Saturday, August 21, 2010

Playing with the ISO

I've already started this post below, but instead of trying to drag these pictures to the bottom I've decided to just "start" my post again. I don't understand why I can't copy and paste text onto my blog from my laptop. I can do it on a desktop and I can copy and paste from my laptop to anywhere else- just not my blog. Oh well! The next series of photos is where I was experimenting with the ISO on my camera. The kids and I got to go see Greg's play last night. We sat up in the balcony. I knew being in a dark theatre that far away that a flash would be useless and distracting. So I turned my flash off. I also knew that in the dark theatre my ISO would need to be pretty high to get decent pictures. But my purpose tonight wasn't to get good pictures. My purpose was to learn what the ISO could do. The only editing I did was to shrink them down for web. I don't know how well we can actually see them here, I feel like you probably need to make them larger to actually see from picture to picture. Anyway here they are:

ISO 80 (Didn't even know it went this low.) Very blurry and muddy.
ISO 100--- still blurry to me it looks worse than 80, but I think that is because of the movement.
ISO 200 still blurry, but starting to see a little more form

ISO 400- starting to get much better.

ISO 800-Last night I thought this was the ideal setting, but looking at the picture I'm not so sure. I thought it was best for the first Act where there wasn't as much movement.

ISO 1600- this was probably the best for this situation especially in Act 2 when there was a lot of movement.

Here are just a few shots during the play. These 3 pictures were slightly improved in Photoshop.
Act 1
ISO 800
Act 2
ISO 1600At the end of the play (obviously).
ISO 800
I had the close-up feature on, but I can't tell what that did- if it did anything at all.-------------------------------------------------------------------
So here is where I actually started my blog:
Oh my stars, I am so tired! The last 3 nights I have had leg cramps in the middle of the night. The night before last night was one of the worst I've ever had. Greg couldn't rub it out and had to help me get out of bed and try to walk on it. Last night I could feel it coming on so I tried not to move, because I knew if I moved it would hurt. But that of course made me awake practically all night long. I have heard bananas help, so today I am eating a banana right now as I type. I wonder if it needs to be closer to bedtime? I need to buy some more and I will make sure to eat one tonight.
So it was co-op day and that is the day when I can get some good school pictures. I shot all of these on ISO 100. I just love it when my kids wear clothes that go together. Yesterday morning, Mason said, "I know I look handsome because I have a special freckle under my eye." That made me giggle, but I too love the little freckle under his eye.Alright, this does it. Haircuts this weekend!I love this picture of Ashley!The backpacks are as big as they are.
Yesterday, I volunteered to help at co-op. Each parent has to help for an 8-week period. But someone wasn't able to do their shift yesterday. So the volunteer gets $20 for taking that person's shift. $20 was a real good incentive for me. For the first half of co-op I helped in the Pre-k/Kindergarten class. I enjoy that class, even though many of the kids have a hard time focusing. I don't enjoy being the main teacher, but I do like being the assistant. I can usually add some songs that go right along with the lesson.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Photography lessons week 1

I've started to take a little photography class that is offered at a church nearby. You don't have to have a special camera. He will teach you with what you have. Our first lesson for this week is to get comfortable changing the ISO. We changed our ISO to 100, which is good for direct sunlight and would need to be increased for indoor pictures. I'm excited about the class! I've already learned a few things from one class.

So here are some of the things I learned:
  1. If you have the date printed on the front of your pictures, it can actually change the way the photo looks. It somehow messes up the lighting. So first thing he had everyone do is to make sure that was turned off.

  2. Then we made sure that the date and time were correctly programmed into our camera.

  3. He said there are 2 kinds of zoom, optical and digital. Digital is useless and basically just crops the photo. So we turned that off in our camera.

