Monday, August 30, 2010

Not Me! Monday.....Amusement Park Edition....

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Not Me! Monday is the blog carnival created by MckMama as a way of "admitting" some of those, oh so memorable moments during the week you wish you could forget! Hop on over, link up, and join in the fun!

I'll start!

This week, it was Not Me! who didn't tell her children that their Grandma and Grandpa were going to treat them to a weekend at Hershey Park!

There's no way it was me who secretly packed all the bags and loaded the car, while my husband was at work and the kids were next door playing.....no way would I do that to myself! I know children need time to adjust to exciting news, so there's no way I'd spring a trip to an Amusement park on them, say, 5 minutes before we were gonna head out! Not Me! I know better than to set myself up for a nearly 4 hour car trip with four shocked children who are boinging off the walls like little caffeinated monkeys on trampolines! What thinking parent would do that to herself? Not Me!

Nor was it me who decided to let the toddler drive her first car.....

Since she was obviously much too small, it couldn't have been me encouraging her to steer the car, because I thought it would be a cute photo! I NEVER try to convince my children to do charming and oh-so-sweet things, just because I think it may look cute on camera! Not Me!

Finally, it wasn't me who attempted to get a cute photo of all four children before we left for the park from the hotel room. It couldn't have been me! As you all read here I learned my lesson a couple weeks ago about trying to get a nice photo of my whole crew when all by myself! There's no way I'd put myself through that misery again, not so soon after my last attempt, and ESPECIALLY not when the kids were all chomping at the bit to get into the amusement park! NOT ME!


So, how about you? Hop on over to MckMama's blog, and see what everyone else has NOT been doing this past week!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Macro Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!

Today is an AWESOME Friday... I'm so excited and honored my shot won last week.....AND we get to surprise our kids today with an out-of-the-blue trip to a big amusement park! Does Friday get any better than this????

So, here's my shot for this week..... my first macro with my new camera!

My first water droplet......

Not nearly as cool and shocking as my first lizard, but hey, I like it! :)

So go check out Blogging From Bolivia, see everyone else's cool Macro shots this week, and link up your own!

Just one more reason....

.....why I love my husband.....

My Mom watched the kids last night, so my wonderful husband could get some extra sleep, as I was out doing a shoot...

When I got home, this was waiting for me on my keyboard..

God sure did bless me with a wonderfully loving and thoughtful husband :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Before/After Blog Hop!

It's my favorite time of week again! Pixel Perfect's before/after blog hop!

The shot I'm using this week (sorry, it's from my old camera, but I'm trying to catch up all the stuff I have to do photo wise!)is from the shoot I did with my son, M.


(Shot with my Panasonic Lumix FZ35)

And After:

I fixed the exposure, brightened up his face a bit, sharpened his eyes.... played with the tone curve (his skin is actually quite light, and doesn't have that orangey look to it, and the shirt is not a deep dark navy stripe.....)
Oh yeah, and I took the big scab off his nose....lol
Edited with Lightroom2 and Photoshop CS5

So hop on over to Pixel Perfect, link up your own awesome edits, and see what everyone else has been up to this week!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Do you ever just need a virtual hug?

I try hard to stay far, far away from my pity pot. Yes, it's warm and familiar, but really nothing good ever comes from me hanging out there. It's warmth and familiarity are deceiving at best.

But sometimes, as happy and positive as I try to stay, my mind goes there.

It hurts having my child not speak and act like other kids her age. It kills me when I hear her choke and struggle with liquids. I want "normal" for her so badly..... I want her to say DaDa and Bye Bye.........and somedays it's really hard to not dwell on the things she's "not" doing instead of focusing on the things she is.

She is a blessing, for sure....

My heart and soul, all wrapped up in this amazing little package. See, these things that are so heavy on my heart don't phase her in the least. She is love. She is life.....she....just......is.......

