Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Beautiful Utah (Wordless Wednesday)

I've been trying my hand at landscape photography the last six months or so and I'm loving it.  I love watching the clouds in the daytime, calculating where they might be at sunset and whether it's worth gathering a child or two and rushing off to a beautiful place.  I love setting up the camera near the lake, adjusting all the settings just right, and hitting the button.  I love watching the light shine and paint the sky with vivid colors.  I love watching the wildlife and birds near the lake (and wishing I had a quality zoom lens to capture them with).  I love the reflections on the water.  And I just love having a reason to savor it all.  Joey, my fisherman, loves any excuse to go near water and is always up for the adventure.  Eliza and Allison love to explore by the shore.  Sarah loves to take pictures of her own and begs to go to the sunset every other day.  She has to settle for a few times a month.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Six Sisters (Wordless Wednesday)

From Easter (playing a bit of catch-up).  I love, love, love having six little girls all in a row.  

Monday, June 02, 2014

April and May

So much has happened the last few months.  May is always the craziest month, with every child having two or three "end of the school year" events, heading off to field trips, needing permission slips and three dollars sent here or there, random costumes for this event or that one.  Two of my kids got braces this month, eight of them saw the dentist, we had kindergarten and preschool graduations, Mother Goose days, and a bazillion other things.  Here are a few highlights, with pictures:

We stayed home for spring break this year, and spent a good part of it clearing out the forest behind our house.  We ended up with 10 trailer loads of sticks we hauled to our city's mulching area.  By the end of the week, we'd gotten pretty much all the logs and sticks cleared that were small enough for us to do ourselves.

Before the clearing away:

I spent a day at a photography workshop in Salt Lake.  Scott Kelby was the instructor.  A sports photographer and photoshop guru, he is also the author of the very first book I read about Photoshop Elements ten years ago when I first learned the program and began designing for my own digital scrapbooks. I continued to read his books and tutorials as I learned Photoshop and began selling my own designs a year later and more recently as I've turned to photography.

The workshop was a little of everything and I was a bit worried it would be too basic.  But it was really good to have the basics covered and realize how much I was already doing right as well as learn some new tricks.  I came home feeling as though I knew what direction I needed to go to improve in my photography.

Plus it was just a whole lot of fun to be gone for a day with no responsibilities other than to think about my favorite hobby.  I sat by a gal from Idaho, ate lunch at the yummy Blue Lemon across from Temple Square, and made a list of expensive gear I want to own someday.

Speaking of photography, I won an Honorable Mention in the first photo competition I entered, the Provo City Photo competition.  I won a $25 check plus bragging rights.  The winners were invited to a city council meeting and our photos were displayed on the wall outside.  It was a fun thrill to see mine (it's the snowy mountain scene in the upper right hand corner) up there with the others.

 And here's a close-up picture of it:

In April and May, we celebrated three birthdays (Michael's 12th, Lillian's 15th, and Katie's 4th) with a family party with Grandma and Grandpa plus three separate parties.

At Katie's party:

 (notice the braces?  We now have all three of the older kids in them)

 Michael's party was at this place.  Allison and Sarah each invited a few friends to celebrate their July birthdays a bit early:

DH and I also celebrated 17 years of marriage with a last-minute overnight trip to Salt Lake while Lillian babysat.  It was nice to spend the evening together.  We ate yummy food and went to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Leonardo.

I went along to a field trip to the Thanksgiving Point farm for Katie, who told me she didn't want to go unless I came too.  When she gets an idea in her head, it's hard to talk her out of it, so I went.  We had fun.

Katie finished up her first year of preschool with a fun graduation.  Katie is full of energy and life and can sometimes be a challenge with her determination and strong will.  We adore her.

Harmony finished up kindergarten (the face painting was from a birthday party).  She is such a delight.  She embraces life with enthusiasm, gratitude, and energy.  She is always drawing me lovely pictures, is a great leader to Katie and Cami at home, and is happy to be turning six this summer.  I'm so glad she's in our family.

Allison and Eliza were on their school's track team and they cleaned up with the awards.  Harmony won first and Katie was second in the preschool/kindergarten race, beating out about ten other girls.  Allison was first in the 400, the long jump and relay, and second in the 100.  Eliza won the long jump and was second in the 100 yard dash and tied for second in the 50.  Everyone was thrilled with their ribbons.

Joey has been our designated lawn-mower for several years, but this summer, he'll be gone a few weeks here and there working (and playing) at his grandpa's house, so it was time to train some of the others.  Michael and Allison are both enthusiastic about the responsibility.

Allison is constantly making bracelets out of small rubber bands.

We had our last horseback riding lessons this month with our teacher Breanna.  She's headed off to Mexico on a mission for our Church and we are so proud of her.  She has every reason to stay and is sacrificing a lot to go.  She found a place to take her horses for the 18 months she'll be gone -- Comanche and Paisley will be at a therapy place that works with disabled people.  Most of us were able to go to Breanna's mission farewell talk, where she spoke in sacrament meeting the week before she left.  She talked about how to receive answers to prayer.  We're so proud of her.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I thought it would be a simple task to switch two of our bedrooms around. Joey and Michael have shared the second-smallest room for seven years (Lillian, the only child who has her own room, has the smallest).  We had them switch with Harmony and Katie who have been in our former spare room for a year or two.  But somehow, switching rooms became going through every last bit of junk the boys have accumulated in their lifetimes, repairing and painting walls (Harmony picked out a lovely purple for one accent wall), and it took hours.

And of course, there were a whole bunch of other things that happened, including a trip to Hawaii for three of our family members, but I'll have to share that another day.  

I do have to say I'm so, so, so thankful I survived April and May.  Welcome June!


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