New trend

So apparently my new thing is this: on weekends I take an obscene amount of pictures, then I get really into editing them and posting to flickr/the blog. You don't mind, do you? Today I took over 200 of absolutely nothing special. Just Henry and the Lake...I know you are shocked at my subject choice, right? It didn't even seem like a lot of images to me until Nate saw the number and said, "Holy crap! You took some pictures today, huh?"

Very astute observation by my number one fan.

Henry always comes up with new and interesting poses for me, like a good supermodel should do. For instance, his nose can be long and angled like this:

His rump can be THIS cute:

His paws are simply adorable and that little black pad where his dew claw used to be is my favorite:

Then there are his crazy-long eyelashes. If the groomer didn't trim them they would probably scrape the ground by now. He's blessed with the Cocker eyes, for sure:

If you look closely you will see the photographer in his eye. Kind of creepy and kind of cool, right?
can you see me in his eye?

Sometimes I'll pull his ears down like this just to make him more if that's possible:

Don't even get me started on his perfect little nose:

The paws I love to a puppy they were pink with black spots and now they've matured into nearly all black. Quite possibly my favorite part of his little furry self, save for his nose:

And then there is the Lake. It's cold, it's big, and it's pretty sweet. My husband is seriously considering partaking in the Polar Bear Plunge next weekend, you guys. Imagine jumping into this giant ice cube as you view these pictures....insanity, I know. But you better believe I'll come along for the photographic opportunities:

These ducks are obviously bad asses...or else they are completely lost. Weren't you guys supposed to fly south for the winter? Because we have at least another month of this filth.

I really like lines like this:

This is very Milwaukee to me:

Color! I spotted some color other than gray and white! This red bush is my friend because it promises Spring is around the corner. In my mind it does, at least:

Be still, my heart. Summer and the subsequent Fest will be here soon enough. Beer will flow, sweat will drip, and fabulous concerts will play. It will be heaven and light years away from this horrid winter crap:

I guess winter sunsets are decent:

Who knew snow could melt when it's only 20 degrees outside?

Yes, and with that I'm off. But I just thought you should know I'm on this weekend photography kick. Cold weather, schmold weather. My camera can hang with me...I hope.

hair did

Our household got their hair did today. Collectively yet separately. We are kooky like that.

Nate 'does' his own hair with an electric razor almost every week. He is certainly the most low key of the whole group and also the cheapest [we like that about him].

Henry lasted almost 6 weeks without being groomed. He was reaching the 'utterly shaggy' phase and could barely see out of his eyes. I think he gets embarrassed of himself if we let him go more than his standard 4 weeks. So high maintenance, that one.

I lasted almost 12 weeks without a haircut and couldn't take the insanity any longer. Nothing like having a short haircut grow long resulting in a stringy mullet of sorts. It was time, my friends....and I suppose that makes me low maintenance compared to my dog since I go twice as long without a haircut. I wonder what that says about me and also about our little family....when the dog gets beautified more often than his humans?

The sad part is this: both Henry and I spent the same amount of money on our haircuts. An upscale human salon and a regular old doggy salon are the same price nowadays? Who knew?

Let's move onto the visual evidence, shall we?

Before [shaggy the fabulous]:

After [neat, tidy, and quite proud of himself]:

The unkempt duo last night:

And revitalized today after our respective appointments:

Note the mullet-like qualities in the first one. Note Henry's annoyed look in the second.

Before: creepy, sad, and frazzled. After: tilting our heads with glee.

I have no idea why my hair looks darker now that it's cut. I haven't colored my hair at all in almost a year so it's a mystery to me...but maybe it has something to do with a professional style? As in, their fancy flat irons maybe make it shinier and therefore darker? I dunno.

And the final test for this human's haircut: the ponytail. Before it was a real pony, one that held all of my hair. After it is still a pony, but a sprig...and now I have that dreaded patch of hair underneath that will not fit up in the ponytail. Ah well, you win some and you lose some.
I guess this means I will use a blow dryer for all of 2-3 days, just because I'll like the new haircut. After that I can guarantee it will be wash-and-go and I'll embrace my natural curl in order to avoid the extra 5 minutes spent with a blow dry. Low maintenance, people. That's me.

