Monday, December 15, 2008

Feeling a little Scrooge-y

It's 10 days before Christmas, my family was here this past weekend celebrating, and I don't have a shred of a Christmas decoration up! The plan was to put it all up mid-November, before Caleb came, but that didn't happen. Then I was on bedrest until Caleb's birth, then I was healing up, and now, well, I'm doing good to get a shower before noon. I love decorating for Christmas, so it feels very weird in my house. That said, I do not regret it! It's a crazy time of year, and I've had to rearrange my priorities a bit to stay sane.

I'm making up for it by playing my Christmas music--almost 200 songs!--all day long. With that many songs, it makes for a pretty good mix!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hiatus

Stuff I want to post about:
State Fair
Sale of company
Advertising budget and award
Latest photo shoots
Jon's job hunt
I love fall and Christmas is coming!

Reasons for not posting:
Sale of company => all new branding for our company, which is my job
Baby due in a week

I don't foresee getting much of a breather between now and Baby Day, so I'm going to take a blogging hiatus for a bit. I'm sure I'll keep you updated on baby news on the Newbie blog, but nothing else here. See you on the other side!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Check the pigs for wings!


Well, it's finally happened. Jon has come out of his 6-month blog hiatus! It's common knowledge that getting the two Jo(h)ns of the family together will inevitably lead to a spirited debate. My brother (John) has been working on a paper for class about Darwinianism and its effect on the church. I'd be very interested to read the paper. In the meantime, John posted some questions on his blog to initiate discussion. I left my meager response in his comments, but Jon wrote two posts on his own blog in response. So check it out! And then add your own thoughts!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hm...not a bad idea....

Dilbert.com

As I try to finish up my large list of to-dos for work, I'm feeling a bit like this.

(There should be three panels to the comic. If you don't see all three, click on the strip to see the rest. Though, in my opinion, the first two are the funny part.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And on the sixth...

So, here's the deal:
Open your pictures folder
Go to the SIXTH folder
Go to the SIXTH picture
Publish it to a NEW POST and tell the story of the photo.

Technically, this is the third photo in that folder, but it makes for a great story. This was March 16 of this year, my birthday. We were all at John and Karen's house to celebrate birthdays (their birthdays are right before mine). Jon and I had a little secret (and a big announcement) that day. Holding our then-one-month-old nephew, Ian, Jon's winking because no one knows that we'll be returning the favor of a nephew before the year is out!

And, to satisfy my obligation, here is the sixth photo:
Though it does slightly look like a method of torture, this is how to burp a baby when he can't yet hold his head up. John's cradling Ian's head while patting his back.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Good and the Bad

I love my cats. I know it'll be different when Caleb comes, but Bonnie & Clyde are my babies. In lots of ways they act like children: They love keys, they pull hair and jewelry, they barge into the bathroom unwanted, they whine at the door when it's closed, and they make me laugh. They really are the best.

Sometimes I wish I were more like Bonnie. She sleeps all the time. Occasionally, I can't resist the urge to pet her while she sleeps. Which of course wakes her up, but she never seems to mind. Unlike my crabby self when awakened, she just stretches a bit, lets out a little purr, and drifts right back to sleep. Sometimes she wakes up as if reminded of the possibilities, and moves to my lap for better petting. She's never upset, but accepts the unasked-for gesture for what it is: a gesture of love. Sometimes she's fast asleep and Clyde pounces on her. She leaves (understandably), and he steals her spot. What a punk Clyde is. But Bonnie just wanders to another favorite spot and goes right back to sleep. Yep, I should be more like my kitty.
1: Bonnie Girl sleeping

2. The Clydester attacks!

3. Now who's got the nice warm spot?

I really think cats are the greatest. As I've listened to the stories of other cats, or of dogs and puppies, I've been a little smug about the fact that I have cats who are so great and adjust to things so well.

All of that came to a screeching halt Friday morning.

Jon was cleaning out the litter box. He moved it from the storage closet where it resides out into the room for better cleaning. Clyde promptly went back into the storage closet and started peeing where the box should be. Not just a little pee. A LOT of pee. I hear yelling from the back room, and Clyde comes flying out. Jon's asking for the old towels, which we'd conveniently put away in the garage when we were organizing. Convenient only when not needed. (Our garage doesn't have a door connecting from the house, so you have to go outside and go through the large door on the front.) So Jon does his best with paper towels, but eventually we have to go get the towels from the garage. As we are moving back and forth around the house, I notice that Clyde is very busily cleaning himself. Poor guy was probably still peeing when Jon shooed him out, and made a mess all over himself (though I didn't find any in the rest of the house).

As Jon was spending this extra bit of time on the floor of the storage closet, he came across a discovery. We had put an open box full of kitchen towels on the bottom shelf of the closet. I don't go through towels that often; I usually just wash the ones I have out and put them back in rotation. So we hadn't accessed this box since Labor Day. What Jon found was towels soaked in ammonia-heavy pee...with piles of poop scattered on top. PILES of poop.

GROSS!! Nasty!! Disgusting!

The whole box went straight into the trash can outside, and all the rest of the towels (all the normal bath towels are on that same shelf) were given a nice long run through the washer! The litter box was moved out into the living area, and the storage closet door firmly shut forever to the cats.

The only thing I think could have happened is that one of the cats got picky about the state of the litter box one day, and decided to try somewhere else. Since we didn't notice it, the scent remained there, and it became a permanent litter box from that point forward.

Moral of the story: rotate dish towels out more often, clean litter box more often, and don't feel smug about other people's pet woes.

Lesson learned!

Clyde was in the dog house for a couple of days. Bonnie probably should have been, too, but Clyde started the incident with the pee on the floor, so he had to take the brunt of the blame. But then, how can we stay mad at such a handsome kitty??

Monday, September 29, 2008

Following

My in-laws just started up a blog! On it, they had an interesting gadget in the sidebar called "Followers." So I looked into it, and added it to mine, as well! If you read this blog a lot, you can add yourself as a follower. Then my blog will appear in your blogger dashboard like an RSS feed, I guess. And your picture shows up on my blog! How fun is that! Anyway, check it out, and become a follower! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Creative Suite 4 Announced!


Today, Adobe has announced the latest version of the Creative Suite: CS4. If you're a designer/photographer/illustrator, you'll know what that is. If not, it is the gold standard in creative software, providing InDesign for print, Photoshop for images, Illustrator for graphics, and Dreamweaver for web.

The initial thoughts on the upgrade seem to be pretty good--it's certainly a far cry from the original CS, which is what I have on my home computer--and I hope to upgrade, at least with Photoshop. I have CS3 on my work laptop, and I'm not sure I'll recommend the upgrade there...I usually upgrade every other time, because in reality, I can put out good work with what I have, despite the fact that something new and shiny has come out. However, it's not that expensive to upgrade--a drop in the bucket for my work, if not for myself--so maybe I'll go ahead and suggest it.

If you're interested, check out more information from CreativePro.com. CS4 is scheduled to come out in October!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blockbuster Queue


I have finally rated enough movies on Blockbuster.com to get good recommendations from them. Usually, Blockbuster recommends things that are way off track, mostly R-rated (which I rarely watch), and things that I would never watch, even if it were just to be social (which is a reason that gets me to do a lot of things). But finally, today, my Blockbuster queue was surprisingly great! Lots of good movies, some of which I had not seen before, and most of which I wouldn't mind watching even if it were just me at home. Hooray!

