I took a quick few moments outside with the 75-300mm lens and had to share :)!
Our beautiful golden lab…
Fabulous fall colors…
And the neighbor horses, of course!
Ok, really really really walking away from the camera and computer now…
Ok, now I really need to get some work done! You’d think I have nothing better to do than play with photos :)!
After years of anticipation, I finally got my Canon DSLR!!! I haven’t had much chance to play with it, but I’m already loving the quality and range of the images. So I’m going to share my first photos. I shot in Aperture Priority mode because I’m most comfortable with controlling the f-stop and since I’m a little rusty after years of point and shoot, I wasn’t confident enough to go full manual. The lens I used came with the kit. It’s an 18-55mm with a very shallow range of f-stops. I’m going to take the 75-300mm lens for a spin at some point today. But I am definitely feeling the need for a good prime lens. Found a 50mm with an awesome aperture range that will work wonders for portraits, so that’s next on my list of purchases. Along with an external hard drive so I can start shooting RAW images without crashing another computer. So excited about all of the possibilities!!! But anyway, here are my favorite photos from the first shoot. There is still much to reacquaint myself with, but I definitely love this camera! My favorite image was of my daughter by a tree. Love how quickly this camera captures an image. There was always a second delay on my point and shoot, so I often missed the cutest moments.
Most of my shoot was enjoying bokeh (background blur)! It’s so nice to be able to do that in the camera again!!!
I have to customize the white balance…. Indoor shots still aren’t quite right to me with the presets…
Yep, this is making my year!!!
It’s been a while again since I’ve had a chance to post. I have all these things in my head that I’m going to write, but I end up forgetting half of them by the time I get a chance to sit down at the computer. The good news is I finally bit the bullet and ordered a DSLR camera. It’s supposed to be here tomorrow!! So hopefully the pictures will get better. I’ve been saving for a good DSLR for a while, but I have a really hard time spending that much money on something I want, even if I’ve been saving up for years. But the fall colors are too beautiful and I really want to have a good camera for this season and the winter. But for now, I had to capture a beautiful fall day and some other family memories!
I’ll start with the guitar… This is my nylon string guitar. The kids have been wanting to learn to play for a while. Our son absolutely loves music! They had fun playing around with my guitar, but I ended up ordering a smaller model on Amazon so they can hold it a little better. Colton has also taken to running around the living room singing all the songs on the Christian radio station at the top of his lungs! It’s adorable!!
We also took some fun pictures by one of my favorite trees on our property right now. It’s the one with the most colors in the leaves. Sadly, the colors of fall may be short lived this year since we’ve had some really gusty winds. But this one is some wonderful shades of yellow, red, and orange…love it!
And this cutie!!
Fun on the Play Yard!
So today after I got home from work, the kids and I spent a couple of hours outside before it started getting dark. The weather was just too amazing to stay inside! This year has just been full of gorgeous weather, but I can feel the chill creeping into the air, so we’re going to take advantage of the light sweatshirt days :)!
Mom, over here! Take a picture!
Mom, I’m wearing a hat!!
My little drama queen!!
It’s a Dog’s World
Barstow really enjoyed playing with the kids!
He’s such a good dog, even though he’s still a bit hyper. He was very good natured about Kaitlyn climbing on his back!
Mostly, he just sat at the end of the slides waiting for the kids to come down, like a good little playground guard dog :).
Kaitlyn tried to teach him fetch. Here she is saying, “Barstow, go fetch. Get the stick.” Didn’t really work…
The Best Neighbors Ever!
Of course, since it was a beautiful day, the neighbors’ horses were out grazing. I am really loving being right next door to so many horses. They even greet me at the mailbox when I stop to get the mail on my way home from work…sigh…yes, this is the life!
The black and white horses are a mother and foal. The mother always comes to the fence and lets me pet her, but I haven’t gotten my hand on the foal…mama’s a little protective…can’t say I blame her!
Yep, these are kids after my own heart! Kaitlyn does get a little perturbed that the horses don’t answer her when she calls them. She thinks they’re rude!
These are two cakes I’ve done the past couple of weekends. The top one was for a barnyard themed baby shower for an amazing lady from our church. She and her husband can’t have kids, so they have been trying to adopt for as long as we’ve known them. They finally were able to get a sweet baby girl! I don’t think I’ve ever been happier for a couple with the exception of hubby and I having our two kids and my sister having my niece.
The second cake was for a friend’s son, who loves MineCraft…can you tell :)
And the Foliage of course!
I heart fall!
The roses out front are giving a lovely last hurrah!
And then there’s this weird mushroom we found in the backyard…
Hope everyone is enjoying fall as much as I am! Have a very blessed week!
