long overdue photo dump

i've been sitting on some images for awhile now, making them wait until i had some free time to drop them into a blog post along with a nice story so they could finally be free from the confines of my hard drive to roam the big wide world that is the internet.  or at least this tiny little corner of the internet.

but, i don't have free time.  not anymore.  i don't think i've truly had free time since the moment my first made his appearance in this world, but what i did have has continued to shrink with each passing day.  even when i do allot myself some time off to watch tv or go to bed early or actually hang out with my husband, it's not really "free" time.  it's just me deciding i need to switch my brain off from kids or social media or my camera or editing or meal planning or budgeting or lame attempts at homeschooling or the other million things that keep me awake at night.

so, instead of a nice little story or two, tonight you will get a ton of pictures dumped in here and left for you to sort through with your own beautiful and lovely imaginations.  sometimes it's more fun like that anyway.  like one of those picture books with no words where the story can be just a little bit different every time you look through it.

happy imagining <3

/\   that was over a month ago 

\/   this down here was a little more recent ;)

and these next few are just completely random, but i like them so here they are.

personal photojournalism: another walk in the woods

we love walking through the woods over here.  or at least i do, and the men in my life love me enough to humor me every so often with a trip to the forest.

on this particular day, we were all a little tense and grouchy.  the kids were volleying meltdowns between one another and my husband and i were volleying short retorts and frustrated words muttered under our breath.  what i had hoped would be a few hours of time spent bonding as a family was quickly turning into a public display of irritation.

but then, right around this point in our trip, something changed.  our big kid chose a path for us to follow, and suddenly he was invested in our outing, instead of an unwilling participant of family un-happy hour.  seeing his brother perk up, the little decided he'd better follow suit and suddenly insisted on being set down on the ground instead of insisting that he be carried.  and, as is often the case, as the kids became easier to manage, my husband and i were able to relax into the afternoon a little more.  less worried about maintaining control of 2 kids with behavior threatening to careen out of control and more worried about keeping up with 2 kids eager to explore, we were finally able to set off into the forest and just be.

be together.  be a family.  be out in nature and breathe in the air and the woods and creation.

and what better way to end a walk through the woods than with a leaf fight in a beautiful patch of light?  it was the perfect way to wrap up what turned out to be a wonderful family outing.  once you finish scrolling through these images, be sure to circle around and check out  Joy Huber- Lancaster PA Children's Documentary Photographer-  to see what she was up to in October!

on rearranging furniture

i grew up in a house that was often rearranged.  every few weeks, my mom would pile us on the couch and let us "go for a ride" as she pushed it into a new corner, with the coffee table and tv stand not far behind.  as a kid, i thought it was just another silly, fun thing my mom did, and i enjoyed it because it gave my brothers and i new "hide and seek" material, new fort building opportunities, and a new angle on our favorite cartoons.  as an adult, and now a stay-at-home mom myself, i'm seeing the whole rearranging thing in a completely different way.  it's not just another activity to fill the time- it's a straight up survival mechanism.  when you're home all day everyday, you can't help but start to notice every little tiny thing that's wrong with your house.  and when you're home all day everyday with your children, who like the do the same things over and over again, you guessed it, all day everyday, the monotony starts to become a little bit oppressive.  there are a lot of different ways to handle this monotony.  some people plan fun, educational things to do with their kids.  some people take lots of field trips.  some people put on headphones and listen to music while they work and pretend their house isn't actually there.  

my mom and i?  we're re-arrangers.  it drove my dad crazy, and now it drives my husband crazy, but it's who we are and sorry guys but it's never going away.  so last week when i started to feel the urge to switch  things up, my frantic brain, in desperate need of change, landed upon our bedroom.  untouched since we moved in 7 years ago, i knew rearranging our bedroom would be the change that i needed to break up the sameness of our everyday and rejuvenate us a little bit.  and, while i didn't admit it at the time, i knew exactly where i wanted everything to go because of the way the light falls in our room.  we get the most ridiculously beautiful afternoon light in there, but i've never been able to really capture it because of the way we had things set up.  but now, well... here's a few (okay, more than a few.  i really like how these turned out) examples of why i'm loving our new bedroom arrangement :)

looking forward

it's been two weeks since i've had the chance to pop on here.  two.  weeks.  that's too long.  like, way too long.  when i started my second project 365 at the beginning of the year, i knew it would be a good idea to step back from daily blogging because truly, it becomes time consuming.  but i also knew i should proceed with caution because if i give myself an inch, i really will take a mile.  case in point, it's been two weeks since i last blogged.  two weeks.  i'm not thrilled about it, if you can't tell.

