Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Death of a Camera

My camera is absolutely dead.  Not the pesky kind of dead that goes away when you replace the battery, but the kind of dead that causes the focusing mechanism to go haywire.  All of my photos are blurry!  My posts are no good without photos, you know.  Any recommendations for a new camera?  ::sigh::

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Pinup Time Baby!

     So what's a Military Wife to do when her Marine is deployed?  Stop watching the news, for one!  It's extremely distressing to see every little thing that gets broadcast, especially since the media rarely has the details I'm interested in.  For example, what KIND of helicopter crashed?  Seahawk, Blackhawk, Apache, Cobra, Phrog, Super Stallion?  Each service has their own airframes and I can immediately tell if it's Marines if the anchor says more than "Military Helicopter."  Not that it's a relief when it's not a Marine, because my heart is breaking for whoever it was in there and their family who is hearing the news no one wants.  I've been to more funerals since I married Matthew than in the rest of my life combined.  This deployment has been more difficult in that respect, three Marines from Matt's unit have been killed in the last week alone.
     The families of these Marines are what we refer to as "Gold Star" families.  Families of those who serve in harm's way are "Blue Star", those who lose a loved one become "Gold Star" families.  It's a title of honor that no Military family wants to earn.  The Blue and Gold Star banners are specially made under a Department of Defense directive implemented by Congress.  Learn a bit more about the banners from the American Legion here.  One such Gold Star family is that of 1st Lt. Rob Seidel III.  Here's a bit about him: "Rob Seidel died in Baghdad, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York. Died on May 18, 2006."  Trying to make the best out of this tragedy, his family has set up the 1st Lt. Rob Seidel Wounded Soldier Fund to help those who survived combat but left with permanent scars.  Recently, I got an e-mail seeking models for a pinup style calender, with the proceeds from the calendar's sale directly benefiting this charity.  How could I say no?   All of the submissions were done through Facebook, you can find the page by following this link.  My photo is under "West  Coast Submissions", and if you "like" the charity's page, you can vote for me to be in the calendar by "like"-ing the picture.  There's also a short essay I wrote about why I want to be involved with this project, which I think is pretty darn good!  The photo I've posted here is the same one that's on the FB page for voting.  Please ignore my rear, it's REALLY unnatural for me to have this photo posted for everyone to see.  I keep reminding myself of the movie "Calendar Girls" where a Women's Club asks some of its members to pose nude, tastefully and quasi censored with flower pots and such, for a calendar to benefit their local hospital.  If some English biddies can pull this off, so can I!
Voting ends June 22, and I'm way behind in the polls.  I'd like to win for my own ego, but if I don't, at least I know that I tried to do something good. I can find other ways to support our Gold Star families. Coping normally in an abnormal situation is what Military life is all about!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Help Me Name My BOX!

     As if today's after-school-kite-flying-beach-trip wasn't enough proof, A gets out of school in two weeks.  And that means summer is nearly here!  The extended Fam invited us to vacation in Poipu, Kauai and while I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to go, I feel that it isn't good timing.  It's not really fair to take a glorious Hawaiian vacation with the kids and Matt's family while Matt's enduring 120 degree heat, insufferable bugs and COMBAT living in a cave in Afghanistan.  We went to Kona last year, this summer we'll have to be content with a family reunion in a Humboldt trailer park (with my Dad's family, lol) and season passes to the Safari Park and Zoo.  I can still enjoy the Kona Brewing Company's Lavaman Red Ale that I had at their restaurant last summer, though, and that will be enough.
Now about my box!
     My kids fight when they get bored or are under-stimulated.  This fact is obvious, but we can't go to the Zoo, beach, ball game etc. everyday or those things will become boring, too.  There are lots of places to visit locally, but I still have responsibilities at home, so I came up with "The Box."  It's a box full of some fun-but-educational materials to challenge my little ones to grow and engage their minds through creativity.  Read: art supplies, books about things we can go explore, little games, drawing and lettering workbooks and other fun things I've yet to discover.  Basically, it's a box of imagination.  I'd like to use ideas and materials from "The Box" two or three days a week.  I know that school teachers with classes of young children pick activities that develop small motor skills, large motor skills and further math and literacy.  I'm pretty sure I can do that without full on home schooling during the summer (my kids would be bored next school year, lol) and help my kids to understand the world and cultures around them. It could be a simple recipe for popsicles and a conversation about solid/liquid state matter, or  a book about fish and a trip to the aquarium.  It could be a list of things to find in a backyard scavenger hunt.  I've already got some workbook type stuff for E, but I'm still looking for just the right thing for A.   And let's face it, with Matthew and I as parents, my kids already treasure learning and reading.  A is excited about college because I told her she gets to pick out what she studies, lol. 

Please don't think I'm crazy for talking to my five year old about college.  It came up in normal conversation, I swear!

I want the box to be a fun tool to help us be intentional about what we do this summer, and stave off summer doldrums.  So here are my questions for you:

1) What should I call this box?  I want to give it a fun and catchy name so things are fresh and exciting!
2) What do you think I should be sure to include?

If this turns out well, it could become a summer tradition.  I'll keep you updated!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Skirt Frenzy!

