Daddy, we go feed gooses

Daddy took the girls for a walk this morning so that Chloe could feed the ducks and geese. He packed up some old pancakes in a bag and he strapped Ella into the Bjorn. Of course, daddy dressed them for the occasion. When I made the comment “nice little ragamuffins”, Gary said “What? We’re just going to feed the gooses”.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

 

The McA Fashion Plates

The McA Fashion Plates

The hat was actually Chloe’s idea. Although you can’t see it, she is wearing purple crocs. So a big thumbs up for at least color coordinating your ensemble!

And take a look at Ella. She is wearing my most favorite pair of shorts, but daddy has paired them with some knee socks. I wish a had a close-up because they are a pair of ballet slippers, complete with crystals on the toes and “Teeny Queenie” on the soles. Thanks Auntie Android!

And off they went, in all of their magnanimous splendor:

 

One last look

One last look

Yes, her t-shirt says Girls Kick Butt. But the “ladies do lunch” hat classes it up a bit, don’t you think?

 

Bye Mommy

Bye Mommy

I go feed gooses!

 

Daddy to the rescue

Daddy to the rescue

Daddy reeled Chloe in and they were off to feed the geese.

Honk Honk!

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Fun with Nature

I have been taking lots of pictures since I decided that I want to become a photographer. I’m talking LOTS of pictures. Ridiculous, obscene, infinitesimal numbers of pictures. Most of which have been of my daughters. Chloe and Ella are pretty much annoyed with me and my camera, and I am watching my photo opportunities dwindle. Despite my favorite subjects’ reluctance, I have somehow managed to take several photos that I absolutely adore, even though they are probably technically not very good. 

Photographers need portfolios to showcase their skills.  In being the novice that I am, my portfolio is very tiny. The few photos that I do have in my portfolio are of my daughters. Which would be fine if I were trying to sell my services to myself, or to my in-laws. However, I would eventually like to attract the business of more than just my immediate family. So I have branched out and enlisted the aide of my neighbors and co-workers who have been kind enough to volunteer their poor, defenseless children so that I may feed my hobby-gone-berserk.

Today I finally met up with Cheryl and her daughter. We have been trying to get together for a few months, but our schedules just never seemed to coordinate. We managed to give it a go today, even though Cheryl worked the overnight shift last night and got only a few hours sleep before meeting me. She is way more brawny than I am, because I would have said “girlfriend, I’d love to help you out but I’s needs my beauty sleep!”. I haven’t been able to get through many of the pictures, but I edited a few tonight. And the ones that I am going to show don’t really show her daughter’s face, because I want Cheryl to be the first one to see those. I guess I am a little silly that way.

Anyhow, I had all of these great ideas of photos that I wanted to take of Bre. Trouble was, once I tried to re-create these ideas, I realized that they stunk. Which is cool, I can roll with the punches and be spontaneous. Thank goodness for all the nature lurking around Folsom, because it made for some fun shots that would have otherwise been kinda lame.

Take for example the giant dandelions that I found. You would not believe the size of these things! After a few failed attempts of plucking one of these giant beasts from the ground, I managed to get one intact to give to Bre. 

 

Bre and her Giant Dandelion

Bre and her Giant Dandelion

 

 

 

Isn’t that HUMONGOUS? I have never seen such a thing. Just for reference, Bre is almost 3 years old. Yes, that dandelion is bigger than her hand.

Here she is holding one of the spores (sorry if I am not using the correct terminology…I’m a little rusty on my botany).

 

Ta Da!

Ta Da!

I’m not quite sure what those flowers eat to get so big… I am guessing small children, like Bre. Have no fear, she was not harmed or consumed while taking these photos.

As I was taking some photos of Bre, Cheryl happened to notice a little frog hopping by. In contrast to our dandelion friend, this frog has not been eating his Wheaties. He was just the tiniest little guy! Cheryl has an appreciation for all sorts of animals that I find scary. Her daughter seems to have inherited that gene, because she was more than happy to pet the miniature amphibian:

 

Bre and her baby frog

Bre and her baby frog

 

 

Much to my surprise (and moderate disgust), Bre wanted to hold the frog:

 

Mommy, I hold the frog

Mommy, I hold the frog

 

 

I have at least 50 shots of Bre holding the little dude, most of which are out of focus (one of these days I will figure out the focus!). I’m hoping that I will be able to salvage at least one. But at least I managed to get this shot, which I am really starting to enjoy, even though it features a slimy frog…

And there are a few samples of our fun, nature filled day in Folsom. Many thanks to Cheryl and Bre for taking some time out of their day so that I may continue to practice on this obsession hobby of mine.

