Sunday, October 30, 2011

I LOVE Halloween pictures!

What I love about Halloween are all the great photo opportunities. We went down to Avila Barn a couple weeks ago. Actually we went there the week before too; but I forgot my camera that time, so we had to go back for pictures. The boys didn't complain about going there twice.

Avila Barn is my favorite place to take Halloween pictures. There are so many great autumnal backgrounds!

Since Brennan was wearing an orange shirt, I put him in front of the white pumpkins.

After taking pictures with the piles of pumpkins, we headed over to the hay maze. I don't like to do it because it's too confining and stuffy in there, but they loved it and ran through a bunch of times. I forgot the Benedryl again, but no one got too snotty.

Levi was cranky when we got there (we went right after his nap), but he cheered up when we put him on the tractor. Then he didn't want to get off.

Making tractor noises.

Dave met us there after work, and we caught the last hay ride out to the pumpkin patch.

I couldn't get Levi to smile. Then he saw an airplane flying overhead - that made him happy.

There were way more pumpkins there the second time we went. Apparently they stock the pumpkin patch.

Heading back to the barn to weigh our pumpkins.

Actually we only got one from the pumpkin patch. Spencer wanted a red one from the barn, Brennan got one during our first trip there, and Dallin's came from Trader Joe's. Next up: carving our pumpkins!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun with bath foam and ISO

Brennan had a blast finger-painting with shaving cream at school a few weeks ago. And that reminded me how much fun bath foam is, so we gave some to Levi for his birthday. Brennan and Levi have loved taking baths with it the past couple weeks! They looked so funny covered in foam that of course I had to take pictures; but there wasn't quite enough light in the bathroom, and the pictures all turned out blurry.

So I resorted to turning on the flash. But I just don't like the look of flash - too fake looking with unnatural colors. I really had to fix this one on Photoshop, but I loved Levi's expression.

Careful camera angles and cropping keep bath pictures modest.

If they held perfectly still then it could be clear, but how often does that happen? I played around with the exposure, speed and f-stop, but nothing was working.

Finally I remembered the ISO. I bumped it up almost as high as it would go, and the pictures suddenly became clear and perfectly exposed. I gotta remember that trick. Some are a little grainy if you zoom in, but I'll take grainy over blurry any day.

So if you are looking for a fun bath toy for a 2-4 year old, I recommend bath foam. Just make sure you wash it all off the tub when you're done or else it will be almost impossible to get off later. I remember that from last time.

There are many things you can fix on Photoshop - color, exposure, noise. But there's nothing you can do about blurriness. Look how clear - yay!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hello, baby!

I had my ultrasound today. I love those! In fact I don't feel pregnant until I get the ultrasound. Oh sure, I'm gaining weight and I feel the occasional flutter that could either be a kick or a gas bubble. But it doesn't seem real until I actually see that little baby in there, looking so cute and perfect and moving all around.

This time we took Tyler and Dallin with us, since Spencer got to go to Levi's. They were SO excited. They loved spotting the vertebrae and heart valves. It really is so cool. These 3D images are better than ones I've gotten before. It doesn't look quite so alien-like. We love this one - sucking the fist and holding the ear. Reminds me of Levi.

My ob/gyn doctor sends all her patients to the high risk doctors for their ultrasounds, where the actual doctors perform the ultrasound instead of a tech. I like it better because he can tell us right then and there that everything looks good, instead of having to wait for the films to be interpreted later by a doctor. Anyway, when we told him we have 5 boys, he said this one is probably a boy too. But as soon as he put the wand on my belly, he said, "I don't believe it. It's a girl!" We asked him if he was sure, and he proceeded to point out girl parts, saying, "It doesn't get any girlier than that." What a wonderful surprise!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Two is Levi's favorite number. In fact he's been telling people he's 2 for quite awhile now. Whenever I say 1, he says 2. When I ask him how many he wants of something, he always answers "2!" When we went shopping for his presents, Brennan was telling everyone they were for his birthday, at which point Levi piped in, "I'm two!"

We went with a truck theme, since he LOVES trucks. Whenever we're driving somewhere, he points out all the trucks along the way. Even if they're actually golf carts or vans. He loves to play with trucks and push them all around the house making diesel sounds. I couldn't find any truck wrapping paper, so I bought generic striped brown paper, cut out pictures of trucks from the internet and taped them on. How cute is that?

The cake was totally easy - three layers of cake with chocolate icing and oreo crumb dirt and construction trucks on top. I baked the cakes the night before, and when I had my back turned, Levi took a big handful out of the middle layer as they were cooling. But that's okay. It's a construction site, so I put a truck there as if it was digging that part out. I decorated the cake after he went to bed, and when he woke up the next morning, he was SO excited about it. He ran into our bedroom, yelling, "Cake! Cake! Trucks! Cake!" Yeah, we chose the right theme.

My parents and Kristen's family came over for dinner and such Sunday after conference. It was so hard for my kids to wait that long. Perhaps we should have a lunch birthday party next time.

We had spaghetti - one of his favorite foods.

We got trick candles, so he got to blow them out a few times. After cake he opened presents and played happily 'till bedtime. My parents gave him a remote control fire truck. He was afraid of it at first because it kept following him around. But as long as I was holding him safely out of harm's way, he was fine. It's not scary any more, and it's so cute to watch him push the buttons on the remote. His cousins gave him a Sit & Spin, which he loves to dramatically fall off of. We got him a big truck with buttons and sounds (he loves it) and a stuffed lion. He's loved lions ever since we saw them at the zoo. He says, "Wion!" followed by a very throaty roar. Then he hugs it and kisses it. OH, how I love this kid!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ball Wall

We sure enjoyed watching general conference this weekend. The boys played happily, occasionally coming in to listen. We also ate yummy food and celebrated Levi's birthday. Between Saturday sessions we walked over to the school to ride bikes/scooters and play ball wall. (Look how flat that ball looks! It wasn't actually flat - just hit the ground hard. Pretty cool)

I had never actually played it or even watched someone else play it, though I do get the ball wall report from Tyler every day after school. It's his favorite thing to do at recess, and he also likes to play it with Dave for their date nights.

It used to be one of Spencer's favorite things to do at recess too. But now he's in middle school, and everyone is boring and walks around talking and acting all cool during recess.

I love this cute picture of Dallin! He doesn't like to play ball wall. He's still into chasing and being chased by girls at recess. I get that report after school too. In fact I hear more about recess than anything academic.

I even played a game with Dave! It was a lot of fun. This is not the best picture of me, since my face is washed out in the direct sun and I have a double chin taken from this angle, but it's better than all the lunging-for-the-ball pictures Spencer captured. By the way, I am now wearing maternity clothes. I grew out of all my regular pants last week. I did laundry, and when I took my jeans out of the dryer, none of them fit. I'm 19 weeks along, and my ultrasound is on Friday!

I pushed Levi (and Brennan when he got tired of riding his scooter) in the stroller. Between that and playing ball wall, I got enough excercise to wear me out for the day.

Brennan comes home every day telling me all the rules the kids are breaking at recess. I didn't think he was much of a rule kid, but when he gets to school, he is the perfect student.

More about Levi's fun birthday to follow.