Easter Weekend Photography Experiments


Self-portraitWe’ve had a DSLR for years, and although I know the theory behind aperture, ISO and shutter speed, there’s a big difference between theory and knowing how to use it. I’ve been wanting to take a class that would force me to play around, but who has time? This weekend I finally started the process. Here are some of my experiments. (If you’re on Facebook you already saw these. Sorry.)

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Things I Don’t Want To Forget


Things I Don’t Want To Forget:

Michael saying “I want to tuggle with you.” And then getting irritated because I repeat it that way. “No—no! I said, sssssstuggle!”

Michael “nursing” (where did he learn to do that?)

Michael Nursing

The way Julianna dissolves into giggles at the silliest pieces of nothing.

The way every one of the children has pointed to the pickle in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, knowing I will say it in crazy-silly voice and reduce them to uncontrollable laughter.

The way Nicholas’ eyes catch the sunlight from the window, illustrating something I thought impossible—that eyes that dark brown can be at the same time so luminescent and clear.

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The tremble in Alex’s voice as he shares the meanest comment someone made about his sister: She’s always so happy. It gets on my nerves. And the way his smile broke through his tears when I said that if that was the worst insult anyone could come up with about his sister, then he should just take it as a compliment.

Things that only happen with small children around…like walking into a pitch-black room to comfort a crying child in the middle of the night and stepping on something sort of firm, sort of soft, that promptly grabs your foot and nearly makes you scream until you remember that Michael has been wearing (and dropping) a slap bracelet the last several days…

The feeling of a good night’s sleep after the last commitment of a stressful few weeks…of waking to an alarm instead of my own racing brain.

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The moment my husband sends me an email inviting me to go to the opera with him.

These are the moments I want to treasure. To hold so close in my heart that they never lose the immediacy and familiarity of the present.

7 Quick takes In Pictures



My mother's day flowers. I am such a sucker for bright colors.

My mother’s day flowers. I am such a sucker for bright colors.


Reading books on MyOn

Reading books on MyOn


Michael sleep


Graduation-and-neighborhood-garage-sale morning dawns with this spectacle....

Graduation-and-neighborhood-garage-sale morning dawns with this spectacle….

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A hot air balloon launch directly north of our upstairs front window


What would you call this? A water gun? Au contraire...

What would you call this? A water gun? Au contraire…

Really? Just because you call it a "squirter" doesn't mean anyone in the entire universe is going to see it as anything other than a gun. Seriously, people.

Really? Just because you call it a “squirter” doesn’t mean anyone in the entire universe is going to see it as anything other than a gun. Seriously, people.


Nicholas' preschool graduation

Nicholas’ preschool graduation. He always poses like that, with at least one hand on his hip.

I'm going to pull this picture out when he graduates high school. He's already got the look. Now he just needs the years.

I’m going to pull this picture out when he graduates high school. He’s already got the look. Now he just needs the years.


And this one speaks for itself:

running note7 quick takes sm1  7 Quick Takes about spicy ebooks, awesome Twitter bios, getting foot jacked (and other reasons why its not going by so fast)

What I Did This Weekend


(Which is why I had to push so hard late last week, so I’d be ready to drop it all and go…)

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“Date night for couples: French Bistro.” We were in charge of preparing (most of) the salads.

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And we learned a lot about how to get a steak to cook properly (hint: hot pan!). And who doesn’t like flaming cognac?

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Sunday morning, we went to church here:

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(How’s that for a sense of scale?)


There was a reeeeeeally annoying 1/4-second delay with a tinny buzz in the sound coming from some side speaker in this gartantuan basilica…at least, that’s what I thought it was, and I was composing a “you might want to know” email to the staff in my mind and wondering if that would be presumptuous, even if I do have a music/liturgy background, when I realized what I was hearing was the bleed-through from the extremely old man sitting next to us, who had his audio aid turned up too loud. After that, I was able to tune it out.

After Mass we walked around a bit and I took a spin through the gift shop. Look what I found on display!

My book

Then it was bikes in the park and Star Trek: Into Darkness on the way home. (Loving what they’re doing with those characters.)

While the kids stayed home with grandparents and did this…
kids at playgroundAnd this….

Wkd Away 355 smallAnd relaxation was had by all. Except the grandparents, probably. :) But you can’t begin to imagine the noise level and chaos when we arrived home last night to this:


And now it’s time to go plant those irises sitting beside the door…they’ve been there for over a week as it rained and rained and rained and rained and…well, most of you have been through it too. :/

Help Us Choose Michael’s Six-Month Portraits!


Let’s talk kids’ portraits today, because after yesterday we need a change of focus. Right?

Show of hands: do you love or loathe going to get your kids’ pictures taken? I loved it for a while, but the process got frustrating–policies and procedures in those department store studios are a pain in the neck, and after Julianna passed beyond the baby stage, it got very difficult to get good pictures of her. They would never snap the picture at the right time. I wanted to grab the clicker out of their hands. Plus, I want outdoor pictures.

So we started borrowing a DSLR and taking our own portraits, and after a couple years’ worth of product research (and a whole lot of saving), we bought one . (It’s a Canon Rebel T3i, in case you’re wondering. Love it. Love.It.)

Michael’s six months old now, and I snapped about two hundred shots on Saturday. And today I would like you to help us choose his official portrait. So (are you bracing yourself for some serious cuteness?):

Exhibit A: Just before he decided to eat grass


Exhibit B: Swimming and Smiling on the Kitchen Floor


Exhibit C: Lovin’ the Picnic Blanket

So, now you vote. (Won’t you? Pretty please?)