the truth is though, my proverbial photography plate is much more full this year than it was last year.  last year, i had one main goal- get good at taking pictures- and a bunch of little goals that fell under that umbrella, like getting featured on a community page, shooting a documentary session for humans that aren't mine, etc.  i was fortunate enough to meet all my little goals last year, and i'd like to humbly say that i think i got pretty close to hitting my main goal.  so, i started the year cautiously, hoping to continue to improve but with a lot of other vague ideas of what i'd like to accomplish.  as the year has progressed, i've established some concrete objectives for myself, objectives that are considerably bigger than what i reached for previously, which means they take considerably more time and effort.

this is a good thing and a bad thing.  it's good because it means i'm moving forward.  it means i'm still pushing myself and refusing to become stagnant.  it means i still have the fire and the passion and the motivation and it means i still have the desire and ability to go big or go home.  but it could be bad if i'm not careful.  i don't want to lose sight of where i came from.  i don't want to forget the habits and the discipline that lit the fire and fueled the drive.

the time has come for me to start looking forward to next year- what i want to do day-to-day, and what i hope to achieve throughout the year.  the truth is, i'm going to need to free up some time to work on the bigger projects and goals i've taken on, which means stepping back from my smaller projects.  i haven't decided yet if i'll be doing another project 365 or not.  shooting and/or editing daily is something that i really value, and i think it's important to do, but from a practical standpoint (and for my sanity), i'm not sure if it will be a viable option again.  as a contingency plan, i've decided to join in with a group of (ridiculously talented) women who are doing a  project 52 with a really cool concept- you shoot only for 5 minutes.  today, in the hopes of reducing the number of images to cull through and edit once the kids were tucked in and snoozing, i decided to give it a shot.

i love the results.  whatever else i decide to do, i think i'm really going to enjoy this particular project next year, and the growth it's going to bring.

i'll be back- in less than two weeks :)

monday morning bubble bath

we had a busy, busy weekend where we were driving all over the place, playing hard with friends, and falling out of routine left right and center.  it was fun and amazing, but my kids (and i!) woke up with a weekend hangover this morning that could only be cured with a bubble bath.  

it's a cloudy, gloomy day that has me feeling creatively uninspired, so i decided to take advantage of our time tucked away in our closet sized bathroom to get some practice in with my speedlite.  in general, i really don't love the look flash creates, even when it's bounced or diffused, but that's most likely because i'm still not very skilled at using it effectively.  however, i've found that i do kind of like it when i use it in our bathroom, probably because the space is so small that when i bounce it off a side wall, it actually helps create some dimension where the light would otherwise be pretty flat and boring.

all that to say, i ended up with a handful of images of my boys this morning that i really like.  in fact, i think i might eventually print a few of them to hang in the bathroom :)

my friend's baby is beautiful

remember that birth session i shot back in march for my best friend?  well, it's been 5 1/2 months since then (not sure where that time went), and her little newborn has grown into just the most gorgeous baby girl.  they had a rough start to her journey earth side, but her momma has fought for her in ways that only a strong and dedicated momma can, and now the joy that glows from this sweet girl's face is nothing short of brilliant.  but, since her early months were somewhat unpredictable and required a lot of rocking, snuggling, and babywearing- and since most of the times we were together i was corralling my own herd of children solo- there wasn't much opportunity for photographing her.

today, however, we had the rare opportunity to hang out, just us girls, so for a few minutes as we chatted and reconnected, i pulled out my camera to document the sweet person she's growing into.  i had originally intended to only share a single image on my facebook page, but truly there's no way to choose just one shot of this kiddo.  she's just too darn sweet to keep them all to myself :)

in honor of having my computer back

over the holiday weekend, my husband and i decided on the spur of the moment that after months of having many large holes in our walls, it was time to finish up spackling and paint our living room.  this was awesome because i now have blank, lovely walls that i can fill back up with holes as i re-hang my collage wall in a new spot.  it was not awesome, however, because it meant all the furniture on our first floor was in disarray for two days, including my computer and desk, which sat unplugged and lonely in the middle of our dining room.  that meant two days of no importing photos, no editing, no blogging, none of it.

