Monday, February 29, 2016

Dominant Depth of Field Blur

Today is February 29th, that day that only comes once every four years. It is especially sweet to me because it means that tomorrow will not be February any more.

In our never ending battle, February won by a landslide this year. Pearl got sick early on in February and missed a week of school. She had a yucky cold and I decided that we wouldn't share germs.

She had a week of reprieve and then was out for another week, but this time with the flu. It really zapped her strength and gave her a high fever for several days running.

A couple of the other kids got mild fevers but it didn't seem to affect them much.

Saturday was a good day. It seemed like everyone was on the mend. Then Pearl spends the night with serious diarrhea and a good doze of  vomiting. She missed going to church...again!

She went to school today and seems to be doing well, but I wouldn't put it past February to try to throw in some last trick. Or maybe it will be too exhausted trying to come up with this extra day. Let's hope. I've about had it with illness.

I did get my picture taken for the week. The theme was Dominant Depth of Field Blur. Remember...that just means a picture with something in the middle being in focus and the foreground and background being blurred.

So I took a picture of my old nemesis. Why not? Can't say it has been fun. But I'm sure I'll see you next year. Toodaloo.

Next week: B&W - ENTROPY

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Love

I have lots of loves. Obviously, all my family fits into that category, including my extended family. I love sleeping, reading, and having a clean home. I love eating, crosstitching, and playing games. I love volleyball, four square, and racquetball. I love sunny days, rainy afternoons, and holidays. I love decorating, cooking, and blogging. Truly this was not an easy category.

But the one love that is mine...that I chose Tyler.

Interesting choice, I know. But I am kinda partial to him.

I could have taken a traditional portrait, but I have many of those. Instead, I thought I would capture my love, with one of his loves.

Obviously, Tyler's favorite thing to do is spend time with me. But close behind would be time on the computer. He often has a game he is enjoying. I think he is playing ARK: Survival Evolved in this photo.

It is good to have hobbies and a way to unwind, so I don't begrudge him computer time. I do wish he would sleep more, but maybe he doesn't love sleep the same way I do.

Next week: DOMINANT DEPTH OF FIELD BLUR. That is fancy talk for a photo where something in the middle is in focus, but the foreground and background are blurry.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Love the Weekend...the Weekend of Love

Valentine's Day -- such a strange holiday. I admit that I am awfully wishy-washy about it. I don't really care if Tyler gets me something. (After all, he loves me year round, not just on a couple days a year.) BUT, I sometimes care if Tyler gets me something. I do want him to acknowledge that there is a silly holiday based on love and that I happen to be the one he is smitten with. I certainly don't want to punish him for neglecting the holiday. (That seems counter productive.) BUT I would like to encourage him to do something thoughtful.

This year, I organized a date for us. I planned the event to the ice castles and got tickets and all that jazz. We had a really good time and I need to put up some still photos, even though Tyler did a great job with the video. (Sometimes I like videos more, but they don't translate so well when I print out a blog book.)

Sunday was the actual day of love. I had purchased some chocolate roses for the children, but at the last moment, I realized they should be from Tyler. So, all the kids thought he was a super hero when he gave them each a rose and asked if they would be his valentine. (I don't mind giving him the credit, because one of my many jobs is to make him look good. Although I did want to smack him at one point. I said something about getting treats for some ladies in the neighborhood and he mentioned that he didn't think of friends...but at least he got something for the girls. Nice.)

To be clear, Tyler doesn't like to buy overpriced stuff right before Valentine's Day. He often will get me something a few days after. And then again, sometimes he forgets and it is all swept under the carpet until the following year. But this time he pulled through. On the following Thursday, he arrived with flowers and jewelry. I love me some daisies and roses.

And I'm a sucker for earrings. There little roses are very cute.

Along with matching necklace.

I never got pictures of the kids' valentines. Pearl, Daisy, and Ivory gave out some small candies. Robyn's class made boxes for the homeless, so we supplied some candy and soap. June has, gratefully, reached the age of NO VALENTINES. She doesn't give them out in class, and she is still too young to attend dances, so I figured I actually saved money on her this year. (What a special - albeit small - window that is.)

