31 August 2010

the one where mabry names the title to the post and it shall be....BUZZ


So I haven't been around much lately.  Mainly because I have been running around like a lunatic trying to touch up paint the walls and clean my house.

A chore (the painting) that should have taken me 15 minutes has managed to stretch out over days and even included an impromptu total room makeover.

As you have probably figured out by now, if you have read this blog for any period of time, my policy seems to be when you have a Do To List of things that must get done always add a huge project to the mix at the last minute.

I probably won't be around much for the next few days.  We have company coming in to help us celebrate two very big events this week.  I'll be posting about all of it in the coming days (including the room makeover).

I'll be back ASAP.  In the meantime, as a peace offering I am including the most random photos ever taken of Dan and Mabry.

Mabes, Space Ranger

27 August 2010

the one i plan to show all future boyfriends

Photo Strip

Yesterday while making a return at the mall, we came across an empty photo booth.  Surprisingly enough, the owners of the machine didn't charge roughly the same amount as a college semester to have your photo taken.

Plus, let's face it, you have to have some photo booth photos made at least once in your life.

How about we take a closer look at the results, shall we?

Photo #1:  The one where Mabry has no idea what is going on and Dan is trying not to pee his pants from laughing so hard at the expression we can clearly see she is making in the monitor in front of us:
Photo Strip #1

Photo #2:  The one where we instruct Mabry to make a funny face.  Instead she realizes, Hey--that thing aimed at me is a camera I must now pose and smile.  Thus making Dan and I look like total fools:
Photo Strip #2

Photo #3:  The one where we tell her to once again make a silly face and I realize that in Dan's mind "silly face" translates to open your mouth as wide as you can:
Photo Strip #3

Photo #4:  The one where we try to do the mandatory kissing photo and Mabry practices her horrified-by-how-embarrassed-she-is-by-her-parents-no-seriously-someone-tell-her-she-is-adopted-and-her-super-cool-parents-are-waiting-for-her-in-a-mansion-two-states-over face 11 years too early:
Photo Strip #4

25 August 2010

the one where i call for backup

Internets, I am stick to death of changing diapers.  On one hand, I feel lucky that we are down to two diapers a day (nap and bedtime).  On the other hand, Mabry is almost three and really do I have to change any more of these things?

I guess in my happy little mind I always figured that by the time she was three-years-old diapers would be a long gone thing of the past.  It was never a spoken deadline, just something there in the back of my mind.

In the last few months I have tried several different tactics to at least eliminate the nap diaper.  Nothing has worked.

So as of yesterday I brought in backup.

In the form of a space ranger.

Internets, meet my current BFF, Buzz.

A little help from my friend

This guy can motivate Mabry in ways no one can.  Right now he is just hanging out in his box on her dresser, slowly killing her.  Ever since Buzz came home with us she has begged, pleaded, bargained and anything else she can think of to get him out of the box and into her hands.

I guess she can't resist a man in uniform.  Especially when the uniform includes such an awesome helmet you can open and close at will.  Don't even get me started on the buttons.  Oh the buttons.  How she wants to press them and make noises...and...and...seriously Mama you are killing me can't I please just take him out of the box.

It is basic math.  1 week of dry diapers = 1 Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger.

Even though I brought Buzz in to help me with nap time, we have decided to see just how deep the motivation goes and if all diapers everywhere can be eliminated.

In the meantime, we will keep reiterating the rules.

24 August 2010

in which the big three is just around the corner--if i survive

**UPDATED:  Fixed it so that there are two different videos now.

Mabry is going to be three-years-old in a little more than a week and a half.  I have been busy, busy, busy trying to get things ready for her little birthday party.  I did stop this morning to make a few videos for you.

These were made per the soon-to-be-birthday-girl's request.  I think she just likes watching herself on the computer after I am done shooting the videos more than anything.

