Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Friday 2012 ~ 4 ~

This week's theme was 'self-portrait'.  I was kinda bummed about that because I just took photos of myself last week.  I really wanted to get creative this time around, but seeing as how I forgot all about it until yesterday I didn't really get to do what I wanted.  I have issues with using my tripod and self timer and I can never seem to get the camera to focus on what I want.  I'm sure if I took more time I could get better results, but taking my own photo isn't really my thing and I don't really want to take the time.  That being said, I did get some good photos yesterday. you go.

Just a note:  yes, I did photoshop myself.  I figure if I would do it for a client, then why not do it to myself?  If I spent a lot of time on my makeup and had great lighting I would look almost this good, right?  The photo on the top right was taken while I was lying on my back on the floor and holding the camera above me.  Gravity = instant face lift. : )  That's me holding my daughter's hand in the middle.  And yes, those are my seriously small feet on the bottom.  When I looked at the photo, I was like, wow, my feet really are small...  The one on the bottom of me in my hood my 8 year old daughter took, hence the slightly off focus.  And the one on the bottom right is my reflection in our storm door.  I really like the one on the top left because of 2 things, my hair and my pointy nose.  Here's a funny story about that.     My daughter asked me the other day while I was tucking her in if my nose looked pointy when I was a little girl.  I said, "yes, it looked pretty much the same, just smaller, why?"  She said, "Whew, I was just wondering because my nose is kinda small and not pointy and I didn't want it to change and look like yours when I grow up."  I must have had a stunned or hurt look on my face because she immediately apologized and told me how much she loves my nose, she just doesn't think it would look right on her face.  Kids...they are so brutally honest.  I happen to like my nose though!

I am going to share one more photo that doesn't fit with the theme.  I'm not used to having to fit all my favorite photos from the week into the same theme.  And this one I just love, so I want to share it anyway.  Here is my daughter on her birthday.  I took this after she came home from school because I just wanted a photo of her on the day she turned 8.  Her party is this weekend, so I'll share more in a separate post, but here's my favorite photo of her for now.  Note the non-pointy nose. : )

Have a great weekend!!

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Simplifying is Not so Simple

I've been reading this book called Organized Simplicity and I've been quite inspired by it.  I downloaded it for free on my kindle (I don't think it's free anymore though, sorry) and I honestly had no expectations of it whatsoever.  I was pleasantly surprised though.  It's premise is pretty simple (no pun intended).  Living simply allows you to live life more fully.  Getting rid of your clutter and getting organized helps you to live more simply.  Less stuff means less stress and more time to live with purpose.  You get the idea.  There are probably a million books like this out there, but this is the first one that I have ever opened.  I really, really like the ideas presented in this book.  I feel like often my house is too cluttered and in turn my brain is cluttered.  Wondering where I put things and feeling overwhelmed at the things I need to get done...some of which I have written in my calendar, but others I am relying on memory for.  I totally needed to read this.  And she has some really great tips.  Like making a family mission statement.  That is not something I would ever in a million years do on my own.  It's up there with color coding my sock drawer...just so not me.  But maybe I need a little nudge in that direction.  Being a stay at home mom / part time photographer is so flexible that I sometimes think I need a little structure.  A mission statement.  Some goals to strive for.  Not that I don't have them, they're just floating around in my brain along with reminders of dentist appointments and school pick ups and housework that needs to be done.   She has a ton of great ideas...which are right now floating around in my head too.  One involves a more detailed daily calendar including task lists and checklists.   Another main focus on her book is on tackling the huge job of simplifying your home.  This is what I really want to get into.  I feel like we have accumulated so much stuff over the past seven years of living here that I really just need a good purging to make me feel more relaxed.  Some of you might think I'm crazy because I know some people have anxiety when they think about getting rid of things (seen that show Hoarders, anyone?) but I am the opposite.  When I look around at piles of stuff I get anxiety.  When I look at the stack of filing in our bedroom it makes me have heart palpitations.  And the laundry on my daughter's floor makes my back stiffen when I walk in her room.  I really just like a simple, organized home.  The problem is not as easy as it sounds.  She details a 10 day plan for de-cluttering and cleaning your home.  And it's awesome, it really is.  When I first read it I was totally motivated to start the next day.  The problem is that I really need a vacation from my life in order to fit it into my schedule!  I know I don't have to do 10 consecutive days, but that would be ideal.  And I think some of the things she suggests would take one day will take me more than one day...actually, I know they will.  Those are just more excuses though.  I need to just get off my butt and do it!  I know I do.  So this is really more of a personal pep talk than anything.  I say I want to live more simply and have more free time and I know that this will help.  If anything it will help me to be more calm inside.  So, I'm making a commitment here to fill you guys in on my progress.  And feel free to ask me about it if you haven't heard anything for a while.  And feel free to come over and help me if you live nearby!  I make a pretty good pot of coffee, you know.  Anyone...anyone?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photo Friday 2012 ~ 3 ~