Maybe I'm struggling because we're getting so close to her second birthday. When I see other kids her age talking, pointing to things, singing songs, and stringing words into sentences, i lose sight of how far we've come. We've been through so much together. She's my road trip buddy, as we've clocked more car hours driving back and forth for care than I really want to think about.......she's my late night secret keeper.........my cold day snuggle bug......and that little ounce of joy on a tough day that give you that seed of hope that tomorrow will be better......

When I first got her diagnosis on her ultrasound, someone gave me the poem "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Pearl Kinsley

"I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."

It's that loss of that dream that I struggle with from time to time.....but I'm getting there. I'm thankful.....humbled that I get to me Mommy to this amazing little girl and her wonderful siblings....

and I know God isn't done with me yet....

Outdoor Photo Editing.....

So, Brent Riggs (Riggs Family Blog) has a post up on his linky tools blog, offering a challenge of sorts where everyone who participates is a winner! Can't beat that, right?

Anyone who prays for Abby, and follows his blog(s) knows the man takes some AMAZING photos...... not only of his beautiful family, but of his travels and the world around him. He's put up one of his photos from a recent trip for anyone who wants to edit it, and link back up to his blog.......then, being a generous soul, he's going to do a demonstration showing everyone who links up how to make outdoor photos come alive! Given that, I'm ALWAYS wanting to learn more and more about photography, and photo editing, I'm linking up! :)

Here's his original:

Gorgeous, right?
Here's my edit -

So, here's what I did. I edited this in LightRoom 2. I use Photoshop a lot also, but I love how Lightroom makes it really easy for me to play around with different ideas and techniques non-destructively.....

First, I cropped the image so that the line where the ground meets the horizon fell about 1/3 of the way up the page. This also put the skyline pretty close to 1/3 of the way from the top of the page.

Under Basic Adjustments, I upped both the blacks and contrast slightly. Upped clarity to around 50, and nudged up the saturation and the vibrance.

On the tone curve, I moved the darks and shadows down and the lights up a little.

I upped the saturation of the yellows, purples, and blues.......but just a little. Upping them too much gave new meaning to "Purple Mountains Majesty".....they looked like they could have been kin to Barney.

Then I sharpened the photo using a .8 radius.

After I exported it from Lightroom, I ran it through NoiseWare Community Edition, as this was a JPG and I find they often get more noisy as I adjust things. I usually shoot in RAW, which gives me a little more leeway.

I feel kinda funny writing this all out, as I don't really have the experience to be teaching or doing tutorials.....lol. I'm also on an uncalibrated monitor at the moment, so if my colors are slightly off, my apologies! I just think this is a really awesome opportunity for any/all of us interested to learn something new!

SO... go check out his blog, edit the photo to your liking, blog about whatcha did, and link on up! Let's all learn something new together! It'll be great!

Monday, August 23, 2010

First shots with the new camera....

So, I've had my beautiful, wonderful, big girl camera for about 8 hours now. I'm learning.......everything is in a different place, so it's taking me a while to find everything! I've managed to stay in full manual though (though for a few minutes there at first, I thought the aperture setting was playing hide and go seek with me!)

I'm pretty sure I was in love the minute I opened the box........ it's 1:30 in the morning, and I'm now forcing myself to go to bed, but I really want to just keep reading the manual and get to know my new friend......

The only thing I'm really struggling with right now, is getting the camera to focus in manual mode, using the external ETTL flash. A Zeikos 680ex ETTL came with my camera.....anyone have any experience with it? I think I'm missing a setting with it somewhere!

Not Me! Monday!

Do you ever have a day go so horribly awry, that it's almost as if it were set up just to give you fun stuff to write about for Not Me! Monday? Well, I sure haven't!

You see, it was most certainly not me who went to bed last week, thinking she had heard a sound coming from the kitchen, but got distracted by the baby and never went to check it out. There's no way that could be me, as curiosity is my middle name! Always, if something is amiss, my acute sense of perception picks up on it immediately, and discovers it's source! I'm never scatterbrained! Not me!

So, it just stands to reason that it was Not Me! who awoke the next morning to find the evaporator motor in her freezer not working.