Do any of you do Blockbuster online? How about movies you've seen recently that you'd recommend?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And the winners are...

Last week I announced a giveaway in celebration of my 300th post. I compiled all the names, and Jon drew from a hat. I had enough magnets to give away six sets!

Here are the winners!!

Carolyn
ChristieLynn
KarenD
Rachel
Mommy the Human Napkin
Teresa

I have everyone's addresses or a way to get them, so don't worry about needing to send me anything. Now you just have to wait patiently for the mail! :)

Thanks for reading, everybody!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There's a trick to it!

Jon and I are fans of natural peanut butter. But, if you've ever had natural peanut butter, you know our problem with it: by the time we've made it about a quarter way through the jar, the rest is a solid block, making it nearly impossible to get out and spread evenly on a piece of bread.

Well, I've figured out the solution! First, toast your bread. This is a yummy trick Jon taught me the first time he made me a PB&J. It tastes good, adds crunch to your sandwich, and, regarding the natural PB dilemma, makes your bread a little firmer.

Next, while you're toasting your bread, hold the PB jar over the toaster! When it's still pretty full, hold it up-side-down so the heat is caught in the jar. If it's almost empty, you can hold it right-side-up over the heat. By the time your bread is toasted, your PB is warmed up enough to be soft, making it easy to spread!



Tada!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

How to Eat Frosted Mini Wheats

Pour your Frosted Mini Wheats (or in our case, generic Frosted Mini Spooners) into a bowl. Add milk.

Turn over all the mini wheats so the sugar-coated side is up, so that the sugar won't get soggy and melt into the milk. (Yes, it's all going to the same place, but I'm just teaching the proper method here.) Then, proceed to eat the mini wheats from least sugary to most.

Yummy!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

MamaMia Surprise!

Tuesday night is our official date night. Sometimes we double date with friends, sometimes it's dinner and a movie, and sometimes it's just staying home, because hey, when it's the only night at home in a week, that's pretty special, too! Lately, however, every Tuesday has been staying at home, so I was excited to hear last week that Jon was planning something for our next date night.

By Monday, I hadn't heard anything more about Tuesday's date. I casually asked if Jon had any plans for the next night. He said he did, and it involved only a little bit of cooking. Hm...okay....

Tuesday rolled around, and it was a beautiful rainy day. I shaved my legs and fixed my hair, not knowing what we were doing that afternoon. About 3:00pm, Jon called from work. Of course, I'd left the phone off its base all day, so it immediately started beeping for a low battery. Usually it beeps twice and goes dead, so I said, "Battery'sdyingtalkfast!" So Jon quickly gave me two options: 1) go swimming (at the indoor pool), go eat Mexican, and come back home and make beignets, or 2) go eat downtown and see MamaMia!

Well, I'm usually up for any option that involves downtown, and adding MamaMia into the mix made it a no-brainer! I could go swimming some other time, but Jon had managed to procure a couple seats to the Bass Hall show for that night, and I wouldn't miss that for anything! I quickly said, "MamaMia!!!" and we hung up.

Woohoo! MamaMia! What was I going to wear?? People these days take the theater way too casually, and I like to dress up. Plus, it's date night! After a little rummaging around in my closet, I found a great prego date night outfit, and was quite proud of myself.

The evening came and we headed out to a Mexican restaurant we'd never tried downtown. The chips were excellent! Salsa great, enchiladas great, rice...meh, but who goes for the rice anyway? We headed from there to Marble Slab, where we had a coupon for buy one, get one free sundae. They were HUGE! So we grabbed them and walked the few blocks to the Bass, eating as we went. As we got near (and the showtime got near), we each had to throw away at least half of our sundaes, but oh, well. What we had was yummy, and we really didn't need to eat it all!

Into the Bass Hall we went. I love that place. It's beautiful. We were seated by Jon's source there, and then it began!

At first I was a little put off by the acting. I forget how "overacted" theater has to be in order to convey emotions, etc. to the furthest back row. I'd seen the movie, so I was expecting the subtle nuances of Hollywood. However, soon I got used to the feeling of theater, and everything was just great. The movie stayed very true to the musical! Being theater, the musical had more crude jokes in it, but otherwise, the two were very similar. I'd heard that the play ended differently than the movie, but it didn't. So either that person forgot, or they changed it once the movie came out. I'd kind of doubt that, but I guess it could happen.

When intermission came, I had the sudden realization that I needed to go to the bathroom, and no one wants to wait in a women's bathroom line in intermission. I immediately told Jon, "I'm going to the bathroom, let me out!" I pushed my way past him as he cautioned me who to find when I came back. Since we didn't have official tickets, he was worried I wouldn't be able to get back in. Well, that was not my top priority at that moment, and I booked it to the bathroom. I didn't know where one was, but I followed the determined lady ahead of me, and sure enough, she was headed to the same place. I was fourth into the bathroom!! Woohoo! Small triumph for the prego! In the short time I was in there, the line went from empty to about forty women. I squeezed past them with only a little bit of smugness. Then I realized I had been so focused on getting to the bathroom that I had no idea how to get back. I dimly recalled seeing a pink boa on display, so I wandered around for that, and sure enough, there was Jon's face at the door to the theater. I still had time to spare before the second act!

All in all, it was a great date, and I have a great husband who knew I would love it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

300th Post!! And a Giveaway!

This is my 300th post!! I started blogging in June of 2005, after we'd moved here and half-way through our Summer of No Jobs. I was much more contemplative back then, when I had lots of time and God was humbling me with my inability to secure a job. Then involvement at church came, the job (and the cat!) came, and my busy life turned my blog into small (mostly silly) glimpses of my life. Despite that, my readership has grown from about six readers a day to about twenty-six readers a day, and I've actually made a few friends from blogging!

One of those friends is my sort-of cousin, Lorie. Following her blogaversary tradition, I'm arranging a giveaway! Post a comment here, and in one week (Thursday, Sept. 18th), I'll put all the names of the commenters in a hat and draw out one (or more!) winners. And what will you win, you ask??

Magnets!



Okay, if you're family, you probably already have some, but who couldn't use more magnets?? I happen to have a few left over from a certain entrepreneurial idea that Leanna and I had, so you just might win them! And if you have absolutely no desire for magnets, well, they make good stocking stuffers or gifts for coworkers. So leave a comment and have fun!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hair Experiment

Why is it that every hair cut is a much-weighed decision? Yesterday, Leanna was asking me what she should do with her hair this next cut, and for once, I stuck with the simple, "I think you should do what you did last time." She and I never do that! We usually start looking at books, going online, discussing face shape and hair color...and yes, pretty much for every cut. It could be because we're dramatic, but I think it's because we like change...at least with our hair.

In early August, I had no idea what to do with my hair. The plan was to let my hair grow out until early November, when I would get it cut short again, so it would feel new and cute when I was 9 mos pregnant. But then I realized that growing out my hair from August to November was not enough time for it to get past the awkward stage, and why go through three months of awkward just to cut it short again? So, then I thought maybe I should just keep growing it out, even after Caleb's born. I've had it short for awhile; it's time for something new. But then I realized (after a conversation with Karen, my source for all things new mom) that I don't want hair that needs to be fixed when I'm a brand new mom and people show up with dinner or just to see the baby. I need hair that I can wet down, run gel through, and it's done. That, my friends, is short hair. (The other low-maintenance option is hair long enough for a pony-tail, but I can't pull that off in three months.)

