Monday, January 31, 2011

I Rock & the rule of thirds

Last week I was beyond honored when Becky named my picture one of the two winning pictures on the shutter speed week!  Thank you so very much!

last week's winning photo
slow shutter 1

This week we are focusing on the Rule of Thirds.  Maybe you've heard the saying 'it's not the camera, but the photographer that takes good pictures.'  If you have a point and shoot (and major DSLR envy) like me, then you've heard it before.  

Well, one of the reasons that is true is the Rule of Thirds.  I first learned this rule in my summer camp photography class.  For the rule of thirds, you divide your picture into thirds ...

picture from Farmgirl Paints
Placing the feature part of your picture on one of the either vertical or horizontal lines creates more movement and a more interesting photo.  The four spots where the lines intersect are called power points.  You get extra bonus points for putting the focus of your photo on a power points.

I think of the rule of thirds as a way to take a snapshot and turn it into a work of art.  You can also achieve this effect when you edit your photo by cropping.  Forever and a day ago I did a post on cropping here, showing how to use the Rule of Thirds in creating interest in your photos:

original:                                                                       cropped:

ok, so here is my photo entry for this week's Thrive Challenge:


Visit Farmgirl Paints for awesome tutorials and other entries! 

It's cool because I'm a Mom

Some people plan on being a Mom.  They plan emotionally by reading books on how to get pregnant, how to have a good pregnancy and a million books about how to raise a baby.  They collect toys for their little one in anticipation of becoming a mom.

Some people don't plan on being a Mom (at that time). They just have this feeling that leads them to pee on a stick and then curse.  Yeah ... that would be me.

but (big butt) being a mom is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me

Now, it doesn't seem weird that I have two VeggieTune cd's and know all the words to Larry's Silly Songs.  It's cool, because I'm a Mom.

It's not strange that I have a few coloring books lying around the house (I've had some of 'Leah's' books since college).  People expect me to have toys, because I'm a Mom.

When I decide to run and jump over the lines in the floor at Sam's Club no one thinks I'm crazy.  Rather it's cute because my daughter is running and jumping with me.

People have changed thier first opionon of the girl who randomly sings in public, makes silly faces and skips down the sidewalk from 'a bit strange' to it's cool, she's a Mom.

Oh of course there's the hugs and kisses and undying love.  The way they call to you when they are hurt or cuddle next to you when you are sleeping. The way they comfort you when you are sad and ask you to stay in the bed with them just a bit longer. 

Sure there's all that mushy stuff and the amazing love I never thought was possible that comes with being a Mom ...

But really ... being a Mom rocks because I can be goofy anytime I want and it's cool because I'm a Mom!

Are you a Mom?  What's your favorite (non-mushy) part of the job?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Picture Collages and Week 4

ok, I have a confession to make.  I am currently obsessing over story boards.  So, I'm not exactly sure yet how to edit my pictures with PSE 9, but I love making collages with it.

Like this one ... some pictures I took at the national championship celebration:
ntl champs

oh, and here's Toomers Corner:  (Auburn has a tradition that they roll the trees on Toomer's Corner after every win)

Here is Audrey playing with the alphabet caterpillar:  (i told ya; obsessed)
story 1

and last but not least ... my Week 4 Collage!
(by the way I am so happy I have made this four weeks and I can already see the improvement in my pictures)

week 4
start from the top left square and work your way to the right ...

Day 22:  Cam Newton (quarterback of the Auburn Tigers) high-fiving fans on the way to the stage.
Day 23:  Audrey after her nap.
Day 24:  Power lines that I pass on the way home from work.  The leading lines really intrigued me.
Day 25:  Tank the cat sleeping on our blanket; well he was sleeping till I started taking pictures of him
Day 26:  Leah and I at the circus!  We had a wonderful time!
Day 27:  Bath time with the girls.
Day 28:  Audrey climbed up onto the chair and I loved how she crossed her feet.

linked up with:

NapTime MomTog Project 365The Daily Wyatt


White.  All around me all I can see is white.  White in the air; white in the sky; white on the ground; I fucking hate white.

