Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wish we could bottle this . . .

This happens every year in late March and April. It is so glorious, truly glorious, outside, that it is impossible to believe that in two months we will want to avoid outside at all costs. Because right now, we're pretty much living outside.

What do we do outside? We conduct experiments to see what happens when you add Mentos to a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke:

Answer: spectacular (unphotographed) Diet Coke geyser. Now you know.

We let the force be with us.

Elizabeth frequently rebuffs Jacob's requests for a light saber fight, much to his great frustration (and Caroline is downright scary when wielding a light saber). But they both accepted Jacob's challenge this time, and he held his own against two opponents (and a total of three light sabers). All that practice is paying off, buddy.

We eat Krispy Kreme donuts:

We roll down the hill.

We take a break from rolling down the hill and humor mom by looking up at her and her %^$&@$!* omnipresent camera:

We get all pensive:

We get all silly:

We ham it up:

We water the herbs while wearing movie star sunglasses upside down:

Ice cream lady!!

Here's to hoping for a few more weeks of this before the bugs and heat drive us inside!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Car conversations

Jacob had his friend Joe over to play after school yesterday. I greeted the boys when they got into the car:

Cathy: Hi guys! Did you have a good day at school?
Joe: Yes, ma'am.
Jacob: You don't have to call her ma'am.
Cathy: Wow, I'm so glad the rain stopped! It sure has turned into a nice, sunny day, hasn't it?
Joe: Yes ma'am.
Jacob: Joe! You don't need to call her ma'am!!

Okay, now I'm from Connecticut. We don't really "do" the ma'am/sir thing. I mean, kids are taught to address grownups with respect, but "ma'am" and "sir" are not any kind of magic words of respect where I come from. In fact - and this is no joke (and Gina, if you read this, please pipe in and confirm this for me) - if a child were to call a teacher "ma'am" in CT, the teacher might well think that the kid was being a smart ass. So I just don't insist that my kids call me "ma'am." It is not what I grew up with, and it wouldn't feel natural for me to demand to be greeted that way.

That said, I have a very strong "when in Rome" philosophy, and the reality is that we live in a region of the country in which "ma'am" and "sir" are VERY important -- and very much a barometer of what kind of kid this is and how the kid was raised. So I DO teach my kids to refer to other grownups (teachers, parents of friends, random grandpas in Publix who tell them corny jokes, etc.) as ma'am or sir. I hope they are learning that lesson. (**PARENTAL BRAGGING ALERT**) Teachers tell us that they are sweet and very well-mannered kids, so I think they are (learning the lesson).

So I had to laugh at how adamant Jacob was that I not be called ma'am. I'm not sure if it's because HE is just not used to calling me ma'am, or if he thinks I'm just not ma'am-worthy in general. If it's the latter, I better start cracking the whip around here.

The car ride continued.

Jacob: You have a little sister, right?
Joe: Yeah.
Jacob: Is she annoying?
Joe: Yeah. You have two little sisters?
Jacob: Yeah.
Joe: I'm lucky, I only have one. If my mom has another baby, I would want it to be a boy.
Jacob: Me too! Every time my mom has a baby I'm like "please be a boy. please be a boy." And it's always a girl.

What can you say? There is just nothing better than eavesdropping on kids' conversations.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Of picture clutter and the quest for a better way

I obviously have a tendency to neglect this blog. The problem is not lack of material -- anyone with small kids in the house knows that there is no shortage of that -- the problem is that I take too darn many pictures, so I'm always overwhelmed by the sheer number of pictures that I need to upload, sort, delete, edit, etc. I tend to forget to upload pictures from my camera to my computer every day, which is really what you need to do when you are as camera happy as I am. If I wait even three days, I may have 600 pictures to deal with. I know the beauty of digital photography is that you can instantly see your image and delete it if it's bad. But I never do that, just as I never toss the Frontgate catalog straight from the mailbox. I prefer to let my clutter pile up. I figure I'll just delete the bad picture off the camera later. But just as "later" Frontgate is covered up by Wisteria, J. Crew, Growing up with Garnet Hill, Restoration Hardware Outdoors, and PajamaGram, "later" there may be 400 other pictures (350 which I should delete) behind that initial bad one I should have deleted, and by then it's too tedious to go through the pictures on the camera. So I figure I'll just dump them on the computer and sort through them there. Or I go to bed. Whatever I do, I don't do blog posts.

I always think that as soon I go through and edit a few pictures, I'll load them onto the blog and write something. But I'm so backlogged on pictures that this simple task can seem overwhelming. I'm almost certain I won't have time to really devote to the pictures until the kids are in college. So if I'm going to keep up the blog, I need to come up with a better system.

I thought about opening a screen of thumbnails, having the kids close their eyes, spin around, and then point to a picture. Kind of like a "pin the tail on the donkey" concept, but without the pinning or the donkey. I would then upload whichever pictures the kids pointed to and write the first thing that came to mind about them. Might do that yet.

I was also thinking about a "picture of the day" concept, where I would force myself to upload one picture a day to the blog no matter what. That might have to wait until next Lent.

The reason I take so many pictures: I took an Intro to Digital Photography class last fall, and now I know generally what the buttons do on my camera (i.e., enough to be dangerous), but I do not know enough to take consistently good pictures. I can get a halfway decent picture every 75 or so pictures I take, and that one good picture somehow motivates me to keep shooting and trying. I'm taking another class with Heather starting next week. I hope the class helps with my picture quality, but whether it does or not, I have little doubt that it will result in even more pictures that need to be dealt with.

The design was okay, but my outline piping really needs some work

Confectioners' sugar dusting could use some work too

Okay, to summarize, I need to work on my photography skills, my photo management skills, my organizational skills in general, my sugar cookie piping skills, and my cake dusting skills. Fortunately, having so many weaknesses can make for great blog material, if I could just get that picture situation under control . . .