Friday, February 27, 2009

Still Not Pleased

Well, would you believe I actually paid for this header and tabs, and I'm still not pleased with the blog layout. I wish I knew how to do things in html so I could do whatever I wanted. At this point I am about to pull my stinking hair out. Has anyone ever downloaded things from the Shabby Shoppe? Let me know. I have some questions for you.

I have even considered shelling out some big bucks and hiring a blog makeover.. but unfortunately my husband and Dave Ramsey would be very disappointed in the frivolousness of it all. (But only my blog friends can understand how important it really is!)

I am disappointed that I only received 2 comments on my sports photography post. I was really hoping there was somebody smarter out there than me that could answer my question. Maybe I got you off track by changing everything up. If you didn't read it, check it out.

This has been a cold, dreary and extremely rainy Friday. Big Dan's ballgame got canceled because of the water everywhere. My baby girl (aka Little Ann) is sick. She is running fever and missed school today so don't know what this weekend will hold for me, but I hope you have a good one.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pardon This Generic Template

As of now (Friday night), this blog is still under construction. (Yeah, seems I don't have anything better to do on this cold, rainy, Friday night).. So, go have your night on the town and I'll be here diligently working!
Not sure what I want to do yet...

Shooting...Sports Style

I have officially entered the land of "crazy". I keep longing for blog time, but it just isn't happening....and the sad part is, I can't foresee much in the future either. Spring is right around the corner and you know what that means. We had our first Varsity baseball game of the season Tuesday night and I must say...I absolutely love that feeling. It actually wasn't too cold, but I brought my little buddy heater just in case. I'm sure there are some cold nights upon us seeing as how there are 27 games on the schedule and that doesn't even include the weekend tournaments. Just say...I hope you won't give up on me.

With all that being said, I wanted to blog a little on sports photography. I have a couple of tidbits that I have discovered by trial and error, and I also have a question for you.

Little Ann just finished up her season of Center Court basketball. It is a league sponsored by a church in our area and they played at the church gymnasium on Saturday's. I had a little trouble taking pictures in there at first. The walls are light blue and the floors are a darker shade. I had issues getting the coloring right. Gym shooting has always been tough even at the school because of the fluorescent lighting (kind of like stage).

Through trial and error I discovered that if you will change to manual setting, and go to your white balance, you will find all kinds of neat different lighting options. I chose the one for fluorescent lighting and it made a world of difference. Sometimes, I still tweak the ones I take in that blue gym to a more natural look once I get home, but it sure does get you a clearer picture than if you just shot automatic. You have to admit this is pretty good for dark gym lighting.

The next thing I have always had issues with is the action. I can't tell you how many times I have thought about (and actually held in my hand) the big, BIG daddy sports lens. With both kids playing sports, I thought I must have that. The best thing of all was even though it was 2 grand, my sweet husband told me I could buy it. Something inside just kept telling me I just needed to keep playing with what I had. And I'm glad I did.

Action is important to me and I just couldn't stand to see my son a blur as he was running down the court. So one night as I watched him play basketball, I kept noticing that the lady that was taking pictures for the county paper had a camera just like mine. We talked for awhile and that is when I was introduced to the Tv setting. It stands for timed value. According to my manual: in the Tv mode you set the shutter speed and the camera automatically sets the aperture value to suit the subject's brightness. The faster the shutter speed, the better the camera can freeze a moving subject. BINGO. This was the best news to me. Check these out.

Although you can't see her face here, what I want you to notice is there is absolutely no blurring in this shot at all, and you can clearly see she is running down the court.

These next two shots are some for sure action and I was very pleased with the way they turned out. I will forever be grateful for the Tv setting!

Baseball can make for some great pictures as far as lighting is concerned, but if you are shooting automatic, I have found that you will still get quite a bit of blur when your subject is running or swinging a bat. The next greatest discovery I've made is the actual sports setting (it is the little man running on your dial). This actually is an automatic setting that will get you continuous shooting if you hold your snap button down. It will take pictures continually as your subject is in motion and they are not blurred. Great news, huh?

Where the problem comes in is when the sun goes down. I have found that you can't use the sports setting when there isn't any lighting. I usually just put my camera away after dark because I never can seem to get a good shot. This one turned out pretty well of Big Dan because I actually got out of my seat to shoot through the fence directly behind the batters box, used my flash...and it just so happened he was positioned right underneath field lighting. It helped that he was standing still or it wouldn't have been good.