  4. We learned what the camera is thinking and what it considers to be the perfect picture. (which is basically all grey)

  5. We learned that there are 3 things that makes up a picture. The ISO- sensitivity of camera to light, Aperture- how much light is allowed in and Time-how long the lens is open to receive light. My camera does not have a feature where I can change the aperture or time. The best setting for direct sunlight would be ISO 100, 1/25 Time and 5.6 Aperture.

  6. We learned what several of the different symbols on our cameras meant- but didn't go into detail on any of them.

  7. The higher your ISO the grainier your picture will be, but sometimes you need the higher ISO to get the indoor picture you want.

  8. We learned to use our self-timer and he had us all take a group photo.

  9. And he said our manuals can be our best friend. They can be easy to understand when you know what you are looking for.

Next week will learn more of the camera basics and what each button means.

I do like how the water looks in this picture of Aussie swimming.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another exciting review!!!

Exciting exciting! Greg and Wes got another glowing review in the Nashville Scene. Go here to read it.

I got a little confused when it started to review another play half way down the page. I was wondering how in the world "pull my finger" went with Greg's play.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

First Day of Co-op

Here they are on their first day of co-op.
They will be learning about different scientists in their Science class and each student will do a report. Mason was the first one to go. He did his report on Leonardo Da Vinci. He does not like to speak in front of the class. He got a little nervous and forgot the name of The Mona Lisa, but other than that he did just fine.
Aussie likes Science. The other two are not crazy about it. But I think that is because they are not allowed to sit by their friends. They have assigned seating. It changes every week. So eventually they will get to sit by a friend.
I lost my camera. The thing is just so small I lose it all the time. But today I went to the church where we have co-op. No one was there but a door happened to be open. I walked in and went to where the kids had their class. And there is was just laying on the table. I am so thankful I found it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lost in Nowheresville

I am so emotionally drained today.

The heat index was 110 F today. That's enough right there to make me feel drained. It was so hot that as soon as I got into Greg's car my mascara re-moistened and made my eyelids stick together. I've never had that happen before. It was weird!

The kids had a birthday party to go to today. It was really neat. The place is called Glow Galaxy. Inside are those big huge inflatable slides, jumpy things, and obstacle courses.

There was also a miniature golf course, a dance floor with dance games, football, basketball all kinds of stuff, but what was really special about this place is that it all glowed in the dark.

After the party I needed to go to a friend's house and pick up something. I had never been to her house. She said she would be gone but she sent me directions and where to pick it up. I made sure to save the email on my phone marking it "not read" so that when I needed it I could open it up and read it.

Well by the time I needed it, I had gotten several other emails and I could in no way pull up the email. So I looked up her address, Google Mapped it and tried to find my way there. Many times those Map programs are right on target, but sometimes they are way off or route you all over creation. Well this time it took me all over the place. Plus I missed a turn and got lost out in nowheresville. I did eventually get to my destination.

So then I put in my address to get me back home, it took me in the opposite direction in which I had come. This time the directions were just wrong. It took me way out somewhere and I was so lost!!! I found a Walgreens and went in to ask directions. Many people conferred and agreed that I should take this interstate that I had never been on before. That was OK if it was going to get me home. I headed in that direction onto the interstate out in the country.

Then it began to rain and I'm not talking a little rain.

I am talking about the kind of rain that I couldn't see 3 feet in front of me. So here I am on an interstate out in the country with NOTHING in sight (even if I could see it), going 40 miles per hour on a 70 miles per hour road and sliding every 100 feet or so.

I couldn't help but cry. (That certainly didn't make it any easier to see.)

I stopped on the side of the road. I just wanted to get to civilisation and go in a McDonald's or something to wait out the rain.

Greg called and was able to tell me to get off in 2 more exits and there should be a Cracker Barrel there.

Well I got off in two more exits, which happened to be the exit the people who gave me directions told me to get off on. There was no Cracker Barrel or anything else for that matter, but the rain lifted and I was able to see where I was going. I went a little way and knew where I was. I had been at that spot before a couple years ago. But at least it was familiar territory.

