slide show

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {3 little monkeys...}

...jumping on the bed.
Thankfully, none fell off and broke their noggins'.
I mean, really?
Jumping on the bed?
What. Was. I. Thinking?
Must have been a momentary lapse of reason brought on by increased and prolonged exposure to progesterone.
Crazy I tell you.

Photography 101 followers - Here are the rest of the photos mentioned in the last post.  All these photos were taken in inside using only the window light.

Wordless Wednesday linking up with
Created with Joy, 52 weeks of Happiness, Project Alicia, The Naptime Momtog, Jenni from the Blog, Seven Clown Circus, Hump Day Dump

Monday, July 30, 2012

Photography 101 {Easy-peasy indoor technique}

Photography is all about light.  
Without it, there is no photograph.  And how it comes in and is captured by your camera is one of the biggest factors that will determine how good your image is.  So the lesson this week has two parts.

The first part of this lesson is kinda nebulous.  But bare with me 'cause it's really important. 
See the light.  Look for the light wherever you are.  See where it comes from and how bright it is.  Is it direct or indirect?  Diffused?  Splotchy?  Does it come from one direction or from many?  Is there a lot of it or not much?  Is it natural light or artificial?  If it’s artificial light, is it tinted green or yellow?  In general, if you want to be a good photographer you’re going to need to be a student of light, so start looking at it and learning to “read” the light in settings you find yourself in.  Maybe a whole ‘nother separate lesson on light is in order?

Second, and more specifically to the chosen topic, how to use indoor light with good results.  Because you know I’m all about keeping this simple with minimal techno-talk, we’re only going to talk about using natural light.   So here is the easiest way I know to capture the natural incoming light inside.  

Before we start, I'm assuming you're still shooting in auto-mode.  But let's {get crazy!} and take a step off auto and set your ISO.  Hu?  Go here for a refresher on setting your ISO.  You're inside so it will likely be high.  (Make sure your flash is turned off.)

Pick a room that gets the most light.  I'm not talking direct sunlight, but indirect light.  For this technique, direct sunlight will not produce good photographs.  So look for the room that gets the most indirect light.  For 1958 Little Cabin in the Woods, there are no rooms that get a lot of light.  I picked the room that gets the most light, my bedroom.  

You have a window in that room, right?  Open her up.  Pull back the curtains, draw the blinds, and roll up the shade.  Let the maximum light in that window ‘cause we’re gonna need it to get good photographs. 
I pulled up the blinds on the biggest window in my bedroom.  This room gets the most light in the cabin, although it's still not much.  In this pic, you can see the light coming in on Jude's face. 
In this case, my subjects are the 3 littles on my bed.    

Now with your back to the window, and your body facing into the room,  position yourself somewhere between the window and your subject.   In this situation, I was standing in between the bed and the window where there was only about 2-3 feet.  But be sure not to cast a shadow on your subject or block the light.  With this shooting position, the natural light from the window will light up your subject.  
This image is taken directly in the line of the light.  Jude is directly facing the window, and I was sitting on the floor so as not to block the light.  You see very few shadows.  Often I was standing next to the window.
Now, you don't have to be directly in the line that the light travels.  You don't have to be directly in front of the window.  You can move about 45-ish degrees from the window, still facing your subject, and still capture great light.  In fact if you move 45 degrees from the light source, you're going to capture some interesting shadows on your subject.  
Contrastingly, this image is taken about 50 degrees to the light, source, the open window, from the foot of the bed.  The window is directly to the left.  Notice the direction that the light is coming from, and the shadowing on the right side of Jude's face.  This bit of shadowing adds some nice texture and depth to the photograph.  
These photos make the room look MUCH lighter than it actually is.  My bedroom, like the rest of the cabin, is quite dark.  But putting myself between the window and subject, let me capture the available light and illuminate my adorable subjects.
I took this photo standing at the side of the window.  You can get a pretty good idea of where the window is by looking at the lights and shadows on Jude's face and on the comforter.  
A short recap for an easy-peasy indoor lighting technique-
1--Set your ISO higher for your indoor setting
2--Open up your window
3--Position yourself between the light source (up to 45-ish degrees) and your subject 

And I'll be posting the rest of these pics next.  Silly monkey's jumping on my bed!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fire Dog

meet Fire Dog.
Fire Dog, meet the world.

