Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The One Where My Camera Totally GOT Me






Once upon a time, there was a girl who's fabulous father in law got her a fabulous camera that she loved and adored.  Until she shoved it in her stroller with a bottle of bubbles and ruined the circuit board.  So she got online and didn't do any research and ordered a replacement camera that she can't figure out how to use.






So then a while later, she DID do some legwork, and ordered the 'nifty fifty' lens, guaranteed to get her great depth of field and perfect speed.  It was going to revolutionize her sub par skillZ and turn her into a photographer worthy of National Geographic, no practice needed!!







Oddly enough, the lens was not, in fact, magical.  It does take fantastic portraits, but only when the girl actually does the work to tweak the settings correctly.






Well the stars aligned at Warren's birthday party.  It was overcast, so when I opened that sucker up to 1.8, it didn't just give me a giant white burst on the screen like it usually does.  That magical day, my camera just totally got me.  It knew exactly what I was going for, and it did it.





I was on the floor, about three feet away.  I actually laid down on my side so that the camera was even with her bottom when she was standing up, then I tilted up just a tiny bit to get her whole body.






It was perfect.  It was just PERFECT.  I feel like this was truly the first time I actually set it on 1.8 and used it properly.  Like I said, usually the picture just ends up too bright and into the trash it goes.  Drives me CRAZY.






n my non professional, completely non technical opinion, this photo above perfectly captures the whole 1.8-ness of the lens.  That leaf I circled is in perfect focus.  Her top hand, just an inch or two in front of the leaf, is slightly blurred.  The bottom hand, an inch or two in front of the TOP hand, is really blurred.  And her head and shoulders are totally blurred out, along with the ENTIRE background.  It's just perfect!! I was trying to be focused on the top hand, but whatevs, I'll take what I can get.
Anyway.  Just thought I'd toot my own horn and post these.  I'm so excited!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One Year Old

No, I didn't forget that one ENTIRE month ago today, my fourth and final child turned one.  I didn't forget that I will never again cuddle a 'newborn' who grew under my heart.  I didn't forget that I'll never again feed my own flesh and blood a bottle as she sighs softly to sleep in my arms, her long delicate fingers weaving in and out of my faded Auburn tee shirt.  It didn't slip my mind that I'll never run to the commissary ten minutes before showtime because I forgot that all important pink 1 candle.  That this is it, my days of having a baby are over.
Sometimes, my camera just gets it right.


Forever.


And this OF COURSE didn't make me remember that I will never again have the excited nervous knot in my stomach as I wait for that second pink line.  That I will never again lay (lie?) in bed, wondering if that slippery jump I just felt was gas or my tiny little miracle kicking for the first time.  I'll never again feel a life that I created stretching and turning from side to side, content to stay put even though I want nothing more than for her to GET OUT.  I'll never again have to rush to the hospital in the middle of the night even though I've recently changed my mind and I want her to stay put even though she wants to GET OUT NOW.  I'll never again lie (lay?) in a cold room, on a cold table, looking up at the shapeless blur that I think is my husband as we wait for that cry, that first cry, that HEY I MADE IT cry that just doesn't sound like anything else in the entire planet.  I'll never again struggle to stay awake through the meds as they show me a burrito of blankets with squishy squinty eyes and announce "No, seriously, this is your baby, we swear."


So yeah.  I didn't blog about Junebug's first birthday.  Because I was busy having a nervous breakdown and googling 'tubal ligation reversal success rate.'  It's about sixty six percent, in case you're interested.


BUT... four kids is a lot.  And four c sections is a lot.  And I'm pretty tired.  So I think I might just hold off for a while.
And I'm pretty sure I got the best four kids the universe has to offer.  Anything else would just be second fiddle, you know?

If you want to remember how Daisy June joined Team Engelbrecht, take a peek at this squishy eyed little miracle right here.

Three Year Olds



Well Dub is officially three!! That makes him older than Scott was when we moved to Guam.  That weirds me out.  And Daisy is now a week away from the age Dub was when we moved to Guam.  Which weirds me out even more.  But that's a whole nother post.


