Monday, January 31, 2011

Camera Woes, Continued

So there I was, having just bought a Kodak Easyshare camera off ebay, having done no research on the camera or searching for other deals that might be better, or even any soul-searching as to whether or not this was something I really wanted in my life.

After the fact, I did the research. As it turns out, the particular camera I had purchased was a great buy. The newer versions were selling for somewhere around $230, but this particular model had received good reviews. There were a lot of users who said that, despite being professional camerapeople (totally copyrighting that word!), this was their go-to camera that they took everywhere with them. I found a fairly official-looking website that listed the pros and cons of the camera in layman's terms, and I discovered that the drawbacks of this camera were still better features than were on my old camera. Things were looking up.

I even did some soul-searching and came to the following conclusions:
1) We have a baby coming soon. It would be good to have a camera to record the blessed event- after the fact when I've had a chance to brush my hair, of course.
2) I've been wanting to learn more about photography, anyway, and not wanting to break the bank to do it. I need a relatively inexpensive camera with some good options for manual control.
3) A new camera would help with developing whatever creativity I may have in the areas of photography, photograph manipulation (read: photoshop), and scrapbooking.
4) Photography is a great way to improve family history efforts. Someday, we're going to love looking back on these memories.
5) It was my money, dang it, and I could spend it however I wanted!

In short, I started to really look forward to getting my shiny new camera.

That was January 3rd. The estimated delivery date was the 12th-18th. So, I settled in to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And... nothing happened. I finally tried to contact the seller, who never contacted me back. After the 18th, I made a case with ebay, who encouraged me to contact the seller and said they would do the same. I then had to wait another 7 days for the seller to contact me.

Which he never did.

At this point, I was disgruntled. I gave the seller a bad rating.

Finally, on the 28th, ebay emailed me saying that they would refund my money- the entire $50 for the camera plus the $10 I paid for shipping. They've told me they would refund it through my PayPal account. It hasn't come through. So, here I am, no camera, no birthday money, and about 60 pictures I want to take. To top it off, on the day I bought the camera, I found a couple other cameras just like it that were better deals and were being sold by top-rated sellers. Since then, I haven't found another camera that both interests me and is within my price range.


Life's a grand adventure, isn't it?

Not to worry- I fully intend to get my money back and to keep looking for my pretty new camera. Pictures will rise again!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Camera Woes

I've lost my camera. I haven't seen it since Thanksgiving. Sad story, I know.

I was given $50 for my birthday in December.

Do you see where this is going?

One day, back on January 3rd, I was browsing through ebay and drooling over the things I couldn't have. Then, because I was missing my camera and I had wanted to buy a camera with a few more options than just "point and shoot," I searched for cameras. Lo and behold, I found one. It was a Kodak Easyshare, selling for $50, with half an hour left on the auction and no other bidders. I read the reviews on the camera, and then bid on it.

And then I freaked out. It sounded something like this:

"Wait! What did I just do? I was going to buy curtains with that money, or a new dress! I don't need a camera that badly. I haven't done any research whatsoever! Is this really the best camera I could get? I don't know. Is this the best deal I could get on this camera? I don't know. What on earth did I buy a camera for? WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?"

It sounded like that in my head, via chat with hubby, and over the phone to my mom. For about two hours.

Oh yeah, I won the auction. I had myself a shiny (somewhat scratched) new (3.5 years old) camera, and a lovely little panic attack to go with it...

to be continued...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Potty Matters

We're not there yet. My mom always waited until her kids were 3 to potty train, the theory being that at that point they were a little bit more mature and able to handle the responsibility. I am thinking about it, though, and doing some "pre-training" exercises... mostly involving using the word "potty" with her. I try to catch her in the act and associate that with the word.

I don't know so much if that's helping, but this morning, while I was doing dishes, she kept putting her hand to her backside and saying "Ew," another word we use when changing her diaper. Sure enough, I went to change her and she was quite messy. This wouldn't be terribly remarkable except that because of it I ended up changing her diaper at a time when I don't usually.

I've noticed, too, that potty training books and videos at the library have started catching my eye. Apparently I'm thinking about it more than I thought I was.

Like I said, we're not there yet, but it's good to be prepared... for those of you who have potty trained, what methods have/haven't worked for you? When did you start potty training? How difficult was it?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hello, Sunshine!

Spring is teasing me.

It's January, for crying out loud. It's been officially winter for only a month. There is no way that spring is right around the corner.

And yet, Monday was gorgeous. It was sunny, and the sky was a beautiful blue, and the air seemed to sparkle with the promise of brighter days to come. This morning was the same way. Schprid and I tromped around in the remaining snow on our front lawn after our trip to the library, just to enjoy being outside and tromping in the snow. We weren't wearing coats.