This past week went by in a blur! About four months ago, I put my foot in my mouth and offered to make a wedding cake for some friends in October. Well, with the move, my school starting, beginning to homeschool the kids and work being crazy as we prepare to change bosses, October snuck up on me way too fast. But alas, the cake got done and the wedding happened this weekend. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I am so happy for the couple. Praying they have a wonderful life together! But I will say, this is the last wedding cake for a long while…maybe ever. I told my hubby if I start to offer to make a wedding cake again, slap me! It’s just way too much added stress, especially having a big part of someone’s special day riding on your ability to create a stunning centerpiece out of moist, crumbly food. So the pic above is the final product…a take on a Wilton idea with textured white fondant layers decorated with daisies and smooth blue fondant layers with flat swags. The cake was a nightmare to transport and put together since the venue was 45 minutes from my house and it was a humid/sometimes drizzly day that nearly killed the fondant. But it made it, and it’s over, and I think the couple was happy with it. So that’s what matters. All in all though, it’s just been a round week and a half. Hubby has taken the brunt of it. First, he dropped his phone about a week and a half ago and the screen completely shattered. So he took his time and found a phone he wanted on Amazon. The seller took several days to confirm shipment and the package just arrived today, so we were already a little annoyed since hubby has had to use my phone a lot and has not been able to keep in touch with his farrier clients to arrange work. But the kicker was that the package we got today contained only a case for a completely different phone…and no phone!! It was unbelievable. So now we’re going through the hassle of trying to contact the seller and get a refund. To top it off, hubby has had truck problems, making it doubly impossible for him to work since he has to use his truck to transport his farrier and blacksmith equipment. A wheel bearing went bad about two months ago, and he replaced it. It went bad again last week…just two months after replacing it!! So hubby replaced it again. He literally made it less than a mile down the road trying to get to church Sunday, and his entire tire came off. Praising God hubby was on a back road right by our house when this happened…it could have been much worse. Thankfully, our neighbors are amazing and several rallied to help him out. One couple even went to the local convenience store down the road and got him some water! Love the awesome country folks around here! So it’s been a rough go. Lots to be thankful for, but also lots that is wearing us down right now. I came home from work today and the kids had only made it through one assignment for homeschool…hubby was beat and just couldn’t get them through it today. So I picked up where he left off and we made it through.
I also got the horrifying news last week that one of my closest friends from grade school lost her husband in a car accident. I’m still trying to process that. She is currently pregnant with their fifth child, and I can’t even begin to fathom how much she is going through right now. If you are reading this and are the praying type, please send up a prayer for her. So that’s been our past couple of weeks. Here is a shot of the horses next door to make me feel happier :)!
This past week has been even crazier than most. It was my birthday week, plus I had the insanity of work as we prepare to change bosses, I had to do my residency days for my grad classes (two 9 1/2 hour days!), I had to prepare for women’s Bible study for Saturday and teaching Sunday School, and there were county fairs to visit :)! So I’m opening this post with the beautiful flowers hubby bought me for my birthday. They are making my dining room table bright and cheerful right now! Then I will start at the beginning…
We kicked off the week at my parents’ county fair with my darling niece. There were fun kids’ games…
…an awesome bee exhibit, complete with free honey samples, mmmm….
…and of course rides!
The girls went on the ferris wheel with my dad again this year, but my son didn’t want to. So he ended up playing the balloon dart game. He was awesome at it! Quite the little dart chucker! At the end, the kids got to meet a fun clown named Holiday and pretend to be scarecrows!
Fun times! The following weekend, we headed out to our own local county fair with close friends…
Kaitlyn and her bestie…
This girl is so sweet, she went on the ferris wheel with my daughter even though she is horribly afraid of heights and looked like she was going to be sick when the ride was finally over…what a trooper!
My son got to ride a fun ride with the kids’ other friend…
Then my daughter and her best friend took to the swings. When they got off, the friend told us my daughter was flapping her arms and saying, “Yay! I feel like a Pegasus!” Too adorable!
Peas in a pod…
More fun rides…
As for the house, things are coming along slowly but surely. Hubby got a new propane tank installed…
And he got a lot of the small trees cleared on this side of the house. This is where we plan on putting a super big garden…so looking forward to that in the spring!!! I have really missed having a garden this year! And here is a look at the awesome master bedroom in the making…
I can’t say I was thrilled when hubby jumped right into turning the extra bedroom into an awesome master, but I am really looking forward to seeing it when it’s all done! Our dog enjoying the back deck…
Fall is in the air! This is my favorite season, and even though we had a really mild summer, I am enjoying the crisp cool breezes and that unmistakable smell of fall. Lots of pumpkin and toasted marshmallows in my future! Here is a shot from my daughter’s room. Her room is probably the most finished at this point, and I love it!
She’s even gotten really good about making her bed every morning, which is making me ecstatic! My son has also gotten into helping with the laundry, also a beautiful thing! And here is the entryway gallery wall I made using the pictures my good friend took of our family in January. This is a happy spot in a home that is still a work in progress!
Other than that, my grad school is going really well and homeschooling the kids has been amazing. My hubby has really stepped up and is getting most of the homeschooling done on the days when I have to go in to work. I love working with the kids and seeing what they can do and how they learn. My son amazes me every day! He is doing phenomenal on the sight words an spelling quizzes each week. I love it!
It’s such a blessing to teach them, and I am so thankful we are able to do this right now.
