Saturday, July 23, 2011

Riding on Gravel...

... can be kinda tough sometimes. Especially if you're just starting out on a big girl bike with training wheels!

Here, in our neck of the woods, roads aren't paved NEARLY as much as back home. To be a paved road it needs to be a MAIN highway (read: a really high traffic area!) or in town. And since we won't ever be moving to town or tossing our kids out on a busy highway... our kids are just out of luck! They may get the luxury of a concrete driveway soon, but for now it's gravel everywhere ya turn!

Alia was given a big girl bike awhile back and it has been SO fun seeing her progress!

At first we held onto her bike and let her give it a go WITHOUT training wheels.

Then we realized this method makes for a very LONG cruise around our little community... and back aches for Mommy and Daddy! So we put on some training wheels and told Alia to have at `er!

The main problem with gravel is that it isn`t even. Some spots she can cruise as fast as her little pedals allow... and then the next moment she`s hung up on her training wheels with no grip to move an inch!

We`ve let her cruise around in the garage a bit, and that has really helped her ability. Now she can pretty much keep up with us when we`re out for a walk.... with the occasional power boost when she`s stuck!

She found an old bungee cord the other day and now her ``race bike`` has become a tow truck.

She just hooks up Larren`s tricyle behind her and ``pulls`` her up and down the road!

I say ``pull`` loosely because the reality is Mom and Dad are pushing Larren`s trike a fair bit from the other end! But hey... whatever works!

Yeah, she may not be able to ride her bike as often as a city kid... but... she`ll sure know how to get through the rough spots when they come along! And ya never know... maybe she can charge the younger neighbor kids for her towing services to pay her way through college! :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

On the Road Again...

Jon's '47 Chevy pick up truck has been on the road for awhile now. This truck was his dad's and it's a project Jon's been working on over the past couple of years. 

Needless to say he's quite pleased to be using it as his daily driver! And I assure you, he's not the only one excited about it! 

There are a couple of little girls who ask, REGULARLY, to cruise the "circuit!" And by "circuit" I mean the 3 streets that go through our small community! :) The neighbors are used to seeing us drive round and round... in a variety of vehicles... with either Larren or Alia manning the wheel!

Surprisingly (to me at least!) this ole' green truck has proved to be quite trustworthy! She may not look the part, but she's always taken Jon or I (... that's right, I drive it every now and again too!) from point A to point B then back again! We may not be able to hear when we actually get back to point B (she's a tad loud!) but at least we get there! Jon even drove it to and from Winnipeg daily for a couple weeks without a hitch!

While the girls and Daddy love driving it... I've discovered a thing or two:

Yes, it's a cool truck... but the luxuries of my Expedition are pretty hard to beat!

And yeah, it catches peoples attention every where it goes... but the coolness factor is all but lost when I'm driving it! My husband waves to EVERYONE, so when I'm driving his truck I feel like I should at least wave to, oh ya know, HALF the population or something! But every time I wave I can almost HEAR them whispering "Huh... wonder why she's driving her husbands truck?" Cause surely they know this one doesn`t quite fit me!

Give me an old CJ or a 60's Ford Bronco and I'm all in! :) But for now... I'll pretend I don't hear their whispers and putz along... cool or not!

** When the light is right the truck and I will have an official photo shoot. For now, you get the idea! **

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My First Wedding...

... to photograph, that is!

Here are just a COUPLE pictures of the wedding I shot last Friday. I`ve said it before, and I`ll say it again... this is only for fun! I have no desire to be a ``professional photographer`` and anyone who is one, can see that I am not!!

That being said... I learned a whole pile of things about posing...

... lighting shifts...
(or should I say the sad reality that lighting does shift, and how dramatically a shot can be ruined when it does!)

... to control and make sure the exposure and white balance are correct IN CAMERA...

and that wedding photography is a whole lot harder than people may realize!

I asked my friend Tynille to second shoot with me... and she not only took some GREAT pics, she also helped me stay organized and decide where to place everybody!

(*photo taken by Tynille*)

We were in the midst of a SERIOUS time crunch, so I wasn`t able to get nearly all the pics I wanted to of the bride and groom... but we were still able to get several regardless.

(*photo taken by Tynille*)

(Flowers by Heide`s Florist )

The wedding and reception were held at a nearby hotel and it was just gorgeous! 