I swear I can almost smell the sunshine.

It's got me thinking about flowers and herb gardens and playing in the park. And because I think, then I wish. And then I try to go outside and have to remember that it really is still freezing out there.


Flowers. Camping. Horses. Swimming. There's so much to look forward to!

What do you love about Spring?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Her Little Eyes

Sometimes, when Schprid gets excited, her little eyes just shine.

Brighter than any star. Bluer than any sea.

It's beautiful to behold. I hope with all my heart that she keeps that excitement throughout her life.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Hubby took me to Ireland on Friday.

Okay, okay, it wasn't really Ireland. It was, however, an Irish dance performance.

Have I ever mentioned that I love dance?

I really, really love dance.

I do believe that Irish dancing is probably my favorite style of dance, for several reasons, although ballroom dance may be a tie or close second. Mmmm. It's delightful.

Anyway, this performance was really cute. It was performed by an award-winning dance company, which is impressive because it was mostly young and teenage girls. Actually, now that I think about it, except for the instructors it was all young and teenage girls. But they also had a couple different music groups that also performed with them. One of the music groups was mostly bagpipes. Awesome.

The story told of Alice, a young girl who followed a leprechaun after her dance class. She went to an old Irish pub and saw a dance fight (one of my favorite numbers), to the land of the dead (cutest Zombies I've ever seen!), and was rescued by some adorable washerwomen. She was shrunk to the size of a fairy and got to see a bunch of them dance. She got caught in a rainstorm and washed up on a beach where there was one of the most rocking beach parties I've ever seen. She ended up back on the bench in front of her dance class where her mom finally picked her up. It was a cute performance, the music was awesome, and, because I'm hormonal, I totally cried.

Can I dance like that, too? Pretty please?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dear Pioneer Woman,

This week, I tried to make normal spaghetti. It's a good recipe. Hamburger, tomato sauce, spices, noodles. Usually, it's a recipe with which I cannot go wrong. Unfortunately, you have spoiled me.

See, I stumbled across your Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce recipe last year, and made it for Hubby's birthday with Parmesan Chicken. The meal was heavenly. We have had it at least twice since that wonderful day in October- once for my birthday and then again just because. Each time, I have felt my tongue curl up with joy. Gone are the days when I can enjoy regular spaghetti. Gone are the days when I am content with normal red sauce.

Thanks a lot,

Drooling Over Pasta

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting Brave

Yesterday was library day. We went to Toddler Time again, where Schprid was able to listen to stories, songs, and watch a puppet show. We learned about the letter "P."

We got there early in order to get a good seat. However, because we got there early, we picked up a couple of books to keep her occupied until the show began. They have a long bin of board books that are perfect for toddlers. We read both our books, then she wandered around trying to steal other peoples' books. Finally the bell rang and we were able to get started.

Boy, oh, boy, was it ever fun! We learned about what was under Timmy's bed (a piranha was among them...) and read a book about a llama in red pajamas, and we sang songs and jumped around. Schprid still hasn't quite got the routine figured out. Nor does she know that when everybody else claps and jumps around, she can also clap and jump around. Still, she is figuring out that when the other kids go down to sit on the blanket, she can go down and try to find a place for herself, as well. It's pretty cute.

After it was over, chaos ensued. I stayed sitting down while mommies and kids and babies and strollers swarmed around me. I don't need the drama of trying to wade through all that... I was very content to wait until the air had cleared a bit. Not Schprid... no, no, no. She picked up one of the books we had read earlier and bravely threaded her way through grown-up legs and swinging diaper bags to get to the board books. She put her book in, grabbed another one, and very sweetly and determinedly made her way back to me. It was one of the cutest things I've ever seen! (By the way, I love that she naturally put one book back before grabbing another one. I need to try to keep that habit alive and well in this child!) The sight of her little pinkness (she was in a very pink outfit yesterday) asserting herself and making her little mark on the world just made my heart swell.

To add to the fun of the day...

Later that night, as we were settling Schprid in bed, we gathered together to say her nightly prayers. Hubby did the honors, and thanked the Lord that Schprid "got to go to the library and learn about pee... the letter 'P.'" It had both parental units laughing through the rest of the prayer, with Schprid joining in even though she didn't understand the joke.

Ah, the good times of family life. Love it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Square Cheese, Episode 2

Hubby, sadly, is a square cheese heretic.

Not only does he not fold his cheese before he eats it...

Not only does he not savor each small bit in his mouth one at a time...

