Saturday, June 11, 2011

MCP Actions - Enchanted

There is a weekly photo contest I found about recently.   MCP Actions - Project 52 - Each week is a different theme and you enter your photos on Flickr.  I finally had a photo worth entering this week.  The theme was "Enchanted" and with Ava's ballet this week, I decided it was the perfect time to shoot some pictures back in our woods that I've been thinking about taking for awhile now.   I will share more of those later in the week but for now, I'll share the photo I entered in the contest.  

It was Ava's favorite of the bunch (and mine too) because it looks like one of the pictures in her favorite fairy book and movie...


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Video of the Week - Week 16 - Bubbles!

While I would like to post the actual video here, I can only post a link to this video.  It was taken at the House of Love, the orphanage I mentioned yesterday.  I love the reaction of the little boys and girls when they break out the bubbles!  SO cute!!!

Black & White Wednesday - Sisters

One of the things I loved most about our trip to Turks & Caicos was going out every evening and taking shots of our girls on the beach and other places at this beautiful resort!  But on this evening (which was early on in our trip), Amelia had gotten a little tired of always having a camera in her face.  

It's been hard getting a good smile out of her lately.  When I tell her to say "cheese" and smile, she ends up with an almost upside-down smile or grimace!!  As evidenced here:

So we've been working on getting "real" smiles from Amelia, with the corners of her mouth UP, not DOWN.  Ava looked over and noticed Amelia wasn't "really" smiling.

So I guess she thought she should help Amelia "really" smile

Except Amelia was not too happy about the help.  Or the hug Ava tried to give her to help her smile.

Nope.  Not. One. Bit.

On second thought.  Maybe it was a little funny.

And finally.  We have a "real" smile from Amelia!

And that made ME smile. 8-)

Check out more Black & White Wednesday at The Long Road to China...

Project 365 Days 107-113

Day 107 - April 17

I love this shot because it illustrates so much of Rosie's personality.  That may sound a little strange but, she's a guardian.  When I first come out in the morning, Rosie comes running out to greet me.  I give her a quick pet and hello and we start heading up to the barn.  Instead of walking with me, she's runs out ahead, looking for danger.  She will often come over for some attention and petting and then she wanders off, usually still within eyesight and surveys the area, looking for predators.  Usually in the evening, after her meal and feeding the other animals, we walk back down to the house.  I head for the house, she follows the driveway to the top of the hill towards the east, sits down (like she is here) and surveys the front side of the property.  At night, while I take my bath, I know she's right under the bathroom window because I occasionally hear her barking at something.  And when I go to bed, she moves to the front where my bedroom window is and stays there for awhile (before something takes her attention and she's off cavorting in the pastures around the house and barn all night).  We love our Rosie...

Day 108 - April 18

Ava loves to create things and do arts and crafts.  So when her teacher's birthday came up, she wanted to throw her a surprise birthday party (and idea I later came to deduce she got from a Fancy Nancy book!).  I walked through the problems and difficulties of doing such a thing and eventually, she decided on making her this card.  Apparently, she understands how poorly paid our educators are because she threw in that quarter.  The flower was a sweet touch and before we walked out the door that morning, she found a balloon to blow up and also attach to the card! Very sweet!  I'm sure her teacher was touched.

Day 109 - April 19

There were some terrible wildfires that were ongoing around Possum Kingdom Lake around this time.  In the end it took weeks to extinguish and thousands upon thousands of acres were charred.  Many lost their homes and businesses.  This area of Texas is actually just a county or so away and was actually fairly close to us.  On this evening, a large smoke cloud(s) came through our area.  Made for an eerie sunset...

Day 110 - April 20

You know how they say you start to look like your pet?? ;-)

Day 111 - April 21

While this isn't the most interesting picture, it does commemorate Ava's school Easter party.  They were to have a fun field trip to a zoo and then do an Easter egg hunt at a park just outside the zoo.  However, it rained cats and dogs on this day so they cancelled the field trip and had to do the egg hunt in the gym.  Ava is sitting here going over all her loot!

Day 112 - April 22

Here is our little baby, Ruby!  She's getting so big already and I think has such a great temperament.  Here mom, Ginger, is hanging out in the background there with Magic.  I hope to do an update on the horses soon and share what I'm doing with all of them...

