Powered by Blogger.

Search This Blog

Welcome to the hectic years

Hi, I'm Mindi.

And this is our Hectic Life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I wasn't looking forward to my birthday this year. It fell on a Monday (yesterday), and I had to work.
I was turning another year older, when I already feel old enough. I mean seriously - I have two college degrees and four kids. I don't think I can claim to be 25 anymore!!
I honestly thought that the day would go by fairly quietly, with a simple Happy Birthday and a card or two.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

Though unheard of in Indiana, in the winter, it was almost 70 yesterday. It was awesome. The kids woke up immediately telling me Happy Birthday and acting super excited. It was adorable.

Kevin surprised me by sending flowers to work. Totally unexpected but greatly appreciated.


They picked out a cake for me.


And the kids were jumping for joy when they got a chance to eat it. Seriously, the even cleaned the house first. That was awesome.





Even Apollo hung out in the kitchen, waiting for crumbs to drop to the floor.


After work we headed south and ate at Texas Roadhouse (my favorite place to eat out with the kids), and then stopped at Kohls to buy me a new outfit.

Unbeknownst to me I already had a birthday gift waiting at home.
A shiny new bread-maker that I can't wait to use! My old one, that was a wedding gift over 12 years ago, stopped working this past weekend.

Kevin and the kids spoiled me, and made me feel loved and appreciated. Having another birthday was totally worth it.

Even if it DID mean turning another year older :)

Friday, November 19, 2010



I've written and deleted a few posts this week. But my writing always reflects what I'm going through, and they were coming out kind of depressing.
So I'm trying again.
Although I'm facing another birthday (Monday!), I think I'm too old to be concerned about my health. Initially it was the exhaustion, and that led to blood work and a thyroid check. They found nodules on the thyroid and they need to determine if they're cancerous.
I'm okay with that - I know several people with thyroid issues that don't have cancer. I'm sure that test will turn out fine. And even if it is cancer, I read that thyroid cancer is very treatable.
But then I started getting these 'ice pick' headaches. They were accompanied by hearing issues, and weakness in my hands. I've also had spasms in the heart area. Sometimes I get dizzy, and feel a bit detached.
Kevin is telling me I have a brain tumor and I kept waving him off. But the headaches were so odd I finally went to a doctor. They want to do a CT scan to rule out any 'head issues'. By that they mean tumors. Ughhh.
I'm sure everything will turn out fine. That my issues and headaches will go away, and the scan will show nothing.
But there's that little piece inside of me that says, what if?
There are people all over the world who get brain tumors. People just like me, and I'm sure they thought there was nothing wrong with them, either.
But I'm not going to think like that. I have four birthdays to celebrate in the next week or so (me, my mom, Gwen, and Lex) - and Thanksgiving coming up. After that, Christmas.
Still, I think I'll be praying extra hard for the next month or so.
Just in case.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Competition

Gwen had her first gymnastics competition this weekend. I learned a few things.

1 - My zoom lens was not fast enough for good pictures inside a dark cavernous gymnasium.
2 - The scores they help up were not 980, they were 9.80
3 - My daughter, the one who can trip over her own shadow when at home, is very good at gymnastics!

It was a rough afternoon herding three bored children while we waited for Gwen to compete, but it was worth it. Now I know why she loves it so much. Unfortunately, the only pics I have to share are of her on the beam, but they'll eventually go in the scrapbook.







When she is working on her gymnastics routine Gwen shines from the inside out. She doesn't complain at all, even after 5 straight hours of practicing.
She's found something she loves.
And at the end of the day, watching her on the podium with her medals and the biggest smile, I realized that all of the practices and driving to and from the gym was worth it.
Seeing her so happy was definitely worth it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010



Then Lex decided he wanted a picture with me.