my poor heart.

so, as i do a little dance from my computer chair that has been happily reunited with its rightful spot as i gaze dreamily at our new pixel white (which are actually quite grey) walls, i've decided to do a share of the photos i took over the last two days to make up for their lengthy confinement on my camera's sd cards.

enjoy ;)

our new favorite place

this summer, my boys and i discovered that we really, really love picking our own fruit.  we've gone blueberry picking twice, raspberry picking once, strawberry picking two or three times (i can't remember because the trips are all blurring together) and today we went peach picking for the second time.  the orchard has become our new favorite place to spend our mornings.

today, we were lucky enough to bring daddy along, which meant a (slightly) easier time capturing our visit, and some very excited boys who couldn't wait to show their dad the finer points of peach picking- including, but not limited to: making sure you only pick the peaches that are still on the tree, avoiding branches at eye level, the art of getting a peach with the leaves still attached, and dropping the same peach over and over to speed the ripening process.

oh, and we also had a storm trooper escort.

it was a really, really fun morning.  

a monday morning hike

my attention has been divided into so many pieces over the last few months that most of my 365 shooting has been aimed at getting a single great (or, honestly, good) shot each day.  and that's not necessarily a bad thing- it saves me time at the computer in the evenings, it helps me focus on refining my ability to shoot in specific types of light, it gives me a chance to try out new techniques, etc etc etc.

but.

i love telling stories.  a lot.  i love reading them out loud, i love relaying them to friends, and i love using my photos to create them.  so when one of my favorite photography groups on fb had a bit of a revival last week to draw it back to its roots of documentary, storytelling photography, it made me realize that i need to have a bit of a revival myself.

so today, instead of trying for one single great (or good) shot, i dusted the cobwebs off my mental checklist for shooting to tell a story and captured our morning hike through a local forest.  enjoy :)

the first time we visited this forest, this staircase was precarious, at best.  the last time we visited, there was no staircase (but there was plenty of caution tape).  so this time, all three of us were excited to check out the new stairs leading to the hiking trails.

the boys wasted no time, and immediately took off down the trail where they each weaved in and out of the dappled light as the sunshine filtered through the leaves onto the treasures they found less than a minute after our walk started.  and so of course, as they were collecting leaves and sticks, i was collecting a frame or two of the little yellow flowers lining the entrance to the woods.

one of the things i love most about these outings i take with my boys is to watch them as they explore and discover.  they both have such different ways of approaching the world, and they both notice and value different things, but they always look to one another for guidance and encouragement just the same.

and then, of course, we had to stop for a snack break- followed by a hit of the paci and a momma snuggle for the little, who i think was starting to feel a little overwhelmed and certainly a little tired.

now that he had refueled, my big discovered that the forest has a lot of rocks.  first he found the big ones that had collected around the benches where we sat to eat, and after throwing them onto the ground (his favorite thing to do with rocks), he noticed that the path we had recently turned onto was literally made of small rocks.  which meant the rest of our hike consisted of him stopping every 10 steps to dump his current fistful of rocks to replace it with the new, clearly superior rocks now beneath his feet.  and sometimes stash a few in his pocket.  meanwhile, the little imitated him for awhile, and then moved on to his own personal forest favorite- the stick :)

once the initial excitement of the rocks died down a bit, i got us walking again and shortly thereafter we came upon a bridge over a small creek.  in case you didn't know, creeks are the ideal place for chucking rocks, so of course that reignited the need for rock collecting and tossing.  luckily, there was no one else around, so i left them to their devices and took the opportunity to shoot a few details shots, including this massive spider whose web was hanging directly at my eye level smack in the middle of the trail.  i'm just grateful he didn't end up in my hair.

with a little (or possibly a lot) of persuasion, we ended our rock throwing and headed back towards the car.  our last discovery for the day was these cool little pine cones that we found littered across one section of the trail.  unfortunately, they held our attention just long enough for both kids to hit the "i've waited too long for lunch" threshold, and i ended up carrying one most of the way back (until we got back to the stairs and suddenly his legs worked again!) and the other one got a stern talking to once we reached the car.  

