Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kern Valley Ward 50th Anniversary Party

We have busy the last few days... more busy than I care to be. Two days in Bakersfield gathering dinner supplies for our ward's 50th anniversary party. Kelly Kent did a fantastic job making a yearbook on lulu.com and putting together a slide show. Ryan's end of the deal didn't go quite as planned... first, he had to trade shifts with Danny R. because the schedule was already out when he was asked to do this thing. So he worked in the morning, and right when he was supposed to get off, he got into a pursuit. He was two hours behind schedule, which put the dinner an hour behind... I don't think anyone was upset about it, but still, we hate telling people to be there at 6:30 and then not being ready until 7:30. Hopefully the food pleased everyone. There was BBQ chicken, ranch rolls, baked carrots, rice pilaf, and for dessert, peach cobbler. Ryan had a kitchen crew- Jimmy, David, and Jason P. came up to help. I had to rig a screen for the slide show... that was time consuming. It was 96 sq. feet of painters canvas. It required some sewing, lots of ironing, and painting. Funny (NOT) story about the paint... I get ready to paint the thing white, instead of natural, and ask Will to take the quart of paint outside. He goes running off with it, and while I'm on my way following him, he comes back to me saying "There's been an accident." I tell him no accident is as important as getting Ed back inside the building... but Will is being persistent. Then he starts crying about how bad it is and that he didn't do it on purpose and THE LID FELL OFF AND THERE IS PAINT EVERYWHERE. I run over there and sure enough... just as I was staring at the mess, thinking "How in the world am I going to clean this???" Mindy comes in to see if I had sunscreen. She was across the street at the park. She comes over and says, "Well, should we wipe or dab?" After just a few minutes Jenny K. comes in to help. She ended up bringing her shop-vac and with lots of water, towels, and that vacuum, the paint came up. So after spending an hour on the paint I got started painting the canvas, and that was a huge pain in the neck. But, all's well that ends well, no?
The gym before the party started... there's the screen! I still think it needs to be finished more- repainted so that it is all even. I'll put that on my list of things to do.
The FOOD! I don't know where Ryan was at this moment- running around somewhere trying to get things ready to be served. Ice chests full of chicken legs and thighs in the brine (note: legs and thighs, although extremely tasty and inexpensive, are difficult to cool for 130 people), dutch ovens full of ranch rolls, foil packets of baked carrots, and a parking lots grate BBQ- let's you BBQ and have coals ready at the same time. Easy to disassemble and take someplace.
The centerpieces- my kids got a hold of this one already. I liked the sunflowers- I did not like getting them. I was wearing highly impractical shoes (flip flops) standing in the weeds on the side of the highway with a kitchen knife hacking at the wild sunflowers. I felt like a criminal, taking flowers that grow on the side of the road. I kept waiting for my biologist neighbor to pull up behind me and tell me I was ruining the ecosystem of the highway by removing stalks of sunflowers... We did what we thought people 50 years ago would've done to decorate. My feet got itchy and I was hoping the flowers would last the 7 minute drive to the church. They barely made it- they are surprisingly delicate. Of course, if someone hacked at me with a dull serrated kitchen knife and then threw me into a car full of car seats, I wouldn't look so good either.
For my amusement, an edited version of the same picture.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Will!

Will is five!
Will around four months old... he was such a GREAT baby. He was my worst sleeper... he consistently woke up once a night for eight months. He also had his first two weeks mixed up... I was TIRED. He has had a funny trait since he started eating solid foods around four months old... if he doesn't like it, he gags. A real gag... almost involuntary. He still does it... he was eating an English muffin with peanut butter on it for breakfast a few weeks ago and gagged on a piece. He spit it out in the trash, because he said there was a piece of lettuce on it. We don't even have lettuce in the house. He got his first tooth when he was 11 months old, but that didn't stop him from eating almost everything (not veggies).
I have LOTS of pictures of Will like this- he is constantly sticking his face or hands in front of the camera. This was when he was three and a half... that's Jessie on the chair.

