Friday, July 30, 2010

What I've been working on all day....

...or alternatively titled: "Why I am needing to have my head examined"

So, I had this "bright idea" right....

"Hey, I'm artistic! I'll make M's birthday cake! I'll make a spiderman cake..... lemme try this fondant stuff..... I've used it once before (very small scale... I used it to make Petit Fours). I bet I can do it! It'll be fun!"


Seven hours later....... I'm done. Finally. Guess what? It's a heck of a lot harder to make a multi-tier fondant cake than it is to cover a Petit Four! Just because, I guess I feel I have far too much free time on my hands, I decided to make my own fondant too! ::::shakes head:::: Will I ever learn?

Anyway, here's the final product. My first fondant cake. My second time using fondant....ever!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


So, here it is, Thursday again.... and me, at my usual Thursday haunt!

Pixel Perfect's Before/After Blog Hop

(Stop on by her page to check out her edit, and see lots more! Then add your own too!)

So, this week, my photo isn't one I actually took. My neighbor's little brother got married a few weeks ago, and in an effort to save money, had a family member do the wedding photos. Unfortunately, most of the photos were very out of focus, or there was a lot of movement blur. She got written permission from the man who took the photos, and asked me if I could look through them and see if there was anything I could make into a nice wedding photo to give to the Mother of the Groom.

Out of 1800 photos (no, I'm not kidding.... he took 1800 photos), this was the best.

and my edit.

Posted and edited with permission of the original photo's owner.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Remember, part 3

So, after five months of Pre-surgical molding, we were ready for a big hurdle - our first surgery. This surgery was to be a primary repair of her nose, lip, and hopefully, gumline. See, in all our efforts over those previous months, we'd gotten her gumline to the point where it was actually touching. 18mm, all closed up, without a knife ever touching her. By fusing her gumline during this first surgery, she'd have a chance at not needing a bone graft when she was older.

It's actually really hard for me to even look at these photos without tearing up.... this was the hardest day of my life so far. This was a photo I took while we were waiting to go in. I had just finished going to the mats with the anesthesiologist, as he was trying to convince me that I didn't need to bring her back to the operating room myself....that she was too little to understand, or to be scared by it. He didn't seem to understand that I had rolled up my sleeves and been an active part of her care from day one, and that I'd had to do, and had seen, much harder things than my child falling asleep like this.

Needless to say, I was brought a "bunny suit" (which, for the record, is about as attractive as it sounds), and watched my husband kiss our beautiful baby and hand her off to me. I held it together really well.... she fell asleep..... I gave her a quick kiss..... said a prayer..... left the operating room, and promptly lost it. There was so much involved emotionally.... I mean, not only was I handing my tiny 10 pound five month old over to have surgery, but she was going to come back different. She wasn't going to look the same. My beautiful baby, who was perfect and beautiful just the way she was, was going to have a different face when I saw her next. See, all those months of worrying how I'd feel when she was born? It was all wasted time... my heart swelled with love from the moment I saw her. Her eyes captured me, and never let go. I loved her extra wide smile, kissing her sweet little lips, and seeing her smile. While I'd still have all these things post-op, they would be different. We'd have a second first smile, first kisses, etc...

So, my husband and I went to the waiting room to, well, wait. It was supposed to be 2 - 3 hours. Once we passed the three hour mark, I started to worry. At three and a half hours, I went and talked to the lady at the front desk, who said she couldn't find my daughter in the system, and that she'll find out what's going on and get right back to me.

Now, you can imagine, the news of this computer glitch didn't sit very well with me. I was already worried, and by this point, I felt like my intestines were stuck in my sinuses. I sat down, and I waited. Half an hour passed..... nothing. I went back up to the lady at the desk, who told me that, "She still didn't know where my daughter was, but that someone would be out shortly to explain. That she may have been moved to a room, and she's not sure why I wasn't told." By this point, it had been nearly five hours since surgery began, and I was an emotional basket case. This was just a bit more than my little brain was able to handle at that moment.

As my voice began to get louder, all of a sudden our Rockstar surgeon walked through the doors. He immediately gave me a hug (which, after finding out what happened, I think he may have needed just as much as I did!)

