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July 26, 2010

More photoshop fun...

with my new online BFF Rita and her CoffeeShop Blog.  I am a *very* novice photographer and am still working out how to manipulate my DSLR.  Every now and then I see amazing photos with beautiful edits and highlights and I wonder, when will I ever be good enough to do that?!  Well, by sheer luck I came across Rita's blog and found the "Actions" application which is essentially the manipulation of existing photos in Photoshop.  I had so much fun playing with it today I just had to post about it.  Here's some of what I experimented with (so far):

Here's the original picture of Argish...

and here's a brighter, softer manipulation of it.

I was going for a "Norman Rockwell" look here...

still missed the mark, but I love the depth and contrast!

The original profile shot of E...

played around and got this which reminds me of my old photos.

Same photo but in B&W with a glow.  Purdy. 

This was taken at the aquarium the other day...which is pretty good...

but adding some "pop" really made a difference.

For fun, here are a couple of E goofing around:

I love my new hobby. :)

July 21, 2010

It is one of those days...

When I woke up at 7:30 this morning to the pitter-patter of E’s feet as she walked down the hall to our room, life was quiet and nice.  You would not have known a moment like that ever existed in the Recke household 2-1/2 hours later.  You see, life really does fall apart when the mommy is gone...

I figured that since Tom was home this morning, I could carve out some “me” time and meet my friend Erika for a nice AM walk, without the kids.  Nice thought.  After a hasty job of dressing and getting out of the house, I realized that I did not confirm where to meet Erika...and that I had left my phone at home.  I went to the usual spot, but she was not there. Meanwhile, she was thinking that I needed to be picked up due to not having a car for two weeks, and was at my house. Eventually, all was sorted out and we were able to walk. And it was nice. But I had to go home. Against my will...and better judgment. Let me set the scene that greeted me from the time I walked in the door at 10:05 to the time Tom was finally able to leave for work at 10:35 (keeping in mind he needed to leave at 10):

Remnants of breakfast: bowls of dry, crusted oatmeal and glasses of remaining orange juice sitting on the counter and the table amongst all the fridge contents with C following after me saying how “E didn’t eat her oatmeal!”

Kitchen refrigerator torn apart with jugs of juice/milk/tea, etc sitting all over the place (we have been dealing with a dysfunctional refrigerator for the past week.  Ever drink sour milk?  I did yesterday and my mouth is still recovering.  Also, when you put jugs of liquid on top of a fridge, make sure you move it back far enough that it doesn’t fall when you open the door and then have sweet tea spill all over the floor.  Not that that happened to us…just sayin’).

Tom (in underwear, mind you) using one of my make-up compact mirrors and a twig to open the louvers of the cold-air vent in the fridge (not sure how the twig came in to play but I think poor Tom was really out of sorts at this point, so he gets a pass).

A dog that usually eats at 7:30 or so pacing around the kitchen waiting for that elusive meal.

C brushing his teeth for what seemed like forever.  We use a small timer to make sure he brushes for 2-1/2 minutes, but apparently E got a hold of it and added on another 5 minutes.  My dear follow-the-rules son has very clean teeth this morning. :)

Oh, and my very favorite: E standing in the kitchen, in the middle of the chaos, trying to shed her poopy diaper despite the hindrance of having shorts on…this was a FULL diaper, by the way, so you can come up with your own visual.  Yes, I know this means she is ready for potty-training…I’m just not!

And, after all of that, Tom just called to say that his clients stood him up. Awesome.

July 5, 2010

Not a good camping year for us...

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! We decided to head out of town for the holiday weekend and camp at Lake McConaughy in Nebraska. This was supposed to be our redemption camping trip since the last one (3 weeks ago) was pretty much a lesson in learning how to listen to weather forecasts and avoid camping in any situation where there is a 50% or higher chance of rain.  We listened this time around and the chance of rain was 30%...better odds and we did have a brand new tent after all!

That said, let's just put it right out there that this summer is thus far a humid one for Colorado.  Head East and you get more humidity.  Humidity = mosquitoes.  A plethora of them.  As in, we each needed our own personal bottle of bug spray to apply every 20 minutes.  Get the picture?  Add to that an unknown fact (until now) that E has brutal reactions to bug bites.  At any time during our trip she had eyes swollen like she had been in some cage fight (Tom's words, not mine).  She also had a huge knot in the middle of her shin...all from stupid mosquitoes.  On top of all that, I was completely paranoid about putting any deet-based bug repellent on her for fear of causing blindness or some kind of poisoning.  Here's an example of my paranoia:  during the first night, E woke up screaming.  Tom tried to calm her down but it just got worse and worse.  Next, I tried to calm her down.  I noticed in the beam of the flashlight that E was not focusing on anything and looked blank.  I started screaming at Tom, "She can't see!  Can she see?!"  to which Tom replied, "How the heck should I know?!"  Then I started yelling at E, "E, look at Mommy!  E, LOOK AT MOM-MEEEE!!  Tom, she's blind!!  She can't see me!"  Tom just looked at me like I was crazy and said, "What are you talking about?!"  I said, "It's the deet!  She's blind from deet!"  About that time was when E snapped out of whatever nightmare she was in and finally looked at me, put her binkie in her mouth, and laid down to go back to sleep.  Crisis over.  The next morning our friends in the tent next to us asked how E's eyesight was.  Yeah, I don't do well with paranoia in the middle of the night.  Oh, and for the record, C sleeps like a rock.  Not once did he waken in the midst of the chaos.  Bless him.  I, on the other hand, got about 4 hours of sleep since there were also train tracks just over the hill from us that (and I am so not kidding here) had a train blowing by every 20 minutes or so.  That was the first night.

The next day, 4th of July, was nice...albeit cloudy and nowhere near the nice hot temps of the day before.  Despite that, we walked to the lake and played around a bit in the water until C was shaking uncontrollably and had blue lips...a good indication that perhaps it was time to go.  We then returned to camp to eat lunch and take much-needed naps.  Around 6:30 we packed up food and grills and headed to Ogallala for tailgating and fireworks.  Nice right?  Weeeell, the fireworks started about an hour later than expected.  During this time you see another kind of fireworks on the horizon, in the form of lightening...the constant un-ending kind with no real thunder.  Not a big deal in theory.  Until we left.  We drove in a TORRENTIAL downpour all the way back to the campsite.  This was the stuff of hurricanes with excessive wind and rain.  We show up at 11pm to this:

Yes, that would be our collapsed tent.  Our brand new, barely a month-old tent.  
Here's a "before" just for kicks:

Yep, our tent was done in by the storm.  The front pole snapped in two places and bent at very odd angles in others.  On top of it all, water managed to seep in and completely drench our sleeping bags and clothes.  Fun times.  While Tom was in the pouring rain assessing the damage, I proceeded to have a total breakdown in the car, crying "why?! WHY??!!", tears streaming down my face, and shaking my fists at the sky.  Keep in mind, I was very tired and I think we have already established that I don't do well with drama when I am tired.  So to make a long story short (I know, too late), we ended up checking into a crappy Motel 6 at 1am in the morning with a car full of wet stuff, leaving our forlorn-looking tent back at camp.  Our very kind friends (who had a pop-up tent camper, mind you) ended up dismantling the tent for us and brought it to us the next day..when the skies were clear and blue and the sun was shining and we were not there.  Sigh.

Tom came home today and immediately started looking for used tent-campers.  We are so done with tents.

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