Two years old on Breckenridge Mountain.
Will is loving school. Kind of. He says it's boring and he hates drawing, even though he does a good job at it. I was worried about him starting school, but he is doing really well. He can sit in his chair, and even though he says the work is boring, he still does it. He hates waking up in the morning. His favorites include: all things Legos (LOVES Legos), helping Dad, Carhartt jeans, playing outside, Frosted Mini-Wheats, and chicken burgers. He is good friends with Kacy, and they both play really well together, and fight, equally. He wanted to have a birthday dinner at Aunt Gaye's house. She graciously hosted... when I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday four months ago (when Kacy and Ed were talking about their birthdays) he said "I wanna go to the beach!" and then the next day he told me he changed his mind, and that he wanted to go to Aunt Gaye's house. And he's been counting down ever since. When he opened up his present from his Grandma Bunting, we got to hear a few "Whoa-ho-ho! This is AWESOME!", and then when he came to the new clothes, he said, "Oh, and here's the boring part. But THIS (a toy) is AWESOME! Look at it!" Will is good for exclaiming his excitment.

Will is growing up and turning into a boy that can be trusted. He is getting to be a good listener. In primary, he no longer comes up to me with every little thought/problem he has... he can sit in his chair and listen. He is a genius when it comes to solving problems... seriously he's got his Dad's skills there, which always impress me. Happy Birthday Will!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ed's Broken Heart

Ed is not liking staying home with me. This morning we took Kacy and Will to the bus stop. He cried for his back pack. We couldn't find it (it's the monkey part of his monkey back pack-leash). He tried to get on the bus with them, and when I held him back, he just collapsed on the ground, sobbing. He was so upset- I got teary eyed with him. He desperately wants to go with the kids. I let him cry it out for a good five minutes, and then suggested maybe we could go back to the trailer and have school at home. "We can find you your back pack, get some homework... we'll have our own school!" Still crying, he says "No, Mom. That won't work. That's not real school. Well, I guess. I guess that will be okay."
"Maybe there will be preschool next year, then you can go to school. But if there is, I'll probably be the teacher. Then you can go to school with me!"
"No, Mom. I go to school all by myself, and you stay here and wait for me at the bus stop. That's better."
We walked back to the trailer, with him still catching his breath and kicking rocks,looking dejected. I'm not sure what to do about this, I'd put him in preschool a few days a week if there was one, but I'm not driving a half hour one way to get him there. I already have 41,000 miles on my one year old car... I'm sure he'll be fine in a week or so. I hope.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Will's First Day of Kindergarten, and Everyone Else's First Day!

Ready for school!
A little nervous at his desk... his teacher talked to the room full of parents for 45 minutes, and he got a little bored. He came over to me and asked, "Hey Mom, when do we get to go play outside?" When he got off the bus, I asked him how his day was, and all he said was "Good." After a pause, he told me, "I only got in trouble once." "Why?" "I can't remember. Maybe it was because I was twisting on the swing. But I didn't get in trouble the rest of the day!" He reported that he got to play with the toys in the classroom, and had lots of fun.
Kacy went to first grade! She was so excited to go. When I asked her how her first day of school was, she replied "PERFECT! We got to do art! We got to make our faces and use yarn for the hair, or not if you didn't want to. I made mine with the blue earrings I had..." and it went from there. She was excited to have most of her friends in her class. She is so thrilled to have an art teacher for her afternoon teacher... her "real" teacher also acts as an administrator on campus because our district is so small and the school is split between two campuses. So, she gets to have an art teacher for the afternoon- I doubt they'll do art everyday. But if they did, Kacy would be SO happy.
Ed had a hard time today. He looked like this most of the morning. When we were getting everyone ready to go out the door, he put his hands on his hips and swore. Kind of. He declares, "Dangit! I'm MAD!" That proclamation was in the middle of our morning... after dropping the kids off, I took him to the gas station and he got some donuts and a soda, and then at least stopped complaining. It was not pretty. "Where's my backpack?" and "I need a lunchbox, too!" and "Is this my classroom?" Too bad he has ANOTHER year after this one. Who knows? Maybe they'll be a preschool next year.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Minus the Heat and the Feline