We had a party with Ashton down the street at the community center.  Ashton is ONE DAY older than Warren.  Isn't that crazy how it always works out that way? I mean, it couldn't be any more convenient that that, you know?

We had a bouncy and a cotton candy machine.  Both HUGE hits.






We had presents and cupcakes.  Also huge hits.







The pinata went so fast I couldn't get any pics.  Did you know you don't get to beat them with bats anymore? Of course not. Now, so no one gets sued, there's a trapdoor with five hundred strings.  You pull all the strings until the door finally gives out and the candy spills out.  SNOOZE FEST.  The kids didn't seem to mind.  Something about the candy...



Even Daisy June was livin it up.  It was a great party!!



I only cried twice.  Seriously, I don't get it.  I have FOUR KIDS.  Shouldn't I be used to them getting older?!?!? I just can NOT believe that my baby Warren is three.  It's baffling.  It really is.  Great, now I'm going again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Weight Check Wednesday

Down two pounds.  Seriously? I feel like I'm being punked.  How am I losing and gaining the SAME two pounds every week? Does anyone else think this sounds fishy?  I mean, they still punk people, right? Think someone flew all the way out to Honolulu to mess with my bathroom scale?

Because it's JUST the bathroom scale.  The actual scale at the Weight Watchers meeting seems to be a normal, non-punked scale.  Like, last week, when I gained two pounds Wednesday morning on my scale, I lost a pound even at WW Thursday night.  See? I'm being punked!!

I feel pretty good.  Lo and behold, after four solid weeks of waking up every week day at five to 'work out', it's not a big deal anymore.  I just sort of do it, and then take a shower and go on about my business.  It's nice knowing that it's out of the way and I don't have to fit it in later (and with Warren not being in preschool, 'fitting it in later' isn't even an option anyways) and during naps and after the kids go down, I just veg out and watch Homeland and it's awesomesauce.

I'm not going to lie and be like "oh, if I don't work out first thing in the morning I feel awful and my whole day is ruined and working out first thing puts me in a great mood all day and I never have any problems at all!!!" It's not that serious.  If I don't work out first thing, I feel good because it means I get thirty extra minutes of sleep.  Sometimes it puts me in a good mood (EFX days) and sometimes it pisses me off because for the rest of the day, I can't sit down or stand up or climb stairs or lift my baby (30 Day Shred days).  Overall, yes, having a regular exercise pow-wow does (I believe) help regulate my cray-crays.

And {obviously} I think we all know I can use all the help regulating the crazies that I can get.

So, what's been going on in WW world for me? Good and bad.  Naturally.  My weeks run Wednesday morning till Tuesday night.  Nick has duty Wednesdays, so that's a point-heavy day for me (I like to lock myself in the pantry and eat all the boys' dry pants candy when they stress me out.  What, you don't do that?) but nothing unreasonable, mainly because I'm too busy to eat much, and I go to bed at eight fifteen, so I skip snack.  (Don't you hate people who laugh and say they're too busy to eat? I'm not that person, don't punch me in the throat.  This is ONE day a week that I'm too busy to eat.  And I'm not too busy to eat a bag of candy, by any means).  Anyway, I stay on point (for the most part) Thursday and Friday, then I stuff my face all day Saturday and Sunday.  Last weekend, I averaged fifty five points for both Friday AND Saturday!!!  Then Monday rolls around and I'm usually super strict all Monday and Tuesday.  Unless I weigh myself on Tuesdays and see that I've gained, then I throw in the towel and eat all day bc Wednesday starts a new week.  Ugh.  See? These are the crazies!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Manoa Falls

Yesterday, we went on a hike.  Yes, you heard correctly.  The Engelbrechts went on a hike.  Weird, I know.

We hiked up to Manoa Falls.  But it's just the ONE fall.  The guidebook said it was 'easy even for novice hikers.' Uh, maybe they don't mean three year olds when they say that? Probably not.  I thought it was a pretty good workout, but VERY doable, even with a twenty pound baby on my back.  Very VERY muddy though.


And even though it was apparently only point eight miles, it took us ninety minutes to get there and back. Not sure what it would take normal people, but I was a little unprepared for it to take THAT long.  Because I'm a moron I guess.




