Monday, April 27, 2009

Surprise- a give away!

If you live in the Houston area or would willingly make a trip to the Houston area, have I got a deal for you! I got a great gift certificate in the mail that I thought I could pass on. It's a free session and free 8x10 photo with a fantastic photographer, Christie. This gift is valued at $85! To see Christie's work, go to She has so many great ideas, tons of great props and even fancy tutus!

Why am I not using it you ask? Well, I've been using Christie as a photographer since she started about 5 years ago. See that picture above, that was a playdate day, run upstairs (when her studio was still at home), take a picture of Beth playing with a bowl of water, photoshop the fish. Isn't that stinking cool?! So, I don't mind passing this on to someone new. Even if you don't win, I encourage you to try her out (tell her I sent you). You'll be so thrilled you did!

How can you win? Leave a seperate comment for each entry.
1. Leave a comment with your name
Ex) Jane Doe
2. Go to Christie's website, find your favorite picture then leave a comment telling me about it.
Ex) Jane Doe- the baby that looks like it's hanging in the net
3. Leave a comment telling me what/who you would have photograhed if you win.
Ex) Jane Doe- I want to have sexy pics taken as a gift to my hubby (seriously, she can do this)
4. Use your blog or facebook status to tell other people about this contest! Then, come back to let me know you did.
Ex) Jane Doe- I blogged it on

I will randomly pick a winner on Friday, May 1. If you win, I'll contact you for mailing info and get the certificate in the mail on Saturday.
Good luck!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm a-learnin'

After taking the first class for my camera, I got outside to play with what I've learned. I thought I would share some of the fun, mostly for memory sake (I learn by "writing" it down) but also that maybe you're interested in this info to be a better photographer yourself. Maybe, just maybe, some of the photographers I've admired can lend a little more learning for me :)
While I learned lots of things about lenses and focusing (oh, how cameras can be used to play tricks on the eyes!), I played with photo composition this time. All of these were shot at dusk, flash off, SOC (straight out of the camera, no photoshopping)
Composition- How will the print look?
Curves- The curve of the landscape can affect the beauty of the photo. Think about the beach. Just staring out at the vast ocean or looking at the waves breaking on the shore- what's more appealing to the eye? This is a wall in the backyard, same wall, taken from each end (ignore the toys I didn't feel like moving).
Another wall in the yard- it gives depth to the picture

Leading Lines- where will they lead your eye in the photo? Standing just an inch over or moving the camera just a bit over can make all the difference. This wall is between my yard and the neighbor's house. Same zoom, same distance away from the wall (well, the best I could), just moving more to the left.

Sometimes you have to get down on the ground

Framing- use the surroundings to convince the viewer of a sense of depth or to focus in

Fill the frame- something I learned from my mom, actually. Do you want to see that the yard needs weeding or that there was a great wild bunny out there? Granted, sometimes, that picture you want needs to include scenery for the affect of the picture-the air around a volleyball player taking a diving shot

Also in that first picture- leave more space on the side of an object in motion, or even one that is perceived in motion (this bunny was happily eating weeds, not going anywere, until I got about 2 feet from it trying to pet it)
Light/Dark- The eye is naturally drawn to the darkest (or lightest) part of the picture. If I'd had a just-tall-enough subject, this would have made great framing too.
Turn the camera- holding the camera a different way may lend to a better, more inviting photo. (Move around, too) What do you think? Which one makes you want to sit on the porch to enjoy a sunset or a quiet morning? Hmm, I think I need to do that more often! Wanna come sit with me?
I have to do some manual reading (gasp!) to work on tricks with focusing and such. The next class I want to take is about getting off the auto mode. Then, one about using indoor/outdoor lighting to their full potential with photograhy.

Family Fun

After all that rain, a couple days drying out the ground, the weather was fabulous! I've kinda gotten used to Kevin at home, now that we've worked out a routine of sorts. For lunch, on this fabulous day, I thought we should have a picnic outside. I got it all packed up, and out we went! I hope that I'm building lasting memories for my kiddos. I know I'm building them for myself.
Hooray for a booster to buckle Jacob in!
Look, I was there too, in all my non-makeup glory!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rainy Day Fun

Last week, a big rain storm dumped LOTS of rain over our area. What's a mommy to do? Build a tent! Beth was trying to build one out of a lap blanket, so I pulled out all the stops. I got sheets and chairs and clothes pins. I built them a tent that they played in all day. What fun! I can recall many a day as a kid (not all rainy days, I'm sure), that I would entertain myself by building a tent, some complete with different rooms. Then I would play and read and play inside them for hours.
It was great to keep the tv turned off (except to find out why the sirens were going off to seek shelter- only hail, no tornado, thank goodness) for the day, watch the rain out the windows and see the kids just be kids.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A day at the park

Monday, our playgroup decided to meet at the park. We couldn't have asked for a better day! Just a few of us went, but we had a blast.

