There is nothing better than 

Here is step number one to our essential night time routine. 

Photography note: I shot these in monochrome with my flash (If you could see my mauve and forest green shower, you would have too). I believe my shutter speed was 1/30 which really caught the movement of the water. Unfortunately the photos I felt comfortable enough to post on the web don't show too much of the water. I also had a very difficult time getting good photos with both of them looking at the camera, which is why I only have one good one of them together and a bunch from the night before I took of just P.


After all of the hulabaloo I posted about getting a new camera, a few of you understandably wondered what I ended up getting. I got her:

A Canon Rebel XS:

She's pretty much at the bottom of the totem poll as far as DSLR's go, but oh how I love her. Where I'm such a newbie to the world of photography (I don't even know if I can even say I'm in that world at all) she's just what I need to start learning.

A couple of others have mentioned you also got a new DSLR and are figuring out how to use it. To that I say, let's learn together!!! Here are some things I've learned along with a few other random thoughts:

  • Right now I'm actually taking a free class from Mario Ruiz. He's professional photographer who is getting his MBA right now and kindly offered this class to any other fellow MBA students and/or spouses. This is where I first felt the desire for a fancy shmancy camera and learned terms like exposure and aperture.
  • Right after I got my camera I experimented with the very little knowledge I had + the owner's manual. One night I start browsing through Pioneer Woman's photography blog (I've read her other stuff, but never had a need for the photography posts--until now)--SO HELPFUL. I love her. She explains things so they are so easy to understand. If you just got a camera that you don't know how to use, go there. Fast.
  • I'm always confused to whether or not I'm "doing it right". Photography is SO subjective. Yet as beginners I feel we need some sort of way to check ourselves to determine whether or not we're using our new skill correctly. Obviously, there are shots that are obviously wrong--but I'm trying to make myself a little more comfortable in finding what I love and learning to go with it. This will be a lengthy process.
  • Shooting moving things (aka people) is SO difficult for me! With my kids it's fine because I can just shoot a bajillion shots while they sit there and play. Tinkering with all sorts of settings and modes. However--I went to a YW activity the other night thinking how fun it would be to document the event and was like shoot...they're posing for me and ...nope--that setting didn't work. "Could you just stay there for a minute-hehe." Nope...that setting didn't work...sigh.
  • Sometimes I like to think I can make any setting work as long as I find the right combo of settings. Especially where most of the photos I've taken during this past month  have been indoors when it's been dreary outside, this idea has left me frustrated. Sometimes I have to accept the fact that THERE IS NO LIGHT and whip out the flash and be fine with it. That's the conclusion I came to at the YW activity:)
  • I'd like to say I'm a strictly a SOOC (straight out of camera. A term used for hoity-toity photographers  who think you shouldn't edit photos and are usually talented enough to take photos that don't need editing.) photographer because I'm awesome, but no. I just have a LAME, lamers, lame-o, computer that can't handle Photoshop. I downloaded a trial version of Photoshop Elements (simplified version of Photoshop) and it runs sooo slow. So right now I'm stuck with Picasa for basic cropping and that's pretty much it. I will also look at my photos on Phil's computer and realize there are details I can see on his computer that I can't see on mine. One day, my friends, one day.
  • Speaking of SOOC. The theory interests my, but personally, I can't wait to get my hand on some great editing software. Can we say fun? I get the idea of reigning it in (PW talks about that too), but I shall always be pro editing.
  • Finally, storage. I have taken more pictures this month than I did all of last year. How do I store them? Get more drives? Online albums/storage archives? Tell me. I want to know. 
  • Oh and I want this bag to carry her around in:


    There's nothing better than...
    A cute girl having a bad hair day!
    (because they still look cute, with a little silly thrown in)

    If you're wondering how this crazy "do" came about, lately I have been doing Penny's hair with a blow dryer and a small round brush. There was a little learning curve there, but now we've got it so it gives her just the right combo of bend and volume. Sorry, people, I can't help myself. Well, this day we were experimenting with "the flip" and I'm doing my thing while she's playing with everything in arms reach on the bathroom counter. Distracted with her busy arms and the job at hand I didn't see the full picture until I stopped and looked at her in the mirror. I gave a hearty laugh, so she started laughing and then I went and got the camera. The end.


    There's nothing better than...
    A GNO (Girls' Night Out)! 
    Especially, when it's with two of my favorite girls :)
    And especially, when you get a "special" invitation.

    Because that's how I felt when my sister called to to tell me that her and my niece were have a night out and they wanted me to come :) :) :)

    It began here

    Where we ate this

    I big time heart this mother/daughter duo (about to be trio)

    But I'd be lying if I wasn't completely smitten, flattered, tongue-in-cheek during the few (many) times people have mistaken Gracie as mine :) :) :)

    Later, we went here so Gracie could pick out her reward. (The reason for the GNO was because Gracie had worked really hard on her reading chart and math skills).

    So this camera thing sure isn't getting old. At first, Autumn was a bit bashful (embarassed) that I kept lugging my camera everywhere we went and snapping photos. 

    But she eventually warmed up.