White; like the color of the sheets my Mom bought me.  She said I was a big girl now so I could sleep on the crisp clean white sheets.  Until one night I had an accident.  I peed in the bed and stained my white sheets yellow.  Mom never gave me white sheets again.

God, its cold out here.  Why did I leave the warmth of my house?  Oh yeah, because of him.  If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be out here in this God-forsaken frozen white tundra.

White; like the color of my wedding dress.  That day was so different from today.  It was warm, and we were in love.  My white dress shimmered as we danced on the floor.  Now I shiver as I try to find my way out.

If I’m honest I can’t remember how this fight started.  Too much alcohol, then a wayward look or an ill timed remark sparked emotions bottled inside, and the next thing I knew we were screaming.  He threw a pillow at my face.  I threw my wedding rings.  I grabbed a coat and slammed the door.  All I wanted was to get away.

And now here I am freezing in this whirlwind of white snow.  A girl from Alabama has no business running away in a snowstorm.  A wife has no business running away from her husband.

Oh God, I’m so very cold.  God please get me out of this blizzard. I’m so turned around I don’t know which way is up or which way is down.  God if you let me live, I promise never to yell at him again.  I can be a good wife, I swear.  I’ll learn to cook, I’ll do all his laundry, I’ll make him babies and I’ll be happy.  God, oh please don’t let me die.

White; like the color of the car I just ran into.  The pain in my foot is masked by the joy in my heart.  Could this be it?  Could this be the moment I have been searching for, the moment I am saved?  The car is cold, but if I could just get in maybe I can survive this hell.

I can’t feel my hands anyway, so the pain from breaking the window went unnoticed.  Glass mixes with snowflakes as I tumble into the car.  It’s not as easy as nascar makes it seem.  Huddling inside gives a break from the wind, but is it enough?

I stumble into the back of the car with less grace than a drunken couple.  There’s a blanket, white as snow in the backseat.  This must be my angel from God, my saving grace, another white item just waiting for me to mess it up.  I hid under the blanket as I blend into the snow.

Dear God, please let me live.  I promise never to hate the color white again.

this internal monologue attempt to write post was inspired by The Red Dress Club's prompt; being trapped in a blizzard.  Critique is always welcome.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Have you ever?

Have you ever had one of those days when you walk into work/school/church/whatever and you notice something odd?

You are talking with a friend and all of a sudden a whiff of body order disturbs your nose.  Ugh, doesn't this guy know to shower everyday?  You quickly finish the conversation and move on to the other side of the room.  You start talking with another friend only to smell b.o. again.  Doesn't anyone wear deodorant anymore?

You walk away when all of a sudden a thought enters your head; what if it's you who smells?

Quickly you think back to this morning?  Did you shower?  check.  Deodorant? ummm ...

You blaze a way to the bathroom pushing people down on your way.  Once safely in the stall; you sniff.  Oh my goodness, you stink!  What can you do now?  You can't leave work/school/church/whatever. 

Have you ever tried to wipe your armpits to get rid of the sweat?  or put some soap on a paper towel and hope it works a bit like deodorant?

You walk out of the bathroom with your arms tightly clenched to your sides and make awkward motions as you get back to your spot.  All day you are aware of people talking and laughing in tight circles.  You just know they are talking about you.  Oh my gosh, did they just point your way?

Have you ever wanted to be invisible?  Someone comes up to make conversation and you run away like the need to go to the bathroom just came over you.

Have you ever had a day like that?


oh ...
me neither ...

p.s. I swear I am wearing deodorant today!  This post was inspired by my seeing someone somewhere talking about their most embarrassing moments.  I couldn't think of my most embarrassing moment, but I have had many embarrassing situations.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunday Pictures

Saturday ~87,000 of my closest friends and I all gathered in Jordan-Hare stadium to re-live the memories of Auburn's National Champion season!  Oh it was amazing!  We are the Champions!  WAR EAGLE!!!!