Day 113 - April 23

It's that time of year again and we start to have some crazy weather in North Texas.  We had some storms roll in and as they moved east, the sun came out and was creating gorgeous rainbows all over the place.  But, the storm was still active enough to be shooting lightening around and I caught this cool shot of the lightening going under the rainbow!  Luckily, despite the crazy Spring storm season we've had, we've been safe and not suffered any damage.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Video of the Week - Week 15 - Amelia Sings

Amelia has really started to get into singing.  She loves singing her ABC's and there is an app I got for her iPad called "Toddler Alphabet" that she just loves.  What is more impressive to me in this clip is not her ability to sing several of the songs, but to switch apps and find the song I was looking for better than myself!

Project 365 Days 100-106

Day 100 - April 10

This picture was actually taken on the following day (the 11th) but I needed a filler!  I was on my way to pick up the subject of the next picture, when I came upon this beautiful field of blue bonnets.  Gorgeous!  Oh how I wished the girls and my DSLR were with me so I could trespass on this private property to get some beautiful shots!  Oh well, next year?

Day 101 - April 11

Well here she is!  This is Rosie, the newest member of our family (posing with Ava of course).  Rosie is a Great Pyrenees and we adopted her from the Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue.  I was hesitant to post we had adopted her because I wasn't sure if she was going to work out - she was a wonderful dog from the start but totally different than a Great Dane!!  It took me some time to adjust to her and this type of dog (she's considered a Livestock Guardian Dog) but so glad it worked out!  She is a LOVE!  Friendly with the cats, horses and awesome with my girls.  She loves to be outside guarding and wandering our property on the look out for predators.  She is about 2 1/2 years old so she's out of that puppy stage but still young enough to have many years left with us.  She spends her nights up roaming the property, guarding.  Then she pretty much sleeps during the day.  She came from a 2700 acre ranch that she guarded but has adjusted to our measly 150 just fine ;-)  I had to take her to the vet last week and the staff just LOVED her!  They couldn't believe how laid back and calm she was (the vet remarked that her heart rate was 1/3 of what most dogs are at when they come because they are so anxious at the vets!)  There will be plenty more pictures and info to come but I wanted to memorialize the day our wonderful Rosie came into our lives!!

Day 102 - April 12

So this picture is a little out of focus, a little wild from the wind, etc. but I love Amelia's expression here!  When she's posing for pictures her smile tends to be a very forced almost 'frown' looking so when I get a genuine smile from her I just love it!

Day 103 - April 13

As promised, here are some more pics of Rosie!  We kept her on a leash for the first several days and walked the fence lines of our property with her to show her where she needs to guard.  The woman at the rescue said the fact that she is so well leashed trained is rare in Great Pyrenees because so often they are loose, wandering their guarding area they don't get much leash practice!  But she is so gentle the girls can walk her and she even knows "sit" and "down"!

Day 104 - April 14

So we kept Rosie on a leash or in the barn for the first several days, like I said.  But as we got closer to 'letting her loose' I started showing her more of our property, including one of our several tanks where she can take a swim and cool off in the hot summer months to come!

Day 105 - April 15

We had a fairly good wind storm come through (as evidenced by the blowing curtains on the back patio) and we lost quite a bit of shingles.  These shingles are supposed to be able to sustain 110+ winds.  I'm not sure we got a gust above 45 mph but these were coming off.  We pretty much hate our roof.

Day 106 - April 16

I'm not sure how our town got so lucky, but a nice, new grocery recently opened.  Oh my. It's a dream come true.  Clean floors, organized shelves.  Premium foods and EXCELLENT produce and meat sections!  Another nice thing are these cute little shopping carts they have for their smallest customers.  Although they aren't so cute when they are ramming into the back of your heels ;-)

An Orphan's Wish - Summer Wish

Did you know An Orphan's Wish is having a 30 day Summer Wish Sponsor Drive?  They are looking to add 30 new sponsors during the month of June.  

If you didn't know already, An Orphan's Wish is the online name for a non profit orphanage in China (House of Love) that cares for orphans with special needs.  They are doing an amazing work there and we support Olivia and have been so blessed by being able to do so!  

Sponsorship is just $35 a month.  That's just a little over $1 a day!!  You can either support one child in particular or put it towards the general fund that goes to support all the children.  And if you are a new sponsor, you get to choose one of three cool t-shirts.  Click on the link above for more info or on the badge below.

Please consider helping out by becoming a sponsor today...

An Orphans Wish

Monday, June 06, 2011

Video of the Week - Week 14 - Haiti

While Jason was away in Haiti, he did take one or two more pictures than last time (which equalled one or two pictures total).  But this time he did take several videos.  This one was shot on their way into Quanaminthe (this is where their clinic is located).  While the video is quite bumpy in spots (he shot it from the back of a pick up truck), it will give you a good idea of what the town is like and what life is like for many of the Haitians who live there.

