Friday, January 25, 2013

4:52 Self Portrait

How often do we camera-owners get on the other side of the lens?
It's not the most comfortable thing to do, but since I'm completely in control of the end result since it's my lens, let's do this!

With the aid of a mirror, I present you with - well...myself.

4:52 Self Portrait

I like the color gray. I wear it a lot.
I can't remember ever not having freckles.
I have a tall forehead, I kind of like that it's so short in this photo.
My wedding ring is a part of me; I never take it off.  I still love the simplicity of it.
I own a dslr-like camera and haul it around with me often; that little piece of equipment has taken quite a beating. I don't know what I'd do without it.
My favorite thing to photograph is my kids and our adventures together.
I love photography. I love having the images to document my family's life in such a vivid and picturesque way.

To continue around this week's self portrait circle, go here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lingering Sweetness

One special weekend
In a beautiful, sunny place.
One fleeting moment
In this high speed race,
  With the love of my life
       All to myself.

The sweetness still lingers
I can feel the sun on my face.
I don't think I'd rather be
In any other place.

And I'll spare you the rest of my poem to my hubby of ten years; you know, all that lovey-dovey stuff about hearing his heartbeat and knowing with certainty that I am his. 
I will however, share how wonderful it was to get away for a couple days and enjoy each other without the distractions and craziness of young family life.
We both agreed that it was something we desperately needed and is something we need to do more often than once every four years.

After leaving the kids and house in some very capable hands, we headed down Oak Creek Canyon, and pulled off after spotting the Sterling Pass trail snaking its way up the cliff side right off the road.
It was quiet and beautiful up there. We saw mountain lion tracks in the snow along the trail. 
We headed back after an hour of hiking though, because it was shaded and cool in the canyon and we wanted a warm sunny place to eat our picnic lunch.

We plan to return when the snow has melted, to take the trail all the way across the pass.

And then my camera battery died.  Only half way into our first hike, and after taking only 23 pictures. Darn!

If I had had my camera, I would have taken a picture of our tennis shoes and hiking sticks in the red dirt on the sterling pass trail.  I would have taken a picture of Dean holding his hand out to assist me up the steep rock he insisted we climb for the best lunch spot. I would have captured the reflections in the creek we sat beside later in the day, and the great flat rock we lay on in the sun.  I might have videoed - to capture the sounds of the birds chirping and the water rushing and the absence of traffic and human din as Dean and I soaked it in with the warm sunshine.

I would have tried to convey the silent beauty around us as we were content to just be, be together in it.

And I might have tried to capture the essence of our love, but would have failed miserably, for I know its depth is something only felt, something only shared between two lucky souls. 

And that is why I came home and tried to put it into words.

Friday, January 18, 2013

3:52 Something Old

Something Old...
I wracked my brain for this one.
Should I photograph my great aunt's china set?  A twisted old tree?  A classic car?  The Grand Canyon? (I would have liked to go there and photograph it!) My grandmother's hands? (I wish she lived closer so I could do that one!)

I've been kind of home bound this week.  And when I did venture out, I saw evidence of winter not age.
So while this photo is not what I immediately thought to capture, at least it is something.

3:52 Something Old

I drive by this old steam engine almost daily.  It sits in the front of the Pioneer Museum and is the landmark my youngest kids look for to know we are almost home. :)

Continue around the circle to see some more old things.  I'm going to do the same!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pretty Proud of my Little (Signing) Lady

I don't know who gets more excited when Elaina learns a new sign, her or me.

Seriously, I can see the pride in her smile and hear it in her high chair babble.
Because that is where signs have come in the most handy - at mealtimes.

So bear with me here if you've heard all this from me before, because I'm going to do it again.  

Signing is the simplest way to connect with your child, empower them, and reduce frustration.  With my picky eaters, meal time can be a bit of a challenge.  That's why I'm beyond excited that Elaina has learned two new food signs.  Actually, that's not why I'm excited.  I simply adore her and believe she's a clever little thing.  I'm quite proud of her!  You'll forgive me for my short moment of bragging, won't you?

In case you're interested, the sign for strawberry is made by making the "f" sign (for fruit), placing the pinched 
thumb and pointer finger on the corner of your mouth, and twisting the sign back and forth.
Banana is signed by holding up the pointer finger of one hand and doing a peeling motion 
with the thumb and pointer of the other hand. 

She can already sign "eat", "more", and "drink" but getting into the nitty gritty of what she'd like is pretty exciting stuff!  We've been in a kind of signing lull, and now I'm hoping this success will keep us energized to learn more.
I encourage any of you with little ones to try signing!  Just try it!

Friday, January 11, 2013

2:52 In Your Face!

Okay, so maybe our theme this week is not 'in your face', but that's how I chose to interpret it.

I thought that 'getting really close' would be a challenge for me, as my camera's manual focus setting is digital and very difficult to use.  But then I re-discovered the super-macro setting on my camera! And Hola, clear images straight out of camera!

2:52 Getting Really Close

I can't decide which picture I like more.  I'm delighted that I can see how fuzzy and in need of a cleaning my sewing machine is.  But I also love the textures and dimension of the football shot.  I'd like it blown up to poster size!
Which picture is your favorite?

And before you start thinking that these two images are as opposite as can be, let me tell you that they both represent activities that I consider to be fun.
I bet you can't guess which activity was my middle school fave and which is my current hobby!

Actually, truth be told, I still love a game of good old two hand touch.  I look forward to the day when all the kids are old enough to learn to throw a spiral and play the game.

And I have a fun surprise for you - our 52 photos project blog circle has grown!  Hop on over to Marcy today to see her weekly photo and visit the rest of the blogs while you're at it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cinnamon Twists with an Apple-icious Twist

Today, my love of baking (or perhaps I should say my love of baked goods) and my love of photography have collided.