Get some sleep Cheryl!

Top Dog!

You may have seen my post a few weeks back on K9 officer Lou Wright and Eddy. If you haven’t, take a look, because they are in the running for Sacramento’s Top Dog! The handsome duo was featured on channel 31 this morning, which I was able to watch several hours later thanks to DVR (Chloe just HAD to watch Diego). 

I voted for Lou and Eddy on the website http://www.sactopdogcontest.com/voting.htm and hope you will vote for them too! You don’t even have to be a Sac County resident to vote, so all you out-of-towners, don’t be shy! I must admit that I am not really sure what the prizes are, I am just so proud of Lou and Eddy that I hope they win!

And just in case you forgot what these two fine officers look like, here you go!

 

Good Luck Top Dogs!

Good Luck Top Dogs!

Have You Hugged a Veteran Today?

I have! But that is because I am married to one. I must say that before I met Gary, I didn’t really give it much of a thought…thanking, much less hugging, a veteran. A lot of people who know Gary know that he was in the Army as a wee lad. Not many know that he is a Gulf War Veteran. Gary enlisted in the Army straight out of high school and served for 2 years (which is all his dad would sign off on as Gary was 17 at the time). Gary trained on tanks; he started as a driver, moved up to loader and then gunner. In 1991, he was just a few weeks shy of discharge when he was called down to the Gulf, where he stayed for several months. He was a part of the ground war, Operation Desert Storm. I was just a senior in high school at that time, and had no idea who Gary was.  But I remember the yellow ribbons showing support as well as people  protesting the war. And I remember spending countless hours in front of the TV, glued to CNN for the latest updates. Who knew that at some point, my path would cross with one of those soldiers, the man who would become my husband and father of my two beautiful children.

Like I said, I didn’t know Gary at that point in his life. But I have a few pictures from the Army days, which I am going to share with you because I just love them. I apologize for the quality as I am pretty much inept with the scanner.

Army pic 1_edited-1

OMG how handsome is he?!?! Aside from pictures, I have never seen Gary without facial hair. And I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have seen him in a suit.

And I love this one, too:

Army pic 3

That is Gary popping his head out from inside his tank. He gave me this photo when we started dating 12 years ago. That smile still makes me weak in the knees (yes boyfriend, you still have that effect on me).

I started this blog for 2 reasons. First, I wanted to be able to share the photographs that I am taking with my family and friends. And second, I have found that writing is a cheap and highly effective form of therapy for me. One reason I did NOT start this blog was so that I could use it as a soap box. Here you will not find my opinion on controversial issues like politics, religion or whether or not the right person won American Idol. Because, gosh darn it, my blog is a happy place!!! 

So with that in mind, I urge you to have a great Memorial Day weekend. Have fun, be safe, and hug a veteran!

Lovin’ you Mel!

I just read the sweetest, most awesome message on my Facebook page! It totally made my day not just because of what it said, but because of who said it. The message is from Melanie, a classmate of mine from vet school. She just wanted to let me know that she enjoys reading my blog and to also let me know that I am appreciated. How amazing is that? I am so completely flattered and happy that I still have a smile upon my face 🙂

Now I think that everybody can appreciate a kind word, whether it be from a friend or a stranger. But let me tell you why I find this message so BEYOND flattering. Melanie (or Mel as we called her in school) is one of those people who has got it all. For starters, she is RIDICULOUSLY brilliant! She went on to become boarded in one of the most difficult specialties, neurology. Yes people, the girl is a brain surgeon. Literally. I mean, she surgicates on animal brains and spinal cords, makes dogs walk again, makes seizures stop, and all sorts of other miraculous, highly specialized things. That alone makes her a GOD in my book. And when she isn’t in the clinic or the OR, she is training for triathlons. WHAT? Yes, she gets out and bikes and runs and swims. I have no idea where she finds the time or the energy, but she does.