Thank you to whomever recently posted on what settings you should use when taking sunset photos.  I thought I knew who put up the tutorial, but apparently I was thinking of the wrong person ... I think I may follow too many blogs.

why yes ... I did take a picture of a random person's house.  um, no, I don't know them.  I just thought is was pretty ... what's wrong with that?

oh do you see the shadow reflection?  I thought I was the coolest person ever for coming up with this shot ... go ahead, congratulate me.  It won't make my head swell or anything (but it might make my nose grow)

Audrey wearing Silver pants ... I may be just a bit obsessed with her little feet.

and now a second on the verse I used in this picture.  Acclaim in the dictionary means a) to welcome or salute with shouts or sounds of joy and approval and b) to announce or proclaim with enthusiastic approval.

I think the psalmist here is saying how blessed are the ones who can live everyday saluting their Lord with shouts of joy and enthusiastic approval.  Those are the people who walk with the Lord.  I hope to be someone who is constantly greeting my God with welcoming and joyful shouts!

{Thrive project} Shutter Speed

The Thrive Project comes from Farmgirl Paints.  She is taking a photography class and is involving all of us in the lessons she is learning at class.  I LOVE this!!!!

This week's lesson is on Shutter Speed.  Shutter speed is how fast or how slow your shutter opens and closes. The slower it closes the more blur there will be to your photo, the faster it closes the less blur there will be.

So, I may be the only person in love with photography to still be using a point and shoot, but I can still manipulate it (b/c my hubby is awesome and got me a high end one).  Even though my camera has a dial setting for shutter speed, I used my Manual setting.  it's my new fav! In the Shutter setting the camera automatically set my ISO (that has to do with how bright/dark the photo is) and it was way too bright since when you lower the shutter speed you also let in more light.  So I used my Manual setting with a slow shutter speed and a low ISO; oh and a moving car ... and this is what I got!

Try #1:
slow shutter 2

Try #2: (SOOC)
slow shutter 1

I think I like Try #2 better because of the contrast between the side mirror and the moving cars.  What do you think?  Have you ever tried playing with your shutter speed?

365 Week 3

week 3
Days start at the top left and go down:

Day 15: Audrey in the bathtub
Day 16: A flame.  There was a photo challenge where the theme was hot, so I took a picture of the flame of a candle I was burning.  I like it.
Day 17:  Hearts on our mantle.  Leah and her sitter made a chain of hearts for our mantle.
Day 18: Audrey playing with Leah's butterfly wings from Halloween.  She just walked out with them and started trying to put them on.
Day 19: This dog just came up to our house.  She was super sweet, and we put her in the backyard so we could find her a home, but then she ran away the next day.
Day 20: Leah smiling.
Day 21: Sunset.  I love when people post specifics about how to take the best pictures, so the sunset was gorgeous on Friday and I just had to try the settings out.  I think it worked.

NapTime MomTog Project 365The Daily Wyatt

Friday, January 21, 2011

Leah said 'fragments'

Kids ...

honest and blunt, but they make you laugh ... so you gotta love 'em most of the time ...
2 / 365

So, I am known to be emotional at times.  And I am known to kinda exaggerate my frustration when we are say, running late or something is missing or Andrew is bugging me.  It's not good, I know, and I feel bad afterwards, but ... yeah ...

Now though when I start acting up, Leah looks at me and says in the most serious voice:
"Stop freaking out, Mommy!"

Thanks child ...

Leah, like most people children, has trouble with knowing when to use past tense verbs.  As someone who is bothered when I hear an adjective used instead of an adverb, I'm often correcting her.  She doesn't seem to like it, and now I'm greated with:

"ugh" or "again" both said with heavy annonyance

seriously ... she's 3 ... what is going to be like when she's 13?

Last night Leah picked up a 'child's first' Bible, and showed it to me. 

"Mommy, this is my most favorite book ever!"

"That's wonderful Leah. Do you know what book that is?"

"Yeah Mommy, it's the book about baby Jesus"

I start thinking, sweet!  Good job Leah.  She's getting there.  and then ...

"Mommy, I'm going to read you a story from this book."

hmmmm ... ok ...

