Monday, August 31, 2009

A weekend with the bard

This weekend David and I were happy to leave our beloved children in the hands of my Mom while we escaped with our friends James and Jessi for a weekend of Shakespeare down in Ashland, Oregon. David and I attended the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on our honeymoon in August 2001 and have made it a point to return every year. We've gone as poor college students on a shoestring budget several times, we've gone twice with me very pregnant (Grace was born within 3 weeks of our visit in 2005!), and we've even gone with nursing babies twice. This was the first year since 2004 that I wasn't pregnant or bringing a nursing baby and it was great! We're very lucky that my Mom came with us when the two years that we brought the kids so we could catch a play or two. This year she stayed at our house with them and they all seemed to have a fantastic time. It sure makes it easy to leave the kids when I know they're having a blast with Grandma!

This is the first year we brought another couple with us and it was a lot of fun. We stayed in Medford because we found a nice hotel that offers two bedroom suites (impossible to find in Ashland) and it's nice to have a living area to hang out in and not have to sit on a bed in a regular hotel room. We hit up our favorite restaurants and visited all the fun shops and even added a new stop to our annual pilgrimage...Funagain Games. It's one of the largest board game stores online and offers some of the best prices. We arranged to have a backroom tour and were in awe of the huge variety of board games they stocked. We were there for two hours looking and trying out new games! David couldn't visit without buying a game, and actually bought three. David was super excited to try out Power Grid and so he called up our friends Pat and Katie on the way home and within an hour of arriving home we were sitting at the dining room table playing it. We also played Bananarama several times. Look for more game review posts soon :)

Back to the plays. We saw Much Ado About Nothing on Friday night which was fantastic. They set it in post WWII Italy and the setting really worked. Saturday night we saw Henry VIII which was done in the traditional setting. David and I have been watching The Tudors so the story was fresh in our minds and it made following the story line a little easier. The play ended at the baptism of Princess Elizabeth which felt rather abrupt since the meat of the story was just getting started!

I always enjoy walking through all the cool stores and this year was no exception. I found some neat cookie cutters, Christmas ornaments, and a pretty new apron (on sale for $8.99!) at my favorite store, Paddington Station. We found a neat shop that combined a florist and gourmet chocolates which smelled heavenly. The gift shop had a bunch of older programs and we lucked out and found the 2002 program which is the only one we're missing from our collection! That was the year we visited in March and they didn't have them printed yet. What a score!

We just got the 2010 play list and have already started thinking about what plays we want to see next year. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is on the docket which has me really excited! David and I are trying to see Shakespeare's entire canon so we'll probably try to see Henry IV Part 1 as the history plays aren't done as often. Hamlet is also a pretty tempting option so we may have to go for a record and see 3 plays next year!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Fearsome Sweetie

David started taking Jiu Jitsu with his friend James a week or two ago and just got his gi last night so of course he had to show it off for me when he got home! The kids had already gone to bed and I was sitting at the kitchen table working on something when he came striding in the house. Zoe was laying on the floor next to my feet and immediately freaked out when she saw him thinking he was an intruder. She barked and growled and made a huge display of protection...from under the kitchen table! Good to know I can count on her to defend me in the event of a real intruder.

David chose the royal blue gi which I think is kind of pretty. He wants me to hem the pants and then sew the patch to his leg. This ought to look super good with my amazingly bad sewing skills. I promise I won't take pictures of my poor excuse for sewing. Where is my mother in law when I need her? She's far better with a needle then I am!

David was very excited about his new gi and immediately asked me to take some photos of him in it. Of course indoor lighting after dark is just *so* wonderful and flattering. As is the atmospheric living room background. I'll have to take a few of him during the day in natural lighting with a much more appropriate background sometime soon. Until then, here's my fierce sweetie! Notice that he could barely control his ear to ear grin and the manly "I'm gonna put a hurtin' on you" face almost didn't happen. He made me laugh when he asked if I had any "tough guy" photoshop actions. I don't, but I'll start looking!

