Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Hair Growth Journey

Simoney over at Greatfun4kids just keeps teaching me new things! She taught me how to make a photo collage for my blog! Thank you Thank you Thank you Simoney!!

My collage...my hair growth journey. As most of you know, I am Cancer Survivor, although a new Survivor. I am 5 months into remission. My hair is growing out.  My best friend suggested that I should photograph my hair once a week. I have been taking photos since Christmas.

Some days I get a little sad at how long it is taking for it to grow. On those days, I simply look back at photos of my hair and I am reminded that I have come a long way.

I was pretty bald on Christmas Day. I stopped wearing a head wrap the second week in January. Today, my hair is curly, dark, and at times unruly. BUT, I have hair and I have never lost sight of the fact I am happy to once again have it. I no longer look sick. I have been told I look like one of those trendy girls who makes fashion statements with a bold hair cut. I like that. Let's let them continue to think that!

Greatfun4kids: How to Leave a Comment (the Easy Way)

So many of you tell me that you read the blog but find it hard to leave comments. WELL, Simoney over at Greatfun4kids has the easiest explanation on how to leave comments without signing into any accounts. PLEASE, click on her link and read her. Then you can drop her a comment and say thank you and come back and comment away at my blog!

Greatfun4kids: How to Leave a Comment (the Easy Way): "Bloggers are a funny bunch. We may pretend not to care, but secretly we all love to get com ments . OK, maybe I'm just speaking for myself,..."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joplin Tragedy

A destroyed helicopter lies on its side at the Joplin Regional Medical Center
These are not my photos, I obtained them from the net.

I am sure these images are all over the world. We would like to think if our community makes it on the national/world news it would be for something positive. In reality that is hardly ever the case.

Joplin, Missouri was hit hard yesterday afternoon by a massive tornado. Joplin is about 4 hours south from where I live. But, I have family there. And I have co-workers there. Making contact with them has been extremely difficult. Thankfully, one of my Uncle's has a cell phone from Kansas City and is able to get calls. By God's Grace my family is healthy and safe. The tornado was headed straight for my Aunt and Uncle's home and it lifted three blocks north of them. It set back down several blocks south of them. My cousin lost her home and had to dig her way out of the debris. Thankfully all of her pets are safe too!

These are not my photos, I obtained them from the net.

My family maybe safe but so many people are hurt or lost their lives. Unfortunately, the tornado might have passed but the suffering is not over for this community. They have no power. They have a limited water supply. Their food supply will not last long. Indeed this community will have needs for some time.

This community needs us. First and foremost, please pray for them. Second, please consider donating to any of the relief efforts underway: Salvation Army, Red Cross.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

He is O U T !

Friday night he was out with friends watching a movie. Not sure how much of the movie he watched, there were girls there.

Saturday morning we had a baseball game. The other team failed to show up. So we had a practice instead. I totally misjudged the weather. It looked cold outside, it has been cold outside. I dressed in jeans, black t-shirt and a sweatshirt. I was so hot, I thought I was going to com bust.

Saturday afternoon we attended cousin Katie's graduation party. She was honored as co-valedictorian of her class. Watch out world, Katie is coming! He enjoyed seeing his cousins.

Saturday night, he had a friend spend the night. I have no idea what time he finally made it to bed.

Sunday he washed cars for 4 hours at a baseball fund raiser. He came home sunburned....on his feet!

He is a growing boy so he needs a lot of food. Today, he ate my husbands smoked chicken. He found out he can't eat corn on the cob with his new braces! But he has no problems eating ice cream.

Sunday evening, passed out on the living room floor. I guess he did not care about who won Celebrity Apprentice.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fiesta Dinnerwear

I absolutely love bright colors. Which probably makes this choice so much harder!

I have had the same dishes for nearly 15 years. I started off with services for 8 and I am down to service for 6, maybe! I am thinking it might be time to update.

