Sunday, May 30, 2010

grill master

A while back, I blogged about Kyle's birthday week. But, I didn't mention what his "big" gift was because we weren't sure if we were going to take the plunge or not. But, after a good bit of research and lots of should we/shouldn't we discussions, Kyle decided to go ahead and get a grill.

He wanted a charcoal grill. I have never grilled before - let alone dealt with charcoal, but I read up and felt semi-confident about it. So, off we went to Home Depot. About an hour later and we were home with our brand new grill - all ready for the summer!

We decided not to waste any time, and to try our hand at it tonight. Burgers & dogs - I mean, you can't really mess up, right? :)

We bought a chimney starter - which I'm already a big fan of.

"umm, honey? Is it supposed to be smoking this much?"

(pretty smoke swirls)

Aaaaah. That's better.

While I tended to the coals, Kyle prepared the food. I think he was a little annoyed when I was like "WAIT! Don't flip the burgers yet! I need to take pictures!" But, he humored me. Because he loves me. :)


So, our burgers turned out a big rounder than we anticipated - but they were really, quite yummy!

Kyle and I were both kinda proud of ourselves for figuring this whole thing out on our own. Of course, there's no stopping me now. I've already got steaks and corn on the cob and half a dozen other things waiting for their turn over the flames.

So Happy Birthday Kyle! May you become a master griller beyond your expectations. >

Friday, May 28, 2010

Abby vid

Today was beautiful again and we spent a lot of time outside. Kyle taught Abby that the new flower pots (that are empty) make her voice echo. You'll hear her say her "da-da-da-daaaaaA" which is how she calls, greets, and says "daddy"

I love this girl so much. I've got things pretty good. Really.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Capture - Sky

Hello You Capture folks!

This week wasn't my week. I've been busy. And I wasn't feeling creative. I took pictures of the sky....but...nothing really exciting came of it. So, I decided to just play with editing this week. I found the "Pure Imagination" song from Willy Wonka on my ipod, turned it up, and imagined what world would be like if we had....
a purple sky

splotchy suns

If the sky were green

(and perhaps the grass was blue?)

if we lived in silhouettes

or had a rainbow moon?

I did get one sky shot this week that I liked - and I didn't feel the need to mess with it too much.
I think these guys are pretty much perfect just the way they are. ;-)

Head over to Beth's site to see what everyone else found up in the sky this week. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Have you met my husband? If you have, then you probably know he likes soccer. For those of you who haven't met him - he likes soccer. :) Kyle founded his high school soccer team and played for a while back in the day, but he has followed it for longer...and is quite a fan.

I love this about him. I love that days after buying my first car, we took a spontaneous weekend trip from Arkansas to Ohio to watch the US Men's team play Mexico. It was my first soccer match. I drove 10 hours to get there, and got my first speeding ticket on the way home, but loved every bit of it. During the 2006 world cup, we bought our big TV -why? So Kyle could "see the games better" Anyway, we haven't had a chance to attend any more games since then - until last night.

Kyle was pretty excited that the US Men's team was playing a mere 2 hour drive away in Connecticut. One of their last games before heading to the World Cup. How could I say no? We were super fortunate that our friend Karen was available to take care of Abby for us for the evening.

**tangent. This was my first time since Abby was born that I did not put her down for the night. It was my first time leaving her in the (very capable) hands of somebody else for that routine. Honestly, I was a little nervous at first. Not for Karen, but because I felt guilty about leaving. Hi, my name is Laura, and I'm a mom. Of course Abby was fine. When I told her I was leaving, she looked at me for half a second then came over to give me a hug and a kiss, pushed my shoulders and said, "bye-bye!" How did she come out of this better adjusted that me? **

Back to the story. Kyle and I headed out, stopped for a bite to eat, and got to the game just fine. We even managed to avoid the $15 parking fee and got a parking spot front row by our gate! Crazy. I think there were just over 36,000 people at the game. Lots of energy.

at the gate - can you see how happy he is?

Sam's Army - the zealous crowd.

Kyle got us fantastic seats! We ended up sitting in the middle of a bunch of ESPN-U people and felt special listening to them discuss business deals and strategies during the game.

action shot. ;)

We didn't win. Boo. But, that's ok. We didn't play our best players either - since they're resting up for South Africa. It was still a fun game to watch, and we had a great time.

Because Kyle is a member of some special fan club, we got to go down on the field after the game and play around and take pictures. It was fun. :)

I'm so glad we went. I'm glad Abby did beautifully while we were gone and that I didn't have to worry about her. It's fun to be spontaneous and to do these types of things as we're able - they create great memories. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

birthday week

Saturday was my sweet husband's birthday. :) He's a twin, so y'know - I gotta give a shout out to Auntie Kiki as well. Growing up, birthdays were always celebrated. They were big deals. Since we live 1200 miles away from our closest relative, sometimes I panic a little bit when it comes to Kyle's birthday because I want it to be great, but it's kinda up to me to make sure its special.

I decided to steal a play from my friends Billie Jo & Ricky, who do birthday weeks for each other. I decided we would do a 5 day birthday "week" with something special each day.

On day 1, we started small, and got Kyle a bottle of his favorite shampoo. :) Probably not what you would expect for a guy who has 1/8 inch of hair on his head. But, long story short, Kyle does have a shampoo preference, but has been stuck with an economy sized bottle of another brand for over a year. He refuses to buy any more because it would be a waste. So, we spoiled him with a whole new bottle. We're living large here, people.

On day two, we spent some time at BC and saw Kyle at work. When we got home, he got a new iPhone charger for the car.

