Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mama said there'd be days like this...

I don't know where to start.

Do I start with my amazing propensity to put my foot in mouth? It seems to be stuck there permanently at the moment. Do I start with our back-to-back appointments this week with the neurologist and psychiatrist who are trying to help control Anna's ugly behaviors? Do I start with the first week of school report with notes home about Anna kicking, hitting, and throwing things? Do I start with a long letter I got from someone on YouTube blasting me about PDD-NOS and expectations of behavior based on videos of Anna from 4 years ago?

I can't do this. I give up.

Monday, August 30, 2010

i heart faces ~ photojournalism

This week's photo challenge at i heart faces is photojournalism... using a photo to tell a story. I'm submitting this photo I took of Anna at the dentist a couple of months ago. Since Anna has autism, she is pretty freaked out about going to the dentist. I had the idea to bring Audrey, Anna's favorite baby doll, with us since she has two teeth sprouting in her chubby little face. Anna got to practice brushing Audrey's teeth in anticipation of her own cleaning and this was by far the best visit yet. She even let the hygienist put gloved fingers in her mouth this time!

Image is clickable to see it larger.


Thanks for looking! And go check out all of the other fabulous entries at i heart faces this week!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fix-it Friday #68 at i heart faces

This Fix-it Friday photo was submitted by Angie Arthur, an IHF contributor. Here is the original photo:

Fix-it-Friday #68 original

And here is my edit (image is clickable to see it larger):

Fix-it-Friday #68 my edit

Initially I did a color edit adding a sunshiny haze to this photo but the more I looked at it, the more I wanted a vintage, creamy look with a texture to match the tall grass.

Workflow in PS CS4:
~cropped and fixed the tilt
~adjusted levels
~curves adjustment layer set to screen, masked to show only on girl to lighten dark shadows
~flatten, then Noiseware at low opacity
~slightly increased contrast
~ran Florabella's Mink action from the Luxe collection, lowered contrast, tweaked tone and other effects within the customizable action
~added Paint the Moon's Timeworn Soft texture on soft light at 80% opacity, masked, then reduced the effect by 50% only on girl
~unsharp mask at 50%, 1 px, 10 threshold to add a touch of sharpness
~added a vignette

Thanks for looking and come check out the other edits at i heart faces!

Good morning and back to school!

I woke up this morning feeling great. That is a rare thing, let me tell you! Usually the mornings are pretty rough for me with the fibro and stiff joints but I slept pretty well last night which makes a huge difference. After I dropped off the kids at school today, I got a cup of coffee and sat out on the back deck to enjoy the sunrise. It was so beautiful, I had to get a picture. Having just finished my photography class, I was really comfortable getting this shot. I spot metered off of the sky, used a low ISO, a medium aperture, and adjusted my shutter speed accordingly. After making some adjustments in ACR (yay, I figured out how to get rid of the purple fringe on the tree leaves!), I ran Paint the Moon's Sunny Days action to bring out the color and richness of this sunrise.

Good morning!!!


The kids started back to school on Tuesday. Dominic is such a funny little guy... he comes home everyday in a rotten mood talking about what a terrible day it was. How he's getting in trouble for talking too much and running in the halls, that sort of thing. But in his daily folder, he is getting smiley faces in the green color (green=good, yellow=warned, red=bad). So I don't know what to think. He really has a hard time with impulse control and volume but he is so smart that I know he's enjoying being engaged and challenged. The TAG curriculum starts Monday so I'm very curious to see how he responds to that.

Anna has had an up and down week. The mornings are going well but the afternoons are not. She has a part-time aide that leaves at noon and I think once she's gone, Anna starts struggling. For now, her special ed teacher is taking her out of inclusion in the afternoons and letting her hang out in the portable. We see the neuro Monday morning and the psychiatrist Tuesday afternoon. A few weeks ago, Anna was really getting physical and oppositional so the neuro doubled her dose of Abilify. Well that has really increased her anxiety, so we need to talk about finding a good balance. I have to tell you that she's getting so big that her little punches pack a wallop now!

Here are some photos from the first day of school. A rare hug between the two of them.

A nice smile in front of the school from Anna.

No smiles from Dominic! LOL.

I miss Jenny terribly. She is getting really involved in her new life in Corpus now... classes, studying, and friends. I think about her frequently throughout the day and wonder what she is doing. I hope she's happy and I hope she knows that I love her. I'll try to do better with writing more frequent (and shorter!) posts. I love having more time during the day!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New release today from By Becca!

By Becca is re-releasing Fading Summer today at 9th & Bloom with new elements added! This kit was gorgeous the first time around and now it's even better. If you already own it and would like to pick up just the new stuff, it's on sale as a stand-alone kit, called Fading Summer Additions. Or if this kit is new to you, pick it up now!

Fading Summer

Fading Summer Additions

My Layout

I was trying to take some pictures of Jenny in late July and Dominic insisted on crashing our little "session." I got several photos with the two of them together, one of which made photo of the day for my 365-project (Day 208). The other two pictures embody the love they share… they are best friends and totally simpatico.

