Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Krewson Update

I thought it was about time for another Krewson update. :)

Krew will be 14 months next week.  Crazy!!  He is such a wonderful joy in our lives.  In all seriousness, he brings me and Dave to laughter at least five times a day.  He just does the silliest, cutest, and most ridiculous things.

This morning he cracked both of us up when he found Dave's large exercise ball in our bedroom and proceeded to roll it into our bathroom (and yes even he made it through the doorway) screaming "Nahnahnahnahnahnahnahnahna!!!!" the entire time.  His screams meant that he wanted us (who both currently share the name "Nahn") [ok, he actually really prefers Dave over me right now, so he probably just wanted Dave] to play ball with him.  And he wanted us to do this using a giant inflated ball that was nearly as tall and about three times as wide as his little body.  It was soooo cute.  Just for kicks I took a break from getting ready for work and rolled it with him a few times.  During the second roll, it knocked into his little belly, and after a split-second of wobbles he toppled to the floor.  No worries. He jumped right back up and was ready to go again.  He's resilient like that. :)

His vocabulary is now growing like crazy, although I think Dave and I are the only ones who can understand most of his words.  Some of his favorites right now are ball ("buh"), uh oh ("auh-oh"), and "nahn", which apparently means all of the following: mom, dad, give me that, I want foodplease, pick me up, come here, play ball with me, and get me out of my crib right now.  This ("dis!") and that ("dat!") are still staple words, and he'll occasionally throw in a "dada" for special effect. I've also heard him say bubble ("buhb"), red fish ("reh-ish"), yellow fish ("yeh-ish"), and Dave has heard him say book, dog, and a couple other words (that I can't remember since I wasn't there).  Krew understands when we tell him to sit down, or ask him where his milk is, or tell him to find his belly button.  It's so fascinating to see him developing into a little person.

He's now officially walking about 97% of the time.  Occasionally he'll crawl a short distance, but more often than not he'll stand up to walk to wherever he's going (even in situations where I myself would have crawled instead).  And he's getting quick.  I love it.

He was sick with roseola last week, but thankfully that's all over and he's back at daycare.  Juggling taking care of him at home while still trying to work was a bit exhausting.

His absolute favorite thing to do right now is to be in his daddy's arms, throwing a ball.  He chucks it at the ground, then Dave retrieves it (while still holding him) and hands it back to him.  And he chucks it again.  Over and over and over.  I am not good at this game.  Perhaps it's due to my absolute lack of enthusiasm for sports or anything sports-related, but I can handle throwing a ball for about, oh, two seconds.  And then I'm done.  Tired of it.  Ready to move on.  Dave seems to be able to do it all day long.  Which he apparently did last week while Krew was sick.  Which now makes him Krew's official favorite person in the whole wide world.  Seriously.  I cannot compare.  On Sunday, Dave went to play frisbee, and after he left Krew just stood at the front door whining.  So I took Krew into the house and played some ball (yawn) and as soon as I stopped, his little legs pitter-pattered straight back to the front door, where he began whining again.  So I took him back into the house to play ball again (yawn again).  And as soon as I stopped?  Back at the front door, whining.  Sigh. Over and over.  And then, later during his bath, out of nowhere he suddenly started whining, "Dadadadadadadadada" and looking like he was about to burst into tears.  It really was quite sad.  So I had to distract him from his longing for his daddy once again by acting totally against my nature and trying to mimick some of the boyish daddy things Dave does with him.  I must have done well enough, because the "Dadadadada"s stopped.

Despite his incredible love for all-things-ball, Krew also loves himself some music.  This brings so much joy to my heart.  He will now very frequently go to the tv and request (through gestures, grunts, and "nahn!") that he wants us to put in a PraiseBaby dvd for him.  And then he will wiggle and dance and move his arms all over the place as he dances to the praise songs.  I adore every moment of it, and could stand and watch him for hours.  What is so neat about it, as my mom pointed out the other night, is that he's not doing it for show or for attention.  He never looks to see anyone's reactions.  He's simply in his own little world, moving to the music as he feels led.  It's so uninhibited, innocent, and precious.  I love it.

