Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Great Pyrenees

We have a Great Pyrenees. He will be three years old this coming November. Right now he's looking like he has the mange, but he doesn't. He's just shedding his huge winter coat. Still. And he spends all day laying in the dirt.
I borrowed a "Furminator" from my friend, Amy. It works great for combing out the undercoat of an animal. The only trouble with George is that he is so big, the comb needs to be at least six inches wide, as opposed to the two inches it is. I combed him out a little yesterday. I have to collect the hair that comes out because once I just let it fly with the breeze, and when Ryan came home he said it looked like a lawn mower ran over a rabbit in our yard.
I got lazy and took George over to part of my running track. I was hoping the breeze would carry the fur away from our house area. Guess what? The wind shifted the other direction today.
What I really need are some sheep sheerers. That would do the trick.
(If you are asking yourself, "Why doesn't she just take him somewhere and get him groomed?" the answer is this: My Mazda has a black interior. George is light colored and hairy. The last time he was in my car, it took my a month to get all the hair out. Plus, it's like a dollar a pound to get your dog trimmed. I am not paying $130-150 for that. I'm too cheap. AND, Mazda 5 + big ol' George = dog in your face licking you while trying to drive. He's worse than kids because he doesn't wear a seatbelt.)
Here is what I know about Great Pyrenees based on my experience with George and a small amount of research I've done about the breed:
*Good with kids. My kids don't really like George. But really, if a dog the size of a Clydesdale came running up to you and knocked you over and licked you with a huge slobbery tongue, you probably wouldn't like it either. If my kids weren't so small, I think they would like him more. He scares them a little.
*Very stubborn. So stubborn, in fact, that while attempting to teach him to "sit," I finally had to break out little bits of hot dog to bribe him with. Before the hot dog: nothing. Hot dog bites as a reward: perfect performance every time. After only two minutes. He should have a sign hanging from his neck that reads, "Will work for food."  He has had fairly good manners since the small amount of training. He will sit, mostly stay, and come. Unless there is something else he would rather do...
This is because Great Pyrenees are bred to be independent thinkers. They are thrown out there with the sheep to guard with very little human direction. It shows. George came from a Basque sheepherding family, and his parents worked in the fields with the sheep.
*Likes to bark at night. George is no exception. A bark activated shock collar does no good because he only barks once. Then he waits a minute... then "woof"....pause...  Moving his kennel to the other side of a building where I couldn't here him anymore worked. Oh, he still barks, but now I can't hear him.
*Likes to lick strangers. I'm not sure he would ever hurt a person. I'm fairly certain he would eat the face off a coyote or other predatory critter. But people? Forget about it. (One reason George's adoptive brother or sister will be a Queensland Healer.)
*A bit lazy. As a puppy (first two years), he liked to run with me. We were up to four miles there for awhile, and he was able to run the whole time. Then we got him fixed AND he turned two... and now he'll walk for a mile. With some coaxing. He mostly likes to hang out in a "basement" he dug for himself under our storage container. He's good on a leash.
*Loves the snow. Unfortunately, it only snows here a handful of days during the winter.
*Loves to wander. I've heard of a Pyrenees in my area being found 15 miles from home. That doesn't surprise me, as George went through this phase of digging out and going to the neighbors. The neighbors are a mile away. I recommend good fences, or kenneling when you can't keep an eye on them.
I can't say I'd encourage anyone in the city to have a Great Pyrenees as a pet because of the night barking; however my Aunt Gaye has had three, and she manages just fine. I've also had a friend who brought her GP into the house at night so she wouldn't bark. I love the fact that George is exiting the puppy phase and entering the "big old lazy dog" phase. (It probably did not help that we got him as a two month old puppy when I was 8 months pregnant with my fourth child. No pregnant lady should EVER have to take care of a puppy. EVER.)
I would recommend a Great Pyrenees to anyone who wanted a dog that was good with kids, had critter problems (bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, bears... George did chase a California brown bear off our property and into the hills), or who wanted a good companion that wasn't overly active.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Story of Sabina Mary Rooch, my Great-great grandmother

While doing some family history several months ago, I found some cousins of my dad who had some information I didn't. I was able to help them a little, too. Here is the story of one of my great-great grandmas. A city girl thrown into county life, she lost two sons and her husband at fairly young ages. The following is an unedited, short biography.