Ivory did bring home a cookie she decorated in school. She likes to borrow my phone to take pictures of her creations. She took 13 pictures! Since she still gets blurry shots, I think she is trying to cover her bases. She is convinced that one of those 13 will turn out.

On President's Day, the kids were out of school and Tyler was off from work. Normally, I would use a day like that and put everyone to work. But sometimes I cave under pressure and allow people to play. Or even better, I organize a day of fun.

Monday started with an orthodontist appointment, which isn't necessarily fun, but Ivory was very happy to hear that she only has one more month of braces. Woot!

From there, we picked up the crew and went to the Museum of Curiosity. (Our membership expires next month, so I feel pressure to get a few more uses out of it.) The sloth challenge is still popular. Tyler and I stayed on for at least 30 seconds. That is almost a second for each year we have been around. I think that counts as an accomplishment.

Finding kids and getting them to hold still for photos is a real trick at the Museum. I caught these three together.

And I adore the picture of these two. I actually didn't know that alcove was there.

I saw this floating head in Kidopolis. (It looks so much like Ivory.)

From there, we took off to eat lunch and go shopping. (Just for groceries. It is so fast when I have the whole crew with me.) We also went to a movie in the afternoon. We saw The Good Dinosaur. It was okay. It wasn't a favorite of mine. It was frankly, a little weird. And I can't even remember how many times that dinosaur fell off a cliff or high wall. (I'm thinking at least six. Ouch!) Also, we got some of the last tickets, so we had to sit in the very front row. My motion sickness kicked in halfway through and I finally stood on the side for the rest of the movie.

All in all, it was a great weekend, and a nice Valentine's Day. Just being with family is the best I could ask for.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Outdoor Hot/Cold

I'm a little slow getting my photo challenge up this week. Partly because I have been living inside books, and partly because...well...mostly just the book thing. I thought about creating my own Meme:



The theme for last week was Outdoor Hot/Cold. Since Tyler and I were planning on visiting a cold place (the ice castles) I was all set for the cold half. I was thinking maybe they would have a fire somewhere or one of those roaster poles. (I have no idea what you call those large pillars that create heat for people nearby.) But it was a very sunny day and they had nothing of the sort there. So, I decided to document my favorite kind of hot: Tyler.

Here he is coming down the slide. Isn't he looking fantastic?

Or, I really like this close up of us. The sunglasses make me think warm, but you can see the ice and snow reflected in them. And don't we make a hot couple??

One of the reasons I was dragging my feet about posting these was because the theme for this week is MY LOVE. So I already knew you were going to be getting a picture of Tyler. But I guess two weeks of Tyler in a row is not so bad. I'm sure not complaining. (And luckily I can't hear you complain either since you are reading this somewhere else.)

Stayed tuned for MY LOVE.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Ice Castles

Maleen and I went to Ice Castles in Midway, Utah this last Saturday. I've never been to an icy place that was designed to be icy — I've only been to the places where ice was put there by the manager of all things ice. We had a ton of fun checking out the different formations, sliding on the slide, and tromping through the snow. Check it out.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

22 out of 15

As of Monday evening, I am fully confident that I could properly ventilate a bad guy...from 25 yards...behind a hostage...with my trusty AR-15. Monday last week I didn't have such confidence. So what changed? Training.

I've always considered myself a gun enthusiast. A son of an avid shooter, I've been shooting a variety of weapons since I was 12 years old (maybe a little younger, but 12 for sure). I've always been partial to long guns myself — rifles are my favorite. My brothers tend to enjoy the pistols, and Dad loved shotgun. But for me, the greatest satisfaction at the range was knowing that I could hit distant targets far away. 

Not that I was good at it, but I enjoyed it. 

