Thursday, February 28, 2008

Was I alive?

I had this conversation with my DD this morning....

R: "Mom, do you remember when E.T. was invented?"
Me: "I think 1982"
R: "Were you alive in 1982?"
Me: (laughing) "Yes, honey, I was."

I have to say it made me think of the things I've been alive and around for.

I was born in 1976. July, to be exact. I'm not old -- but I'm sure my kids think I am!

So I googled events by year, and I came up with this: and found out that I was alive when...

Star Wars debuted in theatres
Elvis Presley died
Sony introduces the Walkman...the first portable stereo
John Lennon was assasinated
CNN was launched
AIDS was first identified
IBM introduces the first PC, using MS-DOS
The FCC authorizes Motorola to begin testing cellular phone service in Chicago.
British scientists report the opening of an enormous hole in the earth's ozone layer over Antarctica.
Nuclear accident at Chernobyl
Space Shuttle Challenger explodes (saw it on TV at school)
Nintendo is released.

Wow -- some of these things don't seem like they happened all that long ago. It reminds me that, someday, my kids will be reading about 9-11 and other current events (wasn't that just yesterday??) in history class.

Was I alive?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse 2008

Did you catch the total lunar eclipse last night? We did! Thanks to my friend Gisele who emails me when something extraordinary is going on in the sky. :) We watched it for most of the evening together. The kids were pretty impressed, and they didn't want to go to bed at all. My mom came over and we had a perfect view from our living room and kitchen windows, which face east.

I remembered most of what happens during a lunar eclipse, thanks to a first-year astronomy class I took at university. (Just goes to show my $30,000 education was worth something! ;) But for those of you who may need a refresher, check out this link...

This site also had some pretty good tips on lunar eclipse photography...which seemed pretty easy, considering you don't need any special filters or lenses to save your eyes. So I broke out the tripod that my friend lent me, read my instruction manual on my camera again, and tried to get some decent photos of the eclipse.

I was actually pretty pleased with the whole experience and with the photos. I was working with the kit lens (the only one I have so far!) for my 6.0 MP Nikon D40 is a 18-55mm lens, so it has only a little bit of zoom. Plus I was shooting through a window. But I was able to get some detail, and when I cropped afterward on Photoshop I also used the sharpen filter to make them look a little more clear. I think the most fun, tho, was experimenting with the camera...

1) We were shooting from inside...and in order to see, it had to be dark. So I quickly learned which buttons were which on my camera. I figured out how to quickly change shutter speed, aperture, and ISO without the menu. And now I can do this all without I guess now I could operate the camera with my eyes closed...right?

2) I also learned a little bit more about how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO affect the final appearance of the photo. After a while, I could somewhat predict what the outcome of the photo would be...and this may seem pretty obvious to some people, but I've never experimented that much with manual settings, and this was a huge learning exerience!

3) I learned how much better my DSLR is than my old point and shoot -- even in manual mode. I took photos with both cameras...and I am not going to bother keeping any of the pics I tried to take with the old one. Even with 10x zoom on a tripod, the photos looked like blobs on black construction paper. Sheesh!

Anyhoo -- these are some of the better photos from last night...and I'd love to see yours if you took some! Post your photo links in the comments section and we can share!!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Have you ever heard of kiteboarding? Otherwise known as kiting, snowkiting, etc?

I hadn't. Until hubby came home one day a couple of years ago and told me he wanted to buy a kite. A kite?

Basically, you have a huge kite -- like a specially designed paraglider (and sorry, if I'm explaining this wrong, don't shoot me!) with long long lines and you strap skis or a snowboard or a variety of other contraptions to your feet and use it to propel you along the ground. If you move the kite the right way, it lifts you up into a jump. So this is DH's current favorite sport, especially in winter.

You know those days when it's minus stupid and the wind is blowing so hard it makes your ears hurt? Those are the days when we curl up with a good book and some hot chocolate and stay inside, right? Not the kiters! They are outside in a field, harnessing the power of the wind, jumping and spinning and getting a huge adrenaline rush.

I love watching DH kite -- but I have to admit I'm a chicken and it is way too cold for me! But this weekend, the wind was up and it was warm, so DH convinced me to come with him and take pics of him kiting in the hills nearby our town. The kids brought their toboggan and played in the snow and I played with my new camera and DH played with his kite. LOL It was actually a fun afternoon...and I managed to get some nice shots! Here's some of them:

Here's kudos for all the kiters out there -- you guys are amazing and very talented! And if someone is reading this and wants to get into kiting, check out This is the place where DH gets his kiting gear. When I went in to buy him a Christmas gift (kiting gear, of course!) the owner, Johnny, was so helpful and friendly -- it was fantastic. They have a forum there too, which I peek at every once in a while just to see what's new.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Extreme Makeover -- Revealed!

