Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Different Light {Project Two Times Twelve}

So, it was almost bedtime on the 31st of the month when I realized I hadn't done this month's Two Times Twelve project.


In my defense, it's been a busy month!  We've traveled and started school, and with school we started new routines while we held onto old, wonderful routines with a death grip. 

So with no time, and no light for an outdoor shoot, I figured I had to come up with something.  It was the perfect storm for forcing me to find something different, something outside of the box.  Yes, I am going to regret not being outside while the weather permitted, but that's the way the cookie crumbled this month.  So, with much trepidation, I hauled out the ol' studio lights and did something different.

I know when you see these, there will be a few thoughts that run through your mind.  Just remember, this exercise is about stretching my brain creatively.  This month's pictures are more on the artsy side than I usually go.  They are about emotion, but they are not about perfect grins.  They are about lighting and drama.  They are about the subject (the kids in this case), not the clothing or environment (because I didn't plan out outfits or have light for environment). I also was working on using negative space (space that has nothing in it) instead of my usual "fill the frame with faces/people" technique.  I was quite surprised at what more space around the subject would do, how it changes the whole image.  How moving the subject around in the negative space, even though it's the same subject, same pose, same look, can create a whole different feel.  It was very interesting to me to play with space.  I feel like I have really learned something new through this month's unprepared, very simple, shoot.

The Little Man is up first:

 Above is an example of no negative space.  Below I added negative space to the image:

Can you see a difference space makes?  I think it's huge!  In the bottom image the kids look like...kids.  They are small compared to the space around them.

The Girl's turn:

Both images of The Girl have negative space, but even more negative space in the bottom image, again, let's the viewer understand how small she is compared to the space she is in.

The other thing I loved about this exercise is how the lighting really helped me to see little things that I usually miss on a daily basis.  Like The Girl's perfectly shaped lips and the best divot thing-y below her nose that I have ever seen (how's that for technical terms?).  How perfectly shaped each of their noses are.  Their cheek bones, and the squareness of The Little Man's jaw.  When photos are this simple, you see these things.  You are forced to look at every inch. 

Every perfect little inch. 

And drink it in.

I'm glad I almost forgot my project tonight.  I got to see my kids in a whole new light.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Workin' On My Heart

Before I get started on the serious stuff *ahem* I do have two Little Man stories that I must share, mostly for my own documenting self's sake.  First, The Little Man will never eat fish again in his whole life if I have anything to do about it.  After whining and grumbling his way through some fish tacos for dinner the other night, he had what we think was an allergic reaction to the fish.  Either that or kids sometimes spontaneously turn into shooting geysers in order to scare the tar out of their mothers.


On another, much more funny note, The Little Man brought home a worksheet that he had filled out after working some experiments at school that taught buoyancy.  According to his sheet, the kiwi and the grape did not float.  So, I asked him about it:

me:  Wow, Buddy!  Did you do a Science project today with fruit?
p: Yup, we had to see which ones would float and which ones sunk.
me: So it looks like the grape didn't float.  How come?  Why did the grape sink?
p: I don't know.  It just did.
me: You don't know?  It just sunk?  Why do you think that it couldn't float?
p: I guess it was just a baby grape and hadn't taken it's swimming lessons yet.


Now, I will attempt to be serious.

This verse has smacked me upside the head with a two by four.  "Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else.  For we are each responsible for our own conduct."- Galatians 6:4-5 NLT.  


I can't stop thinking about it.  I think some might call this "Being convicted".  I'm just going to say that this may or may not be something I need to work on.  I am pondering just how often I am satisfied with knowing that I have done the best job that I can do, or knowing that I am working my hardest, and finding satisfaction in that versus working hard so that I can find satisfaction in knowing that I have done something better than someone else. 


That whole being competitive/comparative and seeking out the approval of others thing, yea, it trips me up.

Lastly, while it was one of the most wonderful summers I can recall in a very long time, there were also some trials that were endured.  Since the trial itself did not involve me directly, I won't be divulging specific details, but here are a few things that I have learned:

1. Family.  It's so nice to be so tightly bound to people who love you and support you. People who hurt when you hurt, and will laugh or get mad when you think something is funny or you get angry.  People who will listen to you talk about the same thing over and over and not care.  People who are fine with hearing the story/your feelings/your thoughts several times, and it never gets old.

