Saturday, April 30, 2011


I have been obsessively tracking my new lens. Yesterday it was in Phoenix - so close, yet so far! - and then I checked this morning and it had just arrived in Vegas! Was it possible, might they actually deliver it two days early??? Well, many hours later and it appears that it is still just sitting in the warehouse. So nope. They wouldn't want to give me better service than I actually paid for.

In the meantime I caught this with my point and shoot. It was like it was saying to me, you don't need that 50mm lens anyway, look how great I am!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Piper & Jojo

They can't tell me, so I don't know for sure, but I don't think the cats miss Lombard very much. They might miss having a yard to prowl around in, but they are middle aged ladies now, and prowling doesn't hold the appeal it once did. In Vegas they have gotten fat snoozing in sunny spots and lazily watching the pigeons fly up and down the alley.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Continuing Education

Since I joined the 365 Photo Project I have been trying to improve my photography skills. I thought I was decent...until I saw what was really possible through the wonderful photographs of my sister, Steph, my friend, Sara, and others like them. Especially the pictures they have taken of Remy, which rival the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel! I am inspired to do better, but I have a lot to learn. It doesn't come easy, and every day I come up against my own ignorance and lack of experience. It's one of those scary but good feelings, like learning to ride a bike. Despite all of its many joys, being a SAHM can get a bit tedious, and this keeps things fresh and gives me an outlet for my creativity.

When I started the project I was using my Canon SD1000, a slim and versatile point and shoot, and one of the best gifts Ross has ever given me. It's the camera I used to record the growing of my garden, my drop-dead gorgeous cats, and the first year or Remy's life. I love it this camera.

More and more, though, I am trying to use Ross's Canon Rebel, which is large and heavy and has lots of options. The thing makes me feel like a monkey trying to drive a car, but it does impress me from time to time. Currently it is equipped with a lens that goes from 18mm (wide angle) to 55mm (close up.)

This seems like it should be a good thing, but the people in the know are telling me I can get much better pictures with a cheaper, simpler lens that only takes pictures at 50mm. So I ordered one and I am going to try it.

I feel kind of nervous, like if I snap on this lens and my pictures suck, it will prove that I just don't have the aptitude. Remy will be destined to a childhood of grainy and out of focus photos. Well, except for the ones that my friends and family take of him! The lens could get here as early as tomorrow, and then we shall see!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Remy is growing up so fast! He can walk over and sit in his chair all by himself, but getting out of it involves a complicated somersault maneuver.

He tried eggs for the first time today - he shuddered and sputtered dramatically, but was willing to take a few more bites before he went back to his cheerios. We will try again tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


With Remy's 1 year birthday just a couple of weeks away, we have put his bottles in storage and are using up the last of the formula. Less formula is going to mean more solids, so we plan to do a lot of experimenting over the next couple of weeks. Here is a list of what I have figured out so far (which I hear could change at any time, sigh.)

Remy likes:
  • Cheerios
  • yogurt with maple syrup
  • cheese (mozzarella and cheddar)
  • spaghetti
  • french fries
  • sweet potatoes
  • green beans
  • whole grain white bread
  • rice
  • ice cream
Remy dislikes:
  • applesauce and apples
  • chicken
  • bananas
  • honey dew melon
  • being spoon fed

Great links for confused moms like me:

Tomorrow we are going to try scrambled eggs!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Editing in Picnik

My husband has Photoshop on his computer, but his computer is in the office and I can't watch Remy has he toddles around the living in room from there, so I use an online photo editing service called Picnik. Most of the features are available for free, but for the premium tools you pay a small fee (Photoshop - $200, 1 year Picnik subscription, $25.) Anyway, I am trying to learn how to make the most of this service. It definitely has it's limitations, but I love how user friendly it is. Here is what I did this morning (click on the photo to see a higher res version):


Edited without softened background.

Edited with softened background.

