Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's still Christmas, okay?!!

This time of year...right after Christmas...always feels a tad sad. Why? Because, it is still Christmas, but the day, the *big* day is gone, so it doesn't really *feel* like Christmas. But it should...what can I do to make it last?!! Epiphany has not come yet. We are still on Christmas break. Decorations, lights, tree, nativities, they are all still up. Why do I feel this way? I guess half the fun of Christmas is the anticipation/preparation, and that is gone. Like Christmas is the top of the belle curve, the climax, and we are on a slow decline down now. Ah well. NO! I vow to make it super Christmas-y around here. I am going to bake Christmas cookies with the kids. I will not forget to have the kids open a pocket in the Advent-Christmas-Epiphany calendar today. I will sing Christmas songs. 
So, remember that Christmas tree decoration Joey brought home from art? Well, right after he put it up, Paul admired it and decided to make one of his own. Then, he plastered it right next to Joey's.
  The fact that I let the kids just over-tape their artwork on the windows shows a no-shame approach to home decorating. That aside...Paul's tree says "Joey and Paul." He loves Joey to pieces. He thinks he is so cool. The coolest. I love that. Paul is getting bigger. Someday, it will be hard to distinguish who is the little brother. They will just be peers. And, we sense a little sibling rivalry at times, which is why this made me laugh. I think you can view this one of two ways...maybe Paul is imitating Joey because He admires him, or maybe this is the tree-competition window, and Paul is humming the tune to 'anything you can do I can do better..." lol No, I am kidding. I am sure Paul was just imitating Joey, as he did write "Joey and Paul" all over his tree. These trees just appeared as we noticed Paul catching up to Joey in wit and height, along with a lil' rivalry here or there. Along these same lines...Paul will draw/create this or that and just post his art to the fridge or tape it up somewhere. He just totally bypasses me! He has never asked me to hang something up. I find that odd. So, there is this corner in the house the boys love to occupy. It is between the radiator and book case. Nice and warm. The other day, Paul hung up his artwork on the bookcase. And, he was outraged when Pete tried to take it down. It was like his special space that he decorated.

Some more kiddy art...the other night, Joey drew a floor plan of our downstairs. It prompted us to ask him to draw a floor plan of his 'dream' House. Just for fun. Here are the highlights of Joey's 
'dream house.'
 From L to R: Magicians in the living room, droids that clean(great idea, thanks Joey), and a launching pad for planes or rockets. HA!

I have something to admit. I am really embarrassed and ashamed to admit it, but it's kinda funny. I drove 25 minutes to the nearest grocery store only to have a mama tantrum inside. So, let me explain. I get there. I start shopping. The parsnips are rotten. The carrots are rotten. They have no dill. The English parsley is rotten. Ya know, this happens alot here. The voice in my head keeps saying, "no biggee. I will just make something else." I take some deep breaths, continue to shop. I make it to the baking isle. No cornmeal. No &^%#! cornmeal. What the &^%! Okay, so this was the last straw. I LOSE it. I pull the baby outta the cart, and I say, "come on Joey, Paul, Pete, hey Pete, Pete, PETE! Come on. We are leaving." And I stomp out with 4 confused kids in tow, leaving my half-full cart in the middle of the isle. I am ashamed. But, half of me kinda sorta blames the sorry grocery store that has such a pathetic stock. Okay, I know that is immature. I should have re-shelved all the items. Really, this is so not like me. I really am a nice person. Really! Anyhow, we get home, I tell Joe, and then Joey re-enacts the whole scene for him, doing this silly stomp-off. We laughed about it for the rest of the evening. I then had to tell the kids that what did was rude and that losing your temper is never, ever, okay. Joey told me I am forgiven. What a sweet boy. And, Joe continues to crack jokes. But, I am glad I left and drove another half hour, because I bought something that I have not had in a long time. Raspberries. We used to pick them wild, along with blackberries. I miss that. The stores here never carry raspberries or blackberries. But, Wegman's does! I love Wegs. Shopping there seriously makes me happy. HA! 

Of course, Jude tried some...for the first time!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blue sky!

When you live in Central PA, in the last week of December, and you see a sky like this.

It begs to be photographed.