I'm not sure how these guys feel about having their picture on the blog... so I won't put their names! They are helping put the roof on our house, and a handy-dandy tip we got from Jim Hurley was to pre-drill the holes that the screws go into. So they did.

Here are the brother-in-laws... these guys married our sisters. They both have blogs, so I can name them! Michael and Oscar are up here helping out. Yay! Very cool of them- they are both good workers, smart, and can don't mind being told what to do. I tell them to jump, and they ask me, "How high?" Actually, the ask me, "Where's the food?" and "Did you know we are out of Fresca Black Cherry soda?" Not really. Can't wait to have these guys up here with their bazillion children and their wives so I can get some socialization... but, we need a house first. And to that I say, "Thanks for helping in my quest for a home! Let's BBQ next Spring!"

Also see how the felt paper looks dirty? Not so happy story there... we had a bit of a wind storm and it blew off a days worth of work... it was bad. But they got it all repaired pretty fast this morning!
According to Ryan, the tin goes on pretty easily. But, it takes some time, especially if you want everything to be all symmetrical/in line/not crooked. The tin is held on with these screws with squishy washers- we ordered them from Lowe's. Home Depot probably had them, too, but the car wash is by Lowe's, so while the truck was getting cleaned, they were ordered there.

The weather has been perfect today. It's about 85*, and overcast. That makes it easier to handle the tin. Could you imagine touching those panels if it is blazing sun and 105*? Ouch.
The corbels were put up the other day. I love them. So far, they are one of my favorite details on the house. Granted, we don't have many details, but dang- they look good!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Goal Setting

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and they cited two studies concerning goal setting. One was done at Yale, I think, and they interviewed a sampling of students. 3% of those students had a written plan detailing their goals. Twenty years later, this same group of individuals was interviewed/assessed, and the 3% who had their goals written down had achieved those goals, and were financially worth more than the other 97%. The second study was similar, just a shorter time span (10yrs); both studies concerned career/financial success. BUT, it the outcome can be applied to life in general.

So, in order to stop eating Costco muffins and get back into my quest for fitness, I'm writing out my goals and plan to achieve. I'd write down my financial goals, but that seems a little TMI (too much information) for the Internet, because of specifics. A few of those general goals are: have no house payment when Ryan retires, and have some industrial rental units. Our finances are in pretty good shape, although, I could always save a buck here and there. That would make me happy. Moving on...

  • I will run in a 5k race on October 3rd, and run to compete. Will attempt to place in the top three in my age group. I'm trying not to laugh at myself and think it will never happen...
  • I will run in a 10K race on October 31st. I will run the entire time, and will finish in under an hour, even if it's only 2 seconds under...
To acheive these goals, I will institute a running plan that includes running three times a week. (I'm still working out the details, but it will include getting back up to a 5k a day, and then speed work, and then my long runs will be 5 milers...)

I will lift free weights three times a week to maintain and build muscle tone. (Muscles burn more calories than fat while I sit and play on the computer... so I need all the help I can get.)

I will use the sports nutrition knowledge I gained throught the public library and incorporate healthier carbs into my diet.

I will aquire an arm band for my ipod so my pepperspray hand is free, as well as my leash hand. I will arrange my running playlist beginning with slower warm up songs, then switch to faster tempos, and then slower again.

I will have a positive mental attitude about my abilities and NOT drown myself in Costco apple strudel muffins, Little "Devil" (Debbie) snacks, or diet sodas. (My kids are NOT good influences for healthy eating, and lately I've been a sucker!)

