30 December 2012


The SUN came out this weekend. It was GLORIOUS!

Carus had her birthday sleepover party Saturday night.  We didn't do anything super special, just a sleepover with a couple friends.  There was lasagna and root beer floats and they watched a movie.  There is giggling and some squeaking, but at lights out, it stops.

Movie time with some puggy cuddles.
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366:366 (Not the last of the year, explanation here.)

We drove one of Carus's friends home today and while driving into Aloha we got to see Mount Hood. I took a pic with my cell phone and went back to soaking up the sun and enjoying the blue skies.  Later, I went with Geneva out to the barn. (My hip is still sore (STILL! Grrr!) but I think it's time to stop babying it and start working it more.  And eventually I will get back on that horse. Hahaha. So anyways, I went out to the barn because it's easier to do something you don't want to do when doing something you enjoy.)  On the way out to the barn, we got a really good view of Mount Hood.

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28 December 2012

Title smitle

Sometimes titles for blog posts come to me easily, but more often they don't and I resort to using similar ones or just using the number of my 365/366. I feel like I'm lacking in the creativity department there....


This evening Robert was tossing a cardboard ring for Leia, and she was jumping and catching it.  She loves to play catch/fetch and will play for hours and hours and long past the point that you are done throwing for her. It looks like she is dancing.

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Robert got me a flash for my camera for Christmas (Nikon SB400).  It helped with getting Leia in action.

So, I'm on 364 of my 366 and if you do the math you'll notice that's not right; it's supposed to be 363 and because of it, I'll finish the year with 367 numbered photos.  When I realized my numbering was off a little over a week ago I went back over my photos and I found where I made a mistake.  It is all the waaaayyyy back in May.  I took two photos on one day and numbered both consecutively.

I don't want to go back and renumber all of the photos following it, or the coinciding blog posts so I'm going to leave it alone.

One (missed) mistake over the year (I made more, but caught them before "damage" was done) is a lot better than last years many, many mistakes.  I think I ended last year being nearly a week off in numbers.  That is embarrassing.  I mean, how hard is it to number photos and keep it all in order.  Gah! Surprisingly, hard enough.

This also brings me to next year.

Do I want to continue with a 365 (no leap year) or do I want to try something else?  Maybe a weekly photo?  Or themed based photos?  My original intent of starting the 365 was not only to document our lives throughout the year, but also learn to use my camera better so I could take better photos.  This year, when using my camera(s), I've shot EXCLUSIVELY in manual mode where I had control over every setting and I'm pretty proud of that.  I've learnt a lot about my camera.  But, now what....  I want to continue to challenge myself and to continue to improve, but I'm not sure how I want to go about it...

What do you think?  Comment here or contact me via e-mail, text message, or phone call and let me know.

Do you want to see another 365 in 2013?
Do you want a weekly photo?

Or, maybe a 365 with a theme photoshoot thing once a month?  Hmm, I kind of like that idea...

27 December 2012

Good-bye 7 days....

...until spring run!

day 7

I think I need a hair cut (post shower, uncombed, very wet hair).

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26 December 2012

Happy birthday Carus!

Carus picked the restaurant for her birthday dinner - Mazatlan, a local Mexican restaurant.  And I had them sing happy birthday to her.  If you can't view the video below, click here.

A slideshow of snapshots from Carus opening birthday gifts today.  We got her a gift card for her Kindle Fire (which she got for Christmas) so she could get some apps, books, and/or TV shows/movies on it...she's bought a few apps already.  If you play Draw Something and want to play against her, let me know.

Her sleepover party this weekend with her friends will be added to this set on Flickr later. (If you can't see the slideshow below, click here.)

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And less importantly, my 366 and day 6 of 7 days.

362:366 - Hot salsa from dinner tonight.

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25 December 2012

Happy Christmas!


Happy Christmas!

Christmas day family photo.

Us with my in-laws, my father-in-laws parents and grandmother.  Pretty good company to have on holidays.

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And because I have to show off my creative a bit more today (Carus helped too), behold my veggie Christmas tree!

Carus and I haz creative. #happyChristmas

24 December 2012

Christmas Eve

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Annual Christmas Eve family photo.

This is the best shot we got.  I thought it would be cute to get the dogs included, but Leia was having a silly puppy moment and didn't understand which direction we wanted her to face and that we wanted her to lie down.  I was going to call at least one of the (3) cats over as well, but the only one visible was giving me a look that said he wasn't going to go anywhere near the bouncing puppy.

