Thursday, March 31, 2011


With my abstaining from social media sites (e.g. facebook, twitter, etc.), I have been finding other things to do (and waste time) on my computer.  One of those things is identifying people on our photos.  Both my husband and I have become the unofficial historians of our families.  We appreciate family history and love to record and store old photos. One way to preserve these photos is to scan them onto your computer into a program such as Picasa.

Picasa is great.  A really neat thing it does is facial identification/recognition or "name tags".  It will go through all of your photos and single out each individual in those photos.  So say you have a huge class photo, it will make an entry for each of those people and for you to identify.  Once you have identified a person, a new file will be created that will contain all the pictures of that person.  It is a great way to take a peak into how a person has changed over the years.  The program will even guess sometimes if someone is who they think they are and put them in their file for you to check.  For example, it will place a photo of Miss M into her file with a question mark whether or not it is her.  Sometimes it will put a picture of C into M's file or vice versa.  This just shows that it is not a perfect system and that the girls do in fact resemble each other.

I have over four thousand images to identify so it is a long process but one that I am enjoying.  I like seeing these photos in a new light.  It focuses on the individual instead of the things in the photo that might distract.  I have been able to see how some family members look more alike than I ever thought they did.

You can learn more about Picasa here.  It is a free download and easy to use.

Do you use anything to identify your photos?  If so, what and how do you like it?

I love Picasa and thought I would share my experiences.  No one asked me to write about it...just wanted to share the love.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We're in trouble

She likes to play "dress up" a little too much...

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Birthday

18 years ago today, I went out to eat with my boyfriend (at the time) and three of our good friends.  We all got dressed up to celebrate the 19th birthday of "J."  I was the only girl with a bunch of guys.  We went to a supper club near our school, Beloit College.  We felt very grown up and cool.  While at the "club," the waitress accidentally spilled coffee down the back of J's suit jacket.  Luckily the jacket was 100% polyester (like I said, we were cool), so all the coffee did was roll off.  The waitress was very apologetic but seeing that the jacket was not ruined and no coffee got on him (or burned him), J just dried himself off and said that everything was fine.

Fast forward a couple years, or rather a lot of years, and J is now my husband.  The old boyfriend having been discarded many years ago.  It is the night before his birthday.  Another accident has happened, this time J did it to himself.  While cleaning off a knife, he cut the palm of his hand.  Stitches were given.  Once again, J is relatively calm and everything is fine.

That is my J.  He is my rock.  He is my calm waters.  Today is his birthday.  Tonight we will go out to eat once again to celebrate.  This time he will have a bandaged hand that covers his stitches.  Yet this time I will not be the only girl.  Instead, J will be the only boy amongst "his girls."  And everything will not be just fine.  They will be simply great.

I love you, J, more than words can describe.  Here's to many more birthdays and hopefully less accidents!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Someday I will feel pretty again...

are the words I said to my husband a couple of nights ago before I went to bed.  This week has been a long one.  First Miss M had pink eye plus a hacking cough that makes her sound like she smokes a pack a day.  Then C has a runny nose that is like a non stop faucet and screams every time you even go for a kleenex to wipe her face.  Finally after Miss M's pink eye was all better, guess who got it next?  Yep, the queen.  Whippee!  I was being so extra careful in washing my hands, even to the point of being OCD and then, when her eyes seemed to be getting better...Wham!  It got me.  Of course, I have been fighting a cold the entire month of March it seems.  So it was a probably a combination of factors.  I tried to use M's eye drops for the evening to see if it would help.  My eye was so swollen and red the following morning I worried that I had actually made it worse!  I hadn't, but it motivated me enough to go to the doctor to get my own drops.  When I compared the two drops, mine had 10% compared to M's 3% solution.  No wonder it didn't make any difference.

So there I was applying my eye drops, putting on the Vicks Vapor Rub and not feeling so pretty.  Oh well. Hope springs eternal and so our good health will return...soon...I hope?

