Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Heart Faces: Summer Fun

Here's my entry for the I Heart Faces "Summer Fun" Challenge this month.  I figure nothing says summer fun like climbing trees!

For more Summer Fun images click on the link below:

Photo Challenge Submission

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Boo

This morning we made the difficult decision to put our cat Boo to sleep.  It wasn't an easy decision, but it was the right one.  I posted about Boo back in 2008 when I first started this blog but she totally deserves her own post today as well.

Boo found us in October 2002 just after our first wedding anniversary while we were still poor college students living in married student housing.  Technically we weren't allowed to have pets other than fish, so we considered giving her the name Fish so we wouldn't be breaking the rules.  After some more consideration we arrived on the name Boo due to the time of year and also because of her Halloween coloring.  I didn't want a long haired cat but from the get go Boo had such a great personality that we just couldn't see not keeping her.  Our parents weren't very impressed with the first photos we emailed them of her, she wasn't exactly a pretty cat in the beginning.  We had to cut out a lot of burrs and mats in her long hair so she had large missing chunks of fur, was super scrawny, and then was shaved from her armpits down on her stomach when we had her fixed.  Let's just say she got prettier :)

She's been a part of our lives for the past decade and has been a part of a lot of big events in our lives.  I remember the morning of David's college undergrad graduation in December 2002 when we woke to the sound of her vomiting up worms which caused my sympathetic puker husband to sympathetically puke along with her.  Thank God the vet was open that Saturday morning for an early morning call!  I'm glad to say that after that incident she was done with worms, though she kept her big appetite.  She moved with us from Idaho to Salem where she learned the joys of large second story apartment windows.  A year after she adopted us we brought home our dog Zoe and she quickly showed the puppy who is boss.  In fact Boo will show every animal alive who is boss and has reigned Queen Bee in our household for the past decade.  She was there when we brought home Grace from the hospital and took to the baby quicker than poor Zoe.  She's willing allowed our children to chew on her tail, sit on her, haul her around, and generally manhandle her for the past seven years without a single bite/scratch/hiss.  For that reason alone she should be up for sainthood!

Boo loved popcorn and licking the insides of yogurt cups (or the kids' breakfast bowls if I didn't get them in the sink quick enough).  Her favorite napping spots were behind the sliding glass door curtain, the dining room chairs next to the sliding glass door, my lap, and inside boxes/paper bags.  She had the cutest paws with fur that stuck out between her toes and hated being in the car and other cats.  She put up with Dexter when we brought him home a little over a year ago though she grumpily put him in his place and let him know where he fell in the animal hierarchy of our house.  Most nights she would sleep near us in our bed, either on the windowsill above our bed or on my pillow.  A couple of mornings I even found her snuggled under the covers with me.

Boo was a good cat and will be sorely missed.  Grace especially was fond of her and took the news pretty hard when we told the kids last night that Boo was very sick and would most likely not be around much longer.  I'm so thankful that David volunteered to take her in to the vet this morning because we both knew that she probably wouldn't be coming back and I don't think I would have handled it very well.  Looking back through the photos of her this afternoon has been very therapeutic, and I'm glad I have so many.  I'm not even sharing half of what I have, but I did realize I haven't taken many of her recently.  Probably because she's been so tired and withdrawn the last few months.  As it is this is the last photo I have of her and it was taken in January.
Just for fun David found some old photos from when we first got her in October 2002.  Wow we all three looks so young!  Boo was approximately one years old when we found her...we know she had kittens at least once.
And here are a few collages since I didn't want to bog down this post down too bad!  I didn't bother to scan in the photos from when we first got her, so these are all taken from 2005 and after.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

David and Kellie's London Adventure

David had the unfortunate assignment to travel to London for the week for work and we took the opportunity to extend the work trip a bit for a personal holiday.  We decided to arrive early and enjoy ourselves for a few days before David got sucked into the work week.  My mom was able to secure some days off from work which took care of the kids and so away we went!

We left the kids with my mom Wednesday evening and flew out from Portland at 8am Thursday morning.  We had a short layover in Chicago before taking the 8 hour "overnight" flight arriving in London at 5:30am local time.  London is 8 hours ahead of us so it's not too surprising that neither of were able to sleep on the flight since we arrived at 10:30pm our time!  After sleepily purchasing week long Tube passes we figured out how to get to the stop nearest our hotel.  Three stops and an hour later we arrived at our hotel, tired but determined not to nap and waste our valuable London time.  Instead of sleeping we took a shower, changed clothes, and found Starbucks for some coffee and a quick breakfast.

