I haven't posted in a while, mainly because I've been both busy and sick. I only worked 2 days last week, but it seemed like there was always too much to do. I'm back at work today, though, and feeling much better than I have in a while.
Tonight, I fly to (just outside of) Washington, D.C. for a training class that will last through Friday. I don't expect to have a lot of time to do any touristy stuff in D.C., but I plan to take at least one or two evenings to go downtown and walk around and see some of the monuments. I've been there once before (in October 2000), and I remember it being a huge place that would take several days to really visit, so I'm sure I won't get to see everything I'd like to.
The really crummy part of the trip is the flights. The only direct flights available are in the late evenings. The flight there is not horrible (I'll be getting in around 9:00 PM), but the flight back leaves D.C. at 10:00 PM on Friday! Yuck. At least I won't have to go to work the following morning. I'll just have to kill some time after the class lets out on Friday afternoon.
As of today, I've changed teams at work again. They basically asked me to take my old position back. The guy who took over for me has left, and I am needed more in that spot than where I have been for the past year and a half. I'll still be doing a lot of the same stuff, but more of it (which is good), and I'm again considered a member of the development team.
There's still no definite date for the acquisition, and people are starting to leave. So far, the communication from the new company about what's going on has been poor. If that's any indication of how things will be after the acquisition, I doubt I will be there long. We'll see, though.
We had a great time with my parents and grandmother here this week. They left this morning and I don't think Owen has quite realized that they are not coming back for a while. He acted like they were just going to the store or something, but I'm sure he will miss them by the end of the day. He had such a good time playing with them and getting so much attention - even if he did have to split it with his new little brother.
He's doing great with Ivan, by the way. Many people have asked how Owen is handling the new addition, and I think he's handling it about as well as anyone could expect. He's very interested in Ivan - always asking where he is or what he's doing - and he doesn't seem to be too terribly jealous of him when we hold him or whatever. He has his moments, of course, but I think having a lot of people here around Christmas helped him feel very loved and secure.
He's really enjoyed his gifts. He got a couple of Geotrax sets that he plays with almost non-stop. He also got some matchbox cars and airplanes, some more legos (always a good idea), several DVDs (Veggie Tales, Loony Tunes, etc.), some toy tools, and Darth Tater (from uncle Keith). At first, I think he was scared of it - he didn't like it when the mask and cape were on it. He loved to put the regular ears, nose, and mouth on it, though, and after a couple of days he was playing with the other parts, too. I think we'll have to get him some more Mr. Potato Head stuff to go with it.
We didn't get the snow we had hoped for. In fact, we had a wide range of weather from cold and wet to sunny and unseasonably warm. The weather was nice enough on Tuesday that we were able to spend the afternoon at the zoo. We walked until we were worn out and Owen had a good time as usual. My dad took him on the carousel, which he didn't really like at first, but he got used to it and I'm sure he'll be asking to ride it again.
I took my new camera along, of course, but didn't get a lot of really good photos. The animals were somewhat uncooperative and there were too many people in some areas. I saw about 6 or 7 other people with the same camera, but most had the silver version (which made me all the more glad I got the black one).
I've been enjoying my camera very much, but I'm increasingly reminded that a more expensive camera does not automatically mean great photos - I still have a lot to learn. I took a stab at setting up a "photo shoot" to try to get a good portrait of Owen and Ivan together, but the results were mediocre. I don't have the proper lighting equipment or a good background to do something like that, and it's hard to get kids to do what you want them to (even when you bribe them with cookies). I had the aperture set wrong, too, so in most of the photos only one of them is completely in focus. There just wasn't time to adjust any of the settings with impatient and wiggly kids. I guess what I need to do is set up some of Owen's stuffed animals in a portrait-like setting and practice a little before I work with real people (especially kids).
The main advantage this camera gives me is the speed of it, which enables me to capture those brief moments that fly by with kids. So many times, with our old camera, you couldn't turn it on fast enough or time the shot right with the 1-second delay. Hopefully, though, I'll be able to spend the next few weeks and months getting very familiar with the camera and its possibilities.
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