I Heart Faces - From A Distance

"This week we’re going to focus on portrait photos that were taken at more of a distance.  Examples of this would be:  a photo with the people way off in the distance in a beautiful location, a photo that features a whole slew of people rather than focusing on a single face, a silhouette photo taken from afar, a photo with the subjects walking away from the camera, etc.  For this week only, a face does not have to be clearly showing in your entry!  We just require that a person be visible in your photo entry somewhere." I Heart Faces.

The following picture was taken last week while on vacation in Turks & Caicos.  Jason and Ava had just emerged from the ocean after snorkeling - they saw TONS of fish!!  I bumped up the colors and then added a 'mermaid' texture to get this look.  Hope you like it!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Project 365 Days 93-99

Day 93 - April 3

Ava had to do a project for school showing the precipitation cycle (at least I think that was what it was called).  We helped her a little bit but she did the most of it and got 100%!  Oh how I hated doing these things in school.  Ava, on the other hand, relishes these projects.  Again we ask, "Where did she come from?"

Day 94 - April 4

Jason took his second trip to Haiti this week and after much prodding from me snapped a few more pictures than last time!  This was on their approach into Cap Haitian, where they land...beautiful waters and topography...

Day 95 - April 5

Back at home, we had a beautiful sunset/moonrise the following night.  It was so clear and bright I had to snap a few pictures...

Day 96 - April 6

The girls were playing up in their playhouse and Amelia was telling me something very animatedly when I caught this funny expression on her.  I think it had something to do with making a phone call!

Day 97 - April 7

We routinely have our electricity turn off and then back on again right away.  This happens at least once a month.  And yes, it's very irritating because it's just enough to turn off all the clocks, computers, tv's, and other electrical devices that need to be reset.  But on this day, the electricity turned off at about 4 a.m. and stayed off for 4-5 hours.  So the girls were having some fun having to walk around the house with flashlights.

Day 98 - April 8

So this is the other picture Jason snapped while he was away ;-)  They stopped on their way home to fill gas at this little airport on this little island who knows where.  Jason said they literally landed, pulled up to the pump (they were in a small private plane), quickly refueled and took off.  They didn't turn the engines off or stay very long.  Something about security...(yikes!)

Day 99 - April 9

Ava had been begging to have her little friend from school stay overnight for a sleepover. So, I figured why not when Jason is away and we're not doing anything else?!  Among other things, they spent a little while riding Tinkerbell (it was her friend's first time on a horse!)

Video of the Week - Week 13 - Growing Up

I don't know what kind of mood I'm in, but this made me get all teary (maybe because I can relate!?)  Really sweet...

Project 365 Days 86-92

Whew!  We just got home from a week in Turks & Caicos.  Wow.  What fun!  It was such a nice, relaxing time for our family.  The girls had a blast and the adults had a good time too! I'm going to try and catch up in my 365 photos so I can get to our vacation photos...

Day 86 - March 27

If you remember the last photo from the previous week, you remember that Jason bought the girls these Mardi Gras masks when he was in New Orleans.  As cute as my cousin and cousin-in-law-to-be look in them, these two look cuter!

Day 87 - March 28

The painters started their work today to put our house "back where it was" before the pipe broke.  The first step was to put a white base coat on all the areas to be re-fauxed.  Makes it look like a very white, big, blank slate!

Day 88 - March 29

Tis that time of the year again and Tractor Supply is full of ducks, chicks and baby rabbits.  Too cute!  

Day 89 - March 30

Jason happened to be leaving for work when I was coming down from the barn and I quickly snapped this picture of him on his Triumph before he took off!

Day 90 - March 31


While Amelia's actual birthday wasn't until tomorrow, she wouldn't be at Mother's Day Out the next day, so we celebrated with her class a day early.  I brought one of 3 cakes she would end up having to class (a cute cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes - it was SO yummy and moist!).  She loved sharing it with everyone!  And I apologize for the grainy-ness of this picture - it was taken on a phone, printed out and given to me so I scanned it in for this blog post.

Day 91 - April 1

Here is our beautiful 4-year-old on the day!  She is growing up to be such a wonderful, fun, bubbly little girl!  Because I already did a post ON her birthday, I decided to play with some textures in this shot...

Day 92 - April 2

And here she is again, one day after she turned four, waiting patiently for yet another cake we enjoyed as a family.  Such a cutie!
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