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!