Monday, September 28, 2009

Today I Discovered

  • I still love running, but it's kind of hard to do when your cold has moved into your lungs. Yet it feels SO good!
  • It's very hard to identify with college students when you have a husband and babies...despite have graduated only three years ago. Getting home at midnight no longer sounds like fun times!
  • There are days when I miss Baker soooo much that it brings tears to my eyes. Today is one of those days. The things I miss about Baker? Gee, where to start? I miss having a job that I actually know how to do. I miss being in a community that I know intimately. I miss our friends that became more like family. I miss my YL club. I miss having a schedule that was predictable and afforded me weekends off every other week. The list goes on and on. To be honest, there are times when I would like nothing better than to run back there.
  • Tomorrow is my first pseudo photo shoot...I'm a little nervous.
  • I fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans...COMFORTABLY! In fact, I'm wearing some right now!
  • I'm 2 lbs away from saying goodbye to the 160's forever!

It was a day of highs and lows. Needless to say, I liked the highs better.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You see...There's This Guy

He is part of our bible study.

He kind of drives me nuts, and not in the good way. He has a bit of a disability, and yet despite knowing that, I get frustrated by the way that he expresses himself. It takes him a long time to get to his point and almost every thought is punctuated with various ways that his faith far outstrips the rest of ours.

And yet...

When he gets to the point, it's like God is reaching out from Heaven and hitting me with the proverbial 2x4. Every time we meet for bible study (once every two weeks), he says at least one thing that takes me breath away and makes me really re-evaluate the way that I view other people.

Tonight, it took him a good five minutes to say "every one of you needs to remember that you are special and have a divine purpose on earth, and that God loves you more than you can imagine". It was almost lost in translation, but when I realized what he was saying, it brought me to tears. I struggle so much to find my worth in this world, yet I could clearly hear God's love coming through in the words of someone that I often lose patience with.

It's humbling, folks.

And so beautiful.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One Year


We no longer have infants. We're mere months away from having toddlers.

I could wax philosophical about how amazing it is to have these boys in our lives, but I'll just leave it with this: Levi and Asher are the best things to ever happen to us, and they amaze/bless us every single day.

Their birthday party last night was a blast. We had a LOT of people here, especially for our little house, and it was a great group of people...the amazing part was how well the boys handled having that many people in such a small space. It got a little loud and overwhelming, even for me. And the presents. Wow. These boy-0's are incredibly loved (aka spoiled)!

They weren't real into their cakes, possibly because it was the most sugar they've ever had and possibly because of all the people cheering them on. Loud people are SO much more entertaining than cake! All in all, good times were had by all!

The boys' big cake and some of their loot. Spoiled boys!

Levi (left) and Asher (right) with their individual cakes. Mmmm.

Levi "opening" presents...not too sure what's going on.

Asher playing on the blanket outside.

Levi yawning. It was kind of a long evening for the kiddos.

Asher playing with the neighbor boy, Michael. They kinda like each other.

Grammy Gayle with Asher.

Levi with Grandma Jan and Great Pappy in the background.

Asher and Michael playing again.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

When Camera and Grapes Meet

Nathan took Levi and Asher to my parents' place to watch the Beavs game, leaving me to spend my evening however I wished. I played with the camera.

Are you surprised?

I didn't think so.

There are vineyards all around McMinnville, and all of the vines are heavy with grapes. I'm guessing it's a matter of days until the harvest takes place. Knowing this, I wanted to get to a vineyard as soon as possible to catch some photos of grape bunches before they disappear until next fall.

This is my favorite one. Yes, I know, it seems weird to do a black & white of red grapes, but it struck my fancy.

Once again, I lament the dirty things the internet does to my photos. I know you're tired of hearing it, but it's just plain painful. Hopefully someday you'll be able to see what these are ACTUALLY suppose to look like.

Now I'm going to get my lunch ready for work tomorrow, lay out my clothes, and curl up in bed with a good book.

PS. The boys turn one year old day after tomorrow. I've decided that we're not just celebrating their birth. Oh no. We're also celebrating surviving the first year of raising twins! Yay us!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

Earlier this year, when I dove back into photography, I was pining over a higher quality camera. At that time, the camera of my dreams was a Nikon D200...I didn't dare dream any higher. But one quick look at our finances swiftly put to rest any hope that a D200 would be mine in the foreseeable future.