Our first stop was to Shakespeare's Globe Theater which was one of the highlights of the trip.  For those who don't know, we attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival every year (11 years running!) and enjoy theater.  While it was disappointing that photography inside the theater was not allowed it was because we had the privilege to observe a rehearsal of Midsummer's Night Dream which was a more than acceptable substitute.  We watched a scene from the lower seating level and again from the upper level.  It was surprising how close to the stage the seating was, and I can't imagine standing through one of Shakespeare's long historical dramas.

After Shakespeare's Globe Theater (and the lengthy walking tour we took to find it!) we had lunch and hit up The Tower of London which was at the top of my list of Must See places.  The Tower didn't disappoint.  We arrived just in time for a Yeoman tour which I highly entertain.  Our Yeoman guide was quite the comedian and had a lot of great information.  We spent quite a bit of time touring several of the towers (there are quite a few!) and of course we saw the Crown Jewels.  Pretty amazing to see jewels that large and sparkly, but the ginormous gold punch bowl took the cake.  The royal armor collection is pretty cool as was the graffiti on the stone walls left by prisoners.  Graffiti certainly has changed in the past few hundred years, I haven't seen any modern graffiti quite so neatly inscribed.

We both fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow before 8pm.  Staying up for over 24 hours will do that to a person.  Saturday we were better rested and we set out to visit Westminster Abbey, Parliament, and the Churchill War Rooms.  Westminster Abbey was pretty awesome, the architecture of the cathedral is beautiful but it's the sense of history that is most striking.  Everywhere you step, turn, or look there's a monument or grave marker.  I still can't get over the fact that I stepped on King George II's grave.  Heady stuff.  We were able to sign up for a tour of Parliament which was really interesting.  The tour lasted about an hour at took us through Westminster Hall as well as the Commons and Lords Chambers.  The Churchill War Rooms was also really interesting.  I didn't know a lot about Churchill but the exhibit and museum was very informational.  There was a museum dedicated to Churchill the man in addition to the tour through the war rooms.  The map room had been perfectly preserved as they had simply turned the lights off and closed the door at the end of the war and the room was left undisturbed for decades.  You could see the millions of pin hole dots in the maps marking troop movements over the course of the war.

Sunday we hit up the British Museum and National Gallery.  The British Museum has an overwhelming amount of historical objects on display.  Of course we saw the Rosetta Stone right off the bat and toured the incredible Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sculptures.  There were thousands of pieces of pottery, jewelry, coins, and more ancient objects than you can shake a stick at.  Remember the long lines of people at OMSI's mummy exhibit last year?  Well I saw more mummies than I can count including a few mummified cats in about 10 minutes.  Pretty incredible.

The National Gallery is home to several pieces of art that I was very excited to see.  I've taken enough History of Art classes and studied artwork in college to be pretty excited to see some of those paintings in person.  I am partial to the Monets and was stoked to find Van Eyck's Marriage of Arnolfini just before the museum closed.  It was also pretty humbling to see a few Van Gogh's that are pretty well known.  David was much more excited about the Rembrandts and Dutch painters but to each their own.

Monday morning I made my way to see Buckingham Palace and the London Museum while David was working and got a pretty comprehensive education of the town from pre-historic times to modern day.  The information on Roman London and the Great Fire of London were both pretty interesting.  There were several school tours at the museum that day and I kept getting caught up in groups of exuberant elementary school students.  I met up with David and his work colleagues in the afternoon and we toured the Victoria and Albert Museum until they kicked us out to close.  The V&A museum holds tons of historical treasures like gorgeous textiles from the Middle East and one of Mick Jagger's velvet jumpers.

I took off for home Tuesday morning after breakfast and traveled 22 hours and spent time in 3 different time zones to get from the hotel home.  In those 22 hours I took the Tube, airplane, a shuttle, and finally drove home via Sherwood to switch vehicles and pick up my kids.  I left London at 12:05pm local time and reached home a little after 10pm our time.  The jet lag is definitely harder going to London then coming home, but the long trip is definitely worth it.  We had a great time!

And now for some pictures...

 Big Ben and Parliament 
 Buckingham Palace
 David in front of Westminster Abbey
 One of the zillions of doubledecker buses in London...and yes we road a couple!
 Me in front of The London Tower
 London Bridge
 One of the many Pret a Mangers in London...they have free wi-fi!
 Obligatory red telephone booth photo
 Westminster Abbey
Our fabulous Yeoman Warder tour guide

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Christmas 2011

I realize I'm posting about Christmas on Ground Hogs Day but hey, at least I'm attempting to catch up!  The holidays are a blur for me anyways so any attempt at keeping up with this blog is futile so I don't even try.  Keeping up three blogs, one of which requires a daily photo is a lot of work!

