Thursday, December 30, 2010

new header

About freakin' time right?
The new one is still a work in progress, but I figured I better just get something up their that had Gus in it instead of one where Jimmy is 8 months old. Goodbye to our old one.  You served us for way too long.

nana meets gus

Zach's mom, Janet, came to help out for three weeks after Gus was born.  
Her help was much appreciated by me because I got to sleep a lot more and do a lot less chores.  
She sure loved this little guy.

I love this one, but I just wish Zach was in it too so it would be a complete family picture. 
Oh well, I am framing it anyway.
Of course, her company was certainly most appreciated by this guy:
 Of course, she helped garden, but she was Jimmy's go to playmate as well.
 Only really good Grandmothers will get in on a game of "Dinosaur Ball"
(That is were you pretend to be a dinosaur and run around kicking this big red ball... guess who made it up?)


One of the best things about our house is the nice big backyard. Unfortunately, we didn't have grass in it for quite some time so Jimmy just got to run around in the dirt (and occasionally mud).  When we moved in it looked like this:
Kind of cool and overgrown like a big forest, but the huge pine trees were preventing any grass from growing so we had to take them out.  One other tree was dying, but we got to keep three pretty big ones and one orange tree.  We planted a little ruby red as well.  We were going to put down Bermuda grass back in the spring, but we realized how an level our yard was and wanted to fix that problem before we put any money into grass.  The back corner of the yard was much higher than the rest and didn't get any irrigation water.  It was also really hard and rocky.  Despite Zach's best efforts he gave up and decided we needed to hire someone to do it or it would take him the rest of the year.  Here was the work in progress:
 It took us awhile to actually get around to doing that so come October when we had it done, we also planted winter grass.  This is probably a strange concept to people not from around here, but in Phoenix the year-round grass turns brown around November so people that want green grass in the winter plant Rye but they have to replant it every year.  This year we were so anxious to have a nice yard that we decided it was worth the money.  I am so glad we did.  Here is the yard now:
I love having grass!

welcome kolbe kersting

Way back in November, our good friends the Kerstings had a baby boy two weeks after Gus so we have already decided that we will force them to be the best of friends.  Their dads have also decided that they will compete with each other in every way possible starting with "who came out of mom faster."  Kolbe won that one since his his mom almost didn't make it to the hospital, but I won't go into all the details of that here.  The day after Kolbe was born we watched Lucia for the day while mom and dad finished up at the hospital.  We fed here Bacon like any good parents should.
Then we took a walk down to Central Ave to watch the end of the Veteran's Day Parade.  The kiddos were entertained for a little while and it was a beautiful day.  
At least there were lots of cool Fire Trucks.

 That night we brought over some pizza and got to meet the cute little guy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

