downloaded GIMP the other day, and I suppose if it came with a written manual that it would be the size of a book. At least that was my first impression. I've downloaded Photoscape and Adobe's Beta version of Lightroom 3. I like what I see in Lightroom so far. I am excited to give them more time to try them out. So far as far as ease is concered Picnik is the tool. With Lightroom you have more control over the editing as far as colors and exposure. It doesn't have any of the special effects that can be done at a push of a button like Picnik. They each have their strengths. I can't wait to dive in and give it more time to learn how each works.
Everyone is home now. Need to go.

Monday, December 28, 2009

before and after

Here are some pictures that I've edited using various tools (you have to scan down, as my styles are messed up) ...













































Before: After:



This is Isabella's first photo transformation. Pretty neat.





A simple transformation to sepia.



I really liked this one. Although the orientation did not come out right for my blog. This was made to black and white and then the color of the wagon was brought back in.


I made the wagon's color bold in this photo. With the photo below, I muted the color.






I really love the transformation of this photo. I adjusted it's position, made it black and white and then added text.




With this photo I wanted to put the emphasis on the wrist warmers. So I did the same technique as with the wagon photo. This is very simple to do in Picnik.





Here I just did a 'focus blur' or something like that! I'm so technical aren't I? Then I gave it a border.





I tried taking a bunch of photos without the flash. A lot of them came out grainy like the above photo. However I really loved Jonah's expression, and so I set out to see what I could do with it.


I cropped the photo, rotated it, and then used the '1960's' action on it. Pretty cute.


I love both of these photos. I love the color in the original. I cropped the photo, added a bit of blur around the edges and then muted the colors.


I like this one because it seems dreamy. I've been having a blast editing my photos. With all of the above photos I think I also adjusted the exposure.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a photoshop collage trial

Having fun with Picnik


I really want to yell! UGH! I can not get my photos to move or my text to copy and paste, which means I have to type everything over again. I have been playing around with a free online photo editing tool today. Probably spending too much time. Actually the online tool is easy, but then I went on to try to make a collage in Photoshop and I can not for the life of me figure it out!!!! I saw that I can make a collage in Picnik (the free online photo editing site), but I only saw my unedited pictures available. Maybe that is how they snatch you into becoming a premium customer....or I just haven't figured out how to get my edited pictures to the collage page. Either way I have maxed out my patience with it. I must get up and do some tidying. So here are the few pictures that I did today. In another post I think I will post them as before/afters. But I won't attempt that until I can figure out how I can move the photos around in Blogger. I don't know why I seem to have this problem every few months. If anyone has the answer PLEASE tell me :-)


I tried putting text under the photo at the top of this post, but then it made the photo disappear. Um, I'm about to call the people at Blogger and let them know how I feel about that! I thought the photo above came out kinda neat. Picnik has a tool to select an area of the photo that you can have in color while the rest goes black and white. I was having fun trying out the different options!


Here I made the photo black and white, then unmasked to wrist warmers to put them back in color.


This photo was originally in color, and I made it b/w, rotated to photo and added some text.



With this photo I selected to option to keep one part of the photo in focus, leaving the rest of the photo in blur. I also added a border to the final image.
Lots of fun, with a bit of frustration mixed in.
Have a Merry Christmas!!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Ride 'Em Cowgirls!

Wow, I've been missing in action for a while now. Besides my very limited computer time we had our internet go out, and then camera batteries die. But finally I was able to pull it all together and I made up a long montage. I hope you enjoy it. I hope to have a written post up sometime soon.



video

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