Monday, February 23, 2009

The best fourth birthday ever!

PLEASE VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION
**I have too many to choose from and would love your input. Please let me know which number/s you like and why you think it should be considered for the official 'four year old' photo - the ones with asterisks next to them are *my* favorites**

THE SHOOT
Yesterday we went to our neighborhood community center. I hadn't anticipated so many obstacles. The landscaping company was there working on the gardens. They were mowing and edging. The flowers were not plentiful (i.e. no colorful backgrounds) and it was windy as all get out. I had originally planned on having Paige wear her skirt and go barefoot. Silly me. I forget sometimes how unpredictable February weather can be here in Texas. It was windy and in the low 50s, so probably hovering in the 40s somewhere with all the variables considered.

So...this is what we ended up with after ten minutes of trying to make it work.

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THE SHOOT CONTINUED...
...we ended up coming back home and finishing the shoot where it was warm enough to pull off the cute little skirt and sleeveless shirt look. Paige was very cooperative and a *lot* of fun to photograph.

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THE BIRTHDAY TRIP TO THE MALL AND THE SURPRISE VISIT TO...


*eating lunch from Chick Fil A in the food court*

Then we went to Build A Bear! Paige picked out Hello Kitty - a girl after my own heart!


kissing the heart that will go inside Hello Kitty


grooming her up

picking out a name - "Princess Hello Kitty" - what a perfect name!

THE IMPROMPTU PARTY


even Drew goes for a little off-roading!

Paige up close and personal with Chuck E Cheese!

on the roller coaster with her friend, Mia

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to YOU!! Happy Birthday dear PAIGE, Happy Birthday TOOOOO YOU!!!!

Woo hoo! I'm four!!

She's FOUR!




Stay tuned!! There will be more to see and read about. With today being Paige's birthday, I wanted to post a few pictures of her day, but the *real* post documenting all the fun will be tomorrow!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Flash no-no's and yes yes's


{bounce flash testing}
I finally had the privilege of buying a much wanted purchase (for say, a year now) last Sunday. It was a Canon Speedlite 580exII flash. If this sounds confusing, don't let it! My attempt at keeping my old dinosaur flash, which served it's purpose back in the day but does not work well with dSLRs, has passed. I am now prepping my 35mm EOS A2, Sunpak 622 flash and vertical grip for sale. I really enjoyed the Sunpak, but think old school news reporter. I had to lug this monster thing around. It makes me laugh when I hear some report that their decisions on cameras are based on the weight of the camera and ease of use. Once you lug one of those flashes around, it puts the flash aspect into perspective. I am happy to lug my camera around, but not with an additional five pounds of flash attached to it, which is why I am super excited to finally have my new flash. I was hoping to use this past week to test out the flash (and new 50mm 1.4 lens), but illness won and so I'm going to have to make the best with what I know to get the results I want. For what? Well, Paige's birthday is on Monday. My hope was to test out a few things to minimize the amount of time we spend on a 'shoot'. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize I'll be just fine. This girl is made to pose! She can find the camera and work it! So, what are a few of the things I've learned about flash photography? Well, it's not as intimidating as I once thought. After spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on professional lighting equipment and then selling it, I decided you can essentially achieve the same effect with a little creativity and ingenuity. If I choose to do this for pay, I'm going to need to learn how to go low cost so I can spend the money on things you can't change...like lenses...or another camera body...ya know, stuff like that. Here are a few pictures I took using the new flash. Oh, and sorry for the misnomer. I don't have any 'no-no's' for this post, lol.

{a little bounce flash}

{Ashley checks out the latest iTunes songs that she can't purchase!}

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Feed the box and no one gets hurt!


We have a usual routine in our home when it comes to homework. At least for Jonathan anyway. He comes home Monday afternoon, grabs a 'working snack' (AKA a not so messy snack) and we knock out all of his homework, even though it's not due until Friday. This worked before Christmas because Tuesdays and Thursdays he had swim lessons, and Wednesdays he had CCD. Mondays afford us the ability to go at our own pace but still get it all done.

This week was no different. He finished his homework and only had to decorate a shoe box for the class Valentine's Day party. So, Wednesday night I found some construction paper for him, some scissors tape and glue. One thing I refuse to do is send my kids to school with a project that even remotely looks like I had a hand in doing it, even though it sometimes pains me to see some of the things they come up with, lol. It's more important that they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in their projects, right down to something as festive as a Valentine's Day box.
Jonathan started off a little rocky. He fussed that he had no idea how to decorate it. After offering to help him and his flat refusal, Neil and I both found other things to do while he had a seven-year-old tantrum. I had to run an errand. Neil caught up one some much needed Scramble on FB. When I got back, we found he had finished his project and came up with the idea on his own. I was really impressed. He took it to school Thursday and when he brought it home yesterday, I asked him if anyone said anything about it. He said the class voted on their favorites, and Jonathan voted for his friend's box. I asked if his won and he said no and proceeded to dive into his loot. Later on in the evening it suddenly came out that it bothered him that no one said anything about his box.

I was planning on blogging about this anyway, but now knowing that he was especially partial to his box makes this entry a little more special.:)


Friday, February 6, 2009

Keep movin'...nothin' to see here!

...except maybe an entry that's long overdue. At the gentle nudging of some folks, I am posting after a week and change of neglect. I know, I know, I'm a blogging delinquent for the time being. Oh well, what can ya do? Today we took Ashley's homework to school (I don't make this a habit, but I do make exceptions for homework that requires a lot of work) and when we arrived - yes, we drove, we were on our way to Costco and it was flippin' windy outside!! - Paige said that Drew was using a Mr. Potato Head piece as a pacifier. So, I grabbed my iPhone camera (which I have to admit, they really improved on the 3G!) and came up with these cute snaps. The first is outside the school and the second and third are just before we went inside Costco. He was still chewing on that darn thing. My little weirdo. :) Enjoy!!


{SMILE!!!}

{Hey MAHHH! It's me, just in case you got confused!!}


{Paige: "Kid, I invented pouty lips...here, let me show you how..."}