Ella the Tomato Farmer

Look out, there is a new farmer in town! Ella has inherited daddy’s green thumb and is enjoying the tomatos.

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Here is Miss Ella, surveying the new crop of tomato plants that daddy and Chloe planted last week.

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Soil looks good!

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Apparently Ella likes to play in the dirt. And some people are upset that we don’t have boys…

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Ella is actually NOT smiling. I think it is because she is pontificating. What a 6 month old ponders, I’m not really sure…

Don’t worry auntie Christina, daddy was Ella’s spotter and stood next to her the entire time.

Have a great day!

Sunset at Folsom Lake

We have lived in Folsom for 7 years now (OMG has it been that long?) and we rarely go to the lake. And we have never gone to the lake to watch the sunset. A few weeks ago, it was unseasonably warm – 90 degrees in April?!?! – and the sun didn’t set until almost 8 o’clock. I somehow managed to convince my husband to drag our two adorable girls to the lake so that I could get some shots at sunset. He gave me a little bit of a ‘tude, but I sure am glad that I persisted. Because that night I took some of my favorite photos to date.

First shot

First shot

This was the first shot I took that night, right near the parking lot. I love the warm, beautiful light and how it backlights Chloe’s hair and flowy skirt. And even though I don’t normally like bugs, I love that I can see them flying around in the sun’s rays.

We made our way up the hill so that we could see the lake. The lupine is blooming this time of year, and I was hoping to get some shots of Chloe traipsing through the beautiful purple flowers. I didn’t find any lupine, but there were some other pretty purple flowers blooming (I actually think that they are weeds, but flowers sound so much nicer than weeds).

Chloe in the pretty purple flowers

Chloe in the pretty purple flowers

Here is my little girl, walking towards the lake. Isn’t the light just beautiful? Chloe is looking back towards daddy and sister, hoping that they hurry up so she can go down to the water.

BTW, recognize part of this photo? It is the header on my blog page.

Rock skipping

Rock skipping

We made it down to the water, and nobody even fell in! Gary tried to teach Chloe how to skip rocks across the water. She pretty much just tossed them in with a big “kerplunk” and then congratulated herself with a “good job Chloe!”. She had so much fun, and became very enamored with the rocks.

Chloe Belle, geologist

Chloe and her rock

She sat there and studied the rocks. Then she carefully brushed the dirt off of each one before hurling it into the water. Perhaps she will become a geologist some day.

My beautiful girl

My beautiful girl

I think Gary is right, I make adorable babies!

Sunset at the Lake

Sunset at the Lake

An hour passed by so quickly, and the sun began to set behind the dam. But not before I got one last shot of daddy with his girls.

My Family

My Family

Good night.

For the Love of Pets

When I first started taking pictures, my idea was that I would take portraits of babies. So I asked a friend if I could practice on her newborn and she politely obliged. The photos I took of her daughter were not very good. Turns out that my favorite photo from that day was of her dog. Here it is:

Gus

Gus

Which got me thinking…perhaps I should branch out and consider pet portraits, too. It only makes sense seeing as though I am a veterinarian and all.

So here are a few photos I have shot since my mini epiphany:

Big Fat Otis

Big Fat Otis

Here is Otis, my 24 pound diabetic cat. Isn’t he handsome? He just loves to sunbathe, and this was the first sunny day of the spring.

Maddie

Maddie

And here is sweet little Maddie, who came into work with her mommy one day. She is so cute I just HAD to snap a photo of her! But it turned out to be way more difficult than I thought. She was sitting in a cage and kept trying to jump out. And she kept bobbing her head to get away from my camera. But I was finally able to get a shot.

Russell

Russell

 And this in my in-law’s cat Russell. Does that make him my brother-in-law? He is a big boy, and likes to lay on the bar stool. He just sort of spreads himself out, legs dangling over the edge, like a big lion laying in a tree.

Major

Major

How cute is this little guy? I just love him! This is my neighbor’s puppy and he is just the most adorable little thing you have ever seen!