It was all worth it.
3 gallons of paint, two shopping trips, five days of sneaking around, a ton of seashells -- and this is what we got...

We had a nice family swim with my mom and dad. And it was great to see that my sister, her fiance, and my two nephews came too! We swam until about 8 and then we all packed up and headed to our place for cake and coffee. We took Curtis and my nephew Nick with us while mom and dad took Renee. We needed a 15 minute head start, just to put up a few things in the room before they got there.

When everyone arrived, Renee told us she just wasn't hungry for cake. LOL! I guess not -- she was very anxious for her gift. Earlier, Curtis and I had set up a treasure hunt to lead her to the room, so we gave her the first clue and away she went:

There were 6 clues, and after the fifth, I snuck downstairs to be in the room with my camera. I wanted to capture her expression when she opened the door. This is what we saw...

She just stood there, not saying anything, for at least a minute or two. I think she might have been a bit confused. When we asked her later, she thought we were showing her someone else's room. So we asked...."well?"

She kept saying "wow!', and "this is amazing!", and "so cool!" She wandered around her room slowly and just kept looking at everything.

This was my favorite pic:

The look on her face was priceless, and was worth every minute we spent working on this room. It was worth every penny we spent, and every fib I had to tell her to keep it a secret. She told us that this was the best birthday present she ever had seen and that it was the most amazing room she had ever seen anywhere. Yes, it was all worth it!

After we pried her out of her room, we went up and had cake. But it was hard to keep her upstairs -- all she wanted was to be down in her little personal paradise. Very easy to get her to bed last night!

What a great experience! Thanks for reading, and looking, and commenting all week. will be Curtis' turn. Who knows when and where...but it will be when he leats expects it!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Extreme Makeover -- Day Five!

Well, the room is pretty much complete. We had a little setback, though. Last night two of the ceramic wall ornaments fell off the wall and one broke. It was just the adhesive on the command hooks that came off the wall. But I didn't leave them for an hour, so maybe that was the problem. This morning I reapplied the command hooks to the wall and left them there. I'll hang the ornament back on the wall later and hopefully (fingers crossed!) it will work.

I moved all of Renee's things back into her room too. Her bookshelf, her clothes, her special stuffed animals and keepsakes. I hung her cross back on her wall. And her autographed picture of Kurt Browning...LOL. I added another package of curtain clips and rearranged her fishing net. So everything is ready for her!

When we go to swimming lessons today, we will take a run to Jysk for a replacement fish ornament (thank goodness they were inexpensive!) and another set of seagrass baskets to use as shelves. We'll also stop by Superstore. They had a cool seagrass chest that would make a great laundry hamper!

So here's the plan...we're going to swimming lessons, then supper, then a family swim evening with my mom and dad. Afterward, we'll come back here for cake. Then I am going to send her on a birthday "treasure hunt" and the last clue will say that her gift is in her room. Meanwhile, I'll sneak downstairs into her room so that I can snap a pic when she opens the door. I can hardly wait!!

No pics today -- the room looks close to yesterday's. My next post will be her reaction!!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Extreme Makeover -- Day Four!!

How exciting! Today is the day we started assembling...and it is almost complete! There are a bunch of pictures today, because there is so much to see.

Before Mom came over this morning, I trimmed and put up the blinds. Trying to do that with a kitten around is a little complicated, but it worked. I also finished nailing in the baseboards and touched up the nails with paint.

Mom came over and we hung the curtains. These were easy. It was just one large, long panel we purchased at Jysk and split it lengthwise to make two panels that would fit on the window. We discovered that we needed more seashell curtain clips, but we can add those after Russ picks them up after work today. We washed down the bed and put the headboard back on, and added new drawer pulls we found at Home Depot. They are so pretty!