Here's a couple pictures to wrap things up:

tv watching and cuddles with Daddy

book time with Mommy and Ellie

he's got those baby blues

1% Change 4.27.11 - A Servant's Attitude

If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, 
if his love has made any difference in your life, 
if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, 
if you have a heart, 
if you care— 
then do me a favor: 

Agree with each other, 
love each other, 
be deep-spirited friends. 

Don't push your way to the front; 
don't sweet-talk your way to the top. 

Put yourself aside, 
and help others get ahead. 

Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. 
Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. 
He had equal status with God 
but didn't think so much of himself 
that he had to cling to the advantages of that status 
no matter what. 
Not at all. 

When the time came, 
he set aside the privileges of deity 
and took on the status of a slave, 
became human! 

Having become human, 
he stayed human. 
It was an incredibly humbling process. 
He didn't claim special privileges. 
Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life 
and then died a selfless, obedient death—
and the worst kind of death at that—
a crucifixion.

-Philippians 2:1-8, The Message

Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.
Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.
That is what the Son of Man has done:
He came to serve, not to be served—
and then to give away his life
in exchange for many who are held hostage.

-Mark 10:43-45, The Message

Last night in Bible study, we studied and discussed the topic of being a servant.  We talked about how Christ had all power and was deity and equal with God, yet he laid all that aside and acted as a servant to all.  He did not demand recognition for his kindness, he did not act prideful about all the giving things He did for others.  He put others before Himself.  And in His Word, He challenges us to do the same thing.

My 1% Change for this week is to work on having more of a servant attitude in my marriage.  I'm going to try to ditch the attitude I can sometimes get when I decide that I've done enough and it's someone else's (that would be Dave's) turn.  I'm going to try to stop being so "me" focused and start being more "him" focused.  And when I do perform acts of servanthood, I'm going to try to stop expecting recognition, expecting something in return.  Because it's not about recognition and building my "I did good" list.  It's about following in Christ's footsteps, freely giving more than is expected, because He told me to and because that's how we become truly great in His eyes.  He set the example, and I am to follow.

If anyone would like to come along beside me for this challenge this week, please do share.  I would love to have some accountability.  Is there any area of your life that could use a bit more of a servant attitude?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Photography Help

When Dave and I first bought a DSLR in early summer of 2009, I was completely overwhelmed.  We purchased the Rebel XTi.  It had so many buttons and functions, I had no clue where to even START learning about it.  I survived on automatic mode for a good year.

Over time, through practice and a LOT of reading, I am slowly but surely learning how to use the darn thing.  In the beginning, it was total hit or miss as to whether or not my pictures would come out good.  Over the last year, since Krewson has been born, I've learned a lot and really improved my skills.  I don't always take the time to edit my shots in a way that makes them professional-looking (because, yes, it does take a lot of work), but when I do try, I'd say 7 times out of 10 it works. Which is oh-so-exciting.  :)

This winter I finally felt that I knew what I was doing enough to venture out and buy some additional lenses.  I ordered a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens (for portraits) and 70-300mm telephoto lens (for outside, primarily for Dave's frisbee tournaments).  Each new lens is requiring me to learn a whole new set of skills.  I also recently got Adobe Photoshop for my computer, which has required an immense amount of learning but has enabled me to do so much more with my pictures.  All of it is so exciting, but definitely time-consuming and challenging!!

For all my friends who are interested in improving their photography, I thought I'd share the steps I took and the resources I used along the way.

