Sunday, February 24, 2008

My First Photography Job...Solo, that is

I had a slightly nerve-wracking yet very fun experience yesterday. My friend Stacy had her second baby girl, Aubrey, a few weeks ago, and she called to ask Steve to do newborn portraits for her birth announcement. Steve is really busy right now, so he had to decline, but he told me to offer to do it. Who me? The one who is the "poser" but not the "shooter"? The one who always sets the big fancy camera to "auto" when I have to use it? The one who can listen to about 30 seconds of technical camera instructions before my brain turns to a different channel and I can no longer take in more new information? Yes, me.

Soooo...I offered my services to my friend who gladly said, "Yes!, I'm sure your pictures are just as good as Steve's." But thanks for the blind faith!

So I am really glad that my first solo job was with a dear friend who knew exactly what she was getting herself into. And I have to say that I had a lot of fun, and I think the pictures turned out better than I expected! Of course, I was nervous to show them to my photographer husband when I got home. I wanted to throw them on the computer and weed out all the bad ones first. It WAS difficult to get a shot of her 2 1/2 year old and the baby together, because Alyssa is constantly moving, jumping, twirling, etc. I was trying to use all natural window light and no flash, so your subject needs to be relatively still to avoid blur. Relatively still is a relatively unknown term to a 2 1/2 year old.

Here is a link to the pictures if you would like to check them out: CLICK HERE

My friend Stacy is gorgeous 14 days after giving birth naturally (no drugs) to a 9lb 7oz baby girl. Welcome to the world Aubrey!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beauty is Fleeting...and Incredibly Deceptive

Please go and check out this video on our friend Brett's blog. It is really telling of what our culture has become...setting up standards of beauty that are not only outrageously unrealistic, but also completely fabricated. Since we dabble in the photography business, I am completely aware of how easy it is to get on a slippery slope with the post-photo shoot processing of images in Photoshop as Brett talks about. But the beauty industry has taken it to a level that makes it 100% impossible to measure up to the standards that they are setting. Also, take the time to read the comments at the bottom of Brett's post. Josh (Brett's brother) is a college student and has some really interesting thoughts on seeing people in a new light.

I am also currently reading a book about a woman who was injured in a fire and has burns and scars covering half of her face. She talks about the way that people gawk at her, recoil from her, won't make eye contact with her, and generally just avoid her. A man enters the story who himself has been damaged by life's circumstances (only his scars are all on the inside), and he is the first person who is able to look at her, speak of the scars matter of factly, and eventually even finds beauty in them because of her story, her heart, and who God created her to be. All of this really has me pondering how much I look at the outside, how often I make assumptions about people because of their outward appearance, how I might even go out of my way to AVOID someone because of they way that the look. Harsh truth it is.

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Funny Comment on "Potty Talk"

This post is actually a comment that I received on my "Potty Talk" post from my funny hubbie Steve. It is more great stuff to look forward to when potty training! Enjoy....

"The other thing that is so fun about potty training is that when you want them to use the potty they don't, and when you are in a situation and you need them to just go in their pull-up, they create a scene. Example: In December, Seth and I were flying to CA. We are just getting airborne, the captain tells us to keep our butts in our seats, and the seat belt sign is on. Then Seth starts. Daddy, Potty. It's ok Seth, just go in your pull up, we will change it later. Seth now getting louder: Daddy, Potty! Potty! I Whisper, Seth, it is ok, just use your diaper. Daddy, Potty Please! Here Seth, here are some crayons. Do you want to color? Potty! Potty! Pee pee in Potty! You want to watch a movie on Daddy's lap top? Potty! Potty! Dude...use your diaper. People are starting to look and stare...or at least in my head! Talk about nerve wracking. There is a fine line between bad experiences and good stories!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

Post-CHI hair

Well, my good buddy Sarah P. asked me to post pictures of what my hair looks like after using my Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Shampoo and Conditioner and CHI flat iron. So here is my hair Pre-CHI...I just took a shower and let my hair air dry. It does its own, funky wavy thing when it is not purposely tamed.

And here it is Post-CHI:

And here it is Post-CHI frontal view:

And here it is, Post-CHI and Post-Goth Girl Photoshop Make-over (just for fun, I promise I didn't dye my hair black, Mom):

Oh, and in my last post, I gave Amy a shout out for helping to introduce me to the beautiful world of CHI flat irons, and she said that she was pretty sure she should have gotten a shout out for the Paul Mitchell shampoo as well (she did tell me recently that she used to use it). So Amy, here is your corrected and expanded shout out, girl! (Even though, to be honest, what REALLY swayed me to the Paul Mitchell was the price tag and not Amy's recommendation :-) I actually really wanted the Redken products but they were significantly more expensive!!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Potty Talk

All things potty are popular topics around the Horvath household these days. Being a girl, I never really pondered what it was going to take to potty train a little boy. Well girls (I am thinking specifically of Silas and Jackson's mommys here) just get ready. Because I know that you girls like things to be clean, and let me tell you, potty training a little boy is not!

