Monday, November 20, 2006

Photography Class Week 4

After two very long weeks of sickness, I think the plague is finally gone. Nasty colds/chest infections, stomach flu and pink eye have all made the rounds in our house. I have a lingering cough, but other than that, I think we're over the worst of it.

On top of that, the kids spilled soda on my keyboard and fried it. I was able to use an old wireless MS keyboard, but it interferred with my Mighty Mouse and made it freak out. Also, since there was no Apple key, I couldn't use Photoshop very effectively. Thankfully, my new keyboard arrived Saturday. Gotta love Apple's shipping--fast and free!

So those are my excuses for being so behind on my class. Thank goodness there's no penalty for late assignments. :) I've got to get busy this week and try to catch up.

Week four's assignment was "Parents as Props." Lots of fun. I have several that I didn't use that I'm planning to put into a story board for Alex's room and Neil's office. The first one was added to the Picture of the Week Gallery. :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Photography Class--Week 3

This week's assignment was action shots. Hard to do in cold Chicago wather. I used pne of my favorites from the summer and got the other two just in time.

Andy jumping on his bed made Picture of the Week. It's a little grainy, but she liked the expression. I'm definitely framing this one.

Photography Class--Week 2

Week Two's Assignment in my class was Extreme Close-Ups or child as botanical. Again, it was challenging to get close up shots of a very mobile 8 month old with dreary indoor light. (I'm trying really hard not to use my flash at all.)

Here's what I came up with...

This one made Photo of the Week. :)

I actually really love all of these and am having them printed to hang on my new photo wall. (photos of the photo wall are coming soon.)

Photography Class--Week 1

I'm taking a great photography class at Kids and it's awesome. The assignments are fun and I'm learning tons. The instructor is great too. Her critiques are very helpful and she answers all kinds of questions in the forums. I'm definitely taking more classes there in the future. It works with my schedule so much better than a live class.

The first week's assignment was to shoot 3 sets of before and after shots. The before had to have a child looking away from the camera and not smiling. The after had to have the child looking into the camera and really smiling...connecting with the camera/photographer. It wasn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.

Here are my before and afters.

My critique was pretty good and the first picture of Alex made her Picture of the Week. (She chooses her favorites, so it's not just mine.)

And yeah, it's been far too long since I updated, but I decided to just start now instead of trying to play catch up. It's too overwhelming so I think if I start fresh now maybe I'll be able to keep up better. (You've heard that before, right?) LOL

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Well, that was quite a break

I didn't intend to be away from here so long. We've been on vacation, the kids started school, and Alex is 6 1/2 months old, has two teeth and can sit up. Geez, I need to get some photos done.

I've been trying to cut down on my computer time too so that doesn't help with my updating. It's supposed to be a rainy day so I'll get to work on it though.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Alex started eating baby food on Saturday. To say he loves it would be a gross understatement! LOL He's done very well on his cereal and he didn't even make a face when he tasted the sweet potatoes. He just smacks his lips and says, "Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm." Love it.

OK Blogger blows. I can't upload a photo now. I'll try again later.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Aarrggghhh Matey

Pirate mania has hit our household. Andy used some birthday money to buy a pirate book and dress up set yesterday. I swear he'd have that sword surgically attached if he could. It's barely left his hand had since we opened it last night.

And yes, even Emma got in on the pirate action.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wanna see some pictures?

Like most of the country, it's been hotter than Hades here for the past week. We're in the middle of a really good thunderstorm right now so hopefully it will be cooler in the morning. It's still really humid and muggy so it doesn't feel much better to me but I'm optimistic for tomorrow.

We set the pool up on Saturday and the kids have been keeping cool in it all week. Talk about a good investment. We bought it on clearance for $50 and have totally got our money out of it already.

Since our backyard faces west and there is no real shade yet (grow trees grow), we only let them out there during the morning and late afternoon/evening to avoid the most intense sun. In between pool time, we've been doing lots of art projects. Fun for everyone. :)

Here are a few photos of the kids enjoying the pool.
Andy having fun.
He still looks really pale, but he actually has quite a bit of color--for him.
And I didn't think it was possible for his hair to get any lighter but it is.

Emma looking none to thrilled to have yet another photo taken.

Andy showing off his muscles while Emma looks on in disbelief (or something).

Alex chilling in his Bumbo (which is the greatest new invention).

My baby is 5 months old already! Where did the time go?

