Elf on the Shelf – Day 20

Who doesn’t love sushi?

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We’re big fans in this house. All of us…even the kids.

Don’t knock it ’til you try it folks.

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And when Cadence found Cosette and Rango in the middle of their little sushi date this morning, she jumped right in and played waitress and brought them refills on their tea.

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Elf on the Shelf – Day 4

I’ve written at length before about how much I hate having my picture taken. Truthfully, I don’t even think that “hate” is a strong enough word. I mean, I know everyone goes through an awkward stage, but come on! Between my television screen-sized glasses and a couple of bad perms gone wrong, my awkward stage lasted far too long and resulted in far too many photos like these haunting my childhood…

lori school photo 1987

lori school photo 1989

lori in ne sweats xmas 1990

I guess I can always blame the 80’s, right?

Even so, I was always more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. I remember having a cheap plastic 35mm film camera by the time I was 10 years old. Mom and Dad were good about buying me film and letting me snap away when we went on vacations or visited family for the holidays. In high school, I finally got my hands on my first SLR camera in the Photography class I took with my Newspaper teacher Mr. Buck. The old Pentax K-1000 just felt right in my hands, and I fell in love with it, and with the magic of seeing my vision come alive in a bath of chemicals in the Holdrege High School dark room.

My Uncle Harry and Aunt Jean were always two of my biggest supporters, cheering me on and hanging my framed photographs of old barns and windmills in their home. They even gave me one of the greatest gifts ever one Christmas, when they sent me my very own K-1000 that they’d found in a pawn shop in Dallas.

I can’t even tell you how many photos I’ve taken since. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say I’m probably closing in on a million. Maybe more. Thank goodness I made the switch to digital photography. Otherwise, I’d likely be living penniless on the streets from the cost of developing all that film.

Yet, whether I’m shooting film or digital, and seeing my images come to life in an old-fashioned chemical darkroom or a digital darkroom like Photoshop, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing that little piece of life I captured and knowing that it has been preserved, timeless, forever.

For the longest time, I feared that Cadence would likely suffer from what so many photographers refer to as Photographer’s Kid Syndrome–a debilitating disorder that makes kids highly allergic to having their pictures taken and causes them to turn and flee whenever they see a camera. to make matters worse, Cadence also had a 50/50 chance of either being a photophobe like her Momma or a total ham like her Daddy.

Thank God her Daddy’s photo genes prevailed.

It’s much more fun to snap photos of a willing (and patient) subject than to have to chase her around and pray that I get one shot out of a couple dozen. And it’s even more fun now that she’s starting to get interested in taking pictures herself. The little digital camera her Granny, Pawpoo, Aunt Whitney and Uncle Collin bought her last year for Christmas has certainly gotten a lot of good use already. And I guess Cosette wanted to get in on the action because last night after sending Cadence off to bed and giving another good day’s report to Santa, Cosette gathered up some of Cadence’s stuffed animal friends for a little photo shoot of her own…

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She took some portraits of Brian…

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A few pet portraits with one of the Pound Puppies…

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She set up an engagement session with Rango and the Sock Monkey…

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Took some portraits of Marvin the Martian…

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And helped Animal update his photos to advertise his band…

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And then a few group shots of everyone before wrapping up the session for the night…

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This morning, Cadence came down for breakfast, and was surprised to see what everyone was up to…

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And of course, she wanted a little time behind the camera, so she asked Cosette if she could have a turn…

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Yeah, that’s my girl! 🙂

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And I have to say, after taking a look through the photos from Cadence and Cosette’s sessions, these girls definitely have the “eye” for photography!

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365 Project – Day 305 – That There’s Conjunctivitis

Rango: Woah! Are you sure you’re fit for duty there, soldier?
Sergeant Turley: What?
Rango: Well, you’ve uh…got a little somethin’ in your eye there.
Sergeant Turley: Oh, that? [pointing to his good eye] That there’s conjunctivitis. It’s hereditary.
Rango: Oh! Well…I’m glad to hear it’s not contagious.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get Pink Eye from someone farting on your pillow, or from Scott Baio…well, unless Scott Baio has Pink Eye himself and goes out of his way to share his germs with you.

