Monday, November 26, 2012

ohmuhgoodness! it’s finally done!

I only spent 12 hours working on it Saturday, not counting all the unknown hours over the past few weeks thinking up set ups, trying to take group pictures, starting and rejecting ideas. Seriously. I spend way too much time every year on these stupid things.

*drum roll please*
Now, allow me to introduce our 2012 Christmas Card!

christmas card - life as their mom

You can find the picture that I used of the kidlets here. Yes, I did cheat and I drew Mason smiling instead of in the middle of a fit. Told you I’d learn to cope with that picture. And this card is also rocking my very own handwriting! The neat version of it too! See here’s the original of it:

christmas card 2- life as their mom

I like it enough that I’m thinking of doing one out of a compilation of our attempts at a family picture. We try for one every Thanksgiving and every Easter. They’re always a fail, but at least they’re a cute fail. The kids have some awesome expressions in them this year… just none all together, so I think a silly drawing of it for my room would be perfect.

I’ve been asked several times now how I did the drawing, and how I’ve been doing my handwriting (which is also on show here and here). Well… it’s all tracing. I open the picture in ArtRage, and then I use the Ink Pen tool with the smoothing set to 30-40%. That way it cleans up all my lines as I go. When I first bought the program was one of my failed attempt at designing digital scrapbooking kits and when I quit I figured, well, at least it didn’t cost that much. I use it now all the time for drawing (like the stuff here) and for writing. I also do the coloring in on that program also. I use a combination of all the different tools for that. I don’t trace for all of my drawing, my Christmas Card was only the second time I’d ever tried drawing that way.

Anyway, that’s our Christmas Card, and I’m linking it up to The Paper Mama’s 2012 Holiday Photo Contest.

Now, I need to get back to catching up to my creative team work, and finishing up the templates for December.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Breastfeeding–Take #4

Breastfeeding Bella was so good, but so bad too, when she was classified as failure to thrive I said enough. I had pushed and pushed so hard to give her JUST breast since Ryan wouldn’t nurse at all despite me pushing and pushing. Bella’s failure to thrive felt like a slap to the face. I said no more. If we ever have another I’m just not even trying.

Fast forward a little bit and bam! we are having another baby.
I stressed, I agonized. I said no, not even trying.
Then I would get to remembering how much I loved that closeness.

It wasn’t until I was actually holding Mason in my arms that I said yes, of course I’m going to breastfeed him! How could I even think I wouldn’t??

And I am so glad that I finally decided that.

bfjoy-life as their mom

Nursing Mason has been wonderful. Just like the great experience that I had with Zach. When he nurses and looks up at me with those big eyes my heart smiles, and when he needs to be touching my face while nursing and looking at me I just melt.

I am so so proud that he went six months on just breast milk, and even still he is primarily a breastfed baby,

The very basic fact of it though is that nursing Mason has gone so far in helping to heal all the pain, angst, and scars I carried from Bella and Ryan’s breastfeeding experiences.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh ye, of little sleep…

Oh ye, of little sleep, why do you cry so? Why do you cower and hide? Why do you lash out at all and every? Why do you lay your head on your desk and sigh and hope for the day to end? Have you not been promised an end to this suffering? Have you already forgotten that this is not a forever situation?

yeoflittlesleep - life as their mom

Oh forget that.
Today I can’t even pretend niceness. I just don’t have it in me… at all.

I’d planned on coming on here today and talking about breastfeeding Mason, but I just don’t want to. I want to talk about not getting any dang sleep lately. None. I am going crazy. For over the past week Mason has been teething. Teething HARD. And he’s not really sleeping. When he is sleeping at night it has to be next to me, generally that’s good. We’re big bed-share-ers in these parts. However, since his gums hurt he continually is biting and chewing on me while he sleeps and I try to sleep. I’ve tried giving him a paci to chew on, but he doesn’t want it. Now he’s running a fever as well and isn’t even sleeping at all except in short cat naps.

Now lets throw Bella in to the mix. 
For some reason Bella is also not sleeping, and while she is awake at night she feels the need to come in my room and talk to Mason and play with him. Or to cuddle into bed with John, me, and Mason. I sleep in a queen, that many people, yeah that ain’t happening. I move a lot in my sleep, and you might wonder about the safeness in that with bed-sharing, well, I move Mason with me. I’ve done it with all the kids. When that many people our in my bed I can’t move, when I can’t move I can’t sleep.