Tess has multiple personalities a very good imagination.  She's created a few super heroes and I kid you not, she spends the majority of her day as one of these characters.

There's Betty Bat, who is really nice and is a mama and cares for others.  
There's also King of the Sweethearts.  Not Queen mind you, because she'd certainly have none of that although we suggested it.  According to Tess, King of the Sweethearts is here on the planet to, "Spread nice all over the world and protect Grammy's."  I swear that's a direct quote.  

But most of the time, we find Tess has transformed into Fire Dog. I have no idea where she came up with this persona.  
But let me tell you what I do know about Fire Dog.  
She is a she.
She breathes fire.  Duh.
She fights evil.  
She has paws.  
She growls a lot!  
In pubic.  
To strangers.
Every where we go.
All the time.
I asked Tess why Fire Dog growls so much and she said it was because, "she's a dog."  
Silly question. 
Howling is often required... although I'm not sure why.  
Sorry neighbors.
See that button right there?  Look closely.  If you push it, (and she asks people, complete strangers really, to push it) the wings come out. 
Fire Dog also has the power of both lightning and electricity.  
And any other power Tess can dream of.  
Here Tess is counting off all the powers that Fire Dog has.  
There's a lot of running around going on too.  
I think she's in hot pursuit of bad guys.  
And there must be a lot of bad guys and evil forces around our home because Tess frequently encounters them and has to engage in arm-to-arm combat!  
We are very safe around here thanks to Fire Dog.  
And just in case you thought those were sticks in her hand, they are not.
Those are swords.
Of course.  
Good golly this child keeps us on our toes with the things she says and does.  
She is a hoot to parent.
And I wouldn't change a single thing about her.  
Linking up with
The Long Road to China, Photo Story Friday, Foto Friday, Look Whooooo's Snapping, The Paper Mama, & Photo Friday
Check 'em out!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A letter to my {pre-adoption} self

Dear Nancy (in 2007)

I know you've just started to seriously consider adopting a child.  I know that the thought of adopting has been on your mind not just years, but since you were a little girl and heard about the abandoned baby girls in China and saw videos of the Romanian orphanages.  So I understand that adopting isn't a impulsive thought.   And I know that even though you don't know how or where or if a child will come to you, or what he or she will look like, that you are excited... and unsure... and scared all at the same time.

But I am you... 5 years later... and 5 years into your adoption journey.  And I want you to know some things that I think will help you along the way, some really important things.

1)  I know that you are currently thinking that adoption is a great way to add to your family, and it is!  But you should know that your adoption journey is going to be so much more than that.  Adoption is gonna rock you're world like you've never imagined!  You will not be the same woman ever again.  It will be profound in your life.  Bigger than you can fathom.  Be brave and faithful, and you will be rewarded.

2)  I don't want to scare you, but you need to know this.  This journey will be the hardest thing you've ever done.  You will cry.  You're heart will break, and you will feel grief like you've never felt before, so much that there will be moments that you fall to your knees.  There will be days your sadness envelops everything you do.  During the worst times, you will withdraw from both your family and friends and feel completely and utterly alone.  And indeed, there will be no person around you that can either understand the grief in your soul or console you.  I promise you, it will get better.  Please know, the trials of the process are part of what make the rewards so great.

3)  In your times of pain and sorrow, you will never be alone.  Not only will God be with you, but in times of grief, your relationship with God will grow and become something more amazing and powerful than you can imagine.  There will be days when you pray without ceasing.  And in these times, you will feel His hand comforting you.  Trust Him.  Feel Him.  Lean into Him.  Listen to His quiet whisper in your soul, but also be prepared when He speaks loud and clear.

4)  Some of those closest to you will doubt your sanity, your judgement, and your worth.  You will lose close friendships of people you thought you'd have your whole life.  You will be questioned and judged.  But you will also gain amazing friendships of people you don't even know yet!  Some will have walked a mile in your shoes and will "get it."  Other friends won't have a clue what you've been though, and that will be ok too because you'll learn that they love you completely and totally unconditionally.  These friends will hold you in the hard times and will be the first to celebrate the blessings.

5)  I know you're a mom already, but get ready to love someone you haven't met yet like you don't even think is possible!  Oh I wish I could tell you just how much you are going to love this child!  This love is just so so much more than you can imagine it will be.  Once you meet this child, you will be so certain that this is the child you were destined to have all along.  I know that right now you can only try to visualize the face of your child, and I know you try to imagine what it will be like to make this child, a child another woman grew inside her, your own.  But get ready to shake with emotion when you first see your child enter the doorway.  You'll remember every little detail of the moment you meet your child, and although you'll try, no words will come close to expressing how amazing it was to have that child placed in your arms.  You will be awed daily.  A tiny weak frail child will be the strongest person you have ever met.  This child will teach you more about life than anyone ever has, without ever saying a word.  Get ready to burst with pride and joy and so so much love. 

6)  You're never going to see the world the same way again.  I know that you already see blessings and God's beauty, but trust me when I say that this world is even more beautiful and amazing than what you see right now.  After this journey, a child's laughter will sound even sweeter.  You're husband's hand in yours, no matter where you are at, will be the best place in the world to be.  You will appreciate a nap and a tidy home even more than you do now.  The sweet smell of rain will seem like God's little miracle just for you.  A smile will creep up your face more easily.  You will fear things that you've never thought of before.  And you will run towards and embrace things that currently scare the pants off you... like the words "special needs."  Your priorities and goals that you value now may be shelved and forgotten forever.  But soon, you'll have a much better appreciation of what's really important and truly beautiful in this world.

7)  You will doubt yourself.  You will doubt your decisions, your worth, and your ability to do what you willingly and gladly chose to do.  You'll lose sleep.  You will have times when you are sure that God overestimated your capabilities, and you will plead with Him to lighten your burden.  And because you not only chose, but actively sought out this adoption path, you will feel unworthy to complain or stress or regret... yet at times you'll feel quite unworthy and have stress and feel regret.  Know it's ok to change your mind.  It's alright to re-access and change directions.  It's ok to quit and take up a different path. And in this process, you're confidence will grow strong.  

8)  Through your adoption journey, you will learn more about yourself that you thought possible.  You'll learn that you are stronger than you thought.  You'll learn that you can be pulled in a gazillion different directions and still get everything that needs to be done, done.  You'll learn who really loves you.  You'll learn to walk away from the things that don't really matter and concentrate your energy on the things that do.  You'll learn lessons in patience, and you'll come to appreciate how amazingly proactive you can be. Some things that you think are important right now, won't even be a thought in 5 years.  And things you never even considered, will completely occupy your thoughts and your actions.

9)  Although you will learn so much and gain strategies and techniques to become a better parent, you will never get to a place where you feel like you pretty much know what you are doing and feel totally confident in your decisions and actions.  You will not have all the answers all the time.  And that's ok.  On many occasions you will feel like you are going crazy and are completely out of control.  Do the best that you can do at the time, because actually that's all you can do.  Listen your gut.  You're going to make mistakes, lots of them in fact, and try not to feel guilty about what you did wrong or what you could have done better.  It's ok to wing it.  It's alright to pretend.  Go ahead and fake it till you figure out a better way. 

10)  5 years later, in some ways, you're life will be just as you had imagined.  And in someways it will be very different.  5 years later, you will still be on this adoption journey, and you will realize that it is a journey that lasts a lifetime.  There is no destination, just the journey itself.  It doesn't end the day you unite with a child.  That day is just the beginning.  5 years later, you will be so very amazingly happy.  You really will be!  And it doesn't stop there!  You'll be content.  And confident.  And so fulfilled.  And the Lord will bless you more abundantly than you ever dared to ask for.  And 5 years later, you'll be so very sure that the adoption journey was one that you were meant and called to do.  

I understand that you really won't be able to appreciate these words now.  I know that without the experiences behind them, they are just that... words.   You can't really understand the depth of what I'm saying now.  But you will in 5 years.  

Nancy (in 2012)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My new favorite restaurant...

... is Kinneys.
Little Cabin in the Woods in on an international border... with the Apache Indian reservation.  Maybe it's my ancestral roots, but we love to visit the reservation.