I will try to be more faithful about posting, honest!  That being said, I have been sewin' up a storm lately.  I've got several projects in the works, several that I still need to photograph and some I'll post right now!  A went to several themed parties lately, proper attire was required and, of course, made by me!
Soooooo stinkin' cute!  Naturally, I'm biased.  Photo courtesy of the wonderful Leslie Houx of Sweet Child of Mine Photography, see more of her work here.  She also happens to be Mommy to one of Arden's BFFs!  I sewed the eyelet rhumba skirt specifically for this Valentine's themed photo shoot, and appliqued the tie onto one of E's Hanes undershirts almost as an after thought when I realized he'd outgrown everything else.  Ha.  I also made the little frayed fabric flower corsage on A's lapel, which was soooooo easy and sweet when finished.  Find directions for free here.
Wish I'd have gotten an "action" shot of A's skirt here, it's a full circle and perfect for the Irish step dancing class we went to courtesy of Claddagh Murrieta and the magnificent Erin Tobin!  It was super easy to get E to pick fabric for his St. Patty's Day shirt, green is his favorite color.  For once I didn't feel like I was subjecting him to something I made because I thought it was cute, he was truly excited to have a green shirt that he got to pick out the fabric for.  A's skirt has shamrocks and ladybugs on it, she'll be wearing it next year at St. Patrick's Day too, lol.  Erin go bragh!
Next skirt was sewn for A's friend's sixth birthday party, a rockin' fifties party in the park!  She was very specific about the skirt she wanted; "dark pink with music notes" to coordinate with the birthday girl's ensemble.
 Another of A's BFFs had her sixth birthday the next day.  It was a busy skirt week!  The theme was "Lollipop Carnival" with accordingly bright colors.  Here's the skirt I designed myself, sans pattern, for that party:

Leslie took that photo, too.  (Can you tell the difference between the pictures I took and the photos by Leslie?  I thought so, lol.)  Mr. E missed out on homemade outfits for those two parties 'cause I couldn't find the bowling shirt pattern I was sure I'd bought.  Apparently I forgot to download it.  Go figure. He was amused enough with himself that I don't think his store bought tee bothered him!
He was so desperate for the birthday girl's attention, or anyone's for that matter, that he shot himself in the eye with a water gun to try and make her laugh!  What a goof!
More to follow...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Photo From the Last Entry

Me, the pit, a wonky hat and nose bling.  Punish the deed, not the breed!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't Bully My Breed

For the last few years I've been considering getting my nose pierced.   I've always loved the way those teensy little diamonds caught the light.  It's a bit of classy face bling.  Or it can be, under the right circumstances.

Nice, right?

My Mom and I are pretty close, so even though I'm 28 I like to run things by her.  Especially if they might involve, er, "irreversible" sorts of things.  Her one comment was something like this; "As long as you realize that there's a social stigma attached to having a piercing like that.  You have to realize people are going to look at you differently."  Sadly, I know this too well.
Mostly, we're a bunch of WASPs around here.  I fit right into the stereotypes set forth by Christian Lander of Stuff White People Like (which is HILARIOUS, btw).  Hubs is in the Military, my daughter takes ballet class, I'm in the PTA and my son will probably play football.  Then two years ago E found this lonesome creature at a pet adoption:
The lady who ran the charity caring for this dog raised an eyebrow and told me that the dog was a "Lab Mix" when I asked about her.  It may not be obvious in the photo, but that dog is BRINDLED.  Ever seen a brindled lab?  HA!  If this dog, my dog now, is a mix of any kind, I'm fairly certain we can all guess what the majority of her is.  That dog's a pit bull!

Honestly if the charity volunteer hadn't said she was a lab it probably would have ended at that, and I think she knew.  I had a lot to learn.

When I take my dog, Gracie, to the park with my kids none of the other Moms want their kids to come play with my dog.  She's banned from all school property, as are all dogs like her.  Pet owners keep their animals at a distance when we go to the dog park.

I think my dog is being discriminated against!

Is she strong?  Heck yea.  Uncontrolled, aggressive, dangerous?  Not even close.  My son regularly crawls under her and lies down using Gracie as a pillow.  He also learned the names of parts of the face by poking the dog repeatedly in the eyes, nose, mouth and ears (much to my chagrin).  

Check out this little piece from my new favorite charity:

Still not convinced?  Try something from Cesar Milan. Pit Bulls went from being all American dogs and war heroes to being euthanized by the thousands.  LA County euthanizes over 120 Pit Bulls PER DAY (source Karen Delise). 

It sucks when an entire breed is classified by the behavior of its minority.  These are highly intelligent dogs; show them love and they're lovers, abuse them and they're fighters.  They learn quick.

If you're considering a dog, I'd highly recommend a pit bull!  (Which is actually not a specific breed, by the way.)  They actually score higher on human compatibility tests than Labradors (learn more here).  I could go on for a long, long time, but the long and short of it is this; pit bulls are loving dogs that deserve the chance to have a good life and a caring home.

So here I am, a pit bull owner mad about breed specific legislation and doggie discrimination.  Now, if you see me running with my pit bull down the street in all of my (soon to be) nose pierced glory, wearing lizard shoes (these) and a hat that I crocheted myself, I'd like you think twice about hiding from us just because our appearance might be atypical.  We're not scary or dangerous, and we don't even have any tattoos...