Things to note about this video:
1.  The girlie wants a robot for her birthday.  This was a request that came out of nowhere several weeks ago.  She was busy talking about princesses and castles and in the middle of it I asked her what she wanted for her birthday.  She didn't even hesitate, "a robot."
2.  I canNOT find a robot of any shape or size anywhere.  I hate that she is going to be disappointed.  
3.  I am planning an awesome birthday cake to make up for the lack of robot.


I have also been MIA on here for a few days because I have pretty much reached the end of my sanity rope.  To better illustrate what life is like around here let me share one of the "outtake" videos we shot this morning:

Things to note about this video:
1.  All day long Mabry is talking and playing pretend.  Don't get me wrong, I love the imagination that comes out of her, it is just the constant state of having to be a witch, then a dragon, then a prince, then a princess, then a witch again that is making me insane.  Sometimes Mama needs a little quiet.  Sometimes Mama just wants to be Mama.
2.  The dreaded phase of asking, "Why?"  has reared its ugly head in our home.  I am probably asked this question eleven billion times a day.  
3.  The repetition.  Notice how she just kept saying, "Hi Sheeby" waiting for him to say hi back?  That's an ongoing theme.  If she says something or asks something she will keep saying it over and over again until we acknowledge her even if there is nothing to say.
4.  The demands.  Making Sheebus talk has to be one of the easier things that she has asked of me in the last 24-hours alone.  

I just keep reminding myself this is just a phase, it won't last forever, and someday, somewhere I am going to miss all of this.

21 August 2010

the one where i share some link love

Wuslu:  This is a really fun to site to check out for cute things for not much money.  The interesting thing about Wuslu is that they only sell one item a day and the shipping is cheap!  I found them because they sponsor another blog that I read.

Shared Boys Room:  This right here makes me want to have twin boys.  Seriously, how cute is this room?  I still might alter some of the decor ideas for the playroom.

If that isn't enough, visit the DIY link to this awesome website.  You will find all kinds of things (and beautiful photos!) to inspire you.  Some of my favorites include the Anthropologie Inspired Pendant Lamp (which for the record I am making ASAP, I just need to figure out where to hang it up.  Maybe over the island in the kitchen?), Vintage Kitchen Shadow Box, Pallet Reading Bed, A Custom Bleach Shirt (what a fun project for the kids--another one I am planning on doing with Mabry ASAP), Vintage Glasses Onesie, and the PVC water park (how much fun for these last few weeks of summer?!).

Mini Soft Pretzels:  I dare you to look at this and not go directly from your computer to your kitchen and start baking.  YUM! YUM! YUM!

Niermann Weeks:  I have to admit that I had never heard of this designer/brand/style??  But I really like it and if there is a way to recreate the look for a tiny fraction of the real thing, sign me up.

Grooveshark:  I spend a lot of time at the computer editing photos, blogging, and a whole host of other things.  I don't work well in total silence and while I love my iTunes and literally have thousands of songs, sometimes it is nice for a little change.  This is a free site where you can listen to all kinds of music.

DIY Showoff:  My sister introduced me to this site last week.  Lots of inspiration.

19 August 2010

the one where mabes finds her inner monet


My sister suggested that since I didn't need to the frames that were above my bed anymore that I move them up to the playroom.  

The only problem was that the frames are a really odd size.  So what do you put in them?

It didn't take long to figure it out once I got my creative juices flowing.

I picked up some paint from Walmart along with two pieces of poster board and came home with a plan.  

First I took the glass from one of the frames and traced it onto the back of the poster board three times (one for each frame that I had).  I was able to fit two on one sheet and the third on the second sheet.  Then I taped the two pieces together.  I wanted the painting to flow from one frame into the next.  

That was the hard part.  


After that I stripped Mabry down (she is in a diaper because I had already gotten her ready for bed when I decided to do the project) and turned her loose on a paper plate filled with paint.


When she was done I covered her hand in paint (since she was nice enough to cover my kitchen floor in paint already) had her "sign" the corner.  

 Of course I created a monster who now asks to paint anything and everything.  