That said, I figured it was about time to get good at it. A few years ago I had the opportunity to purchase, for an extraordinarily good price, a membership to Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. I didn't have time right away, but I promised myself I would use it. A couple of months ago, some of my buddies who purchased memberships at the same time put out an obligatory, “Hey Cazier, you want to come to Front Sight with us?”

They were heartily surprised and more than a little jocular about my decision to finally use my membership. I set about preparing myself for the experience. There was no trouble coming up with a checklist for the trip, but the items on the checklist presented some challenges. 

First the gun. I planned to take a 4-day practical rifle course. I needed a rifle. Dad had an AR-15 that hasn't quite found a new place to live just yet. I asked around to see if anyone would be annoyed if I used the weapon for the course. No one objected, and I soon found myself in possession of an AR-15. I've had relatively little experience on the AR platform, but I was excited to learn more. 

Next the optics. I'm not talking about scopes here — I don't have enough cash to put a new scope on the AR-15. No, I'm talking about my optics: my glasses. I knew from the Front Sight website that I would need “impact-resistant safety sunglasses.” Not being in possession of prescription sunglasses, and especially not impact-resistant SAFETY sunglasses, I figured I needed to check it out. Having plenty of money left over from not buying a scope, I invested in my sunglasses. As it turns out, impact-resistant safety prescription sunglasses are pretty spendy, and they take for-e-ver to arrive at your door. I ordered them over a month in advance and they showed up the day before I left for Nevada. 

After I had something to shoot and uber-spensive style to stare down the barrel, it was time for ammo. The AR-15 fires a .223 round. It can also fire a 5.56mm NATO round IF your gun can accommodate it. Mine can, and a good thing too. I ordered 500 rounds, as indicated, of .223. When I opened the ammunition at the range, I panicked when I discovered that my boxes clearly labeled as .223 actually contained rounds stamped 5.56mm. I quickly consulted one of the instructors who laid my concerns to rest by finding a .223 or 5.56 stamp along my barrel. Crisis averted. He went on to explain that 5.56mm rounds actually use the exact same brass casing as the .223, the bullet's just shaped differently. Crisis more averted. 

I needed a few modifications to the AR-15 as well, namely a tactical strap, which Amazon happily shipped to my door. In possession of the tac-strap, I tried to connect it to the gun only to realize that I didn't have the proper tac-strap attachment on the gun. Amazon pulled through again. When I got the attachment, YouTube taught me how to put on the attachment using my nifty AR-15 armorers tool...that I didn't have. Amazon sent me one. As you can imagine, it's a good thing I started a month in advance because it took me about that long to get all my stuff together!

Last Thursday my crew collected me and we set off for Pahrump, Nevada. My crew consisted of Matt McEwen (a good friend and ex-co-worker from DHI); his brother, Gary, James, Colter, and Atilio. Brandon Allen (also good friend and ex-co-worker from DHI) and his brother-in-law, Adam, would meet us in Nevada along with Shaun and Cody. Five ended up in rifle, five were in pistol. 

In my life, I have visited — though generally not stayed in — several cities worthy of official “Armpit” status. It took us about eight and a half hours to drive there, and it just wasn't much to say, “Here you are at the destination you drove all that way for.”

After dinner, we hit the hay early because we needed to be on site at Front Sight at 07:00. I didn't know exactly what to expect though I had read several reviews indicating that Front Sight was strict “but not like drill sergeants and boot camp, more like drill sergeants required to attend charm school.” They were strict about safety, but they were very easy to approach and were happy to help beginners and advanced shooters alike. I found them incredibly knowledgeable and highly approachable. 

We did tons of technique on the first day — mostly informing me that I've been doing it wrong in virtually every aspect of my shooting for pretty-much my entire life. Them's hard things to come to grips with! My trigger pull was jerky, I didn't trap the trigger, I had poor trigger reset...and that's just my trigger finger! I wasn't standing in a solid shooting position that would absorb recoil and make me more accurate. I was gripping the foregrip of the gun (no pun intended). I was shooting both-eyes open, which hurts your accuracy. I had at high rest in my breath (instead of low rest). I was craning my neck to get a good sight picture, when I should have been adjusting the stock to “bring the gun to my eye.” I had no idea what after engagement action I should be taking and I really hadn't given much thought to how I would methodically work my way through a gunfight. What can I say, it never came up in conversation!