For your Friday viewing pleasure and to start the weekend on a happy note...the musical stylings of M & C!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rocker? or Thinker?

either way it is still a bad hair day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A and B's Special Day by Miss M

one time in abc love  was cute and m  loved 4  asked m would you like to go to school today?
m said  yes. 
the end
by miss m

[written entirely by Miss M w/a little spelling help by mom]

Sick Day

Last night, M started to complain about her left eye hurting her.  I went to check and didn't see anything out of the ordinary so I told her to put a wet washcloth on it to see if that would help.  Well, a half an hour later it was still bugging her.  I went to check again and saw puss in her eye.  Sure enough she had the tell tale sign of pink eye.  Yuck.  I was lucky enough to get her into our doctor and get the prescription for eye drops.  I was able to get a couple drops in each eye last night and a couple more in her this morning.  Side note: to get eye drops into your little ones eyes quickly and painlessly, have them lay on their back with their eyes closed.  With their eyes close, administer the drops into the corner of each eye.  Then have them blink several times.  This works every time and a tip I learned from fellow parents.

So today is a sick day.  We are a runny noses, sleepy, generally crabby bunch of girls.  Yep, M, C and even I all have colds.  I thought I would post the following video to cheer us up and hopefully put a smile on your face.  It was taken using Photo Booth last Friday night when the girls were home alone with daddy.
While the cat's away, the mice will play...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck of the Irish?

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, our weather has FINALLY taken a turn for the better in Chicagoland.  Hooray!  You can just feel a lift to everyone's spirits.  I opened my windows and turned off the heat for the first time since the start of winter.  It just felt so good!!

Yesterday after C's nap, I decided to take her outside to enjoy the nice weather.  Miss M stayed inside because 1). It was her "TV time" and you don't mess with her time to watch Three's Company! and 2). She had stayed home from school with a bad cough/not feeling very good.  At this point in the day she was starting to feel much better but I didn't want to push her.

So there we were, Miss C and I, and the great outdoors, not really.  She first wanted to go play in our sand box in the back yard.  She plays so nicely in there and doesn't eat the sand or throw it.  She played there for a good 10 minutes or so.  After that she wanted to walk around the neighborhood.  Since M was still inside, I told C we could only walk up and down our block.  That little thing walked up and down the sidewalk at least 4 times!

Here's some pictures from our walk:
She's "flying!"

Worked up quite the thirst!

Hopefully this luck of the Irish won't turn folly and it will start snowing soon....This is the time of the year I truly hate the Midwest.  But I digress.  Yesterday was lovely and here's to more days like it!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Down on the Farm

Interested in reading more about these pictures?  Check out my Granny's News Books here.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent.  Every year I say I am going to cut back or give up something for Lent and every year I end up not following through.  This year is different.  This year I have a six year that is attending Religious Education classes every week.  This year she is the most aware of Lent and what it means to sacrifice.  This year I must follow through.

On Tuesday I noticed that my good friend, Mike, had posted on Facebook, twitter and tumblr that he was giving up all of these social media outlets for Lent.  I belong to all three of these outlets as well.  As I read his post, I thought to myself that he was on to something here.  I could do that too.  In fact, I need to do it.

Ever since we got our laptop (which means that our computer is no longer in the cold basement), I have become compulsive on checking facebook, twitter, you name it.  This is not good.  Even if it is just for a minute or two it is taking me away from giving my attention to my girls.  Why should I be giving so much of my time to an inanimate object that will always be there?  My girls, on the other hand, will not always be 6 and 1.  My habit needed to change.

It is now Friday.  I am three days into my chosen lenten offering, 21st century style.  I have not checked any of the before mentioned social sites even once.  To tell you the truth, I do not miss it.

After Easter I will be sure to give you an update on whether or not I was able to keep it up.  I am confident I will succeed.  If I don't, I will have to answer to the 6 year old and who wants to do that?!