This week's theme was "I dreamed a dream".  As themes go, this was a little hard for me.  And, I only took photos of one thing this  I have been really bad about getting out my camera.  I think this happens to me every year about this time when I start to hibernate through the winter.  It's hard to get up and take pictures when you are wrapped in a blanket!  Back to my dream.  Okay...this is going to sound incredibly lame, but I have always wanted to get my nose pierced.  Not exactly a dream, but just a sort of, "I think that looks so pretty, I think I'd like to do it" type of thing.  Last week I mentioned something about it on Facebook and I had 3 other friends admit they'd always wanted one too.  So, we planned it and it happened!  Well, one of us couldn't make it, but the rest of us were off to the tattoo parlor to do it.  Yep, all 3 of us 'moms' have always wanted to do it.  I forgot to take my camera with me (what is with me and forgetting my camera all the time?) but my friend got some shots with her phone...and she sent them to my phone...only thing is now I can't figure out how to get them off my phone and onto the computer (I don't have a smart phone).  Oh well...  Let's just say that it is not exactly glamorous, okay?   It didn't hurt that bad and I really do love it.  And it doesn't bother you when you blow your nose...that is the most often asked question I've gotten.   I'm sure half of you (maybe more) think I'm insane, but I don't really care what you think.  That's the beauty of waiting until you are in your 30's to do something like this.  You know what you want and you don't care about being judged for it.  And I know I won't keep it in forever, but at least now, when I'm 50 I won't say...why didn't I ever do that?  Why was I so worried about what other people were going to think?  And that makes it worth it.

I'm probably going to switch it out to something smaller...but I have to wait 8 weeks before I can.  Ugh.  Oh, and I just realized that next week's theme is self-portrait.  I am really going to have to get more creative on that one...because I'm sick of photos of myself already!

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo Friday 2012 ~ 2 ~

This is my boy.  He asked me the other day while I was doing something on the computer if I could take his picture.  I almost always comply when one of my kids asks me that.  He had a super serious face the whole time and he just stood there right in front of me.  I keep my camera on my desk most of the time so I didn't even move from my chair.  He was standing so close to me that it wasn't really flattering from straight on, so I told him to turn and look out the window.  I love how this turned out.  It reminds me of these paintings that my mom has of my brother and I from when we were kids and they were of our profiles.  

The theme for this week's assignment was "Made with Love" and I have to say he qualifies. : )

I am giving a little photography workshop at our Women's Retreat for our church and while I was doing some research trying to decide what topics I wanted to cover I came across an interesting tidbit.  I have no idea where I got this, so sorry for the lack of reference...  Basically it said that when you take a photo and the person is not looking at you, but rather off to the right or left you should have them facing to the left (when looking at the photo) because our eyes go left to right and that draws your eye into the subject.  When you have the person looking to the right (as in the photo above) your eye tends to go off the page in search of what they are looking at.  So...I flipped this photo in Photoshop to see if I agree...

I'm not sure on this one.  I think my mind is confusing me because I know which way he was facing when I actually took the photo so this one seems off to me.  But I do see the point of what they were saying about your eye going off the page in the other one since he is looking off that way.  What do you guys think?  See, you learn something new all the time...even when you are a "professional"!

Have a great weekend!  Stay warm!

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hanging my Kids' Art ~ A Solution ~

I love my kids' artwork, I really do. was starting to become a problem.  My kids bring home new stuff everyday and they never want me to throw it away (I'm a pro at stuffing it in the bottom of the trash can while they aren't looking) and for a while we just put it on the fridge.  Then a couple of years ago I decided to turn our door between our garage and kitchen into a little art showcase for them.  It's a metal door so we just threw a bunch of magnets up there and let the kids put whatever they wanted on it.  It was okay for a while, but it has been driving me crazy lately.  Stuff kept falling off of it and the magnets weren't strong enough and then they would fall off too and you'd try to open that door and a magnet would get lodged under it and it would get stuck, etc.  You get the idea...time for a change.  So, the other day while I was at Target picking up a new calendar (nothing like waiting until the year has actually started!) I saw the perfect solution.  Cork board tiles!  They were around $6 for 4 of them.  They came with double sided sticky tape to mount them.  I bought a pack of cute thumbtacks and there you have it...the perfect solution!  At least for now...until I get sick of it...