Looking back this might be considered her "rainbow period."  I am going to embrace it while I can.  In a few years it will be the "doom and gloom brooding (pre)teen rain clouds of angst period."  


At which point these three paintings will be even sweeter than they already are.


18 August 2010

the one where i inhale way too many spray paint fumes and i discover a "celebrity" buried under curls

Thank you all for your feedback on here and on Facebook about what to do regarding my bedroom.

First of all, as soon as I started moving it I knew that the bed in front of the windows was a bad idea.   It was just something I had to try.  Growing up I was the kid who rearranged her room on a monthly if not biweekly basis.  This habit has carried on into my adult life.  Living in a house where almost every room allows for only one arrangement is killing me.

Killing me I say.

Secondly, I ended up taking back the sconces.  They were too big for the room and just didn't look right.  The fact that I put them up on the wall and then needed almost immediate affirmation from my online family that they didn't look like total butt should have been a good indication that they had to go.  Why spend money on something you don't really like?


I did find some sconces from Hobby Lobby that I did love and for just about half the price as the other ones.  The only problem was that the dark metal base was lost on the dark wall.  Good thing I am not afraid of a little spray paint and sandpaper.

I am really happy with the way they look and the golden glass fits right in with the rest of the room.


Spray paint, isn't it magical?  Especially when you get a contact high by not thinking and using a can of  it in a closed garage.


In completely unrelated news, in a fit of total boredom I broke out the hair straightener and used it on Mabry.  I was curious to see just how long her hair really is underneath all of those beautiful curls.


I was a little shocked at just how long it is.  Especially when she started out with nothing more than a little faux hawk.

Exhibit A:
Sitting like a big girl #2

I think I was more shocked to discover that when she turned around it was more like looking at Joe Dirt than Mabry.


Dig it.

17 August 2010

the one where riley has to endure stinky shoes in the name of art


As I promised yesterday, here are a few of the pictures I took of Paul, Nicole and baby Riley in the rose garden.

Some of them turned out much cuter than other ones.  I obviously have a lot to learn with regards to newborn photography.  One lesson already learned is that outdoor photos of a newborn taken with no real prep beforehand are a bad idea.  Miss Riley had to endure being put up against fluffy plants, hard trees, and at one point her father's Crocs covered with a blanket in an effort to boost her up.




I know I haven't said much today.  Blame the exhaustion that comes with less than five hours of sleep and a day packed with things to do.  Not exactly the combination that makes for clear thinking and well thought out blog posts.

Until tomorrow...

16 August 2010

the one with a whole lot of mabry

May4 copy

Last week we had friends from Pennsylvania stop for a few days on their way home from a vacation.  While they were here we ended up stopping in one of my favorite places, a rose garden that is about an hour from here.  This is the same place we had family photos taken last year.

I discovered a few things during our impromptu trip up to the garden.  1.  A 5-week-old is very hard to pose.  Especially when hungry.  Poor Riley Marie, she was a trooper being laid on the ground and in plants.  Next time I will bring adequate materials for propping up a baby.  2.  Mabry is so trained to have her photo taken, she will find ways to sneak in to shots no matter how many times she is told to stay behind me.

May2 copy

May1 copy

Let's hope this week is better than the last.  Otherwise, I might have to institute a new rule:  All Toddlers Who Can't Be Quiet For at Least 5 Minutes a Day Will Be Recycled.

Mabry is so screwed.

May3 copy

15 August 2010

the one where i share a few favorites


I know I haven't been around much lately.  There has been a lot going on this past week.  You know the type of week where everything feels like it is a delicate juggling act.  One false move and the whole thing could come crashing down on your head.

Yeah, one of those weeks.

The good news is that a lot was accomplished and we all survived to live another week.  (Insert happy faces and birds singing here.)

One of the biggest accomplishments was finishing editing the photos from the family reunion I went to a few weeks ago.  No small feat when I had over 3,000 photos to sort through and a little girl whose favorite game is to ask what every item in a room is a zillion times while poking me.