It was probably another 45 minutes until I got home. My eyes are tired.

There's No Place Like Home!
Boy how I wished I could have just clicked my heels and magically gotten home!
I think I'll go to bed now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Aussie Aussie Smitten Aussie

This child! He really has two sides to him. To his sister he is, well, just down right mean to her. But she is down right mean to him. They pick, pick, pick at each other all day long. But to most people who know him away from his sister, he is the sweetest kid! He is smart and polite. He talks to grown ups like he would to anyone else. He is really a great kid.
And boy is he smitten!
He has had the same girl friend for 3 years now. They rarely get to see eachother
as she no longer goes to co-op with us.
She wasn't able to come to his birthday party, but she invited the kids over for a playdate last week.
And she gave them money for their birthday.
Today I was having the kids write thank you notes. I of course had Aussie write the one going to Kadence. I wrote on a white board what they should write on their card. Aussie improvised.
It is so cute! I hope Kadence's parents are okay with it.
Here is his thank you note below: (If you can read it I'll write it below.)

The note was supposed to say:
Dear Kadence, Thank you for the money! We had fun shopping. One of the things we bought was a Build-A-Bear. We love them. From Aussie

What he wrote:
Thank you for the money! We had fun shopping. One of the things we bought was a Build-A-Bear. We like them but I LOVE you! Love Aussie

I love it! I think it is so cute! It has me grinning from ear to ear!

BWW Reviews: Driver and Greene's TWILIGHT OF THE GODS from Blackbird Theater 2010/08/12 Page 1

Oh how exciting! Greg and Wes got their first review of their play. I would say it is pretty positive too. Just click the link below and it will take you to the review.

BWW Reviews: Driver and Greene's TWILIGHT OF THE GODS from Blackbird Theater 2010/08/12 Page 1

Dancin' in the House

The other day I went to Dana's house and she introduced us to this Wii game Just Dance. It was so fun I just had to get it. Last night I bought it and let me tell you I was sore last night. Oh but this morning- Ay! Ay! Ay! I can barely move. I am so stiff all over. I danced so much and was totally kickin' some bootay! I seem to really do well on the 80's songs. Hmmmm...imagine that.

Both Ashley and I had leg cramps in the middle of the nightl Poor Greg was up rubbing our legs.

Well here is a video I took the other day at my friend's house:

First day of school

Well Friday was the kids first day of school. I wish I had a better camera on me, but these will have to do. Here are my little 3rd graders.


Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Another Write-Up in the Nashville Scene

Well Greg got another write up for his play, Twilight of the Gods. This time it is in the Nashville Scene. I'll type it up below:
(Star-Studded Historical Lineup)
Twilight of the Gods
Wes Driver and Greg Greene are a couple of creative theatrically inclined types, both working day jobs in IT. Both are also Lipscomb University grads, and they are launching their new enterprise, Blackbird Theater, with their own original script. It's a comedy/thriller that brings together in one place such historical figures as Edgar Allan Poe, Rasputin, Florence Nightingale, Annie Oakley, H.G. Wells and Friedrich Nietzsche. In a mansion somewhere in America, the dream for a modern utopia turns into a Gothic nightmare, and the battle of ideologies becomes a battle for survival as iconic personages start dropping off like flies. It probably wouldn't hurt to bring your cultural literacy along for this experience. If Driver and Greene can be typed as intellectually ambitious, they have also received the imprimatur of Lipscomb's theater department, which has invited them in as the university's resident theatre company with plans to follow up this debut show with a production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia early in 2011. A diverse and talented cast of 13 has been assembled here, including veteran Nashville players such as Caroline Davis, Wesley Paine and Patrick Kramer, plus Kentucky's own Don Maley, who plays Mark Twain and is the uncanny spittin' image of the great writer, dead one century this year. There's more about the company and the production at Aug:6-21 at Lipscomb University's Shamblin Theater, Bennett Campus Center. ~Martin Brady

The article has a picture of Don Maley as Mark Twain and also a picture of the Twilight of the Gods poster.

