Friday, May 29, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Fix It Friday (It's Anna!)

Wow! I am usually right on top of the Fix It Friday feature over at I ♥ Faces, but for whatever reason, today I spaced it. And wouldn't you know - It's Anna! I am so excited I cannot even think straight.

I feel all naked and exposed since I typically edit most pictures before I post them on my blog, but this is the SOOC Shot that's posted for all the world to see and play with on I ♥ Faces this week. . .

I used this picture of Anna a couple of weeks ago for a Constructive Feedback feature, and shortly after I was contacted by Angie, one of the co-founders of I Heart Faces. She asked if she could have my permission to use it for an upcoming Fix It Friday, and I quickly and excitedly agreed. She warned me that they had a good 20 pictures lined up for upcoming Fix It Fridays, so I really didn't expect to see Anna's picture featured so soon. But I have to say it's pretty cool!

It is so amazing to see the potential of this less-than-perfect shot through other people's eyes and talents. Please do go check it out HERE to see what people have done...and don't be afraid to give it a go yourself!

Here are some of my favorite edits that I've seen so far (in no particular order). . .

Thanks again, Angie! And a huge thanks to everyone who participated - I have LOVED looking at all of your edits!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Main Entry:

\pə-ˈze-shən \

: the act of having or taking into control
: control or occupancy of property without regard to ownership

I think that most toddlers go through the stage where everything is "mine". MY Mommy. MY Daddy. MY milk. MY toy. MY colors. MY crackers. Mine, mine, mine. Anna definitely has had a little streak of that lately, and we've been doing our best to instill in her the value of sharing and how it's just not nice to be screaming "mine" all the time.

Well, we recently decided to extend our landscaping in our backyard and have created some new beds over by Anna's playset. Of course, big piles of dirt aren't enough to make beds pretty, so last night, we made a trip to Houston Lawn and Garden. Anna drug MawMaw around in the sweltering heat, forcing her to walk down EVERY aisle and smell EVERY flower she passed, while Derek and I piled up our cart with our 50% off loot. And when all was said and done, between our stuff and MawMaw's stuff, we had two big flats full of plants at the checkout.

The checkout line was pretty long, so it was at this point that I left Anna with Derek and went to help MawMaw with some final selections. All was fine for a while, then I caught Derek out of the corner of my eye waving like a maniac and motioning for me to hurry over. So I did. And apparently, the checkout lady had come over to start counting our plants to ring us up. To do so, she had to actually TOUCH the plants, and our sweet and polite (hehe) little munchkin didn't like that so much. She started swatting at the lady's hand and yelling, "No! MY Mommy's!" over and over again.

Totally hilarious in retrospect. Totally horrifying at the time. Totally something that we'll be working on. A lot and soon!


Derek and I don't leave Anna very often, but the few times we have in her lifetime, she's always stayed with MawMaw and PawPaw. At our house. In her own surroundings. With her own toys and bathtub and bed.

That all changed last Saturday. Derek's boss got married, so we needed a sitter for Anna...and MawMaw and PawPaw were out of town. Anna's Uncle "Woss" and Aunt "Cole" were kind enough to agree to watch Anna for the evening. (Thanks again, guys!) We had Anna all pumped to play with our beautiful Goddaughter Olivia and I knew she'd be okay in their more-than-capable hands, but I was still a little nervous about how she would deal with us *leaving* her at their house.

But Anna surprised us like she usually does. She did amazing! Barely even blinked when we left because Aunt "Cole" had an awesome inflatable ball pit set up. And if there is anything that Anna can play with for hours, it's balls. Anna and Olivia played with the balls, they got in their swimsuits and played on a little splash pad outside, they took a bath, they ate some dinner, they watched some Elmo and then they crashed hard. Maybe I'll see if Aunt "Cole" and Uncle "Woss" can babysit me sometime ;)

Photo courtesy of Woss, Cole & Viva

So back to my kind-of-related point...
Anna has always had a hard time saying "Olivia", so we had always encouraged her to instead say "Livie", which was easier (that's what Olivia's cousin Gabby calls her). That's how Anna started calling Olivia "Libby", which I thought was kind of cute. But apparently, after her recent little solo visit she's moved beyond "Libby" and is again trying to say Olivia.

It took me forever on Sunday trying to figure out what Anna was talking about, but she just kept saying "Viva" over and over again. Then it finally clicked. So Olivia sweetheart, you now have yet another new nickname: "Viva". I'm sure one day Anna will get it right, but until then, just try to keep up, okay?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Look at This Picture...

...and try not to smile. I dare you.


I don't know how often you're *supposed* to get a new couch, but let's just say that I was quite attached to our old one. I bought it for my first real apartment when I was right out of college, very shortly after I moved to Houston. (We won't discuss how long ago that was.) It was a sectional - affectionately dubbed the "L-Bed" by our dear friends Michele & Matt - and man, was it comfortable. You could just sink into it and lose yourself for days. Okay, maybe not days...but it felt like it sometimes.

