Why blog? I don't even have a facebook account...it feels like it makes life so public. But then--blogging is kind of like a diary, isn't it? It makes me feel a little like Doogie Houser at the end of the day--collecting my thoughts and putting them down. I don't want to blog because I want my life to be public (though I don't mind wearing my heart on my sleeve, most of the time) or because I'm a narcissist, but because these days of our young family are so precious I don't want to lose them to a faulty memory. This time, this stage, these moments truly are 'a time to keep', and blogging is simply the most convenient way to keep them and share them.

I really didn't think I'd ever start a blog...but now that Mac has stopped calling firetrucks "fire knuckles" (he now calls them firetrucks, and I'm so sad!), I realize I'll forget that he ever did that if I don't write it down. So, the blog begins. Welcome.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mama's Helper


He took the seed scooping job quite seriously. Sweet boy.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Photography Lesson

I've mentioned that Brad is the photographer in our family. He's actually a great artist, though his artistic gifts are not at all the same as mine. He's great at "composing"--what some may call a "great eye". This makes him a gifted photographer (composing a picture) and also a great graphic designer (you wouldn't realize it, but graphic design is actually a relatively big part of his job in youth ministry--designing t-shirts, web stuff, brochures, etc. And since this generation of students is very visually oriented--ie: they want super-cool t-shirts and do judge a book by its cover--his gifts in this area come in quite handy).

ANYWAY, composing a picture and graphic design are my artistic weaknesses. Also I have zero patience for technical stuff (like aperture, ISO, etc.). There is nothing about me that is a natural photographer.

But since having children I've learned a lot--partly because I always have something (someone) to photograph now, partly because I'm cheap and want to save money by taking my own pictures, and partly because we have a semi-nice camera (not a D-SLR...which I now long for). I finally have motivation to actually listen to my sweet husband when he patiently demonstrates ISO and shutter speed and a million other things that our camera can do on the Manual setting (which I now use exclusively).

I could never explain most of what I've learned very well. It's all so...technical. I don't really get what it all means....I just know what works and what doesn't (kind of). The only photography lesson I can really explain is LIGHT. Pretty much...natural light=good; indoor light=difficult (but not necessarily bad). It's no coincidence that many of my blog pictures are outside shots. They just turn out so much better. Indoor shots often require a flash so the subject is not blurry from moving during a slow shutter speed (at least with a camera like mine that's not super-duper)...because it takes the camera longer to take a darker picture, so the subject usually moves a bit, causing a blurry photo...but using a flash is yucky too, making the subject look flat and unnatural.

Case in point: today, I wanted a shot of Arden eating her lunchtime yogurt. She was just so cute! But our dining room is one of the darker areas of our house. Here's the first shot I took:
Cute! But grainy and back-lit. Very poor quality shot.

A few years ago, I would have just kept adjusting my settings to try to work this one out. But now I know better. Instead of fighting my camera, I turned Arden's high-chair around so she was facing the light that was behind her before (towards the window in our kitchen). I kept all the camera settings the same (same speed, etc.). Here's what I got:
Amazing difference, isn't it? (She was so absorbed in her lunch I don't even think she noticed that I moved her. She is so proud and excited to be eating her yogurt like a big girl, she makes little sounds of happiness with every bite. So funny.)

Anyway--it's not rocket science. It's quite simple. But I'm so glad I've finally learned to stop expecting my camera to do something it's not able to do.

I have a loooong way to go, and so much more to learn with photography. But if I can get good (even half-way good) light, the battle is halfway over.

I'll leave you with one more:

Good light. Pretty much amazing, isn't it?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Just Outside the Frame

When posting pictures the other day, my editing stuff wasn't working right. I wanted to post this picture:

But needed to crop it so there would be no mistaking about Mac's random elbow in the shot:

I had not even noticed that it could possibly look like anything other than Mac's elbow...until Brad walked by and saw it over my shoulder...and pointed out what it looked like. Now I can see nothing else!

I promise! It's his elbow!

Ah, editing tools. Thank you.
(It's hard to believe this is even the same picture, without the distraction of Mac's elbow!)


Much better:

As I close, please take a moment to respect the frizz:

Yes. We do play in our backyard nearly every waking moment.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011












And just so you don't think we're always happy all the time over here...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boys and Weapons

So. I grew up in a house full of girls. We loved Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women. My sisters and I were all cheerleaders. We had plenty of girl drama (for which my mother deserves to be sainted). Though we weren't prissy (we still loved climbing trees, riding bikes, playing in the creek and overalls...2 of us, at least!), we were still pretty girly at the end of the day. And the issue of guns as toys was...well, just never an issue.

Now I'm the mother of a 3 year old boy. Brad and I don't know yet what we think about boys having toy guns or weapons to play. I've avoided the issue. Mac does not yet know what a gun is.

When the subject has come up in conversations with other parents, people have always told me that even if we don't allow toy guns, boys will find a way to pretend gun play. I've always thought we'd start to deal with this later, as Mac got older and found more about the world.

But the weapons-as-toys issue has sneaked into our lives in a completely unexpected way--the Bible. True--Mac is still unaware of guns. But he does love swords and spears! It's amazing--both these are such tiny details in the stories we've read with Mac (Goliath and the story of Jesus' arrest when Peter cuts off the guard's ear). But he has fixated on them and is so curious about them--not in a scary or morbid way, but in a completely boyish, I-want-to-fight-the-bad-guys way. It's so crazy!! I never expected or understood how innate this issue really is to boys.

The jury's still out on our "policy" as parents on toy weapons. We'll see. But I do see and believe that they'll continue to be part of our life as parents to a boy. It's just ingrained into who he is as a boy. Whatever we decide, I do want to raise Mac with a view of weapons as honorable--a way to defend family and country, a way to provide food--and as items to be respected and handled with care. How we achieve that goal is yet to be determined!

In the meantime, I will continue to smile at Mac getting excited about Biblical weapons. What a boy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

After Naps

After naps, Arden likes to look out the window...

We have a routine. I open the curtains, pick her up, and let her stand on the ledge. With me behind her, of course.

This time, I decided to bring my camera along.

She loves it.

She cries when she has to get down.

It's a sweet little mama/daughter time we share every time she gets up.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Samuel is Two!

My nephew Samuel turned 2 last week. My kids had a wonderful time at his party...mostly because there was cake involved.

The cupcake awaits...while Mac and Arden stalk "Uncle Stee-na".

It's always so funny at little kids' birthday parties--the cake has to be pulled away from the child while everyone sings "Happy Birthday"--both because of the lit candle and the danger that the wee one will dive in before singing is done!

A man and his cupcake. All is right in the world.

Three happy kids. It was absolutely quiet when I took this photo. Each one was so focused on the task at hand!







Happy Birthday Samuel! I can't believe you're TWO! We love you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

hebrews commentary quote