I am strongly considering Fiesta-wear. It is made right here in the USA, it is durable and quality stuff. And the colors! Oh how I love the colors. So, I am wondering, how many of you use Fiesta-wear? And what colors do you have? Did you pick a color scheme or just start collecting any and every color?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ending a Long Week!

I did not particularly have a hard week. But it was a long one. And I am finding myself exhausted. Listening is hard work and I am finding myself empathic to all my friends who do therapy!

One of my rejuvenate myself activities is to bake. (Big secret: this is probably one of the reasons I find weight loss so difficult!) As a child my mom made the most wonderful frosting. It was a simple 7 minute frosting that was made on the stove from egg whites and sugar. Yummy! Unfortunately, I have not had it in years!

So when my mom was here visiting over Mother's Day weekend I asked her to make me some 7 minute frosting. She agreed but then we quickly realized, I do own a hand mixer. My awesome husband upgraded me to a stand mixer a few years ago and I have loved it! Not once have I missed a hand mixer. Until, the night my mom could not make me 7 minute frosting for the lack of one. That night we frosted the cake I made with old yucky tub frosting. (yes, I sound like a frosting snob and I will admit I am one!)

But since then I have craved, craved, craved that gooey frosting!

So, tonight as I am rejuvenating myself, I decide to borrow a hand mixer from my Mother-in-Law and try making the 7 minute frosting by myself. I just put it over a simple box mix.

In the midst of all this, The Short Chic got her first invite to spend the night at a friend's home. She has slept over at Nana's house and Grandma's house but never a friends. So, we are trying it out. The Boy asked to be dropped off at the movies with a group of friends. (it sounds more like a group date than anything.) So the hubby and I are alone. On a Friday night. We have beer. We have a cake with yummy frosting!

7 Minute Frosting

2 egg whites, unbeaten.
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 t light corn syrup or 1/4 t Cream of Tarter
1/3 cup cold water
dash of salt
1 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients except vanilla in the top of a double boiler. Add water to the bottom of the double water and bring to a boil. Beat 1/2 minute on low to blend. Put double boiler over boiling water but make sure the pan does not touch the water. Cook, beating consistently until you have reached stiff peaks. Approximately 7 minutes. Remove from boiling water. Add Vanilla. Beat another 2 minutes. Makes enough to frost a double layer cake.

Let me know if you try it and if you like it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Our New Activity

The Short Chic is taking swimming lessons with her BFF, Miss Thing. They are tearing up the pool at the local YMCA! Both girls love their swim teacher, Miss Sam. They love to bob around in the water but neither are big fans of getting splashed in the face.

The Short Chic and Miss Thing
The girls have been working on floating. I think they both are doing super well! Of course, The Short Chic wants to know, "Why do we put our ears in the water?"
Last night, we put our ears in the water!
She also wants to know why Miss Sam wears the same swimsuit every class! I told her not everyone has a Nana who buys them several swimsuits a year.

The Short Chic learning to float.

Miss Thing learning to float.
Of course, now she wonders, "When will our pool get water in it Mommy!" I think Daddy should have enrolled Mommy in swim lessons! Just watching her stick her head in the water freaks me out!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Wonderful Sunday Afternoon

We did not ask to be roommates. I had requested to room with someone who did not return to school. She was a transfer student. She was conservative, I was not. She was a business major and I was a social work major. Despite our differences, friends we became.

It has been years since I last saw my college roommate. She left school and moved to Atlanta. I moved to Denver. I moved back to Kansas City and she moved to Virginia. We both have children, we are both busy mom's. Thanks to Facebook we catch up as much as possible.

This weekend was our mutual friends bridal shower. We got to chat and hang out. It was great to see you Jenny!

But, Jenny was not the only college friend I got to see once again.

Besides Jenny Nelson Hicks, I was able to see Christi Cromer Lohman. Krista, Christi and I all graduated with the same degree in 1991.

And our gathering was all because Krista is finally getting married!!

