and speaking of…

(brace yourself for randomness ahead…)

You guys are backsliding on the POTD comments. If it weren’t for the love affair I have with my sitemeter I’d think nobody but Jennifer even checks that bad boy (by the way Jennifer, I love you).

Speaking of my sitemeter I’m always watching you guys. It’s only fair since you’re always watching me too right? HA! Anyway, I love clicking around and seeing who links here and what’s going on in your lives. I can’t help but notice that some of you that link here have private blogs that I haven’t been invited to. Come on, that’s so not fair. I invited you to my birthday party, invite me to yours! 🙂 Now that I’ve sufficiently guilted you into it, the email link is in the sidebar. (heehee)

And speaking of links in the sidebar I’m thinking of adding a permanent spot over there where you can download my actions. Gigasize only hosts for 90 days though and, wow, do they have some raunchy ads running while you’re downloading. Sooooo…does anyone know a better, cleaner, more permanent way that I can host the actions for whoever comes here?? The vintage one from a few days back was nothing fancy (it’s seriously only two layers) but I’ll put that one up too if I can figure out a better spot.

(How am I doing with the segues so far? I’m hoping that by linking each paragraph with “speaking of” then this post will seem a whole lot less random)

And speaking of spots, I’m a horrible stainfighter. I’ve slowly and painfully come to this realization and I have such guilt about it. My poor babies are destined to spend their childhood in clothes speckled with dirt, paint and tomato-based products. Any ideas for me?

And speaking of ideas, it sounds like there was some interest in “Mama Mondays”. I thought it would be fun to open discussion every week or so for different topics since there was such great dialogue here about going green and diapering. I get quite a few emails regarding books, diapering, baby signing, and homemade baby food so I could use those as starting points. Any other things you guys would like to talk about? I certainly have a long list of things I want to ask YOU so help me add to it!

And speaking of long lists my list of favorite blogs is out of control. So of course this weekend I had to add a new one – Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Yes, I do realize I’m the last person in the blogosphere to discover her.

And (finally!) speaking of realizations we came to a rather startling one this weekend: we’ve acclimated. As in, weather-wise. For months and months we wore our warm, thick Colorado skins like badges of honor tossing around comments like “oh no, we just moved here from Colorado, this isn’t cold” and “we don’t need jackets, we’ve been in Colorado for the last three years.” But then we looked like this yesterday when the temps peaked around 50…

…and our very Southern neighbors called us out on it.

AnonymousFebruary 25, 2008 - 11:59 am

Love that last shot of Sarah! I check POTD but rarely comment, just lurk a lot. So keep posting please. And totally toddler stain remover works for my toddler’s adventure-stained clothes. I spray, toss in the wash, and most come clean the first time. If it needs a little extra love, I spray again and soak overnight in cold water, and that typically does the trick. The stain remover comes a wipes form for quick fixes out and about, or a spray form like spray and wash. I buy it at Meijer or Babies R Us. It has a pink label with a blue outline of a happy face (I think.) Good luck!
heather in Ohio

KimberlyFebruary 25, 2008 - 12:08 pm

Speaking of the Pioneer Woman, I LOVE her and I’m bound and determined to win photo-naming contest one day. I’m loving the pics!

Mommy SharFebruary 25, 2008 - 12:20 pm

Not sure if I matter or count since you don’t know me but I check your blog daily if not multiple times a day looking for a new post. Your pictures are amazing and I love your different stories, oh so fun. Keep blogging, we are out here and we are watching you!

KimFebruary 25, 2008 - 12:34 pm

On your stain fighting comment, I swear by, live by Oxy clean! It has gotten out Penicillin, pasta sauce, tomato stains on white dresses (hmm why am I putting a 17 month old in white anyway?!?), and playground mud. I usually soak the stain in cold water and then wash with my regular wash.

Good luck getting those stains out!

By the way I am a huge fan of Pinoeer Woman as well. Great recipes!

DebbieFebruary 25, 2008 - 12:35 pm

Just have to tell you that I so look forward to your posts every day… It’s like picking up the phone and talking to a good friend – you know, the kind of friend that maybe you would talk to every day so there are no formalities or awkwardness… – yep, that’s how it is reading a new post from Erin. And you always make me smile.