Fast forward a few months.

We're debt free. We sold our gas-guzzler, were smart about buying an older yet more gas efficient car, completed our emergency fund...and had money to spare. All the sudden, affording a new camera no longer seemed so impossible. Add to equation that we received a sizable refund check from our house insurance on the house in Baker, and suddenly the dream becomes a reality. A reality that we paid cash for! Except the reality was so much sweeter...we were able to afford a Nikon D300s, which is a model they just came out with last month, complete with HD video capability!

Momma's got a brand new toy!

Ok, ok, it's Daddy's new toy too. And it's not really a toy. Well...sort of a toy. But it's also for business. You see, as professional photographers, it's pretty embarrassing to tell clients, "I've got some great shots for you but the problem is that my camera is, well, the biggest print you can get is an 8x10."


With this camera, we can go as high as a 24"x30" and still get a great quality print. Muuuuuch better.

That's just a smidgen of an example of what is awesome about this camera. I won't bore you with the rest. Just suffice it to say that it's a phenominal camera and money well spent. Now if only I could find a way to post my RAW photos to the internet without it messing up my colors, I could show you how amazing it is when a D300 and Photoshop CS4 meet. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Actually, this one isn't too bad. It just dulled the intensity of the colors somewhat. I love aspen trees, don't you?

PS. My WW weigh in was yesterday. I reached my 5% goal! (That means I've lost 5% of my beginning weight.) Woot!

PPS. I also found out yesterday that I got a 98% on my Emergency Medical Dispatch certification exam. (That means I only missed one question.) Double woot!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Moment

There came a moment in my last Weight Watcher's journey that validated the whole struggle. The moment where I looked at "before" and "now" and decided that it was all worth it. Then I got pregnant...with twins...which kind of put the kibosh on my weight loss. Doctors sort of frown on losing weight while you're pregnant. Those pesky doctors.

Anyway, only 19 days into my current WW journey, I had that moment. But first, the back story. (Of course.)

For Christmas last year, Nathan's dad got us a membership to Costco. Goodness knows we need it! With all the upheaval in our lives around that time, not to mention the lack of Costco warehouses in Baker, we didn't get around to activating our membership until March, six months ago. Of course, they take your picture which shows up on the back of the card. I looked at mine, silently groaned, and shoved it in my wallet, determined to never look at it again.

Shoot me please.

Today, while getting supplies for the boys' one year birthday party (taking place next Monday, on their birthday...gulp!) at the Wilsonville Costco, we were offered the Executive Membership which pays you back 2% of all your purchases. No, it's not a credit card, don't worry. We went for it, and had to get new shiny black cards with new photos. I was relieved to see that my photo this time around was not painful to look at. Yes, the black and white dots are less than flattering, but I have a chin! And a jaw!

The "moment" was when I finally held the two up side by side. What a difference six months and 10 lbs makes! I was speechless. I want to carry the two around to show people, it just makes me feel THAT good. And it made all of the struggle totally worth it.

I still have a long way to go to get to my goal weight, but I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see what a big difference just 10 lbs has made.

Now just imagine what another 45 lbs will do!

By the way, Levi and Asher are going to be one year old in only six days.


I don't think I can stand it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Have a New Addiction

But I can't tell you what it is.

Ok, I can tell you WHAT it is, but I can't tell you exactly what it is because I'm making Christmas gifts off of it and I don't want any of you to peek!

I found this blog. A craft blog. But not one of those, "why in the world would I make that, the last thing I need is more crap" craft blogs. Oh no, this one is chock full of necessary things that you can make for a couple of dollars instead of buy for ten times as much. I just about lost it when I saw the stinkin' adorable things on her blog.

I promise I'll share it with you...after Christmas.

Until then...a sample of one of the things I made. Have you ever heard of Baby Legs? No? Here's a visual; think the scrunchy leg warmers of the 80's, except covering the entire length of a baby's legs. They're to keep the kiddo's legs warm while still keeping it easy to change diapers, and also to protect chubby little knees during the crawling stage.

