Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rain out

It actually didn't rain here as much as I expected yesterday, but apparently it was enough for our baseball games to get cancelled today.  Brady spent the afternoon out in the neighborhood with his friends, while Drew and Mallory lounged around the house in their pajamas.  I wore jeans for the first time in... forever.  I bought a pumpkin at the store today and have almost all of my "fall" decor out in the house.  The pumpkins are coming this week to the church where Mallory goes to school - I always look forward to taking the kids there and getting a few pics.  I definitely feel like I'm missing out on fall activities living in Texas, esp. when I visit the gallery at the Sweet Shoppe and I see layouts of kids playing in the leaves, picking apples, visiting a real pumpkin patch, etc.  I bought a fall kit that I love, and I need some pictures to scrap!

I did this layout for a scraplift challenge, and my plan is to replace the pics with current ones once I have them :)

One thing the kids have been able to do with the cooler weather is get outside more.  Brady finally has more interest in his bike now that he is running around the neighborhood with his friends.  We took the kids over the school last weekend, looking for a good place to ride.  Riding around on the sidewalks in the neighborhood really isn't ideal, and I definitely can't keep up with everyone on my own that way.

Taking her baby for a ride

Love the blur on the background and movement 
of the wheels. That was totally on purpose... not. lol

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Photography 101

I'm taking my first photography class :)  I promised myself when I bought a new camera this year that I would learn how to use it!  We're on week 2 of 6 lessons - it's online but there is a forum where you can ask questions and a gallery to post any pictures you take so you can get feedback on them if you like.  The forum for me is very important because I know I will have questions, and I don't hesitate to ask them! Might as well get my money's worth, lol.

I'll likely come back and post pics from the first lesson, but today I'm going to share pics I took for lesson 2 while everything is still fresh in my mind! That way, I can refer back to this post if necessary.  One of the main points of this lesson is learning about aperture and how to get a blurry background.  I bribed Mallory with a sucker and was able to get a few pics out of her this evening :)

All these are taken in AV mode - I let the camera set the shutter speed and ISO, all I did was fiddle with the aperture.

Adding some space between my focal point and the 
background gave me some blur

Here I upped the aperture to f/14 - gives a wider depth of field 

my favorite pic - I love this outfit!

I came back inside after taking pics of Mallory and reread my notes.
I realized that zooming in as far as my lens would allow would give me
more blur.  I also made sure I was close to my subject, and that there
was distance between the subject and the background.

This pic was taken with the same aperture as the one above - f/5.6.
The differences are that I'm farther away from my focal point, and I
didn't zoom in with my lens as closely.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Finishing up a layout I love is a great feeling! It's particularly satisfying when I don't have high expectations going into it. For example, I knew I didn't have stellar pics for this layout, and that the colors in the pics weren't going to match up with the kit.  I decided to not worry about it and do the best I could getting the two to mesh... and I'm very happy with how it turned out :)


Friday, September 21, 2012

Hanging Out

Monday afternoon the doorbell rang - Brady went to see who it was and told me, "Oh, it's just my friend Kendan." I was surprised for two reasons: 1. I've never heard of anyone named Kendan 2. no one has ever come to the door looking for Brady (unless I was expecting them!).  Apparently, they are in the same class and realized that they live on the same street. So, Kendan was coming to ask Brady to play.  They also went across the street and asked if Andrew wanted to play.  I DO know him - he's on Brady's baseball team and has been a couple times in the past as well.  I was actually happy to find out they would be in the same class this year because I was hoping they would become better friends :)

Brady and Andrew have played together every day this week.  We even took him to the park with us on Wednesday (the kids had the day off from school).  More good news for me is they tolerate having Drew around. lol

The boys must have spent a good 30 minutes (at least)
balancing on the teeter-totter... apparently it was great fun!

Mallory was happy to have a playdate with Kate :)
Big sister Brooke still had school - she's in a different district than us.

Building a castle of rocks

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday baseball

For the next eight weeks, we will be spending Sunday afternoons at the ballpark.  All of Drew's games are at 1 p.m.  Most of Brady's are either at 3 p.m. or 5 p.m.  I was hoping for a little bit cooler weather than what it was today, but at least the rain held off.

We all got to sit down and watch Drew's game today since there was no conflict with Brady's.  He got to be the "pitcher" in one of the innings, so I got a few pics of him in action.

Brady was excited because he got to pitch for the first time today.  I was a little bit nervous for him, knowing that he had practiced with Bryan, but had never pitched with a batter at the plate.

Suffice it to say I know next to nothing about pitching, but I think his mechanics need some work.  Let's be honest, though - considering it was his first time, I think the fact that he didn't hit anyone, there were only a few that got past the catcher, and he threw SOME strikes qualifies as a success!  He did throw a lot of balls, but I think he's off to a good start :)  He definitely enjoyed it and plans to pitch again.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Halloween is coming!

If you are reading this, you probably already know that I plan things way in advance. lol  We normally start talking Halloween in August, which really means I start thinking of ideas to present to the kids in the hopes I can get them to agree to something.  I thought last year might be my last successful year of getting them all to "go" together, but this year is looking promising!  We had decided on the 3 Musketeers, but I finally gave up that idea because I could not find costumes I was happy with.  So, I went back to our original idea which is an Egyptian theme.  FYI - Party City is running their costumes 30% off right now if you spend $50.  That sealed the deal, so I ordered our costumes and they are on their way!

Friday night we went out to dinner as a family, and we ended up stopping by one of the local Halloween stores afterwards.  Mallory picked out a snake armband/bracelet and Drew got the makeup for his mummy costume.  Brady was looking for a dagger, but they didn't have what we were looking for, so I promised him another trip elsewhere in a couple weeks.  What the store did have, however, was a large section of wigs - many of them marked as testers.  The kids (and Bryan) had a lot of fun trying them on :)

These are by no means great pictures, but they are worth saving anyway!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A final post...

related to Mallory's birthday :) I finished up what should be the last layout -

Another layout I recently finished has a few pics of the kids making pretzels.  Bryan & Drew have been on a cooking kick recently, and when Bryan suggested making pretzels, Drew was very enthusiastic!  Of course, Mallory wanted to help, too.  They all chose a different shape for their pretzels - a heart for Mallory, baseball for Brady, and football for Drew.

Now, explain to me why they are willing to stick their hands in dough (which I hate!) but they are unwilling to get their hands dirty when it is time to carve pumpkins!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Go Owls!

Today was the first game of the baseball season for both Brady and Drew - they are both Rice Owls.  We only have two weekends where their games are at the same time, and (of course) today was one of them.  Bryan is one of the coaches for Brady's team, so he was there.  I walked back and forth and was able to catch both times they were at bat.  Thankfully, I know some of the parents on Brady's team, so I was able to leave Mallory there and she pretty much played on her ds in the stands the whole time.   I took a bunch of pics but decided to just showcase Drew today, since you've seen plenty of baseball pics of Brady in the past.

In t-ball, the kids get three pitches from the coach, then
they are allowed to hit off the tee...

Love the concentration on his face!

I was impressed by how well he paid attention and that
he ran hard from base to base.

Coming home!

In the 2nd inning, he volunteered to be catcher.

He made some effort to catch the ball :)

It's hard to get a good shot of them batting, between the fence
and the coaches standing in the way!