I love how clean this looks compared to before (of course, I forgot to take a before photo in my excitement to hang my new tiles!).  And the kids were perfectly fine with cutting down some of their work to make it fit better.  They even let me throw some old stuff away!  I'm hoping to get rid of the alphabet at the bottom, but we still use it to quiz my son on his letter sounds, so it stays for now.

I realize that this won't work on panel doors, but for this door it's perfect.  And the cork ties in perfectly to the color on our walls.

I bought these cute thumbtacks that happened to come in blue, green, purple and pink so I just separated them out and gave my daughter 2 squares of cork with the pink and purple tacks in and ready to go.  I did the same with my son and the blue and green tacks.

I love this dog that my daughter painted over a year ago.  I just can't bring myself to take it down!

My absolute favorite piece of kid art, ever.  I'm keeping this one forever.  Our family as birds.  I love that my husband and I are kissing and he is wearing a tie and glasses!

My son's art is not quite as sophisticated yet, but I love it just the same.  That's our family on the right and a car on fire in the middle.

Hope this helps someone get some inspiration!  I love when I find a bargain solution that also looks good!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Friday 2012 ~ 1 ~

I cannot believe I am embarking on year three of my Photo Friday project!!  You all told me I have to keep doing it, so here I am.  I was thinking about linking up with some other groups who do a Project 52 (basically the same thing I'm doing, just with a different name) to get some more exposure, but we'll see.  So far, I haven't had time to check any out.  They usually have a theme for the week too, which is good, because it's supposed to help you grow as a photographer...but sometimes it's all I can do to get any photo up, let alone one with a specific theme.  I might try it.  I'm being totally non-committal at the moment though.  This week we had our first snow!  The kids were so excited.  They wanted to go out at about 8am but I made them wait a few hours so it could warm up a few degrees.  Whenever I see the kids so excited about the snow it kinda makes me feel guilty for all my plotting to move somewhere warm.  They wouldn't miss it, right?  We would go come home for the occasional white Christmas...that's what I'm telling myself.  Who knows, the moving thing might not ever happen, so I don't know why I'm feeling guilty about something hypothetical.  See, the insanity that is my brain sometimes!?  Anyway, back to this week's photos...  I had zero intentions of joining them out in the snow.  But then I remember last year when I didn't take snow photos one time thinking, oh, it's going to snow plenty more times and I can take pictures, only I didn't.  So I went outside in my pajama pants and my husband's old orange winter coat with my camera and snapped a few.  I'm sure the neighbors where thrilled with my choice of attire! Here are my favorites.

I love her.  She's so sweet when she's not being a total drama queen.  I wish her accessories matched a little better, but oh well, it wasn't like she was dressing for a photo shoot.  I adore her facial expression in this photo.

I realize this is extremely similar to the previous photo, but I just love her smile and her hat falling over her eyes, so I decided to post them both.  Which do you prefer, the serious or the smiling?  I recently saw another photographer pose that question about a photo of her daughter and she got some interesting feedback!    I personally love serious photos of my daughter, but then I love smiling ones because they make her appear more youthful and happy and that is more her personality.

My boy in front of our garage door.  I love how the color makes his eyes stand out!  He hates how his coat snaps over his chin (one of the selling points for me since scarves on a little boy are a pain!) but I wouldn't let him unsnap it so he pouted for the first five minutes he was out there while his sister threw snowballs at him.  He got over it, obviously!

I'm so glad the snow has melted and we have a nice weekend to look forward to.  Enjoy it!

**Okay, so I looked around online to find a Project 52 I could link up with and I discovered this awesome group over at  Life with my 3 Boybarians.  Their first theme was "resolution" which I admit these photos don't exactly fit that theme and I am not one to typically even make a resolution, but I thought I'd join in anyway and start working on the themed shots next week.

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blog Headers ~ 2011 ~

Just thought I'd share a collection of my blog headers for the past year for those of you who are into that type of thing.  I actually love changing up my header every month.  I always get tired of looking at them and enjoy thinking of something new to do.  Not that I do anything drastic...just change up the pics and the font.  I'm going to try to be a little more creative this year though.  Notice the new one above?  Having the title in the middle of the pics is a new one.   Click here to see 2010's headers.  And click here for a great post about how to make your own.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas 2011

I can't believe Christmas is over and done with and it's a new year already.  This year my kids didn't get out of school until 3 days before Christmas Eve and it just really threw me off.  I didn't get to do all the fun things I wanted to with them since there just wasn't enough time.  That makes me sad.  I need to plan better next year.  Not that I think they care in the slightest though.  I'm sure if you asked them they would say their Christmas was perfect.  That's the beauty of young kids.  It doesn't take much to make them happy.  If only we could all be like that.  We had 3 Christmas celebrations this year and I have a ton of photos.  First we went to my mom's where we celebrated with her side of the family.  This was the first Christmas without my Grandma and it was strange not having her there...and not doing it at her house.  She really, really enjoyed the kids so much and I didn't realize how nice it was having her so excited about them being so excited.  Her joy was definitely missing. We still had a good time though and I know each year it will get easier getting used to the new traditions.  So here goes...this might possibly be the most photos I've ever posted at once so bear with me.  Here's celebration #1.  Christmas Eve.