He actually doubles up two pieces of cheese and devours them together.


That's okay. We love him anyway.

P.S. This post was made at Hubby's request. Sortof.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Square Cheese

It's also known as fake cheese, plastic cheese, and American Cheese. I've always called it Square Cheese, because that's what it looked like to me. It came in pre-packaged squares of yumminess. It's smooth, creamy, and has a delicious flavor.

There is, of course, only one correct way to eat square cheese. One must fold it in half, fold it in half again, and then fold it in half again. At this point, the cheese will be in small rectangles. If one is feeling ambitious, one can separate the pile of little cheese rectangles into two piles and fold it in half yet again. It is, however, acceptable to eat in the rectangular form. However, each individual rectangle or square must be eaten separately. It must be slipped onto the tongue, savored, and then either chewed or allowed to melt. Chewing is generally the preferred method.

Schprid, I am happy to report, has realized the importance of eating square cheese in this manner. While she doesn't always get the folding right, she does make sure to tear little pieces off the whole and eat them one at a time. She's such a good girl.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Blogging is great. I love the openness, the ability to write anything I desire, to post pictures and videos, to pretend I'm a professional in the morning before dressing in my sweats to go take care of the Schprid and clean the house.

At times, though, I want a little bit more. I look at pretty websites and think, "That's so fun, but I just don't want to learn to code well enough to be able to do that."

Well, over the weekend, hubby showed me a cool thing that's been hiding on our computer. Seriously, we've had this for over a year, and I never even knew about it. It's called iWeb.

I could build a website.

I could build a website with different pages, different categories, different elements. It's drag-and-drop easy. It even incorporates a blog page in the traditional blogging format, if such is your pleasure.

I could have a section for stories, one for horses, one for family adventures, one for recipes, one for creative things, one for fitness... the list goes on and on and on!

Really, it tickles my imagination and my fancy because, while I'm not sure I excel at any one thing, I have tons of ideas, tons of hobbies, and a desire to do something creative to catalogue my life rather than just live it. Plus, I spend way too much time on the computer while Schprid is napping and whatnot, and it would be better, I think, to play on iWeb- my own personal website! How cool!- than to play Bloons Tower Defense 4 or Alchemy all the time.

(By the way, search for those two games and play them. They're fun.)

I want! Oh boy, oh boy, do I ever want.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Water Works

Have you ever tried to keep a horse watered during a freezing cold winter? It's an issue.

It's a blasted pain.

The water freezes in the pipes, in the hose, in the bucket. The pipes... well, there's not much you can do once they're already frozen. The hose needs to be drained after every use. The ice in the bucket needs to be broken with a shovel. All of this while you're trying not to freeze yourself.

Fortunately, we have a water heater that just sits right inside the water trough, which has helped a lot during this winter- no breaking ice for me!

But that still leaves the issue of the pipes and hose freezing.

We finally decided to keep the hose in the basement, which is gross anyway, and that way it will stay thawed and pliable. It now lives in a big yellow tub downstairs. And, guess what, we also have water faucets down there! Do you see where this is going?

It only took us two months to figure out an effective way to water the horse. Yesterday was the trial run. Let me take you through it, step by step:

1. Start in the laundry room. Put on coat and muck boots.
2. Exit the house through the laundry room and walk around to the kitchen (because I'm not tromping through my pretty house in gross muck boots!).
3. Enter the kitchen and, from there, go down to the basement.
4. Thread the hose through the basement window.
5. Go back outside via the kitchen.
6. String the hose across the yard to the water trough.
7. Go back down to the basement via the kitchen.
8. Turn on the water.
9. Go back outside via the kitchen.
10. Stand and hold the hose to ensure the water makes it into the trough.
11. Wait.
12. Wait some more.
13. Try not to freeze while you're waiting. (It's a big trough.)
14. When the trough is full, run back down to the basement via the kitchen.
15. Turn off the water.
16. Pull the hose back through the window and coil it back into its bucket.
17. Close the stubborn window.
18. Exit the house via the kitchen.
19. Go back around the house to the laundry room.
20. Enter the laundry room, take off coat and shoes, and gloat, because doing all that was far easier than draining the blasted hose.

Springtime? Please?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Mansion Above

When I get to Heaven, and get to live in my big mansion, can I design it however I want?

I actually don't want a huge mansion. I want a fairly modest house with a wraparound porch and porch railing. I want a game room. I want a fireplace and a library. I want a big kitchen, even though I don't know if we're going to be doing much eating because, you know, we're dead. I just really enjoy cooking, so if we're going to be eating at all, I want a nice big pretty kitchen.

