Friday, September 26, 2008

Look What I Learned!

Ever since I have been working so hard this summer to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop, I have been wanting to do some edits to some pictures I took when Ty was 12 days old. I can't go back and re-take the picture now that I actually know how to use the camera, but I can make the pictures I did take look better. This was my favorite picture of the bunch (and there were a bunch). Notice my hand print where I smoothed out the blanket...above his head.

I took monthly pictures of Ty with the bball glove/ball to document his growth through his first year, but this is my favorite out of all 12 months. Here is my photo makeover on this shot....and notice--handprint gone!

In addition to making the blanket more smooth, I fixed the white balance, lightened the picture, smoothed his skin, and ever so slightly darkened the edges. I'm still not done. I want to remove some of the creases at the bottom of the blanket, and I want to remove the characters from his diaper. I was just so happy with the progress I had already made on the picture that I was itching to post it NOW!

He's about to turn 18 months, so it's almost time for another baseball shoot.

Thanks for letting me toot my own horn, but I'm proud of myself for figuring out some of this crazy Photoshop stuff. There's still so much that I need to learn though.

I am almost finished editing photos for a new cruise post. (I know my faithful readers will be waiting on pins and needles. HA!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Miss Emily

I am going to interrupt my slow progression of vacation posts to post some photos of Emily. I don't prefer her over Ty, but she's getting to the point that she enjoys having her picture made. She has hit many milestones lately. Of course, there's starting tap/ballet. But that's not the only thing.

Her school is now more "grown-up," and they have a color system for behavior, centers, and slightly more formal instruction. They still get to play and be kids, but their activities are more purposefully designed for learning. And they also go to chapel now. I am really proud of her because she stays on green every day.

If they stay on green all week, they get a prize out of the treasure box. It's all she ever talks about when we leave school..."Mommy, can I get something out of the treasure box today?"

"Not today, Emily, but if you stay on green all week, you can get something Friday."

We have this conversation daily...sometimes, more than once!

At home, she is my little helper. She can help put dishes away, she is actually getting better at cleaning up after herself, and then there's her favorite--helping me cook. We are dealing with the typical 3 year old attitude, but in general, she is a pleasant child.

Another funny thing--she has really caught onto football. She always talks about how the Kangaroos will beat the insert team mascot heres, depending on whoever we are playing. She even remembers their colors. For example, when she was putting on a green shirt, she said, "Mommy, this is green like the Eagles. We don't like the Eagles."

Enough writing...onto the pictures!

This is Em on her first day of dance.

This is Emily playing on her swing set. I've been wanting to try to shoot some sunflare, but this is not exactly how I invisioned it!

She knows in her heart that she is a princess.

She loves having her hair curled for church--I just wish I had the energy to do it more often.

Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our Vacation Post #6

Okay, I finally had some downtime since the start of school to finish up some vacation stories. It's a good thing I already did the journaling as we went along because I would have definitely forgotten by now.

As an overall Trcka update, we are in full swing with school and football. The team is 1-1 so far. I am not enjoying my school year too much. Unfortunately, this is due to just one class. My other 4 classes are wonderful, even (surprisingly) one of my Algebra 1 classes. Yes, I got stuck with 2 sections of Algebra 1 this year, and one of those classes is the bane of my existence right now. It's been 6 years since I've had to deal w/ freshmen, and believe me, I did not miss it. I could have lived the rest of my life without teaching algebra 1 ever again. But here I am. Pray for me. Seriously.

Emily loves her new class at daycare. But I just have to update on her newest thing. She loves ABBA songs! Anytime we are in the car, she asks to hear Mamma Mia. And she started ballet/tap.

Ty is pretty much a mess right now. Last week, I had to sign 3 injury notes from his school. He plays so rough and has bumped his head on the wall, a table, and another child. His teacher says if another child is laying on the floor, he will tackle them. And Friday at the football game, he did a face-plant on the track and scraped up his nose pretty bad. But he just keeps truckin' along.

On to the Continuation of the Cruise...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today was our "Day at Sea." However, Hurricane Dolly had shaken up the Gulf pretty badly, and we had some pretty choppy seas as a result. I never thought I would get sea sick. Dee and I used to go fishing off the jetties in Galveston all the time, and when that boat was rocking, it never bothered me. But as the day progressed, I started feeling very nauseous. After breakfast, we took Emily to Camp Carnival (YAY!), and we were sort of wandering around the ship trying to figure out what to do with Ty. It was too windy and rainy to go swimming. We were just letting him look out the windows on the Promenade deck when Grammy came by with Carter.

