Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

We took some time last weekend to visit the train depot downtown and take photos of our favorite engineer!
He was thrilled with his "big Thomas."
I got the last one at Target and brought it as a bribe for photos.
He didn't let go of it and slept with it that night! 
Daddy love!
I can just hear him saying "choo-choo!"
He was fascinated with seeing the train coming toward us!
Rocks!
Dimple!
The only shot we got of him in front of a train!
The gate on the train was too perfect, with the flaking paint and rust!  My favorite photos of the day!
I don't think he was sure what to think of the trains, but once he saw one coming in, he was thrilled.  However, I think his favorite things were the rocks around the tracks!

And this new lens is still amazing!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bathtime!

Now that I can get photos in some low light, I was able to capture LWK in the tub tonight.  Love this boy.




Monday, October 28, 2013

There's a Bear In There!

LWK loves to get cozy in our bed.  After his nap today, he was pretty yawny and J loves to say "There's a Bear In There" and then LWK giggles.  So sweet, I just want to remember.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thomas Love

We went to take Halloween photos yesterday and as a little "carrot" I gave LWK this Thomas basket for his cooperation and trick or treating (if we make it past our front door).  He loves it so much, he slept with it last night and has been carrying it around all morning!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Storytime!

I caught a few moments of storytime with LWK and J.  So sweet to hear "Today I Will Fly!" and watch how they interact!




Friday, October 25, 2013

What a Difference a Lens Makes!

I decided to take a mental health day today.  LWK has been a handful for all of us and Mommy Guilt has me convinced that I haven't had much time with him and it is his 2 1/2 year old way of saying "pay attention to me!"  It has been a long beginning of the school year and I haven't taken a day off yet, so today seemed perfect.  I had grandiose plans of getting all the laundry done, the kitchen cleaned and taking a nap.  And then my new lens came...

So in my last blog post I wrote about practicing photography on my little muse and wanting a new lens. Before the end of that evening, my friend K, the enabler that she is, encouraged me to buy that 50mm f/1.8 lens that I had my eye on.  And then one day shipping was only $4, so I sprung for that too.  The lens came today and all I can say is "wow."  These are exactly the kinds of photos I have been wanting to take and I didn't know until last weekend that my lens was what was REALLY holding me back.

This morning I was practicing with my camera in manual and getting okay results.  The photos were really dark (thank goodness for Lightroom to save them) but some were cute.  And then, at 11am, I got a text that my package had been delivered.  I popped that new lens on my camera and it may never come off.  Or at least not until LWK is playing some sport where I have to zoom in on him!

Photo taken with my old kit lens!
Inside the lens is great without getting grainy, even when it is dark and dreary outside!  I love not using a flash so that I don't interrupt whatever LWK is concentrating on.  I did have the white balance set incorrectly, I just am going to let that stay on auto from now on so I won't have to do as much work to make is less yellow or blue!



LWK decided to use my boot as the place to store his crayons.
I have no idea why.

I loved being able to focus in on his hand and crayon!
The outside photos are gorgeous!  The colors and bright and clear and that bokeh (the blur in the background and a super cool word) is amazing!



And my favorite photo of all:


I love that my camera is lighter and I kind of enjoy moving closer and further away to get the shot I want.  The small aperture lets me focus in on a small area, like one leaf or just LWK's fingers, and have that beautiful bokeh!  I didn't do anything special to set up the scenes or light, I just watched LWK do his thing and snapped away.  These are the kinds of photos I have always wanted to take.  I can't wait to keep practicing!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Practicing...

It has been fun to practice my new-found photography skills on my favorite muse this week.  I love that I have learned how to make the background that beautiful blur and be able to focus in on his hands, eyes, etc.



Calling some guy about some rocks???
Some creativity with Lightroom:


And a still life - I love the pumpkins on our porch.  They are a nice contrast to the crazy Halloween decor/light shows that some of our neighbors have!


And now I am looking at a new lens.  Maybe it will be an early Christmas gift!

I am feeling semi-famous right now, our teacher wrote about our workshop in her blog today.  And she used some of my photos!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Took a Photography Class!

So remember when I made that New Year's Resolution to be a better photographer?  And it lasted for like 3 days???  Well, I have a bit of renewed spirit when it comes to photography.  I have been doing some reading this year and trying to apply it to the millions of photos I take of LWK.  However, the real breakthrough came when a mom I met in a park over the summer (who is also a photographer) offered a class that is geared toward moms to learn how to use their DSLR in manual mode.  I took the class this past weekend and it was amazing!

After a morning of learning the basics, we had moms and their babies come in to be our models.


Yeah, seriously, I took those!

My head was pounding with SO MUCH INFORMATION by the time I got home, but I also could tell you what ISO, aperture and shutter speed were and how to adjust them to make a beautiful picture!  I haven't gotten to have much time to play with it yet, but I am excited to try my new knowledge out and start taking amazing photos of my family in manual mode.  It is so nice to be able to make the camera do what I wanted and not feel so restricted by the automatic settings.

And for my mom friends who read this blog and want to learn how to use that fancy camera, you can find out about the workshop and my friend Neyssa here:  www.neyssalee.com.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Little Boys and Leaves...

Today was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary and they hosted a family gathering for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren!  We hired great photographer to take family photos, but I caught a few gems of the boys playing in the leaves in the front yard on my iPhone!


The funny thing is that mom and dad kept apologizing for not getting the leaves raked before the party, but they were a HUGE hit and I bet we got some great family photos in all the craziness!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Outside

We have been so lucky to have had a BEAUTIFUL autumn so far.  LWK spends a lot of time outside at daycare, so usually when he gets home he wants to play inside with his trains.  When we got home tonight, though, he wanted to play with his sand box.  It is more of a mud box right now, but he had fun!





Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Pants

By the time we had gotten home from school today LWK had drank his entire water bottle and his pants were wet!  We did a quick diaper change and went looking for clean pants in our mountain of clean (but yet to be folded) laundry.

The whole time LWK kept saying "no pants!" with various inflections.  Sometimes it is a question,"No pants?"  The query is like he is saying, "What the heck, Mommy?  You expect me to go around the house with no pants on like I am some commoner????"  Sometimes it is a statement, "No pants." As if to state the obvious.  And sometimes it is downright distraught, "Nooooo paaaaaannnnnnnntttttttsssss!"  This one is typically accompanied by screaming and crying because he hates to not have pants on.

Thankfully it was just the statement version.  When I found a pair of pants that was suitable for lounging, he ran away from me.  So I laid them on the couch and told him that he could put them on himself when he was ready.  He jumped at the opportunity and was so proud of himself!  Might this be another step in the long journey toward potty training????


Monday, October 14, 2013

Empathy!

I think this morning was the first time I had a conversation with LWK that wasn't a demand ("More Caillou!") or a request ("I want read Troublesome Trucks, please").  On the way to work I was pretty quiet and exhausted from a night of sleeping on LWK's floor to help him stay in his bed as he keeps waking up with those darn 2 year molars coming in.  My silence was pretty unusual - I am usually asking him about what he sees or telling him what to expect that day or singing.  And then from the back seat, the sweetest little voice started a conversation by asking about me:

"Mommy, you okay?"
"Yes, Mommy is okay, I am just really tired."
"Okay.  I tired too."
"Yes, we were up late last night, we need to sleep better tonight."
"Okay, I sleep tonight."

I'm totally holding him to it.  I am also impressed that he was showing some empathy this morning. How fitting for "Empathy Week" at our school!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sleeping Beauties

They sure are cute all cozied in bed together on a Sunday morning!



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Impromptu Canadian Thanksgiving

Back before we had LWK, and even before we were married, we used to host a Canadian Thanksgiving party for our friends.  It was always fun to celebrate with our friends since our family gets two Thanksgivings, if we so choose!  We haven't hosted it in a few years.  Okay, three to be exact. Our friend KH suggested that we host it this year and we kind of threw it together at the last minute. There were far fewer people than in the past, but it was nice to have the Hammondses and Morks over for dinner!

Our resident vegetarian.  He had one bite of turkey,
choked and refused to eat anything else until dessert...
I can't believe ERM is standing and almost walking!
The kid table...
The big kid table.
 And for tonight's musical selection, teeny, tiny cymbals!

AGM channelling her inner Stevie Nicks...
Pure joy!  And a Canucks fan (got Oilers)!

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Week in a Flash

This week was crazy fast.  It wasn't very busy outside of work, but I have been exhausted.  Therefore, no blog posts of cute things as they happened this week.  Of course, LWK has been doing his usual cute things like playing with his trains and singing.  Last night, I was getting the dishwasher unloaded and LWK came out with his shirt off.

This kid is built - he is all muscle!
 And then he was trying to put his shirt back on:

He is looking like an Ambercrombie model with his
low-slung genes and his 6 pack abs!
I helped him get his shirt back on, I have no idea what possessed him to strip off his shirt....

This morning was a workshop day where kids don't have school, but the teachers do.  Usually my brain is turned to mush talking about all the subject areas that I don't actually teach, but today is the ONE workshop day of the year that actually applies to me!  I dropped LWK off at daycare and headed to our music workshop that was AMAZING and inspiring.  I am so happy when I feel that way after a workshop since I know it will have to sustain my need to collaborating with other music teachers for at least a whole other year.

Anyway........

As I was driving LWK in, he requested a Caspar Babypants song, but I couldn't figure out which one.  He kept asking for the "drinking song."  And then it dawned on me that I keep telling J that one of the songs (actually titled "Say Farewell") sounds like it should be sung in a pub with a pint and I call it "LWK's drinking song."  Whoops, I guess he listens to EVERYTHING I say.  I had better clean up my language!

Yep, he knows he called Mommy out!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Pumpkin Patch

The weather has been absolutely lovely this weekend.  We had a lazy Sunday morning of laundry and getting ready for the week, but I really wanted to get outside for some family time too.  I did a little research on the local pumpkin patches.  There are quite a few farms in the area, I narrowed it down to two and J picked the Jubilee Farms in Carnation.  It is a small farm and very low key - exactly what I wanted for our yearly pumpkin patch visit!

LWK was excited he was going to pick out a pumpkin.  He was totally ready for the experience in his galoshes and his Great Pumpkin shirt!  We headed out, J and I got coffee and we headed out.  I was a little afraid it was going to be crazy, but we arrived about an hour before they closed so most of the crowds were gone - perfect!!!



To get to the pumpkin field, we got to take a hay ride on a tractor!  LWK wasn't too sure about it to start with.  In fact, he was kind of mad and I was worried he would have a meltdown.


But once we bounced around a bit, he warmed up and had a great time!


Once we got out to the patch, LWK loved running around.  He wanted to pick them up because he is strong!  Thank goodness J needed help carrying our pumpkin!




And of course, there was time for inspecting leaves (although LWK called them trees because they were so big!) and frolicking in the pumpkin patch on this lovely day!




Even the walk back to the car was fun with LWK chattering about pumpkins and tractors.  A pretty awesome day for a 2 1/2 year old!


I am so glad we found a pumpkin patch/farm closer to our home.  I think this will be our family tradition from now on!