We found some seagrass baskets and a seagrass drawer unit (at Jysk) for her nightstand. Mom arranged some of the shells and other things in the baskets for her headboard on her bed:

The little strand of mini lights (which was 1.97 at Jysk!) lights up and looks fantastic at night:Mom created Renee her own personal "beach" with sand, shells, a candle (for decorative purposes only!!) and some other treasures. I think I am going to tuck a little framed pic of her on the beach inside the glass:

We found white ceramic ornaments (again, at Jysk) that we hung on the wall beside the window. They are quite large and fit perfectly.I love this -- it's a fisherman's net from Michael's (40% off coupon!). We hung it using 3M command hooks and just draped it in the corner. Then we tucked a variety of seashells inside. I think I might do some more arranging. It doesn't look quite the way I want it to...but that's the beauty of hanging with hooks...I can rearrange it until it looks exactly like I want it to.This is the print that started it all...I kind of knew what I wanted, but when I found this print at Micheal's (40% off coupon!) I knew I could pick all the colours from the print and have something that is reminiscent of the ocean. The quote on the bottom says " each his own personal paradise..." which is exactly how I want the room to feel for Renee. The frame is plain wood, painted and crackled using white and sandy-brown. It looks all weathered and wonderful, and it is hanging right above Renee's bed.Mom altered a wooden paddle for her door...of course, we couldn't hang it because she'd see. But I plan to hang it on the outside of her door after she sees the room. This is has real shells and sand on it -- just lovely!So here's a bigger view of the room right needs a few finishing touches and one more larger project, but we are almost there!Of course, Mom and I had a ton of help today...just look at this hard-working supervisor! LOLWell...until tomorrow -- thanks for looking!

Extreme Makeover -- Day Three!

Today went well. As it turns out, I had to touch up the paint in several spots, so Curtis ran around the room and found the spots while I went behind him with a roller. We let that dry and then I cleaned up the baseboards, which had been sitting under the stairs for about a year, and placed them in. Curtis and I put the closet organizer back together again. (That little guy is such a good worker!)

When Russ came home, he put in the hardware for the blinds and hung the curtain rod -- check it out, the ends look like waves!

He also put up two out of the four corner shelves. Light switch plates are back on too.

Jack sat and watched the whole time...wouldn't it be great to be a cat??

Bit by bit it is coming together. Today I have to trim the blinds to fit and put them up...finish nailing baseboards on...vacuum the carpet well (and maybe even steam it in a few places)...put the headboard back on the bed... and puzzle over the post I picked up from my friend's house yesterday. I know what I want to do with it, but I'm not quite sure how to go about it yet. I think I might need my dad for that! I'm going to see if my mom wants to come over...we can probably put the bedding together and hang the curtains...and I might need help with some of the other stuff. Trying to get it all done when she is in school is a bit of a challenge, because I have to be all cleaned up and everything back to normal when she gets off the bus.
One more thing...last night at supper, she asked when we were planning to paint her room. We told her paint was super expensive and that we were thinking to paint in summer. I suggested if she save her allowance, maybe we could paint over Easter. She was a little disappointed when I said summer, but perked up about painting at Easter. I just know she is going to be beyond excited when we give her room back to her on Friday night!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Extreme Makeover -- Day Two!

I am just beat!! We spent the whole day looking at this:

I wish you could see this colour IRL. It is the most beautiful deep aqua-green, and it is going to look fabulous with the rest of the room when it is complete.

We began at 9 am sharp and painted until 2:30. Clean-up and just enough time to post the progress before Renee comes home from school. My mom is such a sweetheart -- she spent the whole day painting with me. My DD is lucky to have such a super grandma. :)

The good news was Home Depot messed up -- but it worked! I asked for a 25% tinted primer, because we were covering a different tone. But they tinted it we only needed one coat of primer and one coat of paint to cover the walls.

Now comes the assembly -- which, if we are lucky, will start tonight. Baseboards, closet organizer, and blinds.

Halfway there!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Extreme Makeover -- Day One

OK, so I am finished for today! And it's only one o'clock. That's a bonus, because I expected to be at it all day...and I have a Just Cre8 March kit calling my name.

Everything is packed up and hidden. Here's the progress:

Now, we're just waiting for the walls to be ready. Our friend said that it needs one more coat and sand, so we will be ready for primer first thing tomorrow morning. Woohoo!

Extreme Makeover -- Here We Go!

OK, here is where it all started. Four years ago, when we were finishing our basement, we decided to build all three of our bedrooms downstairs. Renee, our DD, was turning four, and she wanted her very own "Princess Pink" room. SO we framed, boarded, painted, and now we have three very nice bedrooms -- including Renee's very very very pink room complete with the beautiful bed that Russ and my dad built for her.

When we were renovating, we had to rewire the whole we did. Except for ONE wire. In her room. This past December, she went to bed one Friday night, and when we went to tuck her in, there was a funny smell. Like burning. OMG! After a thorough look around, we discovered that the one single wire we did not replace was melting in her wall. Yup...close call!

We had to rip out the drywall in several places and rewire. She, of course, was a little upset because her nice room now looked like a construction zone. Not to mention all of her personal belongings were semi-packed up and shoved in the corner to make room for working. However, she did suggest that, when we decide to repaint, she'd like a green room because her favorite colour is now green and she loves dolphins.