By 14:00 on Day 1, I had undergone a complete overhaul of all my shooting techniques. I figured I'd give them at least a day to improve my accuracy — that's what I came for after all. By 15:00 Day 1 I was shooting BETTER THAN I HAVE EVER SHOT IN MY LIFE. I was faster, cleaner, and more accurate. I was superior in EVERY shooting metric I have ever examined. I was 100%, completely, totally, on board. 

By 16:00 I had a nasty burn down my spine from three expended brass casings from Floyd, my shooting-line neighbor from “the communist country of Connecticut.” I don't blame him, of course, but MAN that burns! I did not know that rifle brass leaves the chamber much hotter than pistol brass. I also did not know how quickly it burns human flesh. These lessons are seared into my brain, oh yeah, and my back.

This is a .223 brass casing. .223 brass ejects at roughly 375 degrees, but could be up to 475 degrees depending on the load. Turn on your oven, let it wrm up for about 15 minutes, then pull out the rack without gloves. You'll end up with the same burn I got. This round spent less than 3 seconds in contact with my skin. Unfortunately I took 3 casings during the same shooting session within about 3 minutes. They have a neat trick to help you not get burned when this happens. Your coach grabs the casing, and all clothing around it and pulls it away from your body and holds it for at least 60 seconds while it cools down. Meanwhile, your job as a shooter with a fist full of rifle and a back full of brass is to not dance around like a fool squeezing off rounds like and idiot.

They guys at Mama's Diner in Pahrump. The food was pretty good and pretty fast.

Day 2 and 3 brought some interesting practice including properly sighting a rifle (and efficiently since we only used 9 rounds). I learned the Wilson Wall, which was incredibly fun to shoot. We put “effective” shots down range at up to 200 yards. I learned a multitude of shooting platforms including standing (duh), sitting, kneeling, squatting, and prone — and how to get into each one safely, correctly, and quickly. I learned how to properly dry practice and clear type 1, type 2, and type 3 malfunctions. I also learned tactical reloading and emergency reloading. We also learned how to "slice the pie" as we enter a room. We learned this, of course, at Monster's Inc. Yes, they really do call this place "Monster's Inc."

Day 2 began by sighting our rifles at 25 yards with a simulated 100 yard 0. I ended up sighting my rifle for 50 yards and learning to compensate for distance modifications. I like this kind of math.

The Wilson Wall. The Wilson Wall is designed to simulate cover like a car. You can shoot over it, under it, behind the taillight, ahead of the headlights, etc. It's designed to help you navigate the various shooting platforms (prone, kneeling, standing) and practice shooting under physical load accurately. 

Monster's Inc. What better place to learn about clearing a room. Step and trace, step and trace. We learned how to "Slice the Pie" of a room to avoid giving too much target to an adversary and not be taken by surprise, even when passing through the "kill funnel" we call a door.

Day 4 brought some competition shooting and timing exercises. One of the guys in our group won the “Man on Man” shoot, which was loads of fun. Day 4 also brought the test, which we were all nervous about. They tested us on accuracy, procedure, time, and knowledge. I kept telling myself to be cool and not worry about it, but I felt like I was back in high school studying for an exam. 

Without going into too much detail, the exam is scored in reverse: points are a bad thing. If you hit exactly what you're aiming at, you get zero points. If you are outside the thoracic cavity (chest area where your lungs and heart are), but still inside the gray body outline, you earn yourself 3 points. If you're outside the gray body outline in the white field on the paper, you just earned yourself 5 points. Missing a hole means you missed the paper entirely and that's 5 points. 