It was {obviously} a gorgeous, breathtaking hike.  And these pictures don't even BEGIN to do it justice.  If we lived in real Hawaii instead of on the Industrial Wasteland That is Ford Island, I think I'd be content to stay here for shore duty.  But apparently Nick isn't interested in a ninety minute commute. Weird, right?

This is Scott shooting me with a cannon.  Yes.  He kills me often.



I'm not gonna lie, the 'falls' were just the teensiest bit of a letdown.  But the hike itself was still awesome and I'm really glad I let Nick talk me into it.






I wasn't going to post this next pic.  Ugh.  I've always wondered if putting on makeup REALLY makes a difference...and now I have my answer.  But, as awful as Mama looks, Ava looks amazing, so here goes...
Yes, I know I need a tummy tuck.  Thanks for asking.





I know know why people say it's easier to hike down than up.  I think it's WAY harder!! I can never keep my balance


And Daisy June...musta been rough, her having to sit there while I hiked my ass off.


Then we came home and I laid on the couch and died and watched Homeland.  I can barely walk today.  

The end.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Trying to see just how big I can go with these pics...this is nine hundred wide.  Which I know I said that the last one was, but my mom couldn't see it, so I made the blog more narrow and now I need to find a better pic size.  Here we go...
Hmm.  Nine is too big.  Let's try 850.  It would help if I knew what a pixel was.  How big is it? Is fifty pixels less a LOT less or a TINY bit less?  I guess we're about to find out...


Looks good.  Let's try 875 just for fun.



I'll have to sleep on it.  Do me a favor and leave a comment if you have to use the horizontal scroll bar to see the whole blog, mmkay?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blog Design Help

Anybody have any suggestions? Bear in mind that I'm a total moron.  I had to update my facebook status to ask for help once because one of my kids unplugged the Mac Mac and after I plugged it back in, I couldn't figure out how to turn it on.  (Thanks Alexa for telling me that there's a 'power' button!!) I want it wide (REALLY wide) but it doesn't make sense to have it wide if my pictures are not wide too.  And why is my header over there on the right? How do I get that wide too? Should I pay someone else to do it? That's like two hundred dollars.  And it's not like I'm making money here ya'll.  AT ALL. And if I did pay someone, would that TOTALLY set it up? And could I change things up later?

If ANYONE knows anything about computers, here's a link to a blog that I want my blog to look like.  www.confessionsoftheyoungandmarried.blogspot.com

And it's a fun blog to read too.  I love to see people try to adjust from one kid to two.  Nick and I like to laugh at them.  But not in a mean way.  I mean, two kids? REALLY? Rookie.  Two is for quitters.

And also, how much coffee is dangerous? IS coffee dangerous? I've been waiting so long to like coffee that I think I might have gone a little overboard.  For instance, is the whole pot too much? I make a four cup pot in the mornings, which is one mug and one travel mug for the drive. And then I have another four cup pot at two in the afternoons.  But now I only drink one diet Sunkist, instead of five or six...

Anyway.  Please, ask your nerdy computer friends to help me.  For free.  Thanks.

And here's a pic, just to see if maybe widening my width option was enough to get wider pics.  Something tells me no...(ps when I typed that out, I typed KNOW instead of NO.  I really am a moron.  I used to be so smart!!!)

And pps, yesterday my pandora played a Killers song (love, obviously) and followed it with a Kesha song (don't have the vocabulary needed to describe the disdain) WHAT?!?! It's like Pandora doesn't even know me anymore.  And Warren deleted my most carefully constructed Top 250 Favorite Songs playlist on my iPod.  I hate that kid.

All right, let's see how big this is.  Fingers crossed!!

Update: Dammit.  It's still small!!! HELP ME PLEASE!! Do I need a picassa? Is that a thing? How about a flicker? I think PW uses a flicker...


Another Update: Huh.  I visited a few of my favorite blogs and their pics are regular sized too.  They didn't used to be!! Right? Weren't pics huge back in the day? Am I losing my mind? Is my perception skewed because I'm on my 27 inch Mac Mac? 


