✍ All sorts of new and exciting things coming up for the cast of L to the Third so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday: Everything is nicer when shared with an uncle

{We've spent a great deal of time hanging out with my brother, John, while in Pennsylvania these past few days.  Sammy's been eating up all of the one-on-one attention and I have a feeling he's really going to miss his Unky Bum once we're back in Texas.  I know I'm definitely going to miss having him around--come visit us soon!}

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving, take two

Thanksgiving was a bit odd this year for several reasons: 1. We were going to have the big meal on Friday rather than Thursday because of my mom's work schedule.  2.  On Wednesday, my mom was diagnosed with shingles, effectively putting the kibosh on any Thanksgiving festivities until she was no longer contagious.  3. Our actual Thanksgiving meal on Thursday consisted of having breakfast for lunch and homemade pizza for dinner.  While I enjoyed all of the family time and my dad's fabulous pizza, it felt a little weird not having any turkey leftovers to pick at on Friday.

After a couple days on medication, my mom was feeling well enough to reschedule Thanksgiving for Monday, so we celebrated yesterday with the full Thanksgiving spread. While it was a little behind schedule, it was totally worth the wait.  Sammy especially enjoyed his first taste of homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream:

And because no holiday is complete with some incredibly awesome/potentially embarrassing family photographs, I will leave you with the following images of Sammy and Henry in their first-ever-cousin photo session.  I have a feeling that these are going to come in very handy in about fifteen years or so:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Seventeen-month update

Sammy turned seventeen-months old last Wednesday, but with all of the traveling we've been doing lately, I just plum forgot.  Here are his stats as close as I can gather: he's just shy of thirty pounds and around 33" tall.  Sammy is now wearing size 2T tops and pants, although the pants still need to be rolled up a bit.  Sammy is now the proud owner of at least thirteen teeth as his bottom left incisor has broken through--there might be another one on top poking through, but I'm not brave enough to stick my finger in his mouth to find out.

Sammy's imagination has really come alive in the past month--he's started making pretend food and feeds it to his stuffed animals as well as me and Captain Husband.  I found a vintage Fisher Price tea set in Maryland and he's been making tea and serving it up non-stop ever since.

Sammy has quite the adventurous spirit and will happily take off without even a backwards glance in my direction when left to his own devices; I've started to let him walk on his own when we go out and he does a pretty good job of holding my hand and staying close to me.

Sammy's picked up a bunch of new words in just the past week, like milk, please (although he'll say it to everyone BUT me), doggy, Doo (my parents' Great Dane), no, stay, apple, eye, nose, mouth (and he can identify all of those on himself and others, as well as ears)...he can also sign for "more" and can "count" to three.  He's picked up some new sounds as well, like roaring whenever he sees a tiger, lion or dinosaur, and making ambulance noises when he plays with his toy cars and slurping and/or yummy noises whenever he's drinking his imaginary tea or "cooking" something up for us.  He's also started putting his finger to his mouth and going, "Shhhhhhhhhh," which is rather adorable in the proper context.  Sammy has yet to call me mama, although he will refer to me as such when pointing at me in photo--but I know he'll figure it out eventually.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black {Cat} Friday

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday!  I think I'm going to skip the insanity of Black Friday this year and instead hang out with my aunt and uncle's adorable black and white tuxedo kitty, Bootsy.  She's almost as sweet as Sandy Cat and just as lovable.  Nothing like some cat cuddles to help one relax after the stress of the holidays (not too mention my first 5K in years, ouch).  Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Another holiday, another excuse to dress Sammy in something completely ridiculous yet incredibly awesome.  This holiday humiliation was provided by my sister-in-law, Sarah, who knitted Sammy a hat shaped like the business end of a turkey.  (She also made one for Henry, so with any luck, we hope to get an official cousins portrait with them in their matching hats.)

