Meagan Musing: February 2012

Meagan Musing


Silly Andrew


It's been a while since I've shared some of the crazy stuff Andrew says. His imagination is more active than ever and it shows up in the funny, funny stuff he says throughout the day.

He randomly comes up to me to kiss my cheek. I say "Thanks for the kiss Andrew." And he says, "no pleasure!" Like it's the most normal response ever.

Apparently he's gotten no problem and my pleasure mixed up.

But, y'all, we don't say these things! Where is he getting this stuff??

He loooooves his baby sister.

So much so that he's married to her already. "Mama, I'm married to Caroline and you're married to me." Okay, buddy. I really thought we'd have some time before all that married stuff, but he's pretty interested.

He's also recently told me that all his buddies sang a song about animal noises at his wedding. I'm sure his bride was happy about that one. :)

He fights sleep every single night. At 8:30 he will have been up since 7:00 straight through - no nap - and he still still doesn't want to lay down to go to sleep.

The other night at bedtime he said, "No, I want to walk. Walking is just like sleeping only it's walking." Yeah, not going to happen.


His GJ (Brian's mom) was in town last weekend. They played together all day Saturday and Andrew had so much fun with her. Sunday morning he jumped in bed with us like he normally does and snuggled for a bit.

Then he turned to me and said, "I'm going to find GJ. I'll miss you today mama!" I guess I know my place since I wasn't going anywhere.

He is in full on WHY mode and most days I just run out of good answers for him, but I try hard. Today he was climbing on the back of the couch and I told him for the one thousandth time to get down and he asked why. "Because you can fall and break your head or your leg and it would hurt. It's just dangerous." I said. And bad for the couch.

His response? "So I will break my tummy and food will come out?". I just didn't even know how to respond to that one.

Seriously, do you have any good tips on the why question? Do I need to answer every time even when his response to my answers is just to continue to ask why??

Some days I don't know if I have enough patience for it all, but the funny moments really help.

Sweet Shot Day

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True Love & Cabin Fever

I'm already a week late in posting my Project 52 photos and it's only weeks 7 and 8. I have my photos though and I really, really want to complete this project, even if I'm late sometimes.

So - on with the show!

True Love


Caroline's little Valentine onesie was adorable. (It's from Pocket Baby on Etsy.) I'm pretty sure any snuggly, chubby baby = true love.

Cabin Fever


We really haven't been stuck inside too much this winter what with our abundance of 75 degree days. But Andrew always seems like he's just about the burst with excitement and the need to run. Maybe all little boys are like this, no?

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Next week: A Great Leap

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This Morning

Y'all, I'm on a roll with the house cleaning and organizing. If my kids could fend for themselves and if everything else in my life could be put on hold I'd be able to get the whole house whipped in to shape in no time. Alas, that's not going to happen.

But I am making lots of progress.

So I have a bit of randomness for you today, but it's our crazy life and I love these photos.

Andrew's about to have a birthday. Can you believe that?? Here's the party invite I designed. I love the chevron and the red. It's going to be so fun!



The only way I got him to take these photos was to let him take pictures of me too. He's not a natural yet, but I'll keep working on him. :)

Also the You Capture challenge this week was doors and I didn't have anything to share until this morning when I grabbed my camera before we all left the house for MDO and work.

First, here's our back door.


This is the door we use to go in and out of the house since our garage is off the back patio. We almost never leave through the front door.

This is the dog who guards our back door.

He needs a haircut.

And here's what Andrew does when he finds a pink umbrella by the back door.



Only an almost three-year-old boy would turn a pink flower umbrella into a weapon.

And here's my sweet husband carrying the baby to the car for me.


He's gotten very used to me taking pictures of lots of things, but he still thinks it's kind of weird.


Such a good sport....

Lots of living goes on at this back door.

Linking Up:


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Simplifying My Life

For months I've been feeling unbelievably disorganized, rushed and generally like I just can't get caught up. I haven't been on a good schedule, and I think our days and my home reflect this.

So on a complete whim late Thursday night I bought Tsh Oxenreider's book Organized Simplicity on my iPad, and I read the whole thing this weekend.

It was just what I needed to kick me in to gear.

I have a plan!

She introduces what she calls a Home Management Notebook and I think this is just what I need. She suggests sections for a daily to-do list, weekly cleaning and organizing schedules, monthly calendars, budget/bills, grocery lists, gift lists, work/blog ideas and activities for the kids.

How great will it be to have all this stuff in one central spot rather than spread out all over my house?

I'm really looking forward to adding some structure to my day with a daily to-do list and routine. I think we're all going to benefit.

The second half of the book focuses on simplifying and organizing your house.

Yes, please!

Our cabinets are full, our closets are full, our drawers are full. I hate it. I feel like I lose stuff and waste time looking for things. I am in serious purge mode.

It may have been this photo from the February photo challenge on Instagram that got me going.

This...was my closet last week:


And now it looks like this:


It's still full, but oh it's so much better! I can see things and find what I'm looking for. I found cute new shoes I didn't even know I had.

And my makeup drawer:


This weekend I threw out three bags of trash between my closet, under sink cabinet and my makeup drawer.

I have big plans to clean out this house over the next few weeks. I will take back my space and enjoy what I have rather than resent all this crap that is taking over my closets...I feel really strongly about this.

I hope to update you here on the blog as I make progress. I need y'all to keep me accountable.

So, who wants to join me? I know I'm not the only one with too much stuff!

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Friday Funny

My fellow photographers will get a real kick out of this...

Camera ComedyOutline

The better camera part slays me!

My sweet friend Jessica sent this to me last week and I laughed out loud because it's so true! Isn't it?? I'm not the only one who would do this, right?? :)

Happy weekend y'all!




Half a Year


Oh, that face!

This totally sums up my little girl on her 6-month birthday. She is the happiest, sweetest, baby.

And I'm just wild about her!


Can you blame me?

Here's all the mom stuff that I want to be able to come back and read when she's older because this blog is her baby book...

We had her six month check-up today and she's still a chunky monkey: 17 lbs 4 ounces (70th percentile), 25.5 inches (33rd percentile.) All the chub is in her thighs. I love them. :)


She's wearing mostly 9 month clothes and a size 3 diaper. I started her on food when she started sitting up a few weeks ago. So far, she's a big fan of feeding herself. She loves puffs and mum-mums and does a good job with avocado, broccoli, watermelon and cantaloupe. She's not so sure about the purees we've tried. She wants the spoon, thank you very much.

Sleep....ah, sleep. She still wakes up to eat twice a night 95% of the time. Once (one night in six months!) she slept from 7:30 to 7:30 with one feeding.

I think Andrew had dropped down to one feeding by six months, but he did eventually grow out of it, so I figure she will too.

She has started napping really well. I helped her learn to fall asleep in her bed with me just shushing and patting on her and that's helped her napping so much. I nurse her, give her a quick snuggle, lay her down with her lovey and she's out in 5-10 minutes, leaving me free to tame play with Andrew.


She still loves to nurse, but she's quick, which is again really nice considering I'm usually trying to wrangle Andrew while feeding her. She hasn't had a bottle in months so I think we'll just skip those again and go straight to a cup.

She's a great sitter and loves to play with her toys. She can sit on the floor and play independently for a long time, like 20 minutes. As long as she can see us I think she thinks we're playing with her so she'll just hang out, although now she's crawling backwards and keeps getting suck under the furniture. Ha!

She's recently found her voice and likes to talk to us and her toys. She's pretty interested in Fenway and she's really, really interested in Andrew.

It's so hard to get her to do anything but watch him when he's in the room. I enjoy our mornings when Andrew's in MDO because we get to play just the two of us without being distracted by her big brother.


I really, really love having a girl to shop for. I mean, her closet is so full.