Ew.  As much as I hate to promote her AT ALL... www.kellehampton.com has big pics.  That's what I'm after guys! Now quick, tell me how so I can take down that link.  I actually threw up as I put it in.


Updated again: Let's try this...




I DID IT!!!

HOLY SHIT!!! I can't believe I did that!!

If you want to know how, after various google searches, this is what I came up with.  Open your pics in PSE.  Or whatever you use.

Resave it so you don't fuck with the originals.  I resaved it as the name (it's like a date for me, 02102012_1922) reszied.  So now it's called 02102012_1922resized.  Or something like that.

Then, image>resize>image size

I picked 900 pixels.  I might play around with it, but I think 900 seems to be pretty cute.  Granted, I'm still on my Mac Mac, so if this looks weird on a regular screen, please let me know.  I already know it looks jacked on my laptop.

Now for the header...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Weight Check Wednesday

Up two pounds.  I don't get it, I'm completely flabbergasted.  Is my scale on the fritz? Was it on the fritz last week when I thought I lost? Did I really gain two pounds? Did I really lose last week? Should I just give up? I mean, plenty of people are fat, maybe I'm just fat now.  I ate fairly sensibly (for the most part) but I didn't track.  Ugh.  Work the plan a little, lose a little weight.  Work the plan a lot...

Now I want to barf.  I'm sick of this!!! I'm still so fat that even if I just threw in the towel and went in for my boob-job-tummy-tuck-lipo, it wouldn't even do any good!!! And I want that boob-job-tummy-tuck-lipo!!!

I just don't get it.  Have I mentioned that lately? Gross.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Whoa, it's been a while since I menu planned.  Not even since I posted a menu plan, but since I actually planned the menu.  But it dawned on me the other day that maybe the reason I'm having a hard time getting on routine here is because...I'm not getting on routine.  I mean, I've been just sort of hanging out, waiting for the magic to happen.  Uh, that's not quite how it works, if memory serves me correctly.  So I decided to buckle down and start doing those icky tasks that make life easier.  Sticking to my workout schedule (ugh), my daily chores (double ugh), and not allowing the clean laundry to pile up.

Can I go off on a tangent right quick about the laundry? I used to be SO smug about my laundry skillZ.  My blog friends would bitch about how they always have mounds and mounds of either clean or dirty laundry, waiting to be washed or put away, and I'd be all like "those losers, I do my laundry every day and hang it up THAT NIGHT and I'm the winner and everyone else sucks and LOOK AT ME!!!"  Well out of nowhere (not out of 'nowhere', out of 'moving across the globe for the second time in twenty months' but whatever) I can't keep up anymore.  I still wash a load every day, but now, instead of hanging it up, I just pile it in my bedroom and ignore it.

I blame the fact that Ava gets home from school almost as soon as I put the boys down for a nap, so I don't really have any 'sit in front of the tv and fold clothes in peace' time.  And my washer is upstairs, which apparently everyone else on the planet LOVES, but I am HATING it.  Because I used to always fold clothes while I watch tv in peace!!!

Anyway.  Not the point.  The point is the menu.  Baby steps.

We're doing new recipes almost every  night, except Thursday.  Nick wanted his favorite.  I'm just sick of all my regulars.  Well that's not true, I want to have PW's meatballs, but I don't want to MAKE them.  So there's that.  Anyway.


Monday: Filipino BBQ skewers with cilantro lime rice

Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas

Wednesday: Duty Day- eat out or breakfast

Thursday: spicy fatboy sausage pasta.  Only not spicy.  And not very fat because we use turkey sausage and fat free evaporated milk instead of heavy cream.  Nick will be in charge of this, coincidently, because he always wants to make it when it's on the menu, and I have weight watchers.  I didn't even plan it this way.  Life is so awesome.

Friday: Thai Steak Tacos or something I have yet to figure out.

Saturday: something I have year to figure out, or Thai Steak Tacos.

Sunday: Chicken and Dumplings.  I've never made this, and I'm currently on the hunt for an easy recipe, so if you know one, drop me a line.  Do people still say drop me a line? I think so.

