Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Measuring Up: By Whose Standards?

Every morning, I roll out of bed reluctantly. My eyes blur with sleep and confusion, the sound of Jayci's squeals dance in my ears. I fumble around to find her bottle, add water, shake, and plop down into the soft brown rocker, worn and molded perfectly to our form, to feed it to her. After laying her back down for another hour or so of (blessed!) sleep, I head back to my room for quiet time and a few minutes to get "ready" for the day. [This process used to include many more steps, such as makeup, shower, hair etc. Now I basically brush my teeth, apply deodorant, and go on my merry (albeit messy and unkempt) way.]

But one thing I never forget to grab before I leave: my measuring stick. Because without it, I simply couldn't make it through the day. How could I measure if her house is cleaner than mine (we all know it is). If our neighbors have prettier landscaping. If she's a better, more patient mom than me (probably). If her daughter behaves more perfectly. If her hair is smoother/curlier/bouncier/straighter. If her clothes are cuter or her body more toned (absolutely). If her husband is more romantic. If her quiet times are more diligent . . .

This morning was no different than the last. I hopped staggered out of bed and hurried to get ready in time for my morning woman's Bible study (we're doing Beth Moore's Esther study). And y'all, this particular morning? Beth might or might not have grabbed my measuring stick and hit me flat over the head with it.

Because she reminded me of a crucial truth, one which I often forget: our measurements are taken on the cross. Not at the grocery store comparing my ice cream with her organic fruits and veggies. Not in the gym or the church nursery. Not in my living room watching the rail-thin actresses on TV. Not even downtown as moms offer their seven month olds grape soda and chewing gum.

At the cross. Period. End of story.

I am trying hard this week to focus on remembering and measuring myself by the cross. Join me will you? Because I think that if all of us as woman stopped comparing ourselves to one another and started measuring ourselves by the cross of Christ, we would be FREED UP to be the woman God intended us to be all along!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Heart Faces: Feeling Blue

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is "blue." Y'all know Jayci has blue eyes. And I love me some blue sky. So I have lots of "blue" images to choose from. But then this picture, from my friend's wedding that I helped photograph this weekend just spoke to me. I know she's not FEELING blue because, well, it's her wedding day. But it was a gray, rainy day and the picture just "felt" blue to me. *side note: emphasis on HELPED take pictures. Luckily there was another photographer who took REAL pictures. Because lots of mine were really grainy/yucky. I just dont have the equipment/skillz/energy to be a wedding photographer. I mean, who knew how tiring it is?! I kept wanting to just eat a few pieces of cake fruit, to keep my energy up you know. But then the bride would do something crazy like throwing the bouquet or having her first dance or something. I told her I'd just get pictures of her NEXT bouquet toss. Oh wait, that doesn't work?

Enough rambling, here's the picture.
And head over to I heart faces to check out all the 'blue' pictures this week!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fix it Friday: Photoshop Tips (Part 1)

I figured I'd combine my fix-it Friday for I Heart Faces with some of the tips/tricks I learned at the Photoshop seminar this week (disclaimer: Jayci wont sleep or entertain herself for anything this week, so my brain is a little fried. Apologies if this don't make no sense).

But then I SAW this week's Fix-it, and it might be a little out of my league. But oh well. Here it is anyways. By the way, I adore Catherine's photography and felt totally encouraged that she sometimes forgets to change her settings too :-)
Original:Here's my first/original fixes just using a quick tip I learned this week at the seminar:
Basically the tip the teacher showed us was to go into channels to make some of your edits. The red channel also contains all the contrast info, so any changes to contrast you make there will be way more effective than applying it to the whole picture. The green channel contains all the details, so that's where you want to do your sharpening for maximum effect. And the blue channel contains all the 'garbage' (the noise) so that's where you want to run your "despeckle" and reduce noise etc.

So after the basic fixes (which literally took like 2 seconds) I played a little to get a few more looks:

This is my favorite one I think. Now if only I remembered what I did to it . . . Aren't I helpful?Cropped. Converted to black and white using Boutwell's actions and then brightened to achieve high key look. Cropped, ran 'antiqued brown action' (which I actually found via Catherine's blog)Today is turning into "one of those days," you know the kind: where no matter what you do, you just can't win. So after going like 3 rounds with Jayci, I'm tapping out . . . I'll post some more tips/photoshop insight this weekend for you!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Tribute to Glee

Just to be clear: I have NOT watched last night's episode yet. So y'all better not make any comments that give anything away. Consider yourself warned.

