Once upon a time, way back when we only had one child, we bought a "big" camera in hopes that we could take better photos of our children's lives. I have left the camera in auto mode these long months. I know some great photographers. My childhood friend, my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law. I don't dream of being a great photographer, I just get sick of my photos turning out so... icky.
Well, Tess was kind enough to show me The Pioneer Woman's photography stuff. Reading just a few posts gave me the confidence to try, to play. I will give you a before and after to demonstrate.
On auto mode.
Off auto mode. I bet I was playing with the aperture.
On auto mode.
Off auto mode.
I realize that there are many, many other things to learn. Like I heard about this thing called composition. And something else called ISO. I want to know what those things are some day, but I'm just glad that I tried and it was slightly better than auto mode.
I will now resume the regularly scheduled blog post.
Isn't my family great? Didn't we have so much fun at the park? Blah, blah, blah.
We left because Luke fell off the swing and there was blood. He got the coveted spot in the sling. Ben got jealous after a while and wanted to be held, too. Gotta love it when the stroller is empty and my arms are full.
Not only did we get a visit from JoJo for Luke's Birthday, which is reason enough for celebration, but the Abbots came too!!!
Luke was in heaven having his buddies around.
I wish I'd taken more photos. As you can see their aren't any of JoJo or Tess. Well, there was one of Tess, but it could have been part of my "funny candid face" photos, so I left it out.
My favorite moment was when Luke and Lainey were pretending to get married. Luke got really embarrassed and crumbled into a ball on the floor. After a second or two Lainey just rolled him over and said emphatically "Let's go PLAY!" There is no embarrassment necessary with cousins.
Another great thing about having cousins around was Luke's attention was off of Ben. Nearly Zero sibling stuff that week. Yippee!
Supporting my siblings in their various
endeavors has always been a pleasure of mine. This season was a
little bit triekier with 2 boys to keep track of instead of 1, so we
ended up going to fewer things.
Peter I never actually saw play a
single play this season. The first game I didn't see him because I
was playing with Luke, the second time he played after I left, and
the third game was so close they didn't let the second string in.
Still, I like going to his football
games. Even though the nuances of sports are lost on me I get all excited about the lights, the cheering, the close
scores, and the last-minute, much-needed touchdowns.
braved the rain with both boys for the last game of the season. I'm not sure if he
even cares that I go, but I like to try anyway. I mean, most of his
responses to my attempts at conversation are mono-syllabic these
days, so this is my way of showing that I care.
were walking up to the seats, Papa was very excited about the
“complete rainbow” that was “almost a double rainbow”.
Sadly, there was no one there but me to giggle.
not sure what it is about the rain and a football game. Somehow the whole is more than the sum of the parts.
For the serious spectator.
Peter is #39
end the team did some grunting. The captains
expressed their love for their fellow players. The team did a shout
of thanks to the parents, and then the season was over.
Oh, the mixed feelings I have about Emily doing cheer. I did 5 years of cheer, so I know a bit about it. It's drama, hair bows, and ambulance rides (in Emily's case). Still, she was really good. I mean, if we weren't 16 years apart the emotion I might feel would be jealousy instead of pride.
She's the flier in the center
For their competition routine she didn't end up doing any flying. She does a lot of tumbling. If you can catch her she's in green shorts and a white top standing to the right at the very beginning. Afterwards I had her rattle off to me the different tumbling passes she does.
Emily: First I do a round-off double back handspring. Then another one of those. Then a standing triple back handspring. Then I'm supposed to do a round off back handspring back tuck, but I left out the back tuck because I was tired.
"Lean Up Roseville" is put on yearly by Johnson Ranch Racquet Club. Out of about 200 applications 24 people are given a 2 month membership, nutrition information meetings, group fitness classes and personal training. This year, one of those people was...
So for the past 8 weeks I have been waking up, putting in between 60 and 120 minutes at the gym, and then coming home to go about my business.
For the nutritional meeting my Mom was able to help watch the boys until Mac got off work.
I had already been losing weight on my own by trying to eat sensibly and exercising but working out at home with the kidlets around my ankles is a lot trickier than doing it at a gym. Not that I don't love Luke shouting "Faster Mommy!" from the jogging stroller, or doing squats with Luke on my back, but you can push things differently when your kids are still asleep.
The nutrition meetings were pretty eye-opening. The more I learn about nutrition, the more I want to learn. The leader was really into "clean eating" and "traditional foods", which I was somewhat familiar with. It's just hard for me to change how I plan, shop, and prepare meals. Frankly, it gives me anxiety. Slowly but surely I'm "cleaning up" the foods I buy and someday will get better about eating more "traditionally". She wanted us to journal our food, but I can't do that. I end up being too restrictive and not eating enough, so I just tried to pay attention to my hunger level and eat when I'm hungry. I had a few epiphanies about my "food issues" and I think it'll be a long journey for me to get to a place where I have a normal relationship with food.
As far as the workouts go, I loved it. Were I single or married without children I would probably be a huge gym rat. I like working out. At least after the first five minutes when I'm warm. Those first five minutes I'm thinking "Ugh. I wish I were home in bed." or "I really don't have what it takes to work out today. I'll just leave after 20 minutes". But after that first five minutes I'm usually excited to be there. It was especially interesting because in the "Lean Up" classes I was one of the fittest people, but I got humbled in the regular classes by ladies 20 years older than me with better balance and/or strength.
This is the move I call balance ball bridge with 40 plus extra pounds.
These are the books I've been reading:
This was the first Michael Pollan book I read. He is witty and sensible.