What's on your menu? If you need some inspiration, head on over here for hundreds of great ideas!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Weight Check Wednesday

Down a pound and a half!! Sort of.  I'm sure you were devastated when I was MIA last week (is it just me or when you hear 'MIA' do you have to sing 'third world democracy...no funny business...'  Hmm? Just me? Weird.)  Anyway.  I skipped out on you because I was ashamed that I'd gained a pound after my big post on how I was going to hunker down and get serious about the flab.  I did get serious.  Then I got seriously miffed after Nick had a few crap days at work, so I got some serious comfort at the bottom of a bottle.  Totally kidding!! I get my comfort in the form of kettle chips, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, and the tiny little Three Musketeers we keep around to reward Warren when he doesn't pee his pants at night.

So there's that.

Anyway, so now it looks like I'm down a pound and a half, but it's sort of just a half since I'd JUST gained that pound.  I've got my fingers crossed that the pound was at least semi related to my period and so I'll lose another pound this week easy peasy.  I sure hope I lose at least a half because I am one crummy half pound away from a new Killers album and I NEED that cd!!

I'm doing great in the workout department.  I gave myself four weeks to try and get used to waking up at five, and if, after those four weeks, it was still ruining my entire day, I was going to let myself out and figure out another way.  But this Friday marks three weeks, and so far it's really not that bad.  I'm pretty tired by three in the afternoon, but I was awfully tired at three anyway.  The hardest part is trying to get to bed at ten thirty instead of eleven thirty.  I need that last hour to play words with friends and turn all my kids' socks rightside in!!

Anyway.  As aways, I'm in total shock and awe at how GOOD I feel when I'm getting regular exercise.  I'm not eating as amazingly as I should (I finally started drinking coffee, and it sort of fills me up, so I'm not drinking my veggie shakes, so I need to figure that part out) but man, when I start eating better... I'm probably going to feel so amazing that I'll plant a garden and sew those little pillow case dresses and learn to knit or something.  I'll probably be even more amazing than Kelle Hampton.  Just wait and see.  Wink.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sunday

I'm still here.  I haven't blogged in a while because I am so miserable that I knew anything I typed out would just be awful.

I don't know why I'm so miserable, I really don't.  It's sort of like, you know how when you pin all your hopes and dreams on one thing (moving to Hawaii) and then that thing happens and it's not quite as amazing as you thought it would be (because how could it be)? I don't know, maybe it's just me.  I just sort of truly believed that once I got off of that rock, my life would be perfect.  I'd be thin, and have tons of money, and clear skin and great hair.  My kids would be obedient and self sustaining and they wouldn't touch me with their sticky hands and wipe their noses on my shirt the one time I decided to get dressed and they wouldn't need me for every single basic need to survive.  I would make a ton of new, great, meaningful friends and we'd have fun shopping for skinny clothes with all my money.

So yeah.  Thus far, none of that has happened.  Weird, right?

I can't seem to get into ANY sort of routine.  Warren isn't in school, and for a while I was blaming it on that, but that's not it.  I mean, of all those kids, HE is really the most self sustaining.  We get home from dropping Scott off and he pretty much entertains himself until it's time to go pick Scott up.  Daisy June still takes a morning nap.  So I don't know what it is, but there's something keeping me from doing anything productive (housework, laundry, blogging) AND anything fun (watching TV, reading, blogging...) IT SUCKS.  I love tv, and it just sucks not to have time to watch any.  It'd be one thing if I was getting something ELSE done, but I'm not!!! IT'S FRUSTRATING!!!

Obviously, Nick has noticed that I'm miserable (I may have a habit of making others miserable when I'm miserable...) so yesterday he surprised me with a trip over to what I refer to as "Real Hawaii." I'm going to be brutally honest and admit that the thing making me MOST miserable is where we live.  I hate it here.  It's HUGE, and industrial, and crowded, and ugly and nasty and gross.  I want to live in Kaneohe. It's that simple.

Anyway.  We started at the Pali Highway Lookout.  That's the pic I started with, and these next few.  The pics look amazing, if I do say so myself, but take my word for it: these pictures show about one one thousandth of how amazing this view really was.






