Monday, March 24, 2008

My New Favorite Photo

Usually, my favorite photos of my boys are taken by my photographer husband.

Not this time.

Easter Sunday, 2008. Seth and Caleb are rockin' matching shirts and looking pretty fly. Steve was leading worship for 3 services, so I was thinking that I had to keep the boys clean until he could get home to take their picture. Then....a revelation. I CAN TAKE THEIR PICTURE! I really have been trying to pay more attention lately to all the lessons he gives me in using the fancy-schmancy camera. (He has been giving me these lessons for 7 years on all the cameras that we have owned, but I am just now clueing in to LISTENING to them :-)

For those of you who know Caleb (19 mos), you know that this boy never stops moving. He is the definition of busy. So the first thing that I got right this time was to lay down my expectation of a shot where both boys are smiling and looking at the camera. I mean, honestly, it seems like it's not too much to ask, but most of the is.   
The next thing I got right was using natural window light.  If you want your pictures to look more natural, less washed out, etc...turn off your flash and have your subject facing an open window.  Steve has always told me this, but I usually think it is too much trouble.  But it really does make a difference!

My next issue...getting them both in the same place at the same time.  To achieve this, I stuck them both in our office chair and pulled it close to the window.  Now, when I just tried to take pictures of them sitting in the chair together, this is what happened every time:

Caleb kept trying to get down out of the chair. He wasn't really FEELING the photo shoot, if you know what I mean. Then, I had a brainstorm; spin the chair!  So I would spin the chair several times, let go, grab the camera, and try to be ready by the time it was slowing to a stop.  Trial and error, people, trial and error!  So I was still not achieving the effect I wanted, because even though I wasn't expecting prefection, I definitely still wanted smiles.

So next, I would spin the chair AND tickle them.  I know, I know.  I would have looked like an idiot on video.  All this for a picture.

 But when you get results like THIS:
It's all worth it!!!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two Steve's

Steve's Dad just sent us this picture. It is from this past Sunday when Steve was getting ready to lead worship at our church. My handsome hubby and his cute Dad. The End.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I am not sure if this is EXACTLY what Steve looked like on Thursday, but it might have been close. Steve's Dad, Steve, (and yes, that gets complicated :-) showed up at my Steve's office to surprise him. Now, this might not be such a big deal to someone whose Dad lives next door, like mine. Or to someone whose Dad lives across town. But it WOULD be a big surprise if your Dad lives in, say....CALIFORNIA! So I am pretty sure that Steve had a look of stunned amazement on his face when he saw his Dad because we had NO idea he was coming!

I LOVE surprises like this, so it has been so much fun having him here the past couple of days. He has to leave tomorrow after church, but he was also able to play Santa while he was here. Hence the Elmo hat Seth has on in the above photo. It is actually part of a set that was a gift for Caleb from Grandpa and Grammi, but Seth pretty much lays claim to anything that comes through the front door that looks like it is for a kid. But we let it slide because Caleb will not wear a hat even for 3 seconds.

Unfortunately, Grammi was not able to make the trip out this time and we missed her!! This is Seth chatting with Grammi on Grandpa's cool slider cell phone.

Thanks for coming Grandpa!! We had fun with you!

Caleb is not quite at the "sit still and pose with Grandpa" stage :-)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pagosa Springs, CO: Part 2

On to the skiing portion of our trip!  My Mom and Dad were so gracious to watch our boys for 2 long days while we went up to ski at Wolf Creek.  It was such a nice break and so much fun to get to spend two days without little ones! I love my boys, but a break is well-received in this family :-)
Since I had not been skiing in about 10 years, my sister had not been in 20 years, and Steve had NEVER been, my Dad paid a private instructor to give us all an hour lesson (Thanks Dad!!).  His name was Scott, and he was awesome. He sped us through putting our skis on, making an edge, making a wedge, etc. Steve caught on really quickly, so we were headed up on the ski lift after about 20 minutes. (Scott, our instructor, is on the left and Steve is on the right)

