Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Fun: Pumpkin Carving

This, the third pumpkin we have carved as a family, is making it's mark. Katy picked out the template for the face all by herself. Brian says that he's finally figured out which tools to use to make it light up correctly. And I didn't spend the pumpkin carving session puking in the bathroom (that's how I remember last year's session. It was pregnancy/stomach flu). However, as you can see in the last photo, we have a new problem.

Darn those squirrels! After this photo, we soaked it in bleach water per internet advice and guess what? They ate his forehead, soaked in bleach. In all my days of jack-o-lanterns, I've never had this problem. What is up with the wildlife in this neighborhood?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall Fun: Boo at the Zoo

Grammy came to visit and we went to Boo at the Zoo for the first time. Super crowded, but worth it. Kids in costumes, treat stations, freebies, beautiful weather, playgrounds, and of course, animals (I love the polar bears!).

This was the first attempt at costumes for the year. Randomly, Katy decided to be a ladybug at the last minute. And David, who has been SO excited about being a cowboy, refused to wear the hat. Not much of a cowboy without the hat, you know?

We ran into Landon!

Distracting with candy while we wait for the polar bears to swim

The essence of Halloween

Along for the ride, as usual

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Fun: Annual Buckeye Photo Shoot

It's become a tradition in Brian's department to take photos of the staff kids on a Buckeye sports turf to print in their calendar. Last year we went to the football field, but this year it was soccer. The great part was that instead of relying on parents to take the shots, there was a photographer. So I got some individual pictures of the kids that were really fun. (Jodi Miller took these, definitely not me!)

(Edited to clarify: Luke isn't sitting up on his own yet. Brian was propping him against the football helmet and letting go long enough to snap the picture. It's so hard to get a natural looking picture of a baby who can't sit up yet, you know?)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trick or Treat

I love trick or treat. Maybe as much as the kids. It's a chance to be outdoors, greet neighbors, see kids in cute costumes, and at the end of the night there's an abundance of sweet treats. This year I felt like trick or treat was coming at the end of a busy month as a sigh of relief, hoping for calmer (and healthier) weeks ahead.

Finally the day arrived and the kids counted down the minutes until our neighbors showed up for pre-begging dinner. We literally set a kitchen timer so Katy would stop asking me! She had her school party the same day, so she wore her costume from 8am until 8pm. She danced through the day and repeated over and over, "This is the best day! The best Halloween ever! This is my favorite day!" Oh, the joy of children.

In his 2 year old state, David teetered between excitement and rebellion. (No! I no want to wear cot-tume!) But when push came to shove, he understood what needed to be done to acquire candy.

It was freezing cold (compared to this past week), so Luke was so thankful for his cozy chicken costume. He rode contently in his stroller in 40 degree weather for over an hour. Oh, that sweet baby. 

The evening did not disappoint, as Katy sprinted from one door to the next and David struggled to keep up. But I'll have to ask you to bear with me, unfortunately. I am still very much a beginner in the world of photography, and sometimes taking the camera off of auto mode leads to mistakes. This evening I was rushed and distracted and I didn't have the settings right, so my pictures are blurry. But that's ok! I'm learning from my mistakes and I know what I did wrong. I'll include a few so you can get the general idea, and to keep me humble. :)

At her school parade

The gang

Somebody give that chicken some mittens!
Continuous smiles

Fall Fun: Oma and Opa's

Just being at grandparents' houses is exciting stuff, but this time we also ventured out for some exercise. We went swimming at the YMCA, which was lovely (Katy is getting so close to swimming across the pool with this recent round of lessons). We also played mini-golf, which was absolutely hysterical. I quickly understood why children under five are free. David gave up his club on the first hole and just began throwing his ball in the hole with his bare hands (as well as picking up everyone else's). Katy decided it was too difficult to start in the designated spot, and would place her ball two feet from the hole and start from there.

(Note: first real attempt at using new camera)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Fun: Fieldtrips

Katy has had several fieldtrips already this year. Her enrichment class does lots of experiential learning. She's been on two nature hikes, to the pumpkin patch, and she's going to a food shelter next. It feels more difficult to go along this year with both David and Luke to work around, but I'm making it to as many as I can.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Fun: Farm Festival and Pumpkin Picking

With Grandpa and Grandma Sue! This was a delightfully small festival that was perfect for the attention spans of my children. A few games and activities, pumpkins and apples. My only beef is this: if you claim that the festival has lots of free activities for children, you need to CLEARLY MARK when something is not free. Otherwise your kid is knee-deep in scarecrow straw before you realize that it costs $10. *Ahem*

(Note: This is still the old camera.)

Scarecrow building - David quickly abandoned


Family Project

Grandma Sue redirected David to candle dipping. What's wrong with it?

Still unsure about this thing...