I just took some photos of a very special dog named Eddy, which I will post later. I have something planned just for him.

Until then…

The Photography Bug

Last June I had this bright idea that I would buy a new camera. I was pregnant with Ella and had cut my hours at work way back, and I was thinking that maybe it would be fun to start a little business taking portraits of kids. So I sent my neighbor an email (she is a photography nut) about what sort of camera I should buy. She replied with a highly informative 3 page email, detailing different models of digital SLRs (what?), lenses (you mean there is more than one?), and software (huh?) that I would need. Holy crap. I thought I would just buy a camera, point it at something, and I would have beautiful images. Turns out that photography is way more complicated than that.

So I ended up buying a Nikon D80 and love it! I took it on vacation and shot well over 600 pictures. All in automatic mode. These photos were way better than anything I had ever shot before…But I wanted them to be better. So my photography neighbor told me about a class at Folsom Parks and Rec taught by Bonita Chimes. It was one night a week for 4 weeks, and it taught me how to use my camera on manual. I was hooked.

So hooked, I can’t stop taking pictures, much to the annoyance of my husband and children. So hooked that I find myself pulling over on the side of the road because I see something that I think will make a beautiful picture. My neighbor says “you got the bug”. Yeah, I got the bug.

Cow

Cow

Here is a cow, grazing in a field somewhere near Elk Grove. The fam was driving somewhere and I made Gary stop the car so that I could take some photos. Fortunately the girls were asleep in the back seat and didn’t complain. The light was just beautiful, and there were these huge, fluffy clouds in the sky…I could have stayed all day.

Clouds

Clouds

Can you tell I love clouds? Here is a photo from a day where I was driving home and there was a storm coming in. I parked at the top of a hill, pulled out my camera and tripod, and started shooting. My hands were frozen, my teeth were chattering, but I just couldn’t stop!!!

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

And then there was Yosemite. We went on our annual trip in March, and Gary was kind enough to watch the girls so I could go out and shoot some pictures. I stood out in the meadow for about 2 hours at sunset, shooting the Falls and Half Dome in the rapidly changing light. I was playing with different settings on my camera and I got this photo. When it came up on the LCD screen, I believe I said “holy shit”.

I got the bug.

I am having way too much fun with photography. I’m addicted. And I find myself obsessed with all of the things that I need in order to make my photos better, and to start my own business. Like a new computer. And the current professional edition of Photoshop (I have the consumer version). And a new lens (I have already purchased 3, but I want another one). Not to mention a website. I’ll get there some day. Until then, I will just keep shooting and I will love every minute of it.

Chloe the Elf

Did you ever see that movie “Elf”? The one where Will Farrell plays Buddy, a man raised by elves? It was really cute, and I was reminded of it the other day when Chloe raided my bathroom (which I supposedly childproofed):

Yummy cotton balls!

Yummy cotton balls!

I think that Chloe must be Buddy’s love child, because this girl loves to eat cotton balls. I know, it is totally disgusting.

Tasty cotton ball!

Tasty cotton ball!

I mean, how in the world could this possibly be appetizing? All dry and fluffy. I can just feel the little fibers getting stuck behind my tonsil, beyond the reach of my fingers. And between my teeth. And up my nose.

And for those of you wanting to ask the obvious question, the answer is no, I haven’t checked to see if it has come through the other end. Ew.

I think I'm full...

No more

I think she would have eaten the entire bag had I not intervened.

The girl also loves to eat paper: toilet paper, paper towels, Kleenex. I used to worry about it, but my sister (a registered dietician) told me that she used to eat paper, too. I guess that makes me feel better…she turned out okay.

All gone

All done

I just hope she doesn’t develop a palate for maple syrup, like Buddy. This girl already has the energy level of an entire high school cheerleading squad. I don’t think I could handle her all amped up on sugar, too. I’ll take cotton balls over maple syrup any day.

And such is life at the zoo…

Wild Turkeys

Our backyard faces an open field, which happens to be prime stomping ground for wild turkeys. They especially like our house, because Gary fills a bird feeder with seed, most of which winds up dumped onto the ground. Mind you, our yard is probably about 1/10 of an acre, not exactly what you would consider haven to wild animals.

The other day, my next door neighbor was over and could not believe that the turkeys were in our yard. Apparently they never come into her yard to visit. Probably because she doesn’t have a bad-ass bird feeder hanging on her fence (which is, I’m almost certain, in direct violation of 10 different CCNRs).

And then there is Gary’s colleague, who also can’t believe we have wild turkeys in our yard. He has expressed his eagerness to come over and hunt the wild turkeys. When Gary explained to him that we live in city limits (remember, a whopping 1/10 of an acre) and that gun fire would be frowned upon, he stated something along the lines of “no worries, I’ll use a bow and arrow. Nobody will ever hear that”.

So for all you budding ornithologists and bird hunters out there, here is a look at our back yard on a typical morning.

Two grazing turkeys

Two grazing turkeys

Here are two wild turkeys, happily grazing our backyard along the fence. That is until our dogs ran outside and interrupted their breakfast.

Flying Turkey

Flying Turkey

Fortunately, the turkeys are pretty good fliers.

Turkey on Fence

Turkey on Fence

This turkey made it onto our fence before the vicious Boston Terrier could nip at her ankles. Sometimes the turkeys just perch on the fence and hang out. I think they like the view.

Turkey on Roof

Turkey on Roof

And this turkey sought refuge on our neighbors’ roof. Last place I would expect to see a wild turkey, but hey, if a Boston Terrier is chasing you…

So that would be a sample of the wildlife here in Folsom. If you decide to stop by for a visit, please leave the bow and arrow at home.

Chicken Butt

We have a little ritual in our house. Every night before we give the girls a bath, we have the Presentation of the Chicken Butt. This started when Ella was a few weeks old. We would undress her for her bath, then proclaim “Presenting…..Chicken Butt!” and everybody would cheer. This may have been a little frightening to a naked 1 month old, but she seems to enjoy it now.

I now present to you….CHICKEN BUTT!!!!

Preparation for the unveiling

Preparation for the unveiling

Look at how excited she is! This girl usually has a smile from ear to ear, but there is something special about bath time.

Chicken Butt!!!

Chicken Butt!!!

Is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen? Don’t you just want to bite that cute little dimply tushie?

Are you looking at me?

Are you looking at me?

I know one day, when Ella is a teenager (and has become painfully aware of all the pressures we girls face to be skinny), I will hear her say “when was my ass hit by a hail storm?” referring to her cellulite. And I will tell her that a hailstorm came through when she was a little baby, probably when we were parading her little naked butt around the bathroom. And that it is the same hailstorm that hit her big sister and hit mommy. But I digress.

As I said earlier, we all cheer the Presentation of the Chicken Butt, especially Chloe. She usually stops whatever she is doing to clap and cheer.

Cheering the Chicken Butt

Cheering the Chicken Butt

In this case, she was trying to break open the nail polish (please note that her nails are already painted…I don’t know where the new fascination has come from).

Chloe is usually so excited about the Chicken Butt that she has to run right over and poke it.

Gotcha!

Gotcha!

After all the excitement is over, Ella gets to take her bath, which she LOVES!!! Recently she has taken to kicking both of her legs up into the air and splashing them down into the tub. I am considering the purchase of foul weather gear to wear while bathing Ella. An industrial strength mop also appears to be in our future.

Future Olympic Swimmer

Future Olympic Swimmer

Do you see how focused this girl is? She is putting every single ounce into her backstroke! From the picture, you would never guess that she is actually having a blast!

But all good things must come to an end…time to get out of the tub, dry off, and head to crib.

No more paparrazzi

No more paparrazzi

So that is the Chicken Butt Ritual, playing every night at our house.