Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What I've Learned {Day 1}

so many things, but for now I will leave it at this ~

check out www.snapshotsofagoodlife.com.  Registration for the January 2013 Photographers Workshop begin on October 15th.  If you want to learn about your camera, lighting, focus, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and make some new friends along the way, check out this class.  You will not be disappointed.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nothing short of {Amazing}

It was a normal Friday afternoon and I was checking emails when I got home from work, there was an email from my favorite photographer, the email was titled "3 Things".  I can't remember what the first 2 things were, but the 3rd one made me jump up and down, squeal and do a little happy dance.  The 3rd thing on the list was about a "Hometown Workshop" she was putting on in September, and there were only 9 spots available! I responded to her email without a second thought, without running it by my husband, without knowing if I had anyone to help with my kids!!  Can I just tell you how happy I was that I read my emails that afternoon when I did, otherwise I would have missed out on one of the best experiences of my life!

I have stalked  followed  Karen's blog for quite a few years.  It was one of those blogs that I book marked as soon as I found it and spent hours reading back and check daily.  Her stories and photography drew me in. She documents her life through her blog the way I want to but never do, she writes about the good and the bad, the funny and not so funny things that life throws our way.  She is real, she is honest, and what you see is what you get with her.  After following her blog, when I did finally get to meet her in person a few years ago at a 1-day Photography Workshop, it felt like I had known her for years.  In January 2011 I finally was able to audit in her online Photographers Workshop and I learned so so much!  Karen puts 110% into everything she does, her on-line class is completely worth the investment in your time and money. 

I'm pretty sure I made my family crazy between July and September,  I was so excited for this workshop!  I was so excited to hang out with Karen, meet in person a few friends from the online workshop, get away for a little me time.  These 5 days were everything I could have imagined and more.  It is so hard to put into words the instant bond that was felt between 12 women who didn't know each other before we arrived at the beautiful historical Hanna House, but had the love for photography and Karen that clearly bound us together.

And one of the nicest surprises was when Karen's "acquaintance" arrived to drive us to our shooting location.  I thought it was an interesting choice of words and I also thought it was interesting the group was  the 4 of us from the 2011 class, we joked we were being voted out of the Hanna House!  Imagine our surprise (especially Lisa's!!!) when Jules, from our 2011 class, showed up. Soooooo much fun!

Our days were full of learning, shooting, eating, more learning, more shooting, more eating, and in between tons of laughter and even some tears.  I told someone as I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt how amazed I was that there could be such an extreme range of emotions in such a short amount of time, clearly we didn't do well staying between a 4 and a 7 girls!!!

As the family photographer there are not many photos of me, (I even had to ask Steph if she had a cute photo of me for one of my class assignments!) mostly I like being on the other side of the camera, so that works out ok.  And if I do hand off my camera I usually don't like the results of the photos, so I just stay behind the lens.  This workshop made all of us come out of our comfort zone, and be the subject instead of the photographer.  It was quite interesting have 3 or 4 lenses pointed at you all at once!  I haven't seen many of the photos of myself as they are on my friends cameras, but I did get this one and am happy to have a pretty photo of myself.

I feel blessed to have been a part of one of the first Hometown Workshops.  I have made 12 new wonderful friends and we are already working on a plan for yearly reunions! 

Karen, I hope you realize that it is because of you and your love of photography and your willingness to give so much of yourself to your students, that we have all walked away from this workshop changed.  God is using you in an awesome way in everything you do, don't forget that!!!  I know it was difficult and I know it took you away from your beautiful family and I feel so happy to have been on the receiving end of Gods blessings. Thank you . . . for or taking a chance, for sacrificing your time and family, for all of your creative goodness, for sharing all of your photography knowledge so willingly with us, for sharing your family with us!  It was soooooo worth it, completely amazing . . . and I sure didn't walk away wishing I had spent the money on a new lens!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

{Mustard Flowers}

I can't believe that I didn't blog these!  My sister was here at the end of March, just in time for my favorite time of year . . . the Mustard flowers are blooming!

This was our third photo shoot with the girls and I do think it is getting a little bit easier since the first time, man did I get a work out in 2009, Meghan was 5, Cayden was 4 and Aida 2 1/2.  In 2010, they all definitely had their own ideas and I ran around after them like a crazy Mom & Titi and after all that I wasn't thrilled with the way the photos came out.  I can't believe how much they all have changed and grown up so much.  Hoping we are still doing this until they are married!

Needless to say I was so happy that I found a perfect field filled with yellow flowers!