Isn't he cute? I'm sure that's not the effect he was going for, but David you'll always be cute to me :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Yesterday the kids and I joined some friends at a local farm to pick peaches. My goal was to pick 50lbs of peaches and I picked 51.5 lbs which is pretty gosh darn good guessing on my part! Six years ago was the first time I helped my Mom can (as an adult, I did my share of "helping" as a child!). I brought David and our friend Jim with me to pick peaches. Mom told us to pick 60lbs and we had no idea what 60lbs of peaches looked like. It sounded like a lot so we brought several big plastic milk crates. As we filled them I asked the boys how much they weighed and they thought we had about 60lbs after we filled four of them. Yes, FOUR of them. Turns out that four milk crates full of peaches is about 120lbs. We had peaches coming out our ears that year, though we didn't have to can peaches the next year!

Anyways, back to this year's peaches. Mom is super busy this fall as her house is in the process of being sold (yay!) and she's stressing about packing/moving/trying to find a new home etc. Definitely not the best time to help me can so I thought I'd give it a try by myself this year. I knew it would be harder but I didn't realize how much LONGER it takes to can by yourself. I started after I put the kids down to bed around 8pm and got my first bath in the canner sometime after 10pm. The peaches weren't quite ripe so they were a bit of a bear to skin and pit and some won't be so pretty in the jar. I'm also not as good at packing the jars full so the peaches float a bit. My kids won't care. I decided to try the hot pack method this time (we usually do cold pack) and it seemed to work just fine. I did two batches and I think I'll stop there. I'm not sure I have quite enough for another 7 jars and I'd rather use the remaining peaches in a cobbler and just to eat. I'll just hope that Mom is more settled next year and we can do a bigger batch. It's too much work for one person!

The last batch came out a little after midnight and I was ready to start cleaning up. As I started to pour out all the water I had in various pots/pans I realized the sink wasn't draining. I tried turning on the garbage disposal and got nothing. Not even a hum. God bless my husband, he was staying up with me and managed to diagnose the problem and fix it. It was 1am by the time I had the kitchen clean enough to let myself go to bed. I'm one tired Mama today!

I do have to say a big Thank You! to my brother who was over last night and was a huge help with getting the jars in and out of the canner. I don't know if our canner is broken or what, but it's pretty much a two person job to get the jars in and out without the dang metal part falling into the boiling water. I held the metal part so it wouldn't fall and he did the jar moving. Hope you enjoy the peaches I sent you home with!

Monday, August 24, 2009

I ♥ Faces Week 33: Nostalgia

This week's I ♥ Faces theme is "Nostalgia" and I thought this photo would be a great one. I took it in April of my daughter wearing the same pink coat/hat that my mother and I both wore as girls. All of the photos I shared from that photo shoot last spring were in full color but for this contest I used PW's Seventies action with a little bit of edge burning to get the "vintage" look. I love it!

Click the link below for some more nifty nostalgia photos!

Meet Flounder!

On Saturday we cleaned and organized our garage. Very unexciting chore, but in the process we discovered our beta fish stuff that was last used five years ago when our last beta fish committed suicide by jumping out of the vase into David's tabletop zen rock garden, rolled around in the sand, and then flopped on our kitchen counter where I found him later that night. Delightful. Previous beta fish had been rescued from the kitchen sink drain (yes I stuck my hand down there!) and died several other mysterious deaths. If we hadn't of kept our dog and cat alive we may have thought twice about having children as we seemed to go through beta fish rather quickly!

We've been talking about setting up an aquarium for the kids recently and even have my Mom's old aquarium in the garage so we thought this would be a good introduction to having fish. Grace was very excited about picking out a fish to bring home so when we went into Salem Sunday afternoon for some shopping we stopped by Petco. We let Grace pick out the fish which is why we are now the proud owners of one gangly looking Beta Fish named Flounder. Flounder is red, which is as close to pink as Grace could find I think. We debated names for awhile, and while David and I threw out some perfectly good choices Grace decided that Flounder was the only name appropriate. So Flounder it is.