The online version can be read here- but it is the same as what I typed above.

My version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie Day

So what does this book have in common with the kind of day I had?
In my case it was if you tell a mechanic you think you need a battery.
All I can say is UGH!
Mom says it is just life!
Well I say this sucks!
So last night my battery light came on. I made it home safely and forgot about it until I got in the car this morning.
Started my drive to Murrfreesboro, the battery light still on. I thought well I'll take the kids to their play date and thankfully the lady said I could leave the kids their and have a Mommy day out. I thought I would take it to Sam's Club out that way and get a new battery.
Well then other warning lights started coming on. I was worried and called Greg. He said to see if I could find a Valvoline along the way. They would be able to give me a new battery and I wouldn't be stranded with 3 kids along the side of the road somewhere.
Well I did find a Valvoline. Which as you know is mostly an oil change shop. They tested the battery and indeed it was low. So they changed it- $100+. The battery light would not go off so they checked it again. Well that is where they noticed my serpentine belt was broken, completely in half. It baffled them that it just broke in half with no wear and tear on it.
So anyway this oil changing place say they can replace the belt. But they don't have it in stock, they have to order it. I am at there mercy, stuck there. So Greg comes from Nashville to pick us up. They order the part and said the part should get there in 40 minutes.
Greg gets there, we take the kids to their play date.
Greg and I went to lunch.
Greg takes me back to shop and leaves to go back to work.
Yay! The work is done. Another $110+, but I'm ready to have the last hour of my supposed Mommy's day out.
I get in the car and it is squealing so terribly that I hear the mechanics say, "Oh no". They get another person to look at the car and apparently this guy knows what he is doing. He said it is the alternator. OH LOVELY! They don't do alternators there.
I have to call Greg back. We go together to pick up the kids and then drive to our mechanic in Antioch and drop off the car. They say it should be $300 or $400. Yep- 20 years ago when my alternator went out it was $300, so I'm betting you it's closer to $400 this time.
So what happened? Last night the alternator must have died. The belt was going around and around just causing friction and finally broke. I was driving completely on my battery and therefore run down the battery.
I had plans tonight. I had a babysitter ready to come over. I needed to cancel. I'm totally bummed.
So co-op tomorrow has a mandatory orientation at 9:00AM. Greg will have to drive us to co-op. Thankfully he has a job he can call in and work from there. Hopefully the car will be completed by the end of co-op and he will drive us to the shop.
And that's my version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

They LOVE their Build A Bears

Ugh I had a whole blog post typed up and lost it.

I think we ought to buy stock in Build A Bear. My kids love them! And I mean LOVE them. They probably play with them more than any other toy.

The kids got some money for their birthday, so they wanted to get ANOTHER one.

Mason said all of his animals were boys so this time he chose to get a girl. He got a bunny and named her Brownie.

Ashley named her bear Cutie.

Aussie named his bear Tyler.

Monday, August 02, 2010

They are getting Press! Wooo Hooo!

(Sorry for those getting this twice- I forgot to check the spelling.)

Yay! This is so exciting! Greg is getting some press for his upcoming play. I wish all of you could come see it. I have participated in the reading of the play in the earlier days, so I know it is great!!

In the post below is a link to a write up from Also our church bulletin had a write up too! I'll type that up here so you can read it.