Darn Gap Kids and Mini Boden sending me 20% off emails every week. And Zulily with their daily deals on my phone! I feel like I'm developing a style with her and it's so fun! I wonder how long it'll be before she's helping me pick out her outfits?

These first six months have been challenging - we had to work out a new routine and get in to a new groove as a family of four. But I think we're doing a pretty good job.

I feel like I really know Caroline, as much as you can know a baby. I feel like I'm speaking her language now, and I know what she needs. I'm more confident this time.

I love her so much, and I'm so happy to be her mama.

Linking Up:

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Robot Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!


Sweet Shot Day

I served Andrew's peanut butter waffle in the shape of a heart this morning, and I'm making icing for the Valentine's cupcakes we're going to make today after MDO.

Having kids has changed me in lots of ways - my sleep habits will never been the same, my cabinets are full of colorful plastic-ware and holidays are a much bigger deal than they ever were before.

I mean, I'd never given much thought to Valentine's Day beyond a card for Brian and a romantic dinner.

But now? Handmade Valentines.


Whoa...Pinterest brings out creativity I didn't even know I had.

Caroline is trying really hard to crawl. She's definitely mobile now, it's just that she mostly goes backwards and under furniture. Ha!



How adorable are those pants? They're from my generous friend Suzie.

I hope your day is filled with those you love!

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Drink Up!

I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to photograph this week - red wine, coffee, champagne, maybe some sparkling water?

In the end I settled on my beloved Diet Coke:



project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Next week, we're celebrating Valentine's Day with True Love.

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Pink Lipstick

So today I left the house ALONE for three whole hours. I was a little worried, but Daddy held down the fort beautifully.

I went to Northpark and bought things for myself. I didn't have a stroller to push or a baby to wear. It was a nice break.

I wandered around Sephora for a long time and bought new lipstick.

Awesome new lipstick makes me happy. #febphotoaday

I'm pretty sure it'll be a new fave. I also bought red shoes. :)

Brian is in school getting his MBA and he works hours and hours and hours at the office every week so I always feel bad asking him to help me out at home anymore than he already does.

But it's good for the kiddos to spend alone time with their dad. And it's good for me just to have alone time.

Happy weekend friends!

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Pretty Things


{Don't forget to check out my Lightroom Tutorial below!}


I have a few fun snaps to share with y'all this week.


I added these vases with pretty little flowers from Pottery Barn to our den this winter and they've been making me happy ever since.


I kept hydrangeas in this spot last summer, but I would need to replace and arrange them every week or so. I don't think I'm going to have time to keep that up this summer so hopefully these will be a nice no-work replacement.

It's been such a warm, warm winter that our azaleas are blooming! They're a few months early, but they're pretty.


I think surely we'll have another freeze before spring is officially here, so I don' t know what will happen to these, but they look great now!

And our pansies are still so pretty:



They make me happy.

Linking up:

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Lightroom Tutorial - Intro to Presets

Life with two kids doesn't really leave me with too much time for photo editing so I'm always looking for ways to get faster.

I used to bring every photo in to Photoshop to apply a curves and levels layer and would usually run some kind of action. I got pretty fast, but it could still be time consuming.

I've been shooting in RAW for over a year and all that time I've been first importing every photo into Lightroom.

But, I was only using Lightroom to adjust my White Balance, make an exposure adjustment if I needed to and maybe apply a little noise reduction.

In the last few months though I've started exploring what Lightroom has to offer. One of my favorite bloggers, Keli at Kidnapped by Suburbia is a Lightroom expert and she's definitely inspired me to spend more time learning this great tool.

I still have tons to learn, but here's where I get started these days.

A few general adjustments are automatically made when you import a RAW photo into LR. RAW photos start out looking very undeveloped and unfinished because your camera doesn't do anything to process them. So these initial adjustments kind of "finish it off" like your camera would if you were shooting JPEG.

Let's look at this adorable shot of my friend's sweet little girl.


This is what I'd call SOOC even though the initial LR adjustments have been applied.

