Archive for the ‘ General ’ Category

Brandon says…

August 9th, 2010

… this is a super awesome card. Personally, I’m kind of embarrassed how long it took me to come up with something this lame. This is the first year that I’ve flown blind, not having much intimate knowledge of Harry Potter. I saw the first movie when it came out — not exactly an expert. I had to do some major research to find something that wasn’t copyright protected that I could use.

I finally located a photo of the actual Platform 9 3/4 that was used in the movie (allegedly because I don’t remember). I was SO late getting these out because it took me forever to figure out how to make a Harry Potter invitation, but I think this was about as good as it was going to get. :)

We printed these as images (ran out of time for press printing) and mounted them to black card stock.

It’s pure insanity. It feel like summer just began a few days ago, and I realized last night that the longest days of summer are already behind us. From here on out, the days start getting shorter and we work our way right back to sunset at 4:22pm in the middle of December. FOUR TWENTY TWO.

Most of our fun times were had on our late winter and early spring vacations, so summer has been spent mostly at home, meeting new neighbors, finding new things to do close to home, and visiting family.

I will give a brief mention to our very short trip to the Highland Games in Oak Brook…

…but that was a bit of a disaster. I had a bad feeling about the day before it started and it just ended up being unpleasant for everyone. It was oppressively hot and incredibly overcrowded. We had no plan and no purpose, we just wandered aimlessly with nowhere to be. The kids enjoyed the activities that were decidedly not Scottish in nature, but I was cranky just being there. I can say with some certainty that mom will not be inviting us again next year. That’s fine with me because to be honest, I feel pretty lame wandering around the Scottish festival when I haven’t the slightest bit of Scottish blood.

There was my fun little get together on Saturday with a couple other photographers. We just wandered around downtown looking for fun spots. It was noon when we got there, so we had to be creative with the light, but it was really fun to just shoot for me, no pressure, no expectations. Bailey stayed home because I couldn’t trust her to stay out of traffic, but Brandon allowed me to contract him for a day’s work as my model for the hefty sum of $5.

And just to be fair, I asked Bailey to spare me a few minutes of her time for a few pictures in the backyard.

And yes, I am getting a little tired of pictures in the backyard, but these really were the last of the summer. The corn is already too high to catch any more evening backlight.

… but we still haven’t had a good long run of warm weather. Still, there are a few flowers blooming behind the house. Brandon was apprehensive about walking over to the edge of the field. “That’s not our yard, mom…”

Well, it really wasn’t our yard, but it was just right there on the edge. Pretty sure my neighbor didn’t mind. Good to know that rules mean something to Brandon… at home. Now he just needs to put that whole thing into practice at school. 😉



…but I gave in to the begging and pleading and off we went to the park. Brandon was cooperative, Bailey mostly showed me just how much faster her new tennies make her run. Quickly processed snapshots, forgive any technical issues. :)

Florida, April 2010

April 21st, 2010

This time, I really did process and prepare all of my vacation snapshots! I always intend to do them right away, but a lot of my vacation photos have never been touched. I confess I get so frustrated with the lack of cooperation I receive from Bailey (mostly) and Brandon (somewhat) and it makes me want to leave my camera in the bag. I think the only thing that forces me to keep on pulling it out is how much I know they love to see their memories in photos. I think that’s going to be worth it someday when they have children of their own. At least, I choose to believe it will mean something to them.

They won’t care that I didn’t spend too much time processing them or that most were taken in awful midday full sun. So… you and I shouldn’t, either. Right?

Update from 40,000 feet!

April 9th, 2010

Way back when we had to walk to school both ways uphill and the internet was just a seedy underworld that we could venture to from AOL (if we dared), the idea of internet on a long flight was like the whole idea of flying cars. Back to the Future skipped right over internet on a plane, but figured we’d have flying cars by 2015. I’m OK with internet on a plane. I think they might have been a little ambitious about the flying car thing.

I’m using — where a month of unlimited internet usage across several airlines is just about $30. It works out perfectly for us to share since we’re taking 4 separate flights on 4 separate days. The connection seems fast and stable. I almost wish I’d had this on the way to Hawaii, but my laptop battery really only lasts about as long as it gets to Florida, so it’s a perfect introduction to the service.

Bailey and I stopped into the play area in our terminal before boarding and almost missed the tail end of boarding our flight! We were some of the last on the plane, but there was a bit of a traffic jam on the jetway and we ended up standing around for a while anyway.


I do honestly wonder sometimes exactly how we can ever really top the technology we have available today, then they surprise me once again. Hello, iphone? Internet on a plane? Someday our kids will be asking themselves how we ever survived with just those things. Bring on more progress!

Bailey is an amazing traveler, content to quietly watch movies and eat special plane snacks. It’s as if she’s trying to make our row-mate feel guilty for possibly inwardly groaning when he realized the 3 year old was heading for HIS row. She really is a lovely travel companion and takes up very little space in her seat. Bonus. :)


Almost April Already?