Any one who has ever struggles with their weight or has a less-than-healthy relationship with food would benefit from this book. The author worked in the food industry. He explains how humans are biologically driven to like foods with sugar, fat, and salt, and how the food industry can layer those 3 ingredients to make foods hyper palatable. Eating hyper palatable foods can trigger people to eat too fast so they have a harder time telling when they're full. He doesn't offer simple solutions, because there are none, but it's helped me be more aware of why food affects me the way it does.
OK, so I didn't read all of this book. I need to buy my own copy because it's like a reference book and a cook book in one. I like the premise that there is wisdom to be found in how people have been eating for hundreds of years.
Between the food changes and all the working out I lost 16 pounds, 16 and a half inches (5 from my waist and 4 from my hips) and dropped my body fat percentage by 5 percent. I should feel great- and part of me does. I have a hard time not focusing on the last 5-10 pounds and the things that I wish were different. I dare to dream that I'll get those last few pounds and that for once in my adult life, losing weight will not be on my New Year's resolution list. On my list will probably be refining how I eat, building muscle, and holding on for dear life!
Loves riding his balance bike and
trike, playing with friends, and going to the park.
Loves reading fairy tale books.
Loves nearly all food you put in front
of him. Except bell peppers. I've tried to brainwash him about
healthy food but he reminds me “I still like junk food, too.”
Knows nearly all of his sounds and can
read a teeny tiny bit (For example if I put the word “all” up and
tell him it says all and then put different letters in front of it he
can read “ball”, “tall”, “wall”, etc).
Is writing some letters. This is
Is between 31 and 32 pounds. Is 38
inches tall (grew 2 inches in the past 6 months).
I know this seems ridiculous to mention, but he can fall asleep on his own for naps. That's like bragging you've just taught your 15 year old how to use the potty, but it's big for us.
The night before his birthday he opened some books. Partially because he had a bunch of books to open and partially because I love spreading the presents out.
Luke woke up on his birthday a little
bit honery and whiney. Not a total terror, but it made it a hard to be lovey-dovey and nostalgic. Luckily he took a nap and
when he looks like this I forget he's ever done anything wrong.
In the afternoon we went to Nana's
house to set up for his birthday dinner. I was running around making drumsticks, baked potatoes,
veggies, brownies and mud pie. I haven't cooked like that in a
while, and I kind of miss it. Probably not since the FLSR at BYU. I should tell those
stories someday, but back to the birthday...
Luke saw his Halloween costume and
wanted to put it on. His Aunt Tess relayed this exchange to me after
she helped him get dressed:
Luke: Do pirates wear unders?
Tess: This pirate does. Are you a good
pirate or a bad pirate?
Luke: I'm a nervous pirate.
Tess: Why are you nervous?
Luke: Because I don't know what a
wish I'd been there.
dinner we opened presents. I was still kind of running around
getting things together so I didn't see all his presents, but what a
lucky, loved little boy he is!
(Ben and Lily seem to like each other. Just had to throw this picture in there.)
Luke had picked out these candles at Whole Foods. It reminded me of a Demetri Martin quote: "I'm in a weird position, because I like rainbows, but I'm not gay. So whenever I go out wearing a rainbow shirt, I have to put "Not gay." But I'm not against gays, so under that I'll have to put "... but supportive." It's weird how one group of people took refracted light. That's very greedy, gays." Yeah, thanks gays. Luke is taking rainbows back for children everywhere.
Luke and I looked at my desert recipe file in preparation for his big day. This is what he picked. Oreo crust, layer of chocolate ice cream, layer of crushed oreos, layer of cookies and cream ice cream, layer of chocolate and almonds, real whipped cream, and another drizzling of chocolate and almonds. I savored it as much as I could. Apparently so did a lot of people.
Originally I wanted to do a bigger party and invite all of Luke's little buddies. Quickly I realized I couldn't handle it so I pared the list down. I was sad to not invite everyone, but looking around I still felt so blessed. We've got wonderful people in our lives.
Ben was immediately addicted to this snake. I find myself mesmerized by it, too.
Cal may have liked the mud pie. You'd have to ask him.
The last (and don't worry, they asked permission) present was from Peter and Emily. Luke's (and the Christensen's) first pet ever. It's a beta that Luke named "Fireworks Thomas". I'm not sure if he had help with the Fireworks part of it, I'd have to ask Emily. We have remembered to feed him both mornings since his birthday. Maybe, just maybe, we're responsible enough for a pet.
Starting to really chat- b, m, r, y, blowing raspberries, fishy noise.
You reach for me, you kick your feet and smile when I walk towards you. I'm glad.
You're growing like a weed. Sometimes Mac and I talk about it over breakfast that you must have grown an inch in your sleep.
You had a really tough week last week. Part of it was your teeth pushing up. They still haven't cut through, but you're in pain. Part of the tough week was boredom- I was sick and we didn't get out much. You like lots of stimulation..
I like to think of you as my easy-going baby, but still you have those clingy days where if I even think of putting you down you're upset.
You're figuring out that you don't like having things taken from you- whether it's Me or Dad taking a hazardous object or Luke taking a toy. You definitely express your frustration! Sometimes we baracade you away from the little legos, but you don't like it! In fact, you've figured out how to get around most of our attempts to keep you away from them.
It's been cute watching you warm up to different members of the extended family. First came Emily- you liked her, no problem. Then you warmed up to Nana and then Peter. You were still intimidated by Papa up until this past week. When he would try to say hi you would either bury your face in me or pretend he wasn't talking to you. When we went to the football game with him you finally decided you were ready to be his pal.
I love the way you smile at Dad when he hands you to me. I'm not sure what that smile is saying, but that grin is unforgettable.
You want whatever we've got. You know that saying "The best toy is the one in someone else's hands". You're always swiping at my water bottle or book.
Milestones: I haven't seen it yet, but Mac says you can stand for a few seconds.