Though I have to say... low light situations make for QUITE a challenge!! A fill flash is officially on my Christmas list now!

All in all... it was nice to have people who WANTED their pictures taken (versus my girls... who simply want to play and not have Mommy hounding them with a lens!) and once again, I learned A LOT

So there ya have it.... be kind... I`m just a newbie! :)

Only One Happy Camper...

Last week we had the privilege of meeting my folks, along with some close friends of our family, just south of the Canadian border for a short little camping excursion! They were returning from a motorcycle trip to Colorado and decided to head a little farther north than need be to meet up with their favorite Canucks!

Jon was in college all week, so it was just the girls and I making the trek down. The original plan was to stay one night with my parents (and their friends!) and then stay the second night by ourselves. I mean... ya`ll know that camping = LOTS of stuff, so I wanted to make the most of it! 

BUT... plan A was dropped after the first night. This little lady looks happy, but don`t be fooled. She wasn`t a cheery camper, to say the least! (More on that later!)

Alia, on the other hand, was THE model camper! So good, in fact, that I`m planning a trip for just her and I (and maybe a close friend and her little gal!)  for the end of summer. She just went with the flow... taking it all in with a smile!

We were only gone for a short while, but wowsa... the needed amount of stuff doesn`t change! Even with the massive amounts of blankets and sleeping bags we brought, I was still wishing I would have packed my mummy bag along. Night time gets darn right chilly when you`re in a tent with two little gals who aren`t the easiest to snuggle with! My pillow and blankets were taken on a regular basis! 

Gramma and Grampa hadn`t quite arrived after we set up camp, so we went ahead and ate a hearty lunch of PB and J!

And since Cheez-its are a hot commodity in our house (ya can`t get them north of the border!) we picked up a box at the first available grocery store!

And I gotta be honest... it may or may not have been hard for me to hand over the box a time or two!

Gramma and Grampa (along with Dan and Julie) arrived right after lunch... and it sure was good to see them roar up! 

Even though they were traveling by motorcycle, Gramma still managed to bring goodies along for the girls! :) And I assure you... there was barely an extra inch of space for the taking!

Larren decided it was FINALLY time to take a nap, just about the time everyone else was going to the swimming pool! So... I kicked back with a book and took advantage of a little R & R!

I know, I know... it`s summer and still I`m as white as can be. I`m facing the sad reality that I may never be tan again in my life!

Mom knew I would want to get some pics... so she came back to take over kid duty while I went to check out was happening at the pool!

The first thing I see when I get there

Grampa giving Alia quiet instructions to torture help Miss. Julie cool off with some refreshing pool water!

Alia was more than pleased to show me her cool pool tricks!

(Riding on Shamoo the whale!)

She wanted to jump off the edge of the pool over and over again...

... but couldn`t QUITE bring herself to jump without the assistance of Grampa!!

After awhile she noticed the ``mints`` across the pool and decided to investigate. The report from one disappointed little girl was that they didn`t smell or taste like mints... 

When I got back to the campsite Larren was just waking up, so she too got to cool off a bit!

At first she just relaxed for a little while... taking everything in.

But in no time she was a little fishy right along side of her sister!

Jon made the trip from Winnipeg to join us for supper, say hello, give some rides in his `47 pick up, and kiss the girls before bedtime!

Stories were read around the campfire...

... and then the official battle began! 

Alia was asleep in no more than 5 minutes... but my little Larren was a different story. 

Long story made short... she fought sleep, tooth and nail, until the wee hours of the morning. And by wee hours I`m talking like until 6 am. The girls were, somehow, bright eyed and bushy tailed upon awakening, but I had decided (oh... around 3 am!) that we would be packing up along side of Gramma and Grampa! 

Dad and Dan (and their helper!)... made us a fine breakfast of bacon, eggs, fruit, and toast with jam.

Then the whirlwind of packing and saying good byes began. The fact that we are heading to Ohio in two weeks made the good byes a little easier to say... but it`s never fun regardless!

They set out for the East... and we set out for the North... both of us happy to get home! Though my reasoning was for a simple three little word... a nice long NAP! Larren`s nap totaled about 6 hours that day  (with a regular bedtime!)... which gives you a small indicator that she was up a LOT during the night! 

Even though Larren didn`t exactly fall into the happy camper category, it was still a nice mini visit. The campground was fabulous and we intend to stay there again NEXT summer... after a few tent test runs in the backyard first!