Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Red Envelope Day



Today, March 31st is Red Envelope Day. So if you feel led, grab your red envelope and address it to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington D.C. 20500


And on the back of the envelope, seal it and write:

"This envelope represents one of the children who died because of an abortion. It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be part of our world."

Check out more details and what it means here.

The envelope needs to be in the mail today!! (Or I bet tomorrow would be okay too)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wholesome Yummy Goodness

I know what you're thinking.. Isn't Cheyenne off camping in Joshua Tree right now? Well YES I am.. And I'm not on the internet right now either, in fact I'm probably helping to pack up camp and cook breakfast. That's the beauty of scheduled posting.

So back in my pre-baby days, my friend, Kate gave me an orientation when our husbands were both at SOS together. Since she had a 7 month old at the time (wow- has it been that long ago?!), I picked her brain when it came to pregnancy, delivery, and parenting. Her amazing son, Jack gave me a false sense of timing when it comes to walking because I remember he was walking at 7 months... so it being my first child experience where I was actually paying attention, I thought that's when kids walk.. Thanks a lot Jack! Anyway, something else I picked up from her that I decided then and there that I was going to do when it was my turn: making my own baby food! And Viola! It's my turn and I'm enjoying the simplicity of making Riley's food. So far he's enjoyed:
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Carrots
  • Green Peas
  • Avacado
  • Beets
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears (with Cinnamon)
  • Mango
MMMMM.. it's making my hungry just typing it! I could do better with incorporating his food with what I'm making for dinner, but even without trying to coordinate, it's pretty simple. Most of it is just a matter of cooking it (usually baking), blending it (I use the Magic Bullet- it's perfect for the task) and then I put some in the fridge and some in the freezer. So EASY!! And I ♥ (sorry, I just learned how to do the ♥ symbol and I like using it♥♥♥! Alt 3 if you're wondering) knowing exactly what is in the food and that there are ZERO preservatives and chemicals!!! And it's cheaper than the jars of baby food too! There are great books with recipes but for starters, I totally recommend this site! One step closer to my Earth Ship- Trav. *wink

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I ♥ Air Shows

When I was little, my dad would drag my brother and I to the Cleveland Airshow every year. He worked the C-130 Hercules static display all day so Travis and I would wander around all day long, checking out other air plane displays, rides, vendors and of course finding a spot in the shade to watch the Thunderbirds! I remember one year being miserably rainy but that didn't stop the fun! We just had to get more creative with shelter but because of the gloom, it just meant more free romping room for us!
I still love when it's time for the air show! I love the excitement. I love the smell in the air. I love the crowds that come out to see what's happening. It brings a tear to my eye watching the little kids boiling over with excitement, run up to the pilots (ie: my husband) to have a word with them and get a picture. It reminds me of my brother back in the day. And now he, too is among the F16 pilot community!

Well, I've got a busy couple hours ahead of me. I'm packing Riley and my camping stuff for a 3 night camping adventure to Joshua Tree, CA! So I'm slapping some pictures up and calling it quits!

The obligatory Riley pic
Riley's buddy, Duncan
Ahhh- the Thunderbirds...
I had a childhood crush on the Thunderbirds, and it's still kinda there.. even though I know a few and I think my hubby is more handsome and talented (*wink)
The F22 is SICK!


Gorgeous Budweiser Clydesdale's!
Our own personal Air Show- they day before the gates opened.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Words to Action

Those of you who have been following along in this saga I call "life" ... you may have wondered when the big bash that I keep talking about (in celebration of finishing Project Oasis- the backyard project) would happen. Well, my friends. We had the bash... And I think one is all I can handle!

John invited the students over for a poker night... You see, he bartered with one of the super talented students who makes BEAUTIFUL poker tables which we are now the proud owners of, in exchange for a fabulous handmade flightsuit bag (Flybagz) for his wife.


So not only was he itchin' to have people over to utilize the barbecue island and fire pit in the back, but also to break in the new table! John extended the invitation to the other Instructor Pilots (IP's) from the squadron as well as, of course letting our neighbor, Wild Bill and old friend Split in on it! The turn out was.... well.. great! We had a good crowd which lead to a smooth evening. A little too smooth.. which led to a rough night for me and an even rougher next day. Oy. That was dumb.

Let me let you in on a tip: DON'T... I repeat, DO NOT, although it sounds so inviting and tempting, get into a hot tub when you have had a few too many drinks. Just drink some water and go to bed.


"It was the craziest game of Poker that I ever saw" -OAR


Knock 'em dead, kid!Enjoying the warm glow of the fire

More fire side mingling... I knew I needed a tripod but it just gets a bit weird when the shadow lurker takes the time to set up a tripod and I didn't want to scare the "subjects" away, so blurry photos it is.