This year we managed to get a Christmas tree (last year we didn' this is an improvement!) and it was lovely.  We enjoyed it for a good two weeks before we took down all the ornaments and passed it on to our neighbors before we left for Idaho.  Seriously, we unplugged the lights, threw the cord over the top, and our neighbor's hauled it out the front door stand/lights and all and brought it in their back door and plugged it in.  Instant Christmas Tree, just add ornaments.

We spent the weekend before Christmas in Sherwood visiting my Mom and doing our Christmas together.  Grace, Mom, and I got all dressed up and went downtown to see The Nutcracker which was a lot of fun.  This was the first time we've taken Grace to see the Oregon Ballet version and I think she really enjoyed it.

After a super busy day of cleaning the house and packing we made the long trek to Idaho to visit David's family for 10 days.  David and I snuck out a few times to see a movie or two (wahoo!) and even got to go on a coffee date at our favorite coffeeshop The Flying M in Nampa.  This was the first year that Christmas Eve was celebrated somewhere other than Opa and Oma's house in Caldwell, and instead we all gathered in Weiser at David's Oom Ray's house.  Ethan had an absolute blast following David's youngest cousin Rein around with a Nerf gun.  It's a good thing he found one under the tree for him the next day!

The Parry family had the distinct honor of lighting the Advent candle at Christmas morning service at 11am which meant we had to plan out our morning fairly strategically.  Concerned about getting five adults and two small children fed/dressed/and ready to leave by 10:30am we arranged a shower schedule to have us all dressed and ready by 7am when we woke the kids up to start opening the pile of presents.  Miraculously we managed to be completely done with Christmas, including a sit down breakfast by 9:18am.  Next year I'm hoping we don't have to set alarms or shower before 7am!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bowl of Thankfulness

Sorry for the late Thanksgiving post, but better late then never right?  Just as we have done in years past (2008 and 2009) our family spent the month of November filling our bowl of thankfulness.  Every night at dinner we each write down what we are thankful for that day (no repeating!) and read them aloud on Thanksgiving day.  Every year the kids understand the concept a little more and I'm so proud that they really thought about what they are thankful for.  They came up with things much more meaningful then basketballs (what Ethan was thankful for 99% of the time last year).
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I'm so glad we started our bowl of thankfulness tradition.  We have so many things to be thankful for that dedicating one day to thank God for all our blessings just isn't enough.  And hopefully as the Christmas season begins my children will understand that they are already blessed with so many things that giving to others shouldn't be a big stretch.  Of course they are six and four so I know that we have awhile before the idea of giving gifts is more appealing then receiving them.

This was my first year officially hosting Thanksgiving.  I think we may have had it at our house in 2007 but I have no photographic proof nor do I really remember it (I had a two year old and one month old...cut me some slack!).  This was my first time roasting the turkey, that I am sure of.  It turned out just lovely, as did the rest of the dinner that everybody contributed to.  It's not Thanksgiving without a mound of mashed potatoes, the disgusting sweet potato casserole everbody but me and Brian loves, my favorite cran-raspberry salad with the marshmallow cream topping, and of course plenty of pie.  I'm a firm believer in high pie to person ratios, this year we scaled back to four pies to 7 adults and 2 kids.  If cherries weren't so expensive I would have added a cherry pie too.
And this year's sampling of thankfulness:
* Paper and Crayons -Ethan
* Rain -Kellie
* Having Friends -Grace
* Lazy Saturdays with Football -David
* "Golden Hour" Sunlight -Kellie
* The Bathroom -Grace
* My Bride finding and doing something she loves -David
* Eating Breakfast -Ethan
* David's Dungeons and Dragons Group -Kellie
* The Earth -Grace
* Chicken Noodle Soup -Ethan
* Mrs. Wagner -Kellie
* Pajamas -Grace
* Good Beer -David
* Quiet -Kellie
* Doughnuts -Ethan
* Summer -Grace
* Netflix Instant Watch on Sick Days -Kellie
* Visiting Friends -David

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Christmas Gift Ideas for Photographers

I'm a part of a women's photography group and we we met this morning and the topic of reasonably priced photography accessories to add to the Christmas list came up.  Most of us don't have families who are able or willing to plunk down large chunks of money for dream lenses (wishful thinking!) but there are plenty of budget friendly photography accessories and gear that you have a chance of finding under your Christmas tree!  Here's a list of ideas that won't give your husband a heart attack when they see the price:

1. Wireless Remote
Useful for self portraits, or even low light photography when you're using a tripod and slow shutter speed to reduce camera shake.  You can also get the wired variety, which I own, just know that wireless would be much easier and you're not tethered to your camera!  Make sure to get one that works for your camera make and model.  Here is one for the Canon Rebel series.