Flounder is now living on our hutch in the kitchen which is the best spot I could think of. It doesn't have direct sun, isn't immediately accessible to our cat, and the kids can easily stand on the step stool in the kitchen to look at him. We'll see how long this guy lasts.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The First Official Parry Furlo Family Camping Trip

Last weekend we went on our first camping adventure as a family with the addition of our friends James and Jessi. We sat down to plan our camping trip in June, and none of us had any real idea of where we wanted to go. Naturally, we hopped online and searched for campgrounds closest to home. Turns out that most of the ones we had heard of were booked (duh, we were a little late to get reservations at the good places!) but we found Sand Beach campground which sounded good. After all, who doesn't enjoy sandy beaches? Turns out that we made a critical error which we didn't discover until we rolled into the campground. Sand Beach is a mecca for the ATV crowd and every single campground had several ATV's in addition to their huge $$$ RV's and tents. Needless to say, it took us at least the first day to become acclimated to the constant revving of engines and tin can rattling noise. Eeek.

We were determined not to let the inescapable noise ruin our trip and we even joined in with the crowd the best we could by sitting on the concrete blocks in the parking lot next to the sand dunes and watched the action. It definitely looked like fun, but not the kind of fun that is doable with small children. We did find the sandy beach, though it was a ways away from the ocean and was more of an inlet. That didn't stop the kids from having the time of their life getting as wet and sandy as possible. Ethan usually doesn't like sand on his feet and he cried for about 20 seconds after we took his shoes off until he realized that he could play in the water with his shovel. That did it. He LOVED it! Grace had fun wearing herself out by running up and down the dunes. Grace even figured out how to climb trees like a koala bear at our camp site.

We made s'mores both nights and Grace got to roast her own marshmallows which made her very happy. Ethan tried to roast one but it mostly just got rubbed in the ashes and eventually tossed. He was happy though. The first night we roasted hotdogs and had hamburgers. The second night we did veggie packets and cooked a salmon in the fire which was very tasty. Nothing says gourmet camp food like sourdough pancakes which is what James and Jessi treated us to both mornings. We even brought our stovetop coffee maker so we were far from deprived! I made a big batch of 64 peanut butter chocolate chip cookies to bring on the trip which were reduced to the grand total of 2 by the time we got home Sunday afternoon. I'd say we ate good!

David, the kids, and I shared a four man tent which is a bit on the tight side. I honestly don't know how four adults are supposed to fit in that thing. It barely worked for two adults, a preschooler, and one toddler! David, Grace, and I slept in a row and Ethan slept above our heads. Nothing other then our sleeping bags (and David's blankets since I don't have a sleeping bag yet and he was gracious enough to let me use his!) fit in the tent so all of our clothes were in the van. Worked well since the van floor was cleaner then the dirt to change a diaper and gave us a little bit of privacy to get them dressed and Grace slathered in anti-itch cream.

It was definitely a good weekend, despite the noise, and we will definitely go camping again. Grace has asked me almost every day this week if we can go camping again so I know she had a good time! We couldn't pry the bucket and shovel from Ethan's hands the whole time we were there so I know he enjoyed himself too. David was highly reluctant to go car camping but even he seemed to enjoy himself and said he'd be willing to go again. Car camping is definitely the way to go with small kids. It may be less "back to nature" but it sure makes life easier when you're dealing with diapers. Of course we could have done without the ATV noise all day and night (curfew was midnight to 6am!) so I'm pretty sure we won't be back to Sand Beach Campground anytime soon.