the downside (or possibly the upside) to being your own family documenter is that you miss out on catching the moments like that, but i'm thankful for the parts of the story from today that i was able to hold onto.

happy monday all <3 

time warp days

every now and then, i'll have a day that knocks me on my emotional butt.  a day when the reality of time hits me harder than a glass of wine started and finished while cooking dinner. they happen once every few months, and they have a tendency to sneak up on me when i least expect it, and they leave me feeling all the things there are to feel, all at one time.  

i'm a person who is easily distracted- by the monotony of daily life, by the way my body decides to feel on any given day, by the weather, by current events, by the sudden lack of daniel tiger on netflix- what i'm saying is, it's easy for me to lose sight of the things that are standing right in front of me because i allow my attention to be stolen by other, less important things.  that's not to say i don't notice things, because i do.  i hear my 2 year old sing the abc's for the first time, or watch as my 3 year old zips up his jacket on his own after weeks of practice, but with my mind unfocused and my heart in denial, the reality of what they mean often escapes me.  

and then, i'll have a time warp day.  a day like today, when all of a sudden, i see my kids for the first time as these people who are not the same people they were 8, or 6, or even 2 weeks ago.  i manage to look up through the haze of meal planning and cash budgeting and the second migraine this week and it hits me- really, truly sinks into my heart- that they have grown.  parts of them are gone, discarded, left behind in their memories and my heart and a few gigabytes on my hard drive.  and at the same time, i'm able to see other parts that are completely new.  i watch my big get dressed all on his own, and the last 3 weeks of him getting dressed without help rushes at me like a crashing wave and even though i saw it happening, i didn't understand.  not really.  not till today, when i realize that this is no longer a skill that we're working on.  he has arrived.  he has practiced, mastered, and gained this independence, and i smile with a fierce, deep pride while i cry as i say goodbye to this part of him that i'll never get back.

and then my little, my baby, looks up at me from across the hall and says "momma, i put daddy's shoes on".  and all these weeks of him speaking longer sentences, all the text messages to his daddy sharing the latest cute words, all the praises of his efforts to communicate with us, they all combine together into this one sentence that hangs in the air between us, and what it really says is "time is moving past us, and i am moving with it."  and i am reminded that everyday, there is something new, but to make room for the new, they have to shed the old.  his words now are so beautiful and precious, his voice one of my favorite sounds, but my heart aches for the days when he would wander through our house and growl, simply for the sake of hearing and feeling the power of his voice.  i am so excited to welcome this little one who now likes to dress up in daddy's shoes and pretend he goes to work too, but a part of me mourns the loss of the even littler one who would rather just sit and chew on the shoelaces.

the truth is, i need time warp days.  i need to take the time to notice- to really, truly, honestly see- how incredibly my children are growing.  i need a submersion in reality, and not the reality of laundry and dirty dishes and cleaning the toilet seat for the 800th time.  the reality of what being a child means, of what the rewards of the work of motherhood are, a reminder to slow down and cherish it all, because eventually all of it will be gone.  time will gradually take who they are and replace each part bit by bit with a newer, older, more independent part until one day, even though they'll always be mine, they won't really be mine anymore.  they will be their own, and they will continue on through life carrying a piece of my heart with them.  and when that day comes, i will be grateful for these pictures i have of them, so i can have a whole new kind of time warp day.  i can go back and remember how round their cheeks were, how wild their hair was after a long hard sleep, how their legs looked so long but so chubby, how their little dimpled hands found mine when they were overwhelmed or lonely or just looking for reassurance of love.  i take these pictures and collect these moments so that when we're done living them, i can have them to remember, always, the beauty of the time that passed us by.

when the floor turns to lava

my husband and i are in full "rearrange the house to maximize everything" mode (this randomly happens to us from time to time), which means that every day for the last 4 days, the furniture in our living room has found itself in a different place than the day before.  my children, whose pictures appear in the national geographic encyclopedia of rare and exotic animals next to the entry "creature of habit", are handling the (somewhat) organized chaos in two different ways.  my youngest has turned into a stubborn blob that alternately cries while hitting anything that dares to come too close and claws his way up my legs in order to try to climb into my shirt so he can kangaroo there for eternity.  my oldest, on the other hand, has taken his already overactive imagination and turned it up to 11.