Anyways, Adam and I became slightly obsessed with the music from the first episode of Glee. We put it on a CD (is that outdated? I feel like it might be. At least it wasn't on our mix tape. Although if we had a mix-tape, it totally would be on it) and forced allowed our kiddos to listen to it in the car while we sang the respective boys and girls parts in "Don't Stop Believing" (and by that I mean that Adam sang both parts loudly).

*side note: Adam and I are simply trying to broaden the boys' view of musical excellence. And please note that we hope to instill in them a love of the MUSIC of Glee and not necessarily the actual show, since it's frankly a whole lot less wholesome than I thought it would be.

Luckily for us, you simply can't fight the feeling when it comes to Glee music, and Don't Stop Believing has become one of the boys' top requested songs in the car.

Glee: Don't Stop Believing from Becca Stanley on Vimeo.

*Please note the following:
1- Yes, Zack is using Jayci's baby rattle as a musical instrument. I think it adds to his street cred.
2- Do you hear Adam singing in the background? Because hahahahaha
3-Zack's facial expressions? Crack me up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Heart Faces: Completely Candid

This week at I Heart Faces the theme is "completely candid." I couldnt really think of any particularly wonderful candid shots, so I thought I'd go ahead and pose a candid shot. Oh wait, that doesn't work? Right.

Anyways, I looked back through my pictures and found this shot from when I took pics of my sweet friends and their new baby (see more here). I love it for the same reason I love all candid shots: it captures the essence of who they are so much more authentically than any posed/smiley/cheese picture ever could (did you like how I couldn't exactly find the right word so I just used three? I'm such a good writer.)

*I think this week's theme at I Heart Faces is so fun - go check out all the entries. Come on, do it. Peer pressure.

Monday, September 21, 2009

When The Rain Came Down

Geez oh Pete but I am exhausted. I feel like I just ran a marathon. Or drove 3 hours in the pouring rain, narrowly avoiding rushing creeks and flooded roads. The police even closed the highway right in front of my car. Luckily, I have cat-like reflexes and I was able to skillfully maneuver off the highway and off the exit I had just passed. Then I stopped at the QuikTrip (um best gas station ever. please bring back $.49 diet cokes. Thank-you) to fuel up and figure out how in the heavens to get home without getting stranded/lost/swept away (It's like I was a contestant on the Amazing Race or something). And I also had to stock up on the essentials, like milk and bread. Or this. Why, you may wonder, was I driving home from downtown Atlanta on such a rainy, gloomy, flood-y day? I was, as it turns out, attending a Photoshop seminar. It's all so I can bring you high-quality pictures like this one: (What is it? Well, frankly, I'm shocked you can't tell. It's the soccer fields I used to play on, only they're completely flooded and covered in water almost to the top of the goals. In other words, it's pure craziness.)

But in all seriousness, the flooding is really pretty bad around these parts. Keep us Georgians in your prayers!

Also, I was seriously considering giving y'all a quick re-cap/tutorial of a few tips I learned at the seminar yesterday. Any interest in said tutorial? Cause I don't necessarily feel like typing it all out if no one particularly cares. As if that has ever stopped me before.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For Jayci, With Love