I handed the camera to David a couple of times during the trip to make sure I had a few pictures of myself to proove that I was there too! Our friends James and Jessi have a bunch of their photos on their blog (with several more that I'm actually in!) on their site Outside the Rat Race.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Playing with Logos Again

Instead of being productive this afternoon I spent my time playing with a new logo for my photography business. I would like to incorporate some sort of design into my logo, not just a font. After doing a lot of web surfing to look at other logos to get some inspiration I came up with this one. Still not 100% sure I like it but it took me forever to make the dang flowers so I may use it anyways! I like a lot of fonts, but finding one with a "k" I like is difficult and I like this one. So what do you all think? Stick with the purple/brown one that I created a few months ago, keep working with this one, or start from scratch?

I want the logo I eventually stick with to meet these qualifications:
  • Looks professional
  • Compliments my design style ("modern, fun, fresh")
  • Works well to advertise a variety of photography genres (families, kids, weddings, high school seniors, etc.)
I could probably make a million logos and still not be sure I found the one I like. I like that this one is funky but I'm not sure that it would speak to all clients. Particularly wedding clients, though I'm not sure how many of those I'll be getting anyways. I seem to be drawn to the chocolate brown! So would you hire a photographer based on this logo? Would it make you walk away? Does the logo really matter?

Current Logo:

New Logo:

I don't know. The more I look at it the less sure I am. I may just try to find a design of some sort (curlicues? lacy modern flowers?) to go with my original logo design. I think this process is way too hard for me because I like too many styles!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Learning Lesson at Safeway

This afternoon I took Grace out with me to run errands while Ethan napped at home (David was working from home today), ending with a quick grocery run at Safeway. We cruised through the store with no sounds of bickering coming from the plastic car in front of the cart and picked up the items we needed before heading to the wide open check out line. Grocery shopping is rarely so easy. As we left the store and entered the parking lot I caught sight of something in Grace's arms that shouldn't be there. It was one of those plastic baby bottles filled with candy. You know the ones placed just eye level for small kids to see and then plead with their irritated mother to buy. I instantly turned the cart around and stopped it just inside the store to talk to her about it. I told her that taking the candy was stealing and that was NOT acceptable in any way, shape, or form. I then made her march the candy back to our cashier and apologize. When we got home she had to tell Daddy what she did and we had a talk about the importance of Not Stealing. The point definitely got made and I really doubt we have this issue pop up again with Grace. She's the type who hates to disappoint her Daddy and Mommy and was very upset that she had made such a serious mistake.

Camping photos and blog to come at some point. When I have time. Probably in 9-10 years.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Where is this month going to?!?

I apologize for my lack of blogging lately. Seems that the more I take photos and edit for clients the less I do of my own kids! And it's not that I haven't taken any pictures of them, because I most definitely have. It's that I just don't feel like editing 200 pictures at a time. Especially after I forgot to switch from RAW to JPG for about a hundred photos which requires a lot more editing. Oops. So the pictures I'm sharing are all barely edited, and for that I'm sure you'll forgive me.

So what have we been up to? Lots! We've been buying/selling the kids' fall/winter clothes on Ebay (only one more package left to go!), I've done two photo shoots, we've had a zillion doctor/dentist appointments, have played in the kiddie pool outside a bunch, and have been suffering from Poison Oak. At least Grace and I have, though she's definitely got it worse. Speaking of Poison Oak, I think Grace is starting to look a little better, though it always looks better in the morning before she spends all day scratching it when I'm not looking. Poor thing! I hope it goes away soon. The couple small spots I have of it makes me want to climb up the wall so I can only imagine how terrible it is for her.

