Sunday, March 17, 2013

Photo Dump

So I'm organizing all my photo file folders to get ready for when we go to Wales and Ireland... NEXT WEEK.  Yes, next week.  I consulted with myself on the technicality of saying next week even though we don't leave till March 28th (please don't show up and rob us while we're gone, we don't have much but the stuff I have, I'm pretty fond of) and I've decided that my weeks start on Sunday.  So we are currently in THIS week.  And we leave NEXT week.  So it works.

Anyway.  So I wanted to clean out all the folders of pics that weren't so important that I had to share them with the four of you RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND but they were important enough that I couldn't just dump them into the February folder without giving them at least a little love.  Sometimes, I feel like the photos are extensions of my babies, and every time I hit 'delete' I feel like I'm causing physical harm to something.

Crazy much?

Anyway.  Warren and Daisy each had a birthday.  I'm just not in a place mentally to plan parties, and we don't really have friends yet, so it just was NOT a big deal.  Poor kids.  Daisy got to eat a slice of cake I made for her and Nick, and Warren got a spiderman cake from Tesco and three presents.  Oh, and candles.  I forgot them and had to run back.  We may be downplaying it and it may be the most miserable birthday ever blogged about, but by God, we WILL have candles.

And yes.  Daisy June is eating her cake off of a folded paper towel.  Just keeping it real, dudes.

Ava had her ballet exam coming up in school, so they had a practice that the parents were invited to.  I feel like a real grownup when this sort of thing happens. Like, PTA mom from an episode of Law and Order or something.

The kids played outside.

Nick did the boring stuff that I never worry about, like making sure we have food and shelter and clean water to drink, while I played with my camera and finally FINALLY figured out back button focus.

Daisy combined her two true loves, stacking things as tall as she can and cramming as much food into her mouth as she can.

We're so proud.

The kids played outside some more.

"Get me Armani."

A lot more.

We went to the aquarium.

Here's the thing about aquariums.  It's dark, so you have to set the iso at a million.  And everything is blue, so if you don't know what you're doing (holla!!) you end up with blue, noisy pictures, and the only way to even remotely salvage them is to turn them into a simple black and white.  That's like, my go to for trying to make a snapshot look like art.  Add a black and white layer.

But ya'll? I have a confession.  I like the crappy, noisy, blue tinted shots too.  Weird, right? I dunno, it just like makes me think, hey, we were in an aquarium.
SOOC on top, BW on bottom.  See what I mean? Is it just me?

We walked around London, which lemme tell you, the novelty of THAT has not worn off yet.  NOT EVEN CLOSE.

The novelty of listening to Warren cry while (whilst) walking around has definitely worn off.  Remember this one?

Man that kid can cry. He's basically been crying for four years straight.  Don't even get my mother started.

And when he's not crying? He's falling asleep in odd places.

We found a cute little park to play at, right outside the London Eye.

Do you love how he looks RIGHT AT ME as he's falling? Won't look at me to save his life for a nice picture, but THIS? Done.

We prayed Jubebug wasn't getting hypothermia while (whilst) the bigs were playing at said park.

And we rewarded Sir Crybaby Criesalot with a cotton candy when we managed to walk six yards without sobbing uncontrollably.  And now I'm starting to think that maybe we're handling this all wrong...

 We let Ava use our big girl camera when the batteries in hers died, and ended up with a sweet, if noisy, shot.  Black and white to the rescue.  I now wish I'd taken the time to airbrush my skin.  Holy shit. And I didn't crop the top of my head off in pp, Ava did that in real life.  She wasn't allowed to lift the camera off the table, so this is the best she could do.  I just love her!!

Then we rode the subway home and cultivated our son's growing love for writing and drawing.  Two book lovers down, two to go.  I'd call that a mostly-sucess, wouldn't you?

All right.  Now I can shove all these pics in their folders without feeling guilty.  Sorry you had to sit through this to calm my neurosis.  Wouldn't want any jpegs to have their feelings hurt.

Engelbrecht out.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Warwick Castle, Plus Odds and Ends

There's just not much to blog about lately.  No deep thoughts.  TV here is weird, so I can't go on and on and ON about that like I usually do.  Haven't been reading much lately. Don't go to the movies.  Depression and anxiety are basically under control.

So yeah.  Slow news days.

And obviously, I can't be like you know who and just go on and on about how magical life is and rainbows and unicorns and pictures of my pigeon toed feet.  I mean, yes, my life is pretty fucking magical right now, but it's just not me.  I can't do it.

I actually am reading a really good book.  I had to take a break from World Without End.  I feel awful, but it had to be done.  Those books are just so LONG.  So I thumbed ahead to Gone Girl.  EVERYONE who's anyone has already read it and you know how I like to arrive twenty minutes late to all things cool, so I bought it right before Christmas and told Angela to read it with me.  Then she read it and I never did, and then I felt bad, so I finally started. (Mild spoilers below, sort of, as much as I can 'spoil' being only halfway through the book...)