So here we are - Carus hiding Robert (which he doesn't mind), Leia sniffing for treat crumbs (she got the treat for laying down) and Yoda trying to jump off my lap.

Happy Christmas!

23 December 2012

7 days, day 3

We went to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum today and Carus and I had lots of fun playing around with all the shiny, prime 7 days surfaces.

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Can you find us in all the pictures?  Carus and I are in each one.

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22 December 2012

7 days has returned!

7 Days Winter run has started.

7 Days is a group of people on Flickr that get together and post self portraits for a week about 4 times a year. We comment on each other's photos and get to know people, not only from all over the country, but all over the world. Here are my posts from previous runs.


7 Days, day 1

Watching TV by Christmas tree lights.

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7 Days, day 2

Making cinnamon rolls.  I used Pioneer Woman's recipe for the rolls (with less butter and a combination of brown sugar and regular sugar for the filling) and browned butter frosting recipe from Michele, a friend I made through 7 Days, with orange extract added.

The recipe makes A LOT.  Some are for us for Christmas morning breakfast, and some are being given to neighbors who are awesome.

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Now I'm off to catch up on commenting on 7 days photos and relax for a bit - it's been a long week!

Finishing up the week....finally


The camera club I belong to was asked to mentor some 8th grade students interested in photography this year, and I was one of those that volunteered.  We meet with 3 girls each Wednesday for an hour or two and go over how to use the cameras and photography techniques.  I'm learning as much as I'm teaching.  Carus has decided she wants to learn too so she is tagging along and standing in as a model occasionally.

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I've signed up to start working at the hospital about twice a month or so.  I'll get to train on some projects that I've been wanting to work on, and I'll get out of the house occasionally.  I enjoy my lack of commute and the fact that I can work in my sweats, but sometimes it's nice to dress up and feel professional.  This was my first week.  When I went to lunch, I noticed this mural painted in the stairwell, which made me smile. It's very pretty.

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18 December 2012

Carus's first band concert

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This evening was Carus's first band concert.  She was in the back so we couldn't see her too well.  Yay for my zoom lens. She is playing the trumpet now, and enjoying it.  The beginner band is doing pretty good.

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We woke up this morning to a light dusting of snow that quickly melted only for it to start snowing about the time for the kids to head to school.

All day today, it would snow until there was a light covering and it would stop, melt, and start snowing again.

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Drip drip drip

Little puddle in the yard.

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The neighborhood little birdies were very active with the snow. I tossed some bird seed out for them and they distracted me from work a bit.

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Yum! This photo cracks me up.

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During one of the melts, the little birds took a bath in the little puddle.

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Cute and distracting little birds.

17 December 2012

A Night With No Power

If you're going to lose power, it's best to lose it at night.  Right?

I mean, you don't have to worry about how you are going to make meals, entertain children or yourself, nor about making sure people don't open the fridge too often letting all the cold air out.

We have a light in our room hooked up to a remote from which we can dim the lights or turn them off once we're already in bed so I can read for a bit before lights out.  Because we have that remote, the switch stays on.  The first time the power went out last night, that switch was still in the on position so when the power came back, the lights created a wake up call.  It only lasted a few minutes though before power went out again.

And then the beeping started.

Our computers (and the server we store pictures and music on) have battery back-ups in case the computers are on when we lose power to keep us from having fried computer paperweights.  When the power goes out, those battery back-ups beep.  Loudly.

There is a street lamp in front of our house and at night some of that light filters through the blinds into the living room; Leia sleeps on the couch in the living room and this light is like her night light, but last night . . .

My afraid...of the dark.

All of this was not helping The Chicken Dog who, when the power went out, had run into our room and wedged herself between me and Robert where she was shaking.  She is not a small dog.  With each beep from the server's battery back-up she would try to squirm closer to me. There was no closer for her to squirm to.

We clicked the switch into the off position, turned off the battery back-ups to stop the beeping, and I escorted the dog outside to potty for the first of three (THREE!) times last night.  It was cold and rainy, and during each trip the wind (we had gusts up to 45 mph) blew the rain into my face, no matter which direction I turned.  

Leia would curl up with us while the power was out and when it came back on she would wander back out to the living room, only to rush back in and put her cold nose in my face to get me up to take her out (nervous bladder) and then get back in bed with us again.  The last cycle of no power created more beeping - apparently the batteries in one of our smoke detectors is low.  And the alarm (I set a backup alarm on my phone in case our bedside alarm clock was out of commission) came all too soon.

