Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Fragments

After two visits and no follow-up from the cable company, our DVR is STILL BROKEN. It's really annoying! Not only that, now our cable signal will randomly switch off when we're watching TV. We don't watch a ton of TV, but we do watch it often enough that this is more than a minor annoyance. We're going to be switching cable companies if Mediacom doesn't fix this soon!

I bought a big pot of cheerful bright yellow chrysanthemums over a month ago to put next to the front door. They are now completely dead. Every year the mums I buy don't stay alive. I water them, and they die. I don't water them, and they die. The only thing I can think of is that maybe they're not getting enough sun, because the front porch is shady. Any mum aficionados out there who have any advice?


Why is it that every fall/winter season I feel like I have hardly any good clothes to wear, despite having bought new things the year before for that very same reason? I think it's because I'm not a big fan of cold-weather clothes. I don't really like sweaters that much or dressing in layers. And even when I follow the washing directions exactly, I find that sweaters shrink or pill so easily that they don't last nearly as long as warm-weather clothes. I do, however, love wearing fleecy warm pants and thick comfy socks at home when it's cold outside. It may be unfashionable but it sure is comfy-cozy!

My house project right now is cleaning out and organizing the storage room in the basement. There are still boxes down there that haven't been unpacked since we moved here last year. I'm loving this project, and I'm actually not being sarcastic when I say that. I can't wait to get down there each day and go through things and get it all organized. I'm going to unlock that storage room's potential and let it shine! (You can laugh at me now.) I love organizing!

Remember how I was thinking about applying to Penn (my alma mater) to interview high-school students who apply to go there? When I told Peter about that, he expressed concern that I wouldn't be able to give "mean" feedback on a student if I didn't think they were Penn material because I'm too nice. What the heck?! Peter of all people should know how critical and judgmental I can be!
(I am a nice person, but I'm also objective and I know I'd be able to give honest reports and feedback on students. I'm still planning on applying!)

I'm seriously thinking about joining Pinterest. I keep hearing all these good things about it and it sounds like something I'd enjoy. What holds me back is that I already have my internet time organized between e-mail, blogging, Facebook, working on my photos, and general browsing, and I feel like that's already too much time spent on the computer. I don't know if I can make the time for another thing! Should I even try?

I started my Christmas shopping this week! I'm going to get it all done as early as I can so that I can fully enjoy the true spirit of the season in December.

This brought tears of joy to my eyes this week:

A two-week-old newborn was pulled from the rubble of the earthquake in Turkey after being trapped for two days with her mother. The mother was rescued as well. Look at her tiny little legs! This touched my heart.

And this made me laugh. Check out this internet ad for Herman Cain. What's up with his Chief of Staff not only smoking a cigarette at the end, but blowing a puff of smoke into the camera? (It was a much bigger puff in the first version of the ad that I saw earlier this week; it looks they've toned it down now.) And what's with the slowly spreading grin of Herman Cain at the end? It reminds me of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas right before he goes and steals everything, which is really not a good image for a presidential candidate to take on!
(The ad is less than a minute long, but if you want to go right to what I'm talking about, scroll to the last third of the ad.)

I like Herman Cain but I'm just not quite sure what to make of him!

Well, I think that's enough from me for now. But first, do you like these cute little owls? I love owls. I was looking for Halloween clip-art to use on here and when I saw the owls I knew I had to use them. Expect to see more of them on here in the future! I hope you have a very fun Halloween weekend! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't Mess With Me, Dogs

I love that our spunky little cat Brody can keep our two big rambunctious black labs trapped at the top of the stairs. Which just goes to show you: 1) Power isn't always dictated by size, and 2) Our dogs are wimps!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Me and My Boys, Hanging Out in a Tree

These pictures of me with John and Sam from our recent family photo shoot are my favorites. It was nice to get some pictures with just John and I too. I forget sometimes how much time he and I spent together in the four-and-a-half years before Sam was born. Those were special times.

 Let the picture-stacking begin!

I love this one of the three of us (even if my eyes are almost closed!).

This is a cute one of Peter and Sam. I wish Sam had smiled like this for some--or just one!--of our family pictures!

And here's an extra-special bonus--a few pictures just of me. I actually like these!

Black-and-white or color? Sometimes I can't decide which I like best.

Do you want to know what I was laughing at? The photographer said that I was squinting, so I tried opening my eyes up wider and not blinking, which made her laugh because it looked ridiculous, and that made me laugh too. Sometimes I crack myself up!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Family Pictures Evaluation

A few weeks ago we finally got our family pictures taken on a chilly, windy September morning at a nearby park. It went okay. Unfortunately the Indian summer that we enjoyed over the past few weeks hadn't arrived yet, and the chill in the air made me have to change the outfits I was planning (which was unfortunate for my outfit especially!), and the wind made my hair look bad or nonexistent in some pictures. The boys were much more interested in running around and playing than in having their pictures taken, which made getting good shots a challenge for our talented photographer, although she got a lot of cute candids of them playing. These are a few of my favorites of the boys:

(I really wish I knew how to do photo mosaics or how to get two or three pictures to line up next to each other. I've tried and failed at this a number of times! Oh well.)

But onto the actual family pictures that feature all four of us. When the photographer told me that she had posted some of her favorites from our shoot on her website and when I went onto the site to look at them and none of them featured Peter or I, that was my warning that either our boys are just really super-cute or Peter and I are really not super-cute. I'm thinking it's more the latter of those two options.

