Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well, this week Joel is supposed to be set up with an interview with a pharmaceutical company for a job in accounts receivable. They haven't called yet to set it up, so I hope they do that today. Also he heard back from the IRS and he's still in the running, so that's good news. I hope that eventually the IRS thing will pan out, it could open us to moving to other states. The other job is in Eden Prairie and would keep us here in this frozen tundra. Brrrrr!

Gina comes into town on Thursday, yay!!! We'll be keeping her busy with our family stuff.

Joel has his graduation ceremony on Friday. He finished his associates degree in accounting back in December, but they didn't have a ceremony until this month.

Saturday we have the Tax Cut Rally at the state capitol. I'm not sure how that will go. We'll bring the neat sheet and maybe a chair to sit on. I don't want to stand for a long time. There will be pizza there :)

I'm going to make sandbags today for my photography umbrella. I need them to keep my umbrellas from blowing down and breaking when having them set up outside where there's wind. I found the perfect material at Wal Mart for it. It's black and 100% polyester on the outside and 100% PVC on the inside. It's waterproof. It's very similar to the plastic that is on the cushions for outdoor furniture. I hope they work out. I have friends who could use some so maybe if they like them I could sell a couple.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I have been as busy as a bee lately.

Yesterday I spent the day at the Convention Center where I took a Photoshop seminar. The thing that interested me the most to take this seminar was that they would be teaching some High Dynamic Range imaging techniques and I was curious. Also there were some other things I learned that will come in handy.

Oh! I forgot to mention, I made a new friend down there too. Her name is Tina. I met her at the map of the Convention Center and found out she was going to the same spot as me. She had been to the seminar last year and we chatted all the way down to the lower level where the seminar was. When we got there, I already had a ticket and she had to register, but after she got in she found me and we sat together and talked in between sessions. She lives pretty close to us (close is relative), and is a web designer. She just got her first slr and is looking forward to learning it. She also has four kids, her oldest is 12 and the others are around my other kid's ages. It was so nice to find a friend who was fun to talk to and had similar interest, but not exactly the same. She just shot me an email tonight after looking at my website and asked when I wanted to teach her to shoot, lol! We talked about her building me a new website and I teach her to shoot. I would love something more contemporary and edgy for my wedding stuff.

Then I met Joel and Jake down at the state Capitol for a tea party rally. It was super fun. Everyone was so nice and respectful. No pee bombs or destroyed private/public property like we got down there for the RNC. Conservatives are much better behaved people for sure. It's crazy to even suggest that we'd start trouble or riot and such. Some people (read: Homeland Security) are way overly imaginative and confuse people easily (read: conservatives with liberals).

We have tickets for the Twins game tomorrow night. It was supposed to be all of our kids' first time to a Twins Baseball game. But Joy and Jaeden will be missing out on it because of sick bugs. I'm sad for my little girls. I was looking forward to our family having some fun together again this weekend.

Last weekend we saw Monsters vs. Aliens at the IMAX in 3D and it was super fun and good. Will for sure buy it when it comes out. We've also been red-boxing it lately. A few good ones we liked were Bedtime Stories, Bolt and Fireproof (I agree with others, bad acting but good story).

I'm soooo glad it's not my turn for Sharing Time this week! :)


That stands for High Dynamic Range Imaging :) Which is something I learned at the Photoshop seminar I attended yesterday. They showed us how to create these images that makes it hard to tell... is it a photograph?.... is it an illustration?.... can you tell?

This morning I couldn't wait to download a trial copy of it (of course it has to put ugly watermarks on my image, gah) but it was worth the try.

This is the worst picture for me to try this out on, but I don't have a clean house today because I was gone for the entire day yesterday, and honestly since the husband's been laid off I've been slacking in the cleaning department. That's life, right? I wanted an image of a somewhat busy area that wasn't too embarrassing to show so you get to see my work station where all my magic happens, lucky you!

I had the front door open to the left so there are some sunbeams in the image that I didn't see until I uploaded the bracketed images.

So, that said, this is my very first attempt at HDR.

By taking these three images:

Put the best of them together ...

and with some tweaking ....

created something really different....

Now step back from your screen to see that they created this. But try to ignore the sunbeams, lol!

Click here to see :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I wish this story would touch every heart the way it has touched mine, whether it is real or not, because it was real when Christ did it and that's what really matters. I wish that I didn't know so many people who were refusing "the donut".

There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending Seminary in Utah. In this state Seminary classes are held during school hours. Brother Christianson taught Seminary at this particular school. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson's Seminary class.

Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over.

One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Bro. Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, 'You think you're pretty tough, don't you?'

Steve's answer was, 'Yeah, I do.'

Then Brother Christianson asked, 'How many push-ups can you do?'
Steve said, 'I do about 200 every night.'

'200? That's pretty good, Steve,' Brother Christianson said. 'Do you think you could do 300?'

Steve replied, 'I don't know... I've never done 300 at a time.'

'Do you think you could?' Again asked Brother Christianson.

'Well, I can try,' said Steve.

'Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,' Brother Christianson said. Steve said, 'Well... I think I can... yeah, I can do it.'

Brother Christianson said, 'Good! I need you to do this on Friday.'

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited-it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.
Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, 'Cynthia, do you want a donut?'

Cynthia said, 'Yes.'

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, 'Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?'

Steve said, 'Sure,' and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.

Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, 'Joe do you want a donut?'

Joe said, 'Yes.' Bro. Christianson asked, 'Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?' Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott.

Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. Then Bro. Christianson asked, 'Scott do you want a donut?'

Scott's reply was, 'Well, can I do my own pushups?'

Bro. Christianson said, 'No, Steve has to do them.'

Then Scott said, 'Well, I don't want one then.'

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, 'Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?'

Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, 'HEY! I said I didn't want one!'

Bro. Christianson said, 'Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it.' And he put a donut on Scott's desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Bro. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, 'Jenny, do you want a donut?'

Jenny said, 'No.'

Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, 'Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?' Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, the students were beginning to say 'No' and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the sides of the room. When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Bro. Christianson, 'Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?'

Bro.. Christianson thought for a moment, 'Well, they're your pushups. You can do them any way that you want.' And Bro. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, 'NO! Don't come in! Stay out!'

Jason didn't know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, 'No, let him come.'

Bro. Christianson said, 'You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him.'

Steve said, 'Yes, let him come in.'

Bro. Christianson said, 'Okay, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?'

'Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?' Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve's arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, 'Linda, do you want a doughnut?

Linda said, very sadly, 'No, thank you.'

Bro. Christianson asked Steve, 'Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?'

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Bro. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. 'Susan, do you want a donut?'
Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, 'Bro. Christianson , can I help him?'

Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, 'No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?'

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Brother Christianson turned to the room and said. 'And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died.. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.' .

When everyone in the classroom heard what the teacher meant by it and realized everything. Steve smiled on the ground where he laid in his own sweat and began to cry.

Don't be like those who didn't eat the donut and not remember Christ and his sacrifice!

Happy Easter :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wish I had a hammock

Wouldn't that be nice on a day like today? Put it under a tree and grab a good book and a bottle of water and just relax.
So nice :)

Just 19 more days until my friend Gina flies in on a jet plane. I'm so excited! I haven't seen her in forever, and we've been talking less for the last several months since she got a job and I have become crazy busy. Also Joel being home kind of cuts down on my social time. He doesn't mean to, it's just that way.

If she doesn't find a dress before then, I'm taking her to the local thrift store and we are going to do a trash the dress session. Hahaha, she keeps joking about it, but I'm gonna take her up on it! What size are you now, girl? A size 2 yet??? She's the incredible shrinking woman, lol.

Joy is sitting in my window watching her daddy change his tire and singing, "Bow chicka wow wow, that's wha' my baby says". She's so cute :)

We are waiting for him to get done so we can color eggs, oh I should get out the camera for that too. I'm starting to feel like playing with pictures again. The last engagement session has got me in a playing mood... coming out of a winter hibernation I guess. My camera is scrawny and starving for some action!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

It was a good Friday for us anyway. I have taken some time to contemplate the meaning of Easter, and Good Friday, but my post tonight is not about those thoughts.

We started our day off with Joel and I making our way over to our storage unit and picking up our Easter box that was full of baskets, Easter die, plastic eggs and an assortment of Easter figurines. Sad, really, that we are picking them up so late. I used to decorate nearly a month in advance for every holiday, but now days the kids are lucky to even see the box come home.
Then we went over to WalMart and purchased all of the Easter bunny necessities. It caused me great joy when I was waved over to stand next to the Easter Bunny in the WalMart Easter area, and some guy took my picture with the bunny. He was shooting with some point and shoot, and was using manual settings (I knew this because a flash didn't go off). He determined that the bunny and I should sit "for better lighting" (who are you kidding mister?) and then took my picture again. Yay, I know I look so skinny when I sit, NOT. I didn't bother sticking around for an hour to pick up my printed version of the picture.
We then went home and had lunch with the kids, then took them down to the Minnesota Zoo to see the baby animals in the Farm area. The kids liked it, but we had to really race there and then down to the IMAX theatre for a 3-D viewing of Monsters vs. Aliens. It was a pretty good show, but had some unnecessary use of God's name and also a mock swearing where one guy said, "Holy Cheez-its" (you can sound that out in your head). But over-all it was a good movie. Would be better on my Clear Play.
On the way home we bought the kids McDonald's and dropped them off at home. Joel and I took a nice break from them and had dinner at Ol' Mexico. I haven't been there in years and it was almost as yummy as I remember Chi-Chis to be.
Now I have a tummy ache from all the candy and Mexican food I ate.
I'm just uploading some pictures I took the other day while out with my friend JoAnne. We went to the State Fairgrounds to play with our cameras and I got some fun ones. Post them later.

And now it's later....

Here's some that I played with tonight. Enjoy!

Don't call her "Fresh".