Surgery went great.....she looks awesome. BUT.....after surgery, when they went to exhubate her, she stopped breathing. Everything stopped, and they had to preform CPR to keep her alive, and reintubate her. They waited a while, thinking she may have been too sleepy still. They tried to exhubate her again, and the same thing happened (only they were ready for it this time). The best they could figure was she was having a bad reaction to the morphine, so she would have to be on a ventilator, and we all got a one way ticket to the Pediatric ICU.

Let me say right here and now, that the Ronald McDonald house is a GODSEND..... I really don't know what we would have done without it. It gave us a home base. My husband could bring food back and forth for me, it gave him a place to sleep.... and under that same roof was a whole slew of families going through the same thing we were. Having that common ground of children undergoing care builds a stronger bond than most other things. While the "medical kiddo" club is not one I would have sought out a membership in, it's hard to imagine my life without all the wonderful people we've met thus far on our journey.

Back to the hospital...

So, I finally got to go see my baby. Boy, was that hard. It's hard to hand over a laughing, smiling, little ball of life and get back a fragile, swollen little thing being kept alive by machines, arms pinned down to a sheet.

The following week was so hard. Living in the PICU, with my child on a ventilator. My time there changed me forever. See, the PICU is a very strange place. In the same hallway, you witness God's miracles, and utter devastation. Children being healed, and Mothers and Fathers having to watch their children slip away into God's arms. God bless the nurses who spend each day, everyday there, caring for our very sick babies. I never left the PICU the whole time S was in there. I didn't even shower until she was out of the woods.

Miss S, who always likes to keep us on her toes, decided she was done with the ventilator, and exhubated herself. Red buttons were pushed, the room filled with people as fast as you can ever imagine, all trying to get S breathing again. She didn't want to, and it was very scary.... I just stood in the background and prayed. Finally, they got her stats up high enough with oxygen. The problem was that, because of the nature of her repair, she couldn't have an oxygen mask. I held a tube blowing oxygen in her face, for two days... it was a very long two days.

During my time in the PICU, I learned to look for strawberries. I saw God work miracles while I was there...big miracles on children, and more subtle ones on my heart and perspective. Miracles like smiles and laughter during times where there was really nothing to smile and laugh about at first glance. The power of love. Strength. Trust. Living for Today, and trusting that God's plan will be infinitely better than my own, even if the terrain looks rocky at first glance.

She got stronger and stronger.....
We got to go home..... recoup..... celebrate life....

But I will never forget the things I learned from this amazing little girl. I am SO BLESSED and SO HUMBLED to be her Mommy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Self Portrait.....

EDIT: I think I like this one more...
Oh textures.... I think there may be a long learning curve involved...
I need to go to bed now, and stop obsessing with photoshop....

Beep...Beep...Beep... Click!

What I learned....well, I learned that playing with textures is going to take some practice. I'm still deciding if I like this one.

Come join the fun over at Flat Yeast Bread every Monday!

The Versitile Blogger! My First Award!

Wow! This was certainly nice to wake up to!

Sweet Mona over at More Milestones has given me THIS:

Thank you so much!

So, part of this award is sharing 7 things about myself.

1: I was once a book buyer for a children's book distributor, and still love kid's books to this day!
2: I've always been artsy, and marched to the beat of my own drummer. I love drawing, painting, singing, acting, writing poetry.... but none more than I love photography. (Though singing is a close second)
3: I have a tattoo on my lower back that I got when I was 19, and I drew the art for myself. It's Comedy and Tragedy masks, with fire behind them. It's supposed to represent accepting both the good and the hard things that happen in life, and not being afraid of change(fire is constantly moving and changing, with no fear of what's next). I didn't know until later in life that drama masks are often a prison tattoo....lol.... oh well!
4: I bought my son Nerf Gun Dart tag for his birthday, and my husband pointed out to me that, apparently, I'm changing the rule about not shooting at each other.
5: I get obsessive about organization.
6: I tend to finish one food, before moving on to the next food on my plate. My youngest son does this too, and it drives my husband bonkers.
7: I believe laughter is a gift from God, and that it's truly, often the very best medicine.