Step 1.  Get a DSLR.  There are some really great point-and-shoot cameras out there, but if you want to be able to have full control of your shots, a DSLR is the way to go.  Dave found mine on Craigslist, practically new, at a great price.  If you don't even know where to start looking, check out a guide here:

Step 2.  Learn the basics of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  This was the biggest hurdle for me, and the reason I pretty much only used automatic mode for the first year of owning the camera.  Unfortunately, I don't have any particular article or book or blog post that led to a certain "aha!" moment for me.  All I can suggest is to Google "aperture", "ISO", and "shutter speed", read read read, and then practice practice practice.  You could start with this blog post:  Keep in mind that you're going to take a lot of horrible shots.  A lot.  When you get frustrated, switch back to automatic mode for a while and take a breather.  Also, if you're with a friend who understands how to use DSLR manual settings, ask for advice.  Some of my greatest learning moments have been when someone else has explained to me what settings they would have used in a particular situation.

Step 3. Learn to do some basic edits of your pictures.  I recommend using Picasa for starts.  It's free, it's fairly simple and intuitive, and it can even handle pictures in raw format. (More on raw format later.)

Step 4.  Read the following online article: and decide on what future lenses you might like. Seriously, this article was AWESOME.  Go through it, step by step.  You will learn SO MUCH about your camera.

Step 5.  Order some lenses you would like and practice using them.  (And make sure to look for deals!) As I mentioned previously, I ordered a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens for portraits and 70-300mm telephoto lens for long-distance shots.  A ton of my pictures of Krew are taken with the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens.  And I'm oh-so-excited to use my telephoto lens to take pictures of Dave playing frisbee this summer.  My next lens will probably be a standard focal length lens with a wider maximum aperture.

Step 6.  Take editing your pictures up a notch.  I now have Adobe Photoshop.  I've also heard good things about Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Elements.  Photoshop has enabled me to do soooooooooo much with my pictures.  It is absolutely amazing.  So if you are really devoted to having great pictures, I'd suggest investing in one of these products.  You can check them out here:

Step 6.  Learn to use your new editing software.  There are oodles and boodles and snoodles of free tutorials, blog posts, and videos out there that will teach you how to do endless things with your photo editing software.    Just do some searching on the internet.  I promise you'll find something.  There's also the option of having someone teach you.  I purchased a one-on-one mentoring session with Mandy at A Sorta Fairytale and that's what really got me started using Photoshop.  Check her out if you're interested. :)

Step 7.  If your editing software works on pictures in raw format, start shooting in raw.  Editing a raw image with the appropriate software enables you to make much cleaner picture edits than you would be able to do if the picture were in jpeg format.  You can do more reading on this topic, but basically raw format contains a LOT more information about the picture you took, so your edits are more precise and will look more real.  It oftentimes allow you to darken an overexposed picture or brighten an underexposed picture to the point that you can't even tell the picture was over- or underexposed.  It's pretty neat.
*** Update: Since writing this post, I have changed my stances on JPEG vs RAW.  You can read about my decision here: ***

Step 8.  Keep reading and keep practicing.  I am a regular reader of many photography blogs.  You can check them out on my "Photography Blogs" blogroll over there ----> in my side column.  I also look at others' pictures quite frequently to learn ways to frame a shot and also new ways to edit my pictures.  I've actually reached the point where I will look at an occasional professional picture and think, "That's not what I would have done with that picture."  Which is exciting to me, because it means that I'm learning and developing my own style.

I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but I'd highly recommend the 31 DAYS TO A BETTER PHOTO SERIES over at My 3 Boybarians.  I really love this website, and it appears that this series will cover in more detail almost everything I've mentioned above.  In fact, I think that's the next place I'm going to head for more photography reading.  Because, trust me...there's always something else to learn.
*** Update: Since writing this post, I went through and read the entire 31 days of the series. I HIGHLY recommend it! ***

Happy photo taking!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

And the winner of the latest giveaway is...

There were eleven entries total for the latest giveaway.