attention fellow bloggers

The following is a long rant which should explain my recent lack of posts. It really only relates to people who use Blogger so read on only if you wish. I was going to title this post: "I Hate Blogger" but I thought that somehow Blogger would know and then do more evil things just to spite me. I have long been frustrated by Blogger and am always trying to figure out their ever-changing ways. I cut them some slack because, hey, it is a free service after all, but as soon as I feel like I figure things out, they change on me. Sometimes the change is good and I do feel like I am learning a semi-important computer skill, but sometimes it seems like a hassle. I was mortified about a month ago when I was trying to finish a post (during my limited window of naptime, mind you) and while downloading my pictures I was informed that I had filled my 1 GB quota of pictures that Blogger gives you for free. How could this be true? I know I get a little picture happy sometimes, but I have never heard of anybody paying for their family blog. I immediately asked my sister seeing as she has had her blog longer than me, posts more often, and does just as many pictures as me. She had no idea and started to worry herself that she was going to fill her quota. Granted it is only $5 for 20 GB of storage per year (I don't know if that is a one time charge or you have to continue paying it even if you haven't used the space) but I just didn't think my little blog could actually be that full, but I was wrong...mostly.
After some research, I learned a few things that I really thought I should share. First, all the pictures you put on your blog are saved in a public Picassa web account. I only kind of knew this and had never looked at my Picassa account. You should be able to view your own here: I learned from another blog that if you delete a post (or individual pictures) that the pictures don't always get deleted so you may have multiples of the same picture taking up space. I had TONS of multiples. I attribute this to the times I would cut and paste an entire post so that it would appear on the current day and not the day I started it. Blogger has fixed that problem now, but whenever I had multiple posts in the works I would always do this. I didn't even know which doubles I should delete nor did I want to spend the time to do it, but after some trial and error it seemed that the last multiple was always the one that actually appears on the blog, which makes sense. Also, if you just delete a picture from your post chances are you are still storing it. So I spent a lot of time deleting pictures from Picassa sure that this was my problem, however I wasn't completely right. First I deleted at least 30 some pictures and then went to finish the post I was working on and it let me upload 4 pictures before it told me I was full again. What the heck?! I was getting really mad. Honestly I still haven't completely solved the problem, but the only thing I can figure is that my image sizes are way too big and take up more space than most other people's. I think my camera is set on a really high resolution setting which I want on one hand, but not if it is going to be a problem for the blog. I wish there was an easy way to change all the resolutions before I put them on the blog, but that would take forever in Photoshop which is the only way I know how to do it. When I put my photos into Photoshop they do seem really large in size. The verticals are usually 38x50 with 72 resolution and the horizontals are usually 20x15 with 180 res, but this varies from picture to picture. When I lower the size they upload so much faster. Picture resolutions in Photoshop has always given me a headache anyway and I still don't understand it. I want someone to explain everything there is to know about resolution to me. Is there really even a reason I would need really high resolutions for printing purposes? Is there a good balance somewhere? My sister-in-law has a camera similar in quality to mine, but she has had it on a lower setting. Her images vary from around 70 to 200 KB (about 3.5x2.6 in at 180 res) about while mine vary from around 3 to 8 MB (which is 3,000 to 8,000 KB). That means on average one of my photos takes up as much as 50 of hers. However, I can zoom in really far on my pictures before they get pixilated and hers get pixilated after about two zooms due to the smaller size. But my pictures just take up so much space on my computer and therefore also on my blog. My iPhoto which only goes back to about May of this year has 11 GB of pictures so I guess that is some indication of how much storage I use up. I think I used to have it on a lower setting because my old pictures from the same camera are much smaller in size. The thing I don't get is that my sisters pictures are easily as big as mine and she hasn't had this problem yet. I think my solution for now is to put my camera on at least a little lower setting and sadly pay the $5 fee. To view how much of your storage you are using go here:
I am now at 0.87% after deleting most of my doubles so I don't have much space left. The 1 GB also includes all blogs that I belong to which is now about 5 so that is also a problem. I am very curious to get some more answers or advice here so if any of you out there have experienced this or think you can help please leave me comments! Any photo/camera experts that want to give me their expertise, it would also be appreciated. As for everyone else, I just wanted to inform you before you were in the same boat as me.
So the moral of the story is: Don't upload huge files like me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

we have a three year old?

How does time go so fast?  It seems cliche to say, "Oh, it was only yesterday!" but alas my life has become cliche.  I mean yesterday is an exaggeration, but Jimmy's birth just doesn't seem that long ago.  He looks huge now next to his tiny little brother.  I made sure not to neglect his birthday because of the new arrival, so the spoiled little kid kind of got two parties.  He now refers to the first one as "the cupcake party" and this one as "the cake party."  
Nana bought him some things to decorate his cake and Zach just let him go to town.
Zach wrote whatever Jimmy told him and this is how it turned out.
You probably can't tell but it actually says dinosaurs under the dinosaurs. And he insisted laying the soldiers flat on the cake which I had to laugh at since it made them look dead.  Maybe they got trampled by dinosaurs.
Of course, Gus wasn't completely out of the spotlight.
(He changes his clothes a lot)

This was the day he finally got to open his presents of which there were many.
Aunt Michelle got this Pinocchio puppet for him in Europe (and a cool t-shirt to match).
Mimi and Johnny gave him Toy Story Duplos and, of course, anything Toy Story is a hit right now.  
Nana gave him Toy Story 3 and he must have watched it with her 10 times in three weeks she was here.
And Mom and Dad got him "The whale like Finn has" that he has been asking for since Finn's birthday.
(He asked me to set it up exactly like the picture on the box.  This was the best I could do.)
And we are still yet to get a family picture suitable for me to make a new blog header 
(I would have said "to make a Christmas Card," but who am I kidding.)
Happy Birthday Jimbo!... a month ago now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


