Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Photos

So I've long wanted to learn how to make my photos look better and I stumbled onto this website. Its been really informative. This week I read all about using levels and curves to make pictures look better, this was my practice picture.

Before:

After:

Cool eh?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cha-cha-cha-Changes

O.k. that last design didn't work for me, so I'm trying something new. Do you like it? Seriously, be honest, does it make me look cool?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Work...

When Little Man was born I quit my job as a social worker, I said goodbye to the world of family dysfunction and abuse to take care of my sweet little babe. I had spent years working to help little children whose lives were horribly unfair and whose futures were, I'm deeply saddened to say, very dismal. It was a job I put my whole heart into, but often came home at the end of the day feeling defeated by my inability to help enough. When Little Man was born I was filled up with the joy I felt knowing that to him I could really make a difference, that he was one child whose future I could protect, I could build him up and my work would not be undone. It was a wonderful feeling, I walked away from my job where I had thought that I was so needed and to this day I have rarely looked back.

In fact I can say that there are only a few things that I really miss about the working world. On occasion I miss the conversation...you know a conversation where grown up topics are discussed and where prompting your fellow conversationalist to "say please" or "use his big boy words" is not generally necessary. Some days I miss dressing up in work clothes, I know it sounds silly, but when its 4:00 p.m. and you haven't showered yet, sometimes you miss the sound that your heels made as you walked into the staff meeting with makeup AND jewelry on. But I think the thing that I miss the most is sick days. Yep you got it, those feeling lousy so you call in and say your not coming and then you go back to bed, until you wake up ON YOUR OWN, and then you stay in bed and watch t.v. all day and eat chicken noodle soup days. Mommies don't get sick days. What you say? Mommies don't get sick...No mommies get sick they just don't get time off to do it.

After a week of caring for a sick baby and his older brother (who decided to join the fun two days ago). You'd think this mommy deserves a prize, or something, but what DOES she get? A big fat awful head cold...Seriously, seriously?

When I explained to Little Man that I couldn't play race cars today because I was sick he looked at me worriedly and asked, "Do you have to go to the hospital?" Apparently my days being MIA from home because I was at the hospital trying to keep my blood pressure down while I was in my last month of pregnancy really had an impact on him. I explained that I was only a little sick, and so I didn't have to go to the hospital because you only go there when you are a lot sick. He was relieved and kindly covered me with his "blankie" (a high honor to be sure) and used my limp body as a speed bump. Oh well, its nice to be needed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heard at my house

So we've been riding the potty train with Little Man lately, which has started some unique conversations at our house.

Little Man: Whatcha doing mom?

Me: Changing the sheets on my bed

Little Man: Who peed? Was it you?

Me: No, sometimes we just change the sheets on our bed.

Little Man: Was it Baby Bug?

Me: No

Little Man: IT WAS DAD!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Cosmic Bank

I once had a time in my life where I was the recipient of a great deal of kindness and service from my family and friends. I was overwhelmed by the love and kindness that was shown to me, and felt completely undeserved, and truth be told I may have been, it was then that I was introduced to what in my family is called "The Cosmic Bank." The cosmic bank is where all good deeds go, we all have a revolving account where we make deposits and we make withdrawals. The tricky thing with the cosmic bank is that we never know when we will need to make a withdrawal, so we have to continue to make deposits whenever we get the chance. This week we had some neat experiences doing both. Shane and I were both able to provide small services to those in need this week, and I must say that we both felt all warm and fuzzy about it, besides that they were small things that we did, no big deal, just a little deposit in our cosmic bank account. Who knew that we would be needing to make a big old withdrawal too. So fast forward to Sunday night Baby Bug who has had a cough for several days learns to whistle. No he's not a shoe in for the next baby talent show, because his mouth isn't whistling, but his lungs are. So Shane and I start trying to decide if this warrants the ever dreaded trip to the emergency room. We don't want to go, but Baby sounds awful, so we decide to tromp on over the next door neighbor's house who also happens to be our pediatrician for some advice. The neighbor drops everything he is doing leaves his house guests and goes to his office to get a stethoscope. Then a few minutes later after listening to Baby Bug, he makes another trip back to the office to get more equipment and medication. So forty-five minutes and one nebulizer treatment later Baby Bug is breathing a little easier, our neighbor is able to go back to his guests, and Shane and I are feeling really grateful for good neighbors, and a skilled pediatrician. We are also feeling worried that our cosmic account is perhaps a little overdrawn, and we think that maybe we need to make some even bigger deposits in the near future, not just for the warm and fuzzy feeling, but for the piece of mind that doing the right thing for someone else is really just saving something for a rainy day.

Another thing that I learned is that my baby has a unique sense of humor. We have been trying just about everything to get a good belly laugh out of our Baby Bug lately, and nothing...we put a nebulizer mask on him and he thinks its hillarious...go figure.
video

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How much is too much

Last weekend the boys and I enjoyed a fun visit to Grammy's house. We had a great time, but the highlight of the entire weekend was probably when we took the TRAIN downtown to the Build a Bear Workshop. Who would have thought that public transit could inspire such wonder, and sheer joy. Little man could not believe his luck when the train pulled up and we climbed aboard, he was not discomforted by the hoodlums contemplating vandalism around us, or the odd people smell that made me clutch my Purell like it was gold. He was in awe, it was an adventure...score points for the fun mommy.

Once we arrived at the workshop, again there was more awe from my child, and I had the odd sensation that we were walking into a trap. We were greeted at the door by a happy helper in a smart uniform who directed us to the wall of bears we could make. Little man had a good time filling his bear, and giving it a bath, and brushing it off, but thankfully started to lose interest before we got to the oh so cute, and oh so bill increasing clothing and accessories. All in all it was a fun experience and little man enjoyed it thoroughly, although I think that he was most impressed by the "house" he got to take his bear home in, but as I was paying for our fun, my mom who was with us (and has an uncanny knack for hitting the nail on the head) helped me put to words the odd feeling I had had when we walked in the store. The whole conversation went something like this...

BUILD-A-BEAR LADY: Have you heard about our rewards program?

ME: No

BUILD-A-BEAR LADY: Well its a program where for every $200 you spend you get...

MY MOM: A big stamp on your forehead that says sucker.

BUILD-A-BEAR LADY: (somewhat crestfallen) $10 off you next purchase.

At that point I politely declined the rewards program and we quickly exited the store, Grammy laughingly apologized for any embarrassment she might have caused with her errant comment, but then validated it by saying, "But honestly, there are starving children in this world." And I think that I have to side with my mother. With the passing of Christmas I have been thinking a great deal about how much is too much, when does giving our kids things cross the line from helping our kids to hurting them? I realized that the gimmick at the workshop was not the teddy bears at all, but rather the notion it gave parents that they were doing something magical with their kids. That's it, the workshop was selling at least a facade of quality time, and we had bought into it. As I rode home on the train clutching my hand sanitizer and trying to mirror the excitement on my little man's face, I realized that its moments like these that we as parents are always trying to capture with our children and its moments like these that often get passed over for the quicker, more comfortable car ride. And when they get passed over enough times we find ourselves at the Build-a-Bear Workshop forking over our $20, or $40 dollars so that we can feel like the fun mommy again. I suppose it does no harm and even is the special memory we want it to be, if done in small doses, but I think after careful evaluation I've decided that joining the "rewards" club will be far too great a sacrifice for me and my children, we'll take the train instead.