2.  Sometimes (most of the time) the biggest amount of growth a person can have is when they are suffering/struggling.  While we work through hurts, struggle through raw emotions, and deal with devastation we grow and learn.  I don't know many people (myself included) who have said "Wow, you know, I think I have really grown today and learned something new about myself and what I can endure while I skipped through the daisies!"  It just doesn't happen.  But when we struggle, lean on others, and turn our hurts and devastation over to the one true, holy, and righteous God; He works us, forms us, and if we let Him, He rebuilds us into something new.

3.  Watching someone change who they are and seek out God with all their heart is beautiful.

4. Even if it isn't you who is directly in the fire, you can still learn and grow.

5.  God's plans are bigger than ours.  What He has set out to do no human can undo.  He is sovereign and perfect in His timing, and while we are surprised daily, or taken off guard,  He is never surprised.  He knows the beginning and the ending, and is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

6. Loving, seeking, and serving Him with all my heart is the most important thing in my life.  While that doesn't mean I will never endure hardships, it does mean that I will never be alone.  It also means that I can trust that whenever I am in a season of refinement, I can trust that He is watching over me and holding me close,  and prayerfully He is rebuilding me into someone more like Him.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Livin' the Life Continued...

Where did we leave off.

Oh yes, the toads.  Or frogs? No, I am pretty certain they are toads.  Who knows.

These guys:

Well, they were everywhere.  The Girl LOVED being a toad mommy for a day.  I think she may have enjoyed that more than catching bugs.  It's hard to tell because the toads were so novel that it may have influenced her excitement for them.  We did eventually convince her that they could not come home with us.

Earlier, that same day, we were able to spend the afternoon fishing.  Just a short distance from my Uncle's farm, there is a prime fishing spot off of a little bridge.  It's a spot where you literally can't pull the fish in fast enough.  Sometimes you pull the fish up two at a time here.  My kids will never, ever, know or have the patience for real fishing because of how spoiled they were here.  I'm going to be honest, I don't know or have the patience it takes for real fishing because of this place.  I can remember fishing here at this same spot as a kid.  It was so fun to see my own kids having just as much fun here as I did when I was young.

Here they are, the Fishing Fools:

As you can see, from the bend in the pole, they already have a fish (or two) hooked.

After a few rounds of fishing with adult help, each kid got a chance to reel in a fish on their own:

Ahh, sweet success (thankfully, there wasn't even a chance that they could fail.  Is that still called success?)

And a few of them without fishing rods because they are cute:

OH!  I almost forgot one of the best parts of this afternoon.  Well, maybe it wasn't the best part for me, but the kids sure thought it was super fun.

Yup.  That's my kids.  Riding in the back of a pickup truck.  Sans their cars seats.  Heck, sans the seat belts.  Yup, there they are just feeling the freedom of an open country road and the wind blowing through their hair.  They thought this was pretty cool.  I'm glad they thought it was fun. 

They better not EVER do this again unless we are on the same country road.


More happiness at freedom found:

The next day there was a restful morning to be found.  I have never been happier at my choice to switch the kids over to PBS this summer than that morning.  Yes, the hotel we stayed at did have cable complete with Nickelodeon, but it was a Sunday morning and none of the shows they knew were to be found.  Except!  Except for on PBS.  *sigh*  Oh yes, PBS had shows my kids loved on for two straight blissful hours. 

After sitting around for  awhile, we (my mom and I) thought it would be best to exercise the children.  The small town we were staying in did have a park, so we packed them up and headed out. 

We really should have considered why there was no one at the park for a little longer than we did before we slathered everyone up in sunscreen, but we just thought we were lucky and were going to get the park to ourselves.  I think the people who live in that small town were looking out their windows at us and kind of snickering and saying something like "City Folk" or "They sure aren't from around here, are they?"

To say it was hot and sticky would not quite describe that afternoon.   Now, I am sure that there are some of you out there reading this thinking I am some sort of big ol' wimp because I can't handle a little humidity.  Well, you are right.  I can't.  I can't even say that I am willing to try, actually.

