Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend Overview

I think the worst thing about John's job is that we can never travel for Thanksgiving. Last year we stayed in Knoxville and my parents drove over for the weekend, and the year before that we stayed in Florida and had dinner with some of John's extended family. This year we decided at the last minute we wanted to just stay home to avoid the stress of packing, driving, and hopping between both families in a 36 hour time period. We had told my mom she was welcome to come over, and the morning of Thanksgiving, she did just that, arriving here at 11:00.

Because it was just the three of us, we made plans to eat at Cracker Barrel after Hannah Grace woke up from her nap. Well, she woke up and we got to Cracker Barrel at about 2:30 only to be told there was a 90 minute wait. We were already hungry (and there was NO WAY I was going to have an 18 month old Hannah Grace hang out in the store part of the restaurant for that long-- too many breakables). So we drove until we found the next open restaurant, Ruby Tuesday. I really have no idea why they were open-- they didn't have any sort of Thanksgiving special, so Mom, John, and I got burgers and their salad bar. Far from traditional, but everything was really good.

We went back home, hung out, and Mom and I deliberated over going to Target's midnight opening. We decided we would go, but Mom needed to take a nap beforehand so she could would be energized for the late night shopping adventure. Originally I didn't want to leave the house until 11:30. However, upon seeing friends' in other parts of the state Facebook statuses about the crazy lines (at 10:00), I got my mom up and said we needed to leave at 10:30 or so. We made it out by 10:45 and got to Target at 11:00. The line was already long, and we decided to just wait in the car until they opened. Then we decided to just go to Wal-Mart to see what that was like-- it was INSANE. Because they started many of their deals at 10pm, the lines were ridiculous and people were EV.ER.Y.WHERE.

So we left the madness.

And went to Target, which, believe it or not, wasn't so bad. We walked up to the store right as they were letting people in, and Mom and I trekked to the end of the (very) long line. The doors opened at midnight, and it was 12:15 before we got inside. Once we were in, I bolted for the toy section, and was able to grab a set of mega bloks for Hannah Grace. They are about $20 (even on Amazon), but Target had them for $10, and I had a $3 off coupon, so I only had to pay $7. And yes, that was the only reason I wanted to go to Target at midnight and wait for an hour to check out. BUT I got her a couple of other things really inexpensively, and I had a good time just hanging out with Mom.

After an hour of shopping, we realized how long the line was (it started in the very back and weaved in and out of the aisles alone the perimeter of the store). Despite the long line (and probably 300 people waiting), it actually moved fairly quickly. I was so surprised at how organized everything was-- definitely better than how Wal-Mart ran their ship!

We got home at 2:30 and pretty much went straight to bed. Hannah Grace woke up at 6:30 (after sleeping in until 8:00 for two weeks straight, go figure), so she, Mom, and I went to Lifeway for their 7:00 opening. I got Hannah Grace a couple of Veggies Tales DVDs super cheap! They had a pretty good sale on a lot of other stuff, but I wound up just sticking with the DVDs. We were in line for awhile here, and once we left we just came home and let Hannah Grace take a nap. We were SO tired.

On Saturday we spent some of the day shopping-- I wanted to take advantage of some deals Ulta had going on, and we wound up at Kohl's and bought some Christmas decorations. We had made reservations with Cracker Barrel for their Thanksgiving to-go dinner, so we picked that up for dinner! It was unbelievable how much food they gave us for $50-- turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, corn bread, biscuits, gravy, and three sides (we had macaroni, green beans, and mashed potatoes). YUM-O!

Mom left Sunday morning as we were leaving for church, and once we got home from church, I got to take a nice, long nap! Shopping is exhausting! ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


After yesterday's post, I took another photo and did a little work on it. I turned this blown out, overexposed photo of Hannah Grace. . .  

And turned it into this. Lovely.

