Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Well, hello!

Fresh spring green

It's been a little while. We're all good around here, just enjoying the lovely spring weather with lots of time playing outdoors (for the kids) and going on long walks with a camera in tow (for me).

Texas Mountain Laurel
Texas Mountain Laurel

Spring is my absolute favorite time of year. Nothing thrills me more than little green shoots poking out of the ground, leaves unfurling, and fresh spring flowers. The beginning of spring lifts my mood like few things can and I'm reveling in the delight of it all.

Crimson clover
Crimson clover

Wildflowers are tops on my list of spring time favorites. I love road trips at this time of year when I can ogle all the lovely colors just outside my car window. I think Eric and the kids get tired of me pointing out every pretty patch of coreopsis or blue bonnets or Indian blankets along the Texas roadsides. I just can't help myself!


I go a bit shutter crazy this during springtime as well. I give my camera and photoshop a real workout. While when it comes to portraits I usually try to keep my edits fairly clean and true to life, when it comes to wildflower pictures I let my inner editor go a bit crazy. I love playing with colors and tones and textures--wildflower photos are the perfect canvas.


I'm slowly identifying the wildflowers in my area. I've checked out half a dozen different books from the library at various times and scoured pages and pages of images online trying to discover the name of each one. The name of the little blue guy above still eludes me.

Blooming beauty
Indian blanket

Wild Verbena

Others have become good friends.

Persian clover

Good Morning!
Blue-eyed grass

Yellow bliss
Bristle-leaf dyssodia

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty and diversity of springtime.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

An Introvert's Dream Come True

Note: As an exercise to force me to grow photographically, I took all the pictures in this post with a 24mm prime lens (wide angle with no zoom). Roll over the photos with you mouse to see the unedited versions.

At this moment I am sitting in a perfectly quiet, empty house. And, it is heavenly.

After an unexpected series of events early Wednesday morning, I picked up the older two kids from school that afternoon and drove a couple of hours to drop all four of them off with Eric's parents (their school has an extended spring break starting today). All of a sudden, I have 48 hours all to myself. It's not often that a mother truly gets a couple of days off, and I intend to take full advantage of it.

I'm also excited for my kids; they are getting some quality time with their grandparents, something that I really didn't experience as a child. But, I have to admit, I'm a bit anxious as well. I always worry about my kids when there away from me. One of my worst fears is that something would happen to them without me being there, so this is a big exercise in trust. To help me through it I have the Blessed Mother on speed dial.

But, as an extreme introvert, I'm reveling in the quiet and solitude. This morning I lingered over my prayers, slowly ate breakfast on the front porch while reading blogs on my kindle and went for a long walk before this afternoon's rains. Today has been so renewing, body, mind and soul.

I do miss my kids, of course. But, I so needed some silence. Of course, if I didn't daily experience the great energy and noise of my children, these quiet days wouldn't be nearly so sweet. So, my children continue to bless me even if they are not physically with me.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to going to daily mass (and actually listening to the readings and homily!), doing some organizing and a decorating project (photos to come), and hopefully more blogging and lots of photo editing. I'm trying to squeeze in all the things I love that I find difficult to do with the kids around. I do not plan to clean anything unless it's absolutely necessary.

And then I'm looking forward to joining my kids for the weekend to spend it with cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents mostly in the great outdoors. And, that will be wonderful, too.

By then I'll be more than ready to see my kids.

P.S. I entered the pic of Gustin riding his trike in the April photo challenge at iheartfaces.com

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Instagraming and potty training

Do you instagram?

I downloaded the free app on my iPhone about a year ago, but have only really started using it over the last few weeks. I've been trying to make myself take more pictures again and the handiness of my iPhone makes it a perfect fit. I can't take my DSLR everywhere but I always have my phone with me and it's fun to play with all the different filters that instagram provides.

One thing I noticed about my instagram pics is that the are heavily weighted with Clara pictures. As evidence I submit the following:

Clara instragram

But my current favorite is the picture of my newly potty training two-year-old. Her (newly potty trained) big brother is taking his potty-training-teaching job very seriously and he's getting results!

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On to my photographically neglected older children. I scoured my phone and came up with a couple of Gustin.

Here he is at gymnastics:

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And here he is showing off the reward he earned for finally being potty trained! Yay!!

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By the way, doesn't he have a sweet smile?

I don't have a single instagram photo of Elizabeth (I really need to fix that!) and only one of Jonathan. This next pic was taken at Jonathan's Cub Scouts awards banquet. Some very special guests arrived who helped hand out the badges and awards.

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These guys made quite the entrance. The Star Wars Darth Vader theme was playing and they marched in in an extremely menacing way. It was very intimidating! Poor Clara did not like them at all and sobbed every time they were near and every other child there under the age of 3 was in tears. So sad. But, the scouts absolutely loved it. One of the boys got a storm trooper's autograph. It was signed XT-8475. Too funny!

I have one more photo to share that is not from instagram (but with a rollover). Here is Gustin showing off his new Lego plane that he spent half the morning building all by himself:

I'm so proud of him!

P.S. You can find me on instagram as simplycolleen.