Congratulations to Cody and Krista!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

O'Dark Early

The Boy had to be at the school today at 5:30 a.m.! His choir traveled to the opposite side of the state to compete in a music competition. I am sure that it was payback once again for the numerous trips my mother use to make with us. When we pulled into the school parking lot and I saw that they were not taking school buses but rather large charter buses, I realized just how much school has changed!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Checkin' In

I guess Blogger has been out of commission for the past several hours, almost an entire day. It drove me crazy! I mean really crazy!

I feel disconnected from my blogger world. What is everyone doing? What are you cooking? What are you sewing? What are you making?

I myself have not had time to post because I have been busy with the kids. Just to illustrate this further, please by all means check out my week!

     Monday: The Short Chic started swim lessons. The Boy had to be at the high school for sports physical night. Husband took the girl. I took the boy.

   Tuesday: The Boy had a baseball game and a choir concert. He tried to ditch the choir concert until he found out it was required for his grade. We had to miss baseball. The Boy is still mad about it.

Wednesday:  The Short Chic again had swim lessons and The Boy had baseball practice. I took the boy, Husband took the girl. Then we swapped. I went to swim lessons and he drove The Boy home.

Thursday:  The Short Chic had gymnastics. The Boy had a baseball game. I took The Short Chic, Husband took The Boy. The Short Chic and I showed up at the game. The Husband took her home before the end of the game. (side note: the team won 16 to 1)                                    
The husband and I literally met ourselves coming and going. I drove The Boy to baseball and he drove the Short Chic to swim lessons. I left baseball to go to swim lessons and he would go to baseball. We have made many jokes this week about being taxi cab's.

I was a single mom for many years, so I know it is a hard job. But my head is once again bowed to all the single mom's out there with multiple children who can juggle their schedules!  And this is not an isolated week.

And you all know me, as if this was not crazy enough, we decided at the last minute (Monday) to hold a yard sale this weekend. Of course, nothing was ready for a yard sale. The husband and I have prepared late every night this week, so we can participate in our communities annual yard sale.

Other things going on in my world that are noteworthy:

  • One of my former supervisors, who has a wonderful soul, lost her home this week. Thankfully no one in the family was in the home at the time of the explosion/fire so all are safe. The home however, is severely damaged and they are living out of a hotel until the can rebuild their home. So, when you say your prayers please add an extra in for my former supervisor and her family. Her name is Pam too.

  • The Boy is traveling away from home this weekend with his school. The choir is heading to St. Louis via bus to sing in a competition there. They will then spend the rest of the day at Six Flags. Again, prayers please for safe travel and safe behaviors. We should probably include extra prayers for the chaperons. Can you imagine taking nearly 80 kids on a trip like that!

  • This weekend is the long-awaited bridal shower of my dear friend Krista. Krista is my age and has never been married. She met the love of her life a few years ago and got engaged this past Valentine's Day week. I am so excited to attend her bridal shower and wish her well on her new married life. (Even if that means she is moving away from here to be with her future hubby!) I will also get to see my college roommate this weekend at the shower and I am so looking forward to that!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 5K

Happy Mother's Day!

Last year I started a tradition for myself. I started participating in the Mother's Day 5K in Overland Park, Kansas. Last year, it was just my friend Krista and I who earned our Mother's Day tiara (a tradition at the Mother's Day 5K). But this year, we had 6 of us walking, including my three year old daughter.

Nearly 4,000 women registered for today's event. Last year I wore a hat because it was so cool. But this year I wore sunglasses because it was so sunny! My race time was a little slower than last year, but I finished in okay time. As we started the race, Meeghan said good bye to us walkers and decided to run. I think the last time she ran a 5K was two years ago. I am not sure what happened to my friend Krista, maybe she was not wearing her bib, but I could not find her time anywhere!

Place  Bib                     Gun Time          Net Time/Pace
 1042  2108 Meeghan    30 F     41:43 169/448    38:05 12:16
 2325  1889 Pamela     42 F     58:16 244/349    54:37 17:35

 2326   989 Olivia      3 F     58:17 204/303    54:38 17:35
 2327  1890 Christy    44 F     58:18 245/349    54:38 17:35 

My friend Krista is super tall! So she volunteered to put The Short Chic on her shoulders! I think she was a little scared! But it was cute enough to catch the event photographers who put this photo on their facebook page!

