Saturday, June 28, 2008

Quick Update

We're all in Madison, safe and sound. We closed on our house yesterday and moved in last night. Piper (dog) and Choki (kitty) are still freaked out- although Piper is LOVING the yard. The little flower is going with the flow. She slept in her own room last night for the first time (she's always been in our room with us) and I was worried she would wake up scared and crying out for us but she just sat and talked to herself. As for Chris and I, we constantly feel like we need a Tums. I'm really hoping that sometime soon we'll be able to relax and enjoy this time.

I'm going crazy without internet access. So much so that I came to the library first thing today to get a card and hop on the computer. It's amazing how disconnected from everything I feel without it- I'm hoping we'll have ours up and running by Tuesday. Until then, take care and GO BADGERS!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's not's us.

Dear California,

As this chapter in our life comes to a close, I want to take the time to acknowledge all of the good things about you. The things I will always hold dear. It won't take long. Kidding. We moved here from Ohio as a newly engaged couple almost exactly five years ago. While I could NEVER live here permanently (with the exception of Sausalito, if money were no object), I am grateful for the experience.

You provided us, a newly married couple, with endless options. Because you are so far away from our families, we were somewhat isolated and forced to depend on each other. This formed a bond that couldn't have been possible without you. You also, with the help of my husband, gave us our little flower-your state flower. For this reason alone, you will always have a special place in my heart.

I truly love that you are so progressive and I hope that the rest of the nation follows your lead. Your natural beauty can't be beat. I was lucky enough to drive down the coast from around Palo Alto to Los Angeles and it was truly breathtaking. I can't explain how much I'm going to miss In-N-Out. Where else can I get a grilled cheese "animal style"? And See's candies. And...well...I think that's everything.

We'll see you again someday when we bring the little flower to see her birth state. Thanks for the memories and take care of yourself...

Always, Holly

Friday, June 20, 2008

Typing in the prone position isn't at all comfortable.

The little flower had her 18 month well baby visit this week:

24.3 pounds
32 1/4 inches
She did cry this time but got over it quickly. During the visit I expressed concern with her language development (she's saying 4 words and not the 8-21 that is typical of her age). As we were saying goodbye forever to Dr. Ng, I asked the little one to say "Bye-Bye Dr. Ng", knowing she wouldn't be able to, but after about 30 seconds she said it. In her own way of course, but say it she did. That'll show me!

Playing with daddy this morning (he's all ours for a few weeks, yay!- yesterday was his last day at work):

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vacation pictures.

I couldn't think of a clever title, you I always do. These are some photos from our vacation last week:

This is my mom with the little flower on our first day. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale (on Jetblue, I avoid any other airline at all costs- LOVE Jetblue), my aunt lives there and we spent the first few days at her home. As you can see it is a lovely home, with at least one very comfortable bed I might add. As I mentioned before, the little one was quite clingy all week so she rarely let anyone else hold her. I'm glad I was able to capture this moment. After the cuddle session we hit the pool:

My aunt, who we decided during our visit will from now on be called "La-La", bought the little one these two adorable bathing suits along with a hat and hair clip to match. Thank you La-La!

Unfortunately, La-La's dog Brandy wasn't feeling very well during our visit. She got into the pool with us for a little bit. The little one had fun with that. Later that night we had a yummy supper:

The little one fit perfectly into this little rocking chair. I'm going to be on the lookout for one of these after we move (I hate using my flash but I wanted to take these pictures, what else could I do?):

The next day:

We hit the pool again:

But I think it was much too bright for the little one:

We took nightly walks (again, the flash thing):

I took lots of pictures of my babe:

She's loves learning the parts of her body. Notice the look on her face as I point out her belly button (I know I'm a little high):

I think I might frame this one:

We saw my dad. I thought I'd play around and make this one black and white:

We also saw my little brother. Printed on his t-shirt was "I'm a lover not a fighter" which pretty much sums up my little bro. He put the little one on his motorcycle. If I have anything to say about it, this is the last time she will ever be on a motorcycle:

We also saw my Grampa. I haven't seen him since my wedding four years ago. I'm so happy these two were able to meet:

He was one of the few people she warmed up to right away:

I threw this one in just because I like it. I was going to mess around with the saturation but I think it's perfect just the way it is:

Although we missed daddy, this trip did us a world of good. We were able to see family and friends I hadn't seen in years. My girl and I had a wonderful time...

Can't you tell by the look on her face? If that's not enthusiasm, I don't know what is!

Monday, June 16, 2008

And we're back!