And I totally think JoAnne should steal this image and use it for an avitar :)


We are such delightful women :) This is a shot courtesy of Joy, which was about the only shot we ended up being in because her head wandered to other places when we gave her the camera.


An odd looking sunflower... I've never seen sunflowers do that.


And then her adoreable son, such a cutie!!!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Always forgetting

I wish I was better at blogging. My kids are always doing or saying something that I think... "I HAVE to write this down so Grandma and Grandpa can read it!" and then I forget it.
I know Joy did/said something I should have written down the other day, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was.
I know we've heard sayings from her lately that have to do with her beauty. "Keep away from my beauty", was said when telling her brother to buzz off. Maybe Joel will remember and when he reads this he'll remind me.

Finally some of the temp agencies that he's applied with are calling him back for interviewing and testing. He has to go back to one and take a test, it wasn't working the day he was there for his interview. Account Temps told him to come back after he gets his degree, they wouldn't even touch him at this point, silly really. He only has 3 classes left until he gets his degree. He's also been looking outside of the state for work. I would love to get out of Minnesota! I'm tired of freezing and also family drama here. Would be nice to be in the dark about most things that have been going on here, lol.

I might have found some good shoes, it's hard to tell yet, but I walked in them the other day, and they gave me a blister on my heel. Yesterday I walked 2 miles in them and used a blister patch and some custom formed inserts. My ankle and feet feel ok today. I'm hoping these will work, it's been such an ordeal.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I tried!

Because of my love for photography my family has very few images of me with my kids, because I am always the one behind the camera. So while we went to the Audubon Center of the North Woods for a day of maple syruping, I decided to ask Joel to take a picture of me with the two kids that came with us. This is about as good as it got....

At least I tried.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools!!!

I come from a family that is really big on April Fools. I mean REALLY big on it. They've gone so far as to take out adds in local papers to sell off newly beloved vehicles of other family members, and used police tape and body chalk outlines on driveways, and filled cars with balloons... there is nothing they would not do. After 18 years together, I have finally gotten my husband, an April Fool virgin, to join in the festivities with me and target our kids for some good wholesome family bonding trickery.
So last night we yahoo'd back and forth all the ideas we thought were great that we found on the internet and compiled a list of our favorites.
We'd planned to start the night out by sneaking into Jacob's room while he slept and drawing on his face with black eyeliner, then in the morning taking him to early morning seminary, only to have his friends at seminary let him in on the joke... but alas, when I broke into his room (after his father assured me he'd just heard Jake snoring), he sat up and asked me what I was doing. So.... plan B.... Josh's room. He was sound asleep and was very cooperative while I drew dots all over his face, gave him a moustache and goatee, then I wrote "April Fool" on his forehead backwards so he could read it in the mirror in the morning.

Oh what fun we planned to have at his expense!

Well, our plans did not include another one of our children waking up 5 minutes before the seminary alarm went off, to puke all over her floor. So while I cleaned up the mess with the Little Green Machine all of the house was woken up. Nobody noticed Joshua's face, but I noticed that it was a little faded. So after Joel took Jake to seminary and I stayed on the couch with Joy holding a bucket, I went back to bed and slept until Josh went to school. Joel said that nobody noticed his face because we all were thrown off and didn't have breakfast together like we usually do, so when it was time for Josh to catch the bus Joel told him to go look at his face. Josh looked in the mirror and yelled, "DAD! What did you do that for?" Then Joel told him to read his forehead.... "April Fool!" "DAD! You're mean!"

I woke up after this so I have no pictures of it.
Then later in the day we put up signs on the doors. On the front door was "WET PAINT, USE BACK DOOR" and on the back door, "WET PAINT, USE FRONT DOOR". Jake was our first target, but he didn't fall for it. So then we waited for the other two to come home from school. We hid in the front room, listening to them. Jaeden came to the door first, but of course it was locked. So then she started ringing the door bell and knocking. Josh came up behind her and read the sign, "we have to go to the back door". So they marched around the house. Then they saw the sign on the back door, "ARRRRRGH!" Josh yelled. Hahaha. We opened the front door when they came back around and yelled, "April Fools!"

Now, for the fun pictures....
After they got home Joel took them outside to see a crow up in the trees with his binoculars,

they thought that was pretty great, until I showed them the pictures I took of them coming back into the house!

Later after dinner we challenged them to a game, first we showed them how with our own quarter, and then gave them each their own quarter to try. We had them roll the quarter down their noses and try to get it into a cup.

We set them up opposite sides of the island so they could watch each other. They thought this was a great game! Although they didn't notice each other's faces as they played until we pointed it out.
Then Jake came in and Joel somehow tricked him into trying, he must not have noticed the kids faces first, so we got him smudged up too!

I can't believe they didn't catch on that every time the camera came out, they were being April Fooled!
Anyway, Joel and I had great fun and we did try a few tricks that didn't work out, but these did and got a lot of high fives and "APRIL FOOLS!!!" yelled.

I have to throw this picture in here, this is the girls last Sunday wearing their new dresses. Aren't they adorable???