Thursday, November 27, 2008

Photography Shmenography BBQ Sauce and Doggie Doo

Layla was born just as my sister, Sara, was opening her own photography studio. As you can imagine, she got her portraits done all the time. That was before we moved so far away! Now that Layla's portraits are all so special and unique I just can't bring myself to take my second bourne (ha ha pun intended) to Walmart or Sears for the same old boring cookie cutter sittings.

Soooo, I have a good camera ( Canon Rebel), good software (Adobe Photoshop Elements), a good baby (well, the BEST baby) and beautiful scenery all around. All of this adds up to great pictures right?? If only it were that easy.

I'm sure I should be using different settings on my camera. Photoshop is going to take me ages to use up to it's potential. But at least I have a growing appreciation for the work that my sisters do (Emily works for Sara).

First step, I took some pictures. Baron was extremely cooperative. I tried to get Chester in a few shots but he was not cooperating so I put some bbq sauce on Baron's shoulder. Yes, you read that correctly. I put BBQ sauce on my infant's shoulder to entice my huge beast of a dog to show some interest in him. I got his attention but not a shot. All I get is his back end towards the camera while he sniffs Baron. He is too well behaved to lick him, which I thought would have been cute, but not well enough behaved to sit where I want him to for a picture. Fine, Chester's off the hook. Let's go outside. I prop Baron up against my fence and start clicking. Slowly he begins to lean, lean and fall. Oh gross! I realize amongst the leaves Chester has left us a "present" and Baron nearly face planted right into it. Now that would have been a portrait we'd remember. Alright, we're done. Time to edit.

After uploading my pictures I attempt to "photoshop" them. I only got this program a week ago so it's brand new to me. Ugh. I have my laptop on the arm of my couch so I can "play" while nursing. After hours of editing and control z-ing here's a few ones worth keeping. I put the before and after photoshop for your amusement. I think some of the before's are better than the afters. Oh well. He's perfect, even if the photography isn't.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baron's First Trip

Last week we spent 5 days in Edmonton visiting friends and family. This was Baron's first trip away from home, first flight, and first time without his Daddy.
Day 1: Charlie's family bday party. Good times had by all.
Day 2: Baron and I went to the U of A hospital to visit past co-workers. I worked in various departments in my 8 years in the lab so I was there from 830-noon. Layla refused to come, as I expected, as she wanted to play with Charlie and Max. I was able to talk to the lab's genetisist about Baron's Goldenhar's and she reaffirmed my beliefs that Baron was not being properly handled by his BC dr. We then had a visit from my brother, Mike, and his family. Baron got to meet his closest cousin in age, Alex. They got along splendidly : ) Friday night I went out for a bite to eat with my old running buddy, Jen, who has recently started dating Greg's half brother, Blair. Too funny, or so we think. What a small world.
Day 3: Charlie's princess palace party, and then a visit from the Quist cousins. Those Quist boys are great for reminding me just how old I really am! I still see their mom, Jen, as a twenty-something new mommy like me. I just can't wrap my head around her being a mother of 5 middle-aged woman. It was great to see them. The rest of the evening we spent hanging out with my mom and dad.
Day 4: More good times with the HBs and my parents. For dinner we were invited to my brother, Rob's place but by the time he drove out from Sherwood Pk to pick us up, Layla had started throwing up so we didn't get to go. Those donairs will have to wait : ( So we hung out with my parents again for the night.
Day 5: This was Baron's big day. I took him to see our old family dr for a consult about the Goldenhar's Syndrome. I new he hadn't heard of it but I was confident he would do his researcch prior to our appt. He didn't let me down. He educated me about the syndrome, which I had done myself but it was nice to hear it all from a professional. He immediately sent us downstairs for a spinal xray. The radiologist said it looked normal from the front so because of his age he would leave it at that unless the specialists really wanted to see the back view. YAY! His spine was one of my biggest concerns so it is fantastic to hear that it's normal! YAY!!!!! He also referred us to Dr Bamforth, a genetisit who's wife, Dr F Bamforth worked in the lab with me. We are also referred to a team of specialists at the Goldenhar's clinic and craniofacial team to assess his face, heart, and kidneys. So it looks like we'll be back to Edmonton in the near future. They will moniter any and all changes to his face and act accordingly. It's going to be a long road but at least I can feel confident that Baron is getting the care he needs. In the afternoon, we visited Layla's old dayhome. Rosie was so excited to see her! Then we stopped by for a quick visit with one of our neighbours in our Quail Ridge complex.
Day 6: Today is our flight home so the day was mostly spent packing our things and getting ready for the flight. On the way home our flight was delayed 40 minutes so Layla played in the airport with a boy and a few girls. She had a blast and as a matter of fact, she had her first kiss! That's right, out of nowhere the little boy she was playing with, Maddox from Whitecourt, planted a big one right on her lips! She jumped back, stunned, the boys mother gasped in embarrassment swearing he had never done that before and apologizing, and then the kids went back to playing like nothing happened. Maddox was also flying to Kelowna and in the lineup to board the plane other passengers were commenting on how taken he seemed to be with Lays. He was so excited that she was going to be on his plane! It's a good thing Greg wasn't there as he probably would have insisted on separating them, I'm sure he wouldn't have thought it was half as cute as his mother and I did.
We all had a great time in Edmonton. Baron got to meet more of his family, Layla got to play with her cousins, and I got to see my friends and family. By the sounds of it we'll be back soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wanna Play?