I’m lucky to get 3-4 hours of sleep a night now.
Last night I got about an hour and a half. Total.
And honestly, I don’t think Bella got more than like four.

The grand low point – Bella screaming this morning “I don’t like you anymore!” and me yelling back at her “Well, I don’t like you much either right now!”

There is no happy ending to this post, just a release of frustration.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Almost, almost…. but not quite yet.

It’s almost Thanksgiving, the real most wonderful time of the year. I get to see family and eat a ton and a half. Most importantly… I don’t have to buy anyone anything to do it!

Yay!

I’ve actually already had two other Thanksgivings (basically) so far. I have a feeling by next week that I am going to be so turkey-ed out. As of now, I’m not… we’re even having turkey and dumplings for dinner tonight to kill off the rest of the leftover turkey from Saturday.

Saturday’s Thanksgiving with my brothers, my older brother’s roommate, and their friend.
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prethanksgiving2-life as their mom

I’ve been referring to it as the Bachelor Thanksgiving. And I promise, my living room is clean, it’s just that taking pictures facing my cluttered desk, bookshelf, and craft table is never a good idea.

Last night we went to the church’s annual Thanksgiving dinner with my sister and step-father.
prethanksgiving3-life as their mom

Today Ryan, Bella, and I have been getting our paper scrapbooking craftiness on. I’ve finally gotten together the Christmasy stuff for my Document December prep (and a few other basics – you know seeing as how I usually use my computer for scrapbooking) so this morning I sat down to start. Yes, I know, it’s not December yet, but I’ve been told getting your stuff together early helps with actually keeping up with it, so I’m trying. (Me actually trying this again is also her fault, so if I fail again it is indirectly her fault as well, lol) As I did my prep work Bella and Ryan made their own scrapbook pages with some other paper scrapbooking stuff I found laying about the house. For some reason people keep buying me it…

prethanksgiving4-life as their mom

No, I’m not sharing my progress on mine yet. When/If I ever finish all the base pages I’ll share it. But start looking for this one posts about it:

doc_december prep image - life as their mom

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday Scrapbooking

First since I haven’t done this in a while… well, yeah I’m not posting all those other pages you missed. Look on Scrap Stacks, I’ve put them there, along with my gallery at My Scrapbook Art.

Here’s a round up of my DSD pages…
(if you don’t know what DSD is then your probably don’t do digital scrapbooking thus you wouldn’t really care to know what DSD stands for.)

hammysboy6006monthswithmason600
ohdarling600goodnightsweetboy600
andweretogethersircharming600
(all of those be clickable)

And this week’s releases:

Traci Reed has a collaboration with Shawna Clingermann and the most precious solo kit ever.
reedclingerman-developfromthenegatives-previewssd-2012-prevtemp-top
hellolove

Right now I’m guesting with Studio Basic and she had two collaborations come out this week.
folderfolder
picturetaker
lalalu-documentdecemberRU

I got on Darcy Baldwin’s team during DSD, and she had a font collaboration come out this week.
folder
(I used it on all of the above.)

And lastly, the page I made for the Scrap Stacks Stack-Lift challenge, I lifted this page by the awesome Amy Martin.
epicallyawesome

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Not that Wordless Wednesday

Photo editing with me style.

Original – What can I say… I love me some sunburst back-lit pictures.
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Here is the original next to the final version, and then, it next to the final black and white version.
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Now… let’s get to step showing.

1. Open a curves layer and edit first going to your red channel, then green, then blue. Once those are done go to RGB channel and select the black line and do any more tweaking you wish.
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2. Take that layer and change the blend mode to soft light at 70% opacity.
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3. Create a gradient layer going at a diagonal of about –30 degrees. Make your firs color a dark brown and your second a good strong orange. Turn the brown’s opacity down to about 25%.
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4. Turn your gradient layer’s blend mode to linear burn with an opacity of about 20%.
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5. Do a slight bump to both your brightness and contrast.
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6. Create an exposure layer. Nudge your Offset and Gamma Correction until you get just a touch of a hazy effect to your photo.
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7. Duplicate your background and select all your editing layers. Merge. Then if you want run a noise corrector. I ran Noiseware and used the Landscape preset.
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(I know mine looks like I skipped the last step…. I didn’t. *sigh* I’ll explain at the end why some things don’t look the same from one step to another in layer set up…)