So if you are reading this and thinking that Mel is the perfect woman, she is. But I am not finished yet. On top of being a brain surgeon and a triathlete, she has the most amazing blue eyes and is super tall and thin, like a supermodel. Hate her yet? Wait, there is more. Mel is married to an amazing man, whom she met in vet school. I must digress for a moment and tell you about their courtship, which I know very little about, but watched transpire during third year (I think). I sat in the back row (I’m a slacker) and Mel and JT sat in the middle of the lecture hall. Slowly their seats migrated towards one another and they eventually wound up sitting next to each other. Usually with their backs up against each other. And not in a gross, make you want to vomit sort of way, but a sweet “lean on me”  kind of way. Oh, did I mention that JT is boarded in one of the other most difficult specialties – surgery? Could you imagine what kind of children they might have if they decided to reproduce? Oh wait, they have! That’s right, little Gage entered the world a mere 4 months ago and is just the most handsome little guy! In fact, I am saving up for a dowry to give to his parents so that Ella can marry him some day. 

I got on Facebook not too long after Gage was born, and I saw all of the great photos that Mel was posting of her little man. I mustered up the courage to ask if I could practice taking photos of him, since I am interested in starting my own portrait photography biz someday. Mel and JT were very polite and allowed me to take some photos (some, meaning 500). I am way super critical of myself, but Mel said that she just loved them and she posted some on her FB page. Here are a few of my favorites from that day:

 

Gage and Mel

Gage and Mel

I love how you can just see Mel peeking around Gage with a big smile on her face. That is the look of a proud mama who is just so insanely in love with her baby, words can’t even describe. Oh, by the way, did you see the blue eyes on that boy?

 

Gage in Black and White

Gage in Black and White

I’m not quite sure what it is about this photo, but I just love it. Maybe it is because he is nestled in daddy’s arms. Or because he has such a bright expression in his eyes. Or maybe it is because he appears to be glowing, like a little angel. 

 

Slurp!

Slurp!

Those of you non-veterinary types might be completely disgusted by this one! But I think it is super cute!

 

Priceless

Priceless

JT, there are ovaries screaming all over the world tonight!

I didn’t even need to give these guys direction and tell them things like “okay, now lean in and kiss your baby…”, they are just naturally this way. Again, saving money for Ella’s dowry.

 

Family Photo

Family Photo

Is this not a gorgeous family? If I had a wide angle lens at the time, I would have stuck the cats in there, too. I’m all emotional after watching So You Think You Can Dance that I am gushing a bit…but for goodness sake, I just love these guys! I am hoping that I can photograph them again at some point, hopefully before Gage and Ella’s wedding day.

Thank you Mel for your very sweet message on Facebook. I have printed it out so that I can refer to it when I am having a bad day, or am feeling unappreciated (which happens a lot in mommy land). 

And thank you for letting me into your world for a couple of hours. I think you are awesome.

Take care.

“We go gin-nas-tis”

Wednesday is gymnastics day for Chloe, or as she calls it, “gin-nas-tis”. She usually starts talking about gymnastics on Sunday, and we have to tell her that she gets to go in a couple of days.  The conversation usually goes something like this:

Chloe: We go gin-nas-tis?

Me: We will go on Wednesday.

Chloe: Wesday. Didter go to Sheh-i-la’s (Ella goes to the babysitter, Sherida, while Chloe is tumbling).

Me: Yes, sister will go to Sherida’s.

Chloe: We see Fwinney?

Me: Yes, we will see Sydney (her friend)

Chloe: And we see Miss Pina? (her instructor)

Me: Yes, we will see Miss Amanda (I still don’t know where “Pina” comes from because it sounds nothing like Amanda).

Chloe: Okay.

So today we went to gymnastics…and what a great day! The first great part about it was that daddy came along!!! Today was a paper work day, and he took some time out to go watch his little girl at play. And the second great part about today was that it was a “show day” at Tricks, where all the parents and grandparents and friends come along to watch the little tumblebunnies in action. They had a Hawaiian theme going on, complete with leis and decorations and Elvis Hawaiian music. Man, it was da BOMB!

