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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bedtime routine.

Halloween care package.

Lauren received a Halloween care package today from Cousin Noreen. She liked the card the best - need I say why? Thanks so much Noreen!

And now: ponytails, a failed knock, knock joke and a whole lotta stalling.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When bad photos happen to good people.

Last week, Mel C was lamenting to me that the photo that I posted of her recently made her make a mad dash to the salon (Speaking of haircuts, Mel C - Remember when you told Chris Kelly that his hair looked poofy and he immediately left work to get a hair cut saying, "If anyone asks where I went, tell them I'm in the restroom?" The influence that you wield over men is the stuff of legends, I tell you!). So to be fair and to show that it's not all Glamor Shots around here, I thought I'd post some photos that normally wouldn't pass our strict blogging standards.

First up, Lauren:

Bad photo - Example #1

Now, I'm sure you're thinking, "How could you take a bad photo of Lauren - she just so darn cute!" Well, at least that's what you should be thinking. The truth of the matter is that Lauren doesn't appreciate the finer points of children's portrait photography (or the finer points of patience, potty training, the word "No," and so on.) and would rather clean the bathroom than willingly pose nicely for a photo. This is why I've never once taken her Picture People or the Sears Portrait Studio, etc. because I know this is what I'm going to get. At least when I take a crappy picture of my kid, I don't have to pay a sitting fee.

The next victim is the man of the house:

Bad Photo - Example #2

Technically, this is actually a pretty good photo. See that spray of blurry circles behind Mark? That's what those of us who like to pretend we know I thing or two about photography call "bokeh." It's very desirable. Our subject matter, on the other hand, is sharply presented in the foreground. Also very desirable. It's too bad we don't know what the heck he's supposed to be doing. Not very desirable.

And now, the piece de resistance:

Bad Photo - Example #3

Please do not take offense, kind blog readers, as this gesture is not meant for you, but my dear husband, who takes endless glee in capturing me in all my glory. One night, he kept stalking me around our yard like the paparazzi, taking one unflattering photo after another. Finally, I relented, saying, "You want a photo? Well here's your photo!" and I gave him the one finger salute. And like any good pap, he snapped away.

I have to admit this photo cracks me up though. I never knew I could look so angry. I seriously look like I'm going to cut someone. Mark says I look like Ozzy Osbourne. I think it's the eyebrows.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


I got Lauren into her Halloween costume today for a little photo shoot. Halloween is pretty hectic since we have to rush home after work and get everything organized. Last year, I hardly took any photos because I didn't plan ahead like I usually do. No matter - her costume was fairly lame last year anyway.

I'll post the costumed photos later in the week. I took this one right after I took off her costume. I just looked up in time to see her balancing along this little wall, not a care in the world.

It reminded me of this:

October 2006

Taken two years ago, almost to the day. Lauren was 17 months. Running around with her ball, not a care in the world.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rainy days and Saturdays.

Shaped rug from Pier 1.

It's pretty damp and gloomy around here today, so we just spent our time hanging out at home. Lots of Mario Kart playin', Battlestar Galactica watchin' and cherry square bakin' goin' on.

Pictured above is a real fancy area rug that we found at Pier 1. Mark picked it out specifically for the area of our hallway that leads to the den. There used to be a radiator vent in the middle of the floor, which was replaced with floorboards that don't match the rest of the hard wood. That spot drives him nuts, so at least now he can't see it. I like it because it feels real springy when you walk over it.

Birthday cake.

It's pretty challenging to entertain a tv obsessed three year old on a rainy day, but when I told Lauren we were going to get out her Playdoh and make a birthday cake she was all for it, even though no one we know is celebrating a birthday.

Posing with the birthday cake.

She even insisted on posing for a photo with it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Success...sort of.


Second try was a charm. It certainly would not pass quality control in the monogramming department at LL Bean or Pottery Barn, but I'm trying to get over my perfectionism. When things weren't going so well in the beginning, I almost gave up, but then I figured that I'll never get better unless I practiced. This time around, I used a water soluble marker, rather than my permanent iron-on transfer pen. This was a little tricky because you have to write directly onto the fabric. Since I have a habit of sewing inside the lines instead of over them, it turned out to be a good thing that with just a little water, all the lines disappeared.