Dearest Jayci,

Well today's the day. One year ago we were waking up wondering what your little face was going to look like and who you were going to be.
A year later, I am blown away by all the ways that God has used you to grow me, to change me, to mold me into a better person: a more appreciative wife, a kinder sister, a more patient friend, a wiser mentor . . . Every single day, I learn more from you about God's love for me than I ever knew before the day I first held you in my arms.
I can't wrap my mind around the fact that you are ours. Well, truth be told, we know beyond a shadow of doubt that you belong to the Lord. But we are so grateful and amazed that He has entrusted us with such a beautiful daughter.
You woke up just a few minutes ago (you must have known it was your birthday!) and I rocked you back to sleep in the sweet silence of your room, wondering how you got so big that you hardly fit in my arms anymore. I remember so many nights I spent with you in the brown suede rocker: feeding you, rocking you, praying over you. I (almost, maybe a little) miss our special time together, alone in the darkness at all hours of the night and morning.
I know you will not remember this year, so I wanted to share a few of the things I wish you could remember, and things I never want to forget:
-The look of joy that lights up your face at all your accomplishments: the first time you rolled over, sat up, crawled, pulled yourself up to stand . . .
-How much you loved being at camp, even being passed around to all the kiddos!
-Your obsession with all animals: "doggie" was your first word after "dada" (which I think is every child's first word)
-How crafty you are in your avoidance of eating anything that isn't sweet. You are your father's daughter.
-Speaking of that, you are absolutely enamored with your daddy right now. I love seeing you two together, it melts my heart.
-Your personality: You are so outgoing, a little social butterfly who loves being the center of attention and hates missing out on anything.
-How easygoing and flexible you are. We always tell people that it's a combination of your personality and us dragging you everywhere.
-Everywhere we go, people come up to us and tell us how beautiful, sweet and wonderful you are. As if we didn't know that!
Most of all, I want you to remember how LOVED you are. Your daddy and I love you so much! If you could remember your first year of life, I would want you to remember all the times we rocked you to sleep. The days when we laughed and played and even danced. The times we walked back and forth down the road at camp, and the times we swam and splashed in the hot sun. I want you to remember how much I love you, and how hard I am trying to be a good mom to you, even when I have no clue what I'm doing (which hello? is pretty much all the time). When you're a teenager, and you hate my guts or think I'm out to ruin your life, I want you to remember the times you reached for me, or climbed in my lap to hear a story. Or held my fingers as I helped you walk.
But as hard as it is for me to say this (or write it down), I also want you to remember the times I failed. The times I simply didn't have the patience, and the times I cried in frustration and confusion. Those nights when I was bleary eyed and desperate to get back in bed. The days when I would rather spend time on my computer or talking to a friend than playing with you. Those days when I missed special moments or refused to read you a story for the thirteenth time. Because honestly? Those times seem just as important as the good ones. Maybe they don't make me look as good, or help me feel as warm and fuzzy inside; nevertheless, I am certain they are shaping who both of us are and growing our understanding of Christ. As someone wise once told me, it is not until we realize how imperfect and sinful we are that we will realize our desperation for Christ. And it will not be until you recognize our complete inability to be the perfect parents that you will understand Jesus and His beautiful grace.
Happy Birthday my sweet Jayce-Face. I love you, daddy loves you, and most importantly, Jesus loves you!


Jayci's First Birthday Bash

Since I've been promising y'all these pictures forever and a day, I figured I better GET ON IT lest you think I am one of those people who cannot keep her promises. Because I'm not one of those people. I promise.

Unfortunately, since beginning this post, I knocked a Dr. Pepper out of the fridge, causing it to explode literally ALL. over. my. kitchen. The cleaning up of said Dr. Pepper has sapped me of all my energy.

So I will summarize with a lovely photo overload of Jayci's party. Because my personal motto is that it's not enough until it's too much. Well, only when it pertains to Diet Coke, cheese, Mexican food, Chick-fil-a, and pictures of Jayci.

This was legit her reaction when she opened this present: a fabric ball from Erica! (Ed's Stitches)I know I'm not in focus, but I like it better that way :-)

Bye-bye now, come back soon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Heart Faces: Pets

I have told y'all about my mentally handicapped dog Charli before. We got her as a sweet little, non-special, puppy. Then she got sick. Very, very sick. Hundreds Thousands of dollars later, she seems fine (despite the fact that no vet or specialist ever figured out what was wrong or did anything to fix her) Although I suppose "fine" is sort of a relative term. I should probably just say "healthy."

Get to the point Becca. Geesh.

Unfortunately, she is now healthy, but super-ridiculously annoying and high maintenance. The barking? It never stops. Ever. And we have tried everything, including a shock collar (which I am normally much-opposed to). She has added large quantities of stress and anger to my daily life. Because I am constantly yelling at her to stop barking, stop jumping on the furniture, stop knocking Jayci over in excitement, stop jumping up and eating Jayci's food off her high-chair. . . And honestly? I don't want Jayci's first memories of her mama to be me yelling and panicking over the irritation of a dog. I'd much prefer something sweeter like me rocking her to sleep or singing nice songs to her. Or at least me eating some Mexican food and drinking my diet coke in peace.