Dr. Ignatius Piazza, the founder of Front Sight, used to be a chiropractor in southern California. The target he developed based on over 3,000 X-rays perfectly traces the average-sized-southern-California chiropractic patient. It's also the average shape of bad guys.

All but a few shots are taken under time pressure. You can also earn yourself single point procedural points for having your finger on the trigger at the wrong time, or your safety off (or on) at the wrong time. Finally, the malfunctions earn your 3 points for doing wrong or not doing it in time. You can “earn” up to 225 points: 150 from shooting alone, the rest from procedures and malfunctions.


There are three grades in the class: Distinguished Graduate (you have less than 15 points), Graduate (you have less than 45 points), and Completed (anything over 45 points). In order to progress into other courses associated with rifles, you MUST distinguish. 

My final score? 22. 7 points off distinguished. I'm not sure how many distinguished from my class, but from our group of 10 guys (5 in rifle, 5 in handgun), only one distinguished. Nice work, Brandon!
From right to left: Gary, Brandon, Stallion (it says so on my hat), and Matt. The instructors at Front Sight ALL had trouble referring to me as "Stallion." Well, they'll have more time to practice.

I asked McEwen to take a picture of me in front of the Front Sight sign. He obliged as I stood there looking all GQ. When I returned to my camera, I found this picture staring back at me. But not just one...Matt had taken about 20 headshots after he shot one or two of me. Nice, I'll remember that one.

Anyway, after I graduated, the stress off my back, we all piled back into the McEwen Man Van and headed for Utah. 9 hours later, in the middle of the night, McEwen dropped me off at my house and we had a plan for next year to take the shotgun class. 

In all, I'm very pleased I went. I learned more than I anticipated, and many of the techniques I learned will serve me well on other weapon systems include pistol and shotgun. I'm excited for next year, and who knows...maybe I'll be back in Nevada before the end of the year.

The intrepid crew of the McEwen Man Van. Right to left: Atilio (pistol complete) , Colter (pistol graduate), James (pistol complete), Gary (rifle complete owing to an NG — Negligent Discharge), Matt (rifle graduate) and Stallion (rifle graduate). 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Grandma, the Temple, and the Aftermath

I am sorry if you have already read the spoilers in the last post. This won't be very exciting news, any of it. But I do have pictures, and I feel I can entice almost any audience with a few good photos.

Let's start with the temple. The Provo City Center Temple Open House is currently going on. There has been such a huge response that tickets are hard to find. Luckily, procrastination worked in my favor this time, and I joined up on the second distribution of tickets and got an early time in January. We invited Grandma to come down and join us.

It was a very smooth experience. It was rather chilly, but we hardly waited in any lines and seemed to sail through. Some people said they felt the experience was rushed, but I didn't feel that way. Then again, with five children, we don't stay still for long.

It was great to talk with the children about all the blessings that come from having temples so close. We have been so lucky in these last few years to go through multiple temples. And Robyn will be able to do baptisms for the dead in just a few short months. Maybe this summer I will try to take the older girls to several of the temples in the valley.

We got to see the movie this time around. (We missed the one at the Payson temple.) Tyler snapped a picture as we were waiting.

As usual, you are only allowed to take pictures outside the temple. There is a lovely gazebo area on the grounds that I believe will be used for non-member families when there are weddings. Inside was a lovely Christus statue. A sister missionary took a picture for us.

Then we took a couple outside, but we didn't wait for a shot by the fountain because we were hurrying home to get ready for music night. (Sorry that is another post. Don't you love when I say that?)

Having Grandma even for a short amount of time was wonderful. Pip seemed to enjoy our company even when Tyler shoved her up Robyn's shirt. Can you see her little face? (Not Moxy in the background.)

The sad news was that not even a week later, Vicki slipped while shoveling snow and managed to hit her head again and break her wrist.

Her head injury gave her a black eye and I'm sure no small headache.

The wrist, after some examination, was put in a cast and will be there for 6-8 weeks.

Poor Grandma. The girls and I wrote her cards right away and then haven't sent them yet. We really struggle with that last step.