Man, getting off a ski lift is still scary! Especially when you are on the beginner's slope and every other person is falling and you have to avoid running over their sprawled out limbs. My stomach would start to get nervous each time we went up when it was time to lift up the safety bar and get ready to bail off. (I got REALLY nervous when we went up on the big lift and there were 4 people getting off at a time, and I had to worry about not hitting ALL of them!) Once we got up on the hill, we made it down 2 or 3 times and then our hour was up! Steve did great, he never fell, but he was still wedging most of the way down. If you can think back to being a beginning skiier, this is exhausting on your legs! So Scott seemed pretty confident that with another hour of private instruction, he could have Steve parallel skiing. So I left Steve in Scott's capable hands and went up on the big runs with my sister.

So, like I said in my first post, I have never been skiing in the middle of winter. Wow. The temperatures were below zero up on the mountain, AND it was snowing. So this is what we looked like most of the time (My sister was being brave having her face out!)

We had so much fun! When we picked Steve back up an hour later, he was a skiing pro! So if you ever go skiing at Wolf Creek in southern Colorado, hook up with Scott Taylor if you need a lesson.

We had fun skiing with my family, and also my sister-in-law's parents. Tim and Kathy are big time adventurers; they love skiing, sailing, and all kinds of outdoors activities and vacations. Here is Tim skiing backwards while giving Steve some pointers:

Here are Austin and Colton:

Here I am skiing in my purple jacket that Amy B made fun of:

And then....tragedy struck. We had all been having such a good time, enjoying the snow and skiing. Steve and I came down a run and we see a medic up ahead getting ready to put someone on a sled. As we get closer, we realize it is my sister Alicia. Someone fell in front of her and she tried to stop really fast and she blew out her knee. She had to go to the ER in Durango and then had to be in bed the rest of our trip. She just recently had surgery on her knee and had to have an ACL replacement and she had also torn another ligament that I can't remember the initials for right this moment. I can't even begin to tell you where they got the replacement ACL from, but I bet you can guess. She is up and around now in a brace and going to physical therapy several times per week.

So that was our trip! Thanks Mom and Dad, we had a great time and made a lot of fun memories!

I will leave you with our attempts at a family photo. I REALLY wanted a family picture of all of us out in the snow. Well, I had to settle for one on the balcony of our condo, and then there was hardly any room for Heather to take the picture of us so it is really close up. AND we didn't get a single one where all of us were looking at the camera, but it was not for a lack of trying! (I have to give props to Steve because HE is looking at the camera in every picture despite holding a squirming child!)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pagosa Springs, Colorado: Part 1

I have been in a "snowy" mood lately. We had our first snow of this winter earlier this week, and then we had a light dusting again on Friday morning. So I thought it was about time to drag out my snowy Pagosa Springs pictures. My parents
treated us to a trip to Colorado from Christmas Day to New Years Day. Also on the trip were my sister Alicia and her son Austin, my brother Neal, sister-in-law Heather and their son Colton, and Heather's parents, Tim and Kathy. We had a big group and it was so much fun!

I have been to the mountains many times in my life, but I have never stayed in a place that had so much snow. I have been skiing two other times, but it has always been at Spring Break time and never during the coldest part of the winter. I have also never been skiing while it is snowing, so that was a fun new experience! Pagosa Springs gets some of the highest snowfall in inches of anywhere in the continental US.

The view of the sunset on the mountains during our drive up to Pagosa Springs.
Our Condo:
We didn't get a lot of shots of the inside of our condo, and this one doesn't do it justice. It was a 3 bedroom, 3 bath condo with a nice big living room and an upstairs loft. The living room had big, soft leather couches and huge picture windows with an awesome view of the mountains.

We got to the condo in the evening, so the next morning we got all bundled up and went sledding. It is hard to see, but Seth has a HUGE smile on his face in this picture!

He loved sledding...well, until the "Incident".

