Sunday, July 28, 2013

summertime part deux

Sorry, y'all. I'm seriously slackin' over here. Channing's been attached at my hip lately and I've also had an editing job over the last week that took up all of my "extra" time. Anyway, excuses, excuses. Let's move on. Nothing too exciting to blog about lately. We're having a really lazy summer. I feel bad for the older boys who kind of got the short end of the stick this year. But we'll just have to make up for it next year. These are all short seasons, and we deal with them the best way we know how. Thankfully we get to go on a trip again next week to Arizona (without Channing!! Yes, I'm excited. No, I won't miss him. Ok, maybe by day five I will.) and we'll cram in all kinds of fun. And then we'll blink and school will start again. I'm not sure how that's possible but the calendar tells me it's true.

Here are some random pics from the last few weeks. I just love this (very belated) one from the 4th of July of Jon and his youngest brother. These cousins are just 5 weeks apart.
 Speaking of blinking and time speeding up, how did these two....
 turn into this???
I wrote their names and they added the heart. I love hanging out with my nieces. When I wrote the N's in Bennett, Piper says, "I like those letters because they're fancy!" (added to my list of "things you'll never hear your son say"....)
Bennett literally read her to sleep. I worry for Piper's junior high years at sleepovers. She's always the first one to fall asleep.
One of my favorite places to take our boys, Jester Park's natural playscape. Its sometimes hard to find places that are good for a toddler...ahem, excuse me, a CRAWLER...and a six year old. But this is a great one. There are even buffalo and elk here but I didn't get any pics near them.cxx

 Their favorite thing to do is play "tiger tag" with their daddy in these tall grasses:

Jon was perfecting his "house of cards" for when he goes on Survivor. Seriously...does anyone have some videographer skills they want to donate? I'm sure he'll give you a cut of his million when he wins ;) I keep begging him to submit another video application. He would be so perfect for that show, its not even funny. Plus, I just want to meet Jeff Probst.

Ok...I'm going to vent some photography thoughts, so just skip ahead if you don't care about that...
I really love how every time I take a bunch of photos I come away with some other bit of knowledge about how to improve my photos. Its really fun to challenge myself to do better. It was extremely hard to focus the camera in these grasses. If I let it auto-focus, it would focus on grass that was closest to me (obviously not what I wanted). But usually the boys were moving too fast to use the manual focus. A couple of times, I used Ashley's tip of focusing on the area before your subject moves into the frame and then you wait for them to cross it. (Like the one of Dawson by the tree above) Again, tricky to get just the right spot. I was using the manual focus for this next one and didn't realize I didn't have it quite right. I wish his face had been in focus because I love it:
I took a bunch of the boys here but realized after looking at all of them that they would have been much better if I had been standing a lot further away and gotten a wider angle:
Also, I'm trying not to ask them to smile and pose as much since I get their fake smiles. Not terrible but I like the one below it much better:

So here's my question for anyone with more photography experience than me--where did you start? A college course? I've thought about taking a course at a community college but that doesn't seem like it would be the best use of my time and money (plus, I'd probably have to wait for years when they boys are all in school. I couldn't do an evening class with Jon's travel schedule). I see a lot of beginner courses with photographers come up on Groupon and have almost pulled the trigger on a couple but its so hard to know if its the best way to go. (I'm super frugal and have a big fear of spending money on something I know nothing about.) It would be a DREAM to take Ashley's Snap Shop but they're pretty pricey. Not to mention, they fill up within about 15 or 20 minutes when she opens up registration so the chances of getting in are VERY slim.

Ok, done with my photography musings. If I have any readers that are photographers, I'd love to hear your critiques! I promise you won't hurt my feelings :) I have LOADS to learn.

A few weekends ago, Jon took Bennett to his uncle's in Michigan for their first official "man weekend". He went to build a gun or something manly like that. Bennett had so. much. fun. They have a pond in their backyard and lots of room to run. Boy heaven, out there.

We're old:
My hubby scored MAJOR points with me this weekend. He doesn't usually take pictures unless I specifically ask him to. But he took a ton while they were gone and it made me so happy :) That's love isn't it? Doing something that doesn't come naturally to you, just because you know it will please your spouse.
Look at all the goldfish! Also, I sort of can't believe how blue/green this pond water is. Most ponds I've seen are brown. I still wouldn't get in there though.

 If the next picture doesn't scream pure uninhibited joy, I don't know what does!