"Sabina Mary Rooch was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 28, 1849.She was the first child of J. Fredrick Rooch and Eva Marie Gunther. She came to San Fransisco in 1851 or 1852 and in 1860 went to Anaheim with the original colonists.

She married Daniel Sorensen on May 17, 1866 in Los Angeles and they had seven children. They settled on the land that Daniel and his brothers Christian and Anton bought from Pio Pico, the last Spanish Governor of California. At this time this area was int he middle of no where and it was hot and dusty. Sabina was a city girl and this had to be a traumatic experience for her. She not only took care of her husband and children, but also took care of the household chores for her husbands two brothers and 6-8 ranch hands for the main meal in the afternoon.

Even with all the men around, she had trouble getting some things done. She would ask and ask for someone to cut some wood for her stove and she was usually ignored. One day she stopped asking and let the wood run out. That afternoon she went outside and clanged the bell for dinner and all the men came running for their meal. They came in the house and she was sitting in her chair. They all stood there silent looking at the table. It had one platter with a pigs tail on it. They turned to her and she said, "No wood, no dinner."

She was always having to chase the pigs from her vegetable garden because the pens needed fixing. Many times she asked for the pends to be fixed but to no avail. One day she saw them in her garden and instead of chasing them, she grabbed a gun, went outside and shot every one of them. She went into the house and sat down. The men hearing the shots came running. They saw the dead pigs in the garden and went into the house to check on her. She said "If someone will remove the dead pigs from the garden I will get a vegetable for our dinner but it will be a cold day in hell before we will have any pork."

Frustrations were many for this young girl. Needless to say it was a hard life for her and this is probably the reason Daniel sold his interests in this land to his brother. Sabina and family returned to Anaheim in 1876.

Two of her children, Frederick and Willie, preceded her in death. Her daughter Sophie preferred a more cosmopolitan life and moved to San Fransisco, though she maintained a home in Los angeles also. The others remained in Southern California. She moved to Los Angeles about 1910 and remained there until her death on August 25, 1918. She is at the Inglewood Park Cemetary."

I'm not sure who wrote this; I'm assuming it was her daughter Sophie, or possibly daughter Pauline.

Family history can be so interesting. I love having accounts of life before my time. It makes me appreciate the modern conveniences I have (like a clothes washing machine, a car, and modern medicine), but also makes me wish I was born a hundred and fifty years ago, when life was a little simpler.

I do like my modern medicine, though.

(If you are reading this and think we might be related, by all means please email me or leave a comment!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Fun

The kids are in swim lessons again. I know they are going to regress over the winter, and they have come so far in just a short amount of time. I don't have to get in the water this time. Yay!

Got back from Girl's Camp. Not much to say about that, and no pictures, either. I was part of the kitchen help, and once again worked with some good ladies. I had a great time.

"The Magic Treehouse" idea for keeping the kids up on reading and learning was a complete flop. However, the library has been a great place to go. I'm afraid that Will hasn't done much reading yet, and that means a loss of skills. I'll have to put him through a mini reading boot camp of sorts to freshen his brain before school starts.

I have been debating over whether or not to put the kids in soccer. All the good things that come from sports, like teamwork, physical fitness, and commitment to a team and practice are valuable experiences. However, I live far away and I don't want to be a soccer mom. Or football mom, or fill-in-the-blank-with-another-sport kind of mom. Not yet. Not until I see some real begging and pleading. After giving it some thought, I've decided to start my own cross country team. All of my kids enjoy running, and it doesn't cost much. We can have daily practice as we run a lap around our 3/4 mile track. I will try and find a suitable fun run this fall and enter them in. They'll get the physical fitness part of it, they'll get the sticking to a commitment part of it, and they'll get the personal competition part of it. They won't get much teamwork because running this style is a solo sport. But, you know? I feel like we get a lot of teamwork training because of the age of my kids being so close, and because of our very close living conditions. Anyone in my area interested in having our own fun runs, let me know. If I can't find anything suitable (distance and schedule), I might be throwing one together before it gets too cold.

On a related note, I have started training for a mud run. Only a 5k, because I think that's all I can handle right now. Time without children is non-existent, so if I wake up before everyone else I can squeeze out 30-40 minutes of alone time. I'm trying out the "Couch to 5k" program via my iPhone app "C25K" which lets you run to your own music while a voice tells you when to run and walk. Actually training for something is the only way I seem to keep myself motivated right now. I know once I get into it I'll be back to my usually fit self. I've had a rough year. Starting now, the next 12 months will be better.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gone Fishin'. Sort of.

Be back in the blogging world this weekend when I get back from some time away from technology.
That does not refer to the fact that I sometimes randomly lose my telephone capabilities.
Or to the fact that Sunday morning my satellite Internet was down, my phone was down, and we will never, ever have cell phone reception where I live. No, this is the self imposed kind of technology break, that includes some time camping in the mountains.
I'm ready. Just as soon as I find my air mattress.
What? My hips bruise if I sleep on the ground.
Back soon!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Long Overdue House Update: Lots of Pictures, Very Few Details

Since my last house update, lots has happened. Here are several pictures. Not many details because I need to run some of the technical stuff by the man first, or else I'll get it all messed up. Here's what I do know:
 We've got all the electrical boxes in place. All they need now are the wires, which should be soon! (Right after the ducting is done.)

Ducting for the cooling system! About half finished...

The coolers. One of them anyway. There are four total.

Cathedral ceiling insulation in! Lots of itchy work here... rigid foam insulation cut to fit and wedged in the bays. Eight inches equals about an R value of 56. Right now there is also a layer of the same stuff going around the outside of the house.

New window placement. Big window on the left used to be on opposite wall. Since redesigning the layout of the kitchen/dining area, it got moved. There is also a plant shelf, but you can't really see it- it pretty much blends in with the wall.

Opposite wall of the above window picture. We've got an oven hood, and a closed in wall where the window was. Archway on the left is the pantry.

Plumbing manifolds are in and hooked up. Plumbing is done. I think. Pretty sure.

Lots of technical stuff, and nothing fun in my book. Fun will be the finish work, because that makes it looks like a house. This week is Girls' Camp, and after that it's finishing the ducting and the wiring. Then, insulation. Then.... wait for it.... wait for it.... DRYWALL!!!!!

Find Three Things Wrong With Things Picture

This is what I found when I went to check on the kids during "rest time." Three things are NOT how I left them.
Can you spot them?
Ready for the answers?

Jessie put her new shoes on to sleep in (wow- one of those girls!), and apparenty she was reading Will's flashcards, which were so boring that she actually fell asleep.
That's Ed's head. He's stuck.
"Uh, a whittle help here. My heart's stuck."
The story:
I went to check on the kids. Ed's spot on the bed is empty. Having just come from one end of our eight foot wide living space and not seeing him, I'm a little confused at where he could possible be. Under the bed was the only option... but it seems he took a different route to get there and got stuck in the process. I don't know if he planned on staying there all day or not, because he didn't ask for help until after the "Oh no! Mom caught me!" look subsided.
I made him wait a full three minutes or so while I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants.
Then, I considered my options.
One, I could just pull him up and out.
Two, I could drop the back wall of the toy hauler (black wall he's pinned against.) This would require my moving a certain fuzz's patrol car though, and that's probably HIGHLY frowned upon by our great state. I'm sure they might make an exception in an emergency... but I don't really want to find out. Besides, it would let out all of our cool air that we work so hard to maintain.
Three, wake the other kids up and make them get out of bed and help me scoot the bunk bed away from the wall.
I opted for number three, followed by number one.
That boy was truly, truly stuck with no where to go.
Dear Ed,
Thank-you for the afternoon pick-me-up. I had a great laugh at your expense. You were not thrilled that we was laughing at you, but Kacy, Will, and I had a great time! What are you going to do next? Don't answer that. I don't want to know. Love, Mom