I even made a hidden picture find for her. These are the girls favorite, so I hope she enjoys it. There are over 50 things to find. No list this time. Just see what you see.

But speaking of that, I'm going to put everything in an envelope and go take it to be mailed right now.

See you later...

Monday, February 8, 2016


It is fun that these themes are open to interpretation, but at the same time it almost gives me too much room. I'm not sure where to start or stop.

Like this week the theme was barriers. I thought about taking a picture of Robyn's grumpy face because that is always a barrier to my talking to her. I usually have to break through and make her smile before we can have a real conversation.

I decided against that and went with a more traditional barrier. My first thought was fence or wall. It had just snowed a very light and fluffy snow that morning and the snow looked so cool on my neighbors retaining wall. The snow had gotten heavy enough that it was starting to lean over, but it was light enough to cling to other pieces and not quite fall.

Then I saw all the icicles on my house and thought it made a cool barrier type effect. I would love to build an ice castle with an icicle bar prison. Actually, I would love to go see the ice castles in Midway, but I don't know enough about them. I think it is time to do some research.

But my final shot ended up being my favorite. You may not know that the entire neighborhood used to use our yard as a short cut. I was always seeing people walking through the backyard. I knew most of them, so it wasn't super weird, but Tyler was finally tired of it. He wanted his property (justifiably) to himself. So he put up no trespassing signs.

Amazingly, they have mostly done the trick. We have three signs up and with the closed gates on the sides of the house, most people have stopped coming through. In the back, there is no door. I imagine an invisible barrier there with the sign telling people to stay away. But even better in this shot, my attack dog is waiting to chew up anyone who ignores the sign. Who would want to mess with her?

The only trespassers we see in the back yard now are the neighbors dogs. Clearly they can't read.

Next week: Outdoor Hot/Cold

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hello...It's February

How can I tell it is February? Well...people are sick. That is what we do in February. In fact, Pearl has been sick for a week. She missed school last Friday (which I know was still in January) and she is still sick this Friday. Looking back, she wasn't THAT sick last Friday. I probably could have sent her to school. But she is definitely sick THIS Friday. Poor thing.

I can also tell it is February because it keeps snowing. Nothing major, but many mornings I look outside and realize I should probably shovel the driveway before I leave. Then I pray that Tyler will get there first. He wasn't here this morning, so I did it myself. This morning it was light, fluffy snow, so it was really easy. Score. Plus, I made June get out of the car and help me. (She needs to work on straight lines, but she has the speed down.)

Last Sunday (the last day of January) I sat in front of my computer thinking that there were really 3 things I needed to blog about before February. I wanted to get my photo of the week on there. I thought maybe 2016 intentions would be more appropriate in January than February, and I wanted to get all the extra pictures off my phone. Ironically, I sat there stewing until I ran out of time and I didn't blog about anything that night.


But you see that in the meantime, I got my photo on there, and my intentions (or lack thereof) intact. Now, I just need to clean out the pictures on my phone. So here is a bit of randomness from last month.

I think Robyn can do hats. For some reason, I just don't look that great in them. There are a few that I can pull off, but in general, I think my head is too small.  But this cutie is destined for some good hat days. (Yes, that is Hobby Lobby, my other home.)

Oh wait....maybe my other home is the library. It is probably one of my most favorite places on earth. It is like being at the top of a roller coaster. There is so much potential ahead. I love to see my kids looking for books. I love to sit down and read. In fact, this summer, I am going to make the kids spend some quality time at the library. We usually have a day to pick out books, but I think we will go for at least an hour a week and sit down and read. It is therapeutic.

Speaking of the library, they have this cool display up right now.

Blind Date with a Book. Such a fun, fantastic idea. I had to get one of course. I picked the one that said: "Say goodbye to your life for a while if you pick me." That is exactly what I wanted.

When you check out the book, the title shows up on the screen. I had chosen The Night Circus, which is a wonderful book, but I had already read it. So I went back for another date. This time I chose: "One of the best melodramas you'll ever read."