"Honey, I'm all in!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

7 Months!

7 months ago today was the day that turned my world upside-down! And it's true what I've heard that you forget the pain. I guess it's God's way of enriching our lives with siblings.. because if us women remembered how painful it was, I'm pretty sure there would be single child homes because no body in their right mind would have a second child. All I can think of now is how much I love my little guy, how much fun he is, how much he makes John and I laugh.

The last month has been excruciating for me as each day I've expected him to start crawling.. and each day ends with him still pulling the same tricks. I know what you're going to say... "Cheyenne, don't be too excited about the introduction of mobility.. Be happy you can put him down and leave him." Ya ya.. I've heard it. But that doesn't make me any less excited about him reaching that milestone. I think he gets frustrated now that he can't move like he wants to. I put him down, he scoots backwards- thus leaving his toys just out of reach and then he complains that he has nothing to play with. Oh ya, he's also developing separation anxiety, so if I leave his sight he gets upset. I've never felt so needed! It's kind of flattering. Sometimes even daddy can't calm the savage beast, but once he's handed over to me, he rests his head on my shoulder and settles right down.

He's becoming quite efficient with eating solids. He doesn't even get much on his bibs anymore (unless daddy is feeding him- j/k.. kinda) I've been giving him puffs to keep him busy while I prepare his meal and it's fun to watch his hand eye coordination develop.

Let's see how many I can get in one hand...

Is there something on my face??
Open wide!
Let's see.. what else? After seeing a cute video on how much Riley's cousin, Brenden was enjoying the little learning table, I broke down and got one ($15 on Craigs list!!). He isn't pulling himself up but he does seem pretty entertained with all the music and buttons- even if he is hitting the buttons accidentally as he clings to the table so not to fall down. He looks like he's having fun... right?
These months are definitely action packed as each day he seems to be doing something new. Oh ya.. he's got 4 TEETH! He's bit me once or twice but I try to be over dramatic so maybe it scares him a little and he understands that it hurts and not to do it again! So twice in over a month of having teeth isn't bad.

That's all for now. I'll of course be posting when he finally does make the forward progression with his crawling. Till then, peace!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mommy's Hero

As you can see, he's got room to grow!

Thank you sooooo much Tracy! I love it!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Against Social Beliefs

I am not even sure that I should be posting on this topic... I've made a decision and it doesn't jive with the way our culture does things. (I sometimes feel like many of my beliefs are counter-cultural so why not.. It's my blog.. I can talk about what I want- haha)

I sometimes long to be back in earlier times... simpler times. A time when all of our modern conveniences didn't get in the way. Sure, things may have been more difficult but something is lost when things are given to us and we don't have to work for it. I think the same principle applies for kids growing in independence. I was given my first car from my parents. It was a shiny new Dodge Neon (nice for a first car) and I thought I was thankful! But I have to admit that I didn't treat that car with the appreciation and care that I treat my cars that I pay for and work for now.. Although I loved having a nice car in high school, my children will not be afforded the same luxury.. They will have to work for it! Please don't misinterpret because I am not in anyway faulting my parents.. They wanted me to prioritize school and athletics over a job- which I agree with... I just know that I didn't fully appreciate the gift I was given and I'm sorry for that. Anyway- got off an a little tangent there.. Head back with me to the simpler times! There were no cars so we couldn't drive down our driveway to our mail boxes to get our mail (insert eye roll). There were no computers so we'd actually have to reach out to each other in person or hand write a note!! (I'm totally guilty when it comes to the computer). There were no remote controls so we'd actually have to get our lazy butts off the couch to change the channel! I could go on and on, but I'll get to my point...

There were no disposable diapers, so man kind would just learn to deal which resulted in a "potty trained" baby- well before 2 or 3 years old!

So that's what I've decided.. I'm starting potty training NOW! Riley's only 6 months but as far as I'm concerned, it's a few months too late! A friend of mine who moved to Japan introduced me to the EC (Elimination Communication, AKA Natural Infant Hygiene and Infant Potty Training) idea a year ago and she let me borrow her book "Diaper Free" by Ingrid Bauer. I won't lie, the book made this self-proclaimed hippy uncomfortable with the extreme views, the approach and just how "hippy" it really was. I backed off for a while and figured I'd battle through it like everyone else. But just last weekend, a friend of mine- older mom in her late 30's who I respect and look up to both as a Christian and a parent (and might I add that I don't classify her the least bit "hippy")- was telling me about her potty training experiences. She didn't go to any extreme like the book may have suggested, but she used the principles of EC and had her oldest doing his business (at least #2) in the toilet by 9 months! And all three of her children were potty trained before the age of 2!!! Think about it... All the Third World Countries (Africa for example) don't have the convenience of disposable diapers.. I don't even think they have diapers, period. They carry their babies on their backs as soon as they are strong enough to hold their heads up (check out my friend, Emily's blog about her Ghana trip to see pictures of this) and there aren't any urine soaked backs!! They learn to read their baby's signals and adapt.

