Monday, February 25, 2008

Fisheye Fun...

My new toy arrived today...a fisheye converter for Remy the Rebel. (Decided it was time to name the camera as much time as we've been spending together lately.) What I didn't know when I started shopping for a fisheye:

A. True fisheye lenses are EXPENSIVE!

B. Apparently there's different conversion factors which, after turning to Wikipedia for info, I still don't know what that means.

So, when in doubt, buy based on affordability. After all, it's not like I'm making fine art here, I just want to play around a bit. After reading reviews on Amazon, I went with a Opteka 0.38 x AF High Definition Semi Fisheye. (I'm a little miffed the online description didn't mention the SEMI part.) With S&H it cost me $40, half of what any other converter would have cost (and HUNDREDS less than a true lens). So I guess for now I can live with less distortion (which is what I'm assuming the higher conversion factor means). It seems very sturdy and well made. A nice surprise considering it's cost. And, it's easy to use. I simply screw it to the front of my existing lens with the help of a converter ring. It does extend the length of my lens quite a bit, but it's not like I'm going to have it on all the time so I think I can live with that.

I snap a few test shots this afternoon.

A cool additional feature, you can remove the fisheye portion to simply use the macro ring. I had to get SUPER close to my subjects to get anything in focus, but it's kinda fun, especially with the darkened edges.

It will definitely be more fun to get out and play more when the weather clears up. Come on spring!


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tooooooo Cute...

That's all I can say!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day trip...

Saturday I made a day trip to Omaha to meet my friend Jen. I hadn't seen her since the girls and I visited their place last June. For several years we had been getting together almost like clock work. Spring and fall were our ladies' weekend gatherings sans families. Time to shop, cook, sew, drink wine, and stay up til awful hours of the night chit chatting. Then a couple times a year we've managed to sneak family gatherings too. But the past couple of years have been busy for us both between having babies, nursing those babies, and well, just life. Our normal gatherings just haven't happened. So even though the visit was short and my head was full of cold, I couldn't pass up the chance for a day together.

We had a great day. Sushi (so much we couldn't eat it all!), shopping, chocolate treats, time to just chat and catch up. I returned home, as I always do when Jen and I get together, refreshed. There's just no substitute for time spent with a dear friend. I hope our next get together isn't as far apart as our last two!

Our yummy sushi.

My $18 shoes. What a find! I love them, and even though it's cold (and they are far from warm) and they suck on the ice, I've already broke them in down at the coffee shop.

We went into a cool store that had some fun kitchen gadgets. I found these silicone pancake molds (I chose a fish and a bear, but I could totally see us expanding our collection) that I knew would be a hit with the girls and a good buy considering how often we make pancakes at our house. As you can see, it took a couple of tries to figure out just how much batter use, but fun was had by all. Even mommy couldn't resist eatting a fishy pancake for breakfast on Sunday.

I also bought this book...

We'll see how long it takes before I actually make something out of it. I hope not long...I have a special little girl in mind who I think needs a homemade snuggly.


Too funny...

This was too funny not to share. Thanks Megan for a great laugh!

Create Your Own GushyGram


Monday, February 18, 2008


Yesterday I cut myself some bangs. I haven't had bangs with this round of grown out hair. I'm ready for something new.

My hair is a constant source of frustration. It's STRAIGHT...except for the annoying cow-lick on the right side of my forehead. It's fine, but there's quiet a bit there. It's impossibly healthy because I don't color, blow dry, use product, curl, just exists. Most days you'll find it in a pony, out of the way and forgotten. And even on the RARE occasion that I actually style it, it eventually ends up pulled back or tucked behind my ears.

Lately I've had this urge to go back to super short. I love the carefree style of super short. Wash, a little wax, viola. With my schedule, low maintenance is key. I go online to find photos of examples of cute pixie cuts. All the "reviews" suggest pixie cuts work best on oval faces with fine feminine features, flawless skin, and good make-up. Ummmm....not me!

So I hesitate.

Then I remember why I always grow it out after a year or so of having it super short...because I want to feel more like a girl. I mean it doesn't do much for your self esteem when you're mistaken for a guy! (Yes, it has happened!) And as much as I hate to admit it, I care what people think...especially my hubby who I know loves me regardless, but who prefers my hair longer.

Looking back through photos of me over the past 10 years or so, it seems like I'm always in a stage of growing it out. I actually found this ONE photo of when it was super short the last time around. (Pics of me seem to be few and far between...but that's another issue all together.) Other than the fact I was 40 pounds heaver then than now, I don't think it looks too bad.

But it's not the cute close head hugging pixie I envision. So what's a girl to do? Suggestions welcome!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Night Out on the Town...

"Which of these is NOT spicy?"

The guac!

My date...

and his bowl of meat and cheese!

Salmon and corn cakes.

My mahi.

Look at those cute boys!

Being a little bit silly.

The bar keep's Mohawk. He's been growing this for 3 years...and gets asked to have his picture taken often. (Service at Liar's is EXCELLENT...I highly suggest a visit next time you're in DSM for a night out.)

So much love.

Seriously, these guys were REALLY tall. Apparently they play for the Iowa Energy, a D-League basketball team in Des Moines. Yes, we were all standing on the same floor!

A fabulous night out with friends...



Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Good Man...

A pot of roses for me. Small stuffed animals, roses and cards for the girls. I married such a good man. The thought he put into such a simple gesture of special.

Love you honey!


The Ride of Love...