today, the floor was lava.  happiness ensued :)

here's to never being so grown up that we can't allow ourselves to get lost in the imagination of a child <3 

into the forest

today finally, finally, finally felt like spring.  it was one of those rare perfect days where the weather just is.  no chill in the air but not hot either, a light breeze with warm sunshine- you can feel it, but you're not distracted by it.  it's the kind of day where you breathe deeply and the air fills you up and the sunshine recharges your soul and no matter what may be going on, you're reminded that life is good.  like, really, truly, deeply good.

days like today are not to be wasted.  they're made to be lived in and run through and soaked up and inhaled so that we can carry them with us through the days that aren't quite so perfect.

so, that's what we did.  after a morning at the playground, we came home, fed and napped the kids, and then packed back up and headed out to a local forest, which happens to be my new favorite place in the world.  seriously.  i would spend everyday there with my kids if they would let me.

we started out finding rocks and tossing them into the creek, which happens to be one of their absolute favorite new things to do.  it took some convincing to keep them out of the water since we usually let them wade around in the creek at one of the parks we go to, but once they realized what an abundance of rocks they had available to them, it became a non-issue.

this kiddo here is intrigued by the details- rocks, sticks, bugs, anything he can dig up or take apart or closely observe- and i love watching him explore the little things of the world.

after awhile, we left the creek and headed out to a new trail we've never walked before.  it was flat, which was nice for the kids, but still had plenty for them to see/pick up/climb on- and had plenty of stunning light for me to play with :)

these next three images may seem a little redundant, but i've got my momma goggles on when i look at them, so they all got to stick around.  i have no idea why he was walking this way, but it was so cute i could have cried.  he is developing into such an incredible little guy, and it is beautifully amazing to watch.

it was just the most perfectly wonderful afternoon, and i'm so thankful for everything about it <3

a story and a snack

i had an idea for a panning shot in my head today, but when i tried it, it was such an enormous fail that i decided to take a break from shooting for technique and instead just shoot for fun.  i'm glad i did too, because i was able to document a truly significant milestone for my little- i mean, who doesn't remember their first solo counter snack?   :)

this was one of those moments where it hit me just how fast he's growing up.  i remember so clearly the first time i let his big brother sit on the counter to munch through a bowl of cereal without me standing there holding onto him- how is it possible that this guy is old enough to be doing that?

lately when i plopped him on the counter, i start out with my hand on his knee, and then slowly drift a cabinet's length away for a few moments before scurrying back.  he's a wiggly one this guy.  but then today it occurred to me- he's wiggly and busy and wild and adventurous, but his movements are calculated, both at home and on the playground.  he's aware of his body and the cause and effect of his movements.  and, he's highly invested in snack time.  so when i put him up there today, i took a step back.  and then another.  and then another.  and then i let myself trust him and went to the other room to grab my camera, and when i came back in, there he sat, beaming atme and crunching away on leftover morning cheerio #8,753.

oh, and see the dog hair on his foot?  that's cause of this:

(look closely at this first image)

it's remarkable how patient she becomes when people food is involved :)

a short monday story

the theme for this week is {season}, and while i'm probably going to go out and do some more nature shots- because i love nature shots and they're a nice break from my normal- when the chance for a documentary take on this theme popped up today, i knew i wanted to take it.

my big is now officially 3 and a half (seeing it written out is making my head spin a little) and he's in this tricky season of his life where he's stuck halfway between toddler and big kid.  he wants to be independent, but he still needs me by his side for new (and some old) things.  he is realizing that he has his own unique and valuable thoughts and opinions, but he's still learning how to express them appropriately and effectively.  and, more concretely, he still kind of needs a nap during the day to help him remain a semi-pleasant human throughout the afternoon, but when he takes a nap, it turns bedtime into a production long and dramatic enough to rival a broadway show.  so, after some discussion with my husband and some advice from my best (who's 3 year old has already mostly given up napping), we decided to try skipping nap and in favor of a "rest time" for the first time today.

we started the nap time routine as usual by taking the little upstairs for his nap, but once he was fast asleep in his crib, the big and i headed back downstairs and got him all set up on the couch with a blanket, a few favorite toys, and a movie.  the rules were that he had to stay on the couch and keep his body calm and quiet until the movie was over so that he could rest and little brother could sleep.

if i'm being honest, it felt very strange- almost irresponsible- to allow him to stay awake during the time that i've always made sure he was snoozing away for the last 3 years.  we're very big on routine in our house, and even though we've all gotten better about going off routine from time to time for something special, intentionally changing things on a normal day was challenging for me.

