Sunday, July 26, 2009

Candi teaser!

I got to see Candi for about 2 hours this weekend... and we worked HARD to get some good shots of the girls... I STARTED to play, and even though there were SO many squirrely, not so great facial expression, and just some REALLY funny ones, there are some great ones too...

But only just a tease!
I will try to work on them again tomorrow my friend! :)

** I think the proudest thing about when I take a shot is the way I get in and don't have to crop later. I am always amazed-so don't get me wrong, I don't think I am "all that", but I am happy with what I see out of the box, and that is part of the joy I get taking pictures, when they turn out how my minds' eye hopes. Piper rotated w/leaf a touch, but nothing else cropped from original shot. That is the BIGGEST advantage for me having an SLR, what I see through the camera, position-wise is what I get. :) The PROBLEM with my eye... is that I DO crop in, and the proportion is messed up when ordering some sizes at print time. I was NEVER good at math! :) Do you NOT want to eat Piper in this picture! LOOK at that TOOTH!
You have VERY beautiful girls Candi!!
Still like herding cats, but adorable cats. :)

Candi-can you tell I have a new favorite affect? :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

HOW to blog...

I have gone back and forth with what is important to me when blogging... being "totally me", where I wing it day to day.... (Yep, that is me!). Make it VERY scrapbook and photography emphasized...but then my family and non-scrappy friends could care less...

I am NOT apt to go ALL family on one blog and "scrappy" on another... I can barely keep up on this blog!

One thing I think I NEED to do for ME is more of the "day to day" of our family. If I were to make this a book, do I just want page after page of scrapbooking layouts and design team stuff??

In blogging, I have left out what is important to ME.

So I am going to do a "summer catch up" entry, and go from there.

*Note: None of these pictures have not been edited at all...cropped, or "fixed". I am VERY happy with the picture quality I get with my Canon (XTi) with my 50mm f1.8 lens... I would like to get the f1.4, but in the meantime I am VERY happy with this lens. I am considering saving for a 50D OR the T1i... reading about the T1i though, I am still leaning toward it.

++Shout out to one of my FAVORITE blogs to lurk/visit: Karen Russell... she is FUNNY, BECAUSE she keeps it real, I LOVE her photographs, and well, catching up on her blog reminded me what I was missing when blogging. :) I have emailed with her on several occasions... but I wouldn't eek her out by saying we are "friends". But she certainly IS friendly! If we lived next door, she would be just the neighbor to have, in my opinion...

We need to get to the "Rocket Park" more! I will blink, and they won't want to go to parks anymore-or they will, but won't want to play on the stuff... I contemplate that often. When you have babies, you have a hard time imagining life w/o diapers. Then when they are out, you don't remember the day to day WITH diapers! Gavin being 8, I am starting to freak out about this age he is approaching! Double DIGITS! :)
He still snuggles with me daily... but someday it won't be the same. I do not look forward to that day.

Gabriel is at such a fun age! He is so smart and determined and STUBBORN! And emotional. Just like his Mama... he is still little boy with a touch of baby... that is fading fast-the baby part.
As brothers, Gabriel truly looks up to his brother...
I am glad daily that we could have them close enough apart in age to be playmates. They learn from each other every day... Like how to duck effectively when fighting. :)

And since I decided to document more of our lives-here it is. Cora has attachment disorder.
It's OK that life isn't perfect.
Most days we are winging it. I have read everything I can get my hands on, and we are blessed that she has a teacher at school that has had a student before her that had RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) and the parents of that child helped her navigate teaching their RAD child. It has benefited Cora. There is not ONE specialist in the area... the closest is over an hour & 1/2 away. And Insurance doesn't pay for them AND I have heard some alarming reports about them... EVERYONE that meets Cora knows her as adorable and charming... and never understands how strict I am with her. Her behavior is the reason we are the way we HAVE to be. To those people that really know her, know the charming and cute wears out when Cora is out of her element, and elevates to "challenging". But regardless of everything we have had to do since we adopted her at 2 years old, we don't regret it-we love her SO much, but know that she looks at the world differently. If she feels out of control, she takes it upon herself to take control in her own way. She has little idea what good and bad behavior is. Attention for all behaviors is attention. And if you know girls, you know most love attention. Multiply that by about 10,000, and you have Cora's desire to be the center of attention.
But life in the Smith house would not be the same without Cora. The boys have learned compassion and patience though her. We have learned a book full of things.