I will keep my training journal in a safe spot (the sofa is not safe) and WRITE in it, to keep track of my running and eating.

I'll see myself at the finish line!

Fixing George

George has been having a terrible time escaping. He digs out and has found some really nice neighbors he likes to go to... it's getting old. So, we got him fixed. I explained what this meant to the kids using cows, steers, bulls... and then I resorted to telling them that on boy animals, you can do surgery to take off some boy parts so he can't make babies, and so he'll be more calm. The entire vet's office was amazed at how fit he was- he weighs a lean 96 pounds. I told them maybe it's because we go running, and Ryan thinks it's also because we only feed him dry dog food and not table scraps or wet dog food.

On the way home from picking him up, he sat down in the car without being told. (He was still drowsy...) Kacy says, "Hey Mom! He sat without being told! He got smart- maybe they fixed that, too!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mas casa. O es casa mas? No siento.

The siding is all up on the gables. It is Ponderosa pine board and batten, and the picture is a little dark. I'll work on it... maybe take a picture when the sun is shining on the house. I was a little busy making dinner at the time. The black stuff is the felt paper that goes under all roofs. It makes the roof look so dark... fun fact: it's not finished yet, and 25,000 staples have been used. Anyone able (and willing) to walk around on a 6/12 roof for a day during the week, let us know. I'll make you a fabulous lunch if you help my hubby put on the sheets of metal roof.
These things look funny right now, but they go on the gable ends to help hold up the fascia. They are corbels. Ryan made them today. There will be three on each end.

I'll tell you what, there is no short list of things to do on the house. Just when you think you are ready for the next big step, three sub-steps pop up that you didn't really think about, or that could be better done before the next big step. A lot of people ask me if our roof is on yet. They've been asking for awhile, and I just say "nope." I don't really explain that after the roof sheathing there is the drip flashing, the siding that needs to be put up, and stained/oiled BEFORE so the roof doesn't get nasty, a chimney that needs to be completed both externally (the rocks) and internally (the actual chimney pipe, that needs to be ordered online...), the chimney topper needs to be designed and fabricated (by Ryan) and then installed, and the roof jacks for the plumbing vents need to be done. And, okay, a lot of things on our house don't "have to" be done. They are being done because dang-it, if we are going to live in a fifth-wheel trailer for four+ years, then this house is going to be a hand-crafted piece of work. The chimney topper? You don't need one. But it sure will look good! And we'll be able to pass down a legacy of craftsmanship. "Your grandpa built that." "See that right there? Your grandpa nearly sliced his hand off putting that up." (Not really. Yet.) "See those doors? Your grandpa and I went to some nasty place in Los Angeles and got a good deal on them. I refinished them." And on and on. And the point will be that two ordinary people were able to do something because they believed they could. And the grand kids will roll their eyes to the heavens, and think about our legacy. A legacy of lunacy. And when our boys decide to follow in their grandfathers and father's footsteps, I'll pass along the copy of my blog to my daughter-in-laws and say, "See? You can totally do this."

(I'm planning our "four year anniversary in the trailer" party. I'm in the pre-planning stages. Hey, I know! We'll roof the house to celebrate. Who's with me?)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


  • We got the oil changed in the car. They diagnosed my check engine light that came on this morning as an improper gas cap application. READ: "Somebody" didn't screw the cap on the right way the other night after he out gas in my car. I'm just glad it wasn't something worse, and that "he" pumped the gas.
  • We went to the cheap fabric store. Nightmare with the tactile children and "Is it okay if we hide in the rolls of fabric? It's so much fun!"
  • We went to Sears. We got to ride the escalators, and that was a pee-in-your-pants, wish-I-had-a-video-camera moment, watching Will dismount. And hand on for dear life. And listening to my kids talk loudly about what cool things they are. And "Yes, they are all mine." Repeat. Now, I do have to day that the older three are getting very close in size. Kacy and Will are an inch apart, and Ed is not too far behind... imagine the teen years! Anyway, was told that it would cost a minimum of $375 and a maximum of $550 and three to six months to repair it... it's old, and apparently, they don't make 'em like they use to.
  • We stopped at Auntie Anne's pretzel place for lunch... it was gross. The bottom of the pretzels tasted like chemicals... maybe an industrial strength cooking spray? The kids said they were gross, I tasted and it WAS gross. I tried to peel the bottoms off all four pretzels... what a waste of money.
  • We stopped at Taco Bell for lunch. Drive through. $4.93
  • We went to park while waiting for dentist office to return from lunch.
  • We went to dentist's office so he could sign Will's Kindergarten dental screening paper that I forgot to take with me last week.
  • We went to my parent's house to get coupons and to show my mom how to upload CD's and put them on her new MP3 player.
  • We went to Target so the kids could go to the dollar spot.
  • We went to Costco so we could tomorrow. And, the next day. And, the day after that. I wish I had a full size fridge and some counter space.
  • Ryan stained all the siding on the gables and laid some felt paper down. (The black paper that is under the actual roofing material.

Friday, August 14, 2009


  • On the way home today, Will picked his nose and had a big ol' you know what stuck between his thumb and finger. He says, "Hey Mom, why is this so sticky?" I am repulsed at the size of this thing, and say "EEEWWWWW! That's so gross. Here, put that on this paper right here." He says, "Oh, okay. Usually I just wipe them on the seat."
  • Will also watched an episode of "The Ace of Cakes" and is now obsessed with making himself a birthday cake. With LOTS of decorations.
  • The three older kids had a dentist appointment today, and NO CAVITIES! I stayed in the waiting room the whole time while the kids went back and forth for X-rays and cleanings. I did sneak a peek at Ed to see how he was doing, and he was so cute! He did everything he was supposed to do, and nothing he wasn't!
  • I think rice expands in your belly- just a personal feeling I have after dinner tonight.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In A Rut.

I hate mice. They get into my trailer, eat the PB off the traps, eat some of my fruit... and leave a trail of nastiness where ever they go. But that's not the point for today.

Today my thoughts are on fitness, and the lack thereof in my life. I was in a routine this summer, where I got up really early and went running. I felt great doing that. Ryan went to camp, I started sleeping in, then I went to camp... it's all been downhill since then. Part of the problem lies in the fact that it is darker in the mornings. At 5:30, it's just too dark. If I wait until 6am, then the kids will be up 30 minutes later... which is good practice because school starts soon, and that's when they need to be awake. But, 30 minutes isn't enough time for me. Because, the thing is, I want to train for a half marathon. There is no way to train for 13 miles by running 3 miles a day. Or is it? I'll have to research. I may have to set my sights on something else.

I was going to do a triathlon in October. Just a sprint distance. But then I went swimming. And decided I couldn't kid myself into thinking if I could run a 10k, then surely I could swim .25 miles without ever actually swimming beforehand. I can't. It's totally different. Because of the lack of pool access (for lap swimming) and time crunch with the kids, I changed my goal. Run a half marathon in November. On the plus side, it's local! (In B-town, anyway.) Also, it's only one sport, and running is easy. All you have to do is put on your shoes and fly out the door. The problem? I can't get away from my kids. They are always with me, and I just can't run with them. Kacy and Will are going to be in school soon. A jogging stroller will not work in the sand. (Think beach!) I was thinking of buying Jocelyn's bike trailer, but after talking to Ryan, the safety factor is getting in the way. My road is too windy/hilly/not a lot of visibility for cars coming around corners. So that's going to be a no-go. What to do?