Here we are pre-race!

Krista and I waiting! This is our second year.  

Too early for her to be a happy camper!

The starting line. That is the short chic on Meeghan's back.

Meeghan, post race, with her Tiara, the finish line behind her.

Meeghan, The Short Chic and I after the race.

The Boy was not happy that he could not race with me. Sorry, girls only event! However, he had an orange Gatorade waiting for me at the end and that made me the happiest Momma ever!

After the Race, being silly! Check out the Short Chic!

In the end, Olivia earned her tiara, and we both earned our flower necklaces!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Photography Lesson 15: My Favorite Photo!

The final assignment for The Opposite Photography Class is to post our favorite photo. Ever. It can be a photo we have already taken or a new one we just snapped. I have mentally gone through a lot of my photos, trying to decide if I even have a favorite.

I love the photos of The Short Chic at her Fairy Tea Party, with her face painted and fairy costume on. I love a few of the photos of The Boy pitching. I have several photos I really like of scenery I have seen. I even have a favorite or two of my niece.  But a favorite? That seems like such a huge daunting task.

I thought about pulling the Mommy card tomorrow and requiring my family to pose for photos. But then as we were sitting outside enjoying an evening meal in the warm spring weather, I remember these photos I took last August when I was first diagnosed. It took all summer, but we finally got hummingbirds to visit our feeder last year. I took some photos of the hummingbirds visiting our feeder on our deck. They truly are some of my favorites. Even tonight as I looked at the, I felt proud that I am the one who took these! And, I did it before I understood how to get the background all fuzzy and out of focus. I did it before I knew in order to stop action sharply one needed a super fast shutter speed!

I have absolutely enjoyed this class!  I hope to continue to learn how to make the best photos I can.

ISO 1600, 1/125, f:5.6
I love that you can see the hummingbird. I am embarrassed you can see the dust on the feeder!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photography Lesson 14: Black and White

ISO 200, 1/60, f:13.0

My son was born in the great state of Colorado. I loved living in Colorado. Even though I could no longer live there, I brought part of Colorado home to Missouri with me. Columbine. The state flower. We have three varieties in our yard. The traditional blue/purple flowers are my favorite.

I used the Columbine as my subject for the black and white photo.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photography Lesson 13: Juxtaposition

I will admit, I had  never heard the word Juxtaposition before Monday evening. I quickly learned it is a contradiction. I get it. The thirteenth assignment was to photograph a juxtaposition.

Well, I am out of town this week, and my usual subjects are back home. Far from me. My first reaction was to photograph a person fully clothed in a swimming pool. I may not have access to my subjects, but hey I have access to a pool at my hotel. 

So after racking my brain, I came up with my photo.

ISO: 1600, 1/10, f:10
with a black backdrop

ISO: 1600, 1/10, f:10.0
No black backdrop

So, my photo. One of my favorite foods.  A cheeseburger. Fries. Chocolate Milkshake. With a Weight Watcher Journal. Believe it or not, but I am lifetime member of Weight Watcher. No rejoicing please, I am not at goal weight. Probably too many cheeseburgers!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finally... America Celebrates

It is past my bedtime for a work night. But there is no way I am going to bed any time soon.

Can it be?

 Is it true?

Have we really finally achieved some level of justice?

I find it hard to sit and cheer for any one's death, but I still remember the fear I felt the day I watched my country under attack. I still have no words to describe what it felt like the moment I realized the planes that were crashing into the World Trade Center were full of our own people and that a Terrorist was using our own planes, full of our own people to kill many more people. We had no idea how many planes had been hijacked, or what the targets were. The entire country was in fear.

Now, as I am watching the cheering that is occurring on my Facebook, I recognize that we had maybe given up hope of justice.  Years passed, nearly a decade, with false hope and minimal efforts. We have lots loved ones in the military.