So after much cajoling and begging and pleading and ultimatums on my part, Adam has finally agreed to put Charli up for adoption. We have contacted the Springer rescue and they will be finding her a good home. Because honestly? Someone with more time and space on their hands will be able to give her the exercise and attention she needs and deserves.

So in honor of Charli, who is soon-not-to-be-our pet, here's my entry in the fun and non-judged category at I Heart Faces this week.
I have entitled this picture The Floating Head.

(Oh look! I procrastinated and slipped it in just before the deadline. It's like I'm in college all over again!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Feeling Contemplative in my Tutu . . .

I know, I know, I have SO much to tell y'all. And I haven't posted in practically forever. But the truth is that I'm FLAT TIRED. With a side of congestion. So all I have is this nice little teaser shot of my baby girl before her birthday party. Her first birthday party. You know, the one that means she is going to be ONE YEAR old on thursday. Weird.

For more contemplative shots, visit I Heart Faces. You'll be glad you did. For realz.

ps - 2 quick orders of business:
1 - Try not to be too worried/anxious, I will post more birthday party festivity pictures asap
2 - My husband just made me do a neti pot. It was odd. Plus, I'm not sure how much it helped since I still feel like a large fuzzy creature is sitting on my face, making breathing difficult to say the least.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9 Things on 9.9.09

1 – Yesterday, I ate this:And it was delicious. But seriously? Straight melted cheese: What’s not delicious about that?

2- The current state of my house can only be described as, well, chaotic. Most certainly, I would not call it presentable or inhabitable for guests. Which is unfortunate considering we will have about 35 people here for Jayci’s first birthday party on Saturday.

3-Speaking of Jayci being one, excuse me while I go cry in the corner. No way is my itty-bitty baby ONE already.

4-This is how I sleep too. Or not.5- Glee. Watched it. Loved it (despite the slight cheese factor and the fact that the beginning made me nervous because I did not enjoy it at the level I was expecting. As I've mentioned, however, I have a slight problem with unrealistic expectations and ensuing ).

6 – I pretty much love all things crafty right now. Which means I am pretty much obsessed with Etsy. And it turns out I have some pretty-darn-talented friends. For realz y’all.

Ed’s Stitches – I could just die, those birdy pillows are too cute. They’d be perfect for Jayci’s room . . .

7- We have Jayci’s one year birthday photo shoot with our dear friends (who are also super-talented!) of Altmix Photography. I have Jayci’s adorable outfits (yes plural) all picked out, but I am in a conundrum about what I should wear. Any suggestions?
8-Check out Jayci-face's modeling debut. She's hit the big time! Or just with her grandparents' company. Either way.

9-Our internet has currently decided to take a leave of absence from working. As it turns out, apparently, so has our maid.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nora Joy

The other day, I popped over to my sweet friend Jennifer's house to take pictures of her new little one, Nora Joy. Nora's all little and button-y and fresh from the oven. Yummy! She may or may not have made me want another baby of my own. Don't worry, I just remembered the sleepless nights and incessant crying, and it cured that longing real quick.

But seriously, it's no wonder little Nora (by the way, isn't that just the cutest name ever?) is such a cutie - look at how beautiful her momma is. It's just not right for her to look that good when her baby is less than 2 weeks old. Geesh.
Their family is just sweet and beautiful and we love them SO much!

I am powerless to resist little baby toes.
Sorry for the picture overload. I simply could not narrow down their adorable family. And look at her room! Adorable! Simply adorable! (it turns out I get gushy and over-dramatic when babies are involved. Or I'm just always like that, either way.)This is the first time I've taken pictures for someone other than myself. And I was nervous. And she did not want to sleep or cooperate. Not to mention, I don't exactly know what I'm doing when it comes to lighting/exposure/settings and so on and so forth. And it was not that bright inside, but I didn't want to use my flash. So I just didn't even know what to do. So for all my I Heart Faces professionals out there, any suggestions/comments/constructive criticism would be highly welcomed/appreciated.


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