And before I totally forget, here's my before and after photos of my cutie-pie nephew:

I didn't do anything too drastic, although I did flip the image--I find that I often compose the subject matter in my photos to the right so I though it would be fun to change things up a bit (does anyone else find themselves favoring one side or another?).  I then did a clean edit to adjust the exposure and compensate for the green tone in the original, cropped things a little bit tighter and cloned out the design on his onesie because I found it visually distracting.  And just for fun, I then converted the edited shot to a black and white image:

What do you think?  Do you have a preference for one version over the other?  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving today!

And don't forget--if you'd like to learn how to make your photos go from good to wow, be sure to check out what's going on over at Jill and Ashley's blogs:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday: Sammy and Miss L

{After our all-too-brief visit with Henry, Sammy and I headed off to Frederick, Maryland, where we were spending the night with my friends, Tim and Julianne, and their lovely daughter, Lillian.  I was a little worried that the two of them would act strange around each other--after all, it's been a few months since they played together, but the two of them were like peanut butter and jelly.}

{They enjoyed an impromptu game of peekaboo and made a fort out of the dining room table.}

{There was also some synchronized bird watching.}

{Sammy decided that friends make the best seats, so he made himself quite comfy on Lillian's lap, while they enjoyed some episodes of Peppa Pig.  I think it's safe to say that they enjoyed each others' company quite a bit!}

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh, Henry!

I finally got to meet my nephew, Henry, for the first time last week, and boy, oh boy, is he a charmer! Even though he was overdue for his nap, Henry was such a sweet and smiley boy.

Like any new parents, Ben and Sarah are simultaneously exhausted and overjoyed by their bouncing baby boy but parenthood really seems to suit them both.  And just to prove I'm not the only shutterbug in my family, I managed to capture my brother in the act of taking pictures of me taking pictures of Henry.

I was hoping that Sammy would at least show some interest in his new cousin, but he honestly couldn't seem to care less--that is, unless I happened to be holding Henry, which is when the hysterical sobbing and the frantic, "Up!  Up!  Up!" began.  Sammy's going to have to get over this jealousy issue if he wants any siblings of his own.  We attempted to stage their very first photo as cousins, but neither one was really feeling it.  Fortunately Sammy and I are going to be around for the next week, so I'm sure there will be plenty of other opportunities for humiliation for touching family moments.

Sammy did attempt to tickle Henry's bare feet at one point, which resulted in the best dirty look I have ever seen a newborn give someone (I'm imagining his internal monologue, which is being directed towards his mother, as going something like, "Um, just who is this kid and why are you letting him touch me?"):

Soon it was time for Henry to take his nap, so I managed to snap a few photos of him before Sammy and I had to hit the road for Maryland.  Henry is such a cutie--I just want to hug him and squeeze him and call him George.

This week's Shoot and Edit theme is gratefulness and I have so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving; I have a healthy and loving family that I enjoy spending time with.  I am especially grateful to my dad for cashing in some of his frequent flier miles so that Sammy essentially flew for free, which made it possible for us to come to Pennsylvania for the holiday. I am so, so grateful that Captain Husband will be spending this Thanksgiving here in the States...even though we aren't spending this Thanksgiving together, I know that he's only a phone call or a Skype session away.  I'm also grateful that CH is so supportive of my photography hobby/addiction, and grateful that I'm able to spend time photographing my lovely new nephew. What are you grateful for this week, my lovely readers?:

Want to learn how to edit your photos so that they go from good to wow? Click below:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tips for baby feeding (and flying) magic

Thanks to Plum Organics for sponsoring my post about tips for baby feeding magic. What if you let baby choose what's for dinner? Check out their cute "Quest for Yum!" video and see what happens!