Only problem? They're $12 per pair!!!!

But on this blog, the author shared the idea of buying women's tube socks, cutting off the foot and sewing it to make a cuff, and then sewing the newly-made cuff to the upper part of the sock...voila! Baby Legs. Six pair for $10! See? Practical AND affordable! I'll post pictures once the boys wake up from their post-lunch nap.

I love post-lunch naps.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Two Things




Get some class, Ducks. Sucker punching a BSU player because you lost a game and then striking a police officer while being restrained...not cool.



Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Asher Pants

Sometimes I feel like we have fewer photos of Asher. I blame this mostly on the fact that he is CONSTANTLY moving. Levi is more content to sit for at least 30 seconds, while Asher will stay in one place for approximately 3 seconds.


I did manage to capture this photo of Asher.

Be still my heart.

Then there are these eyes. They're pitiful...bordering on pathetic.

Wow. I love these boys.

On a different note, yesterday was a wild ride to say the least. Just a warning, this is going to be a long one.

On Monday night, we put our gas-guzzling 2005 Durango back up on Craig's List in the hopes that we'd finally be able to sell it now that the stupid "Cash For Clunkers" thing is over...don't get me started on that program, it's a whole different post in and of itself. Anyway, I got an email from a guy named Sam simply asking us to call him, which we did. He offered us $1500 less than our asking price, but in cash, and asked us to meet him in Tualatin (40 miles away). We accepted his offer, acknowledging the fact that very few people are looking for a car like a Durango.

When we got to Tualatin, he proceeded to offer us $200 less than what we agreed on, giving us a raft of crap about it needing detail work, different tires (the tires are in great shape), etc. Needless to say, after having packed the boys into the car and driven two vehicles 40 miles to meet this jerk, I got ticked. Eventually it came out that he was in fact a dealer, not a private buyer. Lame. We finally all agreed on $100 less than our agreed priced, with us keeping the studded tires to sell later. We drove away with the biggest fist full of cash that I have ever held.

After that, we decided that we'd really like to look for a Subaru while still up in the Portland area. After dropping the boys off at Nathan's mom's house, we found an Outback that looked liked it was exactly what we wanted...until we got to the seller's house, when we saw that it was a wreck. Paint spilled in the back, torn fabric on the doors, stains all over the place...and that was all before the test drive. Once we started driving the darn thing, we could tell the clutch was about to go out and that the seller was asking about three times as much as the car was worth. Sorry Dave Ramsey, but this was a little extreme.

With no plan of action, we started driving towards Milwaukie on 217 until I found a 1999 Subaru Outback for sale in Multnomah Village. Where in the world is Multnomah Village? We called the seller and realized that he lived back the way we had come...about 2 miles away from the first car we looked at. Doh! It was worth it though. It was in great shape and exactly what we were looking for, not to mention within our desired budget. The test drive went great and we talked the seller down $500. We shook on it, and it came time to sign the papers...

...which happened to be at the seller's restaurant across the Hawthorn Bridge.


At this point, it was 7 pm. Jan had had the boys for about 4 hours. The boy had eaten the last of their food we had brought with us -- we didn't think we would be gone that long -- and mild panic was setting in. But we didn't want to walk away, so into downtown Portland we went.

Papers signed, car paid for in CASH.


Man that felt good. We beat feet back to Jan's, fed the boys, and finally got home at around 10 pm. Like I said, long day. We love our new car, but we love the fact that it's 100% paid for even more. Oh, and the better gas mileage is a perk too, ha ha ha. It need a few parts replace, but nothing to major. It's so nice to have a Subaru again! Here's a photo of it from the ad on Craig's List.

Even after buying the Subaru, we had enough left over from the sale of the Durango that we were able to complete our 4 Month Emergency Fund...did you catch that? We have a savings account with enough to cover our monthly expenses for FOUR MONTHS!!!

But that's not all...

There was also enough to start a savings account for a house down payment. Being smart about our money rocks!

To top that all off, I've started Weight Watchers again. Today is my 6th day and I've already lost 3.9 lbs. Love it. Life is good.

And now?