Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 4 of 52

20-26 November 2011

What a week this was. Hectic to say the least. Thanksgiving week and yes, I COMPLETELY forgot to take any photos on Thanksgiving day! Whoops. It's also a week filled with Ethan waking a lot at night from a stuffy nose (mama is soooooo tired right about now), and the washing machine breaking down the day before thanksgiving and us not realizing until the day of...  you know...  once the washing had already started piling up. The washer got replaced this past Friday with an oldie off the local yard sale site. It's not that pretty, and needs a good clean, but it works and that's the main thing! ;)

It was also Black Friday this past Friday, which means I indulged in a few actions for editing in PSE (Photoshop Elements) and presets for LR (Lightroom).  I haven't dabbled with my PSE ones yet, because let's face it, I'm clueless on PSE right now...good thing I have a PSE "how to" book on my Christmas list for Mr Santa ;)

So, for now, I've been playing with the LR ones. I'm especially loving the Film Art presets from Clickin' Moms. I also used some presets from My Four Hens Photography, the "Flatten" action from the Pioneer Woman, and the storyboards from Paint the Moon Photography.
And without further ado, here's this weeks photos:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 3 of 52 - Part one!

13-19 November 2011

This week's photos might not look that amazing...but I swear I took more! And some of them I really like!! But I can't show them to you. You see I am testing a pattern for someone and silly me forgot to take some photos WITHOUT that item in them...yup...can't post them yet! I'll have to a week 3 part 2 post as soon as I can to show off the baby cuteness that I can't post now. ;)

So instead I'll show you some photos that make you want to squish the chubbiness and whatever else I can find in folder for this week!

Mommy doesn't feed him enough, look at those skinny little legs!

Yup, he's just fading away....
And that, my dears, is what a 5 month 3week old baby looks like when he weighs a good 25lb and is about 30" tall. This is why I go to the chiropractor ;)

You talking to me? 

Oh it's picture time...guess I'll just focus intently on anything BUT the camera....

And THEN.... We got our family photos in!!! 

I took the opportunity to order from AdoramaPix when they were having a fabulous 50% off sale! I ordered all our photos from our great session this year, done by Fernadele. We can't wait to frame them and get them up on the walls. :D

A sneak peak at the way AdoramaPix sends your prints to you:
They came in a nice big box - the tape was tearing and the box was starting to open by the time I got it, but everything inside was still in perfect condition. All the prints were between thick cardboard, with protection over the top of the print, and each big print was in it's own set of cardboard by the way. The big prints also has stiff cardboard corner protectors to stop any corners getting bent along the way. 

Their packaging worked perfectly! All prints were in perfect condition and not a single dent, ding or scratch, not even a piece of fluff! (Right now I'm squealing with delight...aren't you glad this isn't a video blog?! You're welcome ;) )

"The Kiss"  - This one is going centered above our bed with the other two of the two of us on each side. I honestly would never have thought of asking for photos of just the two of us - insecurities run rampant around these parts - so to have 3 absolutely wonderful photos of us that I felt happy enough about to get printed    R-E-A-L-L-Y   B-I-G    is awesome!

The smaller photos were shrink wrapped into their cardboard protectors. Each size inside in it's own separator / protector. 

And this is another *squeal* part! I have been reading people say they love the metallic paper that you can order photos on, but I've never seen it in person. So when I was ordering the prints and saw that one of the options was: "The Endura Metallic paper has a unique metallic sheen for stunning visual impact and depth. Our most dramatic paper for colors that pop right off the print!" 
Well, I decided to go for it and try it on "The Kiss"! Oh my goodness, it is FABULOUS ! I don't think it would be right to use that paper for each and every photo printed, but WOW, it really does make the photo stand out from the rest. The shine, color depth and impact really ARE worth it! Even the hubby was ooh-ing and aah-ing over it! 

Anyway, back to the kiddos...

 A quick snapshot that didn't turn out too badly of Little Mister! I actually got a real smile!

Shouldn't I be teaching this to Princess? Mmmmm, but he's doing it for I guess I'll just leave well enough alone and let him teach her how to put away the clean cutlery! (He does all the sharp knives before she gets started ;) )

Smile for Mommy!!

And the rest.....well...they'll come eventually lol!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Off a cliff and into the deep end!

Tonight I jumped off a cliff and into the deep end ... of my camera's control settings.  o_O Eek...

I turned the dial to manual and changed the white balance setting from auto to Kelvin.

It wasn't done in time for this past week's Project 52s photos, but I'm going to do my best to keep it in manual or at least aperture/shutter priority in a pinch, all this week. I need to change out my color printer cartridge and print out the basic Kelvin WB cheat sheet to carry with me, as well as the awesome "Say NO to Auto" ebook that I have printed out from Kristen Duke Photography.

But for now it's time to fall into bed. More experimenting tomorrow, as well as Week 3 of Project 52 to add here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Week 2 of 52 - late but better than never!

6-12 November 2011

I'm trying to worry less about getting something done late, so long as it gets done.  So in the spirit of things, here are last week's photos!

We were surprised with a visit from "Uncle Jeb". The kids were so excited to see him. He'd only ever met Jared before, so it was delightful to have him meet his niece and other nephew as well.
Mia very quickly wound him around her pinky, just as it seems she does to everyone she meets. We're going to have some serious boyfriend issues in the future, she's way too good at it. I'm fighting the urge to lock her up already, thankfully she has me wound around her pinky too, so I just couldn't do that to her! ;)

Now for the rest. Don't judge my Lightroom processing...well...I don't want to keep saying that each week. So Just assume until I say otherwise that I have no idea what I'm doing and at least the photos were improved by my efforts, even if no prizes will be won with my techniques! ;)

 Mia LURVES her new Lightning McQueen "sandles"! Yup, she picked them! and yes, Daddy couldn't say no. Lol!