Thankfully, the Nyquil I took before bed allowed me to sleep so deeply that even though I spent too much time awake last night I'm still able to function today.  Barely function, and with a LOT of coffee (two cups in and counting) but still. . . I can function.

Leia sleeping off her (read: our) sleepless night.  I'm so jealous....and tired. 

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16 December 2012



We were surprised Saturday morning when it started snowing.  We didn't get any more than this dusting, and it quickly melted.  The news usually makes a HUGE deal when we are expecting any kind of storm, especially a snow storm, but not this time - or at least we missed it.  It's good that it didn't last though because I had friends over for a crafting day.  I worked on my mystery quilt and got half of the top put together.

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My Christmas carolers (from Granny) and Christmas tree light reflections.
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It looks like it might be my turn to get sick. I woke up with a sore throat, my head has been pounding all day and I'm so exhausted and cold. I don't have a fever (yet) and I hope it ends tonight with the Nyquil I'll be taking before bed.  And hopefully it ends with me and doesn't try to make the rounds again (or get Carus fully sick instead of just feeling a bit poorly).

We have a storm coming in tonight and into tomorrow.  In fact, it's already here.  Lots of rain and high wind expected. I've had to escort the dog out to go potty (freaking chicken dog) and I got quite wet, though I had an umbrella.  We've lost power once this evening already, just for a few minutes, and I was thankful it came back on because dinner was about 20 minutes (pork chops and scalloped potatoes and the raw pork needed that 20 minutes) away from being done.  As soon as it came back on, I turned the oven up another 50 degrees hoping that I could get it done before it went out again (if it goes out again).

I just took it out of the oven so as soon as our cell phones are all charged up (just in case) and the house is warmed up more (just in case), the power can go out again. I'm not sure if I want it to be back on in time for work tomorrow or not . . .

15 December 2012

I'm sorry

Yesterday's tragedy has saddened so many and angered even more.  My thoughts and prayers are to those children who were injured and those that survived, and their families. I'm so sorry they've had to experience these horrific events first hand, and I hope no one else ever has to.

And it brings up gun control discussions...again. To me, it feels like just one more thing to argue about, and the arguments feel wrong.

Maybe there is a middle ground we can come to for those for and for those against gun control.  Maybe not.

The best I've seen so far is said to come from Morgan Freeman:

Morgan Freeman's statement about these random shootings....
"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.

It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem."

Well said, Mr. Freeman. Well said.

Dance class


Twirling in dance class.

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After dance class, Carus and I went grocery shopping.  I need to remember that 8 pm at Costco on a Friday night is so quiet and lovely to shop in.  With barely anyone there we were able to move through the store getting what we needed so quickly.  Much better then midday on Saturday or Sunday.

13 December 2012

Happy Hot Chocolate day!


I read somewhere earlier today that it was National Hot Chocolate day.  I'm not sure who decided that hot chocolate needed a holiday, or that it should be today, but I'm okay with having an excuse to have some hot chocolate just because.  The kids were okay with it too.  I made some for all of us, but was the only one that had marshmallows   Apparently my family is weird.

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Robert stayed home sick today, but he looks like he is doing better.  Carus woke with a stuffed up nose, but no fever and still insisted on going to school and I let her.  Adam is not sick, or stuffy.  All those times he was sick as a baby has given him one hell of an immune system.

I'm not feeling 100%, but I don't feel sick either.  I might just be bummed from the lack of sunshine lately and the fact that there are a million things I need to do, a billion things I want to do, and not enough time to do either.  This week/month/year is going too fast.

12 December 2012

'tis the season

'tis the season for for colds.

Robert is sick-y (head cold) and Carus complained of feeling icky this morning too.  Though I suspect it was because she didn't want to get out of her comfortable, warm bed and go to school.  She didn't have a fever and wasn't actively vomiting so I sent her to school with instructions to call me if she needed to come home.

She didn't.

Robert says that EVERYONE at work has the plague, so he's not really surprised he came down with something.  He'll be going to bed early and maybe I'll make him stay home tomorrow...

Hopefully my headache is unrelated to a cold and I'm not getting sick too.  I've been taking Emergen-C daily and will be taking some Nyquil tonight to knock myself out - my go-to plan to stop a cold from fully manifesting.  It works pretty well too.

It's good luck that the menu had homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight.  Another really good cold treatment, in my opinion.  I use plenty of fresh garlic and even sneak in a little ginger, which are both good for colds.

In other news, before I forget to share AGAIN!