Also....what could this shiny new doggy want now?

Oh, just the best chocolate chip cookies in the entire world. Thanks to Darci for this fabulous recipe. And everything tastes better from my new KA mixer.

So that's that: new hair + new cookies = a happy little family.

I'm off to sniff Henry's magnetizing fur now.....whatever they use at the groomer makes me want to bury my face in his armpit for a solid two days. Is that weird?

Can't. Stop. Posting

So if you are visiting since the first time in a few days, I apologize for the ridiculous amount of posting I've done this weekend. It's so unlike me to post five times in just a few mere hours. Usually this type of thing takes me weeks!

But the next two posts were made so I can link to them up above, on my link bar. It is now full and that makes me happy....blank space on that bar was making me cuckoo.

The blog list:
My no means is this comprehensive or the end-all of my blog world. Please do not be offended if you aren't on the list--it probably just means my eyes began to bulge out of my skull while staring at the computer screen for entirely too long typing that list. You see, I had to refer back and forth to my Google Reader and type in those babies by hand. It sucked and I apologize if I missed you. Feel free to leave me a comment and if I gain the courage to look at that list again, I will add you. I must say that I restrict myself from adding more blogs to my GR account because it's incredibly overwhelming to have 100+ posts to read each evening after work...but I love clicking on your blogs after you leave me a comment. So no hard feelings, okay? Good. I'm glad that is settled. I couldn't stand any cyber hurt feelings.

The FAQs:
I made this post by thinking of the most common questions I get via comments. If you are dying to know something that I failed to mention please leave me a comment or email me. My addy is tucked away in my profile somewhere, I believe.

And with that I am all posted out for now. It's hard work being this post-y.


The Blog:

1. Where did you get your blog layout? Did you design it yourself?

-No, I have quite the love/hate relationship with html so I did not design this on my own.
-Stephanie G Designs made my blog all pretty in November 2012, after 5 years of attempting design on my own.

2. How do you get your pictures so big?

-I save all of my images to Flickr before I add them on this blog. Then I copy the html code for my picture, making sure the width is not greater than 860 pixels. If you add a picture wider than this number, your readers with smaller screens will not see the entire image.

-Once you copy the html code you can paste it directly into blogger with the 'edit html' function. It's quite easy, actually, and I like it a lot better than adding each image one by one through the the 'add image' function.

The Photos:

1. What kind of camera do you have? Lenses? Etc?

-I bought the Canon Rebel XSi in January 2009. I am utterly obsessed with it. I received the kit lens and also the 55-250 mm telephoto lens from B&H Photo when I bought the camera. Then in March 2009 I bought the famous Canon 50 mm f/1.8 lens from Amazon and it is now my most favorite, beloved lens. For only $80 you cannot beat it's wide open aperture and crispy details in images. Go get it right now!

-Then in December 2011 my beloved Rebel gave out and a shutter broke. I decided to take this as a sign to upgrade to a delicious Canon 60D. I thought I was in love before, but watch out, world!

2. Do you edit your photos?

-Yes, of course. I use Photoshop CS and can't imagine NOT editing my photos. Even if it's just a quick boost of the contrast, a little bump on the Curves, or slight increase in the brightness...I always touch up my photos before posting them online. I just can't leave well enough alone. {updated after mommyhood---I really don't edit all of my photos that often. Only if I'm feeling REALLY energetic}

-I would suggest looking into Photoshop Elements for a more inexpensive version of the beast. I have the old version of Photoshop and I think they are up to Photoshop CS4 these's very pricey. Honestly, PS is such an overwhelming program that you don't even use many of it's capabilities....if you are a 'for fun' photographer like myself. So check out Elements for a watered down version if you please.

-And I've recently become a big fan of Pioneer Woman's PS Actions. They are free and they are super fabulous.