Click your heels together to go home ;)

 Little Mister is getting bigger by the day *sniff sniff* 

 "Boo-Boo" is getting bigger by the minute! But he can be such a happy guy, which is great!
Such a wide range of sizes in the house right now! J is a 4.5 youth, Princess is a 9 toddler, and Ethan is already a 5 toddler!

See you soon for this weeks photos!

(Can't wait to figure out more in LR to process these photos better, the mistakes are staring at me and laughing...mean little buggers...)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Let the fun begin!

Mama's new toy arrived this past Thursday. My pretty, almost new, Nikon D90 as well as my brand new Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens! I was also spoiled rotten enough to get the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom lens as well!
*This is the part where I do a really crazy looking happy dance, and you pretend you're not feeling the urge to run away in fear, or take really embarrassing blackmail photos!*

So this is the start of my own personal 52 week project. I am hoping it will be one that shows growth in photography while at the same time documenting our crazy lives and silly kids over this coming year. 

I won't just do one photo a week. I'll be doing a small collection of the best of each week, and it'll most likely happen over the weekend. Really busy weeks it might only be one, but other weeks it might be 10!

So without further ado:

WEEK 1/52

Princess Poodle seems to have had a mild reaction / eczema type reaction to something she ate that landed up on the lower portion of her face - we're really hoping it wasn't the strawberry jam that she smooshed all over that area a few days ago, as she won't like missing out on strawberries. This is how it looks on day 3 and she's been fiddling with her lip again.

Mia pretending to read all about "Jack and Annie" in the Magic Tree House to Jared. Can you believe that's our first baby? He's going to be NINE years old in December...we're definitely not ready for him to be this big already!

Love the vintage look from the Adobe Lightroom free preset I downloaded from MCP Actions. So cute! Two cute kiddos just enjoying the book and pretending to read for Mommy!

Ms Ariel Dolly was a very patient model for me, and to thank her she's getting her sweet little smile posted online. Thanks again Ms Ariel!

Mr Funny Face himself! That's his "I'm so excited and chatting all at the same time" expression. And he's a very good sport with not being bothered by being in a pink and purple bouncy chair, even when it's displayed online!

Ms Ariel, while a great model, is awfully naughty and doesn't keep her shoes on. This sometimes means Mia is required to pin her baby down to get her shoes back on. It's so difficult being a mama!

Ah yes..the typical "You hurt your WHA-AT?" (my sad attempt to type the famous line from Mater in the movie Cars) facial expression from Mia. We see this one so often and yet I've never been able to capture it on camera - til now!

Pretty Del Mar beach in bright afternoon sun.

Same spot a little further into the sunset. Don't judge my post-processing in Lightroom2 too harshly. I'm a total newbie (I've only had the program installed for less than a day now!) as well as a total DSLR camera newb as well. 

But seeing as I'm half asleep at the keyboard, I'll end this first week right there. Night all and see you again for Project 52 next week! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bringing the blog back to life!

A lot has happened in the year and 2 months since I last blogged!

We took a long awaited trip as a family to visit my side of the family in South Africa in September 2010. It was good for the soul to go back "home" and see family members, some dear friends, old haunts, new buildings, and of course the beautiful beaches!

My husband deployed in October, shortly after we were delighted with the news that we'd be expecting one more blessing in 2011. 

The kids and I survived the deployment and majority of the pregnancy despite:
*normal pregnancy problems (queasiness, tiredness and so on),
*the kids exchanging colds and eventually the flu with high temps...and then colds again,
*my rib dislocating while coughing (no fun while pregnant and rather embarrassing!) - it had to be popped back in 3 separate times before it stayed!,
*normal deployment craziness (mood swings and behavioral issues all around me...including me...ahem...did I say that out loud?),
* the Christmas season which includes the older 2 kid's birthdays, and
*the homecoming! 

Ah the blessed homecoming! The moment where emotions run high and everyone just clings to daddy, knowing he's "ours" again!

Less than a month after homecoming (and 1 week 4 days early- our first early one) we welcomed Ethan into the family! Our third and last child. He's a handsome fellow, and just like his big brother and big sister were, he's being loved and cuddled by all who see him. 

Ethan is now 5 months old. This first year is going by faster than I remember the first years of the other two going by. Maybe it's because we're so busy with the 3 kids, maybe it's because we're gearing up for my husband to go to recruiting school for the USMC in the new year, followed right after by moving to goodness knows where for 3 years! Not to mention we just had to move houses so they could renovate our old one!

Everything going on has made it all to easy for me to forget little details, forget that tiny moments are just as special as big, planned ones. 

We need to take time just to soak up being with the kids, and spend less time feeling stressed and strained by disobedience and the general day-to-day process of raising kids. 

I need to spend a little more time with my husband. Can you say "Date Night"? Ah, to be a couple again, alone at the restaurant table or pier. No counting kids to make sure one hasn't strayed off to pet strange dogs, get lost in the bathroom, or hide under the table! ;)

Take time to feed the soul and learn something new. My hubby is the sweetest man when it comes to this. No matter what I say I want to do or try, he simply says "I will support you. Just tell me what you need and what I need to do and I'll do it." I almost feel guilty taking him up on the offer! Almost!

So I am about to start on a new!

But this is long enough....I'll share more details next time. Besides the kids say lunch time means they get to eat, and they'd like to do just that please! ;)

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