Shortly after arriving at the park, the kids started to feel like they were going to melt (because we probably actually were melting internally), and The Girl had to use the restroom (of course she did).  So as I scanned around looking for something that looked like either a bathroom type building or even an outhouse, I spotted an open door on an out building that was located across this grassy area/field-ish type thing.  All we had to do was get there.

Alive would've been nice too.

There in that grassy area is where the blood sucking bird like creatures mosquitoes hang out when it's so hot and sticky you feel like your insides are liquefying.  Upon entering the field, we awoke them from their daytime slumber, and they were oh so hungry.  Thankfully for them, we were able to provide them with a couple quarts between the two of us.


We quickly decided that heading over to a Dollar Store that we saw on the way to the park would be a much better way to stretch our legs.

Later that day, we had a chance to visit the farm my Grandma was born on.  It is still being worked by family today and has pigs and cows.  Usually we visit in the spring when all the pigs are having babies and it is way too fun to see the little guys all fresh and new.  In August they look a little different:

They smell a little different too:

(Oh, by the way, that sky in the background?  Yes, it is green.  We had a little storm blow through shortly after this picture was taken.)

These guys are watching the storm brew and probably wonder what we are doing outside when clearly the weather is taking a turn for the worse.

That is the only picture I have of The Little Man on this farm.  You might be able to make it out here, but he is holding his nose.  What you can't see is that he is having a very difficult time, not just with the smell, but apparently he's not real fond of animals.  Pigs, cows, dogs, cats: The Little Man is not at all interested, and also is a bit fearful.  I think he might have been trying to find his happy place.

The next morning, we packed it up, gave another pint or two of blood, had some issues with the bugs again, and headed out for a long day on the road.  I was really worried about The Little Man.  Historically speaking, he is not the best at road travel.  Or sitting for more than 30 minutes in general.  However, he surprised me.  He did great!  He's even asked when our next road trip will be.  He likes them because "They don't cost a lot of money, but we still get to do fun stuff."

Oh, and the copious amount of Gobstoppers that I serve all day long probably help too.

I have to say, I too would like to hit the open road a little more often that we have.  The kids did awesome, we had a great little get away, and it was nice to be together as a family without any distractions.

Except PBS.

We liked the PBS.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The First Day and a Va-Cay Recap

Why not slam two totally different topics into one post?  I mean really, if anything organized and somewhat thought out actually appeared on this blog you might think I was being held captive somewhere and needed rescuing, but then again, you might enjoy the new writer and then would leave me where I was.

Clearly, I am going insane.

Well, not really.

The first day of school came and went for both of my little cherubs.  The good news is I am still alive to tell about it.  The even better news is that I got my toenails done and have gone out to lunch.  Twice.  I figured a celebration was in order, or at least something fun in order to get my mind off of what was really happening.  It worked.  Except now I am not really sure what I will do tomorrow.  Oh sure, I am sure that there are chores to be done, but who wants to be a stick in the mud?  I will have The Little Man all to myself tomorrow, so maybe another celebration will be in order.  Or chores.  See? Not very fun, is it?

So, onto the good stuff!  First day of school pics:

So cute!  And, seriously, how did they get so old?


I don't think I have been more happy (except for the day I finally made the decision) than the first day of school for The Girl that I decided to keep The Little Man home for one more year.  After we dropped her off, I realized that I didn't have to drop him off.  He got to stay with me!  It was the first time in two years I didn't have an emotional first day of school because it felt like just an extension of last year.  All bets are off, though, when he starts Kindergarten AND when he starts first grade. I could well up with tears just thinking about it.

So before I get all sappy, lets keep the ball rolling and move on into a va-cay recap!

Two weeks before school started we left for our End of the Summer Vacation.  Can I say, the kids are getting SO, SO, SO much easier to vacation with?  Seriously, it is a darn pleasure to be with them.  They sleep through the night, they enjoy doing all sorts of things, and the DVD player keeps them entertained for HOURS on the open road.  Or when there is nothing else to do.  How my parents traveled with four girls and no DVD player is beyond me.  They were WAY tougher than I am, without a doubt.