So, after that debate, I decided I would do short hair, but try to get the shape back to the first short cut I got with Lynn. Lynn was still my regular stylist, but every appointment my hair got shorter and shorter, so I decided to try someone new. Still being cheap, I went to Ogle School of Cosmetology, where I got a 6-buck haircut. Sweet! And the student did a great job, kept the length, but shaped it up very nicely. I really liked the way it turned out.

And then two weeks later, it was frumpy again. Ah...now I see why those short haircuts were so nice. I could go 6-8 weeks between cuts before. I put off the decision for a few more weeks, but yesterday, I was done. To make my hair presentable on Sunday, I had to gel, blowdry, curl, pomade, and spray my hair, and I was not going to do that again. Sure, it's cute, but way too much work! So yesterday I went back to Lynn, and pretty much had my head shaved. Back to its pixie glory. Someday I'll grow it long, but today is not that day.

In the midst of these length concerns, I also had color to worry about. I have been highlighting my hair for awhile now, and had ended up with a little bit of a highlighting mess: more highlights on one side of my head than the other, and roots over an inch long. (Why do I choose to do things that require maintenance when I obviously don't maintain them??) So, the plan was to dye my hair back to its original color, and then put new highlights in. I didn't know if the color would cover up the existing highlights enough, but I thought it was worth a try.

And it worked! The old highlights were mostly covered, with a slight color variation off of the brown I chose, but I like to think of that as added depth. And then the new highlights...well, I'm pretty sure I like them. I did them myself, so at some point I just gave up because my arms were getting tired, but I think I got them all in the right places.

So basically, my hair looks like it did about two months ago, and I like it. :) I especially liked fixing it this morning! Yep, I think it's the cut for me, at least until it's time to grow it out again. But until that time comes, I think I'll just take my own advice to Leanna. I'm gonna stick to the cut I have.

Monday, September 08, 2008

What's been going on

I owe you a post here, for sure! I've been posting on my baby blog, and that seems to be just about life-consuming these days! I asked Jon this morning, "What can I post about that's not baby-related??" Well, I'm not really sure the answer to that question, but I'm going to try anyway. If baby topics come up, oh well! :)

Jon's started back to school. His last semester! It's very exciting, but also very challenging. This is his third and last semester of Hebrew, and I know he will be so glad when it's done. He's also taking a history class covering the Enlightenment, which has TONS of reading which isn't so fun, but he really enjoys the class itself. And then his last class is fairly easy, and they go over stuff like how to baptize, because I guess there's a trick to it! All in all it's a demanding schedule, but with few enough hours that it's doable.

He's also working on his resume and has a couple churches in mind where he'd like to apply. I'm sure he'll have applications all over the place before it's all said and done!

Bonnie & Clyde are our constant entertainment. They charm everyone who comes in the door. If you stay long enough, you'll get in on the game of musical chairs as the two go from lap to lap. Clyde loves to jump. He jumps from the couch to the computer chair, to the top of my monitor, then to the top of Jon's monitor, then to the printer, and then once he's made it he meows at the wall. Bonnie sticks to the ground, mostly, but loves to explore. Inside shelves, boxes, bags, she finds pens, paper clips, and her favorite: the Scrabble stickers from Subway. She's got a radar for those things.

I went to an Arbonne Mercedes event with my mom yesterday. A lady had made it to a certain level in the company where she is given a white Mercedes, and this event was to celebrate that. I admit that I went into it with a slightly jaded perspective. I mean, if you know me, you know I have no desire for a brand new white Mercedes. I wouldn't even have a white car myself, except that it was the best car I could find for $6,000. Buying new doesn't make sense to me, and having a Mercedes really doesn't make sense to me. So, to go to an event all about a Mercedes, with people packed in to ooh and ahh and be inspired by the Mercedes...meh... To top it off, everyone there was dressed professionally, and while I tried, I just felt quite pregnant.

Well, it turned out it wasn't so bad. It was definitely an atmosphere I'm not used to or like very much, but the ladies I spoke with were very genuine. The ladies were not so much there to be inspired by the Mercedes, but by the speakers and the success of other ladies just like them. The speaker, despite her multi-million Arbonne business, still shops at Target, which I can respect. And she also asked for a discount at a hotel (she was just there for a few hours to change, go over her notes, etc.), which I thought was funny. I guess, in a similar situation, I would have changed and gone over my notes at Starbucks or something, but I can grant her an extravagant pit stop since she did ask for a discount. And then, after heading to the event, she promptly forgot the name and location of the hotel where they left all their stuff. Oh, how I can relate! She did a really great speech, and it didn't focus on the white Mercedes at all. Instead, it focused on being able to have an overflow of money to give to others. That's something that's always been important to Jon and I--budget and stay out of debt so that God can use your finances when needed--so I appreciated the speech.

Overall, it was an exciting event, and I can't wait for the day when my mom is handed her own set of keys to a brand new, white Mercedes! Just remember, mom, the lady yesterday took her family to Cancun to celebrate! (wink!) Seriously, I know she can do it, and I know that Arbonne is giving her the financial freedom to do what she does best: gift-giving! Whether it's money to missions, clothes for a family in need, trips to visit family and adopted family, or diapers for her grandbabies, my mom has been given the gift of generosity, and Arbonne is allowing her to reach her full potential in that.

And speaking of gifts, my mom gave me a sea salt bath soak and lotion for attending, which I enjoyed thoroughly when I got home! Even today my skin feels very nice. I was hoping for a miracle, but no, my stretch marks did not disappear. Still, the sea salts are supposed to soothe sore muscles, which I'm sure I'll encounter more of as I make it through this last leg of pregnancy, so I'm thankful to have them!

And with that, I'm done with the post. I didn't go too overboard talking about pregnancy. Turns out there is other stuff going on after all!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Two more photo shoots!

I've gotten the other two photo shoots edited! Here are my favorites from each, and they link to their respective albums.

Lens: 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Aperture: f/4.0
Speed: 1/50 second
ISO: 400


Lens: 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Aperture: f/4.0
Speed: 1/50 second
ISO: 400

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lusk Photo Shoot

The first of three photo shoots are up! Click on the photo to get to the rest of the photos from the shoot.

Lens: 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Aperture: f/5.6
Speed: 1/200 second
ISO: 400

Saturday, August 16, 2008

So busy

Three photo shoots in two days! Whew! I'm beat! But what a fun weekend!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Garage Before and After

The key to a good After pic is a very bad Before pic! One might use this to their advantage and "stage" their first pic, but usually that's not necessary. It certainly wasn't in our case. Here's the before:

As you can see, the garage had become a maze of mess. What you can't see is that our attempt at organization--big plastic boxes stacked on top of each other in the back corners--had put our boxes to the test, and they had failed. One was crumpling completely in on itself from the weight of the others on top of it. Plus, every time we needed to put something in one box, it was inevitably the bottom box, which meant we just dropped the item in the garage "to put in the box later." Later never came. Until today!

Jon constructed three heavy-duty shelves that would house big boxes and paper office boxes alike, as well as allow for some room to stash odd-sized things like my photography backdrops. He also got rid of THREE boxes of books! (And if you know Jon, you know that was quite a sacrifice for him.) On my part, I parted with all my fall and spring decorations (because I only decorate for Christmas. anyway), and all but one of my beloved crafts. I also went through house decorations from my college days. AND (sigh...) the ghetto-fabulous cat tree is seeing its last days. It's going out with the next trash run.... It's in the house now for its last hurrah, though I must say these cats are not nearly as enthralled as Friday had been. Hmph. Spoiled on store-bought toys, I guess.