I hope you find this somewhat interesting and if my trial and error can help you...well, then it was worth it!

So, that brings me to my question for you. All you Canon Rebel users....what on earth do you do to get good night shots?

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Well, Bachelor buddies. Thanks to my beloved facebook friends, I have come across a spoiler for the upcoming episodes. Seems that the secret is out about who Jason actually proposes to, but not only that, what goes down at the 2 after rose shows.

I don't want to be mean and spoil it for you, (even though reality is that I'm already probably the last to know) so I won't tell you what I found out, but I'll make you a deal. If you are interested in reading what I read, leave a comment or email me and I will send you the link that will totally fill you in on everything you want to know! And trust're not going to like it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Just Can't Believe..

-that this week is already over and it went fast!

-that I haven't written a blog post since Monday....or read many, for that matter.

-that I only put my 2 cents worth in on a few comment sections instead of having my own vent session over "The Bachelor" episode this past week. Here's hoping Melissa is the last one standing (since he sent Jill home anyway).

-that my puppies are already 6 weeks old and counting, and would you believe I only have 2 left out of 10! God is good. Prayers answered there.

-that Big Dan has his very first Varsity Baseball game on Tuesday!! And this is the first sport I have been privileged to watch so far this year, (he didn't play football or basketball this year) so I must admit, I am PUMPED!! (But not ready to sit in the cold...thank goodness for my buddy heater!)

-that I have bombed my carb diet. What kind of diet is no carbs anyway? Who on this earth can survive without potatoes and chocolate milk? That doesn't even sound right. I'll have to figure out something else that'll enable me to include those 2. Weight Watchers maybe.

-that I got to spend some time with two wonderful college friends this week. And it was the bomb. I smiled so big and laughed the entire day. It's so funny remembering all our good times. Some blog friendly....some not so much. We had conversations that went something like this..."I hope my teenager doesn't do the things I did!" Sound familiar? Thought so.

This big hair photograph would be me and my 2 chickadees at my apartment exchanging gifts Christmas of 1989.

And this would be us...uh....20 years later.

We still got it!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Who'da Ever Thought.......

that a Halloween costume would ever be used for anything other than dress up play time again.

Most every year after Halloween, the fairy, the kitty cat, the Cinderella princess, or the vintage American girl costumes all get tossed back into the "dress up" drawer for years of enjoyment, but never really put to any constructive use other than stimulating the imagination. But not this year.

First of all, in case you weren't aware, my mother hand sewed (well, machine, but you know what I mean) mine and Little Ann's costumes this past year. It wasn't hard to talk her into it (even though costumes are her least favorite thing to do) because my dad is currently having his old '55 Chevrolet restored and is due to get it back at any time. He has been so excited over this car for the last couple of years because it was his first car from his teenage days. He drug it up out of the woods on his home place where it had been since it had been wrecked. Not only is it going to look awesome, but holds quite a bit of sentimental value as well.

My mom decided that she didn't mind putting the extra effort into Little Ann's 50's car hop costume and my poodle skirt for this past Halloween, for afterwards we could store them until the time came to accompany Papaw in the county parade when the car comes back.

And that was totally off the subject....sort of. But anyway, when the preteens/teens were asked to serve the adults at our Valentine dinner this past weekend, Little Ann's wheels started a turning and she immediately decided what she would wear.

Yes, would that be sweet or unsweet, please?

And sir, what would you like to drink?

Here is your dessert ma'am. Let me take those plates for you.

She smiled so big all night long and all the kids did such a great job. It does so much for them to know they are needed and to be recognized, not to mention the character building going on in the meantime.

And Little Ann looked awful cutsey tootsey while doing it! Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines day with their Sweetie's.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bittersweet Goodbyes

I'm keen on that psycological stuff, ya know, so when I posted flyers that said puppies for sale, I made sure I labeled them "VALENTINE puppies for sale". Luckily they are weaned and my ploy seems to be working as several have gone bu bye this week as gifts just for that very occasion.

It's been hard to see each one go, as Little Ann and I have become somewhat attached to each one individually. I let my favorite little black fur ball go just as I was heading out the door to church on Wednesday night and I didn't even get adequate enough time to say my goodbyes, let alone a picture. But not yesterday. When I got the call that the buyer was on his way, Marley was taken straight to the sink for a bath, a Valentine bow, and a photo session.