"Off the Hill" In Action
We've often used the phrase here "off the hill", to describe our specific intention to carry the life of Jesus into our everyday lives and the community that surrounds us- not in some artificial, programmed way; but organically, using the natural gifts, passions and opportunities we have. We have a chance in the coming days to witness this vision in action in the artistic work of several of our members. so please take a look at the description below of this wonderful opportunity (I'm in and I hope to see you there).
-Dean Barham
At the Christian Scholars Conference in June, playwright John Patrick Shanley (Doubt) talked about faith, spirituality and art and about the importance of clearing a space for stories. Two members of this congregation have cleared such a space, a forum for their stories. Wes Driver and Greg Greene have started Blackbird Theater Company and, in cooperation with Lipscomb's Theatre Department, will present their inaugural play, an original script called Twilight of the Gods, on weekend evenings from August 6- 21. The cast includes Woodmont Hills members Caroline Davis, Wesley Payne, Ashley Thompson and Michael Slayton. The play is a comedic thriller about death, philosophy and the inability to have one without the other. As those of you who know Wes and Greg can be sure, they wrestle with God and their faith in dark, wonderful, absurd,and hilarious ways. The Church once understood the importance of supporting the art and the creations of complexity, the power and the humor of our own Creator. If you are interested in attending the production, all the Lipscomb box office (615-966-7111) or go to the company's website

Nashville's new Blackbird Theater debuts with TWILIGHT OF THE GODS 8/6-21 (

I'm adding this directly from the site. It looks as though it is only going to give a website address instead of adding the entire article. But let's see.

Nashville's new Blackbird Theater debuts with TWILIGHT OF THE GODS 8/6-21 (

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Saturday Birthday Party

I have been working on this post for 4 days. I am determined to get it done today!

This post is chock full of pictures. Saturday we had the kids birthday party with mainly friends from co-op. The kids really wanted it to be a costume party. So we made it a costume party. We had it at a local playground.

I had been staying up late night after night trying to prepare for the party making this or that. Anyway, Friday night I went to bed late and then had a really hard time falling asleep. Then Ashley came in at 5:30AM and woke us up wanting to get ready for the party. Then the storm started. I just cried. I didn't know what to do. We had 11 pizzas and a cake to pick up in just a few hours. I told everyone to get on the bed and we prayed. I boldly asked God to stop the rain for the party. And guess what? He did! The playground was dry enough for the kids to play. And then when the party was over. It rained. And it rained hard!!!

The party was a success. Ashley dressed up like Starfire from Teen Titans. This is a picture of Starfire. And here is Ashley in her costume:

Mason dressed up like Beast Boy. This is Beast Boy from Teen Titans.

And here is Mason hammin' it up like Beast Boy:
And Aussie dressed up like his made up character CatLink. It was a terribly HOT HOT day! Most of the kids took off their costumes 5 minutes into the party.The kids played on the playground. And we ate pizza from Cici's. I was very lucky they were having a special. It was only $3.99 per large pizza. I love the picture below. Look in the background at the little boy. I am obviously taking a picture of the 2 girls in the foreground but the little boy in the back is smiling from ear to ear and saying "CHEEEEEEESE".

Then Mongo (AKA Daddy) read a story to the kids. If you reguarly read my blog you know all about Mongo from my posts in October. If you don't, real quick the story is about this monster who is lonely and can't easily make friends because of how he looks. He is chased away by the towns people. So then he befriends a cat. But then he gets hungry and eats it. Then he befriends a blind person but uh oh he gets hungry...etc.

The kids really got into the book! They would tell Mongo if he was making a good decision or a bad decision.

Then Mongo chased the kids! They LOVED it! They came back for more and more. It was hard for Mongo to keep going. We were surprised that the make-up stayed on him because of how bad he was sweating.Here are a few pictures of the guests- names withheld for their privacy. After a little bit of chasing and playing we had birthday cake. Ashley likes vanilla and the boys like chocolate. So I got 1/2 and 1/2. It was one of the best cakes we had ever had. It was so fresh! We got it at the local Kroger. I should call them and give them my compliments to the chef.

After the cake the kids opened up their presents. And I gave out party favors. I can not believe how lucky I got. One of my friends told me they were clearancing out Webkinz at a local Walgreens. I went and the deal was even better than I originally thought. I think maybe the manager made a mistake, but who was I to argue? I bought all of them for $2 each. I figured I would have probably spent that much on little crappy things to put into goody bags. The kids were thrilled!