Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Water Photo Challenge

So I have a blog.  And I take LOTS of pictures.  And I have a really nice Canon DSLR camera.  But...it stays...on Auto.  Almost. All. The. Time. 

However, that's about to change. 

Sara over @ The Running Lawyer has posted a few helpful hints for those of us who have these big, heavy, EXPENSIVE cameras that never leave the auto position.  And in addition, she's hosting a photo challenge, encouraging us to take a leap and actually move our dial from the little green square, over into some of the more detailed settings of our camera. 

This month's challenge was all about water.  So...last week when it was actually warm outside, I headed out with Elyse armed with my camera, a hose, and a water table.  And snapped a bunch of pictures, tweaking the settings only ever so slightly to get in some practice.  I am definitely FAR from perfection, but I think I'm beginning to understand some of the basics and I'm excited to take more pictures in the future. 

Here is the photo I chose to use for the contest.  Sure, some of the other photos I took are more of a closeup of Elyse, but this one was me stepping out of my "straight on photo" box and taking one from above.  I just love how her hands are sprayed open wide letting the water splash through her fingers, and how she is focusing so intently on the sensation of moisture on her hands.  I love the sun shining on her hair and the contrast of her blue outfit on the bright green grass.  I love that you can see her little red toenails that have been worn on the edges, because she wears practically nothing but sandles during the summer. 
(f/7.1, 1/4000, ISO 1600, minor edits in Picasa)

However, I snapped many more photos of my girl...and without further adieus...more H2O photos...

Some turned out a little dark while I was experimenting...


& some a little light...

But overall, I was pretty pleased with how I captured my girl playing with such a simple thing as water! 

The next day, we also decided to take a visit to a local park with some ducks...I didn't snap many "water" pictures, but I did experiment a bit more and get some pretty decent shots of my growing girl! 

Go on over to Sara's blog to check out some other incredible photos, and some wonderfully witty humor from a fellow momma just struggling through! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lately...An IPhone Photo Dump

How is it possible that July is practically over...we've been running around like crazy this summer enjoying all that the summertime temps allow!  Which definitely is the reason for my lack of blogging participation...but honestly, it seems that all of us have taken a bit of a summer hiatus, and it's been a nice break!

In addition to a blogging break, I've really taken a bit of a break from lugging my big camera around...mainly with the intention of not carrying it around until I've learned to use it properly.  This is a work in progress, so for now....a bit of a catch up post via my iPhone & Instagram!

*Hubby had a great time on his golf trip but also managed to make Elyse & I feel special...flowers for me & a balloon for Toot were delivered the afternoon he left!

*While he was gone, Elyse got some quality time with her cousins & grandparents!

*She also had a bit of a blip in the sleeping department and decided she needed to come sleep in our bed one night at 3 am...Hubby went and got her which meant Momma got pushed to the couch!

*Hubby & I along with my parents had an insurance conference at Lake of the Ozarks last week...it was a fun time to get away and eat some yummy food.

*When we got back from the conference we headed to the wedding reception of some great friends who got married in CA back in June--it was a super fun evening complete with a photo booth!  But Elyse was WORN out so we called it a night fairly early!

*We had a playdate yesterday with one of my good friends' from college, we headed to the Discovery Center which is full of hands on exhibits and sciency things--most of it is a little bit too old for Elyse but they had several areas she LOVED!   As seen below...she passed out from all the fun!

More summer fun to come...which you can bet means more photo dumps and bulleted posts in the near future!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Giraffes & Peacocks & Mountain Lions...oh my!

On Wednesday morning before Hubby left for his golf trip, we took advantage of the morning together and headed to the zoo for the first time this year.  We took Elyse last fall when she was just a wee-babe--but she couldn't even walk yet, so she definitely didn't enjoy it as much as I knew she would this year. 
We got their right as the doors were opening and when it was still fairly cool outside--which also meant that most of the animals were up and moving around.  She was fascinated by all the furry creatures & I can definitely see lots of zoo visits in our future. 
We started out the in the stroller...

...but ended up spending most of our time on Daddy's shoulders or walking around!

Feeding the goats at the petting zoo
I could just see her brain processing so much as she pointed out all animals!

The best ride for optimal animal viewing!

