30 June 2011

Feeling Chatty

This last month I've had renewed interest in my blog and I decided to challenge myself to post every day. Not exactly NaBloPoMo but something self-directed. While it's been a busy month with the family, work, yard, etc, I was able to:
  • Post every day (sometimes twice)
  • Edit photos using PSE (thanks to Heather for the motivation/inspiration and Ree for the tutorials)
  • Create my first banner (also using PSE)
  • Archive my blog for the first time (I know!)
Thank you for reading my blog and my thoughts. Sometimes I am like an idiot savant letting the posts just come out through my fingertips without any prompting so I hope you will stick around for more. I welcome any feedback on my posts.

Looking forward to what July brings! Stay cool, friends!

29 June 2011

28 June 2011

Hoo Boy!


the day started off nice with thunder and rain

so how did I know it would end in vain?

the big fat rain drops fell from the sky

flash mob practice tonight (oh WHY?)

why did I sign up to dance in a mob?

why did I think it'd be no prob?

try not to think about it instead

enjoy the raindrops falling on my head

drop off the kids and go to work

don't think about how you dance like a dork

27 June 2011

Lavender Wands

English Lavender and Bananas
This weekend while I was checking on my recovering banana trees (that were thrashed in the hail storm a couple of weeks ago), I noticed how healthy my English Lavender plants were despite the heat. They are so pretty and fragrant and mesmerizing when watched poolside. I was thinking I should probably do something creative with my lavender this year. This morning in my in-box was a prompting from Peaceful Valley that included a video on how to make Lavender Wands! Pretty AND functional.... It's on the list to do in between the flash mob practices and yard work!

26 June 2011

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination” - Mark Twain

I know that's right. Saw that quote in the begining credits of Wilfred (hysterical show BTW) and thought it really applies to my life (probably everyone's life). I will gladly let go of a little old sanity for some happiness.

Speaking of...this weekend was a real humdinger. Emi's party was a total success.

Emi--9
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24 June 2011

Welcomed Comments

I've noticed that traffic has been up on my blog yet comments have been lacking. ;.( So I decided to test the commenting on my blog and was sent into a loop of trying to log in to Google to leave a comment, to verify and then no comment... So no wonder I am not getting any feedback! I checked Blogger Help and saw that a user fixed this problem by setting the comment form up as either a pop-up window or full page vice the default of embedded below. Soooooo, please let me hear your comments if you have any. Happy Friday!

Summer Cut

Courtesy of Jill @ Glow Salon
So glad that Jill could fit me in this week! I haven't had my hair cut since April 2010 and that was right on the heels of the "new do" from February 2010. Since then we've both added to our families...life is so wildly different now. I was not itching to get my hair cut until last week and then it seemed urgent. Perhaps the 100 degree plus temps were a factor?

23 June 2011

Our Flower Girl (15 years later)

We were honored to have this girlie as our flower girl in our wedding! I still can't believe that she is a young lady and graduated from college. I will have to look past the fact that she ended up going to the wrong college (her photo is in an OU frame on our fridge). So proud to know her and her family and share with you her beautiful voice:

No Regrets

Yesterday in my in-box I got my Peaceful Daily daily tip and it was about living life before you lose your health, inspired by a woman involved in palliative (relieving without curing) care. She got to hear firsthand what the dying patients wished they done in their lives.

Here are the Top 5:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. I think I do this already for the most part. WYSIWYG

2. I wish I did not work so hard. I think I have a good balance between work and family, etc... but I do think there is always room for improvement in that area.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. This is something I have been doing more and more over the years because I don't like wasted time harboring ill feelings or wondering what's up. Better to know sooner than later...and sometimes loved ones have NO CLUE that what they say or do bothers you so you might as well let them know (in a loving and respectful manner of course).

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. I work on this quite a bit finding lost friends and my FaceBook friend list shows it. I am still working on getting back into contact with a childhood friend whom I love and miss and I think someday soon we will be more than Christmas card buds again...I am hopeful.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. This one hits home. I am always too busy being Martha when I need to work on being Mary. I have noticed that lately when I am thinking I should be planning or doing driving the kids around or heading to work, I feel more relaxed and in the moment, so there's hope for me yet. Also, some friends and I have started walk breaks at work and that makes me happy. Trying not to be so serious about chores and responsibilities at home (emphasis on trying) and spending quality time with my family and friends too.

22 June 2011

The Midnight Special

A few weeks ago Scott purchased this video collection and we've watched a couple of the DVDs with Emi, infusing her mind with yet more musical inspiration (or embarrassment?). I have caught some of the acts while checking my FaceBook account and updating my blog and it's been quite a trip. In the earliest videos (1972), the performers seem kinda wary about busting moves or really getting into their performances. Maybe it was the bright lights or the sober audience? And while we were watching the Bee Gee's performance of Nights on Broadway we learned where Elaine's dance moves originated.