The one big thing left for me to cull through is fabric. I've collected quite a bit of it, and it's just so dang useful I can't see getting rid of it. I have a trunk full (that would make an excellent toy box for Caleb...), bags full, and even more stashed inside the house. However, several of my friends have picked up the sewing bug lately, so I might just bestow some fabric on them as a way to encourage their efforts. It would make me feel better about parting with it. Some of my fabric, however, I'll probably never part with!

Something else I feel like I'll never part with are my memory boxes. A tradition we started as kids, my parents would give us a box to hold the memories of our year: awards, drawings, stories, and many many many random things. I guess John did it, too, but I would also guess it the idea was for me, the pack rat with way too many memories. (Hey, when you're as forgetful as I am, you need physical things to remind you...and I just happen to want to remember everything.) So, sad to say, I have numerous memory boxes. Big blue bin, two large Rubbermaids...all housing memories from grade school up. It's embarassing, really, but that's one thing I cannot look at objectively.

And there are still some things in the garage that seem like I will never be able to get rid of them--namely, my darkroom photography equipment. I just can't seem to get motivated to put it up on Craig's list, and the sad truth is that I'm afraid most of it will go in the trash. However, I'm ALMOST ready to accept that truth, because I refuse to move it one more time. I have to get it up on Craig's list, and what doesn't sell, I'll leave at the front door of the local camera store in the middle of the night. :)

So, without further ado, the After!

As you can see, the darkroom equipment is in the front left, and that will hopefully be gone soon, which will clear up even more space. What you can also see is the floor! And the lawnmower! Where did that come from?? And almost every box (excepting a couple of book boxes) are accessible on the shelves, with no stacking and piling (and crumpling) to worry about.

What you can't tell is that one of the big blue bins is completely empty (all decorations relegated to the garage sale pile!), ready for stuff from our back storage closet, when my mom comes and helps me organize that area. And maybe she'll help me with my memory boxes?? (Pretty please with sweet smile and puppy dog eyes!)

All in all, I'm so proud of what we accomplished today. We made some organizational advances that will help us wherever we go, and we got a good start on our overall clean-out as we prepare for Caleb.

NOTE: Notice that Jon's accomplishment was to clean out some book boxes. For as much grief as I give him about collecting so many books, I obviously have the hoarding problem in our house! :) Hence, I've labeled this post "personality" because I think it speaks quite clearly to the type of person I am.

Friday, August 08, 2008

All in a word (Tag)

The Rules: Answer the questions using only one word. Then tag three others.

1. Where is your cell phone? TABLE
2. Your significant other? FUNNY
3. Your hair? SHORT
4. Your mother? GO-GETTER
5. Your father? ENCOURAGING
6. Your favorite thing? CUDDLING
7. Your dream last night? WEIRD
8 Your favorite drink? SONIC
9. Your dream/goal? ENTREPRENEUR
10. The room you’re in? BRIGHT
11. Your hobby? PHOTOGRAPHY
12. Your fear? STAGNATION
13. What do you want to be in 6 years? PEACEFUL
14. What you’re not? CONFRONTATIONAL
15. Muffins? BLUEBERRY
16. One of your wish list items? MASSAGE
17. Where you grew up? TEXAS
18. The last thing you did? SHOWER
19. What are you wearing? COMFY-NESS
20. Favorite gadget? CAMERA
21. Your pets? FUZZY
22. Your computer? MAC
23. Your mood? QUESTIONABLE
24. Missing someone? NO
25. Your car? MARSHMALLOW
26. Something you’re not wearing? MAKEUP
27. Favorite store? TARGET
28. Like someone? YEP!
29. Your favorite color? GREEN
30. When is the last time you laughed? YESTERDAY
31. Last time you cried? 7/1/08

I tag: KarenD, KarenN, Carolyn (keepin' it in the family!)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Big Snip

Yesterday, Bonnie & Clyde went to the vet for the Big Snip. We tried to warn them about it, but I don't think they were prepared. Neither were we!

The cats still waltz straight into the cat carrier when we bring it out. At some point, they'll start associating it with the vet, but for some reason they still do not. (Even after yesterday, they've gone in it several times.) So, there they go into the carrier, and off we go to the vet. We drop them off and feel very guilty about the pain we've left them to.

By 2:30pm, I was ready to know how the cats were doing. Poor kitties. After our own doctor's appointment (about 5:00), we called to see if we could come by and pick them up. No, we had to wait until 6:00 for a consult with the vet. Oh, okay, we didn't know about that. So we went home for 30 minutes, then back to the vet, where we waited.

Finally, someone brought B&C into the exam room. They were in the carrier and pretty frantic. They pushed their noses into the wires and would never settle down, which made the wait for the vet that much longer. Jon even broke into his own rendition of "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" hoping to remind the people outside our room that we were still there! He always makes me laugh!

The vet finally came in, and his first words were, "Well, Clyde really had a hard time of it, so he'll be pretty groggy, and for longer than Bonnie."

The (slightly funny) truth is that Clyde has a condition called cryptorchidism. Crypto: Where is it? and Orchid: testicles. (I just lost my G-rating right there.) That's right, Clyde has a missing ball. It never descended like it should have, which meant that his surgery would be as extensive as Bonnie's. The vet would have to make an incision in Clyde's abdomen to go searching for the missing...orchid. Well, as it turns out, it was quite a hunt, and Clyde's incision ended up being about 4 inches long, compared to Bonnie's half-inch incision. Poor guy!

When we made it home, we had two ravenous kittens, with the disadvantage of still being slighty drugged. They swayed and wobbled their way to the food bowls, and proceeded to make a huge mess of everything! Food and water were everywhere as the cats pushed their noses into the bowls and snarfed away! Most people would probably laugh at their antics, but I just can't. Maybe I'm too sensitive. I've never found drunk people to be funny, or people doing crazy stuff under the influence of something other than themselves. It's just sad to me. I do, however, recognize that I'm the exception, so if you find yourself giggling over my sad story, I'll forgive you. :)

Then Bonnie would not settle down. She carried her jingle ball around for about 30 minutes with no stopping. She never put the ball down, and she never actually played with it; she just did circles around the house. Now we know Bonnie does not handle drugs well! :) We tried to hold her to get her to settle down, but she would have none of it!

Clyde was fastidiously cleaning himself. Thankfully, he was staying mostly away from his incision, but it did start to bleed again for a short while.

Needless to say, Jon and I were basket cases. Coming out of surgery is one of the hardest things to see, I think. You think the hard part is surgery, so you expect things to be right back to normal afterwards, and it's always a shock to see that they're not.

Today, things are much better. Both cats have slept the entire day. Bonnie expressed slight interest in a string, and Clyde tried to pick on his sister once, but otherwise, they've just traded off who got to sleep in my lap (and at one point they were both in my lap!). I finally moved to the bed to work, to let them both cuddle up to me and still enable me to get stuff done.

I must say, in the past I've only had male cats with no shy orchids, and that surgery is a breeze. They usually come home a little wobbly, but are running and playing by the end of the day. This has been no walk in the park, and it's been as hard on Jon and I as on the cats, I think! We take them back on Thursday for their checkup, and I'm sure they'll be back to their crazy selves before then!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

That Can't Be Comfortable!

