Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Scavenger Hunt...

This month, I decided to challenge myself. I am a member of a photography message board (LOVE) and one of the members (read her blog here. )posted a list of items we were to capture.

This month's list included a triangle, music, flower, transportation, and gold.

I got stuck on a few of them, but in the end, I did end up getting a shot of all five. While most of them aren't as creative as I would have liked, I'm still glad that I finished what I started and completed the hunt!

1. Triangle
This is actually our mailbox post.

2. Music
Hannah sat down at the piano and began plunking the keys and singing with all her might...evidenced by the vein popping out of her neck!

3. Flower
Yes, the dreaded dandelion.

4. Transportation
I had a little trouble with this one. I couldn't seem to come up with anything creative. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed that the answer was right under my nose. ;) What better way to travel, than on foot?!

5. Gold
My Mom and Dad's fireplace screen.

I can't wait to see what's in store for April! I'm hoping that with nicer weather, I'll be able to venture outside of the confines of my living room and front yard to be a little more creative!
Thanks for looking!

Time- Managed.

I am feeling a bit frustrated as of late. There is so much I want to learn, to accomplish, yet I always fall short on time.

A few months ago, Micah purchased editing software through his university's online bookstore. It saved us 80% of the retail price, so we took advantage of the deal and ordered Lightroom 3 and Photoshop Elements 9.

I couldn't wait to get my hands dirty and start editing my photographs. Afterall, I had downloaded Lightroom's 30 day free trial and fell in love. If I under or overexposed a picture in camera, I could pull the RAW file into Lightroom and correct it. White balance off? No problem! I now had the ability to fix it!
Although my knowledge of post processing is very limited, I've been able to make having the software worthwhile, if not just for the ability to add my watermark (which, by the way, is loud and needs a ton of work. I'm researching!).
Now, having owned these two amazing programs for several weeks, and after reading Scott Kelby's books regarding the software, I feel somewhat more enlightened. Somewhat would be the key word here. I'm still so rough. I know about 1/3rd, if not less, of what I need to know to really be able to do what I would like to do. I have the resources to learn more, but there is one factor in this matter that makes this whole equation impossible, and that is...TIME.

I don't have enough of it.

Trying to research or read during the hours of 7:30AM and 9:00PM is laughable. I am pulled in multiple directions during the day. From feedings, to diaper changes, relay races in the living room, to redirecting a potential temper tantrum. I'm a Mom. It's my job, and I am so glad that I have two beautiful girls that have given me this most important job title. But, it is still frustrating to me to feel unaccomplished in the hobby area of my life.
While most probably think I'm going a bit overboard with my newfound obsession hobby, I've truly found something I love to do and want to work really hard to perfect my skills...both in camera, and in post processing.

So what's a girl to do? I could rise before the crack of dawn (doesn't this phrase always make you imagine a chubby plumber bent over peering into a kitchen cabinet determing the culprit behind a leaking sink?! Or is that just me?) or stay up until all hours of the night reading or playing around with different actions and presets. Other than this one option, I've got nothing.
And if you know me, staying up much past 11:00PM is out of the question. I'm pretty good at waking up between 4:00 and 5:00AM and being able to function, (admittedly better if I squeeze in a nap mid-afternoon)but honestly, it's just not ideal.

How badly do I want this? Although this post focuses mainly on the post processing world of the art of photography, I'm also finding it difficult to pull out my camera during the day to practice shooting. I know this is bound to change once we have a few warm, sunny days, as we'll be spending a good part of our afternoons outside. This will allow for new photo opportunities. And really, who isn't more creative when the skies aren't gray and gloomy?

That's where I'm at. Feeling frustrated at my lack of progress. Having difficulty finding time to accomplish the things I want without letting another area of my life completely slide. I know progress and improvement of skills will come with time...I just don't know how much time we're talking.

Life moves so quickly. Days, weeks and months fly by. Children grow and mature before our very eyes. We can't slow it down, nor can we stop time. This is the reason for my love of this hobby. Photographing the moment captures it for a lifetime. I may not remember how Hannah wore her hair today when I think back in twenty years, but I'll have the ability to pull up my file dated 3/31/11 and see just that. Soft curls pulled back in a messy pony tail. The red and white bow peeking up from behind the waves.
I probably won't remember where Sarah sat while Hannah played, but flipping through an album will remind me. Propped up comfortably in her Boppy, wrapped in her mint green afghan, looking on as her big sister plays.
It is for these reasons that I'll continue to push forward. I'll push myself to be better. I will be better. I will learn, and I will capture lasting memories.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm back to work.

I failed to mention previously that I returned to work two days a week last Monday. It's been a bit of an adjustment after almost 12 weeks of maternity leave, but I'm starting to get back into a routine.
I thought returning after the second baby would be easier than with the first. I was wrong. Sunday evening, I started putting together an outfit, collecting all of my pump parts and accessories, and finding the right pair of shoes that have been buried in my closet since we moved.
When I stress, I tend to go a little overboard with preparation. For example, I started packing my lunch for the next day during Hannah's nap at 3:00. Really? Micah wanted to take the babies out, but I declined, stating I still had too much left to do. There really wasn't much left to do, but I had to make sure everything was in order, so as to not add any additional stress or emotion for the following morning. I knew there would be enough of that as I kissed Sarah goodbye before heading out the door.

