Friday, November 21, 2014

Pic(tures) in the park

There's something to be said about taking photos. I remember a time - oddly when Jack was a baby - when taking pictures was the last thing on my mind. I went several months at a time without bothering to take a snapshot, mainly because I was busy being a first-time mom.

Then, the summer before Z was born, my parents gave me a camera for my birthday. It was what is called a superzoom point and shoot. It had some advanced features (i.e. an amazing zoom and quality) but still had the ease of a point and shoot camera.

I loved it. I loved it and grew with it. I wasn't the best photographer, but in the end does that really matter? It was the proverbial training wheels for my photography.

A few years ago, I stepped up with my first DSLR. It wasn't my first choice. My beloved superzoom had a speck of dust stuck between two lenses. The only way to clean it was to send it back to Cannon for a costly $150 or roughly half of what I originally paid for it.

I knew it was time. My baby had to be retired for something else.

I'll admit that I wasn't great when it first came around:


I literally had zero idea what I was doing. Slowly I learned more about my camera and happily explored the reaches of manual control:




My kids were (and still are today) my always bribed subjects. They've learned to smile or redo the shot. They've learned the enjoy the moment because if this mom is happy, they will be happy too.

It should be no surprise that on the last day of their fall break (yes, it does exist), we went to a local park to walk around. I let them pick the spot, but they knew what to do. Here are just a few of the best shots from the trip, including the first Wes Anderson-esque version on a bridge:


Am I professional?

No.

But I am very proud of how far I've come?

You bet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Alohomora (Read: Halloween fun)

It's almost Thanksgiving...it's time for Halloween pictures!

First of all, my cast of characters:

Introducing Jack as Draco Malfoy...

Presenting Zoey as Hermoine Granger...

And of course, some shots of them together....

But wait! Who is this? It's Travis...as Snape...

Sadly, this will be the last year of group costumes. Jack said that "he and the boys at school" decided this would be their last year to dress up.

Spaced Out!

It was that time of year again - time for the school play! Actually it has nothing to do with an annual tradition since they do musicals every other year.

Either way, Jack was Galileo this year in "Spaced Out." We would have asked more people to come, but I'll be frank: it wasn't a good time.

Jack did a great job, mind you! He was excellent:

And the kids were amazing!

It was actually everyone else who made it difficult.

I was there an hour early, only to find that the doors opened 30 minutes early. There were 4 adults there + me. I was the second in the auditorium and had my seat taken away from me AS I WAS SITTING DOWN. We just needed 3 seats, and even that was nearly impossible.

In short: it was a lot of drama for 30 minutes of show. Jack was worth it, but for those interested, we can show you the recording Trav took for us.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jackson, age 9

Height: 53 inches
Weight: 70 pounds

1. What is your favorite color? Green
2. What is your favorite toy? Origami 
3. What is your favorite fruit? Banana
4. What is your favorite TV show? 7D
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Pizza
6. What is your favorite outfit? "Empire Strikes Back" shirt
7. What is your favorite game? "Lego Movie" DS game
8. What is your favorite snack? Chips
9. What is your favorite animal? Lemur
10. What is your favorite song? "Imperial March"
11. What is your favorite book? "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series
12. Who is your best friend? Shawna
13. What is your favorite cereal?  Fruit Loops
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Tag
15. What is your favorite drink? Fanta
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Blankets
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Donuts
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Red Robin
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Pilot

Related Links:
Jack, age 8
Jack, age 7

Zoey, age 7

Height: 46 inches
Weight: 53 pounds

1. What is your favorite color? Rainbow
2. What is your favorite toy? Nintendo DS
3. What is your favorite fruit? Watermelon
4. What is your favorite TV show? Teen Titans Go
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Pringles 
6. What is your favorite outfit? Dresses with knee-high socks
7. What is your favorite game? Tomodachi Life
8. What is your favorite snack? Cherries
9. What is your favorite animal? Cheetah
10. What is your favorite song? "Roar" by Katy Perry
11. What is your favorite book?  Harry Potter 4
12. Who is your best friend? Kyra
13. What is your favorite cereal? Lucky Charms 
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play ball with puppies
15. What is your favorite drink? Fanta
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Walter
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Eggs and toast
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Cheeseburgers
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Writer

Related Links:
Zoey, age 6
Zoey, age 5

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thankful for my husband

I believe firmly that in this day and age of Pinterest and an overload of web "advice," too much of this so-called "advice" is actually wrong. It's all about how boyfriends or husbands can be better for their girlfriends or wives. Sorry men - it's all on you at this point.

I'm not even going all feminist on anyone who reads this blog. I enjoy being loved just like anyone, but I think the point has been lost.

So to combat all of that, I'm going to dedicate this blog post to one very special guy -- my husband.

He's goofy:
I mean, really goofy:
He's still madly in love with me (photo credit: Jordan Photography):
And is just one heck of a great father to our kiddos:
And our cat (no, Walter did not actually partake in our dinner):
I'll admit it right here and now that he's far from perfect (as am I), but even so, I thank God every single day I get to spend with him on this earth. He doesn't need a guide to make him a better husband nor would it even help. Conforming to what the Interwebz consider "romantic" or "awesome" just isn't how he - nor I - operate.

Did I mention he still brings me flowers each week, even when I'm away on business (as was the case with this snapshot)?
But in the end, it's not about the flowers. Or the backrubs. Or running downstairs to reheat my rice bag (read: CHEAP HEATING PAD). He will bend over backwards to make sure our family has what it needs to thrive, even if that means putting aside his own insecurities or opinions.

As an added bonus, he's a true math nerd. He's already taught Zoey what Avogadro's number is and the acceleration of gravity. He's given Jack a unique love of Star Wars that just cannot be matched.

So I'm not just happy to be married to Trav nor am I simply content being around someone who strives in bringing out the best in nearly everything. I'm thankful for everything -- all of the joy, the happiness, the strength -- he has brought into my life.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Joy

There's nothing quite like being a kid. It's when you're free to just be yourself and enjoy life for all it has to offer. When we saw the massive amount of leaves piled in our lawn and driveway, Z decided it was time to start the annual process of raking.

It's been a relatively quiet year as far as leaves go. Usually a hot summer turns into a hot autumn, which in turn causes the leaves to fall prematurely. This year, however, it actually was pretty mild for the duration of the dog days of summer.

Of course, you can't simply rake the leaves. No, the purpose of raking leaves exceeds even the basic of tasks - jumping. Nothing screams "CHILDHOOD" quite like jumping in a freshly raked pile of leaves.

I thought this picture perfectly captured the joy of childhood:
 Do you see the joy? It may look like Jack isn't enjoying himself, but I assure you...he is! He was laughing and having fun, just like Zoey!

See?
Of course, we took other pictures, too. This is a moment to savor!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

PUPPIES!

It just wouldn't be September without making our normal treks to the local pet store. Our family isn't exactly ready for a puppy yet, but we know we can use this time to get the kids used to puppies. Puppies can be cuddly, but generally they bite, jump and are generally active little creatures.

Note: You may not see many photos of Jack in here. With the wrong puppies (especially the second of the two), he was not a fan.