In other news, leaf fever continues around here. Today, Daddy was deeply involved with the leaves. Literally.

Someone was going to throw this perfectly good man away!

Lauren kept covering Mark's face up with leaves. Thank goodness we didn't go to the beach this year. I may have never found Mark in the sand after Lauren got a hold of him.

Hey mom, look what I found!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Leaf jumpin'.

The biggest pile of leaves ever.

Much to Lauren's delight, our oak trees have finally begun to get serious about shedding their leaves.

Lost in the leaves.

Much to my dismay, I had my camera settings all wrong when I was taking these pictures. The white balance was set to sunny instead of cloudy, and the ISO was at 800. I had to Photoshop the heck out of them to get a reasonable result. Sometimes I think that instead of getting better with practice, my photography skills are actually getting worse.

For example, I was browsing some other folk's fall leaves photos, and I thought to myself, "Why don't my leaves have such bright vibrant colors?" I was about to develop some serious leaf envy, when I remembered that fallen oak leaves are naturally grayish brown, which is no fault of mine.

Looking skyward.

Now this kid's big brown eyes - that is my fault.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Guess who's coming to dinner.

Mel C in da house!

Last night, Mel C came over and made us dinner. We had made plans earlier in the week, so when my Aunt Phyllis called on Friday to ask if she and Uncle Craig could stop over, I asked Mel C if she would mind. Since she said "the more the merrier," I told them that they could join us. And then they told two friends, and so on, and so on and so on. No, really, it was just the six of us. I just always wanted to say that.

A little political humor for dinner.

Although we swore not to talk about politics or the financial crisis, we couldn't help but give a gentle ribbing to our conservative guests. One thing about us liberals is that we can't spell the word "zucchini" without a dictionary. However, since no one referred to us as Marxists or pinkos, I would call it a successful dinner party.


Here's a peak at the Biden Zucchini. The Obama Chicken was fantastic, but you'll have to take my word for it. Mel C is a whiz in the kitchen.

Our neigbor's custom made Obama sign.

Speaking of the election, our neighbors across the street erected a custom made Obama sign. They are both art teachers, so they always have something neat on display. During the holidays, they put up a life size moose made out of lights. It is the coolest thing EVER. This year, I'll try to take a photo and post it here. At any rate, they're good people.

Today was our town's homecoming events, but because I was already committed to a long overdue hair appointment, I didn't get to participate in the festivities. Mark and Lauren walked up to see the parade. When I arrived home, I asked how the parade was. To which Mark replied, "Why didn't you tell me to bring the camera? There were all kinds of things to take pictures of!" I should have replied, "Why didn't tell me I typed MRL instead of MRA on our monogram?" but I'm trying to move past that.

So instead of photos of the parade, I'll share a photo of my new haircut:

Me and my new 'do.

You know, everytime I take a photo of myself, I learn something new. Today, I learned I have crow's feet. I used to make fun of women much younger than me because they had crow's feet and I didn't, but now time has stolen that joy away from me as well. I was tempted to use Photoshop to get rid of them, but I'm trying to grow old gracefully.

Me & the kid.

Does Lauren look like Mark or what? I don't think the kid shares an iota of DNA with me.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh deer.

Sweet little deer.

Feeling much better today - we had another visit from the deer this evening. Wildlife always cheers me up. They are just so, so sweet. At first, I was thinking that they could be siblings because it's always just the two of them, but I would guess that deer can only have one baby at a time. These two look very close in age though. Maybe they're best pals?

Just visiting.

Look at that fluffy tail - too cute! Please keep that fluffy tail out of the street, little deer! I would be sick if one of them was hit by a car.

Also tonight, I ordered myself a couple of tops and a coat from Victoria's Secret. Every fall, I swear that I'm not going to order anything from them because their clothes never work out for me. They're just not cut right for diminutive girls with short torsos. But every year I get inundated with their catalogs brimming with cute sweaters and shirts, and I lose all will power. This will be my year!

Lastly, we spent the rest of the evening teaching Lauren how to play Sorry! She can identify numbers pretty well, but sometimes she has trouble with the number 11 and the number 2, because when it's upside down she thinks it's the number 5. Oh, and although Mark and I have both mastered the number 11 and the number 2, she still beat us anyway.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The road to dementia is paved with the letter "L".