20101111_4461 copy

Notice Callie crying in the background? She wanted to climb up a tree and we wouldn't let her. Her big sister ran to get her before I even had a chance. Gwen loves Callie and every night tries to get her to sleep in her room. One day, maybe.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Flash Secrets

With winter coming, the sun sets around 5:30 this time of year. Which means that I have three options for photos:

1 - Use my on board flash
This creates harsh unflattering shadows and washes out the kid's faces. I don't go this route unless I'm out of options.
2 - Use no flash
Using this option means that although I almost always shoot wide open, I'll have to crack up the ISO. This gives me very noisy photos. I also get lots of shadows from the overhead lighting. Not the best way to go, either.
3 - Use my off camera flash
If used correctly, this yields nice even lighting and natural looking photos.

Although I've had my flash for a couple of years now, but I just haven't used it that much. Once evening this week I decided to pull out my flash and snap some photos.
With the boys off to Tae Kwan Do (Kevin and Lex watching Hunter),the girls were my models.



Should have opened up aperature for this one, but it's still cute.


I learned the secret to natural looking flash from a photo message board. It sounds odd, but the settings to these photos were as follows -

ISO 200
fstop 2.8
Shutter 1/50

Yep, the shutter was that low. This is due to the fact that the flash freezes the action, so you don't need a fast shutter speed. Lowering your shutter speed lets the available light into the photo, which eliminates the harsh shadows. It's a win- win formula that works for me. I also bounced the flash off the available walls. Behind me in one, to the side on the others. Using the ceiling isn't the best option because it gives shadows below the eyes / nose / chin.

Now you know the flash secret. Give it a try and you might be surprised at how well this method works!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Shot Tuesday!

Although it's November (is it really?) the weather feels more like late spring. Callie is wearing a sweater simply because it was cute, not because it was cold. The kids and I went outside this evening and headed to the playset. Miss Callie was getting a push from her big brother in the swing, and enjoying every minute of it.


Not my best technical shot of the night, but definitely my favorite emotion. Pure joy.

And another of the little Miss in the woods.


The white shape way behind her is Brandi the horse, waiting for her dinner :)

For more awesome photos check out the link below!

Sweet Shot Day

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Dream


I have a lot of plans and ideas swirling around in my head. Dreams are my constant companion. Last night after tripping over the dog, Callie, and bumping into our kitchen island for the 100th time, I re-designed the counters and cabinets in my head. I created more counter space, storage space, free space. I went with granite counter tops that complement my new antique-white cabinets. Of course remodeling the kitchen costs money, so I started thinking about Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Plan, and how we need to make our envelope for house maintenance larger. Or start a savings plan for home remodeling. And how our gift giving envelope isn’t big enough for the next two months, with two birthdays and Christmas coming up.

That line of thinking deflates me, so I dream of something else. Of gaining additional income through another means, such as publishing a book. Yes, I’m one of those. I want the ‘American Dream’. I love to write, at any given time there are 3 story lines meandering through my head. When I start to write a story, the characters become real to me. They evolve into living breathing human beings with hearts and souls, until even I wonder what is going to happen to them next. I can close my eyes right now and see Ana sitting on the beach, listening to the waves pound against the sand. I can feel her desolation at finding her husband of fifteen years with another woman. Her fear of the unknown, her confusion and agony at knowing that one moment her life was normal when the very next her heart lay in shattered fragments at her feet. She knows she’s going to make it, there was never a question about that, but Ana doesn’t know if she’ll ever be truly happy again. And as she watches the ocean flow and ebb, a cycle that has been repeated for thousands of years, she can’t understand how life can appear so normal (why are the birds singing?) when inside the chaotic desperation threatens to overwhelm her. If yesterday almost destroyed her, what will tomorrow bring?

I need to get back to that story, to Ana and her kids, I need to understand what will become of her. Though I’ve never been in her position, I can imagine what it must feel like. And to write about an imaginary life brings me great joy and happiness.
But to write takes time, something that I have so little of.