Sounds good. Turned out to be Nicholas Nickleby by Dickens. Eh...I'm trying to read it. (And by trying, I have read two chapters.) But sadly for Nicholas, Tricia and I just went to a library presentation of the BEST BOOKS of 2015 and now I have a whole list of things I want to read. Sorry Nicholas...I may not be the one for you. But don't lose heart. There are other fish in the sea.

I love when the girls play with my hair. It is nice and long right now, so it feels great when they brush it. They do some very interesting styles now and then. June did a fun thing with braids the other day, but my hair is so thin, that sometimes it looks like I have bald spots. I'm pretty sure you shouldn't  be able to see that much scalp.

It means that I am limited in some of the styles I can do. I hope the girls get Tyler's thick locks and not my thinning ones. (Although I'm pretty sure pregnancy has something to do with the state of my hair, so maybe it isn't all genetics.)

Look at these two lovebirds? Guess where we are.

Did you guess we were giving blood? Probably not. I told Tyler we should take a picture. (We were at his work giving blood.) After we took the picture, he said there was nothing about that picture that said, "We just gave blood." Sadly, I didn't have Ivory with me. She would have taken a picture of the blood bag. I am happy to say that the workouts seem to be doing their job. I got in there after Tyler, but caught up to him by the end. I donate quickly. I'm not sure if that is a good thing actually. Doesn't that mean if I have a severe injury that I will just bleed to death faster than the next guy?

Grandma came down to go to the City Center Temple Open House. I have pictures of that to put on there later. I guess Ivory said something about her eyebrows, so Grandma fixed them and told me to take a picture for Ivory (who was at a long test the next morning). I didn't notice anything wrong with her eyebrows before. And they look just fine here.

Unfortunately, shortly after her return to Idaho, she fell shoveling snow and broke her wrist. Boo. I have pictures of her cast to put on here later as well. Grandma can't seem to catch a break.

A good friend of mine, McKenzie, did my nails for my birthday. She has the gel nail stuff. It is amazing. Put your nails under the lights for a minute and then you are good to go. No waiting for hours to make sure they are set. I could get behind this type of nail. Although I hear they don't come off very well and you almost have to chip them off. Or soak your fingers in acetone. (Both sound cheery.) But I haven't even been tempted to bite them or pull them off. That is good for me.

June took this picture one night when the moon was looking so cool. She said it didn't even capture the real effect, but I think it looks so Halloweeny. One of my favorite pictures of the year so far.

Here is the family getting ready to do family pictures. They were watching Mutton Bustin' on Tyler's phone and they looked so cute huddled around together. I'm not sure I approve of Mutton Busting, but I do approve of family time.

Speaking of family time, I got to take the older three out for ice cream. We had such a good time. I sure love these girls. Despite the occasional mood swing and complaining (we have know it happens) these kids are a delight to hang out with. While eating we played a game where we picked two guys and you had to decide who you would rather marry. One funny one was Albert Einstein or Obama. (Sorry votes for you.) The best one was Robyn who asked if we could do more generic things, like job titles instead of actual names. When I said yes, she said, "Okay, would you rather marry a doctor...or a poltergeist?" (Hahahaha. I think she thought a poltergeist was some kind of scientist.)

 Lastly, I walked by the front door the other day and thought someone had stacked up some snowballs. Upon closer inspection, I saw they were three little snowman buddies. Ivory made them. I almost want to get mini chocolate chips to decorate them, but I think they are frozen solid by now. Still adorable.

And that is January in a nutshell. It sure went quickly. 1/12th of the year is already behind us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Intentions for Less Intentions

You might have noticed that I haven't discussed any kind of New Year's resolutions. (If you haven't noticed, or cared, that is alright.) I stopped making resolutions, per se, a while back, but I believe good intentions are going out the window this year as well.

Tyler has never really been on board. The New Year's goal train has been almost entirely in my camp. Each year, it seems harder for the train to make its journey and this year, due to irreparable damage, it couldn't even leave the station.