The girls play a game that they are picking Wedding Flowers, I at least got them to WALK and pick their flowers this year instead of running away from the camera as fast as they can, which is what is usually happening!  Once they collect a handful they stand together and we throw them up in the air, it's pretty darn cute!

The sun went away very quickly that afternoon and Mom & Gina were freezing!  I on the other hand was not!  I was very pleased with the photos this year, I think my new lens might have helped a little too!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I've somehow managed to miss another entire month of blogging, , sheeesh, I started out so good! We are getting ready for spring break over here, although the rain has finally decided to appear so I'm hoping it's not a rainy spring break. I'm taking some days off and we are excited that our Oregon cousins are also going to be here visiting, so I'm really hoping for some more mustard flower photo shoots and mom wants some photos of the girls in her old Mexican dance outfit ~

Meghan brought home her progress report last week. She is doing very well in 2nd Grade, but I have to say it was the last sentence in the comments left by her teacher that cracked me up! She said "I would like Meghan to work on being more organized and clean at her desk." Have I not been saying that for, uummmm, forever?!

We are working on ways that she can keep herself a little more organized, I'll keep you posted on how that goes!

And today was picture day, again . . . you know how I just love those school pictures that I feel completely obligated to buy! Anyway, since Meghan and I couldn't agree on what to do with her hair, we asked Kaitlyn to come over and do it for her, she is just so much better at it than I am! She looked so cute . . .

Well, off to figure out how to work my new pressure cooker! I figure it goes perfectly with my love of mason jars.

Friday, January 27, 2012

School Pictures {Flashback 2011}

School pictures. Never really happy with them, I would prefer to just do my own, but for some reason I can not let a year go by without purchasing them!

Trevor - 9th Grade

Trevor's Football Photo

Meghan 2nd Grade

Photography {Before and After}

Back at the beginning of January I reflected on 2011 and all of the things that I did NOT accomplish. What I didn't give myself credit for though was all of the time I spent with my camera last year. I feel like I still so much to learn and that there is so much I don't know, but when I sat down recently to edit Meghan's b-day, Christmas and Trevor's b-day photos I was pleasantly surprised at the difference in my photos between last year and this year.

I had my eye on this on-line class for a long time, it's a little pricy and I just couldn't justify spending that amount of money on myself, so I started saving any photography money I earned doing little shoots for this or that so I could sign up for the Photographers Workshop over at Snapshots of a Good Life guilt free. I had taken Karen's one day in person class a few years ago and I learned so much, I couldn't really imagine what else she could teach me for 8 weeks! Well, let me tell you, there was more, a lot more!

I only had my new 7d for a few months so I knew there was lots on the new camera to learn, but the class went into the details of composition, equipment, shooting modes, the exposure triangle, depth of field and the list goes on. Karen's teaching style makes all of the confusing stuff so understandable and then she is available on the forums every weekday to answer questions. She is the most active instructor I've ever seen in an on line class, I was so impressed with the amount of time and energy and thought that she gives to every answer she gives. There was so much information the first time around that I audited the class again in September which really allowed me to focus on some of things that I didn't quite get the first time around. All that to say I guess 2011 was quite as bad as I first reflected!

Trevor's B-Day 2011 - images are all straight out of camera

Love that lovely yellow color-cast and the motion blur of Daryl moving in the background!

Trevor's B-day - 2012 - images are all straight out of camera

Look! No yellow colorcast! I can't say enough how much a custom white balance has done for my photos

Not to bad for my oh so dark family room

I have also met some of the best on-line friends in this class. We hang out with each other on our Snapshots facebook page and follow each other on Pinterest! I can't wait until we can meet up sometime and meet in person!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

He's 15 Today

15 years ago today I became a mom! One of the greatest (and most painful!) days of my life. I look at my now taller than myself son and am still amazed that he came out of my body. Today, 15 years later, we are so proud of the young man he is becoming. He is a hardworking, fun loving teenager and I am so glad that God picked him for us!

Here are 15 random things about Trev ~

1 - He loves to go out and shoot his airsoft gun
2 - He is doing awesome in school despite the quote "Just because I get good grades doesn't mean I like school"
3 - He loves his German class
4 - He loves to play the PS3, he likes sports games but mostly the war games (he likes to shoot, see #1)
5 - He is very creative, loves to draw, is taking an art class and wants to take photography too (of course that one makes me very happy!)
6 - He will only wear skinny jeans
7 - His favorite deserts these days are sugar cookies or Blackberry Cobbler
8 - He loves to stay up late and watch TV with his dad
9 - He loves to hang out with his friends (Cole, Austin, Kyle) and ride his bike down the trail to get a treat at Mc Donalds
10 - He's not as crazy about doing chores, although he usually does them without to much grief
11 - I'm sure that he loves his sister greatly, but has a funny way of showing (read annoying) her.
12 - He will start drivers training in August. Not sure if that scares me to death or makes me want to do a happy dance
13 - I don't have as many photos of his as I'd like because every time I try and take is photo I get the hand (and sometimes something else!!!)
14 - He is like me in so many ways, he likes stuff, he likes to collect stuff and as soon as he crosses one thing off the wish list he's off researching the next thing he can't live without
15 - Happy Birthday Trevor

Monday, January 16, 2012

Last Week

Last week ended up being a busy one and flew by super fast, as most do.