Here are my options:
  1. Run in the early mornings anyway, and not be a baby in the dark. Technically, there is nothing in the dark that can get me, unless you count the coyotes, but they wouldn't hurt me. This will work until it gets to be 30 degrees... will take George with me (he's lazy and slows me down!), my pepper spray, and just tell myself that 30 minutes is a good workout. I might even get 45 minutes in... that would be great!
  2. Jump rope in the unfinished house. I forget about this workout. It works your whole body, costs around 10 bucks for a rope, and takes up very little room. Will have to incorporate, or at least keep this in mind for winter.
  3. Keep up free weights. This is a no brainer- free weights are an easy way to build/tone muscle, and according to my heart rate monitor, burns a lot of fat!
  4. When school starts, and Jessie and Ed are napping, maybe run laps around the trailer. This will require me firing up the tractor and leveling out my track... ya, right. I'm going to have RYAN fire up the tractor. I don't do tractors. (Because if I did, then that would be one more thing I "could" do, but don't wanna.)
Could I still do a half marathon on three or four miles a day/4-5 days a week? (Anyone? Emily? Lisa?) Stick with 5k/10K?

Okay, so typing out what was in my head helped me clear up my thoughts. Amazing, but not unexpected. I will just toughen up and try running in the semi-darkness tomorrow. It's just so easy to look out the window when the alarm goes off at 5:20 and say "Ugh. It's too dark." and then go back to sleep. And Mom, if you are reading this, don't worry about me in the dark. There are no people out here where I run. George will eat anything animal like, and I carry some police strength pepper spray. I'm worried about the dark because, well, it's DARK. There are no street lamps out here. There are barely streets! I will not give up. I just need a goal. Something to shoot for. I'll go revisit the BTC website and see if there are any shorter runs, and then NEXT year, when I have a house, and a husband again who can watch kids, I'll set my sights a little higher. To everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day Trip to the Beach

We took a day trip! It was so much fun. The kids were pleasant and well behaved. I didn't have to jump off any piers or rocks to save Ed. I call it a success!

We started off by leaving the house a 7am, and headed out for Morro Bay/Cayucos. We had a prayer in the car. I asked the kids to say it because I was driving, and I asked them to please ask Heavenly Father that we can travel safely. Will volunteers to pray, and I hear something about safety, and then I hear "and please bless us that a shark will not come out of the water to eat us alive..." We stopped at a park in Lost Hills to stretch some legs and use the bathroom. This was a good move on my part, because I think it helped the kids ride longer in a better mood. It took a total of four hours to get there, including our stop at the park.

When we got there, we met my friend Kibbe at Cloister Park in (near?) Morro Bay. It was fun- our kids played for a long time, and we got to visit! I hadn't seen her in over a year. We had a picnic lunch (from home, with fresh blueberries and turkey sandwiches-yummy!). I don't have any pictures, because I only brought my big camera, and you just can't take use the big camera at the park. I have yet to see anyone wear a camera around their neck while giving underdogs!

At the park- thanks for taking our picture, Kibbe!

After the park, we drove into Morro Bay to visit the aquarium and The Shell Shop. I love the aquarium. Admission: 12+ $2.00, 5-11 $1.00, 4 and under Free. Score! Three of us were free! We bought some fish to feed the seals- that cost another dollar. It's a rinky dink aquarium, but so perfect for my kids attention span, and they can feel like they are wandering a little, but I can see them at all times!

There were two seals (or sea lions? or this one is a sea lion? I don't know) and this one was the noisy one. He was quiet when we walked in, and as soon as he saw the white bags that hold the fish, he let out a "aaaaaauuuuuuuuugghhhhhhhhh" until he was thrown a piece of fish. It was so loud. Jessie hated it. She didn't cry, but she was shaking and wouldn't let go of me.
Will loved every minute of the whole day. He had the best time, and his enthusiasm about everything encouraged strangers to talk to us. I'm used to it, but I think it's funny.
Ed didn't really care for the sea lion's droning "aaauuuuuuugghhhhhhh!" He wasn't scared, he just said "It's really loud Mom!"
Kacy looking at some fish.
Glad I'm not this guy. They are UGLY! They sit there, gaping their mouths open like they are perpetually sighing about how horrible it is to be an ugly sea snake.
We went to The Shell Shop, which is right across the street from the aquarium. The kids each got to pick out a shell. Jessie knows that you are supposed to put them up to your ear... for some reason... because her brothers were doing it, trying to hear the ocean.
Attempt a group shot of the kids at Morro Rock. See the lady in the background? We get that a lot.
Second attempt... nobody in the background, but the kids are dying to get off the bench. They were only there for 30 seconds.