And, remember how our yard floods? In winter, that means ice skating. lol

Needed a little macro therapy. Right out my back door, we have our wreath. ;)


And, my Dad's new fine art site! Awesome!
Dennis VanDerveer Fine Art Studio Online

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Filmy fun

It is the day after Christmas. It looks like a Christmas tornado came through here. Totally ransacked. Bows, torn paper, bags, boxes, twistie ties, candy wrappers. All. over. the. place. We for sure look like crazies. I should be picking up, but what fun is that? Nope. I am here to say Merry Christmas again and to show you my film pics. :) Yes, film.
So, Christmas Eve, I got my film camera. I know, I know. I have a nice dslr set up, so why would I buy a film camera, right? Well, I am constantly looking at pro blogs for inspiration. Lately, I have been looking at film photography blogs. Yes, there are people out there that still shoot film. I have fallen in love with the look. The black and whites...so much depth and contrast. And the grain...oh the grain...filmy grain is goood grain. It is different than high iso dslr grain(bad grain). Film grain is good...it adds a nice texture, and unlike high iso dslr grain, you still get good focus. Filmy colors are so fresh and cool and crisp. They are not over saturated or muddy. And, they can be soft and pastel although giving a good punch of color. I guess I have given you enough adjectives to explain my interest in film. Anyhow, at Clickinmoms, a film photographer that I have come to admire (Jaclyn Michele) gave us a challenge...she asked us to load up those film cameras we use as props, shoot it, develop it, just for kicks. So, after admiring the look of film, I said, hey, why not. Film cameras and film is pretty cheap now. So, I got a canon 35mm film slr, and I got some Kodak BW film. It took me all of a day and a half to shoot 24 frames. HA! The fact that I went to CVS on December 26 for 1 hour developing should indicate how giddy I was to see the results. Now, I will say that my expectations were really low. I thought that maybe getting 2 decent pics would be a big success. I half expected the whole roll of film to be black. No, I actually expected this to happen. Not having that LCD screen seriously plays with your head. I rely on it for exposure(I take test shots and adjust exposure based on histogram). I rely on it to let me know if I got the shot(or if that crazy toddler blinked, etc.). I rely on it to check my focus. I rely on it...too much I think. Anyhow, I figured I would have exposure and focus issues. This first roll would be a 'test' roll to figure out what I needed to work on before I used good film and a better lab. When I pulled into the parking lot, I felt a little flutter in my belly. I was seriously nervous they would tell me the film was all blacked out. lol When I was checking out, the lady was all mum. I thought, oh great. She does not have the heart to tell me that the film was in fact all blacked out. Yes, every picture must be black. Dangit! Then, she says, "they came out nice." I think I shocked her a bit when I over enthusiastically said yelled, "OH! Thank you so much. Thank you!" lol. Well, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. For my first roll of film, I think I did okay. I got 23 pics that are okay! :)  After seeing that I could actually take pictures with out the help of an LCD screen, well, I think I have laid to rest my 'blacked out film' pics fears. lol. Now, I will warn you...there are some serious color casts on these CVS b&w's, lol. 
Here is my first roll of film. :)


 Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Photography, I love you

so so so very much.
Obviously I did not take the pictures below. My 7 y/o who is rocking his Kodak easy share like no body's bidness took these pics of me. 
This is how I have looked to my kids, my husband, for the last six months. What started out as a simple attempt to take better (or atleast not terrible) pics of my kids has turned into so. much. more. And, I am glad. It is *just* what I needed. And, I didn't even know I needed it(a bit more on that in a sec). I ventured into photography at the perfect time. I was in a new town. I did not have many friends. I was stuck at home with a new baby in the dead of winter. I won't say I was depressed, no, nothing like that. Just a little unsettled, bored. Focusing on photography these last 6 months has been both frustrating yet oddly rewarding. Frustrating because, I feel in love with it so much, I went a little OCD on it. I want to learn this or that, and I want to learn it NOW. I'm pretty much Veruca Salt from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. lol. j/k No, really, I have no patience. Things come with time, I know, but for me, I don't want to wait. I want to figure it out, and sometimes I cannot rest until I do just that. Some things are harder than others. And, so, yes, it has been frustrating at times. But, someone once told me that anything worth doing is going to be challenging. I agree. This new hobby of mine has a continuous learning curve, so I know I am in for more frustration, and it will continue to test my patience. But, the frustration is so worth it because it is so rewarding. Yes, this hobby is just what I needed. Okay, here is the sap/cheeseball/dork ramble coming up, just so ya know.
;) As I started to learn, improve, press that shutter, I realized that photography...I don't know...what is a good way to describe it...fulfills me. Like my cup was half full and now it is full. Who knew? Now, I don't mean that it 'fulfills' me in the traditional sense, like how my God, husband, kids, and family fulfill me. I love nothing more than them. They are my true reason for being. They totally fulfill me. I love my life. No, I mean that photography fulfills me in that it feeds this creative hunger I had...yet I had no idea I was hungry. But I was. I was starving to death. Had no clue! It was only after delving into this hobby that I realized just how much I needed this creative outlet. Now, I have always done something crafty, like knitting and sewing. And, I love to cook. I enjoy these things, but they don't bring me the same joy that photography brings me. Maybe I feel this way because I come from a long line of artists...lol...I am NOT artistic, you know. But, maybe in my genes there is this need to create, and it just took me 30 odd years to find the right medium. lol just kidding... no, really, in all seriousness, I am glad I ventured into photography. It is nourishment for my creative soul. I mention I love my life. I do. I think photography suits me so well because of that too. I find so much beauty in tiny toddler fingers pointing out words in a book, 5 year-old eyelashes, running kids, funny expressions...I am thankful I can capture these things, so while I feed my creative soul, I get to capture the joy of my life. :) I had to share that. :) Oh, and on a funny aside...at the end of this post, I looked up at the title and realized that I capitalized the P in photography...total Freudian slip, I think. Says alot, lol! ;) P.S. Like the last two templates I used? I got them from Becky Earl Art (gosh I love her pics!!!) and they are totally awesome! Saves me precious time. And P.S.S I am a little embarrassed by how much I wear my undershirt around the house...I need a makeover or something...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Lady

Just now getting around to posting the pics of our little Lady of Guadalupe celebration. I love celebrating this day(Dec 12). And, I think celebrating it during advent, in the middle of winter...is. just. perfect. It's a holiday tradition for us now. It all started when I ordered Tomie DePaola's Our Lady of Guadalupe picture book. The story. The illustrations. They touched me so deeply. I loved St. Juan Diego's devotion. He would walk miles during the cold winter, with only a cactus fiber robe(tilma) for warmth, to attend Mass. I love that She chose him, the humblest and simplest of men. I love that she appeared to him in traditional Indian clothes and spoke to him in his language. And  the colors. Oh, the colors. I love the bright vibrant rich colors. They are like a reminder during the solemnity of advent and the harsh bitter coldness of winter that Christmas is coming, and it is all about life. Bright, happy, life. So, here is a little peek, a little taste...get ready. Also, through this story, we are introduced to Mary, who she was, her loving motherly nature, which of course ties into Christmas perfectly. So, we always read the story. And, what did Our Lady say to St. Diego? "Build me a church!" :) And, I think this was probably pretty pleasing to St. Diego, seeing as he would no longer have to walk all that way. he he he ;) So, every year, after we read the story, we 'build a church' out of creme wafers(they are kind peachy, which ties into the colors of the roses in the story, and they are yummy and cheap too).  And, this is kinda like a spin on the gingerbread house tradition. This year, I got the kids a holy card and pin too. And, funny...see that baby in the picture? He was not here this time last year. It is amazing...He has only been here 10 months, yet we cannot imagine life without him. This screeching babbling giggly baby, that must be entertained with a creme wafer(don't juuuuudge me lol), who only a year ago was in utero...amazing.

Oh, and I almost forgot to post this...how could I forget this? Joey lost is two front teeth. It is really hard not to giggle every time he opens his mouth...he he he. He is too cute like this.

Pig in a pouch

The other night, I had to snap this pic cause it is so funny. It is just pork bullion. It is tasty. My newest secret ingredient for my oldest, sorry recipe, oven potatoes(Joe will sarcastically say, "Oh good. Oven potatoes. We have not had those before"). Anyhow, Paul asked me what it was, and in explaining it, I realized it sounded very neat. Like the freeze-dried-condensed space food you learn about in school. "Paul, they take a big pig, and shrink all of its juicy piggy flavor into a powder, and put it in this little pouch." Okay, if you are vegetarian, you are probably vomiting right about now. Anyhow, I don't know if it has msg or not, I choose to be purposefully ignorant on that. I saw it at the store and tried it. I love it. And thought it was funny(and yummy) enough to snap.