The fact that such a strong role-model in my life has successfully gotten three kids through potty training with this method re-opened the idea for me and so I now am jumping all in! I guess I think that the struggles with toddler potty training are more of a battle of wills than the capability to sense the urge or physical ability to use the toilet. I went and bought a little potty today. I was trying to hold him over the toilet but i don't think it's the most comfortable for him and both he and I tire from that so the website that I'm reading suggested the Baby Bjorn little potty.

Before Riley was born, I was gung-ho for G-diapers. Then John challenged their convenience and I caved when I got accustomed to how truly handy disposables are. I am now going to switch to a collaboration of G-diapers and cloth diapers. I figure it will help:
  1. me be able to learn Riley's potty habits
  2. make it not as easy to change his diaper (which will move up the priority of spotting his signs- that's kind of how I work)
  3. make it slightly less comfortable for him when he's got a soiled diaper on (disposables can hold A LOT of liquid and keep the baby feeling dry which is great.. a little too great! I guess I figure that the discomfort of feeling the wetness may get him to want to go in the potty instead of in his diaper down the road)
So here goes. Wish me luck! Or give me flack (which I am totally expecting from my family... love you guys!)


Oh ya... He peed in his potty today- YAY!!! (right now it's basically just me guessing when he might have to go, and sitting him on the potty till it happens.. here's the exciting part- when he goes, I make a cueing noise that he will eventually associate with relieving himself)
Celebrate little victories!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

In the Work Shop

Along with my new rockin' camera (Canon Rebel XSi) that I got for Christmas, my ol' man got me a photo editing software- Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo x2. It's much like the well known Adobe Photoshop, but without the hefty price tag. I don't know what the $500 Adobe has, but I've been able to try out the $100 one as well as the Corel version which I think has an advantage to the cheaper Adobe package. I've been working on both to see what I can and can't do and although I'm impressed by Adobe's depth, it's also obvious that there are some gaps in the tools, etc. So I did some tutorials on an effect that I think is pretty striking (at least in wedding photos that I've seen) and I need to practice since my photo shoot with Terri is still drawing near and I don't want to disappoint! My brother got me started on some tutorials- actually the one he sent me is a lettering one that's actually pretty advanced and I'm still working on it.. it just doesn't look quite right. However, after watching a few tutorials on color selection I tried my hand at the trick. I'm pretty happy with the effect I was able to replicate. And the cool thing is, once I did one, something clicked in my mind and I kind of got the understanding how to do other effects that I recall from pictures in my wedding photo album!

This one was my first attempt. I made it black and white, then pulled out the onsie to keep it's color. I then decided that I wanted to try to just paint in Riley's eyes and make them blue (which they are blue but I intensified the color)




This one I started from a black and white photo. Since it started b&w, I had to add color. It was a little more complicated than I anticipated. I had to do each eye separately because when I tried to do them together on a layer, it looked really unnatural since his left eye is more shadowed than the right. I basically created a painting on a separate layer and then adjusted the opacity until it looked okay.




This one was a little trickier. I did two separate effects.. Obviously I pulled out the red in the roses. I chose to only highlight the three by the faces because I had the forth one done and it just didn't look good. I also adjusted the depth of field so there is a blur in the background and the faces are clear!



This is what I was talking about with the revelation that I had. It may seem simple to everyone else, but I tried to do something like this before and failed miserably. I don't' know if you can tell, but everything is kind of with a wind blown effect of sorts and then I knocked out a couple spots that I didn't want the distortion to be present. I still need to work on this one a little, but I understand the concept which is the first step!


Now I've got to get off... My husband just tackled me to the ground and reminded me that it's March in Phoenix with beautiful 80 degree weather... I should be outside enjoying it!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ouch!!

There is one thing that you learn REAL quick when you live in the desert! Every plant that lives and thrives in the desert is ANGRY!! By this I just mean that it has built in defenses, usually in the form of prickers!!! We have been spending a lot of time outside- since our summers are robbed of outside time. Here are some of the interesting textures you'll find in the Phoenix area!
Saguaro Cactus- what you think of with the term




My LEAST favorite.. the Cholla Cactus- EVIL EVIL plant
(as my dog and I have fallen victim a number of times!!)