Keza/Kerryn, a new Texan (formerly from Austrailia) brought her sister, Leann, along too. They took turns with Erica's son, Connor. I was quite tickled when Leann chased a squirrel down for a picture- they don't have them in Australia.

Miss Erica ("Kuh" to Jacob) brought bubbles. I think she had more fun than the kids!

The kids had so much fun on the swings and slides and make-you-dizzy thing.

I love that Megan ("MayMay" to Jacob) was oblivious to her pants! That girl is a hoot!

While this isn't the best picture, I love that Keza and her daughter Georgia were having so much fun together.

I am Momma, see me do lots of things at once! My dear friend, Erica, with Megan and baby Connor, 2 months old ("Con" to Jacob).

We did manage to have a picnic too. Guess what, I even packed a lunch instead of buying fast food on the way. Hooray me! And, hooray all the kids were in the same place long enough for a picture
I really enjoy my friends and their children. What a blessing to be able to stay at home to enjoy days and moments like this!
Have I mentioned how much I love my zoom lens and taking pictures outside?


Since we knew we'd be traveling Saturday before Easter, we took advantage of Kevin working from home to color eggs. I'd bought a great kit last year with rollers and paint for the eggs. No dropping eggs into cups of colored water. How perfect for Jacob! Of course, my little craft girl loved it too. Kevin and I got to paint some eggs too. We all had fun.

We put them in the fridge for safe keeping until Saturday night. We got things ready for the Easter Bunny. At our house, the bunny hides the eggs in the living room and leaves treats in the basket since he was so tricky hiding eggs. After we see the treats, the baskets are empty for finding all the eggs. I recall one year as a child, the Easter bunny left white footprints around the living room to help my little sister find eggs. I think that's the only Easter I can specifically recall.

Sure enough, the bunny left some great treats. Beth had been talking about a chocolate bunny, so there was one in her basket. Jacob got a giant bag of his favorite M&Ms. They both got a toy, a movie and books.

Then it was time for a mad scramble to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door for church. Service was great. I love that all the stress of the morning, cranky kids, all that ick just falls away as I settle into the pew to revel in how awesome my Savior is and hear truth preached from the pulpit. He is Risen!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Easter fun at Grandma and Grandpa's

We headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house for some family Easter fun. They took us to dinner at THE restaurant in town (I swear it's the only one in town, but they assure me there are others) for some yummy Mexican food. Mexican food is the one type I can be assured that every member of my family will leave with a full belly (nothing like having picky kids). Then, back to the house to enjoy some outdoor fun.
Grandma and Grandpa both took turns swinging with Jacob. Ignore Kevin in the background- he was pretending Beth was kicking him in the head. She thought it was hilarious, of course.
Jacob loved checking on Pump, as long as he stayed on the opposite side of the fence. Beth checked out every swing (there are 4) to find her favorite.

The next morning was just torture for Beth. She couldn't stand it until her cousins came over. Well, Gracie, really. Beth and Gracie are 9 months apart (Gracie is older) and the best of buds. Every time they are together, they pick up where they left off the last time.
Waiting and waiting and waiting. Snacks helped.

Finally, they got there, and it was time for the Easter egg hunt!
There were 136 eggs hidden for those 4 kids. I think we only missed finding 2. It went so fast, they hunted like crazy. Emily wanted yellow ones. Beth and Gracie were side by side the whole time. Jacob was more interested in visiting the dogs, but the girls helped fill his basket.
Emily enjoying her candy
Lunch time! Grandpa grilled some yummy burgers and hot dogs. Grandma had the spread of anything you could want on your hotdog and a fine selection of chips. Yummy!
Inside, we celebrated Grandma's birthday.
Jacob was delerious and in need of a nap.
Emily was pouty but oh-so-cute with her big bottom lip
Gracie and Beth played as much as they could until Gracie had to leave.
All in all, it was a good day. Followed by a long car ride home.