So, it is becoming obvious that I am not a small town girl. And, I am okay with that. This is not to say that I have anything against small towns or small town folk. I thought I was small town, and I desperately want to be a small town folk. I love so many things about small towns!!! But. I am not. I am who I am. So, I have to stop pretending and admit that I am a suburbanite, deep down. A suburbanite without a suburb lol. Why? Well, in my head, I have come up with a list of sorts...things that happen that reaffirm this new discovery...
1. I expect my grocery store to carry stalks of lemon grass, leeks, ham in a pouch, fish sauce, and more than 2 varieties of hot peppers. 
2. I want to shop at walmart because I *want to* not because I *have to.*
3. I miss starbucks like it was a close personal friend.
4. I expect to be able to go out in public with no make-up and jeans I have been wearing for 3 days without running into 10 people I know. I should know better by now, but I do not.
5. When I drive an hour to the nearest bigger town for lemon grass, leeks, and starbucks, I feel at home, and I don't live there!  lol
Anyhow, as I come across more of these epiphanies, I'll let ya know. ;) Now, what can I do? For starters, I need to stop expecting a suburban lifestyle in a small town. lol I am sure everyone is tired of me complaining about walmart.

Anywho...Jude is so close to walking Jude IS walking! I started this post with a pic of a budding walker. But, in the time between started the post and finishing it, Jude started walking. My baby is...walking. Joe asked me if I was writing it down in his baby book. I don't have a baby book for him! I feel kinda bad about it, but I had to be honest with myself. I have baby books for Joey, Paul, and Pete. Only Joey's is filled out. I would put them away and only bring them out while the kids were not around so they would not ruin them. Well, kids are always around, and when I did break them out, I was always searching for this or that paper with important info doodled on it, or the photo corners, or realize I did not have the
prints I needed...things just got too hectic. I am hoping that blogging will help chronicle our family history. Yes, it is not as individualized, but it is easier to blog(probably cause I can nurse a baby and type at the same time!) than record items in a baby book. So, here is Jude, just few days ago, thinking about walking over to the computer or magazine. Ah yes, both are so tempting. My sweet baby about to walk walking.
Oh, and a few things! Remember that silly camera pic I took, of stuff in my pantry, for clickinmoms pantry challenge? I got a starbucks card for it(I will drive an hour to the neighboring town for starbucks, yak know, lol). :) Score! 

And, every monday, clickinmoms blog has a macrolicious monday pic, and my pics have been on there 2x now. see?  and see?
Yay! I love macro. It is like therapy. Like crazy yoga breathing. Seriously, it makes me so crazy happy, I am sure that is abnormal.


Oh, and I am fickle. Last post, no round corners. Was going to ditch 'em, but I changed my mind. And, since writing this post, I changed my mind...again.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Worst Christmas ornament EVER

Remember how I said that we let the kids put whatever, and you know, I mean whatever, on the Christmas tree? Well, things have gone too far. If you are thinking...'gosh, that looks like a paper towel with a sorry doodle,' then you would be right. I think I need to have a discussion as to what constitutes a Christmas ornament. Yet, it remains on the tree, in plain view, for all to see. Just a lil' reminder that the Adams family ain't right.

The other day, Joe comes home with a box of like, I don't know, 100 or so oranges. lol Now, we like oranges, but this is alot! Joey always wants to make orange juice. I usually say no because it takes alot of oranges. Today, I said yes.

It takes serious philosophical like deep thought to juice an orange. he he he


Cute, right? Well, right after this pic, Pete lost his juicing privliges after running away with the juicer, spilling it, and running away from me, again. Okay, Pete is crazy. I blame it on the whole 3rd kid thing. I have premonitions of schools kicking him out, getting collect calls from jail...Only kidding here, well maybe half kidding...he he he...I think we are going to have to come down on him a little harder...the whole 3rd kid thing. lol