March 29th, 2010

I’ve been in a deep state of hibernation, just waiting for warmer weather to hit. I know I completely neglected to blog the last part of my Maui vacation, but I have those images ready… just in time to motivate me to take more pictures on our upcoming trip to Florida.

First, just a couple more from dad’s house. Enjoy Bailey’s fakey smile and the view from dad’s front porch.


The next group of images is rather light. Mostly because by the time I left dad’s house, I’d managed a massive sunburn like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Apparently my skin is no longer conditioned to withstand near equator sun without any kind of sunscreen. Who knew that kind of protection wore off? Needless to say, it made carrying my camera backpack quite a painful task. Very few images were taken in the last few days of the trip.

Here are a few quick snaps that were taken at the hotel. Bailey didn’t last long in the pool unless there were other kids swimming with her. When we took Brandon, he was content to swim just with us — he’d never had a sibling so he didn’t really know anything else. Bailey has never had to worry about not having a playmate. I really underestimated how much she would miss Brandon.


And finally, I did manage to talk dad into taking me out on a cruise. I was so excited that he booked us on a catamaran because they are definitely my favorite way to sail! It was warm and mostly sunny when we boarded and the weather held until we were close to shore on our way back. It was completely dark and completely raining when we got back to the harbor to climb on dad’s motorcycle. I admit I screamed, “DAD!! THIS ISN’T SAFE!!” while thinking about what would happen to my kids if I plunged 50 feet from a slick mountain road into the ocean below… fun times! Obviously he got me back safe and sound and it stopped raining about 10 minutes into the trip. Note to self… next time, BYOH (bring your own helmet).


And to wrap it up, the stormy sunset from the boat… The dark clouds and deep almost black water are a bit menacing in a storm, but I was just giddy to be out there!


1/3 of a vacation…

February 2nd, 2010

… is all I have to blog so far. But we packed a lot into the first 3 days that Bailey and I spent on Maui with my mom and dad last week.


Bailey did really well on the trip over. She fell asleep as we were taxiing on the runway after landing at LAX for our 3 hour layover. I thought I’d missed my window of opportunity when I had to wake her, but she fell asleep again as we taxied to the runway to take off and slept for half the flight from LAX to Maui!

Dad surprised us by coming to the airport when my flight came in. We had the traditional island meal of IHOP (what? You’ve never heard that about IHOP? 😉 ) before heading off to Ka’anapali to the Maui Ocean Club where my mom owns three weeks but has never stayed longer than two.

We started the week with a relaxing day by the pool, but I didn’t bring out the camera until we headed to the beach. Dad kept his socks and shoes on the whole time, but since he’s perpetually relaxed I don’t really think it hindered his enjoyment. I, on the other hand, somehow forgot how much I hate sand and ended up covered in it and far wetter than I planned to be. It was days before I stopped finding sand in everything and it’s still trapped in the fibers of our suits.


We spent our second full day hanging out at dad’s house at the Makani Olu Ranch in Waikapu. It was almost like being a kid again, hanging with my mom and dad. Sometimes it’s hard to remember just how alike they are, but though they come from different angles and have different reasons, they are so very similar in the end. A slow pace, steady and even. Predictable and comfortable. I always know I shouldn’t expect to rush when I’m near either one of them, though my brain still has a hard time accepting what it should know quite well.

We walked up to the pasture to meet the new baby goats, one of them (the little white one) was just a week old. They followed us, glued to our heels as if they were puppies instead of livestock. The littlest was barely bigger than dad’s shoe — as Bailey would say, “so coot!”


Apparently they have the largest herd of Texas longhorn cattle on Maui. They were very friendly and curious, several almost ate my camera getting far too close for me to focus a proper shot. It does make you feel a little unprotected being out there with dozens of them, though. I had a hard time turning my back on them.

After we met the livestock, we took a 4-wheeler ride up the mountain to see the property from above. What an amazing experience and one I’m so glad we didn’t miss. I almost passed on the ride because of my fears for Bailey’s safety, but at 5 mph and in the very capable and careful hands of my dad, she was safe and sound on our ride. We didn’t even get to see it all, so I hope to have the opportunity to check out more next year.


I stopped myself from editing out the pink tint on the (scary) bridge in the photo above because it really is just the red dirt. Copious amounts of it cover everything on the property, including anyone who passes through, especially if they pass through on a 4 wheeler. My camera bag is still covered in so much red dirt that I was afraid I would have to declare it to the USDA inspectors.

I have a bunch more to blog even from the ride at the ranch, but I am sure my thousands of adoring fans will try to remember that patience is a virtue (yes, honey, I’m talking to you) and will gladly wait for the second installment. :)