I went to

And the winner was:


Congratulations Joyce!!
Joyce has been a devoted follower of my blog for years now, and she's never won one of my giveaways, so I'm super excited for her. :)

Joyce, go head back to Jessi's shop here and choose which graphic you want, then I'll pass the info on to Jessi.  She's added some new ones, so I want to make sure you get to choose from the full collection. :)

Thanks to everyone for entering, and be sure to stop by Jessi's shop the next time you're looking for some new interior decor.  She's an awesome Christian gal and I'd love to see her little store thrive. :)

God bless!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

Yesterday Krew and Ellie had their first Easter egg hunt together.  I was really quite impressed...Ellie was all about it, and put the eggs in the basket just like she should.  I didn't think Krew would have any idea what to do, but he went straight to the eggs, surprising both Dave and me.  He didn't quite get the whole Easter basket thing, though.  Instead of putting the eggs into the basket after he found them, he preferred to shake them and then immediately pelt them at the ground as hard as his little arm could muster.

Ellie was off to the races

Ellie got a little excited and shook all her eggs out of her basket. Krew helped her pick them back up. :)

Ellie loooooooved the puddles!

Looking forward to the day when he'll be a big boy.

On this glorious day, be sure to remember the real meaning of Easter.
God bless.

Jesus Saves

To think God gave His Son for us is just incomprehensible to me.  I look at my young sweet son, and the thought of anything happening to him absolutely devastates me.  God had a Son much more perfect than my own, yet He willingly gave Him up for me, for my son, for you, and for every other person who has or ever will live.  Today we celebrate that gift and the wonderful joy of Christ overcoming the grave.

Below are two songs that have always moved me to tears.  They tell the true Easter story.  Not one of bunnies and baskets and chicks, but of God giving Himself, His own Son, for us.  Because he loves each and every one of us that much.  Such an amazing gift.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mommyhood (and Daddyhood) is Tiring

Sometimes the juggling of mommyhood (or daddyhood) responsibilities gets a wee bit exhausting.  Take, for example, this week. A little boy who is sick and must stay home from daycare EVERY DAY, combined with lots to do at work for both mommy and daddy, equals lots of half days in the office, trying to cram in work while the boy is watching tv or sleeping, lots of medicine, and a trip to the doctor.

Add in the fact that we received confirmation this week that Dave may be losing his job due to mandated cuts at the state department of transportation (where he's an engineer).  Prayers would be appreciated.  It's an uncertain time for us right now.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

Don't forget to check out my giveaway if you could use a little Scripture in your life, too. :)

sicky boy

but at least we've gotten more family time this week :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1% Change 4.20.11 + Announcement and a Giveaway!!

It's time for a 1% Change again!  Last week I was a little late, so I aimed to be on time this week.

My 1% Change for this week goes along with my first 1% Change, which was to resist one dessert per day (because I eat way too many).  This new one is actually a pretty random 1% Change, and probably sounds kind of ridiculous, but...I am going to try to replace some of my daily desserts with freezer pops.  Yes, that's right.  Freezer pops are my 1% Change.  Why?  Because they're only 20 calories per pop, and they totally satisfy my sugar craving.  And they take a while to eat, so I'm not just shoveling food in.

If you'd like to join in with 1% Changes, check out Jessi over at Naptime Diaries...we're all working together, step by step, to move our lives in healthier directions. :)  (Jessi, I'm sure you're going to totally squirm over this 1% Change since it's encouraging the consumption of processed sugar water, but just go along with me. :)  Trust's a step in the right direction! ;)  )

Speaking of Jessi at Naptime Diaries, I discovered her blog and Mandy's blog through the online organization Faith Blogs, whose purpose is to connect blog readers and blog writers of faith.  Which leads to my announcement...

and no, I am not pregnant.
(Isn't that what everyone always assumes when you say you have an announcement to make?)


My announcement is that last week I was selected to be added to the Faith Blogs website!!


I am absolutely honored and so excited.  You can check out my introduction here.  I've used Faith Blogs to discover a lot of my regular blog reads, and I love the sense of community and support you can find through a group of fellow Christian bloggers.  So definitely head on over to Faith Blogs and start digging into all the other wonderful blogs they support.

And now, for the giveaway, back to discussion of Jessi at Naptime Diaries.  (Jessi, this entire post is appearing to be centered around you, haha.)