And then...I'm getting goosebumps even thinking about it.  You may or may not (yeah right) know that I am a HUGE Lost fanatic.  Huge doesn't even BEGIN to describe it.  MAGNANIMOUS. Something more dramatic like that.  Well, I am EQUALLY as enamored with Jurassic Park.  The first movie, the book, the whole shebang.  I would say that that book is the one I've read the most amount of times.  At least six that I can think of.  I read it twice when I was pregnant with Ava.  I can't pinpoint what exactly it is that I love about it (I'm not really into dinosaurs or science...AT ALL) but I just LOVE it.  Everything about it.

Well it was filmed over the various islands of Hawaii, and Lost was filmed ON Oahu.  For those who don't know (like me) we are on Oahu here.  Maui is somewhere else, but don't ask me where because I'm not really sure.

So there's this big empty ranch with lots of space, so I guess lots of producers use it for films and TV.  So after we left the Pali Highway Lookout, NICK TOOK ME TO THE RANCH!!!

It was amazing!! I was so excited I almost peed my pants.  Seriously.  Then the kids wanted to ride this horse and Nick wanted to look at stuff and I JUST WANTED TO GET ON THAT DAMN BUS AND SEE JURASSIC PARK ALREADY!!!

I can NOT believe he got on that horse!!!


She's so damn pretty






And after I waited patiently, WE GOT ON THE BUS!!! We were the only people.  The driver may or may not have laughed at my excitement on more than one occasion.


First was the boring stuff like breathtaking, once in a life time scenery.  You know, trees and stuff? Anybody? Dad?

THIS is what Hawaii is supposed to look like.  NOT Ford Island.





And then it got a little more interesting...I happen to be a pretty big 50 First Dates fan.  It's cute and funny and I'm a sucker for Drew Barrymore, what can I say.  That's the first movie that Nick and I watched in this house too, as a side note.
This is where Henry pretends his car is broken down all those time, and where Lucy chases that dude around and beats him to death with a baseball bat!!


And then I actually died.

This is the field where Dr. Grant and the kids have to run away when all those dinos that look like ostriches start stampeding towards them!!!!



And this is the tree they hide behind!!!
Yes.  I had her stop the bus so I could get out and take a picture.  Yes, I REALLY need a haircut. Yes, Daisy June thought this was the most AMAZING THING EVER.

And then...I can't even type it I'm so excited.
I took a pic of some cows so I could feel like PW.

Just kidding.

AND THEN WE HIT OUR FIRST LOST SCENE!!!
It's Hurley's golf course.  I hate to admit it, but I was more excited about the Jurassic Park scenes.  They were a lot more recognizable and there were more of them.  But this was still pretty awesome, even though if she hadn't pointed it out, I wouldn't have recognized it.  I'm so embarrassed.

And also, in my defense, I haven't seen the first few seasons of Lost since we left Connecticut two years ago.

The tour guide said that this was John Locke's house in some episode, but I'm not quite sure what she was talking about.  I personally do not remember Locke living in a hut like this.  Maybe when he lived on that pot farm? I can't remember.  Sounds like someone needs to rewatch Lost.

And here's some more scenery that I may or may not have already posted, I loaded all these pics a few hours ago and then left to do God knows what and just came back.




See my future home there in the middle?

I love the 'pleats' or whatever in the sides of the mountains here.  The guide said when it really gets to raining, they all turn into waterfalls.  I bet it is UNBELIEVABLE.




Check out these goats!!! They're climbing up a tree!! Did you know that goats did that?!?


And hey, I forgot one!! They've got all these old bunkers that I guess they do a lot of filming in, and they had the Lost sub in there!! Well, at least part of one.  I think.  I don't know.  Maybe it's a prop they used for shots where it's in the background or something?  Alls I do know is that a concrete bunker with hanging florescent lights does NOT make for great pictures.  At all.


So there we go.  That was our Sunday.  We also found a nice church and I went grocery shopping.  Very exciting lives we're living over here :)

Hopefully the feel-goods from working out will kick in soon and I can post our first beach trip and Daisy June's birthday spread.  Sigh.  I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you.