We watched Jim Croce sing Bad, Bad Leroy Brown and thought about how different things are today with promoting talent - how much simpler things were back then.  He died in a fiery plane crash soon after this performance. Back in August 2000 Scott and I were on a trip to San Diego and we actually met Jim's widow, Ingrid Croce, at her restaurant, Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar and  in the Gaslamp District. She was kind enough to bring her cookbook - Thyme in a Bottle - to our table and sign it for me! (That was such a good trip for us!)

Each time we watch a performance I am anxious to see if it evokes any déjà vu for me. So far it hasn't happened but probably because I was only 3-5 years old at the time the screened videos aired and probably not up past midnight. And if I WAS up that late, I'm sure I didn't have the TV on. Perhaps as we view the latter DVDs, say 1979-1981 I might have a flashback to when I saw it originally. Until then, I will enjoy (and sometimes cringe while) watching The Midnight Special.

21 June 2011

Rock Your Baby

I got this song stuck in my head driving in to work this morning... George McCrae's Rock Your Baby (1974). You're welcome!


GEORGE McCRAE ROCK YOUR BABY1974 by paradixman

20 June 2011

I Need A Haircut

We Did It! (Lake Party 2011)

We survived another day of the Oklahoma Heat Wave 2011...oh, and we survived the 12th Annual Lake Party. The heat was so bad that I even had to go up to my folks' house to cool down for a bit (after about 7 hours outside) and pound down some water. It was 96 degrees when we were setting up for the party and well over 100 when the party got started.

David found a Pygmy Rattlesnake early on during the party. (YIPES!) He is a smart boy and knew not to get too close.

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Pygmy Rattlesnake in the "Y" of the Tree

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Closer Look
Some friends brought kayaks and they were very popular with the kiddos.

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Even with all the crazy flash flooding we've had lately, Lake Thunderbird was still low.

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Contrast the lake with the lake in January 2010. (We could have used a little of that ICE!)

Emi and me ON the lake

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Several of us camped out and after the sun went down the temperature was perfect (finally).

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The cleanup Sunday was a challenge with the heat and the extreme wind (What's up, Oklahoma?) but we powered through with the help of some friends.

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19 June 2011

My Dad

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you!

Me and Dad at the lake

18 June 2011

Saturday Morning

I've been up for an hour watering the yard and plants, feeding the cats/dogs/chickens and mastering the Fine Art of Putting Things Away at my place and I am amazed that all 3 of my kids are still asleep. I am not too surprised that Emi is still in bed because she is like a teenager (in an almost 9 year old's body) and needs all the sleep she can get. But David, he's my early riser. He springs out of bed, maybe with a scowl on his face but ALWAYS ready to GO! And Aubri, she's happy to see you in the mornings. All "Mommy, I love you!". She's been my favorite photography subject as of late. Such a sweetie!

We kept them up late last night at the lake setting up for the lake party. But they will be up soon...

For now I can relish in my cup o' joe, catch up on a few blogs and get ready for the day!

I hope you have a blessed weekend, friends!

17 June 2011

Sangria, Sangria

Each year for the lake party we make some really good sangria for the non-beer drinkers (the beer drinkers are welcome to the sangria too). A friend of mine makes the wine himself (yum) and donates 2 cases to the party. We typically can make 20 gallons of sangria with that much wine. I wanted to share the recipe with you in case you might like to make some for a party.

Time to make the sangria!

A Very Good Thing
LAKE PARTY SANGRIA (makes 5 gallons!!)

6 bottles Red Wine
3 cups Brandy
1 Large Can Frozen OJ concentrate
3 Lemons, sliced
6 Limes, sliced
4 Oranges, sliced
6 Applies, sliced
Strawberries, sliced
Pineapple, Blueberries (frozen works too)
4 liters Lemon/Lime soda

Mix the wine, brandy and OJ concentrate together, then add all of the fruit and let marinate overnight (or as long as you can stand it). Add the soda and serve. I like to add frozen fruit in with the cold soda to chill the mixture for the party. We usually start out with two 5 gallon coolers available and add vino, brandy, OJ and soda to the marinated fruit when we deplete that...Enjoy!

Sunset at the Lake

16 June 2011

Stormy Weather

This first video shows when it began raining hard and we were mildly concerned about the chickens. Their coop is to the left (south) of the Pecan tree and they decided to take harbor under a smaller tree behind the Pecan tree (to the west). We had been eating dinner when it started sprinkling and the electricity flickered on and off a few times. No big deal...


But a few minutes later, it was a big scary deal.



You can see the continuation and aftermath from earlier this week.

Where Did the Spoon Go?

I was looking into making my own banner (Hey, it's only been 6 years that I've had this blog!) with PSE when I decided to check out the Photomerge Group Shot feature. Here's my first try:

First Take

Second Take

 Et Voila! No Spoon for Emi!

15 June 2011

Oh, What a Night!

Last night was WILD around here. So much so that I thought those rapture folks might have just been a few weeks early in their predictions! At work I had heard there might be a chance for a little rain and I was praying for a 30 degree drop in temperature and a nice gentle rain. It was almost 100 degrees (again) after work so I picked Emi up and told her we were going to the grocery store. When we pulled into the grocery store parking lot I parked at the sno cone place where we met Daddy, David and Aubri. We successfully surprised them with a cold treat before dinner.