Jessi has opened an Etsy shop where she is selling some awesome Scripture graphics.  To help get her business going, she has offered to let me do a giveaway of one of her graphics.  They are soooo neat.  Check them out here:  Whoever wins this giveaway gets to pick a graphic of his or her choice.

How to enter:

(Required) Visit Jessi's Etsy shop at and then leave a comment here telling me which graphic you would choose if you won.

Additional entries:
*Post about this giveaway on Facebook and leave an additional comment telling me you did so.
*Put Just1Step on your blogroll or list of favorite blogs on your personal blog and then leave an additional comment telling me you did so.
*Write a blog post on your blog about this giveaway and leave an additional comment telling me you did so (worth two entries).

So each person has up to 5 entries!

The giveaway will run until Sunday night, April 24th, at 11:59pm.

Enter away!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eczema Advice?

A week and a half ago I had to take Krew into the pediatrician on a Saturday because his butt and backside had become covered in red welts.  I had been putting Aquaphor and diaper ointment on the rash like crazy and it just kept getting worse.  The culprit, according to the doc?  Eczema.  She gave me a prescription ointment and instructions to change his bath soap, and over a few days the welts slowly began to clear up.

Fast forward to now, our little boy is sick and now has another outbreak of eczema all over his body.  It's on his butt, his back, his arms, and there are even a few spots on his chest.  I'm not sure what's causing it.

Anyone have any great eczema advice?? Or know what the triggers may be?  I've switched his body wash and lotion to Aveeno that's made for eczema.  I don't want to continue to put prescription ointment on him all the time, because I was told it can lose its effectiveness if used too much.  However, I also don't want him to be covered in dry, red welts.  He's gotten patches of eczema since he was born, usually on his wrists and elbows, and a little Aquaphor has usually cleared it up.  But this recent eczema is waaaaaaaay more stubborn.

So fill me in...eczema advice?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sick Little Boy

We have a sick boy on our hands today. :(  Fever over 101 even with Motrin.  Had to strip him down to just his diaper to keep his body temperature cool.

Relaxing watching PraiseBaby

All pictures courtesy of my iPhone. I'm pretty impressed with its picture-taking capabilities.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tornadoes Galore

It was a crazy day around here. Some 10-15 tornadoes swept through the close surrounding areas. Dave and I are so fortunate that there was no damage in our immediate area.  I was in a Wal-Mart a few miles from home and actually had to be corralled to the back of the store with all the other shoppers because there was a tornado nearby.  It was pretty intense.

Prayers go out to the many people who have damaged homes, belongings, or businesses, or have lost loved ones.

You can read about it here:

Friday, April 15, 2011

For the Mommas and the Daddas - 1% Change 4.15.11

A couple days ago I read this post over at (in)courage that I really liked, titled "I Can't Do It".  It spoke of being a parent, and how we struggle to know what's best for our children and we worry about making mistakes.  And the whole point was that we cannot parent our children perfectly because we ourselves are not perfect.  My favorite quote from the post was the following:

Lead them to Him, because he is the only one who can teach and train and love and heal and comfort perfectly.  We can guide them to Him, and love brokenly in the meantime...

Let Him be the perfect parent, while you love brokenly.  Oh if I could only remember this.

Going along with this, my 1% Change for this week (although a bit late) is to work on remembering my role in this whole parenting gig.  God has blessed me with this child to raise, but my child is not really my own.  He is God's, and God is his perfect parent, not me.

I am going to work on memorizing the following:

God is the perfect parent.  I am to love brokenly.

Check out the full (in)courage article here and check out 1% Changes over at Naptime Diaries here.

And have a blessed weekend. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Time Wasters

When you read an article or book about time management, one of the top suggestions is often to eliminate your time wasters.  Ya know, like checking your email every five minutes, watching tv, lack of organization, taking the long way instead of the short cut, etc.

I've thought this through, and I'd like to share the top ten things that I'd like to eliminate from my life so that I have more time for the things that matter.

Alright, here we go...

1) Cleaning the house.
Oh my goodness I'd have a lot more time if I never cleaned the house.  I think I spend half of my waking hours at home cleaning the house.  So house cleaning, you've got to go.