The journaling reads:
I love how close the two of you are.
Sister and brother, 12 years apart in age.
One off to college, the other starting 1st grade.
Your hearts are so connected that age and distance do not matter.
Love is constant.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

By Becca has moved to 9th and Bloom, new release too!

Oh my gosh, I totally forgot to post some very exciting news for one of my designers! By Becca has moved stores from ScrapMatters to 9th and Bloom!!! I am so happy for her as this store houses my favorite designers in digiscrapland. When she opened her store, she offered a new mini-kit called Oh Happy Day. With a gorgeous color palette, it was super easy to scrap with.

Oh Happy Day

My Layout

Today she is releasing Ever After. It's a fairy princess kit filled with scrumptious, rich elements and beautiful papers. This is a seriously gorgeous kit!!! I scrapped a page with Jenny, my modern princess, and I love how it turned out.

Ever After

My Layout

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Birthday and transitions

What an emotional day! I turned 41 today and I think I can finally say that I'm getting comfortable in my own skin and with who I am. (Seriously, 41?) This was a no-big-deal birthday so it was a low-key day in that respect. Everyone was so nice to me and I got a ton of Facebook greetings (thank you to those that wrote to me today, I was really touched). My family was especially sweet today, thanks Curtis, Dominic, Anna, Jenny, and mom! I also want to wish Heather, Joey, and Allison a very special Happy Birthday too.

But today was the day that my little girl moved out to start her new adventure... college. (There are a few pics up on my Facebook page but I'll repost them here.) I didn't expect it to be so sad for me or so hard either. I was really surprised that I burst into tears when Jenny pulled away and that I've gone into her room a half a dozen times this evening to sit on her stripped bed. She's only 4 hours away and I'm so glad we'll get to see her on Friday to help her move into her dorm (she had to Corpus Christi for a freshman orientation camp and can't move in until Friday). So why so sad, mommy?

I'm not sure exactly. I think it's a lot of things. She and I have always been close and I've always felt like I was the lucky one to get her, kwim? I knew the minute I held her as a newborn that she was an old soul and that she would teach me things. And she did. She needs to get away and have a chance to really live. Being a big sister to Anna has been a blessing and has required some sacrifices... and Jenny is aware that there may be a time when I'm gone that she will be responsible for Anna. But for now, it's HER time.

I think about my youngest, Dominic, starting first grade next week and I heave a sigh of relief that I have so much time left with him. Then I think about Anna and worry that she won't be able to make this transition to college or even to be independent. Did I mention that I was emotional today? Oy, I'm all verklempt. So at the moment, I sit on the couch with laptop on lap, enjoying and mourning the silence. What a weird mix.

Checking the map:

Waving goodbye:


Empty room:

Monday, August 16, 2010

i heart faces ~ sunglasses

This week's photo challenge at i heart faces is the all about sunglasses sunglasses. I got this shot of Dominic a couple of weeks ago after Jenny bought him a new pair of sunglasses. Aren't big sisters great? He thought he was soooo cool!


Thanks for looking! And go check out all of the other fabulous entries at i heart faces this week!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fix-it Friday #66 at i heart faces

This Fix-it Friday photo was submitted by Angie Arthur, an IHF contributor. Look at this gorgeous boy! Oh those eyes! Here is her before:


And here is my edit (image is clickable to see it larger):


I thought there would be a bunch of gorgeous color edits, especially with those beautiful blue eyes, so I wanted to go black and white with a hint of chocolate.

My workflow, using Photoshop CS4:
~unsharp mask
~convert to b/w, with custom tweaking on each slider
~curves adjustment layer set to screen and inverted, very low opacity (10-30%) brush over eyes, under eyes, and on hair highlights to add more sparkle

Thanks for looking!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Getting ready to retreat!

Seven and a half years ago, I joined an online support group at iVillage for parents who had children with hypotonia. I never would've imagined that I would get a group of lifelong, incredible women friends out of that move. But I have. And for the last five years, some subset of nearly 18 of us try to get together every summer for a retreat. This year, I think only eight or nine of us are going but I can't wait! I leave on Thursday for the mountains of Colorado and return on Sunday. It's hard to imagine cooler temperatures and no children... I think I'll just be in shock when I get there!

I'm in week two of my photography class and I'm just blown away by how technical and artistic this passion of mine is. This week we are learning about spot metering and custom white balance as well as some other things and my head is spinning. I'm very excited to take my camera with me to Colorado and put my new skills to the test. I'm also very appreciative that the more I learn, the less time I have to spend in Photoshop on my 365-Project.

I know I still need to put up some photos from Dominic's birthday. It really was an awesome day and we had so much fun. Maybe I can do that while I'm away. We're just a couple of weeks away from Jenny moving out (boohoo) and a few weeks away from the kids going back to school (woot). I'm so looking forward to having more time to write, blog, and share some photos.

Love you all!
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