Now, even if that had happened (which it most certainly did not!), it wouldn't be me who, instead of calling a repair man, began to research the problem and dismantle the fridge myself. No way would I ever start a project I had NO KNOWLEDGE of or could possibly get in over my head with! Not me! I go professional all the way!

So it couldn't have been me who had to call my husband at work when, after re-assembly, the fridge wouldn't kick on again. Nor was it me who, after having had my hubby home for thirty minutes working on the stink'n thing, who called a fix-it person only to find out that I could have unplugged said refrigerator during it's "defrost" cycle and that it could take over an hour for it to kick on again.

Nor was it me who, an hour after I plugged the fridge back in, witnessed it miraculously begin working again. Not me!

It was also NOT ME! who, directly after, kissed her husband goodbye (who was eating lunch at the time) and preceded to pack all four children and picnic lunch items into the mini van, to go meet a friend and her family for a picnic lunch. Not me! If I'd had a morning like that, I'd be taking the rest of the day off!

So it couldn't have been me who's car blew out a tire a mile from the park.......... in a small neighboring town with no cell service. Or who hauled all four kids out of the car, and walked to the park, where hopefully her friend would be, with phone service. Nor was it me who, after walking 3/4 of a mile uphill, found an empty park.....and still no cell phone service....Good thing this wasn't me, because I would have most certainly pulled my hair out at this point!

Long story short (haha), it wasn't me who knocked on a complete stranger's door to ask to use his phone. I most certainly didn't have to repeat myself, feigning cheerfulness, three times as the cute little old man who answered the door was very hard of hearing. If that was me, I would have been thankful to have gotten a hold of my husband moments before he was headed back to work, and my friend who came back to the park to meet us and have lunch, since by this point, my children would have certainly been starving!

It wasn't us who forgot to bring charcoal to actually cook the food on, or who's friend had to go BACK to her house to just load up her gas grill and bring it to the park.

It wasn't us who forgot ketchup and mustard. Nor was it our children who happily ate hotdogs and hamburgers with nothing on them, as they were so hungry they probably would have happily gnawed on them raw if that was all that was available.

Finally, it wasn't me who came home to find, she'd forgotten to put chlorine in her pool floater thingy the day before. It couldn't have been my pool, as it's always perfectly balanced and NEVER has to be shocked again because it turned green!


So how about you? Come link up your own Not Me! Monday post on MckMama's blog, and come see what everyone else hasn't been doing this week!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just for fun.....

Because, sometimes, sunflare shots are "Just Right!"


Macro Friday! Lizard Lips!

So, the other day, I was shooting, and I went to our next door neighbor's house, as I had promised their little boy I'd take some Macro shots of his frogs........

Well, it just so happened, his cousin pulled up as I was walking over, with this not-so little guy in tow....
(click to make bigger)

Gotta love Lizard Lips in Macro........

He is seriously, one of the neatest looking reptiles I've ever seen(in person). While I may be afraid of bugs, reptiles and I are cool..... yeah, we go way back! At least they are usually large enough where they don't sneak up on me!

So, hop on over to Blogging From Bolivia, and check out Laura's macro shot, and everybody else's this week! Hey, while you're at it, post your own creative macro or close up shot, and link right up! Personally, I hold Laura solely responsible for my new obsession with Macro photography! ;) (Hey, at least it give me something to shoot when my kids run from the camera, even if my neighbors think I'm nuts now!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


It's my favorite time of week once more! I'm sitting here, watching the calander, checking UPS Tracking progress, and watching my camera creep it's way from California......... it looks like it's gonna be Monday!

So, until then, I must keep busy with some bloggy fun!
Here's a shot I took at the Memorial Day Parade earlier this year. It was Noon, and crazy hot out.......... I felt so bad for them in full uniform!

So, I am a newbie to texture.....still learning what I'm doing! I loved Monica's Before/After shot of a old-fashioned camera last week though, so I thought I'd play around. (It was fun!)
So, here's what I wound up with:

So, hop on over to Pixel Perfect, and go see everyone else's amazing edits! I learn so much from this blog hop every week!