Morro rock was fun because there was a little beachy area that was clean, and the kids loved climbing on the rocks and playing in the water. After awhile there, we went to "the real beach with waves" and went to Cayucos.

"Oh ho ho ho! That's AWE-some! Yea!" (Really. In the most excited voice.)

The boys are not afraid of the water. The beach was full of sea weed, and so was the water. I wanted to rake the beach to make it better. I had never seen that much there before- maybe there was some biological/ecological explanation, tied to the phases of the moon... on the plus side, we hung out on the pier for awhile watching dolphins and seal. There were lots... and lots. No pictures, because I was holding Jessie in one arm, and using the other to make sure Ed didn't lean over the edge too far. It was so neat- we saw pelican type birds dive-bomb into the water, coming up with fish, and we watched the seals and dolphins leaping and swimming.

After the beach, we headed out. We stopped in Paso Robles at the Carl's Jr for dinner, and then drove, drove, drove, all the way home. We got home at 9:30pm. The kids were exhausted! It was great, totally cheap (my car got 32mpg! picnic lunch! and next time, Taco Bell for dinner!) Can't wait to do it again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Borrowed Lens

I borrowed a lens from cousin David. I wanted to try one out before I spent any money, and I'm glad I did. I borrowed his 50mm 1.8, and the verdict is: I'm not sure if I want it. I love the fuzzy background and low lighting requirements. I don't like getting close to people to take their picture. I get weirded out and really self conscious when I know a camera is pointed my way. So, I automatically assume that others do too, and I feel awkward taking their picture. So a telephoto lens of some kind might be better. I'm not sure. AND, I don't know if it's David's lens, or my perfectly novice-slash-horrible photography skills, but most of the pictures just turned out blurry all over. The auto-focus on the lens would lock up every now and then, so I switched to manual focus, but then it was too dark to see what I was doing properly. (He did say something about dropping it on a log while using the lens to start a fire at camp one year... but it's probably just me!) I'm going to practice some more. Here's the result of the first 24 hours of having it. Two locations: Eric and Kimi's wedding reception, and Ryan's parent's house.

Cropped picture of Ryan. Hubba hubba! Love the fuzzy lights, but I don't like how they look like they end in his head. And, it's blurry. This one is cropped. Full photo below!
I was trying to hide behind this guy. I don't know...
Levi and his rootbeer bottle... I did crop out parts of Jocelyn that because she was missing her head... again, like the fuzzy lights in the background, but Levi is blurry. I might need my glasses though... the words on some cards I was reading yesterday were blurry, too!
Jessie. Blurry. Fuzzy. Not. In. Focus. On a side note, this girl is not nice in church anymore. Not to me, anyway... she like to screech and be noisy. And she wants to run. It didn't help that her dad spoke in church yesterday and she kept trying to get his attention.
Ed. Ed is photogenic. He's a twit, too, but oh-so-cute-in-pictures. He bit Jessie's fingers today, for no apparent reason other than they were by his body. I was at a loss of what to do, and I get frustrated thinking I need to do something "right now" while it's fresh in his mind, because if I wait too long then he'll not make the connection. I had lots of ideas going through my head, all of them mean. I took his goldfish crackers away, saying he was mean and mean boys can't have treats. He about had a mental breakdown, with wailing all the way home. (We were in the car...)