I also use Totally Toddler – you can buy it at Babies R Us or Walmart. Except I haven’t tried the method of the first poster so I’ll have to try it her way.

Wow, that Pioneer Woman… so easy to get caught up in her posts… She has a gift for writing, maybe like someone else I sort of know. 🙂

I’m with you about Gigasize… But I don’t have any suggestions for you.

Oh, and so I’m not the only one addicted to my sitemeter? 🙂 But I don’t even have a smidgen of the amount of readers that you do.

And maybe I should have just put this post on my own blog because man, I’ve been chatty.

Thanks again for all your wonderful sharing that you do.

DonnaFebruary 25, 2008 - 12:37 pm

I just found your blog through RWS. I love your pictures! Looks like you have a few comments already so that’s good. I recently begged for some comments on my blog and no one did! Yikes, how embarrassing!

KelleyFebruary 25, 2008 - 12:38 pm

Hey Erin,
Congratulations on your acclimation to the south. Huntsville is way too cold for me (cold = below 70)so I’m glad to see Sarah all bundled up on a nice “cold” day! I love your Mommy Mondays idea. I sure could use some tips on homemade babyfood. I got some ideas from wholesomebabyfood.com but Luke won’t eat anything I make! And he has yet to meet a store-bought food he doesn’t like!
Wish we were playing today 🙁

ElizabethFebruary 25, 2008 - 12:43 pm

Hee hee, you crack me up, Erin.

The best, longest-lasting, and cheapest stain removal: a bar of Fels-Naptha soap. It will last forever, and it can get anything out of anything except for bananas and avocados. Those two things are pretty much permanent, as far as I can tell.

Somehow I missed your 365 project–will have to go check it out! Love seeing all the cutie photos : )

starfitchFebruary 25, 2008 - 1:08 pm

Oh no, does that mean you see how many times a day I click to see if you’ve posted? 🙂

Love P-Dub and love her food blog too! You might just be the last one, yes.

Since Oxi-Clean is just hydrogen peroxide with a fancy label and jacked price, I buy 94 cent H2O2 at Walmart and dump some in with every baby load and sometimes pretreat if necessary.

LaurenFebruary 25, 2008 - 1:08 pm

I am a friend of Colleen’s and I too check your blog on a regular basis.
For the stains…try hairspray…I know sounds crazy, but it takes EVERYTHING out. Just buy the plain, cheap stuff…aqua net works best! Spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes and wash away.

JennieFebruary 25, 2008 - 1:14 pm

I’ve had good luck using the Spray & Wash Dual Power stain remover. You have to throw your stuff in the washer ASAP after the stain happens, though. The Spray & Wash Stain Stick has also been pretty good for us, and you don’t have to wash right away. I also check POTD reguarly and don’t comment, I’m sorry! 🙁 Hey, I did recommend you as a photographer I’d like to see featured on the Pay It Forward blog Traci Turchin linked to this weekend, though! 🙂

JennieFebruary 25, 2008 - 1:15 pm

Oh, and a Mama Monday topic I’d love to see is potty training! Especially tips for how to do it when you work full-time and can’t just switch to undies every day! Don’t think my baby-sitter would enjoy that much! Can you potty train over a weekend??

ssclark01February 25, 2008 - 1:42 pm

I check POTD multiple times every day. 🙂 Is there an award for checking your blog most every day, cause I think I would probably win.

Life In MotionFebruary 25, 2008 - 1:48 pm

I always check your POTD too 🙂

Love the mothering mondays idea….how about potty training….it’s rocking our world right now.

I’d also like to point out that you’re holding out on us missy! Where is that new blog name you promised us?! 😉

jeriFebruary 25, 2008 - 2:11 pm

gorgeous photos! looks like she’s staying warm!

TerahFebruary 25, 2008 - 2:17 pm

Yes! Would love Mama Mondays! I am a Mama of one 3 year old and two (almost) 2 year olds…I need all the help I can get! I *think* I have learned a thing or two, but always LOVE getting more ideas.