8. Duplicate your merged layer and go to Smart Sharpen. I increased it until details were crisp and mostly overlooked any noise being added, that will be taken care of next.wordlesswed1114h-lifeastheirmom

9. On your sharpness layer create a mid-dark gray layer mask then take a soft white brush and go over things you want to bring more detail to. I went around the edges of her, the stitch detail on her shirt, her features, and the camera. And that’s it for this part!
wordlesswed1114i-lifeastheirmom

wordlesswed1114FINAL-lifeastheirmom

Now… the black and white conversion.

10. Change your image mode to Grayscale.
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11. Then go and change it again to Duotone. Pick your colors (even if you just use black and white… or a very dreamy pink and purple, lol…. or a classy super dark brown and pale pale cream) then click on the curves for each and adjust until your happy.wordlesswed1114l-lifeastheirmom

wordlesswed1114FINALBW-lifeastheirmom

Now… I can’t tell you how many times I almost gave up on this post!!! Photoshop was literally crashing every other blessed step. But I trudged on, saving a TIFF of both my working image and of my screen shots so that I could post.

(linking up here, here, here, here, here, and here)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Howdy ho, November!

Things have been so crazy. The dump of things bothering me last time did help a lot, however, like I said, things have been not quite normal in these here parts.

my poor sick boy-child

For starters, from the week of Halloween until last week Zach was sick. Turned out he had a sinus infection and a really bad ear infection, and to make it even better, he has apparently developed an immunity to the antibiotics that we found that finally worked on him (he stayed on antibiotics for one thing or another up until about the age of three) so we spent several days wasting time on something not working. Most days during this time we were lucky to get his fever down to 100. And Zach is the most annoying sick child ever. He’s like a combination of 4 year old hyper boy and pre-pubescent PMS-ing girl child. I was so glad to see him go back to school last Friday.

However, I did get a somewhat great group shot at the end of last month of all four kidlets. Of course my always happy smiley baby is always crying screaming baby in group pictures. I have made my peace with this – ok… not really, but I’ll live.

howdyho-nov12a-lifeastheirmom

I did get a great rare shot of the three bigs at play together.

howdyho-nov12b-lifeastheirmom

Yes, this post is a bit of a photo dump – you will make peace with this like how I’m making peace with Mason’s crying group picture self.

I made, earlier this year in like the beginning of summer, to get more pictures of me. I kinda got used to there being more pictures of me when I did my tummy pictures weekly while pregnant with Mason, and honestly, I kind of like it. Yeah I take them in front of my bathroom mirror like a teeny-bopper girl getting a Facebook photo, you can shut up.

howdyho-nov12d-lifeastheirmom

And yes, I am also trying to use black and white more. In case you didn’t know – I hate my photos in black and white. I think other people have lovely black and white photos, mine look like a gray nasty mess in my mind.

The obligatory cute Bella photo:

howdyho-nov12e-lifeastheirmom

That shirt she is wearing – cutest freaking spending of $3 ever. Thank you consignment stores.

I’ve also been working on mastering low light pictures on my camera. I’m determined to get this down. I’ve had this camera three years now and while I do desperately want the Nikon 1, I really do also love my camera, and I know John really desperately does not want to buy me a new one. So, I’m trying. My flash sucks. Really, really sucks. That means I try never to use it, which leads to many missed or messed up low light photo opportunities. Thankfully my children are great sports at letting me practice with them.

howdyho-nov12f-lifeastheirmom

Now, these three are from Saturday.
First, you get Bella posing Mason. She loves to take pictures with our kid camera. It’s so cute. You see her posing him, and you see the picture she just got of him. After is the self-portrait she took with my camera with Mason – another thing she loves to do. This is a rare awesome one. John wants it printed and framed and hung in our room. Lastly, one I took, my boy is trying to master standing on his own. He can do it for a few seconds, and he spends most of his time standing with one hand just barely resting on a surface.

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howdyho-nov12i-lifeastheirmom

Lastly, (no pictures included) if you’ve been wondering about the monthly free template, you can find last month’s – and soon this month’s – over at The My Scrapbook Art blog where I now host monthly template challenges. Hopefully next month I’ll have the time to make up two so I can have one for here and there.