31 March 2009

Photoshop Actions

I was an interior design major my freshman year of college. And even though I changed majors after that one very challenging year, the foundational design knowledge I learned during that time has been PRICELESS to me since then. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) I not only came away with those skills but also with Adobe Photoshop! The version is a bit outdated now, but that makes no difference to me... I am so thankful for it! I know I haven't begun to tap into it's abilities.

All that to say that I finally did learn one more of its capabilites... I learned how to use Photoshop 'actions'. I have been running across these for awhile now on various blogs and decided to do a little self-teaching. And boy am I glad that I did!

I downloaded a couple free sets of actions from The Pioneer Woman. There are fancy action packages you can buy but I will have to consider that and save up if I ever wanna go that route. For now I am happy with her freebies (her first set can be found here) and other freebies I can find on the web. The Pioneer woman explains actions and gives some examples on this site.

I'll show you some examples I did with PW's actions. This shot was taken in Colorado Springs when H was about 8 months old. I have always like this shot, but it is so much lovlier with these somewhat subtle changes.

This one (above) is the shot straight out of the camera. Isn't he precious?

This is 'Soft and Faded'.

'Fresh and Colorful' makes it much brighter.

This one is called 'Seventies'. It is one of my favorites! Would you believe me if I told you he was born in '75?

See how this one changes the colors a bit (yellow sleeper is now greenish)? 'Colorized'

And this is your basic 'Black and White'.

I love trying new things! Thanks Pioneer Woman for giving these away!

24 March 2009

Sneaky Little Fella

Many months ago we taught H that there are three rooms in the house he is not allowed to enter. Our bedroom, the bathroom, and Mike's office. There are exceptions... like when we let him play in our bed on a weekend morning when we don't wanna get up yet and when we put him on our lap in the office so he can see what is on the computer. And when he is nakey he walks confidently into the bathroom, knowing he won't get in trouble cause he's about to get a bath.

But he's a little sneaky. When we are in one of these rooms and he wants to join us, he just slides in the room on his belly... watching us to see what we're gonna do. These pictures were taken in the bedroom on different days but he does this in each of the rooms.

See how happy he is with himself? He thinks he is so clever...

Often times, he'll create an excuse to enter the room. Like throwing this small lid in the room. Cause then he has to go in to retrieve it, right?

Here he is trying to reach that little yellow ball that he threw under the bed. I don't think he made it, but you can be sure he slid on his belly until only his little feet were outside the room.

Me? I'm happy with the arrangement. Maybe it is kind of a grey area... I'm willing to accept it!

23 March 2009

The Great Stuff Trade

The Great Stuff Trade is a part of daily life. I feel like we are constantly trading items between each other. Rarely does a visit go by during which we are not passing random objects. "Can I borrow your sewing machine?" "Could I have that recipe?" "Do you guys have any non-water-soluble glue?" "Could you fix these Christmas lights for me?" "Could I read that magazine when you're done?" "Did you pick up that cheese for me?" "I think I left my bracelet at your house..."

Once, I asked my friend if this amount of 'stuff-trading' was normal in the States. She said "No." Sometimes I forget what is or isn't normal or what I would or wouldn't do in the States. This also applies to fashion. But don't get me started on that...

Anyway, the trading never really ends. And I think it's kinda fun.

I have a shelf in my closet dedicated to items such as these that are 'in waiting' to be traded to this person or that. Amongst the items traded in the past few years are empty jars, spices, a satin crib sheet, yeast, medicines, plants, recipes, baking pans, craft projects, sewing machines, bags, colored pictures, potted plants, a scale, a map, silverware, seeds, clothing, nail polish remover, cardboard boxes, a highchair, electric drills, lost earrings, glue, baked goods, locally made peanut butter, a bottle warmer, tupperware, DVDs leftovers, fabric, baking soda, baby carriers, homemade jam, a cake saver, Christmas decorations, diapers, diaper covers, diaper pins, train sets, shoes, dishes, a teapot, books, frozen meat, magazines, recipes, paintbrushes, ground coffee, cheese, money, conditioner, dirt, a guitar, bags, a lint roller, teething gel, sippy cups, blankets and a hack saw.

What will be next?

21 March 2009

Can You Spot Him?

Went to get pizza with some friends tonight and when we came down from the upstairs restaurant, we saw a big party going on! Mickie, Minnie, and one of Snow White's dwarfs were hosting this shindig. As we waited for our ride, H was quickly snatched up and taken into the center. This happens all the time. Strangers carry him away. It doesn't phase him. Neither do the strangers taking pictures. Neither did the life-size characters. Neither did the video camera with blinding light. Don't know whose birthday it was... but my boy says "thanks" for letting him celebrate too.