3. What mode do you use most on your camera?

-I use the full Manual mode on my camera now. I despite my flash so I'm always trying to avoid low light conditions if possible. Nate still uses the 'Program' button on my camera because he doesn't feel like dealing with the Manual mode:)

4. Did you read any books or take any classes before shooting with your SLR?

-No classes, yes to many online articles and one book: Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson. I highly recommend this book if you are just starting to learn about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. He has other articles that I like, too, but this is a good start.

The Rest

1. What kind of dog is Henry?

-He is an adorable Cockapoo---his mom was a Cocker Spaniel and his dad was a Miniature Poodle. He is about 25 pounds, low-shedding, and a little love bug [as long as you aren't a stranger]. He has us wrapped around his paw and sleeps with his head on a pillow, body under the covers, planted directly between us each night. Yep, we are THAT couple. {UPDATE summer of 2009: actually, we hired an in-home dog trainer and broke him of that habit. And really, he is much better behaved now and we have one less blanket stealer in the bed}

2. Why did you move to Wisconsin? Isn't it cold there?

-Nate is from Milwaukee and his parents still live here. When deciding on a graduate school we figured that paying in-state tuition made sense and we were ready for a change after our wedding. So here we are.....and yes, it's freaking frigid here. Nate lied when he said the winters weren't that different from St. Louis. They are longer, colder, and snowier. But I'm trying to be a trooper and survive with a smile on my face:)

3. What is your favorite baby gear/which car seats did you choose?

-My posts on baby gear, including car seats--And basically, we got the Graco SnugRide 35 for the infant carrier, and then Radian RXT by Sunshine Kids and also Britax Boulevard 70 for our convertibles. We also liked the Britax Marathon but went with the Boulevard instead because of added side impact head support. The SK seat is awesome b/c it folds up and is very portable with a carrying case, which we use a lot when flying and carting the seat in/out of airports. It's also one of the only convertibles out there that is narrow enough to fit three across a back seat---pretty amazing feat! We are keeping both seats rear-facing until Truman is two years old even though he is well above the weight limit of 20 pounds to forward face and he is super tall, so yes--his legs do scrunch up against the seat. But honestly, after reading articles and watching You Tube videos out there, I just can't switch him around yet. And he really doesn't mind rear-facing since he knows nothing else. End of random tangent on car seats...

Both of our convertibles fit well in our cars, even rear-facing, and I definitely recommend going to an actual store that allows you to try the seats in your car before purchasing. We got ours at Buy Buy Baby and were glad we could test the fit in our car before making such big purchases. Nate keeps one convertible in his car (the Britax) and I keep one in my car (Sunshine Kids) because we both like to have access to picking up/dropping off Truman at daycare (but in reality, it's me that does this 98% of the time). When T was in his infant seat, we each had a 'base' for the seat and kept the actual seat with him while at daycare, so we could each theoretically pick him up.

Here is a great resource from FindTheBest for moms trying to compare the options for car seats. There are so many!

4. What can you tell me about cloth diapering?-this is my most recent updated post about cloth diapering. And here are all of my tagged posts about CDs. We love our one size Bum Genius pocket diapers and have about 18 of them for Truman. Also tried Fuzzibunz and Kissaluvs, didn't fit Truman as well but they are still good diapers.

5. How did you handle life as a pumping, working mom?-Here are all of my posts about breastfeeding. And here are my posts about pumping. A few of these posts overlap because for me, breastfeeding and pumping went hand-in-hand as a working mom. Wouldn't trade it for the world! Love my Hygeia EnJoye breast pump and the cute brown bag it came with.