This week's photo challenge is "getting really close" (and since it's not yet Friday, you'll just have to come back in a couple days to see my project submission).  After I snapped a few photos, I thought I had a winner.  

Except I couldn't stop there!  I had re-discovered the macro setting on my camera and I was having too much fun to put my camera down (oh I know these pictures are nothing special, but when I use the regular settings on my camera, there is no way I can get this close and not have a blurry shot. Therefore, I am excited).  And as I was in the mood to bake today, you now get a little tutorial, complete with lots of up-close photos, on how to make Cinnamon Twists.

These cookies are so simple, and so delicious! 

Cinnamon Twists

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup butter (softened)
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 - 2 cups cinnamon sugar
apple slices - optional

To make them, combine all ingredients except cinnamon sugar and apples in a large bowl.  
(See, I told you it was simple ;) )

Divide the dough into seven balls and chill. 
(Or don't chill, if you are impatient like me.)

Roll each ball flat in the cinnamon sugar. 
Using a pizza cutter, cut into 8 pie-like pieces.

Roll up each wedge starting at the wide end.

These don't rise much, so go ahead and place 20-24 on one cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Now, for a fun apple-icious twist, add a thin apple slice to each wedge before rolling!  
(I cut these apple slices in half lengthwise and stacked them after taking the picture.)

Bake as above.
It's an apple cinnamon twist!

Butter, cinnamon sugar, and apples. Does that combination ever fail?
Yummmmmmmmmm! (oh, and I'd suggest doubling the batch. That way they might last longer than a day!)

Friday, January 4, 2013

(One of) Fifty Two Photos

I've seen lots of year long photo projects around the internet, whether they be a daily, weekly, or monthly challenge, and have been meaning to attempt it for myself.
I've been meaning for a couple years now.

So this year I have put aside my former excuses of oops, the first of the year already passed or maybe I should wait until I get a real camera and I'm just going to dive right in.  

And as four of my photography-loving blogging friends will be joining me, it'll be eye candy fun. I'm sure you will amazed and I will be intimidated inspired by their weekly images (they take seriously awesome pictures! Be sure to hop on over to their blogs to check out their weekly pictures in the link circle below. You'll hop from one blog to the next, getting a new link at each one till you've come full circle).

Each week we'll have a specific theme of which to try photograph. The goal is to challenge ourselves as photographers, stretch our creativity, and (for me at least) to pick up our cameras more often.

I present you with: Fifty Two Photos.
Actually, today I'll present you with one, the first of fifty two.

1:52 - Winter
Toasty Toes
It's not the most typical winter photo, but who can resist toddler toes?! (I wish my soles were that smooth!)

This is a common scene around here.  We have a small rug in front of the stove and on most mornings there are four kids fighting for the front and center spot.  And as the wind is currently whipping caps out of the blanket of snow in my yard, I wouldn't mind taking a nap there myself!

Like to see more?  Head on over to Amber's blog to see her take on winter and to someone else's from there!  
And check back next Friday for 2:52!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Skiing into the New Year

Happy New Year!!
Somehow, it's already 2013. I don't even have the recollections to say what made 2012 a great year; the past year just kind of blends into the past three years.
That's okay with me.
I know that I have the photos to document our life, and when I sit down to make and order our yearly photobook, it will all come back to me. ;)

What is fresh in my mind is the wonderfully full weeks between Christmas and New Year's.
This Christmas we had over a foot of snow on the ground.  It's marvelous to have a white Christmas.

We spent the days leading up to Christmas with Dean's side of the family.  Our days were filled with eating, relaxing, playing with cousins, visiting, and more eating. It was perfect.

Christmas morning saw us back home and opening gifts and stockings in our own living room for a change.
Later, my family came for dinner and we had more eating, relaxing, and visiting/playing.  It was wonderful in ways that family get together's always are - kind of crazy but exactly what I wish to embrace.

We started planning my sister's wedding, which is only a couple months away(!), then headed out to the Nordic Center to go cross country skiing.  Lots of laughs ensued as it was the first time out for some of the crew.  And actually, if I think about it, I have some amazing family for being willing to try the crazy ideas my sister and I come up with, even if there's a learning curve.

I bet you won't be surprised though to hear that these two did awesome and led the pack.

And while the adults and oldest two kids skied, the youngest five kids (yes five!) got towed in sleds.  There were only two covered sleds, so Donny got to be towed in this one.  The poor guy was frozen half way through our excursion.  Next time we'll bring a blanket.

I hope we can get out there again before our snow disappears this season.  It's pretty amazing.

And as if that wasn't enough skiing, we enrolled the cousins in ski school up at Snowbowl for some downhill skiing.  They all did great, even though Brant was exhausted and fell asleep eating his lunch (I should have known enrolling him would be a waste of my money! Him and his cousin Henry are five, and they were so excited to go).  Connor especially learned a lot.  He was skiing the bunny hill by the end of the day.

Brant, Aubrey, and Henry                                              Connor

Dean made my day by offering to stay home with the youngest two so I could hit the slopes myself.  I don't know if I was more surprised by the idea or by actually taking him up on the offer.
I have snowboarded in the past. This time I chose to ski.  It seemed less risky, somehow, even though I've never really skied before.

I don't regret my decision in the least.
I enjoyed myself thoroughly, even if I really only mastered the bunny hill.  ;)  I could say that I didn't have time to really get good at it as I had to get the kids in ski school at 10, pick them up for lunch at noon, pick up a sleeping child at 1 to leave with my sister, then pick them all up when they were done at 3. But really I don't care how good I got in one day.  It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed the experience as well as watching my kids learn.

Now if only we could all find some used skis...
Ah, well, it was fun while it lasted!