Curly Sue

Our cute little three year old is obsessed with curly hair lately. Every night she asks me to put curlers in her hair. I have no idea where this came from. She asked me to curl her hair one day and my curling iron is missing. Luckily we had a package of foam curlers stuck in a drawer. Surprisingly our little blondie actually slept in them for nap time and had beautiful curls to show for it. When she woke up she actually asked me to go take pictures. How could I say no when I can hardly get her to be in front of the camera?! I thought I would share my two favorite photos from that shoot. =) I can’t help it, she’s so beautiful!cropped-evbw.jpgdandelionbw

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Photography and Pregnancy

I am now 8.5 months pregnant and ready for this baby to be born.  A new normal will settle upon our house as we bring another little life into it.  As I await this little person to make its debut, I have kept myself busy with photography.  I am trying to learn something new every time I touch my camera or edit.  Last weekend I had the fun experience of shooting families for the first time!  I had two really good friends drive a good distance to let me shoot them.  The first family is a family with five beautiful kids.  It was a fun challenge to stretch myself and get some good shots.  I promised them a sneak peak, so here are a few of my faves I was able to get edited.  (Lucky for you guys I have another family to edit photos for…soon you will see those!)

I present, The Sneads:

 

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Thanks, Michael and Andrea, for this opportunity to grow in this art I’ve fallen in love with!  It was so great to spend the day with you!  I’m really glad you were my first family session, it made it that much more fun and special!  Love you guys!

It’s finally starting to click.

I’ll admit it, I’m completely and totally OBSESSED with photography.  My evening down time has been filled with reading photography books, watching tutorials on lynda.com, and stalking photo blogs to find tips and cool pics.   Even with all this studying I have been struggling to understand aperture.  I mean, really if it’s bigger, it’s smaller, but you have more focus and if it;s small it’s big with less focus.  I know, it’s completely confusing.  The exciting thing for me?  I’m finally getting it!  I mean really getting it!!!  I know I have tons more to learn, but I actually understand what aperture is and how it affects the exposure.  I still need to practice with it and figure out how to create the shots I want, but I’m getting it!

I have been very blessed by moms in town letting me photograph their kids.  I have kept myself busy with shoots and editing and learning everything that goes along with both of those.  I have figured out how to get some great shots of one or two kids.  Now I must progress into family shots.  Any takers for modeling and letting me learn that craft?  I would love to practice posing, focusing, and making people happy with some gorgeous photos.  Anyway, here’s some fun shots of my kids I’ve gotten lately and practiced some new editing techniques on.

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I did a fun photo shoot of child #1 in her dress up box.  I learned how to pull out the colors I wanted in Photoshop’s Camera Raw.  I LOVE this photo.

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My kids learned the joy of puddle jumping.  I love the slight movement you can see in this one.

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No better friend than your doll!

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A handsome boy with his trike.  The early morning sun was perfect for this shot.

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One of my all time favorites.  Daddy got photo-bombed.

Photo Friday on a Saturday

I realize I haven’t posted in a week or two.  I have several posts in my head, they just haven’t quite made it to the computer screen.  Mostly because I am OBSESSED with my new camera!  That’s right, I finally was able to purchase the camera I have been saving up for for months!!!  In fact, I was able to purchase a better camera for a few reasons.  1) I was saving for a package option with the Nikon D5200.  After some research I realized I didn’t need all the extras that were added to the package.  2) The Nikon D7100 came out in the midst of my saving spree causing the price of the D7000 to drop a little.  3) My awesome sister-in-law (who is an AMAZING photographer) sent me to a site called kenrockwell.com.  Many fantastic reviews and tips are shared by Ken Rockwell, a long time photographer.  On the site he mentioned that Adorama had refurbished Nikon D7000’s for a really great price.

I was excited because I thought eventually I would upgrade to the D7000.  God has blessed me even sooner than I imagined.  I did much more research before I actually purchased.  I had to figure out warranties, lenses, and what all I actually needed to buy.  Adorama has an awesome customer service department on hand to chat and help figure out these questions.  So, after days and days and days of obsessive researching, I decided on a refurbished Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 35mm lens (I already own a 18mm-55mm zoom lens) and a 2 year warranty for the camera for under what I was going to spend on the D5200!!!!

After one long week of waiting for it to arrive, my camera and I have finally started to get to know one another.  I have a subscription to lynda.com that has been teaching me about my camera, photography in general, and Photoshop.  The more I learn the more I realize I have so much to learn.  This is why I haven’t been blogging.  Most of my free time (when the kids are sleeping) is spent studying and playing with my new camera.  I will try and remedy that…but be ready for lots and lots of photos.

Here are some of the first batch on the new camera with the little bit of editing I’ve learned so far:

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(Our David on a train caboose)

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(Evalyn on the same caboose…she doesn’t stand still very long.)

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(Both babies sat still long enough for this shot.)

Life is a Lesson

As my children continue to grow, I take delight in watching them learn new things.  My oldest has graduated into a full-fledged preschooler and she is constantly wanting to read, do crafts and do “schoolwork.”  I love the idea of homeschooling and can’t wait until we officially start school.  That is until I overwhelm myself by thinking about figuring out curriculum and planning a school year in full.  All that and adding another baby to the mix can make my head spin.

