Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 15

Since I've been so behind for the last few weeks I thought I'd spend some time writing a proper blog. You know, WITH WORDS. LOL! Time and words are such a rarity lately. It's nice to have a little of both on occasion.

I love these three people. They like to hang out together in the same room. Which is very sweet.

This last week has been Spring Break for us. It's the most mellow, yet busiest, spring break EVER. I've had an appointment (or three) every day. Today was my one day off. Then my dad called and said, "Hey, so-and-so is coming by at ten to give a bid."

Of course he is.

There went my one non-appointment day. LOL! But now that's over and I have a little bit of time.

On the plus side, my kids have been extraordinarily good. Or lazy… I guess that's two sides of the coin. Ha. They've pretty much entertained themselves this week.

Even with how busy I've been, this is the calm before the storm. The next few weeks are going to be chaos. I'm going to be a vagabond again, camping in my parents' new house (next door!) while work is being done here. And then we should get our stuff sometime in May. So it looks like I'll have to pack my things one more time and then one big unpacking before I can finally walk away from this lifestyle and say: I'M NEVER MOVING AGAIN. NOT. EVER.

Have I talked about my vegan journey? I have a label on here for it, so I suppose I have. :)

It's been going well. I feel better, that's the main thing. Actually, I feel AMAZING. I'm surprised at how different everything is, and that I was living in an existence where my body felt bloated and tired all the time.

Am I 100% vegan at this point? No. At home it isn't a problem. I've cleaned my life to where there isn't much in the way of meat products to tempt me. I have non-dairy substitutes for things like butter, milk and cheese.

Steven still grills himself a steak occasionally. Bekah will eat that with him. But Seth (who never liked meat to begin with) is thrilled not to have to eat it. Bekah, on the other hand, has always hated cheese. She's excited that it's not ever on the dinner menu. And both kids prefer Silk over milk. It has been a relatively easy switch.

My issue comes with restaurants (mainly when my parents are in town because that's when we eat out). Here's something to think about: If meat (and animal byproduct) should not exceed 10% of your daily intake of food, it's a huge problem that there is some form of animal byproduct in EVERYTHING (milk, eggs, cheese, butter). You don't notice it till you look for it, and then: wow. Not good.

Now take that and apply it to restaurants. Even their "vegetarian menu" is loaded with eggs, cheese and dairy. There's usually not a single item on the menu that you can order to fit a vegan lifestyle. And that, my friends, concerns me. Why are we so hooked on animals when things that grow from the ground are so much healthier for you?

When I originally started this journey I labeled myself as "vegan-ish." Meaning: I wasn't planning on sticking to this diet 100% of the time. That has come true in the sense that, while I do eat vegan 100% at home, when I'm out I'll take the broiled fish option (really, my only choice in most cases).

I had never planned on being strict about this diet. But. Then. That all changed when I felt amazing. I can't deny the results. For the first time in my life I eat whatever the heck I want and the weight is shedding (not that I needed to lose any, but hey, I'll take it!!!). I don't count calories at all. Perhaps I should, because realistically you can't eat 100 oranges and not expect to gain weight. ha. I'm not eating 100 oranges, though. I'm eating normal. There is such a freedom to that: to enjoying food and having a healthy relationship with it instead of looking at it as if it's the enemy.

There are moments when I crave sugar. Refined sugar is bad anyway, but the bigger downside is that it usually goes hand-in-hand with butter fat. So. :(

But I can't help that craving.

I've put in some strategies that seem to help. I bought a blender for fruit smoothies. That's curbed the need a lot. And when that doesn't work, there's always the cookie dough from Whole Foods made from soy and natural sugar. And when the need is REALLY, REALLY bad? I can drive to Sprinkles and purchase (only one!) vegan cupcake. But that's only a last resort because it's a trek, man. Plus, I'm pretty sure they're using refunded sugar. NOTHING tastes that amazing without refined sugar. haha.

Let me start this set of pictures by going on a slight tangent about the Dr. Pepper. I banned soda from the house over a year ago. Maybe almost two years ago. This whole time Steven's been sneaking it, which is fine. Whatever. He's a grown man.

Then. We've had visitors these past few weeks and it's come to light that he has all manner of contraband hidden in the garage and his office. Uh, huh. He's now gotten bold and in two of these pictures you can see he's been drinking soda in the house. I need to crack down on that again.


Steven started his new job this week. We're all sad not to have him around during the day. I can't tell who's sadder: Yuki, the kids, or me. haha. We've gotten spoiled with daddy home!

This job may or may not be the next "forever" job. We'll see how it plays out. But it does have some huge perks. The best one being: he's home by 3:30! SO AWESOME!

BTW: that's my new kitchen table. I can't wait to see it in conjunction with the rest of my furniture. It's gonna look amazing! I'm really thrilled with it.

I’m so excited about this picture. It was a shot in the dark (literally).

Seth has decided that he loves hanging out underneath his bed. He’s made it into a little cave where he plays video games. It’s seriously random, I know. But it’s one of those things where I just roll my eyes and move on. Except for that time when the carpet guy was measuring and Seth popped out from underneath the bed and gave the dude a heart attack. Now THAT was funny!

Anyway. So he was under there, playing video games and I wanted a picture. The problem is I didn’t have a light to meter off. The only light source was from his iPad and I couldn’t meter that because his face was down, the light just peeking over the edges of the blanket. I was banking on the fact that when he heard me, he’d look up, thus lighting his face. So my settings? I guessed based on prior success/failure in other situations such as this one.

Like any wild animal in their natural habitat, you have to stalk your prey so they won’t disappear. I low-crawled down the hallway so that I was positioned outside his door, looking through the underside of his bed. I put my 24-70 on 70mm and hit the focus button.

… And that was a no-go. It was too dark to catch focus.

Now, I suck at manual focus on a good day. But: On my belly, camera at an angle, glasses pushed into my eyeball, in the dark? YEAH, RIGHT! Like that’s gonna happen.

Seth heard my lens struggle to focus and looked up.

Which meant I had seconds (!!!) to react before he’d disappear. I flipped my lens from auto focus to manual, shifted my focus ring to where I thought his eye was in focus.

Prayed and clicked.

I got one shot before he moved so that I could only see the top of his head. I then chimped my viewfinder.

When I realized I’d NAILED it against all odds, I started frantically crying, “I GOT IT! I GOT IT!!!!!” Not only was the exposure perfect (I didn’t change it at all in post), I’d managed to get it in focus, which was the greater accomplishment of the two, letmetellya.

Seth huffed, “Mom, you’re so WEIRD!” Then he grabbed that blanket and pulled it over him so he was hidden from view.

And that, my friends, is how you stalk an animal in the wild. BOYAH!

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