Well, I'm heading to bed. I'm trying to get back to a more normal schedule instead of staying up really late and then needing a nap in the afternoon. Yep, I'm still napping with Alex and Andy almost every day. Emma reads in her room and the boys and I get a lovely little siesta.

Alex has been sleeping through the night for over a month now, but I haven't switched myself back. I think some days I'm so frazzled from the constant noise, that I stay up till 12 or 1 just to sit in the peace and quiet after they're all in bed. So since school starts four weeks from tomorrow, I'm going to get myself in a better bedtime routine then start in on the kids. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

It's official...

I rock. Cathy Zielske says so. :)

Last week I recorded a concert for her on VH1 and sent the video tape off to her. This is what I got in return (plus some KI goodies). How cool is that?!

It was a relaxed, albeit hot, weekend. We filled up the pool and the kids spent hours splashing and playing. Bad mom that I am, I didn't even take a picture. Maybe tomorrow because I know they'll be bugging me to get out there at the crack of dawn.

I did scrap a page for a challenge at Scrap Artist's Anniversary Bash. The challenge was to use bad photos on a layout. Actually I think these photos are awesome action shots, but unfortunately, I couldn't figure out a way to realistically fix Emma's runny nose. They looked so good on the camera too. LOL

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Update #2

So I had a big post written about more crap in our lives and I realized that it's all pretty boring so here's a quick recap instead.

Poor Neil
Neil is working super long hours...doesn't get home till 2.15 a couple of nights a week. The kids don't even see him some days. We're all missing him. I don't know how he survives on so little sleep. Hopefully it will all be over very soon.

Andy's Birthday
We celebrated Andy's 4th birthday with a party on the 15th. We had a BBQ with a couple of neighbors and 3 friends from school. It was 105 degrees on the patio when the party started at 5 pm, but the kids didn't mind. We bought one of those big Quick Set pools and they had a blast jumping in that, running through the Slip-n-Slide and playing on the playset. (I don't want to post a photo since I don't have permission from the others kids' parents.)

I went to CHA (Craft and Hobby Association's big summer trade show) last Saturday with Jackie. It's always fun to go see all of the new products coming out. She bought lots of great stuff for the store. I ran into a few digital scrapping buddies and met a couple of other online friends so it was a fun day. We went out to eat with a couple of great women from our Design Team. It was great to see Beth again and to meet Amy in person.

Blah Blah Blah
That about sums up my life. I'm trying hard to maintain my sanity while single parenting. I could never, ever do this alone. The kids get along for the most part, but I just need a break every now and again. Does that make me a bad Mom? Neil usually puts them to bed so that he can have some time with them. And the added bonus is I get to feed Alex and get him to bed in peace. But with him not home, I'm doing all of it. Fortunately, it hasn't been too bad, but I'm finding that the balance of Mom vs. Robyn time is getting way off and I know that's not a good for any of us.

Well, the kids are "camping" in their "fort" under the dining room table now and I can still hear some rustling and whispering so I'd better go investigate.

See ya on the flip side.

Update #1

Yeah, I'm so clever with the titles. Since I'm so far behind, I figure I'll just do weekly recaps to get caught up. I've actually heard from a couple of friends about my lack of updates. Wow, I actually have readers. LOL

Fourth of July
Let's see. July 4th was fun. We just hung out at home during the day and then went to the big fireworks in Aurora. It sounds totally lame, but we picked up dinner, parked at the mall and had a picnic in one of the green areas around it. They block off all the streets and shoot the fireworks off really close. It's actually one of the best firework shows I've ever seen. They certainly don't skimp. Strange event for the evening...we actually froze! Mom of the Year didn't take coats. It's the Fourth of July for crying out loud! Luckily, I had several of Alex's blankets in the van so between the picnic blanket and receiving blankets, we stayed warm. Alex slept through the entire thing!! And the booms were so loud that you could actually feel them in your chest. Gotta love that kid. :)

I took TONS of photos during the fireworks, just playing around with different settings. I haven't really looked at them or done any editing, but these turned out pretty cool.

Road Trip
On July 5th, the kids and I drove to Iowa and met Susie and the boys, Linda and Lily, and Rosie and the kids for our annual summer get-together. We stayed in an average hotel, but we had a blast as usual. Hanging with them always fills my soul and reminds me how lucky I am to have such good friends. We have truly experienced the best and worst of life together. I love how we manage to just pick up like we saw each other yesterday. Now that the kids are older, they really have fun playing together. It's actually amazing how well they all get along considering they see each other no more than twice a year. Love that our kids are friends and will have true lifelong friends when they're adults.