We told her we'd think about it. And promptly started planning a makeover. :) It is Renee's birthday a week from today. And my parents and us are chipping in to makeover her room into her own personal ocean green paradise.

Mom and I spent the day shopping yesterday. We bought paint, bedding, curtains, accessories, shelving, and a bunch of other things to really personalize her room in the colours she loves.

And this is our version of Extreme Makeover, Renee's Birthday Edition! Enjoy!

This is what we are starting with:

Yes, it is disorganized and messy...but that is soon to change. We have some great plans for this room. And we have one week. We are hoping to have the family over for cake on Saturday and reveal the room to Renee that afternoon.

I told Renee this morning that the friend who is mudding and taping the seams of the new drywall needs the room unoccupied for a week, so she has to move into the playroom. Other than that, she thinks we are going to be repainting this summer. She has no idea what is going on. All the work we are doing has to be accomplished either while she is in school or when she is asleep. If we need some extra time, I have friends who might just ask her to come play. She's going to be a very busy girl this week, I hope!

So, today's goals: For me, I have to pack up her things into boxes and hide them out in the garage. That means her toys, her clothes, everything. And then get her walls ready for painting. All the posters have to come down and the walls need to be wiped down. Our friend is coming to finish up the mudding today sometime. I also need to disassemble the closet organizer and remove the handles off her drawers in her bed. This evening, I have to go to a friend's house and haul a weathered post out of her garage...I have an awesome plan for it! Today, my mom is busy getting the curtains ready. We bought one large panel, and she will be dividing it in half and hemming them. She is also painting some accessories: the sign for her door, a frame for a beautiful print we found, a couple of ornaments, some shelves, and probably a few other things she has planned. Hopefully tomorrow we will be ready to prime and paint.

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Handsomest Man

I just have to share...Russ bought me a Nikon D40 DSLR camera...and it rocks!

I took this picture of my 5 yo son, Curtis, with my new camera. I just love my little man!


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Til Death Do Us Part

I'm just going to get up on my little soapbox here for a moment, so bear with me for a few moments.

Marriage is not easy. And anyone who thinks being married is easy is out to lunch.

Getting married, however, is a cakewalk. The dresses, the colours, the party favours -- that's all fun and games. Sure, making these little decisions are a part of The Big Day, but if you are getting married for the right reasons, the colour of your napkins or the car that you drive to the church in are not going to really matter 40 years down the road.

Some people get so involved in getting ready for The Big Day that they forget about getting ready for the Marriage. A wedding is a party, an event, a ceremony with family and friends. But marriage is not. It's not about the party. It's not about the event. It is not about the family and friends. It is about you and him and the promise you make to commit to each other for the rest of your lives. Let me repeat that -- for the rest of your lives.

A wedding is the cake, the dress, the tux, the fun, the dancing, the flowers, the pictures, and all of that fun stuff.

A marriage is the commitment, the decisions, the communication, the goals, the disagreements, the compromises, the finances, the compassion, and so very much more. There is a reason we commit, in marriage, to "in sickness and in health" and "for richer or for poorer". Vows say you will always stay together through the best and through the worst. And the best parts are easy -- it's the worst parts that challenge you to hold on to the commitment you make on your wedding day. So think long and hard before you plan the party.

Marriage is a choice. Each day after your wedding day, you wake up in the morning and choose marriage. You choose to love your spouse that day. Even if your spouse is crabby and you can't stand them. Even if your spouse hurts your feelings. Even if your spouse is being so stubborn that you can't stand it. Even if they drive you crazy.

I guess what I want to say is this: just because you have a wonderful wedding, doesn't mean you will have a wonderful marriage. Divorce lawyers are hard and fast proof of this.

Having a wonderful marriage means that you love each other so much that you talk and you listen, you compromise, you love unconditionally, and you try to seek out what your spouse needs before they need it. And if both of you are doing this, then you can't go wrong. If two people are willing to put their whole selves into marriage, completely unselfishly, then those have found their soulmates and life partners.

It is not about the wedding. It is about the relationship. And who you marry is one of the most critical decisions of your whole life.

Just one more disclaimer, for those who may be suddenly worried about me: DH and I are heading for our 10th anniversary this summer, and it has been wonderful. We've had stretches of rocky road and we are not perfect, but there is no doubt in my mind that we are meant to be together. Forever. Our marriage is solid -- more than I could have ever imagined. I am blessed to have my DH. I just posted this little rant because some of the things I have seen and heard in the last little while have caused me some concern. I am hoping and praying, for all those I know who are married or are about to be married, that they be blessed too.