DSC_9977.jpg

and (more truth telling) it was hard for me to give up that small slice of time that i get to myself.  granted, i still did chores and took care of a few things on the computer while he rested, but i couldn't sit on the couch and dip into my secret stash of chocolate covered pretzels while watching [insert trashy television show here] like i sometimes do.  and while it was cute and funny and warmed my heart to listen to him chatter to me for the first 45 minutes of the movie, i also missed the quiet stillness of a house full of sleeping littles.

but, as with all things, i'm certain that as time goes on, i'll start to look forward to these hushed few hours with just him and me in the afternoons.  i'll find a couple of days each week to set work and chores aside and just sit with him and breathe him in while he still lets me snuggle him close, and i'll be glad for the chance to get to know just him again for a little while, without the distraction of brother or daddy or camera or phone.

so here's to this new season of our lives- his and mine and ours as a family.  may we never stop growing upward and onward <3 

farmers markets and nap refusals

this week, i've been rejoicing over the return of shooting full time with my dslr- so much so that i've had 150+ pictures to sift through every evening since sunday.  most of the images have gotten deleted without a second thought, especially since i've been doing a lot of experimenting for this week's out of focus theme which means i end up with a lot of junk.  and on top of that, much of my shooting has been kind of random and spur of the moment, so i haven't ended up with a cohesive set to share.

today isn't much different, but i did end up with a few that i like enough to warrant a blog post, even though they're all off prompt.  can't win them all right?

this morning, to combat our 17,859th day of rain in a row, i decided to venture out with the kids to an indoor farmer's market about 20 minutes away.  which coincidentally is juuuuuust long enough for both of them to pass out in the back seat.  at 9:30 in the morning.  which means they were both a little... grouchy... when i woke them up upon our arrival.  oh, and remember how i said it was indoors?  apparently "indoors" is a pretty loose term in the world of farmer's markets, and includes, but is not limited to, areas that are covered with a roof but not surrounded by walls.  but i'm new to the world of farmer's markets, and didn't know about this subtlety, so we didn't have jackets.  the point being: our trip was not the relaxing saunter through rows of fresh produce and flowers and cute knick knacks that i was expecting.  it was crowded and cold and windy with melty, whiney kids and not many opportunities to take photos without stoking the three year old shaped fire from smoldering ashes to a full blown, bonfire sized tantrum.

there were a few good moments though.  like when we bought some apples for mega cheap and pulled over for a "please Lord let this improve their moods" snack.

note the tear on his cheek.  he may have dropped his half eaten apple on the ground and then lost it when i told him we had to throw it away.  to soothe the beast, i did the unthinkable and (gasp) let him eat from the side that didn't touch the floor.  it's all about survival, people.

the best part of the morning was when we saw the cows.  i don't know if i've ever seen my big so incredibly excited while simultaneously being thoroughly terrified.

after that excitement wore off, we headed home and i stuffed both kids full of lunch, which seemed to improve all three of our moods.  we played for awhile and then headed up for nap time.  but, since they both took power naps in the car on our way to this morning's field trip, getting them to sleep was enough to make me wish we were back outside at the farmer's market, because at least then i would have been surrounded by other humans who could share in my misery.  instead, i endured a long hour of wiggling, tired-but-not-tired-enough children while trying not to bang my head against a wall.  by the time i got out, all i could do was this:

and then, to add insult to injury, they fell asleep so late in the afternoon after all their nap fighting that i had to wake them up if i wanted any shot of getting them to bed at a decent hour tonight.  fortunately, my big woke up in a really great mood, and even obliged in letting me take a few shots of his silly little self.  it was a great reminder that a bad moment (or morning) doesn't have to define the day.