2)  Laundry.
I spend the other half of my waking hours at home doing this.  If I don't, my upstairs fills with clothes to the point where you can't see the floor.  Or the bed.  Or the dressers.  And then the next thing I know I can't find any clean pants and Krew is wearing a bright red shirt with fluorescent green shorts and blue socks, not because my husband doesn't know how to dress him but because that's all he's got left.

3) Showering.
I could save twenty minutes per day if I didn't shower.  Yes I take twenty minute showers, and I'm not just standing there under the water.  I've got important things to do in there.  Like shampoo, condition, body wash, shave, scrub back, wash face, etc.  Don't judge.

4)  Putting on makeup.
I get so so so so so tired of putting on makeup every day.  It takes everything in me not to release a giant exasperated sigh every morning when I go to pull open the drawer housing my makeup containers.  Alas, God has blessed me with dark undereye circles, so makeup it must be.

5)  Driving to work.
I drive around 25 minutes to and home from work.  Add in walking to and from the car, and that's almost an hour a day.  Goodness gracious.

6) Now that I think about it, I think WORK is a huge time waster.  Holy cow I'd have a lot more time if I didn't have to work.  I might have landed on something here.

7)  Feeding Krew.
Every time I turn around the kid needs to eat again.  So I put him in the high chair, get the tray, pick out the food, feed him the food, fight with him over the food, clean his hands, fight with him over cleaning his hands, clean his face, fight with him over cleaning his face, take the tray to the sink, wash the tray in the sink, and set the tray out to dry so it's ready for a couple hours later when we get to do it all over again.

8)  Filling in my work timesheet.
This is the bane of my existence.  I absolutely hate doing it.  It usually only takes about 15 minutes, but if I could pay a monthly amount to never do it again, I totally would.  (As long as that monthly amount is less than my monthly salary, of course.)

9)  Talking on the phone.
I really really really don't like talking on the phone.  I don't have a good explanation as to why, but I tend to feel like I'm wasting precious minutes of my life when I'm on the phone.  There are, of course, exceptions, but in general I wouldn't mind eliminating this from my life.  Texting - awesome.  Face to face - awesome.  Email - awesome.  On the phone - ugh.

10)  Filling up on gas.
I dislike this one so much that I tend to drive my car till it's running on fumes.  I usually accidentally (yet conveniently) time it so that I'm low on gas when Dave is in the car with me.  That way he has to get out and pump the gas since, ya know, he's the man of the family and everything.  Then I can sit in the car and play on my iPhone.  (Which is not a time waster by my definition, by the way.)

So if I could just eliminate these things from my life, can you imagine all the extra time I'd have??? Then I could spend time doing the really important things in life. Like blogging and reading other blogs.  Just kidding.  I mean, I would probably do those things more often, but they aren't the important items.  The important things would be spending quality time with my husband and son, reading my Bible, Bible studies, praying, witnessing to others, serving the less fortunate, teaching Krew about Christ, working out, taking hot baths...

...okay, and blogging.

What about you?  What are your biggest time wasters?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm a Photoshop Connoisseur

Well, I'm a little closer at least.

I recently discovered that Mandy over at A Sorta Fairytale offered one-on-one Photoshop mentoring sessions for purchase.  I'd been wanting to learn to edit my pictures to make them look more bright and professional for quite some time.  To my excitement, Dave agreed to let me buy a session for Mother's Day. :) (A little early, yes I know.) I was stoked!!

Here's what I learned to do:


to this:

Awesome, right?? I am so excited about what I can do now. I really like Mandy's photography style, and she took me step by step through her editing process. It was so educational and gave me an excellent spring board for learning all the other great things Photoshop can do.  And it was so much easier than trying to learn on my own by reading or watching videos.  I loved being able to just ask her questions, have her repeat certain instructions, and watch her edit my own personal pictures to match her style.

If you're interested, you can check Mandy's sessions out here:

I think it'd be a wise decision.
Krew does, too. :)