Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quick trip to the beach

Sunday morning Eric said, "You want to go to the beach after mass?"

And, I said, "OK!" without hesitating. (My spontaneous, decision-making husband is beginning to rub off on me!)

So, we threw a few things in the van, slathered on sunscreen, grabbed my camera and drove the hour and a half to Galveston Island. It was really windy but otherwise perfect weather. The sun was warm but the breeze kept us from sweating and everyone had a great day.

Clara got to put her toes in the ocean for the first time.

And, I got to take my new 85mm lens out for a spin. Love it!

We briefly tried to get a picture of all four kids together. We rarely get them all together at once so I'm trying to make an effort get some group pics. Much easier said than done!

Out of the 20 frames that I took, the best we could ever do was to have 2 out of 4 looking at the camera at once. They never stop moving! I also should know better than to have them facing into the sun. "It's too bright, Mama!"

Live and learn.

But, a little creative cropping can help salvage a few good pics.

It was a great day, but that evening Clara started to run a low fever and now she, Elizabeth and I are all nursing colds. Elizabeth hated to have to stay home today since it's the last week of school, but she's definitely enjoying the extra attention. Clara is sleeping a lot (which is why I actually got this blog post done!) and we're all taking is easy around here. Hopefully by tomorrow we'll all be back to our normal, crazy, messy, noisy, bouncy, energetic selves!

Have a great Tuesday!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So I've got a little story for you...

Yes, it's a story about photography (again!). Please bear with me! I will eventually write a post about something else. :)

About a year ago I was contacted by Getty Images, which is a stock photography company that is affiliated with flickr. They saw my photos on flickr and picked about a dozen or so that they wanted to make available for license. I was very excited to have my photography acknowledged in this way, but, honestly, I never thought anything would come of it. If anyone did want to license one of my images, I figured I'd make mere pennies out of the deal at most. Also, there are literally millions of images available on Getty and what was the likelihood of someone finding one of mine and then actually paying money to use it? In fact, I only finished the paperwork (model releases, etc) on two of the twelve images and the remainder languished in my inbox waiting to be completed.

Now fast forward to about a month ago. Eric fowarded me an email with a subject of "Royalties". I had no clue what the email was about (but I'm sure you know where this is headed). It was an email from PayPal showing that a nice little bit of money was deposited in our account from Getty Images. My jaw absolutely dropped!

It turns out that someone in Canada was making some kind of pamphlet and paid a chunk of money to license this picture to use in it. It's not even a picture that I like very much! And, I took it shortly after first getting my camera when I really didn't even know what I was doing!

So, how much were my royalties? While not an amazing amount of money, it was the first money I've earned since becoming a stay-at-home mom 8 years ago and it was (almost) enough for me to buy my newest toy...

It's an 85mm f/1.8 lens. It's fantastic for portraits and is great for low light photography and creates beautiful bokeh (the pretty blur in the background). I've only been able to play with it a little bit so far, but I think I'm really going to love it!

I may never get another one of my pictures licensed again, but at least now I can say that I'm a professional photographer (ha ha!). And, you can better believe that I'm finally getting the rest of the paperwork done on the remainder of the images that Getty requested just in case lightning does strike in the same place twice!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Kids' Room Projects

Hobbies are funny things. They are such a gift because they give me a way to relax and as well as a creative outlet. But, sometimes I feel like my hobbies are just all about me and take away from family time. Of course, as with anything in life, I must strive for balance.

So, when my photography hobby both brings me joy as well as my family, then I feel like I've hit the jackpot. For instance, I did portraits of my in-laws for their 35th wedding anniversary. They hadn't had portraits made of just the two of them since their wedding, so they were way overdue and I was happy to offer my mediocre talents to help them. I also used some of my pictures to decorate our master bedroom and a bathroom.

Now I have my decorating focus shifting to the kids' rooms. They really need something on their walls. I wanted whatever it was to be very personal to each child, so we decided to photograph some of their favorite things and hang those pictures on the walls.

Elizabeth loves the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O'Conner and all things fancy. Combine spring wild flowers and her Fancy Nancy doll and we have the perfect subjects for the pictures for Elizabeth's room.

The Kids' Room Project - Girls Edition

Nancy with yellow flowers

Nancy with pink flowers

For the boys' room, we focused on Legos and Star Wars. I only have one of those pictures done so far and, believe me, it really tested my photoshopping skills!

The Kids' Room Project: Boys Edition

I'm no graphic artist, but I think the results are good enough for the bedroom of an 8 year old and a 3 year old boy.

Hopefully I'll get these pictures completed and printed sometime soon. Then the goal will be to get them framed and hung on the wall. It's amazing how difficult it is for me to actually complete a project these days!

But, I wouldn't trade any of my four distractions for the world!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Birthday Boy!

Yesterday my littlest boy turned three! And, despite the fact that as of 8 am yesterday morning his mother had absolutely nothing prepared for his birthday (as in no presents, no cake, no decorations, nothing!!), she was able to overcome her tremendous case of "Bad Mommy" guilt and Gustin had a wonderful day.

The cake got baked and decorated.

And, Red Robin did the cooking for supper. (Mommy had to admit defeat and throw the homemade supper plans out the window.)

It really is ridiculous how much it costs for three kids meals of macaroni and cheese at a restaurant. I could have bought a couple of cases of the boxed stuff! But, pasta with cheese sauce sure does make a brand new three year old happy!

The presents (that Daddy sneaked out of work to buy) were a big hit. A miniature Rubik's cube and a Lightning McQueen bicycle.

I love you, Gustin. I really don't know how in the world you got so big so fast. You make me smile every single day and I can't imagine life with out you!

Happy Birthday Little Mister!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Jonathan's First Eucharist

Jonathan's first communion was yesterday afternoon and it was... beautiful. I was really surprised at how intensely moved I was as my oldest received the Body of Christ. It was like, for once, my mind, emotions, senses and soul were all aligned for a few brief moments and I could feel the eternalness (not a real word, I know) of the sacrament and it was palpable. Christ truly was present. Eric and I both had tears falling down our cheeks and I'm sure it is a day that none of us will ever forget. It seems like Jonathan aged about 10 years in the span of 5 minutes and that he will never be a little kid again. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

By the way, after Jonathan received the Eucharist Eric asked me for a tissue to wipe his eyes, but I was all out, so I handed him the next best thing I had - a spit up cloth.

"Is it clean?" he asked.

"Probably not," I replied.

The intensely spiritual moment was over and we were back to the reality of this amusing but imperfect world.


This morning Jonathan was so excited to receive his "Second Eucharist". It was too cute!

Parenthood truly is a blessing that I in no way deserve. God is good!