Sunday, April 28, 2013

Drum Roll Please...

It's hard to believe our week started out like this...

Although going a little crazy over enduring one of the longest MN winters in history, we were hopeful that spring showers...
...and flowers would come soon.
Our wish came true.  Ahhhh - finally a beautiful weekend.  All indoor chores got neglected as we spent all waking hours outside - playing, cleaning up the yard, putting our patio furniture out and having picnics on the deck.
 Yes, it was finally sunny enough to all wear our movie star sunglasses.
 Mmmm - those turkey burgers look good...
...I think I'll test dad's cooking.
Hanging out in the glorious sunshine is just what we all needed.  We had a perfect, sun-filled weekend at home.
All of my photos are still taken off of auto mode and I do think I'm improving.  My percentage of successful pictures (those that aren't completely black, white or blurry) has definitely gone up.  At first I thought the dark blur in the lower, left-hand corner in the picture below was yet another mishap in my photography adventure - but no - it's just Miles wanting to get in the pictures as I tried to snap away at my little monkey.
 Now I know what I look like taking pictures constantly.
As these two played outside, s Miles puts it "getting some energy out," at one point I caught them holding hands.  Miles was telling Hadley "that's what brothers and sisters do."

Hadley is my child with the perpetually dirty face.  She continues to be a rock star with potty training - wearing underwear (princess or Minnie Mouse) all day.  We even made trips to Target, Costco and the park and stayed dry!  I woke up this morning to my little one yelling "Mom!  Oh Mommy!  Come on!"  We ended her day, nose-to-nose, singing "You Are My Sunshine" to each other.  Although so sweet and smart - we've learned not to mess with her - Miles is still learning this lesson the hard way.  Miles' first response to things has never been to lash out physically.  Hadley is another story.  If Miles swipes a strawberry off her plate or takes a toy she doesn't hesitate to get a really good grip on his hair and yank as hard as she can.  She's also really good at scratching your face - today drawing blood from Miles' gums when he swiped a piece of her popcorn.  She's tough but seems to be tolerating one minute time outs and is so sweet in her apology and hug to her victim afterwards.  I'm a little sad - tonight we retired her high chair.  She hasn't been sitting in it lately - preferring  to mostly stand on a chair.   


While Hads is scrappy, Miles is the rule enforcer.  He's such a little man reminding Hads of the rules and letting us know when she's not complying.  Saturday morning he crawled into bed with me around 6 and whispered:
-"Is [insert super nanny's name] coming today?"
-No, it's Saturday.  Mommy and Daddy are staying home.
-"I love Saturdays!  And I love you Mommy.  And Daddy and Hadley, and Ruby...  and I love myself."

(The title of this blog post is just for you Jill.  :)  So fun on Saturday...)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mamarazzi is getting serious

Since the birth of Miles I have taken 1000s of pictures - hundreds a week of the kids - all in auto mode on our expensive digital SLR camera.  I obviously love photographing the kids.  Capturing that one shot that magnifies their little personalities and records how beautiful they are makes me so happy.  I've decided to take my passion to the next level and actually learn how to use this complicated computer that takes pictures - aka my camera.  I spent 6 hours yesterday at the Minneapolis Photo Center learning and practicing.  The class I took taught me first and foremost that I really suck as a photographer (on the bright side I have lots of opportunities for improvement).  I also feel that every dollar we've spent on professional photographers has been worth every penny because these people are geniuses!  If you think I'm exaggerating - I'm not - my photos were the ones used in class as examples of what not to do.  With all of that said and my photography self-esteem the size of a gnat I forged ahead and practiced the rest of the weekend - never cheating and flicking the wheel to auto mode.  I took 386 pictures in the last 32 hours and the ones below are the only halfway decent, not-too-blurry ones I got.  That's about a 4.5% success rate but I have to start somewhere.  I'm recording all of this because in a year, when I'm taking pictures of the kids like a pro, I hope that I can look back on this post and recognize how far I've come with my hobby.  To any and all photogs - I'm completely open to critiques and advice.

Before I get to the photos I'll share some kid news - because after all, they are the focus of this blog.  Hads has entered that stage where she's wild and crazy and never listens - which drives me wild and crazy too.  Mike and I will be quickly starting to enforce some rules and begin time out time in the hopes that we don't have to repeat 500 times per day "don't stand on the table."  Besides the not listening she had a bit of a rough week with a rash over her entire body that just started clearing up last night.  She also got her fingers pinched in the door twice today - even though we also say 500 times per day "don't play with the doors!"  Miles made me feel better today - in a moment where I was yelling because nobody was listening, I was trying to make lunch for the kids and soup for dinner all at the same time - he came up to me and said "I know what will make you feel better mom..."  and he hugged me. 

I quickly found out who in the house was my most willing, and able-to-sit-still model - Ruby!


Trying to capture speed bike racing in motion.


This is what Hadley did when I asked her to pose for a picture.

My other best willing model is Mike.  Being a wonderful husband he ran back and forth in the cul-de-sac so that I could practice playing with different shutter speeds.

I think this is one of my best photos of the weekend!  Look at the depth of field and my composition isn't horrible!

Hadley will happily model if she's eating ice cream.


These pictures of Miles were captured early in the morning without a flash.  My ISO may be off (ha  - like I really know what I'm talking about - something isn't quite right).  I took this same photo in auto mode, with my flash, with Miles dead center in the photo (which is exactly how I would have taken this photo a few days ago) and it looked horrible - which just encouraged me to keep forging ahead with learning how to take a better picture.

Yes - my excitement got the best of me at 6 am this morning - that's Mike sleeping in the background.







This was my one photo cheat - auto mode all of the way.  The kids were making pizzas and I knew I didn't have 30 minutes to take pictures and adjust settings to capture this fun moment.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Shorty...

...it's not that I'm not inspired to write - it's just that after 4 years of Sunday night musings I may just need to change up my blogging routine.  I'm ruminating on this and we'll see where my mind wanderings lead me...

The week's moments...
...Hadley sucking on the lemon slice garnish from my takeout box.  "It's juicy!"

...A trio of joyful, if not always on key voices, singing "Dinah Won't You Blow Your Horn" at the top of our lungs on a daily basis.  Try it - it's an instant mood-lightener.  Hadley encourages this by saying "more singing guys" or "good singing guys."

...Tasting her first medium salsa, Hads repeatedly began scooping it straight from her plate to her mouth with her hands.  Exclamations of "it's spicy" and "more" were the only interruptions to her salsa immersion.

...Playing dolls with my girl - she likes having twins.  I would rock my baby and say "I love you baby" and my girl would do exactly what I did to her baby.  So cute!




Sunday, April 7, 2013

Gratitude

Life is busy but oh so good.  I'm lucky everyday to spend time with the people I love.  The scene at our house - Hadley's tucked in bed wearing little green pajamas with footies - tired out from a busy day of shopping and playing with her cousins.  Mike's arm is around Miles as they sit side-by-side on the couch - both concentrating on a Jake and the Neverland Pirates game on the iPhone.  The laundry is put away, the dishwasher is running and I'm listening to it hum as I think about what to write tonight.  Tiredness at the end of a long weekend is upon me.  I'm hoping this new week brings me a quiet mindfulness and joy and love for the things that are most important in life.

Celebrating grandpa's belated birthday