The real point is that I have lots of dreams, and I’ve always said that maybe one day God will decide that it is time for the chips to fall into place. Maybe one day, those dreams will come to fruition. I have to believe that they will, or else they aren’t worth dreaming about.

However, this time I’m going to set a goal and stick to it. In six months I will have a chapter drafted and ready with a synopsis to be sent to a publisher. One year from today, November 5, 2011, I will finish Ana’s story. It will be done and ready for outside review, whether or not the first chapter is accepted. Because not matter what, it’s a story I have in my head, and if I don’t get it down on paper, it will always remain in there. Just banging around, a dream unfulfilled.
It won’t be easy, but nothing worth it is ever easy. Think natural childbirth with a 10lb baby. In six months Kevin will be away training for Afghanistan , and a year from now, he’ll be gone. Still, I’ll get it done.

In the scheme of things I know my dream is just one in a million. Doug wants to open a bed and breakfast, a castle bed and breakfast. Tim wants to open his own winery. I know two others who want to be pilots, and still others, who want to be in a Broadway play.
But some people are able to work hard and turn their dream into reality. I want to be one of those people.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My New Toy!

Yesterday evening I took my new white balance toy outside to test it out. I knew that it worked well indoors, but what about using natural light?
Even with using ISO of 1600-3200, and cloudy conditions to boot, I was pleased.


This is with NO COLOR CORRECTION whatsoever.
Anyway, the device is called a white balance lens cap. You can get them for upwards of $60, but I chose THIS one, and it was only $1.95. Unfortunately, I can't actually use it as a lens cap, because I use a lens hood. Plus, they come in different sizes, so you might have to get a different one for each lens. But I simply chose one that would work with my largest lens, and instead of putting it on as a cap, I just held it up to my lens and snapped a photo. You point it towards the light source you are shooting (since I was taking a picture of Callie, I pointed it towards her). You have to turn off auto focus and make sure your exposure is correct. Then you set your custom white balance using your image.
But it's really that simple. It's plastic, so it doesn't break easily, and the next time I'm placing an order with Amazon, I'm stocking up on these caps. I love the color it gives me, and I might not even have to adjust in post-processing.


Callie was playing peek-a-boy using her hood. What a child will do to amuse herself.


In the next few days I'm sure I'll test this out in sun / shade (providing we see the sun) and I'll report back if I have any issues with varying conditions. But for now, I'm pleased, and you can't beat the price.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Color

I still need to fix my previous color post, and explain how I did it, but for now I'm going to quickly show the results of a new 'toy' that I got from Amazon. I heard about something similar through a friend, a tool to use for custom WB. I decided to go the cheap router and only paid $1.97 for this neat little device. I'll give more detail on it tomorrow or Thursday, but here is a quick bath pic to show before and after. These are both SOOC, with no adjustments.

Here is the BEFORE photo, auto white balance. See how nasty and yellow? Our current bathroom has no natural light.


And this is after. Again, no adjustment save for switching to custom WB and taking a snapshot through this new item.


The color isn't perfect, but it's a WHOLE lot better. So far it was worth the $2 I spent to get it :)

I have to add a disclaimer here, since it's obvious that both photos are the same. I shoot RAW, which means I can choose auto WB from adobe camera raw. So the first shot you are seeing the choice of auto WB through camera raw. The second shot is using the custom white balance set to my new tool.

Confessions of a Working Mom

It's been one of those work weeks - and it's only Tuesday. I've had these thoughts about motherhood/work bouncing around in my head and figured I had better put them down to purge myself of angst.