Now, if this isn't just the best Valentine's day gift ever!!!

We were down to 4 little black ones and our special little pink nosed goldie that Little Ann had named "Buddy" after Air Bud. He has such a sweet little personality, and is just as cute as can be and I must admit, if he didn't sell, I was very much contemplating keeping him around. Didn't happen. Got a call tonight and I must say goodbyes didn't go as easy with him as with previous sales.

After his bath, he had to endure snuggles and lots of tears as we awaited on his new owner to arrive. It just about broke my heart for Little Ann. She and Buddy have gotten pretty tight.

It was almost more than I could bear to see those red, puffy eyes and crocodile tears flowing down her cheeks.

This was not an easy thing to do, and it seems the longer we have them around, the harder it gets. The consolation was that Buddy was going to make another little girl very, very happy...yeah, that and an early Valentine present for Little Ann (a stuffed puppy who made everything all better).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Birthday Pictures

Yesterday was Pete's 40th birthday. It doesn't even seem possible that we are this old. Although I have at least another year and a half in the 30's, I know that 40 is just around the corner for me too. I let 30 bother me so much, but the rest of the numbers haven't seemed to be that bad. My mom's words "what's your alternative?" would run through my mind each year. Pete commented that 40 made him feel "half dead". I had to remind him of his alternative. Hearing those words will definitely make you look at birthdays in a different light. Even though I am prepared for my life after death, I would rather not go just yet!!

People say you're only as old as you feel and I don't feel old. As a matter of fact, most of the time, I still feel like a school, I guess that's a good thing.

I took several pictures throughout the day yesterday. All my shooting, of course was in automatic mode, but I tried a new angle.

I was trying new things and found that just turning the camera a little gave this shot a neat look.

I love this picture below. It just makes me smile to see this big grin on Little Ann's face. She is 100% daddy's girl. He loves her so much and believe me, she knows it!! Silly pictures just make me happy.
Pete's sister lives in the big city and although Pete and I already had plans for a night out to celebrate, she called and wanted to celebrate this milestone with us. She called his mom and step dad, our nephew and she and her husband all met us at one of Pete's favorite restaurants. I wish Big Dan could've come, but right now baseball is his priority...(even over the girlfriend, I'm afraid), and he practices late every night. Anyway, this restaurant is the Atkins dieter's dream. They have a selection of every kind of cut of meat you can imagine and bring you unlimited amounts. It was delish and we all left stuffed.

Not to mention this humongous birthday cake we had (and the leftovers we brought home).

I know he had a wonderful birthday. He's all about some food and he's played with his new cell phone all night and all day!! haha.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's 40!

Guess Who? This is my dear husband who goes by bloggy name..."Pistol Pete". He is 40 today and I am not too far behind. We've got a big day planned which includes meeting up with some of his family for dinner tonight. I'll be filling you in on all that later on and hopefully be including some pictures, but for now, I'm anxious to do this "husband" meme that I've held onto until this special day. Let's just see how much I know about this man.

1. Where did you meet?
Haha. I think I've mentioned this before, but we met at a Prison Facility. I was working as a transcriptionist for a Psychiatrist in the Mental Health department and Pete was the Jail Sergeant..(actually at that time he was working as a Lab Tech over the drug testing too). He had come over to my building for a seminar and saw me walking down the hall and that was all she wrote! haha. Of course, I told you I went out with him to make someone else jealous, but I guess he was too hard to resist!

2. How long did you date before you were married?
Only 6 months. Things just fell into place. We were both at a point in our lives where we were ready to settle down. We both had good jobs, and I was a single parent. He fit the mold for everything I was looking for in a mate and father.

3. How long have you been married?
It will be 16 years in July. Wow.

4. What does he do that surprises you?
Nothing that he does really surprises me anymore. I think after 16 years, I've pretty much got him all figured out. I think though if he would try something "romantic" occasionally (hint, hint), I might BE surprised.. lol.