Yesterday we spent 10 hours away from home running misc. errands and visiting my Aunt Karie at my Dad's place in Vancouver. She only visits every year or two (she lives in France) and so I wanted to make sure we got to visit! On the way up we detoured through Newburg to sell some toys to a lady on Craigslist (cleaned out toys a week ago!) and then stopped at my Mom's house to pick up my brother so we could visit our Aunt Karie together. We visited for almost two hours before Ethan was cashed so we dropped off Brian in Damascus and drove to the Washington Square Mall in Tigard. Ethan got about an hour nap in the car by the time we got there and my two little shoppers did just great. In fact they did super! Grace was so funny shopping, it was hilarious to watch. Despite the fact that I had a $10 gift card to Gap, a $20 merchandise credit for Janie & Jack, and a coupon for Naartjie we didn't buy a thing. Instead we drove down to Keizer (through nasty rush hour I-5 traffic!) where we did buy a bunch of stuff. David gave me a list of stuff he needed at Staples for a presentation on Monday, plus I found some laminate sheets for the MOPS nametags I'm making, and the paper shredder that was a steal. We also stopped by Lowe's to check on door prices (office remodel project in the works), Michaels (where I think I bought everything I need to make the MOPS centerpieces!), and Petco as a treat for the kids for behaving through all those stores. By that time it was 6:30 and we were all hungry so we stopped at McDonalds and I let Grace play on the play structure which is a big treat. Then we came home and I let them stay up until Daddy got home at 8:30. I'm still really impressed they behaved so well!

This afternoon we're leaving for our first family camping trip with our friends James & Jessi which will be fun. I'm still in the midst of packing, with a grocery trip in the works for this morning after I get a shower. I haven't been car camping since I was 12 and that trip involved a bear, some snow, and a honeymoon suite. It will be hard to top it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

8 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

In honor of our eighth wedding anniversary I'm going to share eight reasons why I love my husband!

1. David always makes me feel loved and protected.
2. He can always make me smile.
3. We can share anything with each other without fear.
4. David is an excellent father and is a great role model for our children to look up to.
5. I can always count on David, he has kept and earned my trust.
6. He knows my weaknesses and faults and loves me anyways.
7. David is my greatest encourager, he always believes in me and what I am capable of.
8. David is my best friend!

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

Here we are 8 years ago...

And here we are today! Unfortunately I don't have many recent pictures of just the two of us, or even very many old pictures of just the two of us. I guess that's what happens after 2 kids and 8 years.

Monday, August 10, 2009

How Long Does Homade Laundry Powder Last?

I thought I'd let you know that the Homemade Laundry Powder I made last April just ran out. So a double batch lasted about 4 months for a household with two adults and two small children. It takes probably 15 minutes to make each batch so for 45 minutes of my time a year I'm saving tons! I was storing it in a super practical Ziplock bag but my Mother in Law gave me this pretty glass jar to use instead. Certainly classes the laundry soap up! Bonus: It looks much prettier then the huge Kirkland Signature tub we used to use.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Third Doctors Visit This Week!

We're aiming for a record here. Tuesday the kids had a dentist appointment, Wednesday Grace had her 4 year check up, and today Grace got to visit Dr. Farah again to check out the funny rash she developed yesterday. We noticed that her left eye was red Thursday afternoon and soon after discovered she had itchy red bumps next to her belly button. Since I knew she received the chicken pox vaccine the day before I naturally got worried and called the On Call Nurse. She promptly told me that it was very unlikely to be related to the vaccine since any reaction would occur near the injection site (her leg) and wouldn't show up for several days, more likely a week. I was told to treat it as a bug bite. This morning things looked pretty much the same but she was otherwise feeling fine. The outside of her eye is red but the inside was perfectly normal so I knew it wasn't pink eye so we went ahead and went to the Polk County Fair as planned. Had a great time, but when we got home I checked her tummy again and discovered that the spots had multiplied.

I called the On Call Nurse again and she made us an appointment for this afternoon. Luckily David was working from home today so I was able to leave Ethan at home napping and just took Grace in to Salem to see the doctor. Dr. Farah looked her over and agreed that it wasn't pink eye and that the spots weren't from the chicken pox vaccine. She was pretty sure that it's Contact Dermatitis, which means she rubbed her belly and eye after touching something her skin is allergic to. Since we have Poison Oak behind our house this isn't exactly a huge surprise. That's my best guess as to where she could have come in contact with something to cause the rash.