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Eskimo Snos
Afterwards we went home to prepare dinner and do some light yard work. We let the chickens out of their pen to wander around and while we were eating dinner the wind picked up outside. I let the dogs in because it was starting to sprinkle. Before too long the wind picked up so I checked with friends on FaceBook to see what was up with the weather. Some friends on the NE side of town posted about piles of hail and extreme wind and that's when it really picked up in central Norman. The winds gusted to 70-85 mph and it started raining hard and hailing like I've never seen it hail before! For something like 30 minutes it hailed pea to golf ball sized hail in my neighborhood and according to our rain gauge, we had 1.5 inches of rain. I can't imagine being trapped in my car during this storm but I had several friends who experienced just that because the storm came so suddenly.


We were worried about the chickens because instead of going into their house, they stayed under a pine tree for the duration of the storm. The hail was pounding down sideways and we were certain that our bird brained pets were not going to survive. After the hail subsided, Scott went out and rescued the chickens. While outside he said he felt like he was in a tornado. [Today we found out that we experienced microbursts with winds up to 90 mph]


The yards were covered in fallen branches and shredded magnolia leaves, pecan branches and ice pellets. There was steam coming up from the ground and the pool and the water in the pool was moving hypnotically back and forth long after the hail storm ended. It felt creepily like we were in a Stephen King movie.

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It was strange to walk around and step into the freezing cold puddles when it was sweltering earlier.

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My garden was hammered pretty good so I am not sure if we'll get watermelon, but if I'm being honest, I was not too sure we'd get watermelon before any hailstorm. I think my herbs will be okay and all my animals were accounted for. The creek swelled up about 1/3 of the way up the alley (which is why we can't use the detached garage located on the creek).

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Many people on the NE and Central part of town were without power and some places in NE Norman looked like a war zone. We feel lucky that our damage was minimal.

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Oklahoma Sky in the Spring (almost Summer)

14 June 2011

Labs

I am happy to report that mine and Emi's bloodwork all came back normal. Well, Emi's Alkaline Phosphatase and ALP were elevated but her pediatrician said that with growing kids and puberty that is normal.

Children normally have much higher ALP than adults because rapid bone growth is normal in children and bones make ALP.

"Rapid bone growth" is an UNDERstatement for my girlie. She grew upwards of 6 inches from April 2010 to April 2011. Yipes! She is almost as tall as me now! While we are pleased to hear there are no signs of diabetes, we are still working on making better decisions w.r.t. food and exercise when we're away from home. Aren't we, Emi? Love you baby girl!

13 June 2011

As If Things Weren't Scary Enough Already...


My attempt to zombify David via PSE
David tells me that there are "Zombpires" out there! Oh my!! This was after he caught a little bit of My Babysitter's a Vampire recently.... guess I won't be the only one plagued by dreams of the undead...

12 June 2011

Quality Time

This weekend was another special weekend filled with good memories for our bunch. Papa Dave (the Little Ones' birth father) and Shawna came to stay with us Saturday and we hung out in the pool and back yard for much of the day, grilling out and laughing.

Swingin'
Swingin'
The Rapture
The Rapture or Hot Feet?
PaPa Dave
Hangin' Out with Papa Dave
Breezy Sliding to Shawna
Sliding to Shawna
Later, we went for ice cream. Breezy didn't feel good; I think she got too cold in the pool and her "I'm cute and I'm 'kipping a nap" thing today backfired. She didn't eat any of her pink ice cream... But David enjoyed his chocolate cone enough for the rest of us:

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Really Getting After It!

Thinkin'
What?
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Hobo
After ice cream we drove around Norman for a bit and the Little Ones were ready for bed when we got home. The adults (and Emi) hung out in the back yard and made a little bonfire in the fire bowl and watched fireflies and talked. It was such a nice ending to a great day.

Before church we decided to go to Ozzie's for breakfast and it was a real treat for David. He looooooves airplanes and he got to see many little airplanes while we ate breakfast. He also got to see a pilot land a medical helicopter outside our window and he was in awe when he came walking in. I wonder if our boy will have a future in aviation?

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Watching Airplanes
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Breezy's Breakfast
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Pilot Someday?
Playing with Papa Dave
Swirlin'
Drying Off
Feeling Better
More swimming after church and eating cherries in the backyard. We had such a blessed weekend even though it was just a little over 24 hour visit. Look forward to the next visit.

11 June 2011

PSE Success

Ok, so after HEAB posted her successful results learning more about Photoshop Elements by checking out the tutorials on The Pioneer Woman's website from the link I sent her, I was finally motivated to finally check out the tutorials myself. I don't edit a lot of my photos (obvs) because I only know how to do a few things in PSE. PW's actions make it easy to make good photos look great.

Observe:

Original Unedited Photo

Colorized

Black and White

Sunshine

Vintage
Love the results and the tutorials at Texas Chicks Blogs and Pics were very helpful. I was able to download and install the actions and edit this photo all within 30 min. I would not have been able to easily figure this process out on my own. Good thing there are so many helpful and resourceful women bloggers out there!