5. What is your favorite feature of his?
I love his hands. He has beautiful, soft hands.

6. What is your favorite quality of his?
I love how he has it all together. We are complete opposites, but that's ok. I'm looking for something like a mad, crazy woman, and he hands it to me. He never loses anything. He's always prepared for any catastrophe. He always has a backup plan and I fly by the seat of my pants. He is a perfectionist and although sometimes it drives me crazy, most of the time it's his best quality. (and I don't have to iron his jeans because I don't do it well enough! lol)

7. Does he have a nickname for you?
Usually I'm just referred to as honey. (or other things depending on his mood!)

8. What is his favorite color?
I don't think we've ever had this conversation.

9. What is his favorite food?
I would have to say Chinese, but BBQ would have to come real close to that.

10. What is his favorite sport?
He's not a big sports fan, but he does watch an occasional football game..(ie Super Bowl or something big)

11. When & Where was your first kiss?
Our first date. (I know...You're not supposed to kiss on the first date...Who came up with that rule?) Wow. That's so hard to remember..especially for me, because I never remember anything! Were we in your car? Or at your apartment?

12. What are your favorite things to do as a couple?
We watch movies together occasionally when we aren't glued to our laptops. He likes it when I do things with him that he likes such as deer hunt. Most of the time he goes grocery shopping with me, but I think our favorite thing to do as a couple is just go out to eat and enjoy each other's company.

13. Do you have children?
Yes, our son who is 18 and daughter, age 10. (who acts just like Pete, I might add!)

14. Does he have a hidden talent?
He is a great cook. If he ever left me, I'd for sure miss his homemade hash browns, milk gravy and omelets!!

15. How old is he?
40 years old TODAY!!!

16. Who said I love you first?
He did of course.

17. What is his favorite type of music?
He listens to lots of different music, but I have always known him to be into hard rock. Right now, I catch him listening to Foo Fighters and 80's big hair bands on you tube.

18. What do you admire most about him?
He would do anything to ensure security for this family. I love this about him! And given some certain recent situations in his life, he has developed a closer relationship with God. I am so happy I am married to someone who will go to church with me.

19. Do you think he will read this?
Most definitely!! He's my most faithful

20. What color are his eyes?
He has beautiful brown eyes and Little Ann inherited them.

Anything you want to say to him?
Sweetie. You are a special person and I thank you for what you do for us, the sacrifices you make, and what you mean to me and to this family.

I hope you have many more happy birthday's!!

I love you!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What I Wish I Knew and Some Inspiration for Naomi

This is my camera. Or you could call it my baby. I love this thing. It goes practically everywhere I go, for I hate to miss opportunities for good pictures. (Even though it's not the handiest thing to carry around.) The problem is....I'm camera illiterate. I wish I knew so much more about the capabilities of my camera, yet, I don't. Most of my shooting is on automatic, but I know my camera is capable of so much more.

It's a Canon Rebel XT and although it's nothing special, it was quite pricey when I purchased it as my first digital 3 years ago. I paid over $1,000 for it, but I'm sure you can purchase the same model now for 1/2 of that or less. It doesn't make it worth any less to me, but I so long for some great photography and have faith that "my baby" can do it. (Not so much me, though..)

Here are some extra's hubby has bought me that I really like.
-my external eye piece extender.
I really like this because it helps keep my makeup and smudges off my lcd screen.

-my battery pack.
He got me this for Christmas this year and it is wonderful. I had issues leaving my camera on (I's that scatterbrained personality of mine) and everytime I got ready to shoot, my battery would be dead. It makes the camera a little heavier, but knowing I have plenty of battery to last is worth the extra weight.

-my external flash.
ok. this is an extra, but I'm not sure I can say I really like it. I have absolutely no idea how to use it and even when I have it on my camera on automatic, I seem to get better pictures using the flash without the external one. Any suggestions?

-my rubber pull out sun shield.
I have just recently discovered what a nice tool this is to have. I have been taking church directory pictures in noon sunlight and was having issues with sun spots on faces. This alleviated my problem and I was very glad to discover this remedy.

Has anyone ever taken any online tutorials or found websites helpful?

So much I wish I knew.


This part of my post is for Naomi. She asked for some scrapbooking inspiration because she was doing some pages for a family member. Naomi, this isn't much, or one of my better pages, but it is one I did for myself and my husband and thought you might could use the layout or quote (or anything...haha)

The background is just several different patterned papers torn and I inked the edges. I used buttons to accent the black/white photo. I used big foam letters that I inked in paint for the title, and the journaling was done on the computer. I printed it on vellum paper and inked the edges. Used sparkle brads to adhere to page because I hate when glue shows through your vellum. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Facebook Randomness

I love Facebook. I really do. But sometimes, it gets kind of crazy with so many people "poking" you, sending you smiles, plants, and trying to get you to join this cause and that. And really, that's not a bad thing cause I like smiles and causes and all that stuff.