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Care and Feeding of Barncats (No Barn Needed)

Last month we got four kittens from our friends, the Tuckers. Their cat had kittens, and we were more than happy to get some. At the time I had been waging a war against the various little mouse/big mouse/small rat/large rat problem in out trailer. Gross. It was to the point where I would catch at least two nasty critters a day, sometimes in traps, sometimes with my trusty kitchen tongs.
Back to the cats. They are all male. They came with goopy eyes. Most everything on the Internet said to take your kitty to the vet and be a responsible pet owner... blah blah blah. (The Internet also suggested I not use peanut butter on my mouse traps because the mice might gag and choke... you take what want from it, I suppose.)
  • To take care of the eyes, I took a warm wash cloth to clean out their eyes twice a day. I think they bonded to me... the wet wash cloth must have felt like a mommy cat's tongue. Now they won't leave me alone. I also put drops in their eyes. I used some of my kids' pink-eye drops. One drop in each eye, twice a day for two days. I bumped it up to two drops twice a day when their eyeballs didn't fall out, and the goopiness cleared up in about five days. Ryan said that any farm supply store worth it's salt will have OTC antibiotics for animals, usually in paste form. Don't quote me on that fact though, as I had access to my small supply of left over tobramycin.
  • I fed them dry cat food, mixed with a little wet for the first week we had them. They got the hang of dry food pretty quickly.
  • They don't care for skim milk as much as they do heavy cream. I give them a little cream everyday. Just a little, so they'll stick around and find this to be a happy place.
  • We named them Steve. All of them. That way, if one should disappear (hello, coyotes!), the kids won't be too attached to one in particular.
  • The kids have done a great job desensitizing them. The rub them, carry them everywhere, sometimes pull their tails (never okay and always get busted for that one...), and generally call them "kitty" and try to nickname them, and put them on stuff. Tricycles, baskets, and the fence are some favorites.
  • They are sleeping in our trailer in one of the under compartments. They are off the ground and have a safe place to get away from the kids, if needed. At first we locked them up so their little mews wouldn't attract bigger prey animals. After a few weeks we leave the door open on their "house."
  • They came trained for a litterbox. There is a box in their house, but in the next few weeks I'm going to spread some kitty litter on the ground and see if they'll start using one of the vast area of our dirt property.
I am happy to report that one of the cats caught it's first mouse two days ago. Yipee!!! They are earning their keep. I haven't had a rodent in my trailer since we've had them. What a relief!

Kids Helping in the Kitchen: Cupcakes

Yesterday I went to my parent's house to swim and make cupcakes. Frozen cupcakes are good! I made three cake mixes, just following the directions on the back.

The kids love to help in the kitchen, but they are often detrimental to the project and just get in the way.

However, (this is my genius showing up, right now!) I made each cake mix in a gallon zippie bag.

  • There were NO dishes or mixer to clean.
  • The kids helped by massaging the bags until the mixes were mixed.
  • When it was time to pour the mix into the muffin pan, I snipped the corner and piped in the mix. No mess on the pan!

I'm sure this isn't new, but for me it is, and it's going to become a permanant feature in our home.

(PS- Can't wait to have my own kitchen!)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Breathe Deeply, or Crack-up?