Mostly, I want a luxurious bathroom.


I want a large bathtub, with plenty of nooks around for bathing stuffs- soaps, scrubbers, bath pillows, bubble bath, epsom salts, massage oils, face masks... and other nooks for candles. Lots and lots of candles. I want music, somehow, either a speaker system built into the walls, or a stereo with its own place of honor. I want large, fluffy bath towels. And, this is Heaven, so I want waterproof books, too. I want the entire room to be able to be completely darkened. No windows for me! But, I do want big windows in my library, so after my bath I can go dress in heavenly sweats with fuzzy socks, sit by the window, listen to the fire roaring in the fireplace, and cozy up with a blanket and a good book.

Again, mmmmm.....

That's a little piece of Heaven, right there, don't you think?

What's in your Heaven?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Waxing Poetic

Today, I feel the weight of the night. With every tired blink, with every ragged breath, I live again those moments when, lying warm and safe in bed, I was not allowed the release of sleep.

The heater hums in the background of my mind, lending a sweet monotony to the chores that must lie ahead.

Green eyes plead up at me from the face of a cat, wishing, hoping, wanting nothing but a belly rub to tell her she is loved.

Eighteen months of joy and learning and needing and fierce independence call to me from the butterfly room, wondering when I will awake, when I will rescue her...

The beautiful day outside freezes every moment, stretching them out, crystalizing them, turning each one into a beautiful eternity.

And I sit, watching, smiling, groaning, stretching...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back to the Grindstone

Well, the holidays are over, the house is trying to get clean again, and we're into the long, cold, rather boring part of... Winter.

That means it's time to get back into the groove. (Mine is not nearly as cool as the Emperor's New, or even his old groove.)

Of course this means housework, yardwork, going to the doctor, and taking care of life's little chores. For me, it also means working more on my class. I'm taking Human Anatomy. I'm doing the independent study version, mostly because I didn't want to go to a cadaver lab twice a week. So far, I'm 4 chapters into it, have over 200 flash cards, and 9 months to finish the rest of the class. Wish me luck; I'm gonna need it!

What's your groove?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Good Books: The Way of Kings

Once upon a time, there was a new author named Brandon Sanderson. He was amazing. He was able to take over the massive project that is The Wheel of Time (definitely another post sometime in the future!) and, in many ways, improve upon it.

Then, one day, he started his own massive project, in some ways even more ambitious than The Wheel of Time. The first book is The Way of Kings.

I finished the book in about 4 days (it's over 1000 pages), and really enjoyed it. Granted, I didn't really know what was going on for the first 400 or so pages, but the characters were unique, interesting, and had varied circumstances. I would recommend it to most fantasy readers.

A word of caution: This book is very fantasy. Brandon Sanderson has a tendency to create worlds in which the land itself plays a fairly major part in the story. Hence, the worlds feel quite alien, which sometimes makes it hard to "get into." This book is no exception. However, if you would like to try something that feels a little bit more normal, I would highly recommend Elantris or Warbreaker (which you can actually read online.) Each of these books stands alone, and gives a good taste of Brandon Sanderson's style.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Toddler Time

Schprid and I went to the public library yesterday for Toddler Time. It was so cute! It was also packed. They have this cute circle that is easily big enough for many kids to sit in, and not only was it packed, and the two steps leading down into it, but also 3 people deep all the way around it. We got there late and had to stay at the back, but we had fun. There were songs, and a story, and a puppet show, and coloring pages that got passed out.

Schprid stayed in my arms or her stroller the whole time, wide-eyed and quiet, very interested but also slightly traumatized. I'm excited to watch her get more comfortable with the library idea as we go more often.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I never did really post on what our fun Christmas gifts were, did I? Well, it's about time.

There was something for everyone... even the horse got a bag of grain and the cat got a new climbing toy. Our poor little budget got stretched this year!!!

Schprid's favorite toy was, of course, her new baby. She's also decided that she likes her new bedroom and goes to bed very easily now. But on top of that, she got a pink cowgirl hat, a new outfit, a puzzle, a see'n'say, some rolling animals (she loves anything that goes vroom!) and and psycho cat.

I love that cat. It's just a stuffed thing. She loved it too, when she first took it out of the box. Then we turned it on. It has a long, curvy tail, a voice box, and a motion sensor. Anytime it senses motion, it starts laughing hysterically and rolling over on the floor like something is freaking hilarious. It makes me laugh. It makes Hubby jump. It makes Schprid cry and stay away from the room where she can see the cat. Poor thing. I love it, though.