But tonight! Tonight, we have news that we have the man who is responsible for the terror to our country; not just once but multiple terror acts! Tonight, we as a county we will celebrate the death of a man. Osama Bin Laden, we claimed our justice. Tonight, as a collective whole we will sing our military's praise!

And as odd as it may sound, tonight I shall say a strong prayer for peace.

Tomorrow, I shall wonder about the global impact Bin Laden's death may have to our country. I shall wonder how organized the terrorist cells are and what retribution they may plan.

But  not Tonight! Tonight, I will think about those who lost their lives or those who lost loved ones on 9-11-2001. Tonight, I will think about the justice we as a country deserve and demanded nearly a decade ago.

A Tonka Truck Birthday Party

Little Tucker turns 1 year old tomorrow and we celebrated today. His momma wanted to have a Tonka Truck party and it was the cutest! Tucker is destined to be the life of any party; he enjoyed eating, singing and most of all dancing at his party.

Here are some photos from his cute party!

Meg's made a cute pennant banner that said Tonka Truck. She also cut out various big trucks and used them too. I love how one letter is a circle and the next is a square!

How cute are these sugar cookies! Almost too cute to eat...Almost!

The big people's birthday cake. 

Both cakes, Tucker's individual cake pan  is in the foreground and the bigger cake in the background. 

Dumpcake served in a dump truck.

At the last minute, the party was moved to the garage. Uncle Gary Lee opened the garage door and how cool did the pennant banner look hanging like that!

The birthday boy himself! He is sporting a handmade shirt by his Momma. Made out of the same material as the banner.

Lots of gifts! He was amazing at opening presents!

Another gift! I hate to say this but a musical birthday card might have received the biggest reaction from him. He was dancing and groovin' all over the place!

CAKE CAKE CAKE. Tucker gets to eat cake! We could not even get a posed photo of him and the cake because as soon as he saw the cake, his fingers were in it!

I am not sure if he enjoyed eating as much as  he enjoyed playing with it!

yummy yummy! He finally picks up a piece of CAKE and not just FROSTING!

Photography Lesson Day 12: Slow

ISO 1600, 5, f:16

The latest assignment in the Opposites Photography class is to slow down the shutter speed and play.  The Boy and I played one night. We used glow sticks. Unfortunately, all I had was skinny bracelet sized glow sticks. So, we put several together and played spelling out MOM. The Boy got pretty good at the M.

As a side note, we also tried sparklers but they produced too much light. I am still surprised they did not set the fire alarms off inside the house. I have since been grounded, my husband says no more fireworks in the house. (party pooper!)

ISO 400, 20, f:8.0
My husband and I played last night. We drug the Short Chic's play house out away from the real house and set candles inside it. It felt all warm and cozy. The Short Chic on the other hand did not like her Momma and Daddy playing outside and her in the house. She cried, "but who is going to watch me, I am just a little girl!" So we bundled her up and took her outside, even though she really did not want to be outside.

After getting the settings right to give me about 20 seconds of "play time" I attempted to draw a stick person outside the house. I am not pleased with how it turned out. But I am posting it so you can see my attempts  to play with slow shutter speed.

ISO 400, 20, f:8.0
You can actually see me in the photo. It was fun to try.

But my real photo came tonight. I was done playing and just wanted to get one good shot. I had thought about driving to our local amusement park and getting some good shots there but that just isn't what happened.

UFC happened. So on the way home from the fights, when I was chilled to the bone. We pulled over along side a not so busy highway and got on one of the overpasses. As I was setting my camera up, a tow truck actually stopped to see if we needed assistance. UM, no thanks I am not in any type of distress just taking photos. They left scratching their heads! So, Anyway!! Here is my shot of traffic. I promise this is a busy highway, 4 lanes, but not a big city interstate.

ISO 200, 30, f:10.0
I am not sure how long the shutter was open. It felt like forever! And I am noticing that nothing else is in focus so I am sure I could have done it better. But I am calling it good on this assignment. I have learned a lot.