Archive for April, 2010

Garden girls

After digging up what seemed to be 15 square feet of solid spearmint two weeks ago, the girls helped us put in the garden. A few heirloom tomatoes, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers and herbs (NOT mint)…just a short season away!

In celebration of the macro lens

I’m still getting the hang of my new macro lens and SLR camera, but I love the results so far. Here’s a close-up of our dogwood tree:

Compare that to my attempt with my old point-and-shoot digital last spring.

I love the way the background gets—and don’t let me overwhelm you with my expansive knowledge of technical photography terms here—ultra blurry.

Something to do with aperture, as Doug tells me.

It’s not easy to get the right part of the shot in focus, as you can see in these two examples. In the first shot, the small, unopened buds popped into focus.

This is more what I was looking for. I’m still trying to figure out the way to get exactly what I want, without just making a wish before I push the button. I need more time with the manual.

Doug’s friend Chris suggested using the macro lens for portraits, which I’ve been doing quite a bit (here, here and here, for example). It also does well with cupcake photo shoots, and I have some pretty amazing shots from the butterfly exhibit at the zoo this weekend, too, which I’ll post soon.

It’s making me appear to be a better photographer. Now, if only there was some sort of app for composition…

Mouse in the house

Ava has a subscription to Highlights magazine (thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!) that she LOVES. This month’s issue had a recipe for salad built to look like mice, and she and Bryan set to work last week.

Olivia Fix

I’m taking a short blog break–I’ll be back on Tuesday!

Sleepy sisters

After five years of doing everything by the book (or by all the books I can get my hands on), I don’t think we’ve made much headway in the sleep department when it comes to Ava. And, now that Olivia is out of her crib and into a toddler bed, she’s (literally) harder to contain.

I have decided that super rigid routines don’t seem to make much of a difference, and so I’m done fighting battles about bedtime. I don’t care where you sleep; I don’t care who you sleep with. Just GO. TO. BED. Someone’s bed…anyone’s bed. If you’re in mine, though, I’m going to move you back to yours at some point in the evening.

And, when I came upstairs last night, this is what I found in my bed. The girls like sleeping together, though they often have a bit of a hard time settling down at night when they are side by side.

Do you think they fell asleep mid-snuggle or mid-struggle?

Notes from Ava

Now that Ava is learning how to assemble letters into words, we’re reaping the benefits at home. Just yesterday, after overhearing a conversation I had with Bryan, she left me this on a Post-It:

Rember to turn of yur flat iron

And, then last night, on a much larger piece of paper:

To Mom and Dad – Becaus is not a resin – From Ava

Think I will submit future notes here.

Laugh at Jessie

Or is it with Jessie? Either way, check out Jess’ new blog—it’s pretty funny.

Case in point:

I know I need to get a new car, but the thought of retiring Greenie makes me so sad. How many people have a car that people make songs up about?  How many people have  a car that when it starts causes your friends to clap?  How many people have a car where the windows sometimes work and sometimes don’t?  The back doesn’t stay open, the doors sometimes won’t close.  This car simply won’t do what it’s supposed to do, it doesn’t behave how it should behave.  In other words, this car is me.

Join in the fun at

Overheard: Peer Pressure Edition

After she confessed to being less-than-kind to a friend at a birthday party yesterday, I chastised Ava and insisted she be nice to everyone. Here’s the ensuing exchange.

Ava: “Well Ginger did it too!”

Mom: “Well if Ginger jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?

Ava, after a long pause and with much conviction: “Yes.”

It was my first time throwing out an old-school retort like that, and it failed miserably. Too early?

Ava Fix

Livie Lou’s new ‘do

There’s far too much crying at our house every morning.

Ava, who stayed up until 10:45 the night before just to remind us that we can’t actually control when and how much she sleeps, is pitching a fit about having to wake up “before it’s even morning time.”

And Olivia, who is still suffering from pacifier withdrawal, screams and fights when you approach her with a hair brush.

I might not be able to do much about the lack of sleep—and really, I don’t want to undo that plan that will prevent Liv from packing a spare paci in her kindergarten knapsack, but I can solve the screaming that comes from having to drag a brush through a nest of curly hair that seems to be inexplicably matted (even after bath night—I don’t understand it!).

The downside is that I’m the one who’s now teary-eyed.

I don’t know why I had such a hard time taking the girls for their first real haircuts, but with Olivia, I knew it was time when even Gramma Great’s ultra-gentle approach was rebuffed.

That said, it wasn’t an easy decision. Olivia’s hair spilled over her shoulders and burst into little ringlets along her back. It was gorgeous—when it was clean and brushed. The rest of the time, it was piled on the top of her head in an effort to keep it that way. She had taken to calling the little rubber bands we used for her hair, and then the pigtails themselves, “cutes,” because I’d say, “Look how cute!” every time I finished her hair.

Olivia was very excited about getting her hair cut, but when it came time to sit in the stylist’s chair, she panicked. Bryan commented that her hair wasn’t exactly even on both sides. The stylist did the best she could.

Hopefully, it will be the last time Olivia sheds tears over her hair.