Where is my cat's head??!!
Oh, there it is!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Roomie Reunion 2008

Last week, three other girls and I got together for Roomie Reunion! We were all roommates or friends during college, and we try to get together once a year. Here are the photos!



My favorite is our "stages" progression. We are in four different stages of life: single, married, married & pregnant, and married w/baby. So, we set up a shot (okay, a ton of shots) with that theme. Here is my favorite:


We had a blast, and I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Silly Sophie

Today I went to lunch with Holly, Sophie, and Holly's mom, Sue. Sophie had a song in her head. You probably all know it:

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
(Where?)
Down in my heart!
(Where?)
Down in my heart!

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart
(Where?)
Down in my heart to stay!!

Well, it took a bit to figure out that the "joy joy joy joy down stay...." coming from the back seat was actually a song, but once we did figure it out, Sophie thought it was great fun for us all to sing together. Which we did.

When we were enjoying our Endless Soup & Salad at Olive Garden, Sophie would break out in her hearty rendition of the joyous song. "JOY JOY JOY JOY DOWN STAY......" Some things you just can't sing quietly, you know?

Well, on our drive home, we were all singing. We came to the end of the song, and Sophie said to Holly, "Do it!" (As in, start singing again, Mom!)

Holly replied, "You do it!"

This went on four or five times, until finally Sophie said, "No, YiYi do it!!" (That's me, by the way.)

It was so funny! It might have been the first time she put 4 words together in a sentence, too! She's potty training and starting to look more and more like a little girl and not the baby I've known for two years. I'm so blessed to have her (and Holly!) in my life!

Monday, July 21, 2008

What's going on with us? Pt. 2

After our discussion the day of the church planting meeting, I did my best to not be so impatient. I waited on Jon, and he waited on God. We have all experienced God's timing, and know how different it is from our own. Usually, I'm okay with that, but having so much come to fruition in November and December (baby, graduation, job, move?) has shaken my faith a little.

So a few weeks ago, I requested a coffee date where Jon and I could sit down and discuss our options. Put everything on the table and see what we might find. The purpose wasn't to make any decisions, but to figure out what we were each thinking.

Armed with our Starbucks frappuccinos, we started talking about options. It quickly became apparent that our possibilities are wide open. We could still be here and going to school, or we could be in South Dakota planting a church (that's for you, Cliff!). However, as odd as it may sound, it had not occurred to me that we might still be here. I figured, whatever we did would require a move. In fact, I was preparing myself to move, and looking forward to going somewhere where summers never saw 100 degrees (or 90 degrees!). So to think that we could stay here was a revelation to me.

Jon has had a dream of teaching military history in a military academy or a university. To do that, he needs his doctorate of history. So, he might still be in school for awhile, though probably working full-time as well. He is going to be doing some research to see how feasible that is, and what steps he needs to take.

My dream is to be a stay-at-home mom. Jon and I would like to switch our incomes, basically, so he would bring home the full-time check, and I would bring home part-time pay, hopefully through photography.

However, these two dreams of ours are surpassed by God's dreams for us. We don't know what those are, yet, or if He has given us these desires for His purpose. We don't know if church planting will come back on the table, or some other sort of bivocational ministry, or perhaps Jon will be a light in the dark world of liberal academics.

Our coffee date ended when we both hit the realization that we could talk about our plans all night, but we can't actually make any plans until Jon's closer to graduation. Unless we have clearer direction from God, in September, Jon will start sending out applications and resumes to universities to continue his education, to public schools to teach, and to churches and BSMs looking for ministers. We'll just see where that leads us!

So, to end this tw0-part series of where we're headed in life, the answer is that we don't know. We're back to square one and waiting on God's timing. Please pray for patience, peace and openness as we wait!

Friday, July 18, 2008

What's going on with us?

This post is long overdue, as I'd given my faithful readers a glimpse of where we were headed a few months ago, and then never followed up on it. I've spoken to many of you about it, but, for posterity's sake, here it is in writing.

The last time I mentioned "our future," it was in the context of church planting. We had started to take steps toward gathering a team and heading to the northwest to plant a church and make a difference. A few things happened in quick succession after that. The day came when those who were willing to commit would be meeting at our house. We did the typical frantic house cleanup, and a few hours before the meeting, Jon confessed, "I don't think this is where God is calling me."

What?? After all this? Well, it turns out I was partly to blame. In my eagerness (or fear?) for the future, I wanted to DO something. I didn't wait for Jon to step up as the spiritual leader, and he let me lead the way down this path. By the time we'd gotten to this point, he'd realized that it really wasn't where God wanted him right now.

The time for the meeting came, and no one showed up, which was further confirmation that our timing was not right. We came away from that day with a better understanding of our roles...and a clean house.

--More in the next installment!--

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Domain Worth

I just checked out a new site today when I was looking around for my work site. Domain Crawler lets you type in a web address, and it tells you information about it: ranking and estimated value, etc.

I typed in lmnovations.com--my photo site--and I think it was worth $96 or so. Whoopee. But I typed in my blog address, and it's worth $7605!! So, if anyone out there wants this blog address, just let me know...I'll even lower the price to $6500 for you.

I looked up google.com, but there must be some kind of fluke because it's only worth $625. Or maybe my blog is that much better than Google. Heehee.

Look up your favorite addresses and tell me what you find!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cleaning Out

Yesterday, I canceled all my magazine subscriptions. No more Real Simple organization tips, no more Martha Stewart Christmas ideas, and no more (tear!) Country Living. Country Living holds a special place in my heart, because I've been taking it since freshman year in college when I just wanted mail. But no more! I'm too much of a hoarder to have three hefty magazines coming to me every month. Plus, I haven't had the time to read them, and I've been a couple months behind for awhile.

As the straw that broke the camel's back, I've had some ethical issues with a couple of the magazines: Real Simple is so careful not to make any judgments on anyone's lifestyle, but in an article on budgeting, the first thing they suggested be eliminated was a person's tithe. Sure, it's okay to spend money on a feng shui specialist to come to your home, but heaven forbid we tithe. Anyway, that kind of ticked me off. And Country Living has always been a proponent of the homosexual lifestyle. They showcase a home almost every month that someone and "his partner" built together, and it's finally gotten on my nerves enough to cancel.

So that's that. In one day, I feel like I've significantly decluttered my life. Next to tackle: my piles of papers that reside in the house.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Still crazy kittens...just bigger!

Today I came home from an impromptu lunch with Holly (aka Sunshine in the blogging world) with many things in my hands: keys, drink, purse, etc. I made it in the door, but couldn't take my sunglasses off. So, I slowly made my way in the dark to the table, so I could set my drink down and free a hand. Drink down, I pulled my shades off, only to find before me two cats watching with disinterest at the blind lady in their home. They must have thought I was blind, because they were sharing a placemat on the table for a little catnap. Sheesh! Not even a bit of fear that they might be caught! Granted, they usually aren't able to get up to the table because we keep chairs pushed in tight and they're too small to jump all the way up, yet. So they usually don't get on the table to even get punished, which is probably why they didn't think they would be today when they found my chair at just the right spot for them to make it to the table. What a surprise for them when they both got a good squirt from the water bottle!

Anyway, that was just my adventure for today. Every day is entertaining with these two! They certainly live up to their names! Here is a pic of my hoodlums that I took today. Taking pics of one cat is hard enough, but I don't think I'll ever get both of these guys in focus in the same shot! I'm surprised they're even both looking at the camera!