Carus has fully transferred to the trumpet in band after having too much trouble getting sound out of a flute and some problems when trying the clarinet.  She says she is loving the trumpet.  Her first band concert is next Tuesday.  I'm excited to watch and hear her play.  Because she is borrowing the instrument from the school and the particular instrument has a stuck on mouthpiece (if she sticks with it we'll buy her one of her own, but they're too expensive to buy if she isn't going to play for awhile) she hasn't been able to bring it home yet.

Adam is doing great in band himself.  Last month a special permission slip was sent home asking if it was okay if he was considered for Honor's Band.  We gave permission and he tried for it....and got it!  In January, he'll get to miss a full day of classes as he goes practice and learn with the rest of the Honor Band.  That is on a Friday.  He'll then go back to practice on Saturday and then Saturday evening there will be a concert. I'm excited for that too.  If I understand correctly, Adam is the ONLY middle school trombone player... or something.  It boils down to - he is really good.


Playing with my tea - trying to capture a drip and resulting ripples.

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11 December 2012

Sunset and playing puppies


Lovely sunset yesterday evening,

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Yoda and Leia were running around playing this evening and I grabbed my camera and laid down on the floor in the living room to take a few pictures.

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While laying on the floor, Simba decided I made a good bed. I was sorry I had to disturb him and get up.
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09 December 2012

Posing the cats....

345_366 12-09-12.... again.

I didn't dress them up though.  I was trying to get a shaped-light bokeh with the Christmas tree with the cat in the foreground, but it wasn't working.

I got one of Simba as well, but it's not as good.  I'd share it, but I'm on limited uploads with the Flickr account right now.  My dues have expired and with holiday season upon us we're watching what we spend and I don't have the funds to renew at the moment.  

Maybe I'll try again another time.

08 December 2012

Dress up

I got some little dress up clothes for the cats and dogs and then I played dress up.

344:366 - Simba was not happy with me.  His ears were back and his tail was twitching.  He got a treat for playing along.

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Timmy wasn't happy with me, but after some loves he warmed up to it.

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Not pictured in the Santa hat is Wilbur - he let me put it on and I almost had a picture taken when Leia decided to put her nose all up in his business and he ran off.

Leia had to be bribed with several doggy treats to get the antlers on, and to keep them on.  The antlers kept flopping over onto her face and she was trying to take it off and bite the antlers at the same time.

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Yoda was the best.  He let me put it on, adjust it because it was too big for him, and pose him for a few pictures before I got him some doggy treats.

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Is it tormenting the animals if they let me do it?

07 December 2012

Yay, It's Friday!!


A boy and a pug.

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Decorating the tree.

Usually after kids decorate a Christmas tree you have to go and redecorate it, spreading out some of the ornaments so they aren't all clumped together.  Adam and Carus have reached the age that they spread the ornaments out on their own; and the height that they don't need help reaching the higher parts of the tree.

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Lookie what I figured out to do!!!  Heart-shaped Christmas tree light bokeh!  (Bokeh - noun - A Japanese term for the subjective aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas of photographic image. ) (How to do shaped bokeh.)

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And then Robert got in on the fun and played with the star-shaped lens hood I made.  It's pretty too!

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If you don't want to make your own hood for your camera, you can buy this kit.

Buy the Bokeh Masters Kit at the Photojojo Store!

04 December 2012

Late fall


Last week I ended up using my phone and Instagram to capture all of my 366s, which was completely lazy of me.  The point of my 365/366 project is to get to know my camera really well.  And so I'm making a point of all most my photos this week are from my camera.

There was a break in the rain (we are having a lot of rain lately) around my lunch break so I stepped outside to walk around the backyard and see what there was to see.  The break didn't last long, I was outside for perhaps 2 minutes before it started drizzling again and never once did I see blue sky.

The trees have lost most of their leaves, but here and there are a few clumps of stragglers.  The color isn't great anymore, but when the light shines through and you can see all the veins of the leaf it is interesting to look at.
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03 December 2012

Good dogs


My doggies are very good doggies that pose for me.  While I had an idea of what I wanted to do, it wasn't fully planned out.  This wasn't what I was thinking, but I like it.  I got them into position, which wasn't too hard as I had Train-Me-Treats, and took a couple quick shots and got this one. I have it in color, since the lights are colors, but didn't love it as much as I love this back and white version.

About a month ago Robert picked up a wireless remote for my camera and I haven't really played with it.  I used it for this and it was so helpful! I can't wait to play with it again.

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02 December 2012

First weekend of December


Playing with the laser pointer with Timmy kitty.
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Christmas tree is up and lights are on.  The kids will put on the ornaments tomorrow. :)
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