Gavin is done with baseball... this year was kinda disappointing. Park and Rec., and they are already, in 2nd grade, sorting kids out, encouraging aggression, and missing the point.
(Sorry if that seems blunt.)
Gavin isn't the most aggressive kid. Is is big on "fair" AND big on learning-willing, I should say. His coaches felt (when asked) that because they didn't take the weakest kids (in their humble opinion) early on and stick them in outfield ("like other teams" were doing), but cycled them though some of the infield positions, because of that, they were already ahead of the other teams that were more aggressive about selection. How exactly is my child's potential going to be realized if they make decision about ability early on, if he is written off early on as a "weaker" player? It didn't start out TOO obvious-at least it wasn't as blatantly obvious as it was in tournament. BIG surprise the kids that were ALWAYS in were the 5 coaches. {sigh} And the child in Cora's behavior class. I am sure they knew they would be called out for pulling him out more than other children, so they kept him in regardless more games. And guess what. He improved so much because he WAS in more than he would have been otherwise based on the above criteria. Gavin wants to be moving and doing something all the time. He WANTED to be in the pitcher position very much so (they didn't pitch yet, just controlled the area) And played 2nd and 3rd more than once very well...

Little did they know who they were dealing with. :) I was VERY reserved, since Gavin seemed unaffected 95% of the time... But after about the 8th game where he was out the first 2 innings EACH game, I started to get tired of it. For the tournament game, we (score-wise) had NO chance of catching up, yet they took him out for a third inning (the only kid). The WORST part? He really isn't that bad of a player! I know I am his mother, but he played the inner positions most days BETTER than the outfield because he would get so bored. And his batting average was good...

They said they could tell which kids were being worked with (though this wasn't directed at me particularly). The batting cages and weekly catch and batting ISN'T being worked with?? {sigh}.

Sadly, the coach from the year before was NOT his head coach this year (assistant only). When he had that coach the year before, he rarely missed at bat, and he was encouraged to improve as the season went on. (*Many of below with my zoom lens)

He wants to play soccer next year. I don't blame him.

He's a good kid. :)
A really good kid.
This picture was taken when I got to spend time with Gavin ALL BY HIMSELF! That doesn't happen very often! I usually have all of them, or just Cora, when the boys go to Grandma Sue's...
I need to try harder to get more one on one time with each child. And date nights with my husband... that is a whole other post!

Back to Gabriel for a sec... he is totally that kid that aspires to be random!!
One day, wearing this towel (cuz it was looking like rain) was the thing to do.
Live and let live... he wore it all day every errand we went. I am glad I caugh this picture while driving!

We went skating one day...
Cora and 8 boys! Too funny.
Random note on a good friend...
I love my friend Anne... Kelly just made a layout that said how her best friends are those friends that don't have to be told. They just know.
Anne is one of those friends, I hope she knows. :)
I am grateful for her, not because of what she does for us, but the gift she is to our family.
"I love you man"
OK, enough of THAT!
Speaking of people I am grateful for...
We went to visit Grandpa Don and Grandma Dinah...

Even though they are only an hour away, we have to schedule visits with all of our schedules (mainly theirs, they are VERY social and busy!)
ANYWAY, the kids LOVE to visit! It was uncommonly cold this day.
And the pond critters were not all that willing to play! But they did take a look with the big nets to give it a try!
And they stopped at the swings...
(Blurry enlarged, but do you BLAME me for lovin' this expression?? :) )
And then the Clinton County Fair...
I love fairs... mostly for the food I would not TOUCH the other days of the year! We don't (rarely) have corn dogs at home...

and of course, who makes deep fried 3 Muskateers bars at home? Who? Show me someone! :)

This fair was so small, that I could see the kids no matter the rides they were on. The boys were so "cool" going on the "extreme" rides-even asked me why I had to follow them! Cora was more conservative, and when she thought to "upgrade" rides, many times they said she was too short.
(This is a different shot than the previous post... Gabriel is "flying" here! :) And this one is unedited. :) )

They had a BLAST! I tried NOT to dwell on the scary (maintence-wise) rides and focus on their pure joy. We got wrist bands... MUCH cheaper, and the best $36 I have spend in awhile! 3 hours of "on demand" carnival rides! The boys thought they were the COOLEST! Real grown up stuff here!!

Yes, we caved and played a couple of games... :) It didn't take long watching to the other kids to figure out that they could go the "wrong way" on the Round-Up...
...resist editing... :)
Yep, it's a fair...
Oh yeah! And I judged the Scrapbooking division at the fair! THAT was fun!
Thanks Collen, for asking me!!
I hope you really do ask me again next year!
It was 4-H style-they didn't compete against each other, just on each submissions merit.
But I DID pick a "Best of Show". Yes, I did know the person... but I truly thought it desierved it! I am an honest judge!
Bet the girls journal "Who and when" more next year. Just sayin'. :)

Don't I look official? :)

And it has been awhile since I included anything about my house...
There was no landscaping in the front at all... this is my handiwork. :)
It's a good start anyway. :)
Thanks for enduring the LONG post! I am trying to get my "Back to School" layout finsihed for this months challenge at Scrapganza, AND Pink Sketches, and I am LOVIN' working with Sausan Designs Stamps and papers! The stamps are SO great! I hope to help them out with bringing these to the US in some way! We scrappers NEED them! :)

OK, Be Blessed!
Have a great weekend!!
Anything special planned??