Just wanted to thank you for your blog…check it all the time. You’re are always so uplifting and encouraging.

AmandaFebruary 25, 2008 - 2:28 pm

I love your blog and I’ve emailed you! 🙂

ShawnaFebruary 25, 2008 - 2:34 pm

I’m a crazy lurker too!! I love your blogs and so admire your photography skills! That last shot of Sarah is just beautiful!
I agree, potty training would be a fabulous topic! With a 17 month old, we are just starting to think about that (actually bought a potty today), but it’s total un-charted territory for us!! I would love some tips!

MeganFebruary 25, 2008 - 2:41 pm

Stain stick by spray n wash and shout stain gel have always worked for me. I try hard to remember to put the stain remover on the stain as soon as it is off of the child and then wash when I am ready. I have to admit that I do check your POTD often but don’t comment. I will do better.

Shannon K.February 25, 2008 - 2:43 pm

Oh my then you know that I constantly am checking your blog…hehe. I heart Pioneer Woman too…I just recently found her as well and I think I check her blog almost as much as yours! 😀

ChristiFebruary 25, 2008 - 3:02 pm

I like Shout gel stick, OxyClean (am going to start just using plain hydrogen peroxide – H2O2 – as one of your posts suggests) and the Clorox pen for when it’s something on white. Also, I read somewhere that you can sprinkle a little dishwashing detergent in your food stained wash and I have done this with Cascade and had get excellent results. It fights baked on food off of dishes, so why not clothes?
There’s my 2 cents…

tracyFebruary 25, 2008 - 3:24 pm

I love Vivid for stain removal! I also use Dawn soap if someone (usually my husband) gets a stain from greasy food on his clothes. I love your POTD…I look forward to seeing your beautiful photos and wonder how you take such great photos!! I’m dying to use your actions…I have PSE, but haven’t been able to begin to figure it out, let alone figure out how to download your actions and use them! It’s my goal though 🙂

JaniceFebruary 25, 2008 - 3:33 pm

Erin, did you ever try 4Shared.com? It has a couple of small ads here and there but not as crazy Gigasize.

I have to agree with you about the Pioneer Woman! Although I can never think of a good title when it comes to her photo naming contests.

Lovely photos as per usual! 🙂

CarrieFebruary 25, 2008 - 4:01 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of Momma Mondays. I love to hear other people’s ideas on different topics and since my kids are most often my main topic, that would be great. I must admit you helped me a great deal in deciding to make the switch to cloth diapers and frankly I am just loving it so far. I concur with one of the previous commenters (is that a word?) that potty training should be a topic.

As far as your sitemeter goes – I am almost embarrassed that you have one – you know how often I check to see if you have posted. You have such a wonderful way of writing as if you are actually talking to those of us out here that stalk you.

POTD – please keep it going! I hit that right after I check here. You have some of the most beautiful pictures but it doesn’t hurt that your subjects are just so darn stinking cute!

And no help here on stain fighting – I too am a total failure in that area. Let me know if you find anything that works!

Keep the posts coming and I’m sure there will be more of us that come out of hiding.

ToriFebruary 25, 2008 - 4:20 pm

OKay, I admit it..I am one of “those people” that check on you regularly and I write nothing..Sorry…
I love the photos of Sarah and Eph. They are always great!!!!

lizFebruary 25, 2008 - 4:38 pm

I check POTD, but stopped commenting b/c they always seemed redundant with my PPB comments. I’ll go back now, though, and throw you a bone 🙂

stains? Like baby poop and grass?
ZOUT!! Red spray bottle – awesome! Even works on old stains.

for unusual stuff, google Queen of Clean – she was a CHEG, then a fire/flood damage repair-er. She knows her poop – and how to get it out 🙂

Ean & Adam's MamaFebruary 25, 2008 - 6:20 pm

Hi!
I check out your blog all the time and love all of your photos. I am hoping that I can be as great a photographer as you one day. Use oxy spray to get those tough stains out the kiddies clothes. I have 2 boys and it works wonders!

the larsonsFebruary 25, 2008 - 6:27 pm

I love mama mondays too. How about a discussion on home schooling? Pros, cons, why you do it, why you don’t… just to broaden my horizons about it.

love these photos!

carolFebruary 25, 2008 - 6:53 pm

I still use Totally Toddler on my kids clothes (especially the socks it works great) Great pictures of Sarah

AnnFebruary 25, 2008 - 7:05 pm

Hi, Erin! I also lurk alot- I may have posted once before- found you through 2P’s a while back!