17 March 2009

A Little Party...

I hosted a 'Welcome Baby Ethan' party last week for a few ladies. Ethan African and European and was born about a month ago. It was a blessing to throw this party in his and his Mama's honor!


Our car was broken into last night.

He sliced the seatbelt and snatched my innocent boy's car seat. I mean, if you wanna steal... don't. But if you feel you have too?... steal our bag out of the trunk, fine. Stop there. DO NOT steal from my son! He is my baby. Don't take from him. For heaven's sake. Don't take from him.

And the thing I hate most about it all is that it makes me more jumpy, paranoid, and stressed-out. As if living in this place lately hasn't made me enough of those things already.

16 March 2009

What I Hear All Day Long...

"na na na na NO"
"no no no no no no"

13 March 2009

Friday Visit

At this wedding a couple months ago, I met a lovely lady who spoke some English. A week later, I tried to visit her in her house but she wasn't there. So I chatted with her Mom and met her University-age daughter.

Then a couple weeks ago, Mike met a friendly older man at the neighborhood car mechanic. He invited us to come and visit. Today as we stood in the street discussing which gate I went in when I visited the ladies and which gate the man instructed Mike to come to... we learned that the lovely lady and the friendly man are married! Isn't that wonderful?

They served us some fresh lemon juice, ushered us into their formal 'receiving' room with HUGE fishtank and swarming mosquitoes and served my son many, many chocolates. We chatted.

The highlight of the conversation was the topic of music. He loves music. He loves soul. He loves American oldies. And he loves the Dixie Chicks. The Dixie Chicks.

Where am I again? Someone please remind me.

Exhaust Pipe

Yesterday, we were driving across the city. Traffic was thick. As a big truck pulled up beside our small car we hear a long 'scraaaaape'. Oops. This is not generally a big deal. People are trading scrapes and bumps all the time. What you usually do is get out of the car, look at the damage, say something to the driver, and then you both get back in a drive off. Sometimes someone feels like they should yell. Usually it's wasted breath. A trip to the police station to make a report and etc etc is just not worth the trouble. Luckily, we bought an old car... so when it gets more scrapes and bumps... we REALLY don't care. (Unless of course it's a big bump that prevents the car door from opening, in which case Mikey will hold the other driver's license hostage until the man takes the car across the street immediately to the body repair-shop to get the door banged out. Then the license is happily returned and Mikey makes it home in time for dinner.)

ANYWAY, yesterday the man jumped down from his truck, kneeled down behind his truck and easily yanked his exhaust pipe out from under the vehicle and threw it in the back of his truck. Then he jumped back in. He even skipped the customary 'few words' to the one he scraped. He didn't even try to blame us! Weird!!

Whats even weirder is that apparently that old yucky exhaust pipe was merely for looks. Not my idea of vehicle ornamentation, but whatever...

06 March 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

My son is TOTALLY in the mimicking stage. He copies everything. The good and the bad. He'll rub your back if he sees someone else do it, but he'd probably also pick a wedgie if he saw you do THAT. Funny. Yet scary.

Anyway, he sees me water the plants most days. Monkey see, monkey do. My son see, my son do. This one, however, I can live with.

"I get the water from here, right? Are you gonna tell me 'No' if I start playing in this wet messy wonderfulness?" (No H, I won't say no!)

"Look Mama, I got some water!"

"Yup, definately water in there! This is fun!"

"Let's start here, this one looks pretty dry"

"Now this one"

"Oops, where did the water go? The flowers are still dry!"

"Oh, this one is just my size..."

02 March 2009


I believe that this is the first time in my son's ENTIRE LIFE that he didn't wake up when we took him out of the car, carried him upstairs, and changed his diaper. Far as I can remember, he never snoozed right through a diaper change before. Floppy little limbs and all.

A local wedding really wore him out!

01 March 2009


Yesterday we had an (un)-birthday around here. And the day before that we had a party for the (un)-birthday boy.

H did like wearing the birthday hat that he (I) decorated when I first put it on him. Needless to say, he later decided he DID NOT like the hat any longer. I still liked it on him, the pouty face just made it so much more charming...

And, we had friends over for dinner and dined outside. Our balcony has been recently painted, so now we are really enjoying it! After it got dark, we re-arranged things and watched a movie projected on the wall. The Count of Monte Cristo was nearly life-size! But then a dust-storm blew in. We were literally chewing on dust and stuff was blowing around big time... but we persevered to the end of the movie!!

Happy Birthday honey! Life with you is wonderful!