Our family has a bit of an inside joke about restaurants that have a blue tarp.  Let's just say we've frequented many of them... and there's something about a blue tarp/roof that seems to indicate like a beacon to all that there is really good food to be had.  At a moderate price.
Kinneys is no exception.  
There were 3 kids working there, nobody else that I could see, none older than 12-ish.  There was some sibling rivalry when it came to determining the amount of change I was suppose to receive.  Needless to say, we were overcharged by a dollar, but came out with an extra frybread so all's good when working with 12-ish year olds.  
The kiddos staff were sorting beans when we got there.  Anyone else sort beans as a child?  Anyone have a clue what I'm talking about?
I know it's hard to go wrong with deep fried dough drizzled with honey.  I mean, aside from the fact that the fry bread directly adheres itself to one's rear end, what's not to love?
As the sign says, there is no salt on the beans, so you'll probably want to add some.
But this fry bread was especially delicious!

And there's lots of  "open" seating, like 3 picnic tables.  A couple tables under the tarps, and one more under the clear blue sky.
If you happen to be traveling through McNary, AZ, population 349, be sure to stop at Kinneys.  
It's just behind the general store.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

roly poly

The stuff summers are made of.
On this occasions it was cousins...
...and a bug.
A roly poly to be specific.
Or a potato bug. 
Or a sow bug. 
Or wood bug. 
Or pill bug if you like.
They really don't care what it's called, they just know is fun to look at a bug with their cousins.  
Notice that when they bug falls through the cracks in the porch, it's the girl child that thinks it's hysterical, and the boy children that are looking for it.  
Mars and Venus already.

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pwetty please

Take two.
A few hours and maybe a teeny tiny, itsy witsy, bit of profanity later...
... and I have 2 new buttons to share!

If you're a blog-button sharing kind of gal (or guy... I know there are a few of you out there that follow, and I luv ya for it!) who'd like to share the crazy, please grab the code and share.

The first button is a general button for the sometimes-incoherent and miss-spelled ramblings of crazy me.  Maybe it's just having 7 children around 24/7 and a lack of adult conversation, but I do love company!

Ordinary Miracles & The Crazy 9

Second, I've been having so much fun with the Photography 101 posts!  The next one should be coming next week, so please go over there and vote for the topic that you'd like to see next.  I've been talking with a few of you one-on-one, {something I'd like to do more of in the future with a bigger plan in mind} and love seeing you get off the auto setting with your DSLRs, any your really getting so much out of your camera.  Photography has seriously rocked my world, and if you want it to do the same, I want to help you get there.
If you've been able to get a little something from my 101 posts, I'd be tickled pink it if you could share the button just for the Photography 101 tutorials!
Photography 101
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Photography 101"><img 
src="" alt="Photography 101" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

As Tess would say... Tank you berry much!
(I'm holding my breath till someone tells me they worked.  It was a serious lesson in both patience and perseverance.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wordless-ish Wednesday {Lilliput}

On my summer bucket list is to take a couple photography classes.  I'm knee deep into the second class and am LOVING it!  I'm even loving the homework!

Below is a series of photos I took for the class.  Truth be told, I had something different in mind entirely... something with a y-chromosome... like Jude.  

But Mimi, who was down to her skivvies escaping putting her jammies on, saw me and on the floor with toys, and of course she plopped herself right in the middle of it.  

In the end, I am so amazingly happy that she did.  I want to remember her just like this!   
Of all the pics, I have one that's my favorite.   But it was hard to pick.  
It's the first one with just her legs and the diaper showing!  She looks like a giant.  

And my other favorite is that huge grin pic, 'cause who could resist that smile!  

Oh and the one just after the smile one where only the horse and her eyelashes are in focus!  Sigh.  

And that crazy face pic where she's talking some sense into the cow!  

Or that tootsie pic!  Oh good golly her tootsie... I love that tootsie so much!  

And the one with the cow and the horse without ears.  I think I had the same Playschool set when I was little!

Oh and the last one two where the cow and horse are kissing.  For sure that one is my very favorite!

Please God, never let me forget how amazingly adorable this child is and how much I love her at this very moment. 

linking up this Wordless Wednesday with-
Create With Joy
Ruby for Women
Tina's Wordless Wednesday
Jenni from the Blog
The Naptime Momtog
The Paper Mama

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