In the edited photos, I cloned the entire wall and the molding at its base from the small strip you see next to the door in the original. This was extremely tedious! If I had been using photoshop I believe I would have been able to clone the wall from another photo, one with a bigger sample. This would have been especially helpful with the molding, which it was impossible to create a realistic extension of. Still, I had a lot of fun and even with the wonky molding I like the edited picture much better!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Lemon poppy seed bread, a la Betty Crocker.
Cause I am fancy like that.

I heard one of the foody people on TV say that, as far as he was concerned, you can eat as much junk as you like as long as you make it yourself. I have been taking him up on that and snatching up easy to make baking products on my weekly grocery trips.

This particular box was for muffins, but there were instructions for adapting it for bread on the back. I think it involved just adding some extra flour and water. It turned out pretty good! Maybe not as moist as the stuff you get at the bakery, but I might have added a little too much flour. One of the best things about this product was the glaze that came with it! Even after slathering it all over the bread that was enough left over to make a lemon butter, if one so desired! Very generous of Betty!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bonnie Springs, Part 2

Mark volunteered to...I don't know what, I wasn't really paying attention! But it involved gallows, a gun fight, and a loud boom!

Afterward the boys posed with the actors...I mean the marshall, the deputy and the outlaw.

In the old west town.

Steph and Owen after the play.

We caught the last train of the day - just in time for sunset!

You can't tell, but Remy was doing his happy dance.

Sunset at Bonnie Springs Ranch.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bonnie Springs, Part 1

On Sunday, April 10th we all piled into two cars and drove west on Charleston, out past Red Rock Canyon, to Bonnie Springs Ranch. Nestled at the base of the mountains, with foothills to the east and Red Rock to the north, Bonnie Springs feels a million miles from the bustle of Las Vegas. For just $5 a person you have access to a petting zoo, the old west town, comedic sketches and rides on the little train (Remy's favorite part of the day!) We took so many pictures, I will have to separate them into two posts.

A little male bonding while Daddy buys the tickets.

Very friendly...and maybe a little mad.

This guy was so still you might wonder if he was dead, but when Mal tip-toed over to pet him he gave out a thunderous oink.

Sad looking little deer! I think she was imagining her happy place.

Remy: "Can we go ride the train now?!"

The place was full of noisy, aggressive peacocks. This one was perched on a building watching the action in the zoo from a safe distance.

There were also a lot of chickens.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mountain Crest Park

Formula for a perfect Sunday:
church in the morning + Chipotle for lunch + beautiful park in the afternoon

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Little Rose

Did I mention that I bought a moldy mini-rose bush at Walmart a couple of months ago? It was one of those ones that comes wrapped in colored foil, so I didn't see the mold until after I got it home an unwrapped it. It went from looking fine the day I brought it home to being half dead in a week, I thought maybe I should just throw the whole thing out or returning it and getting my $4.50 back, but instead I cut it down and transplanted what was left and this week it rewarded me with a bud! No rose smell to speak of, but oh so pretty!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red Rock Canyon

I have been to Red Rock Canyon several times since I moved here, but the most recent visit with the Stangers was really special because it was the first time I felt confident enough in myself and in Remy to leave the overlook areas and actually do a little hiking! We used the Snuggli that used to belong to Steph and Mark, strapped that baby on, and made our way over rocks and streams into a couple of the most beautiful areas of the park. In the past Remy has not been a fan of carriers, but on this day he was so comfortable that he even slept for a while as we bumped along the rocky trail. What an awesome memory!

Down at the Pool!

Remy had his first dip in the pool while the Stangers were here. The water was so cold that the only thing dipped were his feet.

Owen, on the other hand, seemed impervious to the cold!

Remy made this face a lot. I think it means, "is this seriously your idea of a good time?"

It was all a bit much for the little buddy.

Afterward he needed some snuggles and a warm towel for his feet!

It is supposed to get up into the 90s tomorrow, it may be a good day to try again!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The Stangers left last night to go back to Chicago after a wonderful, week-long visit. It was so fun seeing Remy interact with his cousins, Owen and Malachy, and he is looking a little lonely today without them.