I love your photos and your advice, thank you so much for sharing with us!

And my blog isn’t private- or very exciting- but you are welcome to visit! And I understand the weather issues, we live in Charleston, SC, and at 60 degrees today we were bundled, too.

SusanFebruary 25, 2008 - 7:46 pm

(raising hand slowly)….another lurker coming out of hiding over here. Totally love your photography so I check your blog often and I never comment. Probably because I have no stain fighting advice 🙂

http://cishamphotography.blogspot.com/February 25, 2008 - 8:30 pm

I’ve only posted twice but I still think of myself as lurker here.

Thanks for the link to site meter how fun is that.

Love to see your pictures they are always an inspiration and as you may know I check here often but only just found the POTD, I must be skimming through too quickly and missed it.

I have NEVER heard of pioneer women but will give her traffic as well. My kiddos are older now but I remember those days well.

I’ve rarely meet a stain I couldn’t get and soaking in cold water and oxy or color safebleach has worked wonders. The Clorox bleach pen for spots on whites OR a q-tip dipped in 1/2bleach 1/2 cold water (be very careful) and dabbed on already soaking wet white works too. Many tricks for other stains-
Thanks for all your fun posts.

AnonymousFebruary 25, 2008 - 8:30 pm

Zout works great on stains….when you remember to use it. I like the new idea for Monday’s. I would be interested in hearing what websites other moms like for their young ones to play around on. Thanks for your blog!!!I check multiple times daily. Amy T.

erinFebruary 25, 2008 - 9:05 pm

that last picture is amazing. you are very talented and i love reading your blog :o)

SandiFebruary 25, 2008 - 9:05 pm

Love the photos – she’s gorgeous & so is your work!!! Yes I’m one of the guilty having the password protected blog so I owe you an email. LOL!

BeccaFebruary 25, 2008 - 9:16 pm

I love your blog and frequent it every day. I also check your POTD and am one of those who have never left a comment–I’ve been tempted do but don’t know why I haven’t.

I really like the Mama Monday idea. I have no topic suggestions but all you mentioned sound good.

I love oxyclean. I first put Spray and Wash stain stick on the stain then soak overnight in a small basin with Oxyclean (much more than recommended in the container) mixed in HOT water. Works like a charm.
For little spots on a white clothing items I touch it with bleach on a Q-Tip then throw into the wash right away. If it can be washed on HOT then I do that to.

StacyFebruary 25, 2008 - 10:27 pm

I have to admit that I forget about POTD until today, and…well…you caught me! I looked but didn’t leave a comment. It’s awful, I know! I’m the same way about my blog too! I love reading everyone’s comments, but it’s like pulling teeth for me to get some of my friends and family to leave a remark. You’re a lucky gal. So many of your friends and family from all over frequent here. That’s awesome! We’re still a new blog, so we’re building our fan base. Thanks for all of your super sweet comments, though. You always make me smile:)

Mommy Monday’s are an awesome idea! It sounds like you’ve got a lot of great ideas to get it started. I too would love to discuss homeschooling, because I am going to be HS my 6 yr. old in Sept.

I use SHOUT and a toothbrush most of the time for stains. Sometimes a little bleach on whites, or Shout and detergent mixed and applied to stain about 30mins before washing seems to do the trick. I wash in cold as often as I can, too. LOL!

KristenFebruary 25, 2008 - 10:35 pm

erin, you are so funny, I just love your posts and the way you articulate your thoughts 🙂 I may shoot myself in the foot for this, but your actions are fantastic, you should consider selling them…I have downloaded the ones you have shared, but they just sit there like lonley beautiful little children begging to be played with..but their ps illiterate mother cant figure it out…anyway, i digress, but you should consider, they are wonderful!