Thanks Mike for the inspiration and motivation!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


My new favorite picture of C.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How I love birthday parties by Miss M

We are going to a birthday party right now, in a couple of minutes.  I just have a quick thing to say.  We are going to have lots of lots of fun at the birthday party.  The birthday party is going to be fun.  It's for my cousin, Kendall.  We will probably eat cake and talk and watch tv and lots of stuff.  And I will have lots of fun till the end.  Well, I don't have much time so see you later.
Bye, Bye!
moo to you   love mmk.
wow  you  are  a   star.
a said to  y  you  are so  far  away.

(Last three lines typed by M)
[The rest dictated to AEK]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Here She Comes To Save the Day!

Cloth Diaper Girl & Her Trusty Sidekick...
Peanut Butter Face!

Yes, those are cloth diapers on her feet and a changing pad on her head.  All her idea.  Peanut Butter face photo compliments of our superhero, Miss M.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Letter to Caley, a new mom, or, Beware of...

One week ago, my awesome niece, Caley, gave birth to her first child.  Beautiful "J.S." was born at a bouncing 10 lbs 2 ozs and 19 inches long.  She has a ton of hair and already has all of us wrapped around her tiny fingers.

In anticipation of Caley becoming a mom, I asked my facebook and twitter friends what words of advice they would provide to a new parent and/or what they would have done differently.  The following contains their words and for that I am grateful.

Dear Caley,

Well, you have now survived the first out of hopefully a multitude of weeks with your new baby girl.  It is an amazingly tiring thing, isn't it?  You are now somebody's mom.  You will hold this title for the rest of your life.  It is a job that never ends.  I remember thinking as we were leaving the hospital with Miss M., What?  They are just going to let us have her now?  Am I ready for all of this?  The answer is no, you are never truly ready.  No matter how old you are or how many babies you have cared for.  Not until you have your own do you truly understand this.

I know that you are getting and will get a ton of advice right now.  That will not stop.  You will learn to take what you need and just nod politely and ignore those that you don't.  I wanted to use my blog as way of sharing some of my own advice and that of some my friends with not just you but also any new mom that may stumble upon this little corner of the internet.  So here it goes.
  • Don't give up on breastfeeding, it can take a good month to get into a rhythm.  It is well worth it! (HM)
  • Swaddling blankets are your friend. (JJ)
  • Enjoy every moment.  It goes by so fast, it is unreal. (JJ) (MB)
  • Nap when baby naps.  Housework can wait. (JJ)
  • Invest in a good baby carrier like mint wrap or sleepy wrap.  They help with bonding and also freeing up your hands to get other things done. (JJ)
  • No such thing as spoiling a baby. (JJ)
  • If someone offers to help, take it. (SB)
  • Take lots of pictures. (SB)
  • Relax. (MP) (MB)
  • "Never forget you know your child better than anyone else." (MM)
  • "You'll make mistakes; forgive yourself for them and start every day fresh." (MM)
  • "Every day every moment is an opportunity to make a memory." (MM)
  • "Beware of explosive pooping." (MM)
  • "Trust your instincts as a mom and not worry so much about what the 'experts' say should happen." (JB)
  • "They won't go to kindergarten nursing every two hours." (JB)
  • Take lots of walks as the weather gets warmer. (CD)
  • "Work as a team." (CD)
  • "Write down everything they say and do...otherwise time goes by so fast you forget." (CD)
  • "It's tiring but well worth it." (CD)
  • "Trust yourself." (HS)
  • "Never wake a sleeping baby." (HS)
  • Everything will be okay.
The greatest thing that I have learned as a parent is that it is okay to walk away and give yourself a time out once in a while.  You need this and deserve it.
    I am so proud to be your Aunt.  I love you and Bryan so much and wish nothing but the best for you all. Remember I am only a phone call away.

    With Love,

    PS.  If you are curious, the letters after the bullet points are the initials of those who provided me with the advice.  My small way of providing credit where credit is due.