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12 posts from March 2009

March 17, 2009

First visit to the Dentist and nobody cried (not even Mommy)

First Trip to the Dentist
No Cavities - No Tears

No cavities-blog 
Today was Gwen and Maddy's first trip to the Dentist.  Some of you might think we're slackers for waiting so long to do this but we really were keeping an eye on their dental health and we had a pretty good idea that everything was just fine.  

Why did we wait so long?  Well, the kiddos are kinda bashful around strangers and more than a little nervous around medical people in white lab coats (clutching shiny sharp objects) so we figured there was a pretty good likelihood that they wouldn't get anywhere near that freaky looking reclining chair.  And even if they did muster the courage for that, there was almost zero chance that they'd unclench their teeth and let anyone look inside their mouth. 

But eventually this day had to come.  As hard as it is for us to really believe, this is the year our girls start Kindergarten and the registration deadline is fast approaching.  A visit to the Dentist is a required part of their school application.  So there you have it.  That was our motivation.  Were it not for this, there's a strong probability that their first visit would still be months away. 

We played "Dentist" for several days so they knew the drill (absolutely no pun intended).  Then, just before we left for our 11:30 appointment, I sweetened the deal by offering three or four of their favorite bribes as payment for cooperation and bravery.  Then we brushed our teeth one extra time and off we went. 

The staff were all super friendly so the exam was easy.  There was some wide-eyed fear for a worried minute or two but everyone was patient and gentle and my little girls finally started to relax.   Near the end, our Dentist spoke the two words every parents loves to hear:  "No cavities" and the kids got to pick from a dozen flavors of tooth polish.  Maddy picked chocolate (no surprise there) and Gwenny picked "blue".  What exactly does blue taste like?  Well, apparently, it tastes like cookies and cream at our clinic!

Afterwards, they got their picture taken for the No Cavity Wall Of Fame and got to pick a toy from the toy basket.  They also got a new toothbrush, some fun stickers, and several samples of yummy toothpaste!  When we got home, Gwen dove into her goody bag and started devouring toothpaste samples like they were halloween booty!  I stopped her as fast as I could but her breath was sweet for the rest the day!

Any new experience that doesn't involve outright parental defiance, mournful crying, cowering behind Mommy's legs, or hysteria induced vomiting is an accomplishment in our household so our first visit to the family Dentist was a glorious success!

And how was your day?  :)

March 16, 2009

I ♥ faces - green

I love faces green gwen-blog

I love bargain shopping and often practice it like it's an olympic sport.  Almost nothing beats the feeling of finding something amazing at an even more amazing price so imagine my glee when I found the beautiful blouse Gwen is wearing in the photo above.    I got it at Marshalls -- and it was under $10!

It's not a child's shirt (it's for me!) but as soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to have the girls wear it for this photo shoot.  To keep it from falling off, I used an elastic hair band to gather up all the excess material at the neckline in the back.  Voilla!  The shirt was instantly transformed into a dress!

This is the third time I've used a photo of Gwenny in an I faces challenge.  I really do work hard to give my girls equal face time here on the blog so it worries me a little bit that most of the recent pictures have been of Gwen.   The photo, above, is just too cute to not use this week though!  I love the way her nose wrinkles up when she laughs!   

I'm not supposed to post more than one photo but, since I don't expect to ever win one of these contests, I'm disqualifying myself and posting a 2nd photo so both of my girls can have equal blog time.  Here's photo number two:  A stunning pic of my beautiful little Madeline!

I love faces green maddy-blog

Shana probably recognizes this pose.  Yep, I'm still trying to duplicate the beautiful photo she took of her neice.  I think this one actually comes close but I'll admit that I'm probably a bit biased.  :)

I took a bunch of photos during this photo shoot and many of them came out great!  Sometimes, we just get lucky that way!  Here's a dozen of the best ones:  Pretty Green Shirt

 

March 13, 2009

Fix-it Friday

Fix it friday cutiepie before One of my favorite things about digital photography is the ability to create something special from something that fell just a little bit short of perfect. 

I recently discovered a site called "I Faces" and, in addition to weekly photography face themes, they also have a weekly "fix it" challenge where you take a photo they give you and do your best to enhance it.  The original photo is to the left and my 'improvement' is below.  The child was already pretty darn cute so there really wasn't much to improve upon!  Click the image to see a larger view.

You can see what other people did by clicking <here>.

Fix it friday cutiepie - after 

I do all my photo editing in Paintshop Pro.  I've used it for years and I really love it.  I did a white balance correction and fixed a few tiny flaws.  Then I upped the saturation in her eyes, sharpened, then softened just a tiny bit.  Next, I unchapped her lips and removed some stray hairs from her face, added some extra eyelashes, extracted her face and layered it over a stock photo background that came with my computer.  Then I flipped the whole thing!  Violla!  Done!

Heehee.... And my husband wonders why the laundry piles up? 

March 11, 2009

What has 16 wheels, smells faintly of blueberries and will almost always make your face hurt (from smiling)?

Vignette skating That would be Gwen and Maddy on roller skates, of course.   And the blueberry scent is their hair! 

As you might recall, Santa had a special request for roller skates this year and the kids have made pretty impressive progress with them!  Here's a little video from yesterday:  "Skating in the Park"

As usual, Gwen is the courageous one and fearlessly flies all over the place on her skates.  I don't think I've ever seen her fall.  Maddy, on the other hand, is very cautious and hates falling.  Something she must have quickly learned as a baby living in her foster family's home with some really threatening stairs!

Yes, we do have safety gear for our girls and, yes, we do actually have them wear it most of the time but you'd never know it by looking at these photos or watching the video.  So if you're itching to click the comment button and give me a lengthy and graphic head injury lecture, go ahead but it's probably not really necessary as we're very safety conscious around here.  I dare you to visit our home and try to find anything pointy enough to put your eye out.  We even use sunscreen.

PS:  By the way, if you've not already voted for M3 for this award, please take a half minute and do so.  She's now TIED for first place! 

March 09, 2009

I ♥ faces - creative cropping

One photo landscape (hippo cropped)-000001

I'm a big fan of cropping.   How many times have you looked at a photo and thought that it looked so much better than you remembered that scene in real life?  I'm sure it's because photography captures a small, less visually distracting, part of the world around us.  Most peripheral distractions are eliminated because the camera's eye can only see so much.  Cropping further refines this visual point of view to just a few, personally selected, inches.   

For example, in the photo above, I've chosen to feature Gwenny's world-class smile and her playful sparkling eyes.    She obviously has something in her hand but I've cropped away so much of it that I've rendered it unimportant.  Now the subject of the photo is simple (and beautiful): Gwen and her joy. 

Compare that cropped photo to the original and you'll see how the image immediately stops being about a beautiful little happy girl and almost completely becomes a photo of a kid with her head in a hippo's mouth.  Yes, that's a pretty darn interesting theme in and of itself but who would really notice the cute kid in this photo when there's such a HUGE distraction going on here?    

Did you notice there's a man standing behind Gwen?  He blends in because he's wearing colors that don't compete with this photo.  But what if he was wearing a red shirt?   See?  That's why cropping is such an amazing tool!

One photo landscape (hippo before) resized 
My final bit of cropping advice is to not forget the "rule of thirds"

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