Pink Eye (aka Conjunctivitis) is actually just a swelling and inflammation of the eye membranes caused by anything from viruses, bacteria and even allergies, and unless you actually come face to face with some pink-eyed joker who sticks his finger in his own crusty eye and then rubs it in yours, you are pretty much left guessing where you managed to pick up the nasty little germs in question.

I’ve always had sensitive eyes, which meant my share of eye infections over the years. The biggest culprit was the night I accidentally fell asleep in my contact lenses. When I woke the next morning, they had darn near fused themselves to my eyeballs. I managed to peel them off, but ended up looking like on of the red-eyed zombies from the horror film 28 Days Later for the next week or so.

Yeah, that sucked, but I learned my lesson.

When Steven’s left eye started itching yesterday, we really didn’t think much of it. But by the time he woke this morning, he decided that a trip to the doctor for some antibiotic ointment was definitely in order.

Of course, I made him pose for a few photos first. 🙂 He’s such a good sport!

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to my dear husband. Here’s hoping he says goodbye to his Pink Eye soon!

365 Project – Day 296 – Rockin’ Halloween Preview

“If you are an adult, and you are planning to dress up on Halloween…don’t. I will find you. I will hurt you. You are an adult, and you can dress up whenever you want to. You don’t need permission anymore! If you wake up next Tuesday, and you feel like being Batman, go for it! And then you go to work, and your boss will look up and go ‘Who are you?’ and you can say…’I am Batman. That’s who I am. Who are you?'” – Lewis Black

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Costumes, candy, scary movies, staying out late, scaring people–what can really top it? It’s all my favorite things rolled into one night of ghoulish fun.

And did I mention the candy?

Halloween is just one of those holidays though, that seems to get a little more tame as you get older (unless of course you’re still dressing as a slutty nurse or superhero and attending wild costume parties with your old college friends). But, for those of us who gave up the wild college parties after we graduated college, having kids is the next best way to resurrect a good, healthy interest in Halloween.

When we started brainstorming costumes for Cadence this year, we decided right away that we didn’t want to pick anything hokey. Nothing cutesy or cookie cutter. We wanted something that would be totally, uniquely Cadence.

Our first thought was something Rango-related. After all, our daughter is absolutely obsessed with the movie and, if she could actually get away with watching it 17 times a day, she would. It cracks her up, and it cracks us up the way she tries to act it out as she watches (although, I have to admit I’m not really thrilled about how hilarious she thinks it is to spit the way the characters do).

Unfortunately, the only Rango costumes I could find were adult-sized and pretty damn creepy-looking if you ask me…

So, it was back to the drawing board.

If there is anything that Cadence loves as much as Rango, it’s music. I guess with parents who are obsessed with music and a name like Cadence, you might guess that our girl would have inherited a love of music. We noticed it when she was just a baby–the way she would calm down immediately when you would turn music on or sing to her, the way she would smile and clap and dance along. These days, she even sings along.

So, there was really only one logical choice for this year’s Halloween costume, and after a little bit of searching, we think we have begun piecing together the perfect outfit for our little rock star to make her debut.

Here’s just a little preview of the fabulousness that’s yet to come…

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to making some Halloween memories. Woohoo! Rock ‘n roll!!!!!

365 Project – Day 288 – Cadence’s First Crush

So, it’s official, my daughter has her very first crush. But, there are two small problems:

1. He’s a cartoon character.

2. He’s a lizard.

But, about the time she actually starts having serious crushes on real human boys, I might think back to this and realize it’s not so bad.

It’s actually kind of cute, really, how my daughter has fallen head over heels in love with Rango. Except for the fact that she is getting downright demanding about watching her favorite movie at least three times a day. I mean, it’s a great movie, don’t get me wrong. It cracks me up every time we watch it. But three times a day? Hell, these days she insists that I start it over at the beginning as soon as the end credits begin to roll, and today she even had a minor meltdown that resulted in a timeout when her Daddy told her no, she wasn’t going to watch it again.