Back to photography: I learned that even fuzzy backgrounds need to be chosen- you can only fuzz a less than nice background so much. (Read: people, A/C vents, a messy room... still show up as they are, just a little blurrier!) And, I don't like getting so close to my victims. It might be a personal problem. I'm going to the beach with the kids tomorrow, and I will experiment some more. The beach should have some good opportunities for nice backgrounds... I still need lots and lots of practice- I'm not artistically inclined and I have shadow issues. But, I'm not giving up!

Now, off to clean the trailer, the car, do some laundry and get ready for our day trip tomorrow. Hoping for some fog and cold weather...

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Chimney Rocks!

The chimney was the main focus on the house today. Ryan, Oscar, and Ammon R. worked hard today. After staining/oiling the fascia, they got to work putting the stone on the chimney. After the chimney is finished, I believe the next step is a drip flashing around any horizontal fascia, and then... duh-duh-dun.... the roof!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Playing with my Camera

I was playing with my big camera, which needs a new battery. I want a new lens for it. I don't aspire to be any kind of photographer, but I do want some nice pictures of my kids, and now that I have a Costco card, I plan on using their photo center for prints! (But first, I need a house to store those prints in...) Here is what I did today. The lens I want is a 50mm/1.8 or 1.4. We'll see if I get it or not...
- I had to Photoshop this one- it was underexposed. Looking at it today, I can totally tell I had to mess with it- his face is too bright.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Building We Will Go

Ryan holding one of our roofing panels on just to show me how it will look. Cool! Corrugated metal roof- it's amazing how many people say "Do you know how loud that is going to be in the rain?" Yes. Yes, we do. It's going to be laying on top of 30# felt paper, the roof sheathing, a 2 inch air gap, 8 inches of rigid foam insulation, and then some drywall and plaster. Plus, it rains how often here? And isn't the sound of rain cool anyway? Maybe they are thinking of standing in a shed or something... the corragation will allow for maximum air circulation and venting. It'll last forever, looks good when it's rusty (in my opinion, I'm probably a loner on that one), and was fairly inexpensive. We have a huge area of roof to cover.
Double fascia with detail. This is all Ryan, as he's the details man, and I'm more of a, "Do what? Oh, that's cool!" Wouldn't have even crossed my mind. But I love it. It just adds a little something to the house. Having this much control and responsibility over the building of your own house is both a blessing and a curse. We can decide to do whatever we want. We have to be the ones to do it, so if it comes out good, we did good! But, if it flops, it's all us. And, there are so many things to think about! It can be overwhelming at times. For example, when my sister and her husband were having a house built in a tract, they had to think about things like ceilings fans, carpet, tile, showers, appliance upgrades... we get to think about all of that, and inside the wall plumbing, air ducting, wiring, how to best duct the fireplace for maximum heat efficiency, water supply lines... Ryan is the one thinking about most of these things. I only think about them when I have too- like when he's trying to get a count on something, or there are decisions to be made.
More little somethings- on the gable ends Ryan made these cornices. A type of diamond shape on top, and a little strip thing on the bottom. Board and batten siding will soon cover the Lowe's house wrap. On the gables with window (which are the front and back) the bottom detail will be a little different. It's a surprise for now, I think. The "Colton is a dork" is a sign of fraternal brotherhood... Ryan had a high schooler come out for the week to help him. It made a funny reading lesson for Kacy. She started cracking up when she figured out what it said.

We are coming up on "celebrating" four years living in the fifth wheel. I'm okay with that. It's hit the point to where it's funny. Right now my biggest trailer dilemma is whether or not to put all the Lego's away for a long time... they get spread out all over the place. We don't have a big "place", so they are constantly being stepped on- in the kitchen, in my bedroom, in the living area, and in the kids' room. It is ridiculous. But I love the Lego's for child development reasons... I think they are gonna go though. Just for a month.