My babies in front of my mom's Christmas tree.  Had to get that shot for my collage of them together each Christmas!

All the grandkids on my mom's side.  And yes, she bought the girls those gorgeous matching dresses. 

Love this reaction when her daddy brought in her gift from her Grandmama!

A teddy bear that's bigger than her!  She loves it.  Both of my kids had to sleep on its legs that night.  In the hallway.  And since then it has moved to my daughters bed.  It's sitting right smack in the middle and the pillows are in between its legs.  Thanks mom...

He was really into checking out the back of the packaging this year.

The boys are opening identical gifts.  I totally remember doing this with one of my cousins when we were little!  The tradition continues...

After that party was over we headed home because Santa was coming!!  My kids were beyond excited about Santa this year.  They had gone to see him and asked him for a Zhu-Zhu Puppy and a Nerf Gun.  My daughter woke me up at 4am wanting to know if she could go downstairs.  No.  Again at 5am.  No.  5:30am?  No.  At about 6am she had woken her brother and they couldn't stand it anymore so I said yes.  My husband wanted to tell them something first, but they ran off down the steps so quick he didn't have a chance.  I had no idea what on earth he'd need to tell them anyway.  I followed the kids into the family room where my daughter spotted her new bike.  She was so excited and turned around and shouted, "Mommy, I got a new bike!" and then her faced changed from happy to horrified as she looked behind me into the kitchen and screamed, "Someone's here!" and jumped on the couch and hid behind the cushions.  I turned around to see what on earth she was talking about and about jumped out of my skin...there was someone standing in our kitchen in the shadows.  I looked at my husband and demanded, "Who's here?!".  I was totally freaked out.  My husband was grinning.   He walked into the kitchen to get our guest and explained that was why he wanted to tell the kids something before they went downstairs.  As they came into the light, I realized it wasn't actually a person.  It was Edward.  Yes, Edward Cullen.  A giant, life-sized cutout of the character from the Twilight movies.  I had to laugh.  What on earth?!  Talk about an unexpected gift!

I took this photo the next day to try to recreate what it was like, but it was really much darker than this since the sun hadn't come up yet.

Why hello, Edward.  Nice to see you.  I've been referring to him as my boyfriend which makes my daughter really  mad...she says daddy and her brother are my boyfriends.  Edward kept freaking us out the first couple days since he has a very similar height and build to my husband.  I can't tell you how my times my kids have started to call him daddy and talk to him!   I'm pretty sure that this will be one of those Christmas mornings we won't forget!

My daughter really wanted this dog.  She was so excited that Santa brought him!

If you've read my blog before, you know I'm pretty anti-weapons...but when your little boy sits on Santa's lap and asks him for only one thing...a nerf gun...what are you gonna do?  He loves it.  And turns out, Edward is great for target practice.  

Later that day we headed off to my Aunt's house for our 2nd Christmas celebration.  My grandma who the kids refer to as their "little grandma" was there.  So were some cousins who had moved to Oregon and another who lives in Chicago.  My uncle from Columbus was there too.  I like to see him because he really reminds me of my dad.  We usually don't stay long there because my Aunt has cats and I'm super allergic, but a Benadryl a couple hours before we went seemed to do the trick this year.

That's my grandma and she is standing up to her full height.  Look how tall my daughter looks next to her!  

My daughter was quite the social butterfly this year.  My kids are usually so shy since they don't see this side of the family very much.

Fast forward to this past weekend and we celebrated Christmas yet again with my husband's family!  Christmas #3...

My adorable nieces and some family from Texas were there.

Opening kids never get tired of that!

Aunt Bette found this old photo of my husband's grandpa when we was a kid and they thought it bore a striking resemblance to my son.  What do you think?  I tend to think he looks like my sisters, but I can't deny there is definitely something there!

Another Angry Bird...he can't get enough of them.  Love his eyelashes in this shot.

Love this shot of my girl too.

We had a great time visiting with family this year.  I can't believe it's back to the grind now.  The kids went back to school today and I've got to start taking down the Christmas decorations.  It always seems so bittersweet packing everything away.  I do enjoy getting everything out the next year and finding little treasures I'd forgotten about though.  And now we have the memories of the Christmas of Edward we can talk about too.  Well, I'm off to pay some bills and clean the house.  It's definitely back to the grind...


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