HeitkampfamFebruary 26, 2008 - 8:21 am

Well, you successfully pulled out the comments today–good going!! Squeaky wheel ALWAYS gets oiled!! HA! I am a user of Totally Toddler, also, and swear by it. I think I’ve encountered one thing that it didn’t remove completely. Love your blog and your photos! I’m working on a watermark of my own, but haven’t had luck. Keep up the good work.

Mommy KWFebruary 26, 2008 - 9:01 am

I, too, am a lurker! I love your pictures and enjoy reading your posts!

Pioneer Woman is great. I’ve made a couple of her recipes and they are very good.

As for stains, no help here! I’m terrible with getting anything out. My mom lives close and often takes my stained clothes home and does her magic on them. 🙂

KristinFebruary 26, 2008 - 10:23 am

Erin, Hi, yet another lurker coming out, I posted only once before but you are my absolute favorite photog blog. I look forward to every post (sorry don’t mean to sound so stalkerish!!) But I do love your pics. i am really trying to improve my photography and am still learning. I just downloaded your actions and would love (I know your busy) some constructive critisizm, I just ran your actions on the pics on my blog and didn’t do any adjustments. If you have a spare minute I couldn’t thank you enough.

erinFebruary 26, 2008 - 11:05 am

Kristin, I’d love to help you but I can’t get to your blog via your profile. Email me the link or post it here and I’ll go check it out!

J.J. KillinsFebruary 26, 2008 - 11:42 am

oh wow 50? i WISH!

JeanelleFebruary 26, 2008 - 11:50 am

Hi Erin,

I’ve been totally enjoying your actions, and love that you are paying it foward by sharing them with everyone.
That being said, I would like to Pay it Forward and host them for you.
I have tons of xtra room on my website, and would love to help.

No pop-ups, nothing. Just click the link and a download window will pop up.

(I don’t know how to link in a comment, so you’ll have to copy and paste)

Here are the color (unflattened) and the BW (flattened) for full Photoshops.

These are the ones I’ve dl’d from you, but will be happy to host the Elements versions, too, if you like.

(color)
http://www.jcarawayphotography.com/ErinColor.atn

(BW)
http://www.jcarawayphotography.com/ErinBW.atn

MelissaFebruary 26, 2008 - 6:24 pm

I am a friend of AK’s from Virginia Tech and I, too, am a big lurker! I never comment because I always think it’d be so stalkerish to comment to somebody I don’t even know. You ARE able to see how many times I check to see if you have a new post though, so I guess THAT is even MORE stalkerish (the fact that I check so many times!). Yes, I am another one who gets excited when you have a new post! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your photography and your children are absolutely beautiful.

Shana-LynnFebruary 26, 2008 - 7:08 pm

Love your photos! Love PW as well, she is awesome and has gotten so popular, it’s crazy.

I just sent you an invite to my private blog.

Looking forward to your Monday posts.

JenniferFebruary 27, 2008 - 2:25 pm

I get busy and miss a day and you mention me!! I love you too DeeDee!!! Funny how you track me down though b/c if I check from home you’re bookmarked directly but if I check from work I go through Aunt Lu’s blog. I’ve been lagging on the comments lately though and will have to do better.

For stains, I usually start with Stain Stick. Clorox pen works great on whites BUT DO NOT LET IT SIT TOO LONG! I learned the hard way that you can’t treat it like Stain Stick and wash it later or it’ll make a yellow spot. On greasy stains or blood that won’t come out I found that 409 works well! I’ll usually saturate the spot with 409 then rub in some Tide and let it sit a bit.

KristinFebruary 28, 2008 - 8:41 am

Erin, I just changed my settings so that you can view my blog, sorry about that, and thank you so much for doing this for me!! You are too awesome

KristinFebruary 28, 2008 - 3:45 pm

Ok now it’s really fixed. I am still learning this whole blog thing!! if it dosn’t work try http://www.kristinconk.blogspot.com

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