Bonnie (l), Clyde (r)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Azariah at 6 months

Lens: 50mm f/1.8
Aperture: f/5.0
Speed: 1/320 second
ISO: 400

Bekah's Cakes










I just thought I'd give a plug for one of my good friends, Bekah. I've been chowing down on quite a bit of her cake, lately, and realized the world needs to know about Bekah's Cakes!! Pictured here are all the cakes I've had from her, ranging from chocolate to checkerboard to vanilla and even to mint! Every one of them are beautiful and delicious. And I have two more on the way in the next couple of weeks. Woohoo! So, if you're in my area and are looking for a way to give a personalized cake, I would highly recommend Bekah. Check out her site for all her cake designs (and she'll customize for you, as well!), and scroll to the bottom for her contact info.

Friday, June 27, 2008

About a year ago, I was turning off of I-35 to Waco when I saw a kitten in the grass. I pulled over to check on him. He was very feisty, and for all his 1 pound worth, he hissed and tried to be as big as possible. I called Leanna, asking what should I do. I was from out of town, it was a Sunday afternoon, and I had to be at a dinner meeting in about an hour. My options didn't seem very good. I called Jon and talked it over with him. Among the three of us, we decided that the kitten's mother was probably around, and either way he seemed like he could fend for himself. So I left. As I headed to the car, the kitten ran after me, meowing a pitiful plea. Every week I turn that same corner, and I've never seen the kitten again (though I always look, even now). Whether he made it or not, I don't know, but I've regretted my decision ever since.

So, I decided that I would never again pass up helping an animal, and leave hoping someone else would do it or things would just work out okay. I've turned around for a turtle I saw on the highway. (It turns out cold-blooded beings don't last long on hot pavement, even when they haven't been hit.) I've gone back to lead a puppy back home. The "puppy" ended up being full-grown, and he probably knew what he was doing, and he certainly knew where home was. I've driven the access road to check on a dog, though by the time I got there he was gone.

So all my past efforts have failed, but tonight they did not. Tonight, I was walking to the truck and noticed a toad making its slow way to the other side of the road. As I turned on the truck, I wondered how long it would take him to cross. By the time I got to him, he was only about a third of the way, and I couldn't be sure he'd stay put while I went around him. So, true to my decision, I got out and gently returned the toad to the curb. Hooray! I saved an animal...at least until he goes back out into the road. I can't know what he'll do, but I do know that I did what I could to keep his life going a little longer.

And that's something I won't regret.

Cats Stats

We went to the vet today for Bonnie & Clyde to get their booster shots. They got a regular checkup, as well. This was the first time for them to go to our vet--the Animal Shelter offers the spaying/neutering at only one office in town, so we had to go there for their first checkup so we could set the date for their "alterations."

Everyone was so glad to see the little guys again. They all oohed and aahed about how much they'd grown, and how they were lighter than everyone expected. The mama cat was still in the office, so they brought her by. The meeting was friendly, but she didn't seem too interested, and wandered off after a couple nose touches.

Bonnie was a champion patient. She weighed in at 3lbs 11oz, everything sounded great (breathing, etc.), she stood very still for the thermometer, and didn't seem to notice the shot too badly. We were a little concerned about the chub she's starting to develop on her belly, but the dr. wasn't worried at all. He promotes free-feeding until about 6 months, at which time their energy levels and growth rates wane, and it's time to start measuring out food. This was different from what the Animal Shelter's doctor said. He believed in regulating food amounts right at the beginning. I didn't really agree with him, though we did watch a little better that we just fed them enough for them to eat in a day, instead of leaving it full all the time. So I was happy to hear that our vet thought that was fine.

Clyde was up next. He weighed in at a whopping 4lbs 5oz (no wonder he wins all the fights!). Dr. M detected a small heart murmur and suggested it might be caused by parasites. (The parasites thin the blood, which makes it swoosh through the heart faster, causing noise.) He assured me that this murmur was not on the same scale as Friday's, and if the cause is parasites, it will go away when the parasites are taken care of. We have been directed to collect a stool sample (and yes, my pregnant self has a big rubber glove for the occasion!) so they can test it. Clyde didn't do so well with the thermometer. By the time it beeped that it had registered, he had crawled on to my arm and heading up my shoulder, trying to get his booty as far away from the dr. as possible. He's going to be our problem child at the vet, we can already tell. :) After that he did fine with the shot.

All in all, the cats did very well. They were content to let everyone come by and pet them, and Clyde even purred while Jon held him. They remain our laid back kitties.

I'd like to put in a huge plug for my vet. If you live around here, I would really recommend them. They go above and beyond in their care for our cats, and have been great to us, as well, as we've dealt with some hard blows in the pet arena this year. They honestly care about each animal, and the vets (Dr. M in particular) are very thorough. The vet techs are huge animal lovers, as well. When Smith & Wesson were so sick, they needed a certain tube of vitamin goo; the office didn't have any on hand, and one of the vet techs went to her house and brought back her own tube for us to use. They've also sent us a rose for each cat we lost, and cried with us and hugged us, assuring us we were still good pet parents. Then, best of all, they called us about Bonnie & Clyde, and boarded them for 7 weeks at no cost to us, because they really wanted us to have them. Those kinds of things just don't happen at every vet office.

I would also recommend the vet that will be doing the spaying/neutering, but for different reasons. My vet is a small establishment and pretty laid back, and this one is larger with more sparkle. They took pictures of the cats to put in their records, the ear scope is connected to a monitor so the pet owner can see what's going on, they have an online portal so I can view the records, and they send out periodic e-mails about pet-related stuff, including appointment reminders. The building is very clean and nice, and much closer to our house. If we weren't so happy with our vet, I would probably switch to this one for the convenience. So for that reason I recommend both.

Obviously I've kept the names anonymous because I have this idea that I've somehow managed to keep my location unknown from random people online. In reality, that's probably not true, but, oh well. If you know you live near me, ask me about these places and I'll tell you. :)

Now, Bonnie & Clyde are sacked out, and probably will be for most of the rest of the day. That seems to be what happens with shots. We like it because then they're cute and cuddly. :)

Goin' on Vacation!

This summer has been kind of hard for me, because my work doesn't give paid maternity except for the vacation days I already have saved up. So, considering I only have four weeks saved up, and I want to take six weeks maternity, every day I take off is yet another day unpaid in the future. Knowing that I have NO days off has been very...depressing. No vacation, no visiting family or even long weekends. All I have are the company holidays, which is one day every two months. Ugh.

But I'm still getting to go on vacation! After work on Wednesday, I'm heading to the most relaxing place I know to spend a few quality days. Yep, I'll be at my parents house. And since I work at home, and "home is where you pick up internet," I'll be able to work on Thursday like normal, and enjoy Friday and Saturday with my family.

I'll miss Jon while I'm there, and I told him he'll think my belly's grown so much when I get back--maybe not from Newbie but from good cookin'! I can't wait. My parents have made their home--inside and out--such a peaceful place, and I'm looking forward to the visit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Every Cat Has Its Quirks

Here are a couple videos to show you Bonnie and Clyde in all their personality wonderfulness.

Bonnie is the explorer. She's the first one anywhere, and always curious. She's found the inside of the refrigerator, the inside of the dryer, the back corner of the closet, the top of the dresser, and the piece of paper in the trash can.

Well, maybe that last item isn't exciting for you, but it sure was for her!


And no, she never figured out she could knock the can over and retrieve the paper.