Joey, a real joker. ;) This always makes me think of the 'Godfather,' Anyone else? he he he
Okay, and I just have to say...these orange pics were taken RAW and edited on my new laptop, which needs to be calibrated like no body's bidness. So, if they seem wonky, that is why...I am beginning to think that I am a jpeg kinda gal. Anyhow, speaking of my new compute...I was working on this post last night, and I kept *sighing.* It is an annoying habit that I do not even realize I have. lol Anyhow, Joe comes in, asks, "what is wrong?" I tell him how I miss my mouse. He tells me he is giving me my Christmas present early. He goes off to the kitchen, where we have a big stack of boxes full of secret presents, and he pulls out a wireless mouse. He is too good to me. I don't deserve him. See, every year, Joe and I come up with a very small amount that we each agree to spend on each other's Christmas present. I am always at a loss as to what to get him, and I usually end up getting him something lame like socks or golf balls. He always gets me something *just right.* Something I have needed or wanted, all within our tiny little budget. So, thank you, Joe. :) We will be making orange juice again, today, if you were curious.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Almost Christmas...

And, boy, it is starting to look like it! We are not ready. Not even kinda. I have not even gotten the new advent wreath I ordered. Yes, I know, long story...sigh...anyhow...every year, before advent, I vow to not get too busy. To enjoy advent, and all the wonderful longing and preparations for Christmas. But, every year, about this time, that plan falls by the way side. Maybe it's because I am a procrastinator. Maybe it is because we have 4 kids. he he he I don't know. I just find myself longing for some pre-Christmas peace while I run around like a chicken with its head cut off. And, I always vow to have a smaller Christmas...yet...every year, that does not happen. We do try to keep it simple, but...oh well, maybe next year...doh!
Here are some Christmas-y pics. :) You know what I love about shooting wide open? BOKEH! Our Christmas tree looks pretty sorry. I mean, don't get me wrong, *I* think it is awesome, and so do the kids, but comparatively speaking, it is pretty sad. We let the kids put the ornaments on all by themselves, so one branch may have 5 while entire sections are bare. We don't have enough store bought ornaments, overall. And, whatever the kids make, and I mean, whatever, we let them put it on the tree. Our tree is a mini reflection of our life...bright, fun, messy, disorganized...lol. Anyhow, back to the bokeh thing...okay, so when you shoot wide open, the background of your room is blurred. This comes in really handy when the background of your room is full of toys, laundry, cookie crumbs, and what not. *poof* they are blurred out. lol And, with the Christmas tree...see how pretty it looks? :)

And, because I love oof shots, here are some pics of the lights...




Joey made this in art. :)
Funny how much it looks like the real light bokeh!
About all those hand made ornaments. They make me happy, every year. I cannot believe it has been 4 years already since Joey started making ornaments in preschool. Every year when we pull them out, I look at him and wonder how he has grown up so much more...time is such a thief. I love my time with these boys so so very much. I know these are the best years of my life, and I have vowed to capture every moment I can. :) Here is one of the fanciest ones he made in preschool, and one of my favorites. Little baby Jesus...
 A peanut! lol
Merry almost Christmas!!!

Oh, and there is always time for snowflake photography. ;)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This past weekend, and earlier today...

We went and got our Christmas tree at a choose and cut.

Okay, I just gotta say...if you have a 'choose and cut' in CENTRAL PA, it may be a good idea to have a sign in any other color besides WHITE. Just sayin'.

If you look real close, you can find a toddler here.

I did not get too many pics. It was cold! So, I headed back to the car with Jude and Pete. I am beginning to think that Jude does not like the cold. Anyhow, Paul told Mrs. Erin at library story time that he yelled 'lumber!' when the tree fell. What a goof.

Now, I do have decorating tree pics, as well as St. Nick day pics, but...those will have to wait. Seems like we are really pressed for time these days(imagine that?!!). Anyhow, I did snap some macro pics for ya. You know those metal thingies on the top of the glass bulb ornaments?

Yes, too much running around, being busy. Jude, obviously, agrees. Poor adorable baby...
But, still have some time to sneak out and hunt down snowflakes! he he he...today at lunch, I snuck out. Joe says, "are you taking pics of snowflakes...AGAIN?" Yes, Joe, I am. lol

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Welcome winter...

Capturing the beauty of snowflakes makes this winter a little(just a little) more bearable. ;)





Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guess what I got?

Okay, first, remember that stomach bug? Well... 
Now, this is funny, when he first gave it to me, I thought that figure was me yaking. HA! No, it is a snowman. What a sweet boy. Okay, but that is not what I was talking about when I said guess what I got...so...guess what I got? ;)


In case you are confused...apple stem, caraway seeds, and an artificial Christmas tree...