The best part about Cadence’s crush is that she has started acting out her favorite parts of the movie, and let me tell you, there’s nothing quite as entertaining as Toddler-Piece Theater. Just last night, Steven and I were treated to a comical rendition of a few of the scenes that Cadence currently likes the most (any scene where the characters make a raspberry or spitting down, or when Rango’s posse rides to the music).

Enjoy.

365 Project – Day 271 – What’s Not To Love About Rango?

Some people think Steven and I are crazy, but we refuse to let Cadence get sucked into the mindless world of modern day children’s programming. I don’t care what anyone says, but some time in the early 90’s, children’s television took an ugly turn. Shows like Barney and The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers heralded the beginning of the end for quality children’s programming. I’ve sat through a few minutes of shows like Teletubbies and The Wiggles and Dora the Explorer and to be quite honest, two thoughts immediately ran through my mind.

1. What the hell were these people smoking when they created these shows?

2. How could I erase the horrifying images (and songs) from my mind without invasive surgery or voluntary decapitation?

Luckily, children’s movies do not seem to have suffered quite as drastic a decline as children’s television. We watch our fair share of TV and movies in our house, and I guess it’s just the English major in me, but I’ve always much preferred to watch things that have a little substance to them. Don’t get me wrong, the occassional leave-your-brain-at-the-door ridiculousness like the Austin Powers trilogy or Jackass is sometimes a much-needed escape from the pressures of reality, but in the end, I am a much bigger fan of shows that stimulate my mind and actually give me something to think about, whether I’m laughing or not. And that is definitely a trait that I hope my daughter has inherited.

When I saw the first trailers for the movie Rango, I immediately put it on my must-see list. I’ll watch any movie that has Johnny Depp in it, whether he’s in the leading roll or just lending his voice to an animated character. Plus, the trailer made me laugh. Sure, it’s billed as a kids’ movie, but we all know that much of the humor in kids’ movies is lost on the kids, and Rango is certainly a movie that can be appreciated as much, if not more, by adults.

When Cadence first saw noticed Rango in a commercial, she squealed and giggled and tried to climb up the TV stand to get to him. So, when the film was finally released on DVD and Blu-Ray, we figured it might be worth it to buy a copy.

And yeah, it was worth every penny.

First of all, the movie is a visual masterpiece. In a word, the animation is stunning. Anyone who made the mistake of jumping on the 3-D bandwagon will hop right back off again once they get a look at the exquisite detail in Rango. The scenery is gorgeous, the colors vivid, and the characters exaggeratedly detailed. If you have a Blu-Ray player and an HDTV, be prepared to marvel at the eye candy in this movie.

The characters themselves are not only visually captivating, but also very well-developed. From the hero to the villain to the extended cast of quirky sidekicks, you find yourself falling in love with each one, or at least appreciating the vital role they play in the story.

The overall storyline is another homerun. The story begins with an introduction to a slightly eccentric chameleon living a rather lonely, lackluster life as a family pet in the confines of a terrarium. But when an unexpected accident strands Rango in the Mojave Desert, he is suddenly thrust into the most important role of his life when he becomes the hero for a dying town. With intelligent, well-written dialogue delivered by a star-studded cast, this is a movie that hooks you immediately and keeps you engaged through the roll of the credits. Give Rango a go, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

And just for fun, a few of the lines that made me laugh:

Balthazar: Thespians? That’s illegal in seven states!

Rango: I couldn’t help but notice you noticing me noticing you.

Spoons: I once found a human spinal column in my fecal matter…

Bad Bill: I’m going to slice your face off and use it to wipe my unmentionables!

Beans: Get your dirty, webbed phalanges off of my boots!

Rango: Hell, I’ve seen things make a grown man lose control of his glandular function.  You spend three days in a horse carcass, livin’ off you own juices. It’ll change  a man.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to the brilliant minds that brought us Rango. It’s one of those movies that I love a little more each time that I see it, and thank goodness for that, since Cadence has already asked to watch it three times this week.