2. Gray Card
You want your gray card to be 18% gray, you can find it for $5 at Focal Point (our local photography store).  Useful for setting custom white balance, and since they're cheap there's really no excuse not to have one!

3. Reflector
I use mine a TON.  It's really a staple and something I bring to every photo session I have.  I even have a "low tech" one that stays in my kitchen just for on the cuff shots of my kids!  You can totally go low tech with this and use a white poster board or silver auto windshade, but having a real reflector is pretty nice.  You can find a bazillion of these on Amazon, they come in every size and shape under the sun.  I'd stick with a reasonable size to start out with, probably 32" or so.  Here's a link to just one of the zillions of options on Amazon.

4. Pop Up Flash Diffuser
There are several low budget alternatives to purchasing a pop up flash diffuser, but there's something to be said for easy and durable!  The Lightscoop, Gary Fong, and Lumiquest are all good affordable options.

5. The Lens Pen
Have you noticed any dust or smudges on your lens?  Funny spots in the same spot of every photo?  Then it may be time to clean your lens.  The Lens Pen (or similar knock off) is a good way to do it yourself that's not completely scary.

6. Camera Strap Cover
Sure you can use the functional but not very aesthetically pleasing camera strap that came with your camera and it won't affect the quality of your images one iota.  However there's something to be said about using pretty things, so a camera strap cover isn't very necessary but it sure can be fun!  They are also fairly easy to make, so you could even make them as Christmas presents to give yourself :)  My husband bought me mine from Etsy for my birthday and I love it!

7. Extension Tubes
If you'd love to experiment with macro but a macro lens isn't in the budget (darn!) then add a set of inexpensive extension tubes to your wishlist!  I've never experimented with extension tubes but they are similar to my ghetto macro technique, they just allow you to use one lens instead of two lenses with one held backwards.  The cheap ones will require manual focus (just like the ghetto macro technique) or you can buy the expensive ones with built in auto focus.  Of course if you're going to spend that kind of money you can probably go ahead and just buy a macro lens!  Here's a link to an inexpensive set of extension tubes for Canon and Nikon cameras.

8. Filters
There are a lot of different kinds of filters, some that do fun effects (starbursts etc) and others that simply protect your expensive lens!  Make sure when you add these to your list to specify the size filter you need (check the back of your lens cap to find the size).

9. Memory Cards
Who doesn't need more CF cards (or whatever memory card your camera takes)?  I prefer to use several smaller ones then one or two big ones so that if something happens to my card I still have some images to work with.  My preferred card size is 4gb which are pretty cheap!

10. Card Reader
I'm ashamed to say I only recently bought one of these handy devices and it is a lifesaver!  It zips the photos off my CF card in no time flat and is soooooo much faster then just plugging my camera in to my computer.  Seriously, if you dread pulling images off your camera because it takes forever you will want one of these!  I think this is the one I have, it's currently $10.54 which is so worth it.

11. Bokeh Kit
Want to play around with fun shaped bokeh?  Sure you can do it yourself by cutting out the shapes in perfectly cut out cardboard circles, or you can ask for this bokeh kit and get started playing right away!

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Baby is FOUR!

I really can't believe that my baby is turning four today.  In fact he turns four in just under two 10:25 this morning.  I remember his birth very well, mostly just how utterly exhausted I was from laboring all night and how much energy I felt the moment I gave birth to him.  He was definitely not the cutest baby immediately after birth, he looked pretty beat up and had the scrunchiest old man face but we loved him anyways.  Still do in fact.  I never knew just how special the mother son relationship could be before I gave birth to my son but I have to say that it's taken me by surprise.  I love this boy more than words can say!
It's not a post from me without a thousand pictures, and I tried my darndest to keep it to a minimum but I had a really hard time choosing my favorite photos of Ethan from the past year.  I tried to choose some of my favorites that show his personality and some that I haven't shared here before.  He's such a boy!
Things Ethan is totally into right now:
The Flash
Iron Man
Any sport
Any super hero
Dress up
Eating whole apples
Super Hero capes
Snuggling with Mommy and Daddy