The Little Man and The Hubs started off their vacation a bit before us girls did.  They headed out for Iowa for a boys trip that us girls were happy to let them go on on their own.  While away from us they hunted down gas pumps, signs, and all sorts of gas and oil memorabilia.  Like I said, we were DELIGHTED to hold down the home front.  There are no pictures of this event because, well, it was a guy trip.  I don't think guys take pictures.  I did hear that they stayed in the best hotel ever (according to The Little Man) The main criteria for awesomeness: A pool in the middle of the hotel (the atrium), and they served him breakfast.  Really, what more could you want?   In between all the swimming, eating, and finding old gas and oil stuff, there were talks of creating the best paper airplane anyone has ever seen, and then flying it down over the balcony and into the atrium area of the hotel.   

Meanwhile at Casa de Wright us girls were living the dream.  According to The Girl, that means being able to eat whatever we want without hearing from the boys how they wished they could be eating something different.  So, I let her choose her menu.

(Do I have to tell you how happy it makes me to know that when she could choose anything to do without the boys and have a girls type weekend, she chose to eat good food? Just wait, it gets better!  Read what her dream menu was.)

She decided that the best options for us would be fish tacos, tuna melts, and homemade pizza with extra onions and artichokes.

Be still my beating heart.

She actually said these words to me, " Momma, you know what joy is?  It's these fish tacos full of avocado and onion." 

A tear of joy came into the corner of my eye and I knew right then and there we had bonded for life.

She is MY daughter.

After a couple of days of eating we rolled ourselves to the car to meet up with the boys.  Destination: South Dakota. 

Here we were able to meet up with family, visit with my Grandma, get a taste of farm life, and do some fishing.  Unfortunately, we did not get to catch any Fireflies which was high on the agenda for The Girl.  Despite it being Firefly mating season,according to The Girl, (are you kidding me?), we could not bring ourselves to be outside during prime Lightening Bug catching time.  What we thought were weird small blood sucking birds, actually turned out to be mosquitoes, and there was not enough bug repellent in the world to keep those vultures bugs off.

Plus, The Hubs and I are total weenies when it comes to getting bit by bugs the size of birds.

The Girl had fun anyway and used her bug catching equipment (yes, she brought it along) to catch something else:

Can you see them?


To be continued...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Somehow It's Now Mid-Month

I'm not even sure how this has happened!  The last two weeks have been a whirl wind of activities.  First, we did one last Summer hurrah and packed up the fam for a road trip to visit family in the mid-west, and then upon returning home, it became obvious that the inevitable was drawing near.

School is starting up again.

Like tomorrow.


Because I have been dreading this day since the first day of summer break, I had done nothing to prepare for the arrival of the first day of school.  The paperwork, school supplies, doctor's signatures, meet the teacher nights, and the list goes on and on. 

And HELLO! Since it's the last week of break, NO ONE wants to waste their time doing all that nonsense stuff when you can hang out with friends and hit the pool instead.

I am in a bad place with the whole return of school thing.

If you couldn't tell.

I did try my best to establish some sort of bed time routine so the shock of 6:30 am doesn't kill anyone tomorrow.  However, it's still gonna sting.  I am so thankful, though, that The Girl ordered lunches for the first two days back in the saddle.  It's just one less thing I have to do while still getting my bearings in the early morning.  The Little Man, however? Well.  He has to bring both a lunch AND a snack.  So, I guess that will make up where The Girl left off.

Here's the deal.  In reality, it really isn't going to be THAT bad.   It's just the idea that the most perfect summer is coming to an end that makes me want to consider jumping off the deep end (I KID!).  The kids will love school, the weather is still going to be nice for just a bit longer, I will actually enjoy getting back into somewhat of a routine (OK, I'll probably love it.)  (Way too much.), and come May, I'll be saying (once more) how I can't believe how quickly it all went by.

For know, though, I can hardly wait for Summer Break.

(Yes, I will update with va-cay pics soon).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


For the sake of saving my sanity, I will not be re-posting our family pictures here on this blog.  I know, I know, this IS the family blog, but Angela did such a great job, they belonged on my photography blog. 

Plus, it's WAY easier to post images there than here.

I think I said all I really wanted to say over there, but just in case you didn't pick up on it:

I love them.

They are perfect.

It will be difficult not to plaster them all over my home because they are happiness to me.

They are us.

Here we are.