So Seth used to be a "sitter", and that is when things were relatively uneventful. As long as he was properly positioned, the pee stayed down in the toilet and things were all good. Well, then his Daddy introduced him to the world of standing up, which granted, had to eventually happen. I mean, I am pretty sure that there aren't any grown men who exclusively sit...but, it is a much cleaner and uneventful scenario. Because when boys stand up instead of sitting down, this whole thing of aiming comes into play. And let me tell you, we do not have an aimer on our hands.

Seth doesn't stand still well...ever. Anywhere. And this includes in front of the potty. So we are constantly fighting against him doing his little dance, turning around to look at other things, trying to put his finger in the pee stream, or just laughing hysterically and slouching into a pile on the floor (not kidding) while he is peeing.  So most of the time, I am literally partially holding him upright AND helping him aim.   Let me tell you some of the fun times I have experienced over the last couple of weeks:

1.) We were at Costco, and Seth LOVES to use every public restroom we are near.  It is like pulling teeth to get him to stop what he is doing at home to go potty, but out in public, he is on the look out for "the sign"
Well, maybe not THAT sign, but a sign that he easily recognizes as the potty.
I had Caleb and a cart full of stuff, so we all went into the large handicap stall. I get him all into position, and then I suddenly (and belatedly) realized that the toilet was too tall.  So I quickly start aiming higher, but from the angle he was at, it was either going to hit the toilet directly in front of him or go so high that it was hitting the wall and everything around it.  He was pretty excited about what was going on, while I was mortified as pee was going EVERYWHERE and I couldn't do anything about it.  I mean, have you ever tried to get a 3 year old to stop going mid-pee?  Not happening.  Luckily, there was no one else in the bathroom at the time to hear the ruckus.  I then had to attempt to clean up the pee with toilet was just a truly disgusting situation all around.

2.)  The front room in our house is Steve's room.  It is where he teaches guitar lessons and where he keeps all his, amps, pedals, etc.  Both of the boys LOVE to climb on all his stuff.  Caleb loves to stand on top of the amps and turn all the knobs, and Seth loves to stand on the guitar cases and look out the front window.  Well, Seth was whimsically gazing out the front window, lost in 3-year old thoughts, when suddenly, he got that feeling he had to go - and did.  So he peed all over Steve's guitar case, which Steve actually handled really well.   Now when Seth comes in the front room, he looks at the case and states loudly, "No pee-pee on Daddy's guitar case!"

3.) I picked Seth up from pre-school yesterday and there was a note in his backpack from his teacher Mrs. Carrero. It reads,

"Courtney - Hello! I am happy to report that Seth stayed dry today and was independent at the potty."

Interjection: I am not sure what "independent at the potty" means, but it sounds sort of scary in Seth's case. Continue on...

"However, his aim is an area we may need to work on. I wasn't very helpful with my efforts...maybe Steve could show him/teach him how to improve on that? Thanks, Kelly."

His aim is an area we "may" need to work on???? That was a really nice way of saying he doesn't aim at all. In fact, he won't even put his hands down there. I thought it was pretty funny that she thought we might just be slacking off in that area and NOT showing him how to do it for some crazy reason. Like, we enjoy having pee all over our bathroom and every public restroom we frequent.

And my last comment on this subject - a movie recommendation. Steve's Mom gave us a DVD that she had used with her other grandsons in California, and it really is a great movie to show little boys who are learning about the potty.

Caleb loves it, too. And I am really hoping that by the time it is Caleb's turn to potty train, Seth will be such an expert that he will take over the duties and teach his little brother. Hey, I can dream, right?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Just for Me

A while back, someone in my life asked me if there was something that I wanted "just for me". You know, after you have kids, lot's of stuff becomes about them and the things that they need. And when you stay home with your kids instead of having a job outside the house, you don't have the justification of buying clothes for work, so sometimes, you just go without for long periods of time. And before you know it, you've been wearing the same 2 pairs of jeans and sad looking running shoes for three years and you wake up one day and think to yourself, "They don't look so hot anymore!" Who knew? (Probably everyone else but me, but nobody was saying anything!) Add to this a husband who is in ministry and a tight family budget, and you have one young (yes, 31 is still young in my book) mom of young kids who needs a dash of spice in her life.

So, back to my original statement...this collective "someone" pursued this question with me several different times to no satisfactory end, and finally resorted to asking Steve what I would want. Long story short, I ended up with a large check made out to me and strict instructions to not spend anything on Steve or the kids. Not to spend it on groceries, or things we need around the house. But just on me! How fun is that? So I thought I would post pictures of my first 3 "Just for Me" purchases (and I know these special "someones" read my blog, so this way I have proof that I am buying things for myself!)

To start things off right, my first CHI.