Anyway, the point is the that L-Bed was not very kid-friendly. It was a light khaki twill material that is probably the most unforgiving material on the face of the earth next to silk or satin. You couldn't even get away with getting a little water or condensation on it because there would be a watermark to constantly remind you of your wrongdoing. So by the time Anna came along, we knew that the L-Bed's days were limited.

We FINALLY got around to buying a new couch over Mother's Day weekend, and it's definitely growing on me. It's brown chenille with beautiful throw pillows and it's stain-treated. But even more importantly, it's monkey-approved. . .

Approved for giggles.

Approved for smiles.

Approved for hide-and-seek.

And that's pretty much all the approval this mommy needs.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Miss Daddy

As most of you know, Anna goes to daycare. She has lots of teachers there - "Miss" Merlinda, "Miss" Tammy, "Miss" Sanjuana, "Miss" Carla. She also calls a lot of our friends "Miss" - "Miss" Carlynn, "Miss" Tamara, "Miss" Insert-Your-Name-Here.

However, I think lately she's become a little confused about the title "Miss", because apparently, there is a new "Miss" in town. . .

Meet "Miss" Daddy.

As in "Hold me, Miss Daddy." "More milk please, Miss Daddy." I think it's so sweet and endearing the way she is overgeneralizing, but of course Derek wants this remedied ASAP. lol. So, we're going to work on it, but I had to get it down in writing before it passes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's Fun To Play at the. . .

Summer is here, so Friday evening while Derek was cutting the grass, I decided to bring Anna over to the YMCA pool for some fun. The sun was setting and it was getting a little cool, so I tried to talk Anna into staying as submerged as possible for the warmth factor.

Here she is in her Kelly's Kids seersucker bikini with Abby Cadabby, her swimming buddy.

Anna and Abby staying warm in the shallow end.

But that didn't last very long, because then she spotted the splash pad...and it was all over.

She loved watching the water shoot up and trying to drink it. I tried to convince her that it wasn't a water fountain and that the water was yucky, but I don't think she believed me (as evidenced above).

After a while of being out of the pool at the splash pad her lips were turning blue and her little teeth were chattering, but she just did not want to quit. I'm sure any parent can imagine how that ended (hint: not good), but it was worth it for the fun we had while it lasted. lol.

Hopefully, we'll be spending a lot more time at the Y this summer. Maybe even some swim lessons!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I Heart Faces - Fix It Friday

It's Fix It Friday again over at I Heart Faces!

Here's the fixer upper for today. . .
And here is my fix. . .

I used Photoshop CS4 & MCP Actions.
First, I cropped and stretched the canvas and background to get some more negative space on the left. Then, I cloned out the distracting dark items (sofa?) in the picture. And finally, I used MCP's Basic Exposure Fixer, Eye Doctor, and Rocky Road Ice Cream B&W Conversion with the texture removed.

If you want to see how other people fixed this photo (or try your own hand at it!), head on over to I Heart Faces and check it out!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Definition of Toddler

Main Entry:
\ˈtäd-lər, ˈtä-dəl-ər\

: one that toddles ; especially : a young child
: a little person who steals your heart, your mind, and your ability to get a good night’s sleep

Okay, so I made that last one up, but I think any parent would agree that it’s applicable.

On that note…yesterday evening, Anna and I spent a little time outside on her swing set while Daddy ran some errands after dinner. Always good to expend some of that superhuman toddler energy before bedtime.

And boy, was she EVERYWHERE. Not that she didn’t still wake up at 11pm after what was apparently a two-hour power nap and use every trick in the book to stall going back to sleep. First, she needed her babies. Then, she needed juice. Then, she needed to potty. And potty again. And again. And again. And every time she would manage to squeeze out just a little more wee wee so it was impossible for us to be mad at her for false alarms. We even cheered each time, which may be why she kept wanting to go again and again...

Who needs sleep anyway?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tiny Bubbles

It's really terrible how we have to torture Anna with a bath every night. We really need to stop that soon, or she may very well be scarred for life. Then again, she's going to need *something* to tell her shrink when she's a teenager!

Monday, May 18, 2009


It was a gorgeous afternoon, so we let Anna spend a little time in her pool after dinner. She was very occupied with the hose, so I got to play a bit with the beautiful backlighting as the sun was setting.

I'm not sure what exactly she is doing here, but I thought it was really cute. . .
And this face was her enthusiastic "yes" to the question, "Are you a princess?"

I'm gonna have to agree - she is a princess. Ours anyway!

I Heart Faces - Week 19 "Blurb Book"

This week, the I Heart Faces contest doesn't have a specific theme. It's simply to pick your best face photo and they are looking to put together a Blurb book using the winning photos. My entry is for the amateur division (obviously):

I love this "face" because it just SCREAMS, "I am two and I get what I want!" And she does. Most of the time. I was even told by a friend that she looks like me in this picture. I don't know what that's supposed to mean because I would *never* make a face like that (ha!), but it makes me smile because usually she's such a clone of her daddy in both looks and behavior.