Any SNL fans out there? "And we're back" is one of the many quotes we use from that show. Jimmy Fallon plays a deejay from "Z-105" and that's the character's catch phrase. ANYHOO...we are back indeed. We had a wonderful time, I'm so glad we were able to take the trip. I forgot to mention before that my dad and brother are also in Florida (they moved there about a year or two ago but I'm not used to the idea yet) so we were able to see them prior to Father's day.

I took a lot of pictures but as I sort through them, I'm regretting that I didn't take more. I wish I had taken more of my relatives with the little flower. She was a little off the whole week, I think due to both jet-lag and the new environments. She was more clingy (or is it clingier- I'm tired so bear with me) than usual. This made it somewhat difficult to just sit back and take pictures. Plus, I found myself wanting to just visit and not be the annoying relative with a camera. I think another trip is in order, possibly this winter. I'm thinking January or February when the ground in Wisconsin is frozen and cabin fever is rampant.

I'm off to visit all of my blog peeps while I do a staggering amount of laundry...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We're on Holiday!

Our apartment is in chaos because of our impending move, so the little flower and I are off to Florida to visit my mother and other relatives. This will be the first time many of them have seen the little one, and the first time my mom has seen her since October. We'll be there for a week. I'm still trying to talk Chris into being a guest blogger for me while I'm away. I think it would be groovy, but I won't hold my breath. I'm hoping to share some videos with you when we return. Know that you will all be in my thoughts like the sand will be in between my toes (I'm working on writing more creatively and that was my attempt at a metaphor- boy do I have my work cut out for me). Have a happy week!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Photoshop Progress

I am slowly learning how to use Photoshop. My absolute favorite blog in the whole wide world, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, has a section devoted to photography which includes tutorials. Whenever I have extra time I park myself at the computer and play around with photo editing. I'm quite happy with what I've learned thus far. Here are some before and afters from our most recent bubble-blowing expedition (I haven't figured out how to make these side by side, so bear with me):

Can you see the difference? Notice how the before (also known as straight out of the camera or SOOC) has a grayish tint to it:

I am focusing on learning how to correct skin tones. Many times, especially since I'm still learning how to use my camera, the little one's skin looks a little on the blue side. She's not normally cyanotic. Thank goodness.

In this next picture, I applied what's called an "action". From what I understand, it's a set of edits that are sort of saved together. This is one of the Pioneer Woman actions (you can download them from her site) called "Lovely and Ethereal", it gives the photo a soft and dreamy feel:

Can you see the difference? My favorite little trick that I've learned so far is the "quick edge burn". I use it on almost everything, particularly portraits. It really makes the subject pop:

Here are a few more shots from yesterday:

Now if I could only figure out how to make myself look like Angelina Jolie. I wonder if there's an action for that...

It's about time...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Soup for the Soul

I love this story. As a former breast-feeder, it made me want to cry happy tears. Thanks for sharing SouleMama!

And if you're feeling adventurous go on over to Wine on the Keyboard. Voting is under way in her photo of the month contest- May's theme was Motherhood. You just might see a picture you recognize. I told you I needed a hobby!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Moving is Fun

Well, over the weekend we sold off a few more pieces of furniture. I love Craigslist. If you aren't familiar with it, it's an online classified ad, sort of like e-bay. I don't use e-bay. I know many people that do and they really like it but I prefer Craigslist. I like the idea of buying/selling local. And buying something used, which I've come to learn is called thrifting. I've only recently, say in the past few years, gotten into thrifting.

I never used to get why people would turn their cars around if they saw a garage sale sign and go out of their way to look at other people's junk, let alone spend a whole day driving from garage sale to garage sale. I get it now (although I'm not that bad, yet). There is something to be said about a piece of furniture with a history. While a nice piece of used furniture isn't always less expensive than something new, if it is all the better. I also like that when I buy something used, it's one less thing that goes into a landfill somewhere.

So, thrifting is my new best friend! What about you, you are agree or ish don't think so (it would make my day if any of you got those references- because then I wouldn't be alone in my dorkdom)? Where was I going with this? Oh I sold some furniture, our kitchen table and chairs. In hindsight, I probably should have waited a little longer to post the ad but I was excited. This was our dinner situation last night:

That would be our coffee table complete with corner pads lest our little flower bump her head. It wasn't as unsanitary as it looks (I mopped). Sometimes the smallest deviation from the little one's routine will set her off but she was into it. And with a little help from some pinot noir, we were too. It was one of those times that I think to myself, how did I ever get so lucky? I've been feeling like that a lot lately...and not just because of the pinot!