Love My Guy
We were back on Friday night for my photography class at Studio D. It was a better class; we went outside and actually shot photos. The instructor gave us scenarios and we had to figure out the settings to get the shot. Very helpful. Neil was late getting home so we picked him up at the Naperville train and he took the kids to the Riverwalk while I was at class. He's such a good guy. He fed the big kids dinner and gave Alex his cereal.

The weekend was spent hanging out and doing some prep work for Andy's birthday party. Nothing too exciting.

That's enough for now. My life isn't that exciting! ;)

Check back later for the next update. I'm almost finished.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

{I hate thinking up clever titles}

Man, the days just seem to kind of run together during the summer. We had no kid activities so we spent the entire day at home. It was really nice so the kids played outside a lot--good thing because they were fighting like cats and dogs today.

Alex has moved from his bouncy seat to the Excersaucer. I can't believe he's big enough, but here he is. He still does the bobblehead thing after awhile, but he really likes being in it. I hope that continues.

Let's see...Oh, there was a weird rain storm last evening. It was totally sunny and suddenly it started pouring. I knew there'd be a rainbow so I took the kids out front to watch it form. It was pretty cool seeing it appear and then a few minutes later the second one. Emma's favorite color these days is "rainbow" so she kept demanding that I take more photos. Yeah, you try focusing on a rainbow. LOL Here's the best I got.

I did a layout tonight too. Something totally not my usual style, but I think I like how it turned out. I had fun playing with some new stuff and trying a different, less graphical approach. OK, now that I look at it again, it's still totally lined up, but it's still grungier than I usually do so there. LOL

You can see the credits here.

I'm so far behind on my Big Picture class. I'm taking Library of Memories with Stacy Julian and it's a great class, but I feel so overwhelmed by it. Not really sure why, but I just can't make myself sit down and work on it. I read all of the handouts and I do the worksheets, but I seem to be a bit paralyzed by actually moving photos around, etc. Gotta get over it!! Silly thing is, I'm only doing the digital stuff now. I've decided to wait to do the old photographs till I get some kind of system going with the digital. That should make it easier, but for some reason it's not.

The boys have well-child check-ups tomorrow--4 years for Andy and 4 months for Alex. Should make for an interesting afternoon. Alex gets four shots and Andy is terrified of the doctor these days. Not really sure why, but he starts wailing as soon as we walk into the reception area. He does not want to be weighed or sit on the table. We've been talking about it all week trying to prepare him. I've finally resorted to bribery. He really wants a big boy bike and we had planned to get him one for his birthday. So, now if he doesn't freak out, we're going straight to Toys R Us and buying him his new bike. AND the Pirates of the Caribbean helmet he saw at Target.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


So, Andy and I went shopping last night for stuff for his birthday party. It was a nice evening so on the way home we decided to get hot fudge sundaes for everyone. I didn't feel like driving to a real ice cream place, plus Andy only ever eats about 1/4 of it, so we drove through McDonalds. Four hot fudges with nuts, please. I pay at the first window and then wait while the idiot in front of me figures out how to put her car into Drive after getting her food at the second window. We pull up and the kid immediately says, "Can you pull up to the white line?" I'm like WTF, but said sure rather incredulously.

So we pull forward and sit. And sit. And sit. I watch 5 cars come and go with bags of food. We're talking Happy Meals, huge bags and lots of drinks. All the while, we're just sitting there. We ordered at 8.19 and at 8.26 I grabbed Andy and went inside. A kid was just making the sundaes.
Now mind you, I walked in and the other three workers didn't say a word to me. I walked past all of them to the kid and said, "Don't bother. I want my money back."

He gave me some story about the machine being out of shakes. Fine, but I ordered sundaes. I explained that I wouldn't have been annoyed if someone had told me what the problem was instead of just sending my ass to the white line.

During this entire conversation, the manager sat at the first table and watched. Freaking watched. They called him over and he couldn't believe that I was annoyed. He actually said, "What do you want?" I told him I wasn't paying for them. He could make a nice gesture and give them to me, but I wasn't paying for them. He gave me back my $4.27 without saying a word and that was it. No sorry and certainly no free sundaes. Grrr. I hate that place.

We went for real ice cream.