This past Thursday marked a momentous occasion in the life of Sammy--his first time on an airplane. This was also a major milestone for me as it happened to be the first time that I ever flew with a toddler.  Oh, and did I happen to mention that Captain Husband wasn't coming with us, so I was going to be doing this on my own?  Crazy, yes. Insane, yes.  But I was prepared, darn it.  I quizzed all of my friends with young children and compiled a list of their tips and tricks and here are the ones that worked for us:
  • Go to the dollar store and buy a ton of toys and hide them away until the actual flight.  That way, you get the double whammy of new-toy novelty and you can lose them on the plane or in the airport and not feel too guilty about it.
  • In this day and age, nearly everyone has a smart phone.  Use it wisely and download a few free kid-friendly apps, like the Toddler Teaser or Animal Fun.  These two apps kept Sammy from losing his cool when our flight from Phoenix to Pittsburgh was delayed in boarding and he was about an hour overdue for a nap.


  • A friendly pal or cuddle buddy--Sammy doesn't have a lovey, per se, but he does love him some furry animals, so I brought along his pal, Rascal.  Sammy spent quite a bit of time simply stroking Rascal's fur and looking out of the window, which gave the nice gentleman in front of us a brief respite from having the back of his seat kicked.

  • And last, but certainly not least, snacks.  When you think you've packed enough, add two more.  Seriously.  You can never have enough.  My go-to kid-friendly snack when traveling is the Plum Organics Mish Mash pouches; they were life-savers during our epic trek from Virginia to Texas, so I was already well-aware of their magical capabilities when planning for this flight.  They're easy to pack, easy for the little ones to eat, and good for them, too (anyone who's ever traveled with kids knows how difficult it is to find them yummy and healthy snacks when on the road).  Besides, no one wants to be around a toddler with low blood sugar.  Ever.

Left to right: Sammy's snack and my snack, which may or may not have contained whiskey.

If you like cute kids, yummy fruits & veggies, and Pac-Man references, you totally need to check out this video:

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. To learn more about Plum Organics, visit their Facebook page.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Just dotty

I had all of these grand plans of writing a post about Sammy's first trip on a plane, with photos to accompany it of course, but life kind of got in the way so it's just going to have to wait until Monday.  (Traveling with a toddler across two time zones has me totally worn out, you guys.)  Until then, please enjoy this lovely monarch butterfly that I spotted at Fort Bliss earlier this week--I had no idea that their bodies were covered in polka dots.  How cool is that?

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

A low-key edit: Sammy in the shadows (after)


From the moment I downloaded the SOOC photo of Sammy onto my computer, I knew I really wanted to amplify the extreme contrasts of light and shade.  However--and this is rather embarrassing-- I cannot for the life of me remember exactly how I edited the original image, so I've retraced my steps in Picnik and I think I've got it mostly figured out.

1. Ran my version of a clean edit and manually adjusted the highlights to bring out more of the details.
2. Under the advanced settings tab, I selected curves and ran the Tri-X 1600 setting at 100% color override and 0% fade.
3. Cropped the photo.
4. Using the clone tool, I removed some of the white patterns from Sammy's pajamas, leaving an all-black background.

Here's a slightly closer look at the after:

I love how the light highlights the delicate curves of his cheek and nose, the subtle turn of his lip, the natural texture of his lashes and brow.  If you'd like to revel in the majesty of Sammy's ridiculously long lashes, click on the photo above, which will take you to my flickr photostream where you can view it larger.  Seriously--why is it that boys always have the most beautiful eye lashes?

The Daily Wyatt

And don't forget--if you'd like to learn how to make your photos go from good to wow, be sure to check out what's going on over at Jill and Ashley's blogs:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday: Checkmate

{Captain Husband, Sammy and I took a trip to Fort Bliss on Sunday so we could price a new printer (oh, yeah, our printer's not working now, either) and CH could get his hair cut.  It was feeling pretty nice outside, especially after last week's cold snap, so we let Sammy run around to his little heart's content.  I was happily surprised when he made a beeline to the giant chess figures and started moving them around; I quickly found myself having grand visions of Sammy growing up to be the next pint-sized chess prodigy.}

{Okay, maybe I was getting a tiny bit ahead of myself.}

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