So, now onto a list of 15 Bloggers I pass this award on to! Come check them out!
1. The Englar Farm
2.The Shupeville Zoo
3.Blended Blessings
5.Blessed with a Full House
6.Pardon my Dust
7. What This Mom Knows!
8. Organized Chaos
9. Cori's Big Mouth
10. Flat Yeast Bread
11. Simply Life Photographs
12. Troop Petrie
13. Ramblings and Photos
14. One Mom's Perfect Imperfections
15. Bunch of Barrons

Here's how this award works:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason!

4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award! I’m sure they’ll be thankful ;-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Paper Mama Photo Challenge...

Absolute Favorite..... (Top one is photo challenge entry..)

This is from Easter, when I did a shoot with my favorite lil bunny...

and one more from that shoot, just cuz I love it! :)

Come see all the other cuties over at the Paper Mama!
The Paper Mama

Saturday, July 24, 2010

5 years ago today..... (and mystery bug answer!)

Five years ago today, I became Mommy to an amazing little boy!

Once a baby, fully dependant on me, laid in my arms. Now, you stand before me, a little boy, full of determination, confidence, and kindness.

You are so bright, so funny, and work so hard to accomplish your goals. I so admire your love of learning, and the inner drive you have to practice something until you get it down pat. That inner motivation will serve you well in everything you do in life.

You push your limits....you are always challenging yourself... to reach higher, to swim farther, to run faster. I'm so inspired by you, my son.

But most of all M, I'm proud of your heart. You are always most concerned about other's feeling.....wise far beyond your years. You are always willing to share, even if it's something you really, really wanted. You always want to make sure no one is left out, and that everyone is having fun. The idea that you could have hurt someone else's feeling brings you to tears.

There's very little we've found you aren't good at. You excel in sports, your vocabulary is off the charts, you are the only child in your class who knows how to swim unassisted, you are already doing addition and subtraction, and are very close to reading.....but despite your teachers calling you the "future valedictorian", I'm even more proud of the fact that your teachers speak of your beautiful heart... your kindness, and how everyone calls you their best friend, because you are so good to everyone in your class. You see, that means it's not just my Mama eyes that see it, that other see how special you are too.

You, my son, are amazing....and will do wonderful things in your life. Sometimes, you meet people in life that just have an indescribable something...a spark inside of them, where you know to expect great things from them. You M, have that spark, and words cannot describe how honored I am that God entrusted me to be your Mommy.

I love you M!

(By the way, the bug was a cicada! DancingMatilda Got it right! )

Friday, July 23, 2010

Macro Friday!

I had a blast with my camera this week! Fun fun fun..... from flowers, to bugs, to my husband's forearm..... I was shooting everything in macro!

So, for now, here is my Macro Friday photo...

and here are some of the other shots I took in Macro this week!

A low lying branch to a tree..

My daughter's eye...

A matchbox car forgotten in the lawn...

AND.... AND.... the bug my neighbor called me to come take photos of....
Anyone wanna guess what it was? Here are some photo hints!

Hint #1 -

Hint #2 -

And Finally, Hint #3 -

So... any guesses?

Hop on over and join the Macro fun at Blogging from Bolivia, and see everyone else's amazing macro shots!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


So, this past weekend, I had my children go crazy all over our backyard, and took photos of it all.....
So, here are my SOOC shots....


And my edit! (click picture to make it bigger!)

For the record, my kids thought I had lost my mind when I started taking their pictures for this! lol

Come join the before/after bloghop fun over at Pixel Perfect !

Presto, Chango!

I'm sure many of you have been to Monica's uber-awesome blog, Pixel Perfect.

Every Thursday, she has a "before/after" blog hop (which is a blast, and I fully intend on linking up to later on today, when she has this week's up and running)

Last week, she had an INCREDIBLE edit. She fully removed a person from a photo, moved another individual over in the shot, making for a family photo that never actually happened.

After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I decided I needed some practice with Photoshop! See, until I get my DSLR, I decided quite a while ago that I was not only going to learn the camera in my possession inside and out, but also do my best to learn all the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom. So I practice........ a lot. I take between 250 - 500 shots a week, and many of these I play with in Photoshop.

So, yesterday, inspired by Monica, I attempted to remove a person from a photo.

Here's the original:

....and with a wave of my magic wand... (or many, many hours of cloning, lassoing, etc...) I got this!

While far from perfect, I'm quite proud of my first attempt at doing this, ever! Thanks Monica, for inspiring me to get outside my comfort zone, and try something new, and extremely challenging!