I'm now going to take a minute to brag.  Can I just say what a good looking extended family I have?  I mean seriously each and every one of them....gorgeous and so photogenic.  How the heck am I related to any of them?

Mom I know you read this blog, fess up, was I adopted?  

Since most of the photos are in the password protected proofing section of my professional site, I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you.  I promise, if I could I would have put every last photo on here.  








Becky 2



Currently wishing I was back on the farm...

the one where i review a the voice: new testament

The Voice is a different take on the New Testament than what I am used to.  The purpose of this book is to present the New Testament as a fluid literary story while staying true to biblical manuscripts.

The two most positive things I can say about The Voice are that the dialogue is written in a manuscript format rather than the traditional verse making it an easier read in many respects and the additional facts provided that give the reader a better background about what was going on in the story.

I do not like that the writers have added their own statements and clarifications right into the text.  While they try to set these statements apart with italics, I can see how someone could easily mistake these statements as part of actual scripture.  There are far too many liberties taken by the authors of The Voice to consider this book an actual translation of the New Testament.

To experience of The Voice yourself, go to hearthevoice.com and download the book of John for free.

The Voice New Testament is available for purchase here and here.

This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing for honest review in their Book SneezeProgram.

12 August 2010

where i need opinions

My master bedroom is a disaster area currently.  All because I can't figure out how to decorate above my bed.

Up until a few days ago I had these awesome frames that I bought on clearance from Michaels hanging up.  I love the frames and the quote that I put in them.  I just didn't really love the location.

So I went to Hobby Lobby and found these big sconces to put up instead.  I just can't decide if it looks like too much in the room.


If I do end up keeping them, should I leave them the metal color?  Should I make them white?


Or maybe I should move the bed to in front of the window and use that as the decor above the bed instead. The only problem is the bed blocks half the window, which kind of stinks.  (Also I didn't move all of the furniture around.  Imagine a second nightstand on the other side of the bed, etc.)


So before I start moving or doing anything else I am putting out a plea to all of you to help me make a decision.  Or to give me a suggestion.  I'm giving myself to the end of Mabry's nap time to at least decide furniture placement.

10 August 2010

the one where i had a terrible flashback

When I was a senior in high school I locked myself out of my house.  I was in my pajamas with no bra on.  It was early in the morning.  I had yet to eat anything (though I could see my breakfast sitting on the counter).  Oh and my family was over three hours away visiting our relatives and weren't due back until late that night.

I went to the neighbor's house to call my parents.  It was horrible.  I had never met these people before.  I was wearing no bra and a light pink shirt (awkward anyone?).  I had to explain that I was locked out and needed to make a long distance call.  My mother and father, while sympathetic, had no plans to cut their day short and so I was going to have to find a way to kill about 10 hours.

The neighbors were nice enough to offer to let me stay at their house and even eat something.  I declined because I was a teenager and well did I mention the whole no bra thing?

So I did the only thing I could do.  I went home and mowed my parents' lawn.  On the slowest setting the riding lawnmower had.  Then I took a nap in the backseat of the car that was still in the garage.  I tried to watch TV through the window, but it wasn't worth it with no sound.  I had a run in with our perverse neighbor who lived down the street (I'll spare you the details---let's just say AWKWARD with a capital A).

Those were the longest 10 hours of my life.

Cut to one night last week when my sister and I were talking on the phone and somehow the topic of home invasions came up.  By the end of the conversation we had both managed to freak each other out.  One of the things we had talked about is how it is a running joke at our house that even though I lock the house up at night I keep the house key hanging on a hook just outside the door in the garage.  All someone would have to do is break into the garage (or walk in on the nights when we occasionally forget to close it) and let themselves into the house.

I decided that the key hook needed to be moved into the house.

Can you see where I am going with this story yet?

Sunday Dan and I were unloading our car after having run some errands.  Mabry was in the house keeping cool in the air conditioning and screaming her fool head off because she wanted to help carry a bag.  On the last trip into the house I walked up the steps in the garage to find the door was shut.