Tyler had a better idea though. He said we should look back at the last year and find some accomplishments we had or made. We could still celebrate our efforts and successes. Which makes sense, since many of the things I feel good about aren't on my goal list in the first place. Some are picked up mid-year, or even at the very end.

My mindset is quickly shifting in that direction, especially since I believe I have a whole bunch of FAILS for last year. Let's take a quick look.

Here were my intentions:


Stock Something Emergency Preparedness each month - FAIL. I think I stocked a couple items, but I was never quite sure what to put in there. Luckily, Tyler and I made a list this last month and I will be adding some items onto my shopping, so there is still hope for this one.

Voice-record receipts to track spenditures - PASS/FAIL. Like many things, I started off very well with this one. In fact, I did it most of the year. Somewhere around Thanksgiving, it completely left my mind to voice record information. That was very unhelpful since I usually buy quite a bit around the holidays. (Sorry Tyler.) I am trying to record again. It is still useful in the long run.

Finish spider crosstitch – On Sunday afternoons - FAIL. BUT, the reason I didn't finish it, was because I was working on a different piece of stitching. I'm not sure if any of you remember that I did three pieces for a friend's kids. Well, when she had a fourth child, she wanted another one. The only problem was that there were only three patterns in the book. But, serendipitously, I found the perfect pattern online and finished the project. (Her little girl is only seven. Hee hee.)

Read 50% of the Ensign each month - FAIL. I read the Ensign for the first month or so, but never was consistent. However, I have been very good about rereading all the conference addresses, and I like those more anyway.

Don't touch the phone while driving - TOTAL FAIL. Hmmm, how do I put this without getting into trouble? So...I watched this commercial about texting and driving and I vowed I would never text again in the car. I even told the kids that if they caught me texting, I would owe $25 to them. (That will be the same rule when they are driving. I DO NOT want them touching their phones.) 

That said, I still touch my phone often. I turn on music, I turn off alarms, I answer the phone. I even voice text to Tyler sometimes...when the kids are not present. 

Ironically, I went looking for the commercial and couldn't find it. But there is plenty out there to remind me that it isn't worth it. I should not touch my phone at all if possible. I do sometimes pull over if I really need to send a text, but I am not as good about that as I should be. I sure don't want to be a statistic, so this is an endeavor that I will continue to work on. that I am on that sour note, I'm not really in the mood to sing my praises of last year. Just know that I did okay. I'm happy with my accomplishments, one of which is continuing to blog another year. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Freeze Motion

Haha. So this week, my photo didn't turn out quite as I expected. But I learned something and that is what this is all about, right? (Oh, and to actually pick up my camera more often.)

Freeze motion is a cool idea and you can get some amazing shots, like this one.

Or I love how you can see all the particles of water in the air in this one.

Knowing the theme, I had a great idea. I was going to get a picture of a balloon popping.


It is really hard. Balloons pop very rapidly. They are gone in a instant. Tyler recommended taking a video and then trying to take a still shot from the footage. I told him that was missing the point of using the camera in the first place. But for future reference, if you need a picture of a balloon popping, try using video.

Most of my pictures are more of the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't variety. In a couple, you can see part of the balloon pieces, but more often than not, it just disappears. Take a look for yourself.

So...not so much on the balloon popping. I took a famous levitating shot. See how Daisy doth float above the floor.

I also thought about taking a picture of the snow falling since we have had so much recently. (Spoiler: It is snowing as I write this as well.) I only snapped one picture outside because it was cold. (Duh.)

I tried a spray bottle, but it is really hard to use the spray bottle and also get far enough away to take a picture.

I finally settled on a water shot. They always seem to do the trick.

 I figured that with more time and motivation, I could have gotten a better shot of something, but I'm okay with what I have. And like I said, I picked up the camera when it would have just been sitting there.

Next up, B&W BARRIER. That is open to a lot of interpretation. We'll see what I come up with.