Yesterday, in the course of eight hours, Ed did the following:
  • Uses two pairs of scissors to open a jelly packet. In my bedroom.
  • Spills tomato soup all over the kids table, the floor, and Kacy. Because he is running and falls over Will. Whom he is chasing. In our trailer.
  • He spills juice in the bathroom. I hear, "Oopsie- daisy. (Pause) Uh, Mom? I need a wittle help here."
  • He falls off the couch and hurts his arm.
  • He falls down the three stairs we have and hurts his body. Because he is jumping from the top.
  • He puts his boots on to go outside, realizes they are full of dirt, takes them off and proceeds to dump the dirt onto the floor. He looks up at me when he realizes that what he did wasn't quite right, brushes some of the dirt around with his hand and with eyes averted mumbles, "Well, it's not too bad." (It IS bad! VERY BAD. I had just mopped the night before.)
  • He plays with a tape measure (that I've taken away from him once already) and stretches it up and up and up... and into the ceiling fan. It was on. Try it. But watch your fingers and everyone's heads around you. Fair warning.
  • And last, but not least, he finds my dull kitchen scissors and gives Jessie a haircut.
  • Oh, but wait! While I'm trying my best not to kill him, I notice he had also cut his already short hair. He has a bald spot right on top of his head.
By this time I am laughing maniacally. My friend Marcie has this saying that if you don't laugh, you cry, so you might as well laugh. I agree.
Especially because Ed got a "punishment" that was just perfect: a haircut. He hates them, they are "ITCHY!!!," and so he was NOT HAPPY for a whole 20 minutes. (You know I could have possibly had his head shaved in ten minutes...)
(FYI-Jessie's hair looks a little layered in spots. It'll need a little trimming up, but not too bad. The hair on the floor and the chunks that fell out while in the shower made me worried, but it looks *okay*.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day Trip To Morro Bay and Cayucos, CA

Yesterday a few of us local moms (Krissy, Lindsey, and Alyssa who was visiting) and our mostly preschool age kids took a day trip to the beach. It's the same trip the kids and I took last year; my kids have been looking forward to it since last summer.
It took five hours each way to get there. Last year it took four; I think with 11 kids and four moms, everything just takes longer. EVERYTHING. But it was great. We stopped in Lost Hills for a mid-morning park break. It makes the trip longer, but I think it makes the trip more bearable.
Trip IN highlights:
*Out in the middle of nowhere, just passed Chalome, Will announces that "Just around this corner there's a McDonald's sign." Um.... what?!? Sure enough, we go around the curve, and over on the side of the road was a small billboard for Arco gas and McDonalds. I couldn't believe he remembered it. Weird.
*Will really, really had to go to the bathroom. There was no where to stop. I told him to pee in an empty Gatorade bottle. He did. (Boys are so lucky.)
*We had to make ANOTHER potty stop for Ed. It was important.
On with the pictures!
I have been coming to Morro Bay and Cayucos since I was a little girl, and it just doesn't change much. For that, I love it.
Our first stop was Cloister Park for a picnic lunch. The bathrooms are clean, the playground is clean, and the people are clean. It's just north of Morro Bay, right off Hwy 1. After lunch we went and looked at the marshland conservation area to see if there were ducks.
There were!
Jessie looks a little concerned. Could it because of this guy?
On the rocker, singing in time to the motion: " Tik tok, on the clock, and the party don't start..."
After the picnic lunch and play time, we headed into town. We went straight to the Embarcadero.
This little aquarium is so perfect for our family. The cost: $2 for ages 12+, $1 for ages 5-11, and FREE for ages 4 and below. It's also the perfect size- you can monitor almost the whole thing from one vantage point while the kids wander around and feel all indepenent.
For fifty cents a bag, you can feed the seals. This one is a cute, loud, obnoxious thing that won't be quiet until he gets some food. Just like my kids!
Besides all the tanks with critters in them (eels still give me the creeps), there is a display with shark jaws, stuffed sea otters, and whale eyeballs, among other things.
Next, we walked directly across the street to The Shell Shop.
I give my kids one dollar to spend, and they are thrilled! It is a quick trip, as the shop has lots of pretty breakables.
Next up: THE BEACH!
Cayucos! We went on the pier. The fishermen were at a minimum (one?), so the kids didn't really bother anyone.
The kids still make me nervous when they climb up the side and hang their heads over... really, I would jump in after them, but I really, really, REALLY don't want to. We went all the way to the end. On the way back, Elle T. realized you can see the water through the cracks and she kind of freaked out, much to the amusement of her mother and myself. She started to try and avoid all the cracks...on tip toe...
The beach was fun, if not a little windy. The kids dug in the sand, and played in the water. At one point, Ed'd shorts fell down while he was in the waves. He was laughing, I was laughing, the rest of our group was laughing, and the group over to our left thought it was funny. Another time Ed went under the water and came up spitting. He kept spitting as he walked over to me and asks, "You got any fresh water over there?" He had snot and spit all over his face from trying to get the ocean water out of his head.
It was a fun day, and the kids were 95% fantastic.
Can't wait to do it again. The kids are requesting we stay the night next time.