I turn the knob and nothing.


My heart practically stopped as I looked at Dan.

The car keys, house keys, cell phones, etc. were all inside the house.  Along with our two-year-old who had managed to lock the door.  This is the same little girl who can't work a door knob to save her life despite the amount of time I have invested trying to teach her.  She can, however, manage to learn and master the lock mechanism in about 30 seconds.

We tried knocking on the door.

"Yes, Mama?"

"Mabry, let Mama in.  You locked the door.  Do you know how you locked the door?  You need to turn the little switch and let Mama in."

"I can't."

Dan started to laugh.  Clearly he had never been locked out of the house for 10 hours.  WITH NO BRA.

I kneeled down by the door and held onto the knob as I tried walking Mabry though turning the lock a few more times.  Just as I was about to give up, I heard the click and I was able to open the door.

I'm now rethinking the whole key thing.  I can't imagine what I would have done had Dan been gone on deployment or a training mission and there wouldn't have been at least one of us to sit there at the house while the other went to get help.

Life with a two-year-old, it is always interesting.

And at least this time I had a bra.

09 August 2010

the one where mabry is doing much better

It has been awhile since I posted.  After being gone for a week and then having a sick child life just sort of got in the fast lane and kept speeding by.

Mabry is doing much better.  Her voice and energy came back and she hasn't slowed down (or been quiet) since.  She is, however, used to sleeping in a little later now.  That is one side effect that I wouldn't mind keeping around.

I am about 90% done with the families portion of the photo editing from my Granny's reunion.  I am hoping to have the rest up and done soon.  We have some company coming to stay for a few days, so I might not have much of a chance to edit until the middle of this week.  So for those family members who keep checking in on my other site, I will be posting the rest of those soon.

Lately I have been in a crafting/decorating mood.  It has been awhile since I have had a real good project to work on.  There are lots of different ideas swirling around in my mind and many small projects are starting to make there way onto my to do list.  How silly is it that things like that make me excited?

Also underway are the plans for Mabry's 3rd birthday party.  I still can't believe she has been around for 3 years!  I have several projects lined up as we prepare for the party and posts planned for each one to share with all of you.

Anyone else find it hard to come up with things to write when you stay at home most days just tending to the kid(s)?

04 August 2010

in which it is after midnight and i am still working on getting caught up

**UPDATE:  Mabry slept until 3:30am and has been up every 45 minutes or so since crying.  She still has a fever of about 102.  My gut is saying this is more than just viral (ie: cold), but I don't really know what the next step should be or how long we should wait.

The last few days have been eventful.  More in a wow this day hasn't gone nearly the way I thought it would and oh look at that it is already after midnight kind of way than anything else.

Yesterday I spent the better part of the morning tearing my hair out, talking on the phone to Apple customer support through gritted teeth and tears and telling person after person the run down of things that were going wrong with my computer.  In the end Mabry and I loaded up and spent a total of hours in the car driving to the nearest Apple store to have the computer looked at and in the end replaced.  It was a total hassle, but as long as I have a working computer it was worth it.

Even though Apple really made me mad and didn't make this whole situation all that easy to navigate through I still have to give them credit.  It was really nice to see a company actually stand behind its product and who (for the most part) wanted to do right by the customer.  Those types of companies are a rarity these days it seems.

Today was supposed to be a day of relaxation in preparation for all of the cleaning I have planned for Wednesday.  (I am typing this technically on Wednesday in the wee hours of the morning.  But since I have yet to go to sleep I am still considering today as Tuesday.) Instead I spent a good four hours in the ER.  Mabry had spiked a fever through the night, but in the morning seemed to be feeling like her old self.  Once nap time rolled around she started crying and complaining about her belly hurting again.  I couldn't get a walk in appointment at a decent time (the best they could do was 9pm?!) I opted to just take her to the ER to be checked out.  Her temp was 102.2 and they were pretty sure she had some sort of a bacterial infection.