And Clyde, well, he's just as laid back as Bonnie is adventurous. He is the cat who wakes up from a nap and runs up to my desk chair to beg for lovin's. He'll sit on my lap, and I'm pretty sure he sleeps right on top of me all night long, until the morning comes and my love-deprived kitty meows incessantly for me to pet him. So, while it was certainly weird, it didn't seem too out of character that our sensitive little boy sucks his thumb. (The next video is two minutes long of thumb-sucking. If you've seen enough after thirty seconds, you won't miss much the rest of the way. If, however, you're like me and can't stop looking at something weird, then you'll have a whole two minutes of weirdness to watch.)



Jon says we have to try to break him of the habit, just like we would a kid. I think it's kind of cute and I'm not too worried about my cat's psyche, but we're supposed to be a united front, right? So I'm trying. But probably not hard enough and not successfully. He's just so cute....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Garden goodness

Today I had a salad of tomatoes and cucumber with ranch. It was yummy, and the best part was that I grew it all in my own back yard! (Not the ranch.) So, being as I am not usually successful in my gardening attempts, I've deemed these Very Easy To Grow. When we were out of town in Boston, the temps unexpectedly rose to 100 degrees, and my cucumber plants (out in full sun all day) were fried. The tomatoes, in partial shade, fared better, but the leaves have always been puny. Still, both have been putting out the vegetables! I'm growing grape tomatoes and pickling cucumbers. I'm also growing a variety of each of hot pepper and bell pepper, but I don't think they'll have peppers growing for awhile yet. They're starting to get blooms, though.

All in all, I have enjoyed gardening so much. I think it would be a really good hobby. Jon's promised that whenever we buy a home, he'll till up some of the back yard for me. I already have big plans for it. :) Have I mentioned that before? I feel like I have.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

5 Qestions

I've been tagged by Tricia! Here are my answers:

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

10 years ago was June of '98, and I was adjusting to a new town and new church. Our house was a crazy mess--a major fixer-upper--so that was going on all summer. My Mawmaw moved in with us, and my brother moved out...though maybe he was there through the summer? Ooh, that was officially the first time we had a TV in the house since I'd been born, so my dad and I pretty much soaked up all the Law & Order, Lois & Clark, and whatever else was on that we could. We were pretty much TV junkies.

2) What are five things on my to-do list today?

Well, the day is almost done, but here was my list for the day: Photo shoot with Holly & Sophie, movies with Jon, take a nap, pick up stuff at Wal-Mart, babysit for Bekah.

3) What snacks to I enjoy?

Salty stuff! Chips and salsa, pretzels, chips, pickles, pepperoncini peppers, and cheese are all fair game for snacking. On the non-salty side I like apples, and sometimes I like sugary cereal eaten dry (woohoo for Marshmallow Mateys!).

4) Where are some places I've lived?

In the big city, in podunk-ville, in city planning at its best, in the sticks, in college-mania, and in the ghetto (back to the big city). All in Texas. :)

5) What things would I do if I were a billionaire?

I would try to maintain a normal standard of living, with a few exceptions: I would have an architect build our house, and I would hire someone to do the housework. Maybe I'd even get a hybrid vehicle. I would like to pay off bills, making sure everyone in the family is taken care of, including a trust fund or something for future family. Then I would use a lot of it for missions efforts, and some of it for research and implementation of effective no-kill animal adoption centers. With the rest, I would travel the world, sometimes for specific missions purposes, and sometimes just to see if Michelangelo's David is as really amazing as everyone says.

I tag:
Lorie
Margie
Jill
Kaitlin
ChristieLynn

Friday, June 13, 2008

My most popular blog post

I use Site Meter to check on the stats of my blog. It tells me where people are from who come to my blog, what pages they look at, and how they got there. Consistently, one page keeps coming up as viewed, and most times because of a specific Google search for "fall hair color" or "strawberry blonde hair color" etc. Of the last 100 hits to my blog, 19 of them have been to this page! I'm sure Leanna's already guessed the page:

Leanna's Hair Color, posted on August 15, 2007

So, Leanna, when I did that, I had no idea that so many people would be looking at it. Just think what an impact on society you might have! That haircut might be the new Dorothy Hamill cut!

(You made it into both blog posts today, Lea. Don't you feel special??) :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kitten Pause

The other day I was laying down and Bonnie was laying close next to me, staring into my eyes. I winked at her, keeping my right eye closed. Her gaze shifted to my left eye. I closed my left and opened my right. I saw her eyes again focus on the open eye. How do cats (or people or anyone) know that the eyes are the window to the soul?

Clyde loves the refrigerator! Wherever he is, when I open the fridge door he comes running into the kitchen, sliding under the open door as if sliding into home base. He hops up into the refrigerator before I even see what's going on. We haven't shut him in, yet, but there have been many times when I'd normally just let the door close on its own and I realize there's a curious kitten inside!

Jon gets up earlier than I do, so he lets the cats in before I'm out of bed. They clamber up the side of the bed (it's still quite a climb for them) and race toward me as if their night of no lovin's has left them in serious need. Still trying to sleep, I reach out one hand to subdue the masses and otherwise lay still. The kittens decide--eh, who needs lovin's, let's play!--and the covers (with me under them) becomes a playground/boxing ring as they roll around. Inevitably, I start to wake up...just as they start to fall asleep...which puts me back to sleep. It's led to me getting up late several days in a row now. This morning they were both cuddled up right next to me, purring in sync with each other. Who wants to get up and face the world when purring kitties is the alternative??

I am not used to having cuddlebugs for pets. I've never had a cat who would sit in my lap, and it was a rare day when one would lay next to me on the bed. So having these little cuddlers has been so much fun...and brought some problems as well. Things I've learned regarding lap cats:
  1. If you think you might need that hand at some point in the next hour or so, don't let them lay their head on it.
  2. If you think you might need an item that is not within arm's reach, be sure and gather it to you before the cat finds your lap.
  3. If you need to get up and be productive, do NOT let the cat cuddle. This will only result in unproductivity for the next hour.
  4. Sometimes a cat is content enough that you can adjust them so you're more comfortable, but there's a risk it will wake them up enough to realize they have other things they want to do.
  5. Cuddle cats are good during nap time, but hard during the night, when they manage to find the very part of you that you were about to move (leg, arm, etc.) and sit right on it...for the next 20 minutes.
As a mother to kittens, here are things I listen for:
  1. Silence. I immediately pick up on the calm before the storm. Either they're asleep, which is fine, or they've just discovered something new (an open toilet could be a possibility) and are about to explore further.
  2. Chewing. Kittens are like babies: they're so close to the ground they find all the things you never knew were there. This could be paper bits or a bug, which is generally okay, or it could be plastic, a rubberband, or an electric cord. Either way, it's best to distract the kitten and take away the item of interest immediately.
  3. Water. The cats drinking water sounds a lot like peeing to me, for some reason, and I start every time I hear it. I'm getting more used to it, but I'm always on the alert for a kitten who has forgotten her way to the litterbox. Thankfully, these two have had no accidents, so I think I can rest easy.
  4. Scratching. Not acceptable except on the scratching post or cardboard scratchers. I have caught myself yelling out, "NO!" only to realize they were scratching on an approved item, so I try to identify where they're scratching before coming out with water bottle spraying.
  5. Purring. Ah...the sweet life of owning a cat. There's nothing more rewarding than a purring cat. Of course, Bonnie starts purring just because you look at her, and Clyde purrs the minute you pick him up, so it doesn't take much with these two!
Have I made you want a kitty, yet?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Good Thing for Pets

When we decided to get two cats, I picked out this waterer for them:
It works great, and I highly recommend it. I have only refilled it once, and it gives a constant supply of water for our two cats. It would not have worked for Friday, who had a tendency to splash his water all over the floor, but these cats don't play in it, so it's just fine.