However, we have had two really fun experiences in the past week that have made me very, very excited for homeschooling.    I am re-energized about it because these two incidences have shown me that learning is in life, not in the schedules.  (Don’t get me wrong, I know that I will have to plan lessons to ensure my children are learning how to read and add.)

The first “lesson” happened as I pulled a whole herb-rubbed chicken from the crock pot.  (Which turned out to be delicious.)  I was pulling the meat off the bones and my three-year-old became very interested.  “Is that a bone?!  Can I see it?  Can I touch it?  Is that the chicken’s leg?!”  So we began an impromptu anatomy lesson.  I should mention that said three-year-old  is insanely interested in all things medical.  She loves doctors, nurses, and people’s “owies.”  I showed her the rib cage, the way the wings went back and forth on a hinge, the vertebrae and anything else I could think to show here on the chicken skeleton.  I will add that it may have been a creepy site, this bird de-meated with its limbs hanging loosely at its side, but, man, did she love it.  I very easily could have said, “we don’t have time to look at it, dinner’s hot and on the table,” but I am so glad that I took the time to watch her learn.  Her face filled with amazement and she talked about the bones the rest of dinner.  A simple lesson birthed without a lesson plan.

The second “lesson” happened this morning.  I have not felt well the past couple of days.  I’m hoping it passes quickly (I don’t think it’s pregnancy related, although I could be wrong.)  My wonderful husband was up early with the kids (he has let me sleep in since the beginning of this pregnancy, but this morning was extra early.)  I could tell he needed a break so I sent him to take a nap.  What could I do with two young children and not move much?  Well, we decided to have a “reading day”.  We camped out under the baby grand with blankets, pillows, and bowls of grapes to read for quite a while.  Granted, I could have read all day under there, but they had other thoughts on that matter!  We were learning, resting, and enjoying each others’ company all at the same time.  I cannot think of any better way to let my kids learn through life.

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This is not from today, but it was another day filled with snuggles and books.

I will love homeschooling if I allow us to continue these spontaneous moments of learning and fun.  I can’t continue to stress over the details that will take the fun out of it and defeat one of the main purposes I want to homeschool!  What are some of your favorite learning moments?

Photography Friday: Perfect Practice Subjects

I am just beginning to learn about photography.  I’m not really sure why it took me so long to really dig into it.  All I can think about while driving through new towns is which buildings and walls would make great backgrounds.  I’ve always had a slight interest and have never taken any steps to feed that interest.  Recently my interest was re-awakened by a series of events.  The first being a new camera lens from Husband.  The second was writing about dreams and a new friend asking me if I had taken classes yet.  So, she and I signed up for a class together.  I learned how to take my camera off of “auto”.  I still have SO MUCH to learn.  For instance, I have no idea how to use my aperture yet.  But I will.  I am reading and practicing constantly.  My favorite practice subjects?  My own family of course!!  Here are so photos from our trip for Husband’s concert.  They are not edited, but it is Photography Friday so I thought I would share.   Anyone out there that has tips or tricks for me, I would LOVE to hear them!

 

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Doritos are a special treat in our house.

 

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When they show up we give them extra love (the Doritos.)

 

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Blue skies!

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I underexposed his face.  I’m hoping some work in Photoshop will lighten his face without ruining the sky.

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I had to limit which photos to post of Husband, but I really like this moment I captured during his rehearsal.

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Daddy’s biggest fans.

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Beautiful girl, beautiful flowers (my Fav photo from the week)

Writing Wednesday: Finding Purpose and Intent

*Disclaimer* This was written on Wednesday, even though in was posted dangerously close to Thursday.  Count it!

Husband is playing a concert tomorrow in a small Texas panhandle town.  It is going to be amazing for many reasons.  He has been working really, really hard to put on a great show.  Plus, let’s face it, I married the most handsome, talented and goofy man ever (who wouldn’t want to watch him perform for an hour?)  Plus, he’s the king of lame jokes.  I have no doubt that the people gathering tomorrow will hear plenty of lame jokes.  Do not fear, they will laugh and I am always grateful when there are other people around to laugh so I don’t have to.  (I’m joking.  Sort of.)  

I tell you all this for a number of reasons.  The first being that we are making strides to reach dreams that God has placed on our hearts.  Husband has had several great opportunities come his way in the past few months.  He is working as an online curriculum manager for someone he really looks up to in the industry, he is doing this fun concert tomorrow (going on tour being the ultimate dream we are working towards), and he is working on a fun new internet based project that we will begin saving money toward in the next month.

Watching him constantly reach goals and create new ones as I sit and surf Facebook into the wee hours of the night has re-motivated me to actually work on things I want to accomplish.  For instance: writing a novel.  I mention this over and over, but this time I’m actually working on it.  I have found a blog (actually my mom found it) for writers with some really cool writing worksheets.  I am hesitant to write because I am not sure how to develop characters (and I’m scared to start).  This blog (Writer’s ER) has been uplifting and given me purpose when I sit down to write.  Have intent when I sit to write is so helpful.  I have a direction.  Sometimes the muse takes you on a different path than you originally intended, but the point is you went somewhere.  Having intent takes away the excuse of “not knowing what to write”.  I love having a reason to sit at the computer and write.  We will see where this journey leads.  I hope it’s somewhere fun and happy.

 

Stay tuned for Photography Friday.  A time and place where I will post about my other part-time hobby.  Don’t get your hopes up too high.  I’m still learning the ropes!