Hubby got some track lighting for the kitchen. He loves lights, and he had broken the last light that was up before we got to use it much. We got the lights put up just a couple days after Christmas, and we love them. The kitchen is now bright, and cheery, and well-illuminated. Joy! He also got some sweats, and an autobiography of Nelson Mandela, and games, and flashlights, and a couple of gift cards to Home Depot, plus some other odds and ends for working around the house. Sawsall blades, that sort of thing. He was happy.

I got shelves. That was my big present. Hubby got me some nice big shelves for the basement. He put them up on New Years, too. It's nice... it'll give us that much more organization room which translates to... more space! I got a dock for my ipod, too, which I absolutely love because it lets me have music in the kitchen. Woohoo! I got my purple cow (from crazy mother-in-law) in the form of a picture that is now hanging in my laundry room and makes me smile every time I see it. I got a couple more cutco knives from my family (love those things!) some cookie dough, a box of chocolates... it was a good Christmas.

I must say, though, the most touching present came from my daughter, who didn't even realize the importance or timing of what she was doing. The day after Christmas, she learned to say "Mommy."


I feel loved. I'm grateful for such a wonderful family. I love them all.

Okay, signing off now before this gets too gooey.

But I love you all, too.

Really, signing off now.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pink Army

I have to gloat a little bit. Just because I'm a poor sport and a sore winner. :)

Have you ever played Risk?

"It's a game of world domination played by two men who can barely run their own lives..." (Thank you, Jerry Seinfeld.)

I thoroughly enjoy the game. It's not one I could play every day, but a few games a year don't go amiss. The longest game of Risk I've ever played lasted 10 hours over a course of three days. It was great.

When Hubby and I got married, we registered for, and received, a Risk game. It's not the typical version, though. It's one of those games that is put into a wooden box that's designed to stand up and look like a classy book. We like the look of it on our shelves, and it's a good game, but the pieces are little wooden blocks instead of little plastic men. There are also different colors for the armies. My army of choice is, you guessed it, bright pink.

The last time we played Risk was on New Years' Eve, just 5 nights ago. We played world domination. I had my pink army; Hubby played with green. After our initial setup, it looked like I had a terrible terrible position and I was going to die a sad, sad death. Five turns later, the entire world was covered in pink and there wasn't a green army to be seen. That's right, friends, I took over the world in five turns.

That's awesome in and of itself, but compound that with the fact that the time before when we played Risk, we played missions and I beat him in 4 turns (also with my pink army), and we start to get a fairly awesome trend. Seriously, who destroys someone else in Risk in 4 or 5 turns? I'll tell you who: me, that's who. :)

I'm pretty sure it's the pink army.

Hubby is pretty sure, too, so he's threatened to swallow his manly pride and choose the pink army for himself next time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Did It!

Remember how I made a vow, last New Years', to not eat chocolate in 2010? Well, guess what? I did it! Even through the holidays, through my birthday, through receiving all sorts of chocolatey goodies from well-meaning folk and through pregnancy cravings, I didn't eat any chocolate. It saved me, I kid you not, hundreds of thousands of calories last year that I do not have to burn off after I give birth in three months. (!)

I also had M&Ms with my breakfast on New Years' day, 2011. They were some of the yummiest M&Ms I've ever had.

And I learned something, which is always cool.

See, while I don't like the arbitrariness of setting a goal on New Years' day, I do like the time limit. One year. That's all I had to do. Then I could reevaluate based on logical conclusions rather than a desire to do the very thing I've decided not to do, (or a desire to not do the thing I've decided to do, whichever the case may be).

The reevaluation? I missed chocolate. It's my friend. It's sweet. It has antioxidants. I'm going to eat chocolate in 2011.

At the same time, I really really don't miss the hundreds of thousands of calories, or the workouts that I would have had to do to keep those calories off my thighs.

Hence, a different goal: for 2011, I will eat only 2 desserts per week. (A dessert counts as one bowl of ice cream, one piece of cake, etc. etc. A piece of candy counts as one dessert, but I can eat up to the entire normal-sized package before I start getting into my second dessert. Same thing counts for cookies, up to three.) I've done this restriction on myself before, and I've always liked the effects. Trouble is, I've never had a specific time when this restriction ended, so it was always, "Well, I want it, so I'll eat more this week and start again next week." Didn't work so well. I think I like the whole 1 year timeline. Yes, holidays count. I'll just have to ration better. Weeks start on Mondays, so I had the last two days to gorge myself on as much chocolate as I could eat (which wasn't as much as I would have expected- yippee!!) and today starts my first week.

Wish me luck and a December in size 10s. Or at least 12s. :)