We left the doctor's office with a prescription for steroid cream for her belly and instructions to buy Children's Zantac to give her once a day. Since steroid cream isn't safe near the eye she told us to use Vaseline to keep it from drying out and gave us a prescription for some spendy cream that we can use if it doesn't clear up on it's own soon. She said to only use that as a Plan B. I guess we can use antibiotic cream on the rash twice a day as well. Hopefully poor Grace is rash-free soon!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gracie Grew!

Yesterday was Grace's 4 year pediatrician appointment which went well even though it concluded with three shots in her leg. The first thing they did was weigh and measure her and then they tried to do a vision and hearing screening. She wasn't really cooperating with the vision test and I told them she had just been to the eye doctor a few months ago so they didn't get too far in that one and she didn't cooperate for the hearing test either but we're pretty sure she hears just fine. She just seems to have normal selective hearing. You know, not hearing me when I tell her to do something or to quit bugging her brother! She also got to have her blood pressure checked for the first time. They described it as giving her a hug which worked to make her less nervous. She decided it felt funny but didn't hurt.

I really like our pediatrician and she had nothing but good things to say about Grace. Grace loves to talk and she chatted her up until Dr. Farah said she got a 110% in personality! At the end of the visit Grace got 3 shots in her legs which she didn't like but survived. She did say the one still hurt this morning which I expected since the Tetanus shot does hurt! They gave me the dTap right after I gave birth to Ethan which was terrible timing on their part. Of course I was pretty sore already so I guess it didn't make a lick of difference. Ethan saw that Grace got an owie and gave her two hugs. It was so sweet, makes me glad to know that they do really care about each other!

Here's Grace's stats:
30.6 lbs 10th percentile (up from 26lbs and 5th percentile last year!)
38" tall 20th percentile (up from 35.25", same percentile)

I knew she had grown because I'm buying size 4's for her for next fall/winter and I haven't bought her age in clothing since she was tiny! Last year I was buying 2T for her for heavens sakes. What a difference a year makes!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Backyard Camping and Blueberries

Grace has been asking to camp outside ever since she snuggled into her sleeping bag for the first time Thursday night. We told her we would all sleep in the tent on the weekend which she reluctantly agreed to. Saturday afternoon David and I set up the tent that David has had for over a decade (high school graduation present!) but that I've never actually seen in use. That's right, I've known David for almost 10 years and we've never gone camping together. Probably because his idea of camping involves a lot of hiking and no bathrooms which is not really my style. I am willing to go without a shower but a toilet of some variety is something I really find necessary. Mostly I'm in it for the campfire and some s'mores!

We didn't have a campfire but camping in the backyard wasn't as bad as some of the horror stories we've heard from other parents of young children we know. We decided to put the kids down when it got dark around 9pm and we laid in the tent with them for awhile before we got out. Neither David or I wanted to go to sleep that early and I had some photo editing to do from a high school senior session I did earlier in the afternoon so I sat outside with the laptop and said "get back in your sleeping bag and go to sleep" about 500 times. By 10pm I was tired of telling the kids to lay down and I finally got in the tent with them and got them back in their beds and within 15 minutes they were both out. I snuck back out of the tent to do more photo editing inside the house but with the sliding door open so I could hear them. The bugs were really bad and I have about 8 bug bites but it was worth it. You can check out the pics on my photo blog (link is on the left column).

Friday evening David went out with the guys and the kids and I went blueberry picking with friends. We picked a ton of blueberries in the two hours we were there along with a bunch of beautiful flowers that we are enjoying! Saturday morning we enjoyed homemade blueberry pancakes and this afternoon I made blueberry zucchini bread which is pretty tasty too. I love summer!