Have a blessed end of the week!
Thirteen years ago today, I was in Tucson, Arizona. I woke up and went to my college German class without a clue that our nation had been struck by terrorists. My German teacher explained to the few of us who hadn’t turned on the news that morning that the World Trade Towers in New York and the Pentagon had been attacked. Four months later, I graduated college; two months after that, I signed on to join the Navy. Today, I work at one of the buildings that was hit that horrible day 13 years ago. Up until two years ago, I worked in an office that had been destroyed during the terrorist attack and rebuilt.
Truth be told, I don’t go in to work on the anniversary of 9/11. I wasn’t there on September 11, 2001, but it’s a very creepy day in that building. Many of the people who work there today were there on that day 13 years ago. They remember the terror and they remember the people lost. It hits a little closer to home than most of us can handle. The fact is, this isn’t a safe world. This morning, while doing homeschool with my kids, I told my 6-year-old and my 4-year-old the significance of this day. There are bad people in this world, people commissioned by the devil himself to drive fear into our hearts. But if we cling to God’s promises, we have nothing to fear. I work at a dangerous place in a targeted city. And those bad people can hurt us physically, but they can’t take away all that God has promised to us if we believe in Christ and live in repentance. My kids may not fully understand the significance of this day, but I will always make sure they know what happened.
And today, I prayed with my kids…prayed that the families of the victims would find peace and solace in God our Father. Prayed that God would protect this once Christian nation from the fear with which the devil tries to control us. Prayed that God would keep everyone commuting into the Pentagon safe on this anniversary. May this day always be a reminder that no one is safe without the loving protection of God that we find through Christ our Lord and Savior. God bless you all on this 13th anniversary of 9/11.
Feeling so grateful for time with friends! A lunch play date with one of my closest girl friends reminded me why we need those relationships. Helping her talk through her own problems and doubts truly made me fall in love with God all over. And I realized how much I do that when I’m talking with close Christian friends. It’s a time to rehash my own experiences that may help them through a rough patch and just talk freely about the joy, love and faithfulness of Christ. It’s a time to remember all of the remarkable things God has done throughout my life and renew my trust in Him. Such an amazing feeling! I am so very grateful that God has surrounded me with so many amazing Christian women to walk this journey of life and ministry with.
And finally to the current pictures! I started with this shot of the white flower in our front garden because this is the most peace and quiet we’ve had in a while. It’s been wonderful to finally have all of our stuff moved over to the new house and all of the touch ups done on the old house. But this past week was extremely busy, too. We started the kids on a homeschooling program. Hubby and I have decided to tag-team homeschool this year because of the direction public schools are taking. And we both really feel like it was the right decision. The kids enjoyed a week of structured learning and the usual activities like cooking, crafts and playing outside. I took the opportunity to get a few “grade” pictures while we were drawing with chalk on the driveway!
Love this tree! I’m going to get the usual chalkboard grade pictures later, but these impromptu shots worked for capturing part of our first week of homeschooling!
Then after church on Sunday, my daughter begged to have a tea party with this really nice tiny china set my parents got her a while back. So we made some cucumber sandwiches, added grapes, crackers and chicken nuggets and had a fun little tea party.
Even my little boy loved it…of course, there was food so…
To add to the craziness, I also started back to grad school again this week. I’m getting another Master’s in ministry this time. It’s really serving two purposes because, much as I want to do this program, I really started it now because I have the Post 9/11 GI Bill from my time in the Navy and it pays a monthly stipend while I’m in school. And we can use the money right now, especially with hubby devoted much of his three days with the kids to homeschooling. So yeah, demanding full-time job, homeschooling, Sunday School teaching, running a monthly women’s Bible study and taking graduate classes. I’m feeling absolutely out of my mind right now. I am so very thankful for a lot of praying family members and friends…I’m going to need a ton of prayer over the next couple of years. But hopefully it will all be for God’s plan and purpose.
Have a blessed week!
Phew, just going through all of these posts is exhausting! I would have liked to have devoted more time to each one, but I really just have to get them down at this point. So next up in the end of summer craziness was my daughter’s birthday party. The only weekend we could do it was the one right after we got back from the beach. She had a great day, so that’s what matters. The cake above is the castle I made for her. It was a quick job because, quite frankly, I had very little time to prepare since we were still in the process of moving.
But she had her cousin and her friends there, so she was thrilled. And she looked adorable in her My Little Pony shirt, tiara and the ruffle skirt I crocheted her!
A very rare moment when my grandmother had all of her great grandkids together! I saw my cousin’s little girl for the first time, and it was so wonderful! She’s a cutie…and fit right in with my kids and niece!
The Pin the Tail on Pinkie Pie game I made…
I also made a Feed Applejack game, but the dog got to it before I could take a picture. The party moved too quickly for me to get many pictures, so I had to take some afterward. This is a PVC pipe Applejack we used for hobby horse races…
There were also Twilight Sparkle and Rarity hobby horses, but the boys made short work of them :). Overall, it was a great day, and I’m so glad we were able to fit it in with all the craziness!