She loved the big Kitty Cat!

My loves!

Big smiles!

Yup, that's an attractive pose from momma...working on my squats at the zoo!
Bears, Mountain Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Lions, Monkeys, Tigers...we saw it all!
Our little crazy toot!

Up-close and personal with the giraffes!

She wasn't so sure about the giraffe's tongue...

...but wanted us to keep feeding them anyway!

She loved watching the giraffes...she was in such awe!

Getting a closer look up on her tiptoes!

Peacocks were everywhere...and one of the males was really strutting his stuff!
It was the perfect family outing and a beautiful day for the zoo.  I wish the sun would have been out a little bit more because I feel like my pictures are kind of dull...but I was thankful for the clouds keeping it cooler since the temps have been soaring into the 90s! 

This girl is an animal lover, so the zoo will definitely be visited many, many time in the coming years!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Collosal Coaster World-VBS 2013

Last week was a crazy week for several reasons...but one of the main things had to do with the fact that it was VBS week! 
My mom, aka Gigi, aka VBS director, was obviously unable to truly babysit Elyse all week while she directed my home church's VBS...so Elyse got to experience her first week of VBS with a group of 2-3 year olds who were all children or grand-children of worker's kids.  This VBS is still held in the mornings and so several of the workers have to bring their small children in order to be able to help out. 
I'm not gonna lie, it was incredibly hard dropping her off the first day...I had images of dropping her off in a few years for her first day of kindergarten & I know I'll probably be a blubbering mess!  I was also more than a little nervous...we were dropping her off in a strange place, with a lady she didn't know, in a room full of kids she'd never met, and maybe most importantly, she was going to miss her morning nap EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 
My MIL also filled in for a teacher who was unable to teach, so Elyse got to spend lots of quality time with her cousins & Mamaw as well!
And as I should have expected, all my fears were unwarranted.  She did have a minor meltdown the first day and spent a little while with Gigi...but otherwise she did great and seemed to have a blast.  She made crafts every day, and also got to enjoy Music, Recreation, and snacks--just like all the other VBSers! 
Trading in her silver quarters for pennies...the girls won the Penny War this year!
Cousin Jackson is one of her favorite people ever!

Checking out the hula hoops from Mamaw's room

Dropping the pennies in the pink bucket!

The theme was Colossal Coaster World and was such a fun, themepark/circus theme!

The music team singing the opening song!

Gigi in all of her crazy glory! 

Doing a jig with her new shaker she made in crafts! 
 On Thursday I was actually able to come help out by taking pictures during the entire day.  However, I had to steer clear of wherever Elyse's class was so she wouldn't want to spend the entire morning with me.  Thankfully I dropped her off with Gigi and she was more than happy to spend the rest of the morning with her class...as long as she had her Ba (pacifier), she was a happy camper! 

Watching the opening with Gigi

And getting her moves on...

The kids are also challenged to bring canned goods for the church's food pantry, they filled 4 grocery carts!
Thursday was also a fun day in recreation because they rented a bounce house for all the kids to play on!  Elyse honestly wasn't too sure about it, but I got some fun pictures of her first bounce house experience!

Not sure if you can see it, but her bottom lip is puckered out...she was not too happy about going down that slide!

Her class had music at the end of the morning so I released myself of my photographer duties and went into the music room to watch her jam out a little bit...this girl has some serious moves!

Me & my precious girl! 
Friday night was the VBS program so we headed out in the hopes that she would get up on stage with her class to sing "If You're Happy & You Know It."  While she didn't get up on stage, she certainly did perform and we got every bit of it recorded!  She was quite the little performer!
Heading out the door to the program

Dancing with Gigi before the program started...

Hanging with Papa

Dancing in the pews...Shhhh...don't tell the preacher!
Since my mom is director, she always makes the challenge for the food collection...and if they collect 300 items, she will do something crazy.  Well...since this year's theme had to do with roller coasters, she "rode" a roller coaster on stage.  She obviously got into it! 

And for your viewing pleasure, a little vide of Elyse clapping her hands, stomping her feet, and showing her diaper...enjoy! 
I have such wonderful memories of VBS from when I was a little girl...so I'm sure this is just the beginning for Elyse!