So I am new to the world of hair straightening, and if I had been buying one of these babies myself I would have marched down to Target and bought the next to cheapest one and probably fried all my hair off. But my friend Amy, who has been a faithful straightener for many years, and my hairstylist Cheryl, both told me that the CHI was the way to go. The way they threw around the word "CHI" (rhymes with free, which it certainly was not) made it sound all exotic and super special, like Gucci or Prada. I was a tad disappointed when I discovered that CHI is simply short for Cermaic Hairstyling Iron, but I have not been disappointed with the product at all. I have had short hair for many years and have loved it, but it was time for a change. So I have been growing it out, and this product really saves me time and I love the results. I can let my hair air dry, or even sleep on it damp (gasp!) which I NEVER would have done before. The reason being...horrible, crazy bent waves all over my head that nothing really takes care of..until the CHI. I can straighten all my hair in about 7 minutes and waalaa....super straight, smooth, shiny hair.

Which brings me to my next "Just for Me" purchase:
I have always been a buy-my-shampoo-at-Target kind of girl (unless my stylist was feeling generous and gave me some samples of Redken), but I always love the feeling my hair has when I leave the salon.  And since I am using my new CHI and exposing my hair to 350 degrees of scorching heat, I thought I should nourish it a bit with a little Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Smoothing Shampoo.  I know, I know...everyone who has really thick hair wants skinny hair, and everyone who has skinny hair naturally wants thick hair.  The grass is always greener...

And last but certainly not least, my new kicks:

I have been going to the gym (mostly) faithfully since New Year's, and my other running shoes were in sad, sad shape. The inside of the heel had exposed plastic that was rubbing a sore on my heel, and I didn't even realize how bad they looked until I took them off at the shoe store and saw them laying along side various new pairs of shoes. O Brother. So these new shoes are treating me right.
So thanks thoughtful, loving "someones"! I will have more Just for Me purchases to post in the future!

Monday, February 4, 2008

I have been Tagged

My friend Amy tagged me, and I really do not usually do these types of things. I get emails all the time with the lists of questions, and you are supposed to answer the questions about yourself and then send it to 10 people and then THEY have to do it. Usually, towards the end of the list, there is a question that says, "Who is least likely to answer these questions?" and honestly, I am usually on that list. I really enjoy reading other people's lists, because there are always little surprises and you find out new things about people that you care about. But I just never took the time to do one myself.

However, this was fun, and you actually can learn something about yourself by doing it. So thanks Amy!

8 things I'm passionate about (in no particular order):
1. Living an authentic life with purpose and meaning
2. Being a follower of Jesus
3. My husband of 6+ years
4. My boys
5. Making people feel important and listened to
6. Traveling
7. Going on more dates with my husband this year
8. Finding the perfect Mexican food restaurant

8 things I want to do before I die:
1. Travel to Italy and Prague and Australia with Steve
2. Be a foster mom
3. Raise kids who love Jesus
4. Become a more organized person
5. See my children get married and have their own kids
6. Take our kids on a missions trip
7. Visit all 50 states (I have been to 32 so far)
8. Write a song (that is really good ☺)

8 things I say often:
1. Sit on your bottom
2. Do you need to go potty?
3. Turn off the tv
4. Don’t hit/pinch/push your brother
5. No more whining
6. Caleb get down
7. I am so tired
8. Because of #1 – 7, I say to my husband, “I need to get out of the house for a little while” quite frequently

8 TV Shows or Movies I watched recently:
1. The Super Bowl
2. American Idol
3. Reign Over Me
4. Failure to Launch
5. Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Ring
6. The Holiday
7. Amazing Grace
8. Pretty much every Veggie Tale ever made

8 Artists I have recently discovered….and love:
1. Sara Bareilles
2. Brandon Heath
3. Brooke Frasier (Check out Hosanna….the music just gets inside of you)
4. Anyone from Hillsong
5. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (“Falling Slowly” from the movie Once…please listen to it…achingly beautiful)
6. Colbie Caillat
7. Ingrid Michaelson
8. Plain White T’s

8 things that attract me to my friends:
1. An ability to connect on deep levels
2. Transparency
3. Sense of humor
4. Love Jesus
5. Non-materialistic
6. Good with comfortable silence
7. Positive and Fun
8. Empathy

8 Things I learned in 2007:
1. I really LIKE to cook…who knew?
2. I might be ok with having just two kids…the jury is still out
3. 3 year olds REALLY need to get outside as much as possible
4. Getting off a ski lift is always scary, no matter how many times I do it
5. I would really like to take an art class
6. I would really like to take voice lessons
7. I would really like to have enough time and money to do #5 and #6
8. I don't have all the answers regarding who God is, how to be like Jesus, and what church is supposed to look like (I pretty much learn this every year...)

Who am I gonna tag?
I am going to tag Steve, because he just started a blog and he is honestly the only person that I know that might actually do this!