A Word Of Advice

If someone in your family is working with any form of fiberglass insulation, and you do their laundry, make sure YOUR undies are NOT in the wash with their work clothes.



Monday, July 12, 2010

Rafting with Kern River Tours

Last month (June 24), I went rafting with great friends. It was the second annual "Chick Trip." I missed the first one, because I was at Girl's Camp. I am SO GLAD I was able to go this year. I can't wait to go again. It was so much fun! We went with Kern River Tours. Our guides, Dave (my raft) and Trevor were great. They know that river so well- I was amazed. I realize it's their job and all, but seriously, when Dave goes, "On this next one, we are going to go in a little to the right. We'll hit the hole in the middle and it'll push us over to the left. From there we will stay to the left, and then come out in the middle, avoiding the hole on the right..." or something like that. For every rapid. I was impressed. We did "The Gusto" run, which has nine class IV rapids. I think nine. It's a lot. There is one class V rapid called "The Royal Flush" that we had to get out, haul the raft on dry land, and get in slightly below the rapid. You can YouTube "Royal Flush Kern River" and watch crazies attempt it. Dave said that this year the water is just way too high for even the guides to attempt it. It was amazing.
On with the pictures! (Thank-you KRT and Marcie!)
 The group: Crazy guy in back: Trevor. His goal this trip was to get Marcie in the water. Something about her not following directions last year. Kari, Kendra, Me, Dave. Middle: Krissy, Teasha, Dany, Tami, Tisha, Cori. Front: Michelle, Lindsey, Marcie.
 On this rapid, our guide told us to so something silly for the camera. There you go. Backwards paddles. (In my raft: Dany and Lindsey in the front, Michelle and I in the middle, and Tisha and Cori in the back.)
The river was really high this year. The water was cold, the sun was warm... FUN!
Why is my paddle so high up?
I like to think it helped me keep my balance.But since I didn't know what I was doing, I can't say that it did anything for sure.
Please note that Dany and Lindsey are practically under water. After the lunch break we rotated spots, and Cori and I took the front. THAT was fun. Seriously.
We stopped for lunch. The sandwiches were SO GOOD. A few reasons: I was genuinely hungry. There were lots of options, from PBJ to a fancy meat and cheese with fresh avocados... and cookies. And most importantly, I didn't have to prepare OR clean up. The guides did it.
I said I wasn't going to do it. No "Jump Rock" for me, thank you very much. I have height issues. Big time. But then we got there, and I thought, "That's not THAT high." (It is.) And, I said aloud, "You keep your life vest on?" and thought, "ppshhh... that's almost cheating. I can do it. It'll be good for me. Maybe it'll break me from my heights problem. Plus, it doesn't look THAT high." So off I went with the adrenaline junkies. I walked to the edge, got all weak legged, and walked away. But then I did some self talking about it'd be faster NOT to hike back down, there is a long line of people who want to jump, it's not like I'm going to die, it's only water, blah blah blah, just do it already and face your fears... so I jumped. Kind of.
Proof that I jumped off the "Jump Rock." Don't question my early plugging of the nose or why my free hand appears to be trying to keep my head on. All I know is that I had way too long to think about being in the air. I may or may not do it again.
The whole day was so great. Hanging out with good girls. A bit of a mommy break. I went home and started looking up more trips, and it renewed my interest in kayaking. I love the water and rowing. I can't wait to go again! Thanks Kern River Tours!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Newborn Photography; My First Shoot