Oh Chester. He's here with us on borrowed time. He was hospitalized and nearly died in 2004 when I was in the hospital having Layla. We were told he wouldn't make it two more years. Well, he's 5 and a half now and hanging on. The Okanagan life has rejuvinated him and we're hoping to squeeze out another year. Layla talks about Chester going to heaven but I don't think she's as prepared as she thinks. Who will she snuggle at night?

Alright, I didn't mean to be depressing. Chester loves to play his version of fetch. He brings you his tennis ball and instead of dropping it in your hand, Chester prefers you lift his cheek flaps and try to pry the ball out from between his huge chompers.

If you refuse, he will eventually drop it between his paws and pounce on your hand as you try to grab it. If you get sick of this and he still wants to play he will drop it in your lap and hope you bite.

Here is Chester with it in his mouth, would you want to try and get it?

Greg didn't either so Chester dropped it in his lap. Sound fun? Well take a closer look at what that ball looks like after hanging out in Big C's mouth.

I wish you could here what it sounds like when this foamy ball bounces off the floor or wall. It leaves a circle of slime. It's even grosser than it looks. wanna play??

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vaseux Lake

On Saturday we were cruisin' and we decided to stop at Vaseux Lake. This lake is about 10 km north of our house on the way to Penticton. Although we have passed it hundreds of times we had not yet stopped to explore. What we discovered is that we were really missing out.

It turns out there is a beautiful path leading to an awesome boardwalk that follows the Vaseux Lake and Nature Reserve. It wasn't a very long walk so we did it twice.

We took Greg's vehicle instead of the van and forgot the stroller so Greg, being the trooper that he is, carried our baby carrier the whole way.

It was a very windy day, and the sun was only peeking through periodically. Here is Layla and I taking a break.

Chester thinks he has to go in the water on every walk. Crazy dog.

Layla thinks she has to throw rocks in the water on every walk. Crazy girl.

Layla in the look out tower.

Lays and I taking the leap down. Her idea of course, as I was in heals.

Lays and I having a race. It's just not a walk if we're not having races.

There were about 30 beautiful swans on the lake but I couldn't zoom in enough to get a great shot.

This is Layla yelling at me to "Hurry UPPP!"

We still have a lot to discover in the South Okanagan but I think we've got a good head start. It is the most amazing place I've ever been and I can't believe it is my home. It hasn't come without its sacrifices but I can see clearly now that it's all been worth it. I wish I could take better pictures or more pictures but you will all just have to keep coming to see for yourself. I can assure you that every time you come we will have discovered something else new and wonderful here to show you.