and there you have it.  the best of today.  i wish i'd been able to take more photos, but i'm grateful for what i did get, and for the turn around in our day.  i'm still praying for sunshine soon though :)

 

personal photojournalism: the untold story of april

this past month, i dedicated myself to shooting my 365 project with my iphone only.  about halfway through the month, however, i started to really miss my nikon, so after i would get my daily shot with my phone, i would pull out my camera and shoot around to keep up with my dslr skills (and just for fun, without the idea of sharing in the back of my mind).

here are some of those images, most of which haven't been shared anywhere but between my nikon and my desktop, and which tell some of our story of april.

when you're finished over here, be sure to click on over to christine hurla, family photographer in overland park, to continue around the circle and see what these talented ladies have been up to!

he spilled his cereal, and it was tragic.

we found this great rock on a walk around our neighborhood.  they immediately set to jumping (or pushing each other) off of it.  after that it wasn't so great anymore ;)

woody and buzz are two of those toys that get forgotten about for long periods of time, but when they get remembered, there's much joy and celebrating.  and to-infinity-and-beyond-ing.

playing in the quiet morning light on a short weekend trip to visit my grandparents.

the super grover hat made a reappearance this month, and made the cut to come down with us on our road trip.  the little is slowly discovering the joys of dress up and imaginary play <3

the timeshare that we stayed in had this completely fabulous bathtub that my kids fell in love with the moment they laid eyes on it.  it was awesome.

the weather warmed up for a few days here and there, so we took advantage while we could and headed outside quite a bit on those days.

they treasure their daddy time- and so does he <3 

thanks for checking out what our april looked like!  don't forget to see how christine hurla, family photographer in overland park, documented her family this month!

day 109

this week has created a bit of a conundrum for me, but one that i think will ultimately have a good and helpful outcome.  the theme for week 16 is {freezing motion}, which is not only a really fun theme, but one that requires the use of some techniques that i want to work on.  the problem is, in order to intentionally freeze motion in your images (using any one of these techniques), you need to be able to manipulate your shutter speed, and as far as i know that's not something you can do with an iphone.  my initial solution to this problem was just to end my iphone challenge early, but i'm far too stubborn to back out of a self-imposed challenge.  plus, i really am learning a lot more than i anticipated shooting with just my phone, so stopping early would be detrimental to that progress.  so then i figured i'd just go off prompt all week, but i didn't want to miss out on the push to work on this specific area of photography.  sooooooooo, i decided i'm going to keep shooting regular day-to-day moments with my phone like i've been doing, and then once a day, if time allows, i'll pull out my dslr and attempt to freeze some motion.  whatever days i decide to shoot on-prompt with my big girl camera on top of my phone shooting, i'll just pick one image from each set to share for my 365 (or in this case, do a whole blog post with both nikon and phone pictures).

so first up, today's attempt at panning.  these didn't turn out nearly as well as i was hoping, but i'm going to share for posterity, and because the failures are a part of the learning process as much (if not more!) as the successes are.

that last image i did a great job freezing the motion of the swing, the problem is i was trying to get his face clear.  but hey, it's a step in the right direction.

and here are today's iphone images- we had a picnic in the park, followed by some flower picking <3 

and my new personal favorite- in color and b/w <3 

day 102

this week's theme is {us}, which means i need to make an effort to include myself in the frame since i'm a part of "us".  it's still april though, and i'm wickedly stubborn, so i'm still making myself shoot with my iphone.  i cannot say emphatically enough how thankful i am the the lens kit i got for christmas also came with a little iphone holder and tripod set up.  so.  thankful.  taking a self portrait is challenging enough with a regular camera, but trying to set up a phone and take a picture with a 10 second timer one frame at a time is... well, let's just say i'm going to get plenty of exercise this week.  if i didn't have the little tripod guy, i'd probably also end up getting a new phone by the end of the week too.  as it is, my kids are (so far) enjoying watching me run back and forth from my phone to wherever they are and then pretending like they don't see the camera (or in some cases, cheesing so hard that i could stick them on a plate of crackers and serve them at a party).  i was feeling dissatisfied with much of what i got today, so i have 2 sets.