Yesterday was the day I took pictures of my friend Mindi's new baby. I went over to her house while the kids went to a sitter (again, Emily is a lifesaver), and I stayed about two and half hours. We worked on newborn time! Here are a few of my favorites.
Okay, so I have more favorites! Like a shot of her feet. And one where she's crying in a tutu. If you would like to see more, I have some more in my Flickr account, found HERE. I am trying to email the full set to Mindi, as she left on vacation today. I don't think my satellite connection can handle the file sizes, even all zipped up and only a few pics in each folder. (If, by the way, you know of any brilliant ideas for emailing lots of high res photos, please share!)
Baby K was was great. I am just thrilled that the pics came out okay. I was nervous, because I still have so much to learn. Mindi has a huge east facing window which allowed lots of light into the room. I angled the backdrop and the baby at about 45 degrees with her head toward the window. The props were all Mindi's. The backdrop itself was black or white muslin sheeting, and the "ground" was covered in black or white felt. I used both my 50mm 1.8 and my 28-135mm 3.5-5.6 lenses. I think I ended up using the 50mm f/1.8 the most, though.
I hope she let's me practice on K as she gets older!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Kid Quotes

Whenever I publish my blog into book form and look back at years past, some of my favorite entries are the ones with the little details about my kids. I heard some fun (for me) quotes this weekend.

From Will to everyone in the car after the fireworks show:

"Wasn't the bowling alley awesome? That was my favorite part!"

Me:"We didn't go to the bowling alley."

Will: "Ya, you know, it went BOOM, BOOM, BOOM and was all bright!"

Me: "You mean the grand finale?"

Will: "Ya, that! The grand finale."

From Jessie, as she was palying and stood up only to hit her head on a board.

"Oh, snap." (Thank-you Chicken Little movie.)

From Kacy and Jessie as we pulled into the parking lot at church:

Jessie: "My daddy's here! Yea!"

Kacy: "I don't see his truck."

Jessie: "Yes he is. His truck right there."

Kacy: "No, that's not dad's truck. That truck is all clean and shiny. Dad's is really dirty."

Ryan had, in fact, taken his truck to the carwash this week. The first time in a long time.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Independance Day!

We watched the fireworks over the lake this year- and I have to say I've seen better! I suppose it's tough because of the economy. Hopefully next year there will be more donations so it can be awesome again! It was fun anyway, and the kids had the best time, so it's worth it. Their "ooohs" and "awwwws" were the highlight.
Happy Fourth of July!
May you eat many hotdogs, chips, and cupcakes!

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Photography Gear; a Worklight and A Backdrop

At the beginning of June, a friend of mine asked me to take a few pictures of her baby, who was due later that month. Mindi's baby girl was born last week! Ever since she mentioned it, I've been planning and plotting, and I'm almost ready. A trip to the fabric store will get me set, I think. In preparation, I've been looking up some lighting information and looking at lots and lots of pictures others have taken of newborns, courtesy of Flickr. I am developing a taste, which I hope translates into a style. We'll see what happens with her cute baby, but for now, I am experimenting on my dirty, unkempt, lovely offspring. I bought a background stand with two backdrops. (The cluttered trailer and the joshua trees/dirt get old after awhile.) The stand is portable and came with a bag. It's really easy to set up.

I started with the black background because I thought it would get less dirty, and because there are a few pictures I'm drawn too that have the all black background. I used my bathroom in the "big house" because that is where we work out and it has a rug. It's the least dirty of anywhere I know. (The trailer is too small to attempt the stand.)

I used the open southwest facing window, at about 6:30pm. It was too bright. I should have closed it. It's frosted glass and would have diffused perfectly. Lesson learned. I also have a daylight rated CFL. I have since diffused that, too. I'm not interested in strobes, but I thought a supplemental light might be nice in case the available light is a little weak.

I got better with the boys- the girls background had to be burned to even out the background. With the boys' pictures, I exposed for the background, so that there was minimal post-processing required. It is so much nicer just to get it right .

Now, if I would have made sure they had clean shirts, combed hair, and no juice "mush-mashes," these pictures would almost be good! The boys found the safety glasses and thought they were SO COOL.

I might go buy a tarp and then lay out the white background, and practice with that. And when I do, I'll make sure my little models are groomed!