I'm getting a little anxious but I had to many PTA and work projects to get done last week so I have not gotten done as much as I had hoped with my Project Life. What I have done is actually made an effort to get the camera out more and take photos on a daily basis, and if feels so good. After sitting out doing a 365 project for 2011, after doing it for 2 years in a row, it feels great to get back into the habit of looking for that one moment I want to capture for that day.

It also helps that my new iPhone takes much better photos than my old iPhone so that also helps me pull it, well, it's pretty much always out anyway! and use it do capture those things that happen while were out and about. Knowing that I won't cringe when I look at the photo helps too!

What also helps is that I finally got a lens that has been on my wish list for a long time. Yep, the 50mm 1.4. I have shot with it's cousin known as the nifty-fifty since I got my first dslr, and I love love love that lens and the photos that I have taken with it, I use it probably 95% of the time. This new lens is a step higher in quality, with much better glass and bokeh. It will help shooting in low light too, which is always a plus since our house can be very dim at night. I've only played with it a little bit over the last few days but I'm already loving it.

Last week we also started down the orthodontic road with Meghan. So far only 6 rubber bands. Then next week she will be fitted with an appliance to widen her mouth since she has a tooth that needs to come in on her left next to her front tooth that there is no space for. So hopefully they can widen the arch in her mouth and make room for it to drop into place. The fun part will be that we get to turn the appliance everyday to aid in the widening, so not looking forward to that part! So happy for double dental insurance coverage!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas Photos

Can I just say "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year?" I know, a little late on the the Merry Christmas part, so I hope that your Christmas was Merry and let's just focus on the Happy New Year part, since it really still is the "New Year". Remember this when you get our Christmas card in the mail in a few days, ok?

Not sure what exactly happened, but since we didn't get out to take our family photos taken until the first weekend in December I never quite got around to getting them edited and sent off to the printer until AFTER Christmas. So I am making a note in my calendar now to start thinking about our family photos in October this year so that I don't have a repeat of 2011.

I spent Saturday saying goodbye to Christmas, but took a few photos before I started the demolition process. I know, these photos would have also been more appropriate in December.

This is the Gingerbread House that Meghan and Mimi made. This has become their Christmas time tradition, and they are improving greatly as the years go by!

The Gingerbread House is the only evidence left of Christmas, I just can bear to throw it away.

Our Christmas Tree ~ Notice that I intentionally left off the top part of the tree? That would be because there was a string of cranberries and the star that never made it to the top part of the tree. I needed help with that because I'm short! It was just that kind of year all the way around it seems!

A few other parts of the house just so we can look back and remember how our house looked during the holidays.

So long for now Christmas, we will see you again before we are ready I'm sure!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Meghan's Candy Inventory {Flashback 2011}

So since I have a lot of catching up to do, I just might go back and try and capture some things that I missed in 2011. And then again, this just might be the only post that I do on somethings I missed in 2011, really only time will tell, it's only the 3rd and I've still got high hopes! And for the record there will be no rhyme or reason to my posts, because remember this year is all about "Simplifying", and the old me would have to get it all organized and in chronological order, preferably on an excel worksheet, before I posted anything.

This goes back to November, the day after Halloween. First you have to understand the constant battle, and I mean CONSTANT battle I have with my daughter about keeping things picked up. And while I can be completely OCD with organizing I do not hold her to that level. I just need her to put her things away after she uses them, put her clothes away or in the hamper when she takes them off, basically just pick up after herself. But for some reason it just doesn't happen. And I'm at my wits end trying to figure out how to get it through the cute little head of hers.

I help her get her room cleaned up and tell her that THIS is what it needs to look like every night before she goes to bed, by the next night, it's a train wreck. I find clothes shoved under her bed, at the bottom of her bed under her sheets and anything she takes out of her closet, even just to look at ends up in the dirty clothes. I just can't seem to get it through her head to put things back where you found them when you are done with them. Everything has a place, everything in it's place! One of my favorite sayings.

I asked her to clean out her very out of control back pack, I come back a few minutes later and this is what I find ~

seriously, I don't know where I went wrong with this child!! But, this same child will find out of place items in a store and run and put those things back where they belong, she has been doing this since she was 2 years old!

So back to my story. There was no school the day after Halloween, so she went with candy in tow to Mimi's house. When I dropped her off I was telling Mimi about how we had spent some time getting her room picked up and organized over the weekend. Again, telling her my sad tales about how Meghan can't keep anything clean.

A little while later I get a text from Mimi stating that Meghan has some organizing genes in there somewhere because she was taking an inventory of all of her Halloween candy and writing it down. I sort of laughed and responded back, to bad she didn't know how to sort it in excel!! Mimi then sent me a photo of the inventory list and at that moment it all became so clear to me ~

Her brain thinks very differently than mine! I looked at that picture and just started laughing. While I'm a very straight, lined up, in order all nice and pretty kinda person, she is one big circle scattered, no rhyme or reason kinda girl. This is the reason that we don't see eye to eye on how our stuff should be kept. I need the organization in order to be productive and apparently she does not, although you know this will be a constant battle between us. But I do try and keep things in perspective and realize that organization is not as important to her as it is to me, and she is only 8 years old, but, somewhere in the middle we can hopefully find some happy ground where we can both live.

High School Report Card

I wasn't really expecting it when it came in the mail last week. Yes, finals was the week before the Christmas break, but I'm still on the elementary/middle school trimester time schedule for progress reports and report cards. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to open up the envelope from Freedom High School and see this ~

I did have to ask for a little interpretation as I wasn't sure what 1st Fin was, apparently it is the 1st Semester Finals grade. He was pretty upset about the C in English, luckily his grade must have been high enough that the C didn't bring his final grade down. And luckily the forgotten Biology Final Study Guide mishap didn't effect his grade either. I'd say he's adjusting just fine to High School life. We are super proud of you Trevor! Keep up the awesome work.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - WOW!

I'm pretty sure I say this at the beginning of every year, but man 2011 sped by like a flash. And looking back I did a horrible job at documenting our year, and that makes me very sad. I'm not sure what happened, or where I completely lost my oomph . . . but it was nowhere to be found for most of 2011. No blogging, seriously my last post was the first day of school last August! No photo a day like I managed to do a pretty good job of in 2009 & 2010, nothing, nada, zilch! Heck, I haven't even sent out my Christmas cards yet!!! Just consider them New Year's cards, ok? I promise to pick them up from Costco tomorrow and get them in the mail this week! But that is the past, right? So now the only thing I can do is start fresh with 2012, cross my fingers and hope for a more productive year.

I have spent the last week home, off of work, visiting with friends and family, and organizing my heart out. I absolutely love to organize anyway but something about starting a new year with everything looking nice, just makes me really really happy! Although I must be more organized that I think, earlier today I realized that I couldn't find several Amazon Gift Cards that I got for Christmas, I'm usually pretty good with that kind of stuff and it goes straight to my desk. Well after having everyone in the house on a hunt for them, fearing that I would be garbage digging soon, I looked in the envelope on my desk labeled "Coupons & Gift Cards", and low and behold, I had already filed them away, with absolutely no recollection of it!!!!

Tuesday I spent cleaning the kitchen cupboards and pantry and today my scrapbook room. I definitely need to purge some stuff out of this room, like the magazines that I had going back to 2007, my husband and son took a stack out to the recycle bin that was probably almost as tall as me! That cleared up some serious shelf space and then I cleared off the piles on my work table, got my recent magazines to the shelf, got all the coupons filed away in their binders and am clearing the way so that when my Project Life kit arrives I will have nothing standing in my way to get scrapping about our everyday life! Wish me luck!!!!

I do love the newness and freshness that a new year brings, but wonder why I can't make that happen on any ol day of the week or month? I would love to start every month with the same excitement as I do in January. I'm sure it won't happen, so for now I will just take it day by day, I've started a list with some projects I would like to complete this year and I decided on my Word for 2012, Simplify - [ˈsɪmplɪˌfaɪ]vb -fies, -fying, -fied (tr)
1. to make less complicated, clearer, or easier. I have come to realize about myself that I can completely over think some things, and if I don't know exactly how or what I want to do, especially when it comes to creative things, I don't do anything. I really saw what doing nothing you by the end of the year, nothing produces nothing. So my goal this year is to just jump in and do something, it might not be perfect, it might not be the best, but it's something, and at the end of the year, a year of not exactly perfect is better than a year of nothing. Here is to an awesome 2012!