Bennett came home from the weekend with at least 40 mosquito bites (half on his face and neck). Several of them started swelling up pretty badly (I don't remember that ever happening to him before) and when he came down with a fever and complained of a stomachache and stopped eating, I got a little nervous. Jon realized he'd complained of his stomach the day before on their drive home. So I called the doctor. Our doctor visits for anything other than a well-child checkup average about one per year, if that. Its pretty rare. But I was afraid he was getting the West Nile virus or who-knows-what-else mosquitos carry. Plus, Channing hadn't even had a checkup for about 7 months so I figured we'd kill two birds with one stone. Bennett was totally fine. The Dr. said it was likely a little bug he picked up in the pond water or even more likely, just from exhaustion (and maybe combined with his diet over the weekend but that's just a guess ;) So no West Nile. That was a relief.

One of our best days this summer was when we rented a pontoon boat for the day with Jon's parents. I had actually brought up the idea last year so when it came up as a deal we jumped on it. Our lake here isn't pretty. (In fact, it's pretty ugly.) But boating is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Its relaxing, quality time in the sun. We left Channing at home with a sitter, brought lots of good food to snack on and had a few hours out there. The boys explored on shore and we all jumped in the water to swim. Pretty perfect. (Oh, and I forgot my DSLR that day so these are from my mom-in-law's iPhone.)

And in case you're not on Instagram, a montage of my recent favorites:

Now back to laundry. I've got suitcases to pack for four. Isn't the 24 hours before a trip the most unpleasant part of life with kids?? I'm thankful with just the big boys in the car I'll actually get to nap! 


  1. Here's my 2 cents on Photo--I took 4/1/2 years worth of college classes in Photography and I don't really remember a whole lot of what I learned. 2 reasons, unless you are doing it, over and over everyday, you forget the rules and such IE lighting, apeture, F stop etc etc So the best way you can get better without spending the money and time on class is just to play and play and play somemore with your camera. Practice not only on your boys but household objects. Different times of the day with different versions of lighting. I have 2 fancy smanchy DSLR lens and I am still learning them. When I was in school it was film photography which is very different than digital now.
    Good luck!

  2. Saw your post via facebook! I started with a DSLR book for dummies...which I quickly ditched for You Tube tutorials and self-teaching! Experiment-when you get frustrated-find a tutorial! There is SOOOOOO much to learn but when it finally comes together and "clicks" it is SOOOOO much fun!

  3. I started learning with these online tutorials:

    There are challenges, so you can see how changing the settings changes how your pictures look. I ended up pretty comfortable shooting in manual mode just after practicing with these tutuorials.

    Probably a year later, I took a photography class from a photographer (bought on groupon) to see what else I could learn. I honestly didn't learn too much more than what was in the online tutorials. I think I was the only one in the class that had ever used manual mode. Most of the people had just got their DSLR cameras, and were clueless on how to use it. So I think that's the tough thing about doing a groupon class, you don't know what level it will be taught, and what level the other students will be. I was hoping to gain a little more knowledege from it. However, it was nice to get a little practice time with a photographer that could answer specific questions on the spot.

  4. Oh, I have also learned a lot just by stalking this forum:

    btw...I'm definitely not an expert/professional or anything. Just sharing where I have learned more about photography.

  5. LOVE all of your pictures in this fun post! The close up of the boys by the fence and the one of Bennett jumping from the boat are my favs. :)
    When I started leaning photography I took a community ed class which was helpful...but the most helpful thing was when I joined clickinmoms photography forum. It was a lot smaller than it is now but it was great to learn to take pics AND process them. They have challenges you can get involved in to help you practice, and you can upload pics for critique by everyone. Invaluable.

  6. I can't help with camera issues, but i do know some fun boy spots! Have you ever taken the boys to the Ledges? We were just there and it's PERFECT for littles! The streams that run throughout are only about ankle deep (a tad bit higher in some places) so it's great for wading and stream walking and catching critters. We took a picnic and made a day of it. Everyone had a blast!

  7. come up here with your boys and visit! We'll have a little mini workshop of our own, I'll teach you everything I know! :) seriously though, that would be really fun :) You're good with your camera Haverlee! just learn little bits at a time and challenge yourself with learning a setting at a time!

  8. I bet your boys will have rich memories of this summer, even without having all of the 'frills' and entertainment. I think my boys are preferring running around in their underwear and throwing dirt this summer : ). I think you are showing wonderful progress with your photos! You use the "rule of thirds," which makes for nice composition and balance and you are playing around with focus and settings. I took a class at Christian photo - they have a beginner and advanced for basic camera and also for editing, light, etc. Most of my knowledge has come with experimenting and random photo tips on-line. Have a great week!


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