set 1: this is where you'll find us on a typical weekday afternoon around 2:30- on the couch, watching tv, eating snack, and generally trying to wake up and gear up for the second half of the day.

and set 2: when we start to get restless, you'll find us in the kitchen looking for creative ways to eat our way out of our boredom.  today we made 3 ingredient microwave cakes- 1 banana, 1 egg, 1 tbsp cocoa powder.  bam.  yummy afternoon boredom killer.

and one more unrelated to this week's theme- because when you put away a set of toys for several weeks and then pull them back out, it's like they're brand new and even more captivating than they were the first time around, and that's something to share and celebrate :)

day 95

i went waaaaay off prompt today.  i also took a lot of pictures, which is pretty common when i'm shooting with my iphone because i'm never satisfied with what i take (which is why i'm doing this month long challenge!), but today was unusual because i also kept a lot of what i took.  when the moment is right and so is the light, you're more likely to end up with some keepers :)

happy monday all!

personal photojournalism: the return of the walk

it's blog circle time!  when you're done checking out our spring story, head over to Jessica's blog at Samarie-lei Photography to see how her family has been spending their time! 

it has been a long, long winter in our house.  the truth is, it hasn't even been that cold, and we certainly haven't gotten all that much snow, but my tolerance of temperature dips has taken a nose dive, which kept us cooped up inside for the vast majority of the winter months.  with 2 boys under 4, that made for some long, cold, grouchy days stuck inside our little townhouse.  so, it goes without saying that we were all thrilled when the weather turned warm and springy a few weeks back, even if it only lasted for a few days at a time.  we played outside in the driveway, rediscovered bubbles, enjoyed water play out on the deck, hit every park in a 10 mile radius, and- best of all- reinstated our family walks.

we've been going for walks together as a family since our first was still cooking and we were trying to persuade him to make his arrival.  since he was an october baby, we didn't get many walks in immediately following his birth, but once the weather warmed back up, you could find us walking almost daily for fresh air and sunshine.  when i was pregnant with our second, i was hesitant to get a double stroller, but my wonderful friends and family knew me better than i did and surprised us with one.  it was possibly the best and most used gift we received with him.  i would guess that at least 4 evenings a week in the springs and summers since we welcomed our second son (starting about 4 weeks after his arrival), we've loaded both kids up and hit the sidewalks.

it's our chance to get out, get some air and some sunshine, unplug from the world and plug into each other.  it's an opportunity for my husband and i to have a real conversation while our boys witness the maintenance of a marriage built on friendship.  it's a chance for our littles to observe our little corner of the world and a little slice of nature while they feel the gentle clack-clack-clack of the sidewalk under the stroller wheels.  and, now that they're older and energetic and eager to explore, it's a chance for all four of us to stretch our legs and burn off any energy we may have left at the end of the day.

the big has fully embraced our invitation to him to be freed from the stroller once we cross into the neighborhood behind ours (since it actually has sidewalks, unlike where we live).  he runs 4 or 5 driveways ahead of us before turning around to ask if we saw how fast he ran.  he is eager to pick up every interesting leaf, rock or stick he may find, and he is enthralled by ant hills and flower buds and, in true boy fashion, bird poop covered sidewalks :)

the little has been more hesitant to leave the comfort and familiarity of his stroller seat.  it takes some persuasion to get him to walk on his own, and even more persuasion to get him moving for more than a minute or two before he asks to sit again.  fortunately, he has an older brother who is gentle and understanding and at the same time desperate to share his enthusiasm with his best friend.

it's a simple joy of mine, as their momma, to watch the way they function together.  the little adores his brother so deeply- he watches his every move, he imitates and seeks approval.  he allows his older brother to share his knowledge and experience with things that to him are big and new and foreign.  more than once, the tables have turned and my shy and timid oldest has turned to his brother in moments of overwhelm and uncertainty to be his anchor; this big brother sometimes needs his little brother as a safety net more than the other way around when they're both facing something new.  but when my oldest is secure and confident, that swells within him and pours out of his heart and he becomes the teacher and the comforter all at once, and he leads his brother, who is happy and thankful to follow.

these walks are so much more than just walks for us, and i am so very glad for their return.  now continue around the photojournalism blog circle to see some amazing photos from Jessica of Samarie-lei Photography :)