So the theme of Halloween this year (and yes there is always a theme as of late) was "Alice in Wonderland."  Most people who look at this blog also see my sister's so perhaps this is all old news, but I still need to do my own post (I am just very behind right now).  I stole pictures from her, but you can see her post here.   My boys were The Caterpillar and The Cheshire Cat.  I would have liked to participate too, but I was lucky to get their costumes made this year.
The kids usually start discussing what they will all be for Halloween sometime in the summer.  The Burch and Speier kids decided on Alice, but Jimmy had gotten it stuck in his head to be Mickey Mouse when that was in discussion a while before.  I really wanted him to to something with everyone else, but I certainly wasn't going to force anything on him.  I knew it would be a hard sell since he hadn't seen the movie and had only read a book of it a few times.  Plus, I was sort of looking forward to being Minnie with him and making Zach be Goofy.  However, I brought up a few of the character choices such as the Mad Hatter, March Hare, Cheshire Cat, or the Caterpillar.  He immediately wanted to be the Caterpillar before I even showed him the pictures (this probably had something to do with a popular childhood book that we all know and love).  At first I was like, "Yeah, that would be great!"  because I was excited that he wanted to do it.  Then I looked at a picture of the caterpillar online and realized how complicated making a costume of it would be.  As we stared at the computer together, I said, "Uhhhh, Buddy.  That might be to hard for mom to make."  He seemed sad and kept asking "Why?"   I said maybe he should pick one of the easier ones. Then that night at dinner he told his dad in a sad little voice he was just going to be the cat because "The caterpillar was too hard for mom to make."  Of course, it broke my heart and I said, "You can be the caterpillar! It's okay.  I can do it!"  That kid sure knows how to play me.  Plus, I looked at it as a challenge.  And what pregnant lady in her 8th month doesn't want more than to hunch over a sewing machine?  And yet I did it and am quite proud of myself.  Thanks to the help of my friend Jessica's Sewing Blog I had a good place to start on the costume base (Thanks Suz for the idea).  I just made pajamas with one of her tutorials and added four extra arms to the top and four extra legs to the bottom.  Jimmy helped me stuff them (not with the kind of stuffing you put in the turkey at Thanksgiving he likes to remind me.)  I hand stitched the extra arms so I could reuse the pajamas later, but so far Jimmy refuses to let me dismantle the costume.  He did, however, insist on wearing it to bed one night.  I let him  do knowing all the extra limbs would drive him crazy and he would never want to do it again.  Sure enough he woke up in the middle of the night fussing and wanting to take it off.  Basically, Jimmy loved the costume so it was totally worth making it.  It may have put me into labor (I was working on it until about 2 1/2 hours before contractions started) and I was still sewing it together right before he put it on for the night, but all in all it was fun.  
Jimmy loved that the legs were all connected and would move when he raised his arms.  As for the hat, I realize he kind of looked like Carmen Miranda, but it was better than nothing.  I didn't have time to actually make one so I just tied fabric (I ran out of the same color) around his head and tied it with a rubber band. As for the Hookah it is made out of and "I Dream of Jeannie" toy, a rope, the end of a pipe, and some electrical tape.
Gus got to be the Cheshire Cat.
I didn't know if he was going to be a boy or a girl when I made this, but I was pretty sure he would at least be born and need a costume.  The striped jammies used to be pink, but I dyed it all purple.  I felt to guilty to put another of my boys in pink jammies like I did last year.
Cute little Kateri was Alice.
Finn was the White Rabbit.
Lucy and Audrey were Tweedle Goose and Tweedle Geege (spelling Em or Allie?)
... as opposed to Dum and Dee.
Lily and Jack as the Queen and King of Hearts.
Do you play croquet?
This should give you some indication of how difficult it was to put him in his carseat.
We were so glad Aunt Erin could be in town for it all...
And I had someone to hold Gus for me.
Emily made these fun cookies.
And added some cute extra touches.
And Allie made this awesome pumpkin and some other fun decorations.
Trick or Treating was fun this year.  
Jimmy got more into it this time and had his, "Trick or Treat. Thank You.  Happy Halloween!" down pretty well.
And the candy was really exciting this year, but he only ate one lollipop since it took forever.
Gus went with us and slept the whole time like a good little boy.
At the end of the night we went to pick Nana up at the airport.  Jimmy and I went inside to wait for her and everyone in the very quite airport was laughing at Jimmy's costume.  One of the airport workers even took a picture of him.  Then when Nana came down the escalator, Jimmy ran all the way to her with all his arms waving and everyone in the whole place watching him.  All the people on the flight were sort of miserable from having their flight delayed by many hours, but Jimmy was so happy (and loud) that he was making them all smile.  One lady said, "You are just making my day... and it has been a really bad day.  I have had three flights canceled."  Nana, sorry your flight was delayed, but I think it was meant to be so that we could meet you at the airport.