    Isn't she great. And gorgeous. The camera has always loved her.

    (Rory Jane, here is your mother rockin' (with you) the Toys R Us runway at 8-months! )


    Now that those crazy holidays are over, I thought it would be a good time to document where my cute babes are at these days.

    Ryder (or also lovingly known as #1): I love having conversations with him. I have never been so entertained than I am at his attempted efforts to conquer the English language and then use that knowledge to communicate with others. He loves to help and I love having an eager volunteer when I need something thrown away in the garbage can. As previously mentioned he just started primary and he also participates in a little preschool co-op. His interests include: peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, dragons/dinosaurs (particularly his dino jammies), rocking out to the guitar, running, and PUZZLES (I'd say this is the first thing I've seen him passionate about). I love you Ryder.

    Ryder being silly modeling for me after I've asked him to look at the camera a bajillion times

     Doing puzzles on Christmas morning

     One day over Christmas break Ryder did every puzzle he owned in one sitting. So I took the opportunity to take some photos...:)

     I love him and love the idea, but I wish a) I'd known a little bit more about my camera when I took them b) All the stuff in the background drives me nutso! SO. I'm thinking we may have try this photo op one more time with a more aesthetically pleasing back-drop.

    Penelope Rae (or, you guessed it, #2): Penelope has hit a couple of major milestones of late. As you know she is now the big numero uno. She also mastered walking, albeit a bit wobbly (think drunkin' sailor).  Thanks to a big brother she has even learned to run or sit down really fast when a large (brown-eyed) object approaches her at high speed. She also got her first hair cut (you know, a little mullet trim). When I think of how to describe her combination of charm and sass I come up with the word: SCAMPETTE (def. cute little girl scamp). Her interests include: moving, accessories, snuggle-housing (her own version of rough-housing), climbing stairs, daddy, eating whatever happens to be on the floor, Elmo and CHEESE (this is probably the first thing I've ever seen Penny be passionate about :). I love you Penny Rae.

     Miss Walk-a-doo, herself

     A few interactions with Bruce the Moose.
    Cute girl and a really good (as in bad) example of what I believe they call noise in the photography world.

     The haircut!!! (along with a possibly blow-dryed-with-velco-rollers styled-do. )

    And how this happened, I'll never know. She wandered into the bathroom. I told Ryder to go in and get her. He took these instructions very literally and he came out dragging her with a sock in her pants.

    ***At this point I have no excuses for the massive amounts of photos I'm about to post of Penny, other than we spend a good portion of our time waiting for Ryder to wake up from his nap taking photos. And I thought my mom might enjoy seeing them. They do however epitomize Penny***

     She moves a lot and therefore has to take a few 2-second breaks every once in awhile.

     Snuggle-housing Elmo.

     Love her. One of my favorite photos.

     On the move

    A girl and her gold flats. Need I say more.  (Thank you aunt Lancy and Bethany!)


     Static hair and chapped cheeks = Winter. Could someone PLEASE get this girl some lotion on those cheeks. I mean, seriously, who is her mother!?


    One word:  Scampette. 

    Wow, way to hang in there. Don't say I didn't warn you. As for the photography aspect. The lighting in these isn't great. And I'm still just using Picasa for minor editing. I figure, get the camera down, then add on editing. Also, I'm still working on getting moving objects, can you tell? Which is another reason Penny makes for great photography practice :)


    Do you want to know what I think about when I have nothing else to think about??? Huh. Now that I think about it, it's actually lots of things. BUT one theme in particular that seems to frequent my thoughts is  how I plan to one day decorate individual rooms in my future home.

    One problem I typically run into in the midst of these glorious thoughts is knowing one day (it's inevitable) Ryder and Penelope will have to share a room. I know, I know. I should be worrying about sleeping habits and sharing issues. But no, I'm more concerned with how in the world am I going to conquer the ever-so-tricky "decorating childrens' room gender neutral" dilemma.

    I was comforted last November when I was getting lost in IKEA with my sister. We decided to check out the textiles (fabrics) before checking out. I mean I knew IKEA sold fabrics, but I had never really taken a good look at them. My loss. They are so cool. Fun and unique. One particular pattern caught my eye was called Annamoa. What fun inspiration for a perfectly gender neutral room! I particularly love the color pallet along with the fairytale-like print.
    Add in a little of there red & white stripey stripes...could be neato...
    Check out other Annamoa fabrics here. So fun.


    So here is the other little project I was working on in December for Penelope's birthday. I had some scraps leftover from her bedroom and around that same time I saw a talented friend of mine make these for her little Penelope :)

    And just like any other smart person would do, I copied her :)

    Here is the link to the ones she did.

    And here is the link to the tutorial I used to get the measurements and instructions for the actual bean bag part (although, I think mine are about an inch bigger).

    I had so much fun making these. Perhaps a little more fun making them than Penny has had playing with them, but really, what do ya do?

    Also--I am sorry for any picture-heavy posts. You all get to follow me in my experimentation with my new camera and sometimes I have a tendency to get carried away. Like now...
    (Oh and any comments or tips are so welcome.)

    Okay, so he's kinda cute.