Next, I'm going to apply my own preset. I almost always use this preset - it will:

-switch my profile to Camera Neutral, which basically applies my camera's profile to my RAW photo. The default profile is Adobe Standard, which if fine for some shots, but really isn't the best for a clean portrait. It's usally a little too red for my taste.

-bump up the vibrance to about 20. When you switch the profile to neutral it'll take away some of the color or pop you saw before. Up your vibrance and you'll see some of that come back without the red.

-bump up blacks to about 7. This is kind of like running a levels adjustment in PS.

-make a small tweak to the Tone Curve. I up the lights and bring down the darks just a bit. This small adjustment makes a big difference.

-drop the orange saturation. Often skin tones look too orange and this fixes that.

-run noise reduction at 20. RAW images have none of the noise reduction that your camera would apply to a JPEG so they almost all need some noise reduction and LR is really good at this.

So I created my own preset to do all these things with one click:


Next, I adjust my White Balance.

I think this is one of the hardest things about post processing. If you have a great white balance tip, please let me know it! I do use a gray card for newborn shoots and times when the light won't change, but I never use one outside or at home. So that means white balance is pretty much a guessing game for me.

I also thought this shot was just a smidge overexposed so I dropped the exposure and cropped it in a bit.



And often that would be it. I'd export the photo into PS, add my watermark, run a quick sharpening and sizing for web action and I'd be done. This is a nice, clean edit in LR. And it was fast!

(Also, if I decide I want to print this photo in the future all I'll need to do is find it in LR and export it. I don't have to have another big PS or JPEG file saved on my hard drive.)

But wait, what if I want to do something a little more artsy or processed?

This is where I still have a lot to learn. But in the meantime I can use presets. Some of my absolute favorite presets are One Willow Presets. Y'all, these are so versatile and so powerful and so pretty!

I have bought three of her five collections and really wish I'd just bought the bundle to start with because I really want them all now!

In order to decide which preset I want to use I'd just take my cursor and watch the preview in the navigator screen on the top left. When I see one that looks good I can click and try it out. And the beauty of LR? - if you don't like it, hit Ctrl + Z and it's gone. So easy!

Here I decided on the Orchid Hush from the Beautiful Things set.


I did have to adjust my WB but that's it. I didn't make any further adjustments. I was happy with it. Now often you'll have to adjust your tone curve or the fill light a bit to make a preset work, and the WB is key (again with the WB!) to making them work for your specific photo.

Y'all, Lightroom and presets can do really pretty things to your photos and they're amazingly fast.

And I'm all about fast these days since I'm usually processing while holding the baby and begging Andrew to stop dancing on the coffee table already!

{You can download a free 30 day trial of Lightroom at Adobe.}

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Being the Mom

I originally wrote this on Friday night and was worried it sounded a little too whiny. But after today, I think all these points are still very valid!

Some days being the mom is really hard and not as much fun as I thought it would be.

Like when your almost three year old (who no longer naps) whines for you all day long, and just can't figure out how to stay in his seat long enough to finish a meal. And you feel like all you do is discipline and explain and beg and plead...why, why can't you just follow me and get in your car seat when it's time for us to leave?

And your baby wakes up two hours after bedtime because?? well, if I knew maybe she wouldn't do it.

And your wet clothes are still, still in the washer because you haven't taken the dry ones out of the dryer yet because then you'd have to put them away.

But then you plug in your camera and upload these pictures of a regular day.


And your husband, who just got home from a really, really long week at work says, "I haven't even seen that shirt yet. I bet Andrew loves it."


And, yeah, I do know that Andrew loves that guitar shirt. And that Caroline ate over half an avocado on Thursday. And that Andrew's been talking about our upcoming Disney cruise non-stop for two days.


I am lucky that I get to spend so much time with them during these early, oh so important years. It's hard and often makes me want to pull my hair out.


But I really am doing what I love, what I want to be doing. I just hope I'm doing it right.

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