It is AMAZING.  At first, it was a little slow going, but then when I started to get into the mystery, it was just amazing.  I'm finally to the part where Amy takes over narrating (well I guess she splits with him, because the next chapter is back to him) and I gotta say, my mind was blown.  I've NEVER read a book where the narrator can straight up lie.  NEVER.  But I sort of guessed that that's what was going on.  Lance (I can't call him Nick because he's SO yucky) is a douche, but some of the things she was writing just didn't jibe.  Is it jibe or jive? I don't know.

Anyway.  My mind was blown.  I texted Angela in the middle of the night last night and then fell asleep waiting to hear her reply.  But she's all 'oooh, I'm not going to tell you anything blah blah blah' anyway.  Lame.

And even though there's only two shows on here, one of them is the Following, with Kevin Bacon, and I love it!! Is anyone else watching it? I usually don't pick up new shows in January because they NEVER get renewed for a second season, but hello, it's Kevin Bacon.  And Kevin Williamson.  So I figure even if it only makes it this half a season, it'll still be worth it.

I jump every single episode.  That's a good show, one that can hold my suspense like that? Reminds me a LOT of Silence of the Lambs, the suspense without the really gory gore. And cute little Mike Weston? Horrible name for a character (there will only ever be ONE Michael Weston) but he's such a great dude to play off of Kevin Bacon.  They're PERFECT together.
There.  Now I feel like I added a little content. And I didn't even have to try!!
In case you're wondering if I fell into a quaint British romance novel and managed to take a few pictures of the gorgeous landscape, these were taken this weekend at Warwick Castle.  AKA my new absolute favorite spot in the history of ever.  (Side note, I'm typing this on the baby mac, which Nick must have told that we're in England, because it keeps trying to tell me that 'favorite' is spelled wrong and it wants me to  change it to favourite.  How badass is that?!?!)
Anyway, Warwick Castle, amazing.  Remember how I said that Stirling Castle in Scotland was just sort of cheesy and fake looking and such a huge disappointment? Warwick Castle was the EXACT opposite.  It COULD have (maybe even should have) been a total cheese fest, but instead, it was elegant and classy and fun and it just WORKED.  Above, the kids are watching the archery show, this dude was explaining what it was like to be an archer in the 1200s.  Not pretty.  He was extremely funny and a great showman, really worked the crowd, but instead of coming across as lame or goofy, he was just fun and perfect.  And VERY educational!
In the castle itself, everything is beautiful and looks so authentic, and it's all open and you can pretty much wander WHEREVER you want.  And they've got all these fake people set up, and again, it could be SO stupid and crap looking, but it just WORKS.  It's hard to explain, so basically, you're just going to have to come out here and I'll take you.

AND, best part? The castle was built in the 1200s and it's all REAL.  Love. See the sheild in the middle spot above?
Another side note, I've recently started using back button focus on my camera, so when I handed this to Nick to get a pic of me and Ava, it was a DISASTER.  Any suggestions on that? Is there a quick way to turn it off for him?

The tables were all set with the most GORGEOUS pottery.  Too bad they didn't sell it, because I would have paid a small fortune for this one.

We climbed some six hundred steps to the top, even Warren!! I was so proud of that little spaz.

They also had yet another wonderful showman giving archery lessons.  He was SO good with the kids.  And if you've met MY kids, you know that's saying a lot.  He responded differently to each of them, it was just perfect.  Have I mentioned how awesome this entire experience was?

They also had a dude doing a birds of prey lesson.  Pretty cool.  

And a playground with a zipline.  I should note here that for six pounds, you get a bottomless 'hot cup' and they'll give you more than one at once.  So while the kids were playing at the park (in the subzero temps, I might add) I was getting three FREE hot chocolates.  It was neat, we got probably went through about eleven drinks that day, which would have been more than twenty pounds.
 Ugh.  Forgot to resize this one of Scott, which sucks because his expression is PRICELESS.
And the grand finale was (of course) a nerdy engineering hoopla.  This, apparently, is the largest working trebuche in the world.  I was very VERY confused, because I was expecting the thing in The Princess Bride (is it the Princess Bride?) that vaults them over the wall, like a big spoon.  Apparently that's a catapault.  Whatever.  They like loaded this thing up with a fireball and shot it across the field.  Nick and Scott were uber impressed.  Me, not so much (basically, if they don't talk about it in Pillars of the Earth, I'm not interested), but whatever, it was no skin off my back to wait for the show.  I mean, you saw the pics of the scenery, right?
Since I was not expecting it to work the way it did, I didn't get any good shots of the fireball.  I was waiting for a shot of the giant spoon.  Le sigh.

All right.  I need to get to work with an itinerary for Wales and Ireland.  Rough life I'm living, right?