I’m a mom who works outside the home (shields head from flying objects). Trust me, I’ve been told such things like if a woman works, she should never have kids. Or that today’s problems started with women being allowed to work outside the home. Yes, these statements are coming from college educated people.
Anyway, I have a good college degree that I use out of necessity. No, we don’t drive new cars, and no, we don’t have a brand new home. We eat out about 1 time a week. I clip coupons, and watch for sales. We buy lots of things used. Our home was a foreclosure, and at the time we thought it was a great deal. It probably was, but we’ve chosen not to pursue debt in order to renovate it, so it’s basically in a state of livable disrepair. Still, it takes quite a bit of money to house/feed six people. We’re big fans of Dave Ramsey.
See how I’m explaining myself? I feel like I owe an explanation as to why I get a paycheck every two weeks. I shouldn’t feel that way, every family is different. Ours is quite different. But it’s still a sore spot for me.
In any case, I work outside the home and get paid for it. Not quite full time since Callie was born, but enough to cause people to stare at me in shock. I’ve heard these common misconceptions from moms and dads alike, over and over again. I'm putting them down in case someone might see things from a different point of view.

It must be a stress reliever to drive to/from work in silence.

Somehow, driving into downtown Indy during rush hour has never been much of a stress reliever for me. I’m not fond of accidents, back-ups, and those who feel red lights are a suggestion instead of a rule. In the morning I often fight to keep my eyes open and on the road, or pray that the moron in the gigantic white SUV doesn’t mow me down on his way to work. I'd take a school drop-off, complete with flying shoes (Callie never keeps her shoes on and flings them at the first opportunity), over a work commute any day.

But you get a break from the kids.

What I get is a jam-packed stressful morning as we all get ready to leave the house, a demanding workday interacting with lots of different people, disagreements over important issues, and the worry about whether or not my performance is up to par. I’m a woman in a traditional man’s world (my chosen degree), and it’s not easy. I would much prefer to be home with my kids. Plus, when I pick up the kids it is utter chaos. Four little ones needing me all at the same time, while I’m trying to make dinner. Not exactly the break everyone expects me to get.

Your house must be so much cleaner, since you're not there 24/7.

This I have to laugh at. My kids are little tornadoes, and I have about 10% of the time to clean it as one who stays home. I am never, ever, caught up with the housework. It is my new personal challenge to change this and get my house organized and cleaner. When I get home in the evening I still have breakfast dishes sitting on the counter because of our mad dash out the door. School papers the kids decided to pull out at the last minute are all over the entryway, along with several pairs of shoes, since Gwen never knows which ones to wear. And the little ones will grab a new toy every morning to drag around the house and drop wherever they may be.
I have just as much laundry to do, with so much less time to do it in. I have almost as many dishes (minus lunch on work days), and we had to buy more spoons because we were always running out of them.
Nope, my house is not cleaner. Not at all.

You’re only a part time mom.

This one just makes me see red. Are moms who have children in elementary school only part-time moms? I’m available at all hours of the day for my kids. Be it at 2am or 2pm. I’ve had to leave work numerous times to get them if they were sick, take them to the dentist or doctor, or attend a school function. I make their lunches, attend their field trips, and help out at school holiday parties. I've spent more sleepless nights than I can count caring for my children. They are always on my mind. I am, if nothing else, a full time mom.

Your kids must not be as attached to you as mine are to me.

If this weren’t so funny it would make me mad, too. Anyone who knows me knows how attached my kids are. So much so that they follow me from room to room. I’ve had issues dropping off every single one of them in the morning. So much so, that I have had women at Bible Study mistake me for a SAHM. ‘But, they’re so attached to you that I thought you must stay with them all the time . . .’ Even before I cut down my work week my kids have loved to be with me. Sometimes the lack of privacy is annoying, but at least I know they love their momma. And I’m just as attached to them, as they are to me. Try taking them from me for a week and see what happens.

Though I no longer work the usual 40 hour week / I'm still a mom working outside the home. But I love my kids, just as much as a mom who is with them constantly. I have a son who wants to be an engineer when he grows up so he can work with me all the time. The kids think I have an awesome job (well, it sounds awesome), and Kevin is proud of me. Though I'm still hoping to be something else when I grow up (think artistic and creative), for now, this is what I am.
And I'm proud of me.

View My Stats

  © Free Blogger Templates 'Photoblog II' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP