4th Year – Mini Photo Shoot

The girls are going to be 4 in October, and since all my favorite local photographers were booked up this season, I decided to attempt a mini photo shoot on my own.

It was a windy day, yesterday, but I’m pleasantly surprised with how the photos came out.

Enjoy.

Kara
Kara

 

Kara Closeup
Kara Closeup
Summer
Summer
dramatic sisters ;-)
dramatic sisters ;-)
Twin Sisters
Twin Sisters

I used Annie’s photoshop actions, over at Paint The Moon, to achieve the final edited look.

Posted in Birthdays, Milestones, Photography, Photos, Twins | Leave a comment

My Favorite Pop Artist : Gavin DeGraw

I was never one of those kids who had unreasonably insane crushes on famous people.  You know, gushing over Jordan from NKOTB (formally, New Kids on the Block) or Jonathan Taylor Thomas (AKA: JTT). If anything, I just remember being a bit obsessed with wishing I could meet and perform with Yanni wish I had the chance to meet and chat with Albert Einstein. Looking back, I remember being known as the ‘odd child’ but I took that as a compliment, always.

My first concert was Yanni, my 2nd was The Moody Blues, my 3rd was Earth Wind and Fire — I saw Yanni multiple times. I never went to a pop concert until I was in my 20’s. In 2003 I was invited to see the Bare Naked Ladies with a friend. They were performing at an arena in the Philly area and Gavin DeGraw was one of the openers.

As soon as he started singing I was in awe. It was so real and raw and just so good. While the BNL were starting to perform Gavin had a meet & greet outside. My friend and I jumped at the chance to meet him.

I remember the moment fairly well — waiting in line to take a picture with him and have him sign a CD for us. Back then digital cameras weren’t all THAT great. I think mine was 1.3 megapixels. When we tried to get our picture taken, my camera was being funky. Alas, we didn’t get the picture we wanted but Gavin told us we could come back in a bit after things were figured out and try and snap a new one.

Once the line was completely gone and as they were packing up their table, we had the chance to finally get our picture taken. I’m glad for the camera acting up, b/c we were able to chat a bit more with Gavin and his crew and have a few laughs.

And here is the photo we got. I don’t know why I cropped it all those years ago and I’m a little sad I didn’t save the original file. B/c this one is a bit puny. ha!

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Me (brown hair), Gavin and my friend .

I think I saw Gavin with my sister and friends 1 or 2 more times between then and present day in NYC area.

Fast forward to present day, I now live in Texas. I figured I wouldn’t ever get to see him perform in this area since it’s mainly country artists (which I LOVE) … but after searching for tickets online I saw that Shania Twain was performing locally and Gavin DeGraw was opening for her! What?! How?! YAY!!!!!!!

My sister (who just moved to TX too) and I bought tickets and were just so excited for the chance to enjoy his music live. We also saw they had VIP Tickets available to Meet & Greet with him. They were $150 a pop in addition to the purchase of a ticket to the show. I thought that was quite the steal, but nothing quite beats free like it was 12 years ago!

My sister and I waited outside in 100+ degree weather for an hour.

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My little sis and me.

All the VIPs were whisked down to some basement like area, for a quick snap with the artist … the experience is nothing like it was back in the day, but it was still a good moment.

Gavin DeGraw and Me
Gavin DeGraw and Me

I do not have a ‘crush’ on this guy, but I truly do love his music. His voice is amazing and he performs with such great feeling.

The song ‘Follow Through’ is by far my best. At the time I first heard it it had such an impact on my life — it was my theme song. I had just gotten out of a 5 year relationship and broken off an engagement.

Every time I hear the song I still get all the feels… and because of that, Gavin DeGraw is my favorite Pop Artist.

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No recap needed

back

I had nearly forgotten about this blog. Around the time I stopped posting, I had thought that f.acebook was the best outlet for me to share things. Once all my family members had joined it just made sense for me to keep everything on there instead of here. However, I’m feeling a bit sad and nostaligic now, visiting this blog and just seeing it stop at a random point in time. I feel like I’ve lost some memories.

The difference between my blog and f.acebook are the thoughts that I include in each post. What I’m feeling, more specifics on what is on my mind or relative to my everyday life. On f.acebook, I just post photos sometimes with only a 1 word caption.

I miss this. I have to remind myself that blogs are not mainly for the benefit of those reading, but also for those who write. It’s a place for me to ‘capture’ time.

And with that — I am back.

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Boo Boo and Family Photo

The past few weeks Kara had come down with some sort of virus, where she coughs a lot and has a runny nasty nose and is all congested. She finally stopped coughing then Summer started coughing. Poor kids can’t catch a break. If one of them is sick, we all stay in. Luckily the weather has been gorgeous so they’ve been able to get some fresh air in our yard away from the rest of the population – so as to keep everyone from getting infected (still no clue how the girls even got sick, but – alas)

Yesterday morning Summer woke up with a little bit of redness on her ankle. We watched it throughout the day and it just started swelling more and more and getting more red. She could walk on it fine and it didn’t phase her a bit – but for peace of mind I brought her in to the after hours clinic last night to get it checked out.

Day 1 at the doc.

The doc thinks it’s probably and insect bite. We put on a prescription steroid cream (a bit more potent/strong that hydrocortisone).

After a night of rest and having the cream on for about 12 hours, she woke up looking worse. When I called the pediatric nurse she told me to bring her back in ASAP b/c she could have cellulitis. Grrrreat, nothing like instilling an immense sense of FEAR in a mother, right?!

So in we went …

Day 2, more redness and the swelling spreading across/down her foot.
Day 2, more redness and the swelling spreading across/down her foot.

It looks pretty nasty right?! Like it would hurt or itch or SOMETHING… but no. She is not even phased by this. It doesn’t itch b/c she NEVER scratches it. She can walk fine (was just a little stiff this morning from the swelling) and when the doctor pushes on it or moves it she doesn’t even flinch.

I don’t get it … but the docs today also said they think it’s a bug bite of some sort. We just have to be on the lookout for any pussing, ulcers, etc… in case it’s a brown recluse spider bite. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!

Anyway, we’ve had this mother and me photo session booked up with a local photographer and we keep having to postpone it. So I said F-it, and attempted to take one at home once we got back from the doctor.

I don't know what the girls are looking at, but at least their smiling.
I don’t know what the girls are looking at, but at least their smiling.

I’m feeling a bit relieved that the docs think it’s just a bug bite. And I know that Summer has super sensitive skin so maybe she reacts a little stronger to the bites than most.  I hope that’s all it is. Crossing our fingers that the swelling goes down in the next 24hrs and I can stop being so paranoid.

Posted in Health, Parenting, Photos | 1 Comment

Learning to Calm the F*ck Down

The twins are 2.5 years old and I’m still learning how to control my behavior around them.

My behavior is most out of hand when they throw tantrums, hit each other, pull hair, steal, whine, cry, yell — which, at this age, is almost all day every day. I find myself yelling at them LOUDLY. These have become the most common phrases lately.

  • “Did you take that from your sister?! I’ll give you 3 seconds and if you don’t give it back you’re going in to time out. ONEEEE, TWOOOOOOOO, THREE!!! THAT’S IT, TIME OUT!!”
  • “STOP THAT, RIGHT – NOW!!”
  • “Did you hit your sister?! You DON’T HIT YOUR SISTER! THAT’S IT, TIME OUT!! You get TWO MINUTES!”
  • “WHAT DID YOU DOOOO!?!”
  • “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”
  • “SIT – DOWN!”
  • “What Happened?!”

I’m sure these are all fairly common in the world of parenting — I have always believed that the louder I say these things, the more impactful they will be. As if the fear my screams produce will prevent them from repeating the offending behavior. Obviously, it doesn’t work. While they do fear me at that moment, it does not prevent future acts completely.

I have to remember they aren’t even 3 years old yet, and they are still testing their boundaries, and there are 2 of them at the same age around each other 24/7. Shit is gonna hit the fan, and often it does.

Not only do I scare the shit outta my kids, but I imagine my neighbors and any random by-standers within a quarter mile from my house thinks I’m the crazy lady and pities my children.

So — how do I prevent this assumed perception?

1. Calm the F*ck Down

I have tried my best to just let things go, unless one of the kids are at risk for getting seriously injured, are seriously injured, are bleeding, unconscious etc… then I need to just chill and calm the f*ck down.  When I feel myself getting ready to yell out at them, I instead call their name (not to freakin’ loud) and give them the eyes. It’s been working.

2. Time-out for Mommy

These are moments when I whip out the Cloud Dough, or other activities that can occupy each of them individually – of course it has to be the same thing for each and not something they have to SHARE, goodness no. Activities like these took trial and error to find out what would keep them occupied for LONG periods of time (at least 45 mins). Click here for recipe.

Playing nicely side-by-side with Cloud Dough (1c baby oil + 8c flour)
Playing nicely side-by-side with Cloud Dough (1c baby oil + 8c flour)

3. Set them free

With the beautiful weather we’ve been having here in central TX, I let them run around outside in the backyard and play. I have windows that line the entire backside of my house so I am able to watch them from inside, while I read or blog or whatever. I leave a window open so I can hear them and they can hear me (even though, trust me, they are loud enough to be heard with the windows shut). Letting them run around without me standing over their shoulders all the time gives them a sense of freedom – it has also made them more independent.

4. Technology

They are going through this ‘phase’ where they are little busy bodies, putting on a movie and having them sit through it completely just doesn’t happen right now. It’s kind of strange but they have been OBSESSED with these Preschool Shapes and Colors DVD’s I snagged on Zulily. OBSESSED. So I can bribe them with these movies — stick them in their playroom and let them just veg out. I am not one of those NO TV, NO TABLET moms. If it works for you, DO IT!

5. If all else fails, feed them.

I have been tempted to bribe my kids with sweets to just STFU and behave, but I’ve resisted! I WILL NOT REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR. But, when I notice them starting to get cranky due to just being a tad hungry or tired, I’ll give them a snack. Since we have a naptime routine that is so perfect I don’t want to mess with it, putting them down for a nap is out of the question. Instead, I’ll pop a bag of popcorn and resort to #4 above and maybe even a little apple juice if I’m really feeling generous. Other snacks I always try to have on hand are goldfish, animal crackers, pretzels, apple chips and dried veggie chips.

At the end of the day, I know it was a good one if I got to capture a moment like this, however fleeting it may be.

Summer IMG_0135_2 IMG_0252 IMG_0245

We have our good days and then we have our not-so-good days, but stepping back and thinking and breathing before I act is helping me enjoy even those not-so-good moments. They are growing up so fast I want to be able to soak up every little thing. Good or Bad. They are ultimately good kids, emphasis on kids – b/c they just might act like them sometimes 😉

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Cloud Dough Recipe and Pics

Oooooh Cloud Dough, how I love you. Let me count the reasons why…

1. – you keep my 2.5 year old twins occupied for hours. HOURS!!!

Oh wait, that’s only one reason … but it’s the best reason!!

I didn’t expect this to be as big of a hit as it was, but I’ve whipped out the cloud dough A LOT the past few weeks and it has never let me down! And it helps that the kids LOVE it too.

The very first day they got to play with it.
The very first day they got to play with it.

I first started out with all of the cloud dough in ONE container – it worked out for a few minutes but soon enough they were fighting for space – so I split the batch up into 2 separate bins and gave them the SAME tools so they didn’t fight over those and they had a blast.

It was a little messy, but so easy to clean (just sweep or vacuum the floor and a wet paper towel to their hands/clothes). It’s worth it, TRUST ME!

Cloud Dough Recipe

  • 1 cup Baby Oil (use cooking oil for a baby/toddler safe alternative)
  • 8 cups of all-purpose flour
  1. put all ingredients into a big bowl or the container you will use for play 
  2. mix by hand until you are able to form things (try to squeeze a ball of it in your hands, if it stays together when you open your fingers, it’s done! – about 3-4 minutes of mixing.)

NOTE – I made this size batch and split it up between the girls. So if you only want a little bit (probably less of a mess in a small play container, just cut the recipe in half. Also, you can reuse the cloud dough, just be sure to store it somewhere that can be sealed tightly. I store ours in a plastic storage container with the vacuum seal button on top (see it here).


Here are some more pics of Cloud Dough (AKA Moon-dough in our house)

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13986116436_f01212b634_b

 

 

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Nifty-Fifty Photo Fun

I’m REALLY enjoying this camera, still trying to get used to shooting in Manual Mode again, it’s been awhile.

I bought the kit lens for the 6D however I’m still loving the nifty-fifty prime lens. (50mm ii 1.8) – talk about getting the most bang for your buck!!

All the photos below were taken with that lens. ENJOY!

My Girls

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Summer

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Kara

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The cam has arrived!!

Messin’ around with the new cam — ooooh man how I have missed how fast the shutter clicks-clicks-clicks on a SLR!!

Dibsy modeled for me a bit

 

doggieyoga

IMG_0101_5x7

 

 

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NEW Camera and some not-so-new photos

I’m so so so excited.

By this time tomorrow, this little beauty will be in my hands!

cameraWords cannot describe how excited I am!!

A few months ago I sold my old Canon – it was a T1i. I’m kicking myself now for selling the pro flash though, b/c I sold everything for less than what the flash alone was worth! *kick kick kick*

It’s okay though, I still saved my 430ex ii speedlite, so I’m good, but also this new cam is a FULL FRAME and not a CROP – so that will make a world of a difference, as well as it just being a major upgrade — it will perform decent enough in low light situations if I don’t want to be carrying my flash around 😉

I’m just excited to be able to take decent shots of my kids again. The phone cam thing is getting a little ridiculous.


Not-so-new Photo Update

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Me and fam at Zilker Gardens
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Me and the girls. Summer (L) and Kara (R)
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Kara & Summer *love*
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Summer was so content just watching the waterfall
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Happy Summer with her Elsa necklace
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The girls checking out the falls
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Kara wanted to carry the massive bag of kettle corn.
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Kara grinning by some de-thorned cacti
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Sweet Kara
kara_sanantonio
Kara at square in front of the Alamo – San Antonio
summer_alamo
Summer in front of the Alamo – about to jump!
Posted in Photos, purchases | Comments Off on NEW Camera and some not-so-new photos

Choosing paint colors

My ENTIRE house is painted that ‘builder-beige’ color – I’m thankful it’s not stark white but the beige is really really boring. The worst part is that not only are the walls, moldings and doors painted the same color, but so is the ceiling. BLECH! I think it’s a southern thing. Up in NJ the ceilings were always painted white! Down here, I’m noticing people paint their ceiling the same color as their walls, even if their walls are GREEN!

Our family room is a difficult area to figure out. We have 25 foot ceilings, it connects to the eat-in kitchen (open concept) has an ugly brown rug, a floor-to-ceiling limestone fireplace with gold-tones in it, and also hard wood floors.

I’ve currently accented the room with deep red and gold tones. I don’t want to wind up painting the walls gold just b/c it matches the fireplace – ugh, i hate that color and I think it is boring on walls. Just as boring as the builder-beige, but it seems like it’s the only color that truly WORKS.

So, while I suffer with insomnia tonight I started messing around with a recent photo of my fireplace space and I think I’ve come up with a solution for the too-much-g’damn-boring-gold issue.

A peacock blue accent wall –

peacock2
Before and after (my crappy photoshop job)

I found the corresponding colors on the Benjamin Moore Color Gallery Page

BM

Tomorrow, I’m going to have to try and convince Mike that THESE are the colors we should use. *fingers crossed*

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