I teach Spinning later today. Being as it's the big holiday of LOVE, I decided we should celebrate with an appropriate playlist. Here's what I found out while planning our ride:
  • Of the 2350+ songs currently on my computer, 102 have the word LOVE in the title
  • Of those 102 songs, approximately 30 are Spin-able (meaning they have a little get-up-and-go to get us moving)
  • I have a kinda eclectic music collection and so this play list contains everything from Jazz, to Country, to Pop, to Latin, to Raggae...I mean you can't talk about LOVE without a little Bob Marley in the mix!
Here's our play list:
Love 4 Fun - Enrique Iglesias
Love Train - Big & Rich
Could You Be Loved - Bob Marley
Papa Loved Mama - Garth Brooks
When Love Comes To Town - Joss Stone and Jonny Lang
Ever Fallen In Love - Pete Yorn
We Got a Love Thang - Various Artists
Hello, I Love You - The Doors
Accidentally In Love - Counting Crows
Where is the Love - Blacked Eyed Peas
If You Love Somebody Set Them Free - Sting
Love Is a Sweet Thing - Faith Hill
Is This Love - Bob Marley

It's going to be a hilly day in the Spinning studio today...but who said anything about LOVE being easy!

(I thought this picture taken last summer on RAGBRAI was fitting for our ride!)


The Day of Love...

I was looking back through my post archives the other day and found this post about Valentine's Day 2005. What fun it is to go back and read posts from year's past. Reading this post brought a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.

At lot has changed in our lives in 3 years. But there's one constant...our love. What a comfort that fact is. What's in store for Valentine's Day 2008? Nothing fancy. Lasagna for dinner tonight. Hugs and kissed for all. Time spent together as a family. My favorite gifts of all.

Happy Day of Love!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

V-day Cards...

This afternoon we made Lexi's Valentine's Day cards for her school party on Thursday. Just like I always make the girls' Halloween costumes, we always make their V-day cards too. It's one of those fun, crafty things we can enjoy doing together. This year we "cheated" a bit and made our design on the computer rather than hand stamping 24 cards. A little short cut yes, but fun was still had by all!

Lexi, hard at work with the glue stick.

Brea was content to sit at the little table across from Lexi and read "George".

A sack full of love, waiting to go to school tomorrow.


And Tots...

Me: "Brea, would you like a grilled cheese sandwhich for lunch?"

Brea, shaking her head yes: "and tots!"

Apparently I'm running a short order grill now.


Monday, February 11, 2008


Lexi has always been our little artist. Her "toys" of choice...crayons, markers, and paper. The kid just likes to draw!

Over the past year as her reading and writing skills have started to develop, she's taken to creating books and giving her pictures stories. This past week she created a little book about insects. She only asked for minimal help with some spelling. Her original narrative amazes me with the information she contains in that little 6 year old head! I couldn't resist sharing her creation.

I sometimes feel as if Lexi lives in Brea's shadow as of late. She's an amazing big sister with the most tender heart. Never does she complain when she has to wait for our attention while we're tending to her little sister's needs. She's grown up so fast in the past 2 years. I'm always thankful for these moments when we can step back, slow down time, and appreciate her accomplishments in life. She's an amazing kid. I'm so lucky to be her Mom!


On the Mend...

Antibiotics are an amazing thing! I'm normally a big believer in letting our bodies fight off whatever has invaded...but there becomes a point when it's obvious that's just not going to work. After several ups and downs Friday and Saturday, we woke up with a very sad little girl on Sunday who was refusing to eat or drink anything. After trying every trick in the book, we called the ER. A consultation with the physician on call confirmed what we were thinking and off to the ER Brea and I went.

It was a busy day for the ER Sunday. Germs are apparently taking over our small community at the moment. Even though they were busy, we got kind and what I would consider quick care given the circumstances. Two hours after arriving, we left with antibiotics in hand, a dose of ibuprofen in Brea's belly, and the diagnosis of Strep Throat.

It's obviously just what her little body needed. We finally were able to get some fluids down her before bed last night, we were happy to have a second wet diaper for the day, and a good night of sleep was had by all. This morning she's been a bit slow to start, but even food and fluids have started to make a comeback in her world. (Thanks Saint's Rest for the yummy bagel, just what I needed to entice her back into eating!)

She was a little annoyed at my attempts to snap some quick photos of her this morning while she was eating her "bee cheerios" and watching Sesame Street. Oh the attitude this one has at times...

Another parenting hill successfully least for now! I'm so glad you're feeling better monkey!


Friday, February 8, 2008

The bug...

My monkey is sick. Fever. Sore throat. Swollen glands. She's perfectly happy to to sit and snuggle.

These are the times when being a mom is both the hardest and most rewarding for me. My heart aches when my babies are sick. Last night I laid in bed trying to listen through the walls for her breathing. I was almost relieved when she woke up crying, needing comfort. It give me a valid reason for snuggling down next to her for the night.

Today is about a lot of snuggle time. Tilde is happy. She's taking advantage of every chance to join a warm body for a little nap. Cool yogurt. A sippy of iced juice. (She loves to shake it up and listen to the rattle before taking a swig...oh to be so easily amused.) The promise of popsicles later in the day. Whatever it takes to provide comfort.

Love you monkey.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008


This is my favorite coffee cup.

I use it almost every morning. It's large, smooth, heavy. It feels nice in your hands. The contrast of the white inside and warm red outside makes me happy.

When Brea sees me with this cup, she points and says, "Mommy's coffee!?" It's a cross between a question and a statement. How many 22 month olds have the word coffee in their vocab? Mine.

We're home today. Snow day. As I was snapping the picture of my cup for this blog, I started playing with the manual focus and what do you know? There's more than just coffee in that there cup!

Like the rain/snow drops from the window.

And the branches from our big ol' maple tree.

Amazing what you discover with a little change in perspective.
(I really need to get out the tripod for moments like this though. I can only hold my breath so still!)