They took a urine sample, which came back fine.  By "they" I mean me.  Ever had to help a toddler go potty in a teeny tiny cup?  It isn't much fun.  The doctor did notice a rash and concluded that maybe it wasn't an infection after all, gave us two prescriptions and sent us packing.

Mabry isn't eating much.  She spent most of the evening laying on the couch or in bed.  She has been getting up about every 15-20 minutes and crying for her Daddy and it sounds so sad and pitiful.  Finally around 11 Dan and I agreed to just put her in our bed with him while I worked on some editing.  They are currently both sleeping and I haven't heard a peep out of her in over an hour.  Hallelujah.  Besides liquids I think sleep is the best thing we can give her right now.

Which means I am going to be sleeping on a twin bed tonight.

Anyhow, no pictures from today or yesterday as things have been kind of crazy.

I did make a few changes on the photography site as far as the galleries go and added some more photos.  Stop over and check it out and then come back here and let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear back from you!  (Also, let me know if you can see the logo on the very first page before you enter the site.  I have heard from a few people that they can't see it.  I made a few changes, but don't know if it is working now as my computer has always shown it.)

Happy Hump Day!  Is it the weekend yet?!

02 August 2010

in which i ramble because i can

Granny and Grands

I mentioned that last week Mabry and I spent the majority of our time up in Pennsylvania celebrating my Granny's 90th birthday.

Even though I was the resident photographer (complete with slave name (Brenda) -- don't ask), which meant lots of running around trying to capture everything, it was nice to just relax.  Somehow everything just seems more calm and clear on the farm.

As I edit photos from our trip I will be sharing them on here.  This particular photo was of my Granny and 21 of her 27 great grandchildren.

Trying to get all of those children (Granny included) to look at the camera was very similar to herding cats.

There were a total of 81 photos I had to sift through from this one setting in order to piece together what you see here.  Could you tell that this one photo is actually 4 different ones stitched together?  Hopefully not.  Even then, not everyone is looking at the camera.  But it is a pretty good representation.

Seriously, aren't these kids adorable?  I wish I could have taken them all home with me.  I am positive Mabry wishes the same thing.


In other news, my computer is still giving me problems.  Does anyone know how to upload iCal, the address book and Safari bookmarks from TimeMachine?  I don't want to do a full system restore, since I am pretty sure a wonky setting is what put this whole thing into motion to begin with.

I am sure I could Google the answer.  In fact, I have.  My brain is just so fried that the directions seem to be in a totally different language and I just can't figure them out.  There is only so much computer drama I can wrap my brain around in one weekend and I have officially reached capacity.

Hopefully the repair man will be out to replace some of the parts for me later today and I can ask him if nothing else.  Funny, even with all the problems I have been having I still love my iMac and would buy another one in an instant.

Hoping you all had a wonderful, relaxing and peaceful weekend.

01 August 2010

where i play around in the shadows

Y'all I am about thisclose from tearing every single hair out of my head.  This whole computer fiasco is turning into an even bigger mess as the hours tick by.

I spent a good part of Saturday just trying to figure out how to set the computer back up the way I had it.  It seems that wiping out the computer wasn't enough for the technician from hell.  Oh no, he also had to put in all kinds of settings that weren't there before.  Thanks dude, but I don't want your left click for the mouse, your weird sizing of things, etc.  Tomorrow looks like a fun day of trying to reinstall programs that I may or may not have the disc for laying around the house.  Good times.

Not really.  My poor family has been dealing with dark, moody and cranky Jess all day long because of this.  I just keep telling myself that once I get the computer up and running properly and the guy comes out to replace the screen and disc drive on Monday (fingers crossed) I will be back to normal.

Since when did I become so dependent on my computer?!

On the flip side in an effort to cheer me up Mabry agreed to be a photo model for me before nap time.  She left me dress her up and then take some cute photos.  I think she is destined for great things when she grows up.  Don't you?

Ballet Mabes

Cowgirl Mabes
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