Wednesday, February 17, 2010

House Cleaning

Can you believe it's nearly March? It all is going too quickly if you ask me!

Anyway, how about a few little notes for the random, ghost-like visitors?

First on the agenda - my kids are running around a vacuum cleaner. Odd form of tag or just pent up energy, I'm not sure. Either way it's entertaining and somewhat disturbing.

Next up - we're going to be in Colorado next week to see family! If you know me, then you shouldn't be surprised when I say that we're about 75% packed already. Yeah, I'm really that crazy, and we're all really THAT excited!

Next up - my new flash is dangerous. I took 125 photos last night to "test" it out. But when kids get cute in a bathtub of bubble and the cat just keeps lookin' so adorable it's hard to resist. My excuse is that I'm breaking the new flash in.

Next up - Go ahead and take a poll located to the right of this blog. How many photos do you think I'm going to snap while we're in Colorado? We're going to be gone a total of four days.

Keep in mind a few details:

- When we go to Wichita over Christmas we are normally there for 3-4 days. With the exception of 2009 when I only took 300 photos, most years I average closer to 500-600 photos over that period.

- I have a new flash. New doors. New possibilities. Discuss.

- My memory card can only hold 2000 photos at the current setting. There is a limit, although I'm pretty sure I have another memory card in my camera bag.

Finally - Zoey is singing with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and is singing the REALLY high parts. If you know the song, you'll know what I'm talkin' 'bout.

That is all, or at least until I decide whether or not to post the photos from last night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

**Exciting News**

Well, my baby came!! Everyone, say hello to Nissin, the newest member of our family!

Nissin actually arrived last Friday but a broken battery component forced me to send her back for a replacement. Now we're all ready to go!

What's this mean to you? It's just a flash, right? Well, I try to avoid using a direct flash as much as possible. That's why a lot of my photos are outdoors or close to a window:

See how the natural light just makes the picture pop? It's not too harsh.


Let's say that it's cloudy outside or I can't just get enough light in. I have to use a high ISO setting. On my camera, this is a 1600 ISO. See how it's noisy? That's annoying.


On the other hand, if I use a flash, look what happens! Do you see that harsh shadow?


It's caused by that harsh, direct flash. I need it to provide the necessary light, but I don't really want to be that harsh.

NOW with this new flash I can turn a photo like this...

Look at how there is a shadow, the background is pretty dark and the banana is very much the focus of the shot. It's fine but would need a little photo editing.

....into a photo like this!

See how it's natural? It's at 12:45 in the afternoon and it looks like we have a skylight!

So, I went a little crazy. Please note that these shots aren't the best in the west. I'm still learning how to use the flash! I'll be honest - I didn't edit them at all. I just reduced the size. I didn't want to edit them. Most of my shots have to be edited somehow, but not this time. This is the straight-out-of-the-camera shot!

Jack let me photograph him. Check it out - no shadow!




Once Jack grew tired of me being in his room, I pestered Walter.
Shortly after this shot he just turned around and gave me the cold shoulder. Ouch. Anyway, see how his colors aren't washed out by a direct flash?

*************

ALSO, in other news, Consignment Sale Season starts in just a few short weeks! If you don't want to go to all of them (don't blame you), here's the low-down:

My Favorite: Kid's Closet - It's a larger sale and has some of the better prices in the area. I wasn't as thrilled in the winter as I normally would be, but I think a crashing economy forced everyone to try to get as much $$ as possible. Also - no charge to the public.

Contenders: Here We Grow Again, All About Kids - I don't know enough about either of these sales, but I do know that they both show promise. Large crowds, lower prices and no charge to the public. These sort of sales always tend to be organized and although there may be a line, it always goes fast!

The Bottom: Just Between Friends - I'll go just to look, but I rarely buy anything here. If they have to charge the public to browse, you know it's not a good idea. Most of the cosigners seem to have an inflated view of their items and want to charge you WAY more than what should be expected. This year the JBF in Overland Park is going to kick off the season, so if you do go don't just go crazy. Why pay $10 for Gymboree jeans when you can get the same shorts at another sale for $4?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cousins 4 Eva

To help April and Steve enjoy Valentine's Day date, we had a third join us for a few hours - Audrey! The weather was crummy though.

Snow? Who wants snow?

Anyway, after dinner and a little playtime, we thought we would just take some photos together.

It started off on a funny note.



Audrey. Oh Audrey!


Audrey bolted, which left my kids to be on the couch together. Ah, the sweet sound of laughter!


NOW we have all three!


It doesn't get better than laughing cousins.


Do you see those smiles?


Can't you just hear those giggles?


They all love each other!


TOUCH DOWN!! Out of focus but still awesome.

Awww! Hugs!

Next we all took a shower together.

Audrey was especially pleased.


MORE laughter!


Oh...wait...


Nevermind, the giggles have returned!


Uh oh. Jackson...


Zoey! Bathtime isn't over yet!


What a silly goose!


Audrey was having a blast with her cousins!


Seee?


BFF! Although, I'm sure that by the time they hit Junior High it will be sooooo uncool to use "BFF."


You can see that they are related!


Audrey REALLY thought it was funny!



**Crickets**

After bathtime, we had about 30 minutes to kill. What did we do? We let the girls bunk together while we read books!







Then they moved to reading their own books.






This was pretty much the beginning of the end of book reading.



Oh well. At least we all had fun!

Thanks for playing with us Audrey!!