No photo today, only whine.

Mark and I recently bought a new bed. Of course, if you're going to have a new bed, you also need new bedding. Part of my plan included a monogrammed boudoir pillow. I figured I could embroider the monogram myself, which would make it all the more special. Plus, Mark and I share the same exact initials, so I could get away with just one pillow.

The pillow cover arrived from eBay last weekend. I was anxious to work on it, but I didn't have time until yesterday to start. I opened Photoshop, almost immediately found the font that I wanted to use and designed the monogram. Tonight, I was ready to print it out and transfer it on to the pillow. I was a little nervous because it was the first time I used my transfer pen. I had to be sure than everything lined up just right.

I printed out the monogram in reverse and traced over it with my pen. I then cut it out and began to line it up on my pillow cover. I measured over and over again to make certain it was centered and I pinned it on the pillow cover. I then went upstairs to use the iron.

After a few swipes with the iron, I lifted the paper to find that my transfer came out perfect. I proceeded downstairs to start embroidering.

As I was admiring my handiwork, I paused for a moment. Something didn't look right. Then, it hit me.


Melissa Ann Ross


Mark Alan Ross


I had typed MRL instead of MRA. The only reason I could think of is that somehow my brain short-circuited and factored Lauren into the equation. I looked at that monogram for two freakin' days, and I never realized it was wrong until it was too late. The pen is permanent, so there's no do over. Stupid pillow cover cost me $15 with shipping too.

I think I'll just call it a night.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Right on schedule.

little book of BIG possibilities.

This is a notebook that I altered a couple of years ago. Anytime I have an idea for scrapbooking or decorating or whatever, I write it down in this notebook. This is particularly useful for scrapbooking, so that when I'm in the mood, I already have a list of page or album ideas from which to work.

Since I arrived home from work early today, I thought I'd use the peace and quiet to write down some long overdue ideas. After I listed out a few scrapbooking ideas, I thought that I might as well start making my Christmas gift idea list. This is something I started a few years back. It makes things a heck of a lot easier when it comes time to shop because I have a lot of hard to buy for people in my life (all men of course).

So I turned to the page in my notebook where I wrote last year's gift idea list. It reads:

10/7/07 Plans for Christmas 2007

I picked up my pen and on the opposite page I wrote:

10/7/08 Plans for Christmas 2008

Yep, right on schedule.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


New doormat.

Some days (Well, most days), I can't think of one interesting thing to write about or photograph. Then, there are days like today when the mojo flows like beer at a frat party.

Crazy berries.

First, we have berries. Lots of berries. Of all kinds of colors. We even have turquoise berries. These are growing on our trellis. They start out bright turquoise but then turn bright purple. Crazy.

Dewy cherries.

Do cherries count as berries? This morning as I was preparing egg white omelets for Mark and myself, I noticed that the cherries on the tree outside of our kitchen window were covered in dew. Perfect photo opportunity! I almost ran outside wearing my pj's and a towel on my head, but I thought better of it and waited until after I had gotten dressed and dried my hair to take photos.

Pumpkin stem.

Later in the day, we went to pick out pumpkins. The supplier in North Park that we found last year did not let us down, and in fact had instituted a flat rate of $3 on all large pumpkins. We also bought some interesting looking small pumpkins for decorating. Lauren picked out a green pumpkin that had to accompany her wherever she went the rest of the day.

White jack-be-little pumpkin.

After our shopping trip, we had dinner at Lu Lu's Noodles. Lauren had fried rice and a honeydew bubble drink (Honeydews are green, you know.). She liked the drink, but not the tapioca bubbles, which you would think for a kid would be the best part. Then, since it was on the way home, we stopped at Trader Joe's. As soon as we pull into the parking lot, Lauren inevitably exclaims, "Not this place again!"

When we arrived home, there were two young deer grazing in our front yard. We have only seen deer once before when we first moved into this house, but there are always signs of them to be found in our various munched on flowers and vegetables. I hope they made it home safely, because we live on a fairly busy street.

Me & the Beav.

Lastly, here is a photo that Mark snapped of me and the Beav hanging out on the couch. Beav looks ticked, but that's just her normal expression. Would you call me vain if I told you that I used Photoshop to remove the dark circles from under my eyes?