But lovin' the bunny-ish candle

He refused to pick one...even with the threat of "we'll pick it for you." Gosh I love two year olds.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Poll: New Blog Name!!

Several of  you have commented recently that I need to update the name of the blog. Indeed! I've been pondering and debating and wringing my hands for months.

So... I am indecisive and I need your help. I have come up with several names for the blog, but none of them are sticking out, and I worry that some of them are lame. So I'm going to put a poll in the sidebar over there, and I want YOU (yes, YOU! Even if you have never ever ever commented before, please!) to click over to the blog if you are reading in a reader, and vote. I also welcome comments or suggestions for names I haven't thought of. The poll allows you to pick more than one if you can't decide.

In case you haven't been reading here long, this blog was originally called "Katydid." After David's birth, I switched it, but I have never been happy with the new name (it was supposed to be like, "Live with Regis and Kelly" but I fear that many didn't get that). I've actually been looking forward to the addition of a family member so I could change it. Hence my hesitancy on the new name. I'd like this name to be IT.

I'm not 100% sure if I will PICK the name that wins the poll. But I will weight the winner with great consideration.

Please! You!! Vote!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New camera!

Toward the end of my photography class adventure, I took the plunge into purchasing a new camera. I debated getting a fancy SLR, but I felt like I wanted to master what I had learned about using handhelds and see if I am really ready for that kind of commitment. (It's not just the camera, but the lenses, the case, the memory cards, did I mention the lenses?)

So I settled on the Nikon P100. I was a little intimidated at first, but so far I really like it. I'm already familiar with the Nikon menu structure, so that made learning to use it so much easier. It has a great zoom and takes high quality videos. My only disappointment so far is that the videos are such high quality that my computer's processor can't keep up with them (playing them back on my laptop makes them all jumpy). Brian's going to work on that for me, so if we can figure out how to watch them like normal, I'll be really excited.

So here goes nothing, from now on I'm trying to avoid auto mode and the flash. Yikes!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Statistically Speaking

So here's what I've decided: let's just say that you have three children under five. And one of them is a baby who is naturally going to wake up multiple times a night for the first year. And one of them is a four year old who has always struggled with night terrors and bad dreams. And one of them is a two and a half year old who has recently been moved in to share a room with his sister. And all of them are naturally going to be sick, but not necessarily at the same time, so that it drags on for weeks and weeks.

Odds are, you aren't going to get much sleep.

Back when Luke was a newborn and he was sleeping in our room still, we went through a serious honeymoon phase. We slept through the night on multiple occasions without hearing from any of the three of our children. I think it was God's mercy, preparing us for what was to come, because the honeymoon is over. In the past several weeks, I would say that we are up with one of the kids an AVERAGE of 3 times a night. There are a few blessed nights when it's only once or twice, and there are awful nights when it's 5 or 6. One after the other, after the other...

While we were at my mom's last weekend, we had put David in a pack n' play in the room with Katy. For the first time in his life, he figured out how to climb out of that pack n' play, and that was the end of that. The first night I think he came out ten times. And this is at my mom's house, where our family is given three whole bedrooms to work with. That's the same number we use at home, so it should be easy, right?

Then Katy got croup. The worst part about croup is the night time attacks. We've had several bouts before, so now I know the drill: open the windows in her room, turn on the humidifier, and when she wakes up screaming and panicking, struggling for breath (it's SCARY), wrap her in a blanket and take her out on the front porch. The swelling will go down within 15-20 minutes and she'll be able to breathe more easily. So this week we were dealing with that.

But somehow, it's okay. I get the sleep I can get, appreciate their naps when they work out, and we get through the day. I know that there had to be an end to this at some point. We will sleep better.

For now, I'm just lowering my standards. The house is what it is. The kids might go an extra day or so without baths (did I just admit that?). Their daily TV allowance might get stretched (that, too?). But we make time for the fun stuff and try to enjoy our days. Otherwise I might just go crazy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Portraits to buy time

I have SO much to say and it's driving me crazy that I haven't had time to say it! We've been really busy, mostly with good stuff, and I am still super tired from getting very little sleep. I feel like we're just "getting by," doing the things that MUST be done, and nothing else. That's all relative, of course.

Topics for future discussion:
-A bout with croup.
-Sleepless children times THREE.
-Lots of fall fun, including field trips, scarecrows, pumpkins.
-A trip to Oma and Opa's.
-Housekeeping standard-lowering.
-New camera!

But for today...I have been coveting outdoor family portraits for a while now, but when I look at photographers who do such things and see the price: OUCH. So Brian has a photographer friend for whom he has done some pro bono work (Brian does websites like his as a side job, if you ever need such a thing), and he offered to meet us at a park and take some portraits.  He doesn't specialize in portraits, but he has kids and he knows how to work a really nice camera. Perfect!

It's hard to choose, but here are some of my favorites.