6. Where did you buy your fetal doppler? Rented or purchased? Did you need a doctor's note for it?

I bought mine on Ebay and it's the Hi BeBe Fetal Doppler Heart Monitor BT-200. Definitely wanted to purchase and not rent because I knew I'd want to use this baby from the first possible moment that a heartbeat could possibly be heard in early pregnancy until the very end:) Didn't need a doctor's note, not sure why there are places out there that make you have one? There are other brands out there that are about half the price of my $100 Hi Bebe, one that comes to mind is the Sonoline B. But I believe my Hi Bebe allowed me to hear the baby's heartbeat SUPER early at just 9w1d on the first try, when I've seen a lot of other pregnant ladies complain that their Sonolines don't work well until much later. And trust me, if you are psychotic enough to check for your baby's heartbeat in early pregnancy you are going to want to hear it as early and as often as possible. This has been the best money I've spent on anything pregnancy related by FAR. The sense of relief I get from finding my baby's heartbeat is indescribable, probably because of my missed miscarriage in 2011 when the baby had stopped growing for over 3 weeks and my body never noticed. Yes, I will take my doppler checks any day to keep my worries at bay. And I realize if I have a day when I cannot find the heartbeat I will probably freak out and demand to go to my OB for further investigation, but so far that hasn't happened!

7. Where did you get your brown boots from these pictures?

I got them for Christmas in 2010 from Zappos. They are by Corso Como 'Richmond' style and I love them so much I asked for them in black for Christmas of 2011. I think that my color is not listed on their site anymore, it might have been something like 'whiskey'?? I can't remember. But love these riding boots.

8. Where did you buy your chevron rug in your family room?

I love for all of our rugs, pretty much! I got Cecelia's nursery rug there and then our big 8x10 chevron rug, too. It's called the 'Home Value Chevron Light Blue Rug and sometimes you can get it 75% off, so it's not an expensive rug but it's holding up quite nicely. Surprisingly, Nate made the final decision on this bad boy after I narrowed down our options to a top 3---never thought he'd go for a trendy pattern but I'm so glad he did!

How I Spent My Saturday

-bought the Coldplay tickets.

-did a little jig.

-finished an album for a client.

-bought the new The Fray album [obsessed with it].

-watched 6 inches of snow dump down from the heavens.

-came to the conclusion that winter will never end.

-researched beachy vacations.

-scraped my car for approximately 10 minutes.

-ran 9 miles on a treadmill while watching Gone With The Wind.

-felt reminiscent while on treadmill since GWTW was one of my favorite movies as a kid.

-realized that watching this movie at age 27 is a lot different than age 7.

-oh, and I took a butt load of pictures.


[he is in heaven when it snows]

[it must taste really good]

[I cheated a bit on this's from inside our window. I love the faint snow flakes falling here.]

[yep, this sucks]

[but the texture of snow is my favorite]

[driving to the gym...]

[two guys decided to the snow? he was literally being lifted from the ground, you guys. windy indeed]

[train tracks make me feel cozy]

[there's just something about them, right?]

[look what I found on my license plate. Go Billikens!]

[without editing, all of my pictures would be this dark and dreary. can you see how hard it was snowing?]

[a train!]

[poor trees]

[same bridge we posed at last sufficiently covered]

[ice block in the creek. I like it]

[searching for a little bit of color and any sign of life]

[reminds me of cotton]

[the epitome of Wisconsin least in my eyes]

[snow at night=super pretty and really hard to photograph]
night again

[I guess you really do need a tripod for night shots, huh?]
snow by night

So yeah. It's still winter after all. But armed with my camera I can tolerate almost anything...


Guess what we just bought?

Holla! Chris Martin and all of your we come!
I sort of forgot about this list, but when I remembered #3 I decided we HAD to buy these tickets.
Yes, they were insanely expensive but somehow I know it will be worth it. We never go to concerts and this will be a little splurge for us. And a Saturday night during the summer? Perfect timing, Coldplay. I love you.

You hear that, Mother Nature? I don't care about your stupid 4-8 inches of snow we are receiving at this moment. Waking up to a solid three inch blanket did not bother me one bit. I have a summer concert in my future now. So bring it.

Anyone else going to the Wisconsin or STL concert? Squeeeeeeee!


A mindless post full of eye candy for your viewing pleasure: I present to you a new favorite subject---our bling.










It's so much fun to play around with this camera! Ring shots used to be my nemesis but now I have about 50 of these buggers:) I think I even got some 'flare' in one of these shots, right?

I need to remember to clean my ring before I do shots like this again, though. And yes, those are little speed bumps on the inside of my set. I have them so the ring doesn't spin around my finger since my knuckle is ginormous from a previous break during high school sports. Quite elegant, no?
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