Check out our cute little boys!

My mom and I took the boys to attend a presentation on the different shore excursions available. We found a round booth and used the strollers to block them in, so they could roam and play while we tried to decide what to do in Cozumel. Dee was also making good use of his time. He won nearly $200 playing black jack. Lucky boy! It was during this presentation that my nausea was getting really bad.

We also discovered the video arcade--free entertainment for Ty! You don't even have to put money in those machines. He just likes to drive. We had to pick Emily up for lunch, and this is what she looked like when I got there:

They had obviously been doing a pirate theme for the day. After lunch (the kids ate--I couldn't handle anything), we went back to our stateroom for naps. And I couldn't sleep because I felt so bad. Dee was even starting to feel bad at this point, and he basically grew up going out on boats. He's the last person I ever thought would get sea sick, but it was extremely rocky. He found some of those sea bands, and as soon as I put them on, I immediately felt better. It was a miracle. They never worked that well during pregnancy, so I didn't expect them to work so quickly. Then we were able to nap along with the kiddos. We decided naps would be much-needed since our main fun time was after 10 p.m. when we could get babysitting for both kids.

This was the formal night for dinner. I loved dressing the kids up, and I loved letting Emily get a chance to learn about manners in a formal setting. Here she is buttering her roll. This occupied her for quite a while.

We loved this dinner! We realized that you didn't have to pick just one appetizer, just done entree, just one dessert. I can still taste the lobster! And Dee had shrimp, steak, and lobster. They gave us this sun-dried tomato bread while we were waiting. I wish I had that recipe. I love how the servers all knew what we wanted to drink. And the women servers at my parent's table really loved Ty and Carter. They paid lots of attention to them.

I did not take these but stole them from my mom's facebook, and I photoshopped them. I hope you don't mind, Mom!

My baby sister Christy and her hubby Collin:

My parents:

My only bro Brandon and his wife Joy:

My younger sister Amy with her hubby Ben and their son Carter:

Who are these people? There's actually a picture of me being posted!

I really had been dreaming of taking sunset pictures of every family in their formal attire. But that's not going to happen when it's rainy, cloudy, and windy outside. Since the inside decks were crowded with people lining up for formal pictures from the ship photographers, we found ourselves a little spot to at least document that we were all dressed up. We did not get the best family photo of our lives.

For some reason, I decided to leave the red eyes in this photo. Why? It adds to the effect--just look how our kids are acting! I also left the reflection of my bro-in-law in the window because it reminds me how crazy it was trying to take pictures of everyone. Shortly after this photo was taken, Emily was dropped off at Camp Carnival for princess crown making.

When we got back to our room, this is what we found:

The kids really enjoyed playing with the towel animal--it was like a stuffed animal toy to them. After taking Emily to Camp, Dee, Ty, and I just relaxed and watched the news in our stateroom until we were able to take Ty to babysitting at 10. We just wanted to go look at the water and talk, but we couldn't find a good spot. My brother had told me about a deck that not a lot of people knew about that he and Joy had found, so we went looking for it. It was pitch black outside, but we could see there were some people laying down looking at what would have been stars if it weren't so cloudy. We walked to the other side of those weirdos and talked for a while. As we started to make our way back inside, I realized those weirdos were Brandon and Joy, and I realized that my mom and Amy were standing looking over the water as well. It was so dark that we hadn't even seen them.

Later, we all enjoyed the midnight buffet! Again, these are my mom's. They open up early for picture-taking, but Dee and I just showed up for the food part.

You can actually watch them do the ice sculptures the afternoon before, but I was feeling too sick for anything like that.


I have to say that aside from the cheese and fruit, I thought the buffet food was gross. I'm not a fan of sushi or of cold meat, but if you are, you might have enjoyed it. We couldn't even recognize what most of the food was. The desserts, however, were very recognizable and very delicious. We ended up sitting by an AP science teacher from south Texas, so Dee and I had a great conversation with her.

After the buffet, it was time to pick up the kids and time to go to sleep! Sometime during the night, I realized we were no longer moving and rocking, so I assumed we had arrived in Progresso, Mexico. After being in port for a day, I think the remnants of the storm moved off, and we didn't have sea sick problems when we set sail again.

Hopefully, my next installment doesn't take as long to post. You will get to hear all about our day in Progresso! I know, I know, I know--you must be super-excited ;-) Hopefully, it doesn't take a month for me to post because I have some adorable photos I need to show off!