31 August 2010

Caterpillar

I planted 4 different kinds of tomatoes and not a single one of them is red! 
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We (used to) harvest so many each and every evening, but it's been tapering off this week.  It took me a while, but I figured out the likely culprit:
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Dear Mr. Caterpillar, please leave the buds alone and eat the aphids instead.  I have highlighted them for you.  Thank you.
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A "thank you" gift

The beauty of getting paid for photography is that it affords me the opportunity to gift my photography.  And when I do offer, I don't expect anything in return, but it certainly makes me happy to receive tokens of appreciation--the boys especially like the edible ones!
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25 August 2010

Proud reader

Yes, yet another, "Mama, mama, take a picture," example.

A1 gets very excited when he is able to read a book from cover to cover.  But what's more interesting (to me, anyhow) is that photography has become a way of life for him.  There's a part of him that understands the way it records a moment for personal viewing, for sharing with those not present in the moment, for general posterity. 
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19 August 2010

When you get in trouble...

divert attention away from yourself as quickly as possible, so says A2 anyhow.

"Hey, lookit dat, Mama!"
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Kindergarten potluck

A2 wasn't loving this event...not even the opportunity to make chalk drawings.
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But when the sprinklers accidentally turned on, A2 LOVED getting totally soaked!  It was interesting to see some of the parents laughing and encouraging their kids to play (I'm guilty as charged!) while other parents were trying to pull their kids away from the water.
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A1 didn't want any part of all that sprinkler action, but he did enjoy stomping on the ice from the coolers.
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14 August 2010

Natural History Museum & California Science Center

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I was far too conservative about the ISO setting and got blurry pics for the overestimation of my ability to handhold the camera in the dark.  Still, I think it shows that the boys had a great time today at both the museums and the rose garden.
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I have no idea what this expression is all about, but his wild curls are awesome in this shot.
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13 August 2010

Irvine Regional Park

Rather than hanging around the dry riverbed, we thought we'd try exploring a bit.
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No need to dance well when you can dance often (notice A2's feet are off the ground?).
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12 August 2010

Thursday Things

...that make me happy.

My kids LOVE learning.
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I found ice cube molds in the shape of brains.  Awesome!
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I secretly love it when my kids "ruin" shots.  Notice A2 illicitly climbing up the BBQ in the background?
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Eating from our backyard is cool.  Eating grapes from my parents backyard is just as cool.
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09 August 2010

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

We landed on 3 of their parking lot entrances.  Their signs had very pretty animal silhouette cutouts...much prettier than other wilderness park signs--I imagine it's related to the local, thriving art community.
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A2 gave the dust storm making, rock climbing leg of this adventure 2 thumbs up.
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But the rest, the hiking and nature center, only got a single thumbs up from everyone.
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The approval rating went WAY up when caves were discovered!  Though A1 was very scared their might be bears residing in them!
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When no bears were found, the boys figured they'd be the bears themselves.
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07 August 2010

Legoland

I'm going to turn this amusement park post into a photography post.  Because that's what I do.

We spent 7 hours in the park and the boys had a blast, but I only have these 4 photos to show for it:
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I "need" a good point-and-shoot that's better than my iPhone but not as bulky and cumbersome and my SLR, which is neither that bulky nor that cumbersome until I'm also lugging around snacks and supplies for a full day at an amusement park.

06 August 2010

Freecycle: Theory vs. application

Inspired by my cousin's Freecycle post, I thought I'd mention my own experiences.

When I first joined, I LOVED the idea, but now that I've been around the block and seen how it works in practice, I'm anywhere between indifferent to completely exasperated and livid.

I've offered quite a number of items through this community service and had ridiculously difficult experiences.  I never put a time limit on pickups as some others might, so when someone mentions a date/time when they'd like to pick an item, I assume they will honor it.  Not once has an item been picked up on the initially arranged slot.  In fact, one woman took 4 tries before she picked up an item--apologizing profusely in between and begging me to allow her "first email" privileges.  I'm amazed by this; it's not like I'm coercing her to set times which are inconvenient to her.  But they ARE inconvenient to me.  I leave the items outside so if we are home, I have to keep the boys inside, and if we are not at home, I have to lock the dog in the house as well so that he doesn't bark at and otherwise harass the random Freecycler. 

I've responded to offerings on 3 different occasions.  In 2 of those instances, I was completely ignored.  The first time, I was surprised I never heard back because I, myself, reply to EVERY email--usually to tell the inquirer that someone else has staked a claim on the item and that they are the nth person in line should those arrangements fall through.  The second time I was ignored, I was completely perplexed as my reply happened within seconds of the posting....I mean, even if I hadn't been the first to reply, I was probably way up there.  The third time I replied, the gal offering the item gave me lousy directions that didn't quite get me to her complex--she didn't even offer a full street address, just landmarks...but she was around the corner from me and I (thought I) knew the area well.  Well, it turned out that her complex was behind both parking/car and walking gates.  I have no idea how she thought I was going to sneak myself into her place, where she supposedly left the item at the front door.  She then offered another time for me to come when she would be home to let me in.  She was not home.  Total shocker, right?

I don't like to pose questions of my readers, because, yes, there are 3 of you, but please tell me that you've had positive experiences because I'm fuming just recalling these examples.

Okay, this post is naked so I'll add some completely unrelated photos.  These are the boys', "Mama, mama, take a picture of this," shots:

A1 buried in our ball pit with only his arm peeking out
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Driveway chalk art and A2 discovering the difference between wet and dry chalk:
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02 August 2010

Adventure days

About a month before A2 was born, I started taking A1 on daily trips to different shows and museums knowing that those would be our last days alone together. Well, as it turns out, that was such a mistake! After his little brother was born, A1 started to ask where we were headed for the day and the answer was invariably, "Nowhere." Who knew I was actually creating heartbreak for the poor fella?

Well, I'm pretty sure I haven't learned my lesson because I'm preparing for Kindergarten by taking the boys on these adventures days where we leave the house right after breakfast (or with breakfast in hand) and don't come home under dinnertime.

Today, we went to the science museum, which wasn't too far out of the ordinary, but they still had a great time. Here they are cautiously examining the new rocket exhibits from afar, followed by a shot of A2 getting attacked by the local flora.
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Then we spend the entire afternoon exploring a new park. It was so amazing and I can't believe we'd never been there before. It was very lush (not that you can tell from these photos), but the tall city buildings abutted right up to the borders. It felt like a mini Central Park. Sadly, I didn't expect the park to be that expansive so I didn't bother to bring my big camera. Still, I always have my iPhone with me:
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