My main desire for these pictures was to get at least one good one that we could use for our Christmas cards and to display somewhere in our home. Did we succeed? I think so, although none of them really knock my socks off, but I also tend to be an unobjective perfectionist and am overly critical of myself as a result. Anyway, what do you think?

This one is nice except for the fact that John is practically sticking his butt in my face.

This is one of my favorite shots. Which do you prefer, the color above or the black-and-white below? (Please let me know--I want opinions! And tell me if there's another one that you like more.)

These ones could have been really nice but I tilted my head at a very odd angle in most of them (I'm not posting those ones!) and the images are not as clear.
My hair is blowing away in this one but other than that I like it.

We were attempting to appease Sam, who was trying to break loose and run away, which would have been bad, because we were sitting on a bridge.

So overall I'm happy with how they turned out. I'm already planning on getting our pictures done again next year, because I definitely want to do it again and try for that golden shot that I have pictured in my mind.

These are my goals for next year's pictures:
1. The boys will be more cooperative. (They'll be more mature at ages seven and three, right?) 
2. I will wear a better outfit. (Although in my defense, like I said before, I had a nicer one planned, but I would have been too cold wearing it and I'm a wimp when it comes to being cold!)  
3. My hair will look better.
4. Peter will weigh a lot less. (He's working on it!)  
5. We will get our pictures done with a colorful old barn and a cornfield as backdrops. This is Iowa, after all!

*More pictures from this photo shoot to come in another post! There are some nice ones of me with the kids that are my favorites from the whole shoot.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What Babies Get Away With

Have you ever noticed that babies and toddlers and young children in general are able to get away with things that us older people cannot? And on them, it's even cute. Oh, the many benefits of being very young!

Pudgy, rotund tummies
Flyaway crazy hair
 The desire to wear socks with sandals, and other fashion faux pas...

Double chins!

Making big messes that they don't have to clean up! 

These things that are cute on little kids can come back with a vengeance in adulthood, when it's not so cute anymore, so enjoy it while you can get away with it, kids!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Random Thoughts From the Week

We got a new refrigerator this week. It was time to get rid of the fridge that came with our house. For the second time in less than four months, it was dying. I can't tell you how nice it is to have cold, properly refrigerated food again! Lukewarm milk and too-soft cheese = yuck!

Another thing that hasn't been working very well lately in our house is the DVR service. The cable guys came out to fix that this week and it didn't work. Aaagh! I want my DVR to work! I guess I'll be seeing those guys again next week.

Next week Peter will be away on two different business trips, but my father will be here. He's stopping in Iowa for a few days on his drive from Massachusetts to Utah. He's moving to the middle of nowhere in southern Utah, so now my family will be truly scattered between the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West. But the good thing about it is that we'll have someone to visit out there, so I foresee some fun trips to the West in our future!  

So. This Pastor Jeffress from Texas says that my religion is a cult and that Mormons are definitely not Christians. Really?! Are we back in the 1800s again?! It surprises me that people are still this ignorant, especially people who are invited to take part in events that involve presidential candidates (I distrust Rick Perry even more because of this!). Jeffress obviously doesn't know or understand the official name of the Mormon church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he certainly hasn't read the Book of Mormon, which is all about Christ. If he came over to my house he would see pictures of Christ on the walls and observe that we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. I read a really good opinion piece on that was written by a non-Mormon man visiting Salt Lake City, Utah this past week when this whole thing happened. I really appreciate what the author of this piece has to say. If we had more open-minded people like him our country and our world would be a lot better off!

To end on a happy and self-centered note, I'd like to update you about the state of my hair. A few weeks ago, I complained about its damaged and distressed state and said that I hated it. I'm happy to say that I no longer hate my hair, just merely dislike it. The sleuth in me has discovered what damaged it so much. Last fall I got some highlights put in, and after doing that two or three times, my hair got really damaged and started breaking off. I talked with my stylist and found out that the highlights contained bleach. Apparently my super-fine locks can't tolerate bleach! So I haven't had any highlights done since last December, and I don't plan on getting any anytime soon, and if I ever do get them again, they will be bleach-free. So my hair is now totally its natural blond color, which I actually like. 
    Also, I've discovered (finally) that using a hairdryer was majorly damaging, even with heat-protecting products, so the blow-dryer has been shelved. I haven't blow-dried my hair in over a month, and it's growing again, and it's shiny and healthy! I have high hopes that it will grown back down to shoulder-length (which is my favorite length for my hair) by next summer.
    And one more thing...John Frieda's Full Repair Full Body line has worked wonders! Thank you Mr. Frieda!

I hope you had a good week and that you have an even better weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Funny Birthday Cake!

I turned 31 at the end of July and for my birthday Peter and I spent a weekend on the lovely island of Nantucket, a place I've wanted to visit for a long time. We had a good time there (pictures and posts to come at some point in the future!). When we returned back to the house that we were staying at on Cape Cod, my mother and my son John had made me a rather interesting birthday cake.

It was a theme cake since we were at the Cape in the summertime, which equals beaches and swimming (but ahem! Not bikinis! Or strange black towels! Not for modest, sun-conscious me!). In any case, it tasted good and it gave us all a good laugh, especially when John licked the frosting off of bikini girl's backside...

Okay, this post is starting to make me feel uncomfortable, and I'm afraid I'll come to regret that last sentence as well as the picture above. I'll end it on a more wholesome note!

It really is the funniest birthday cake I've ever had in all of my 31 years!