Here is my Dad getting ready to send my nephew Austin down the hill:

Here is my Mom sledding down with Austin:

Caleb and I before heading down the hill:

Seth and Austin playing in the snow:

The "Incident" happened at this sledding hill that was a 15 minute drive up into the mountains. The previous pictures were taken on a hill right next to our condo. This hill, however, was about 5 times as long, twice as steep, AND there were moguls. We bought some discs and also some longer sleds that could hold 2 adults comfortably.

So Seth was fearless up until this point. He had no bad experiences, so he had no reason to be scared. This hill was much faster and I was really nervous the first time he went down, but he did great and was ready to go again! After a couple turns with different people, he got on with my sister Alicia. She chose the path that was closest to the edge of the cleared runs, and there was over a foot of powder on her right. The sleds were really hard to steer, and she hit a bad bump and veered off course and into the powder. Since Seth was in front of her, he got all the powder straight in the face! He had it covering his face and going down inside his jacket. He was not a happy camper :-( So after he stopped screaming and I had gotten most of the snow off of him, he started walking to the car and said, "All done sledding."

After that, the only people he would ride with were his Aunt Heather or her Mom, who the kids call Mimi. He still looks pretty concerned in this picture, but Aunt Heather is trying her best to reassure him!

Alicia and Austin:

Seth and I taking a break from sledding:

Colton and Austin relaxing after going tubing down the hill (yes, we were the tourists buying every type of sledding device possible :-)

Our family sledding photo, minus Caleb.

Caleb didn't make it out to the big hill. He stayed at home with Nana and Papa, but a few days later, Nana and Papa came out to the big hill! Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me that day, but let's just say there were some funny moments. I was pretty nervous watching my 60 year old parents fly down this hill! ( Mom was still 59 during this trip)

To be continued...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My Apologies

When I started this blog, my purpose was to post pictures online of Seth and Caleb so that family members spread far and wide would feel more connected to our family and see the ongoing changes and growth that the kids were experiencing. Simple vision...but as I have continued to "blog", I discovered that I really miss writing and have enjoyed this as a creative outlet as well. It is fun to share amusing stories or exasperating tales that all of us experience as we raise our children.

However, when I looked back over the past month and realized that I haven't posted any pictures of the boys for quite some time, I felt a bit sheepish. I mean, that is why a good portion of my non-commenting readers visit this blog. And you know who you are...Terri (Steve's Mom), Steve and Jacey (Steve's Dad and Stepmom) and the rest of the family in California. Uncle Terry in Florida (my uncle, Great Uncle to Seth and Caleb), Aunt Patty and Uncle Mark in South Carolina, and others spread far and wide. I know that you come to the blog, see that I have posted, and are a tad disappointed when the smiling faces of Seth and Caleb are not there. So my apologies dear family, and I will do my best to keep more pictures coming! (And the non-commenting readers was just a joke...please don't feel pressured to leave a comment. You are welcome here, comments or no comments :-)  But if you want to comment and let me know you stopped by (wink ;-) wink) you can click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post and it will take you to another page where you can post a comment or just say "hi"!  And you don't have to have a blogger ID, just click anonymous and then leave your name in the comment)

Steve recently moved into a different office at the church that was vacated by a woman who had painted all the walls light purple and one accent wall dark purple. Needless to say, Steve wasn't really "feeling" the color, so I spent a day up at the church with a friend priming and painting his new office two very hip colors for the very hip worship pastor: Sweet Carrot and Mission Tile. During my day of painting, Steve did what every good Dad does when he has a whole day with the boys...he took them to McDonalds. And then he did what only a handful of sweet husbands might do...he took his camera and took lot's and lot's of cute pictures of them.  As you can tell from some of these angles, he actually had to get inside the playground in order to capture some of these shots. Oh, what sweet sacrifice!

King of the slide...

These fries are GOOD!

Seth I want more fries, or do I want to go and slide?

I'm outta here!