If you're interested in seeing the other entries and/or entering a photo yourself, head on over to I Heart Faces now!

As required per the contest rules:
"I am submitting this photo into the Blurb Book photo contest. I am granting I ♥ Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I ♥ Faces web sites."

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Heart Faces - Fix It Friday

It's Fix It Friday again over at I Heart Faces!
Here's the fixer upper for today. . .

And here are my fixes. . .
you want to see how other people fixed this photo (or try your own hand at it!), head on over to I Heart Faces and check it out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Today,was Derek's birthday, so Derek and I both took a day of vacation and took our little monkey to the zoo. We were looking forward to a quiet mid-week zoo visit, but when we pulled up (surprise, surprise) there were tons of school buses in the parking lot. I think I have a four leaf clover stuck up my butt. Really.

Despite the crowd and the heat, we had a great family day. Anna loved the animals, especially the elephants which she asked to see over and over again. Even the whole car ride to the zoo, she kept telling us, "I see el-fent now!"

Note to self: Do not ever work Anna up about something ahead of time. Toddlers have no concept or understanding of tomorrow. Or later. Or after your nap. At all.

Here are a few of the cast of characters we saw at the zoo. . .

Anna's still not a huge fan of the carousel, but I'm hoping that will change with time.

One of these days she is going to sit on a carousel animal so that Mommy can take a picture. For now, Daddy's shoulders will have to do. . .

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

We love you!
Mommy & Anna

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Heart Faces - Week 18 "Laughter"

Every week, I Heart Faces has a contest. This week the guest judge is Ree, the one and only Pioneer Woman, so I figured it was a good time for my first entry since I devour every blog entry she writes every day. (Hi Ree!) The theme this week is "Laughter", and I am entering in the "Kids" category.

This picture captured my favorite laugh in the whole world. Anna was giggling her little head off as her Daddy was throwing her up in the air over and over again. I can almost hear that wonderful sound all over again just looking at this picture, and that's why even though I am an extreme amateur, I just love taking pictures. Like hearing an old song or smelling a familiar smell, just one look at a picture, and you can be right back in that moment.

I apologize to all two of you that actually check this blog regularly since this series of pictures was in a relatively recent post, but it was just too perfect for this week's theme for me to not use it.

If you want to see the rest of this week's entries, mosey on over to I Heart Faces and have a look! Some people are hobbyists (or less) like me and others are professionals, but all of the pictures are so fun to look at regardless. Tell me you couldn't use a smile! :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Move

Every time I get Anna dressed and we're all finished, I tell her, "Show Mommy how pretty you are." Lately, this has been her response. . .

I have to say that I'm lovin' the new move :)

Before I Was a Mom. . .

In honor of Mother's Day and to all of those wonderful mothers that I know, here's a little something that I received by email and thought was very cute and even more true. Enjoy!

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Heart Faces - Constructive Feedback Friday

Today is Constructive Feedback Friday over at I Heart Faces!

I decided to participate because I'm a newbie to both photography and photoshop, and would love some constructive criticism. I really enjoy *trying* to get natural light shots of my daughter, but I'm not always lucky enough to get the exposure right so I usually wind up trying to correct/improve in photoshop.

I love using MCP Actions and the free actions so generously provided by P-Dub, so please do check those out! I'm horribly addicted to both of their blogs as well. Very talented ladies.

So, back to business...
Here's my submission for this week. Anna was hiding behind a shelf in her playroom and playing peekaboo with me. When she would stick her head out to say "boo", I just loved how the light from the window was hitting her face so I grabbed my camera. This is the best one I got between the natural light and the fact that she was moving so fast. Not a lot of time to focus and get the shot. Fire away! (But please be gentle!)

Canon Digital Rebel XT
50 mm Lense
ISO 1600

MCP Actions: Basic Exposure Fixer, Snap, Eye Doctor, Color Flair, Light Fog Fixer

MCP Vanilla Ice Cream

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


When you're a little girl, you can do just about anything. . .

. . .with just a little help from Daddy.
Derek, I know you're going to be sore in the morning, but I also know that every ache will be well worth it for these faces and the giggles and squeals that came along with them :)

Words We Haven't Mastered

In our house, there are some words that really need some pronunciation work. And until we get around to that, we're just going to have to try our best not to say them:
  1. Posies (As in "Ring Around the Rosie")
  2. Ashes (As in "Ring Around the Rosie")
  3. Frog

I'll leave it at that. If you can't figure out why these words are not a good idea for a toddler with some pronunciation issues, you don't want to know ;)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sick Day

Anna stayed home with me today with a little sinus and ear infection. As you can see it was complete torture for her as she relaxed with - count them 1, 2, 3, 4 - FOUR of her babies.

About This Blog

I'm a mother, a wife, and a business systems analyst for a major technology company. Some days I'm good at all three, some days I suck at them all. Between diapers, laundry and late night conference calls, it's all just part of the fun of being a working mom. This blog will share some of my thoughts and adventures in sleep-deprivation. Enjoy, and please do leave comments so I'll know you were here!


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