On day three, we went on our family picnic (as previously blogged). While the real gift was spending time together - Abby also got Kyle a new shirt & tie. :)

In addition to the shirt, Abby spent a good amount of effort making her daddy something special. I picked out half a dozen of these wood coloring kits and let Abby pick out the one she wanted. She likes rockets.

daddy's girl

I have no pictures from Day 4, but it was mostly about food. We had an ID day. This is where we go to the grocery store and Kyle gets to pick out whatever he wants for dinner - impulsively. He picked out a surpreme pizza, ice cream, and some chips & dip. haha. :) ID day is not about being healthy. In addition, we both made room in our work day to meet up for a lunch date - and it was great! We tried a new little BBQ place near our respective work locations and enjoyed each other's company for an hour...we even went out for small ice creams after. So, that was day 4.

And then it was finally day 5! I got up with Abby and let Kyle sleep in. Abby and I did a little morning shopping and came home just as Kyle was waking up...which was also the same time for Abby's nap. So, we put her down and I made Kyle his favorite breakfast food in the whole world - potatoes. A whole plate of potatoes. While we were out, Abby got Kyle a new bag of dunkies dark coffee to try with breakfast as well.

Kyle and his one-eyed mug....they've bonded.

After Abby's nap, Kyle decided that he wanted to spend his day just walking the city. It's one of our favorite things to do and the weather was just perfect. We headed out to the commons and let Abby explore while we, again, just enjoyed the day together.

day 5!
Abby spent a long time at this gazebo in the commons. There was a group of people swing dancing and Abby was loving the music. She kept clapping for them and dancing to the music - she was as entertaining to them as they were for us.

Of course we stopped by to say hi to the ducks.

And we even got to see real ducks too - Abby was impressed.

sleeping swans

I tried to capture the feeling of the afternoon with this picture, but it just doesn't do it justice. It was just a beautiful, warm, green, lush, vibrant afternoon at the park.

My camera died shortly after, so I don't have any other pictures from the day. But, we had a quick dinner before heading home. We put Abby to bed and Kyle and I stayed up to watch the Celtics destroy the Magic in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was a lot of fun to watch together! Kyle opened his other cards and gifts from friends and family and we called it a night. The next morning, we all went out for breakfast together before spending the day running errands around town and doing the chores around the house. Nothing extraordinary, but time together all the same....which really is the best thing ever.

I am so blessed to be married to such a great guy. Seriously. He is a wonderful husband, but he is also my closest friend. There is no one I would rather spend my every day with and seeing him as a dad is just icing on the cake. I'm constantly impressed with how good of a dad he is to our Abbykat. I love you babe, and I look forward to many many birthday weeks in years to come.

Friday, May 21, 2010

treasure hunts & picnics

Yesterday was warm in Boston. Over 80 degrees and sunny. Beautiful weather. There was no chance that I could stay inside, so Abs and I decided to go on our first treasure hunting adventure.

A few days ago, I bought Abby a little clear box for just this purpose. After a quick tutorial on how the lid opens and how we can put things inside the box, we headed out to see what we could find.

We founds some good stuff. Rocks, leaves, twigs, and flowers. We hit the jackpot when we found half a walnut shell. :) At first, Abs was more interested in running around than collecting things. But, it didn't take her long to learn that once I pointed something out, she could go put it in her box.

After we collected things for a while, Abby decided to sit and explore her loot. She took everything out and put it all back in a few times.

testing out the walnut

I like this picture because she looks so focused.

our spoils :)

After all that treasure hunting, Abs was getting pretty hot. It's the first time I can think of that she actually asked to go back inside. The poor girl's face was flushed red and I know she was just not used to the heat. When I opened the door to go inside and she felt the cool air, she gave me a nice, "oooooooh!"

So, we cooled off and got things ready for the rest of the afternoon. I decided we would do a picnic for dinner. So, we went to pick up Kyle from work, I even remembered to bring him a change of clothes, and we headed to the park. Because I'm not superwoman, we picked up Subway for dinner, which was yummy, and still good picnic food.

the picnic was great, but Abby wasn't interested in staying still and eating of course. So, we took turns following her around while the other ate. Eventually, we all got to play together. The weather was gorgeous, the sun was low, the shade was comfortable.

There is little more rewarding that getting to spend an afternoon with Kyle and Abby just playing and relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

It was a great afternoon, one that I wish I could repeat often. Kyle and I even splurged later and treated ourselves to malts. Perfect. I'm looking forward to many more treasure hunts and picnics as summer approaches. It's the simple things that seem to bring the most joy, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You Capture - Depth of Field


This week's challenge was Depth of Field. Because I know nothing about photography, I had to read the wiki article about it, and so I learned that depth of field is when a foreground subject is in focus and the background is out of focus, or vice versa. I was kinda excited about this challenge, because it truly gave me a chance to learn something about my camera.

Know what I learned? I learned that I wish I had a real camera. ;o) With a point and shoot, the only real way for me to control the focus is to shoot macro shots. So, I did. But I do wish I had the manual abilities to play with focusing techniques more. One day I suppose.

So, anyway. I shot random pictures all week here and there practicing different DOF shots. There is no rhyme or reason to these pictures, no story, no logic. Just some stuff I shot this week. :)

I practiced by the water

and at the playground
(mmmm, frappaccino & playtime)

I'm not sure if this one counts, but I thought it was pretty

I practiced at graduation

and in the commons

I even practiced at work. Any Freud fans out there? ;-)

And just because I like this shot, I'm adding this blast from the past - monkey & rope. :)

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure you go check out all the talented folks posting this week's captures at I Should Be Folding Laundry.