On a random, only-related-because-it's-a-cat, note, I love that the kittens are still small enough to pick up and hold in one hand.
That's Bonnie, and both she and Clyde will sit in my hand like this for awhile. They're just as cute as can be!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Happy Birthday Sophie!

This is a week late, but here are the photos of Sophie's birthday party.




The kids loved to play in the pool, and I took a ton of pictures of that. It was a great party! And now Sophie is two! I can't believe it! I first met her when she was four months old.

Here she is at 7 months or so:


My little cutie neighbor!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings!

Okay, so I may not be that big, yet--still looks like I just finished off a gut pack from Viteks--but the bluegrass band I'm in is officially disbanded after today's performance.

We sang/played at Dave's elementary school. It was their last day, and there were 500+ kids packed into the cafetorium, ready for a sing-along. We were the guest musicians! Woohoo! We were all pretty nervous, but I think it went really well. The kids sang along with You Are My Sunshine, and clapped on the fast songs. We didn't forget our words or mess up too badly on our chords, so I consider it a great success!

After this, we'll only get together at random times, instead of weekly like we have been. It has been a lot of fun, and while I still can't play anything more advanced than straight chords, I do think I've improved tremendously. I'm grateful to the guys for putting up with my very basic guitar skills!

At some point, we've talked about taking a Saturday and recording all the songs we've learned. If we end up doing that, I'll try to put a few of the songs up for you!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bonnie & Clyde

Bonnie:
Is very communicative. She meows if we pick her up, she meows to be picked up, she meows when she's purring....
Has beautiful eyes.
Has a deep, happy purr.
Is the adventurous one.
Likes to be going and doing.
Always starts the fights, but never wins.


Clyde:
Loves to cuddle.
Is content to be pet.
Has the same deep, happy purr.
Follows his sister into whatever she falls into.
Never starts the fights, but always wins.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Introducing....


We've had Bonnie & Clyde for a week now.

When I first got them home, I couldn't tell which was the boy and which was the girl. I thought I'd finally figured it out, but it turns out I was picking up the same kitten every time, so I'd gotten it wrong. When Jon got home and we got them both still, we determined who was whom. Even now we have to check their noses to know who we're looking it. Bonnie's nose has more pink than Clyde's.

We tried to put collars on, but they would have none of it. Clyde freaked out.

Clyde is the more high-strung in some ways. He about hyperventilated on the first car ride, and meows and pleads on any car ride. Bonnie seems to be more laid back. She instigates wrestling, and has even perfected a body slam from the couch, but Clyde always gets the upper hand.

They follow pretty well in male/female roles. Bonnie is communicative and loves to be held. Clyde is more aggressive and wild. I think both have the makings of lap cats, but the jury's still out on that.

The cats have made themselves quite at home. They have free roam of the house, including the bedroom, which Friday didn't get to go in for quite awhile. They do get kicked out of the bedroom at night. The first night they were in there it worked out okay, but the second night they decided to have a long wrestling match on top of the bed, so that was the end of that. Maybe later when they're older and sleep more!

These cats have two speeds: crazy playful and dead asleep. There's no cat napping or "resting." They're either wide awake or zonked out. It's a constant blur of motion and noise while they're playing, and then suddenly it all stops, and they've cuddled up together (evidently calling a truce during naptime) in some dark corner--under the couch, behind the pillows under the bed, and other places we haven't figured out, yet.

Bonnie & Clyde are very social. We had 8 people over to the house last night, and the kittens were immediately at everyone's feet. Clyde found a friend in one of the guests, and Bonnie flitted from person to person, depending on how interesting their shoe strings were at the time.

All in all, we love these kitties! They are happy and healthy, and they make this house and crazy and fun place to live. I'm so glad we have them!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Uncle Jon

We got to see my family over Memorial Day weekend. Ian, like most babies, loved to hear Jon's voice.
What a cutie! It makes my heart melt to see how babies love Jon. I love him, too! :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Off to Boston!

Jon and I are headed for Boston in the morning! I'll be attending the HOW Design Conference, and Jon will be tooling around town taking pictures of everything I'm missing! I'm pretty sure I'll get a chance to sight-see, too, and I'm really excited for the chance to go somewhere. This will be my first trip to New England!

See ya next week!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Secret's Out!

I just told my boss, so everyone can know now! Secret's out!

The details:
13 weeks along
Due November 21st
Check out the blog for the Norvell Newbie!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blogs

Pearls Before Swine

I've decided to combine my LMN-o-Photo blog with this blog. I don't post much on it, and not many people look at it. So, when I have a cool photo (and time to format it), I'll stick it here.

Hooray for simplification!

Friday, May 09, 2008

You know you're in the sticks when...

...you've lived there for years and Google still hasn't mapped your neighborhood.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Auction

Tuesday night was the night of the auction. Since Jon would be downtown just getting off work at the time the sample portrait needed to be there, he took everything and set it all up for me. He came home telling me there was tons of stuff there, and we needed to be back there at 9-ish to pick everything up.

Before we left, I put on a cute top--just in case we met the person who bid on my services, I wanted to look artsy. :) We got to Joe T's, and it was a madhouse of people. The auction had just ended, and everyone was in a long line...for what I don't know, but it was something about claiming their purchases. We made it through to my portrait pretty quickly. There was a small table right next to it, with a framed piece of paper explaining what was being bid on, and my business cards in front of that. The stack of business cards was noticeably smaller than the stack I sent with Jon, so that was exciting.

Then I saw another framed piece of paper--this time for another photographer, with a value of $600!! Sheesh. Were all the donations that generous?? I knew at this stage I couldn't afford more than the $150 I gave, so I didn't feel bad in that way, I just felt kind of small. That coupled with the fact that I found the rest of the stack of business cards underneath my portrait kind of deflated my balloon a little.

I wandered around looking for the coordinator--I'd never met her, and thought someone might care if they saw a random person walking off with a large portrait. I didn't find her, but I did find all the other auction items. Thankfully, it seemed $600 was toward the high end of things, and there were a lot of $25 and $50 items. Usually, with charity auctions, items go for much higher than their value--a cake for $150 for example--but given the volume of donations, I'm wondering if things went for less than their value.

Finally, Jon and I just packed up the portrait and left. I did find someone who looked somewhat important and told her I was taking it. She said that was fine. She didn't ask my name or anything...weird.

All in all, it was a weird experience. Not quite what I'd expected, but I'm hoping it gave me a little more publicity than I'd had. What I've learned in marketing is that if your name is out there, it's out there. It's not always easy to put numbers on how valuable that is, but it's valuable every time. And even if I don't make any more money or connections out of this auction, it still gave me a good deadline to get my website up, my business cards together, and my price sheet finalized. So I'm glad I did it.

Monday, May 05, 2008

New site is up!

Hey everyone, I just wanted to give a quick introduction to my new site, lmnovations.com. I've had it for awhile, but it's housed my graphic design, etc. portfolio, and now it houses my photography stuff!

It will still have some tweaking and more pictures added, but I'm already passing out business cards, so I wanted it to at least be up.

More about the progress of the photo business coming soon!