Lately, there has been this "random things about me" meme (I guess you call it) floating around on facebook and believe it or not, I actually thought of 25...I mean 27 random things about me. I even surprised myself. I started and the thoughts just kept coming. haha. So, since I have several of you blog friends that are not my facebook friends, I thought I would include you in the fun. And feel free to do this yourself even if you're not on facebook, because really, you might just find out your not as boring as you think you are.


1. I was saved and baptized when I was 8 years old.

2. I have always had a fear of changing lanes and heavy traffic. I drove in the big city by myself for the first time this past year and it was so liberating.

3. I have small feet. (The smallest thing on my body probably, lol.)

4. One of my very first jobs was checking groceries at Piggly Wiggly and it was a blast.

5. I became a stay at home mom when my daughter was 3 mos old and never regretted it once.

6. My husband and I married after only knowing each other a mere 6 months.

7. My hair is naturally red. I have only colored it once in my life and it turned maroon!! Not good. I have had highlights 3 times (and I kinda like them). It is full of wave and annoying cowlicks in which I disguised with a perm most of my teenage life. Luckily short, sassy, wild styles are what's in now!

8. When I get to choose what we eat when dining out, I usually choose Mexican.

9. I've been to Disney World 3 times in my life. Once at age 14 with my mom, dad and brother. Once with my Senior classmates, and once with my immediate family and sis/bro in law when Katie turned 7. She celebrated with Cinderella. I could go back a hundred times.

10. I can't stand to hear someone take the Lord's name in vain.

11. I sleep with an electric blanket year round, and would be happy if my thermostat was on 80 all the time.

12. I have driving issues. I once got a speeding ticket in Stephens, AR going 85 in a school zone. I got another ticket for rolling through a stop sign earlier that same year (college days). When I was in high school, I ran in the ditch during heavy fog, and once backed into the telephone service man's truck sitting in my driveway. I have run out of gas, and knocked my passenger side mirror off my car on someone's mailbox. I can't think of anything I've done lately, except cut people off (and the current scratch from getting too close to my own mailbox). I think my son has taken after me. BEWARE!

13. I have never been too far from home, but I went on a mission trip this year to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and got to see Mt. Rushmore before returning home.

14. I lie down with my daughter every night at bedtime and wish she still twisted my hair.

15. I have always had a big behind and have been off and on yo-yo diets since my first pregnancy.

16. I am chronically late and no matter what I do, I can't change it.

17. I really like to scrapbook and have all kinds of gadgets, but can never seem to find the time to drag it all out anymore.

18. I don't have very much patience and I yell alot.

19. I once lit a cigarette at the wrong end and that was a sure sign I wasn't destined to be a smoker.

20. I hate things that require much thought and often get my friends to figure things out for me. (ie. owners manuals, directions, homework...)

21. I read the entire bible over a 3 year period.

22. When I substitute, the kids at school think I have OCD because I have an obsession with sweeping the floor and keeping the desks in line.

23. I frequently leave my flat iron on and my husband is afraid I am going to burn the house down.

24. I have a terrible memory and often rely on friends and family to jog my memory and tell me stories.

25. I was 10 days overdue with the birth of my first child and put in the hospital on bed rest due to preeclampsia.

(WOW!!! This wasn't so hard...I even thought of 3 more!!)

26. I used to own my own business. It was a children's resale shop and I did great business.

27. My teeth were straight until I lost my retainer about a month after I had it.

27. I have fussed at my son the last 18 years of his life for his grades, his attitude, his room, his inability to keep up with things, and his driving....but the truth is....he's just like me!

I want to know more about you too, so let me know if you do this!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What She Said.

I was really into last nights Bachelor episode. It was an intense one although there was not near the drama as before. I tell ya. It is hard for me to pick which one I think will be around for the end, because there are still some great girls to choose from.

I read Girls post and wow, she just about summed it up in a nutshell...(much better than I ever could anyway), so I'm just linking in to her this week. I love reading her take on things, and this week, we just so happened to have exactly the same opinions. Go check it won't be dissapointed.

Thanks Girl.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Can You Feel the Love?

They are four weeks old now and just as cute as a bug in a rug! Much like the real world, you just can't hold momma's actions against them.....

Welcome February!