Fortunately, I brought along my camera. My thought process was that daddy would participate with Chloe while Ella slept in her car seat (inside the gym – I didn’t leave her in the car), and I would be free to take pictures of the little Beast in full-on Beast mode. Chloe did not disappoint! Take a look:

 

On the rings

On the rings

Chloe just loves to hang on the rings. She just giggles and hangs on forEVER! 

 

The Trampoline Ramp

The Trampoline Ramp

Tricks has this great trampoline ramp that the toddlers run on. I’m sure that it probably has some bigger, greater purpose for the older kids, but for Chloe, it is pure entertainment! It is a one-way ramp, and she starts on one ends and runs all the way to the other. And she screams the entire way. Which is funny, because she is bouncing along and it sounds like “ahhhh..yaaaaa…yaaaa” as she boings up and down.

 

Ooops

Ooops

A lot of my shots from today look like this. I’m still learning to focus and move with my subject. I took a class with Nikon School (which was super awesome!) and one of the instructors likened photographing children to that of wildlife. I couldn’t agree more. 

 That was a shot I was trying to take of Chloe jumping on the big trampoline. Just in case you were wondering what her entire self looks like, here she is:

Jumping on the Surf Board

Jumping on the Surf Board

The kids usually jump in a star, but today Miss Amanda drew a surf board (to go along with the whole Hawaiian theme). Ashes, ashes, Chloe sit down!

After the trampoline comes the parachute:

On the Parachute

On the Parachute

Tricks has this awesome rainbow parachute. The kids lay down on the edge of the parachute, the parents pick it up and the kids all slide down to the middle. I think I need to start lifting weights so that I can send Chloe down at a little higher velocity. 

Under the Parachute

Under the Parachute

Then the kids go under the parachute while the parents lift it up and down. Chloe loves to lay on her back and put her feet in the air.

Ella napping

Ella napping

Ella followed my plan precisely, which made me super happy! Fwinney’s Sydney’s grandma “Mimi” was there to watch her granddaughter, and she was nice enough to keep an eye on Ella for me while I took lots of pictures. Fortunately, Ella woke up in time for the awards ceremony. Chloe, the big ham that she is, went first:

 

Hey! This isn't American Ido!

Hey! Where's Simon?

I just realized that this looks like a publicity shot for American Idol (which I do NOT watch, but understand there was some sort of upset tonight). Anyhow, Chloe didn’t give us a big “ta da!”, but she was still really cute nonetheless! All of the kids received a lei (I was super excited that her lei coordinated nicely with her adorable Tea ensemble), a blue ribbon, and a little bag to collect pennies, which they can later donate to a charity.

 

The Little Star

The Little Star

At the end of each class, the kids get inked with stamps on all of their hands, feet and belly. Today’s stamp was a pretty Hawaiian flower. 

 

Flower Stamps

Flower Stamps

I wish I knew what kind of flower that was. And orchid? A gardenia? I’m pretty sure that it isn’t cannibus, which was Gary’s observation.

Anyhow, that would be a whirlwind tour of our day at Tricks today. I hope that you enjoyed a little peek into our world today. And what a great day it was!

Aloha!

Silly Dennis

My brother-in-law Dennis, aka Double D, is super funny. I am so glad that my sister married him! Seriously! If I could have hand-picked someone for my sister to spend the rest of her life with, it would be Dennis. That is saying a lot, because my sister is my favorite person in the world (besides my husband and daughters, of course). Dennis is this really great guy with a heart of gold. And did I mention that he is funny? If you have been reading  my blog, you may have noticed some rather humorous comments from Double D. I’ll bet you are asking yourself “I wonder what this hilarious guy looks like?”. Wonder no further, because here he is, in all of his glory:

Double D

Double D

And just in case you need a little more eye candy, here you go:

OH sexy girlfriend!

OH sexy girlfriend!

I know that he has an MBA, but I think that he may have minored in fashion and modeling, because this guy can strike a pose!

Oh Dennis, you funny guy. I really do love you, zingers and all. Because you make my sister happy. And because you are the father of my nephew (at least, that is what we have been told…). And because you are a good person. May the Schwartz be with you.

Cheers!

Cheers!