I'm sure the photo in this and my previous post could be even more improved, but I'm satisfied with what I've done so far!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lightroom Novice

I received Lightroom 3 in the mail yesterday and upon installation almost immediately closed my laptop. This software is no joke, and I'm in major need of an instruction manual, so I'm going to be ordering the Kindle version of this book shortly: 

I eventually reopened my laptop and decided to do some clicking around Lightroom just to see what all it held. 

It holds a lot. There's a reason I'm getting that book. 

Anyway, I finally decided to pull up a picture and try to do some tweaking, and, without really watching what I was doing, I turned this straight out of the camera shot of Hannah Grace. . . 

Into this!

One thing I can definitely say about Lightroom is that it really lets you do exactly what you want to a photo (even if you aren't paying attention to what you're actually doing. Ahem). I'm definitely looking forward to working with this software more!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ho, ho, ha.

This morning, I was going through the updates on my Facebook news feed when I saw that one of the photography pages posted a deal from Adorama; they were selling Adobe's Lightroom 3 for $150. Given that this is a $300 software that rarely goes for under $250 on sale, I knew this was a steal. Knowing I wouldn't be taking advantage of the deal, but knowing John also appreciates a good deal, I sent him a text: Lightroom 3 for $150. Dang. 

A week or so ago John announced that he knew exactly what he was getting me for Christmas. According to him, it was something I've mentioned several times, therefore he knew that it was something I really wanted.

I, for the life of me, could not think of anything (within a reasonable price) that I had mentioned to him that I would like, so I spent the next few days trying to figure out what it could possibly be.

Imagine my surprise when he called me four hours after I texted him, greeting me with, "How did you know??" "Know what?" I asked. "What I was getting you for Christmas," he responded. "I don't know what you're getting me for Christmas," I answered, puzzled.

"But you texted me about it earlier," he said.

Lightroom 3. He was going to use the Amazon rewards points he accrues through work to pay for a chunk of Lightroom 3 for my Christmas present. However, because I had found it for $150 on Adorama, and because he was going to have to use all his points and still pay $100 out of pocket, he told me to go ahead and order the software, so I'm getting my Christmas present early!

I'm excited, especially since I used a 30 day trial of Lightroom 3 a couple of months ago. It's very different from Photoshop Elements, but it will be a great tool in perfecting the exposure of so many of my pictures.

Oh, and here's the kicker: You know how I said it rarely goes below $250 on sale? Yeah, pretty sure Amazon is also selling it (at least today) for $150!

Do any if you guys have anything in particular on your Christmas lists this year?

Friday, November 11, 2011

two weeks, whoops.

After my last post, I began prepping for a week long trip that ultimately took us across the state of Tennessee and back. We spent the day before Halloween through the Wednesday after with my mom, which was nice. John helped her get a great deal on a computer, she treated us to several meals, and we did a little shopping at The Avenue. We spent part of Wednesday at John's parents going through some boxes that have been there for two and a half years. I happily found several books I'd couldn't find, and John went through a bunch of baseball/football/basketball cards to see if they were worth anything. He didn't really have any luck, ha.

On Thursday we drove to Knoxville and stayed with a lady John used to work with and her new husband. We had a lot of fun just lounging around their house, talking, and doing a whole lot of nothing. We met up with our friends D.C. and Suz several times, and on Saturday night, John, Hannah Grace, and I went to the UT-MTSU game. Considering everything, Hannah Grace did pretty good, but I think we'll be getting a babysitter the next time we go to a game (whenever that is). We spent so much time making sure she wasn't going to fall off a bleacher or drink some stranger's coke that neither of us got to watch much of the game until she fell asleep at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Oh well, it was still a fun time!

We got back last Sunday, and it has taken me all week to get our house back in order! I was sick yesterday (nothing major, I just felt super weak and tired-- almost flu-like, but I'm better today!), and Hannah Grace managed to terrorize the house in the 13 hours she was awake, ha.

Now I have floors to clean and laundry (like, ten loads) to fold. Anyone wanna come help? Bueller?