I ironed, layed my clothes out, got everything packed up, starting thinking up ideas for PT classes for the following day. My mind wouldn't stop.
As I anticipated, none of us got much sleep Sunday night. It's as if the babies knew I would be leaving them with Grammy the following day. Hannah, who has been an excellent sleeper since day one, was up FOUR times. At 2:00AM, she was so upset that Micah and I both huddled in her room for over 15 minutes...and of course, she just wanted her mama.
Sarah, who has also been an amazing sleeper, decided to party like a rockstar at 3:00 and 4:30AM. So, needless to say, I was pretty tired when the alarm sounded for work Monday morning.
I showered, did my hair and makeup, nursed a still sleeping Sarah, dressed, and headed to the kitchen to pack my lunchbag.
Micah joined me in the kitchen, offering me his support, assuring me the girls would be just fine with Grammy. Afterall, Sarah takes a bottle of pumped milk, unlike Hannah who wouldn't. That was one less concern for me!

Kissing Sarah before I walked out the door proved to be a mistake. The tears came, but suprisingly, I was able to shut them off as I pulled out of the driveway.

I love my job, so once I arrived to work, greeted by my coworkers, I was fine. I called home a few times to check in and of course, Grammy gave me a good report. I'm so thankful I have my Mom and husband to care for my girls while I work my two days. I know they are in good hands for the few hours I'm gone during the week and that helps to lessen the blow of being absent from them.

And afterall, three months of summer vacation is only 22 more working days away! ;)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just popping in...

Unfortunately, this will have to be really quick. Our laptop finally and surely bit the dust. I'm serious this time. Micah's been able to revive it several times in the past few weeks, even if just getting it to work in safe mode. This time, it is really gone. We're pretty sure the motherboard imploded. Luckily, no one was hurt. ;)

I've been banished to our desktop, which means having to sneak up to our fourth bedroom for a few minutes throughout the day while the girls are either napping or occupied with Daddy or Grammy. It's not working out too well, especially since I'm used to surfing the web while I'm nursing the baby or during naptime...and not just for a few brief minutes, as both of my girls take 3 to 4 hour naps.

So, we're off to the store to look for a desk...and a faucet. Turns out our kitchen faucet is leaking pretty badly and needs replaced ASAP. Fabulous!

So, without further adeu (is that spelled correctly?!), a picture for your viewing enjoyment:

Bedtime is highly esteemed in our house. It's a big event most nights!

You may be seeing more from me today, as I'm going to attempt one of Ashley Sisk's Scavenger Hunt Sundays.
We'll see how much time I have today to both shoot and edit. I spent a good amount of time yesterday evening searching through the countless entries on Micah's iPhone and felt truly inspired! I'm going to give it a whirl!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


March 22, 2009. 4:43am. 6lbs 14oz. 19 1/2 inches. Gorgeous. Perfect. A blessing from the Lord. My Hannah.

March 22, 2011. 4:43am. I'm awake, nursing Sarah. Hannah is still tucked warmly in her big girl bed. I begin to think. Two years ago today, at this exact minute, my precious girl entered the world and made me a Mama.

Today has been peaceful and sentimental. My mind has gone back to that day on several occasions. I look back in such awe at how far she's come and how much she's grown in the past two years. Two years. Where has the time gone?

We celebrated Hannah's birthday on Saturday with family and friends. It was a wonderful party and we all had such a wonderful time. Before I get too teary-eyed to type, I'll do a large birthday share, for your viewing enjoyment!

Friday night, Micah and I left Hannah with Gram and Pap and headed to the store to grab a few last minute party items. Sarah tagged along, and can I just say, she is the world's best baby?? She was so good and didn't make a peep while making our multiple stops! However, she was glad to get out of the carseat at the end of the night to spend a little time with her Pap.

We got home and immediately started decorating for the party. Micah was thrilled.

Hannah was quite intrigued with the process!

Before bed, we told Hannah that her birthday party was the next day. She stood at the top of the steps, gripping the baby gate, exclaiming, "Party! A-prise! Party!" She couldn't contain her excitement!

Saturday morning was filled with cake and cupcake decorating, cleaning, and baby wrangling. After a mishap with the original two-tiered cake, "Aunt Roof" and I got creative and put this little masterpiece together:

Isn't it cute? I can hardly take any credit for it, though. Ruth took a cake decorating class last summer. I was supposed to tag along, but morning sickness kept me at home while Ruth learned techniques such as creating icing leaves...and we took advantage of it! Thanks again, Aunt Roof! :)

Hannah hung out, curiously watching the commotion.

Before we knew it, it was party time!
Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and friends all piled into our home, ready to celebrate our girl's big day! It was splendid! Hannah couldn't contain her excitement!
Somehow, no presents were unwrapped before the alloted time. ;)

Baby Sarah enjoyed the fun from her bouncer.
Pap enjoyed some chips.
This picture so captures his personality. I love it!
Hannah loves her P-ap!

The time came for "Happy Birthdays" and cake and ice cream.

She wasn't sure at first...
...but she got the hang of it!

After dessert, it was time for presents!
She was shy at first,

but she warmed up quickly!

She got a lot of bubbles!
Both of my girls had a blast.

After a busy weekend, we're taking it slow this week. Enjoying the last few bites of cupcake and cake.

My girl is two and she knows it. She's been reminding me all day. We've been singing Happy Birthday all day, and she glows.
She's been playing with all of her new toys. I have, too! We've had a wonderful day.
Daddy will be home soon, and we'll have a little celebration...just the four of us.
It's been a wonderful day, just as it was two years ago, beginning at 4:43am.

Happy Birthday, beautiful girl.