"This one is called Belle's Sweet Dreams."

Well ... it was going good.  So next time you are reading the Bible make sure you look for the chapter on Belle :-)

and of course she says about a million more everyday, but this is all I can think of right now ...

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Circle Circle

Circles ... circles ... everywhere.
A circle here
A circle there
Circles are also theme to You Capture today
here are some of my recent favorite

day 16a
Candle circles make my house smell better!

Turtle circles make perfect snow sleds for baby girls who have moms too terrified to take them down the big sled.

Hoop - a - loop
Circles are for hula hoops for little girls with a Mommy who would rather take a picture them teach them how to use the toy.  Maybe because the mommy can not hula hoop.  I said, play with Leah.  She said, 'but Mommy ... I don't know how to hoop a loop'

day 14a
A finally a setting circle that lights the day!

A circle of life
A circle of sun
Circles, circles are so much fun!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Believe

10 Things I Believe:

-I believe that life involves little sacrifices, but you should never sacrifice to the point where it changes you. 
-I believe that you should end every phone call with the people you love with an 'I love you'.  You can never say that phrase too much.
-I believe that laughter is the best medicine, well after a good night's rest.
-I believe in the amazing Grace from God, and that all you have to do is surrender yourself to Him; no need to ask Him into your heart because He's already there.
-I believe work clothes should be traded for sweat pants and shoes should be removed when you come home!
-I believe one of these needs to be in my possession:
pearl collage
all images are from The Vintage Pearl
-I believe in superstitions.  You will never see me walk under a ladder, break a mirror, put my hat on the bed, or be totally cool if a black cat walks in front of me.  As a kid I even had to get off my bed the same way I got on because I didn't want to wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
-I believe in marriage, and that marriage is forever.  I believe in working out your problems and making a marriage work.  I try not to use divorce as a threat because I don't want it to be a normal thought.
-I believe in coffee.  'nuff said.
-I believe that dinner just tastes better when the whole family is sitting at the dinner table.

oh and I also believe that every post is better with a few random pictures :-)

linking up with WMW ... visit the link for more posts!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Different Colors

We lived in what could be deemed the 'older' part of Birmingham.  It was the place to be back in the 1950's, but now people have moved south of the city and out to the suburbs.  Don't get me wrong, our neighborhood is wonderful and I am encouraged by the support system that works to keep our part of the world nice and clean, but when we venture out ... well, we as Caucasians are the minority.

Andrew took Leah with him to Wal-Mart one day last week.  Leah, our curious (and loud) 3 year old turned to her Daddy and proclaimed:

"Daddy, why are all the people brown?"

Oh the innocence of a child.  Of course she meant nothing offensive by her statement.  She didn't know that she was breaking the 'PC' guidelines.  She just had a question.

"Because God made them that way," Andrew answered.
"Why did he make them brown?"
"Because he did ... shush"

Did I mention she is loud?

On this day where we remember the life of Martin Luther King Jr.; I have a dream of my own that I would like to share.

My dream is that my children will never see a hint of racism from me.  They will never hear me change the inflection of my voice.  They will never see me treat anybody differently than I treat them.

I believe my generation is still a bit tainted with racism.  No, it's not outward.  People of a different race are no longer forced to sit on the back of the bus or be sprayed down with water hoses.  They no longer have their own restrooms, their own water fountains, their own seats at the bar.

But there is still a tension passed down from our parents.  Our parents lived the Civil Rights Movement. My parents were both pulled from there public high schools in Montgomery, AL when segregation was passed and put in a brand new private school.  They struggled with it as kids, and I saw some of that struggle in the way they lived their lives.

I see my generation as overcoming the tendencies passed down from years before.  I see myself overcoming any judgment I learned as a youth.  I see my children understanding even more that everyone deserves the same rights.

And though I know my inquisitive three year old can notice that people are colored differently, but my dream is that she also notices how everyone is the same no matter the color of our skin.

Happy MLK day ... hey work ... next year can I have the day off?

A piece of canvas is only the beginning for
It takes on character with every loving stroke
This thing of beauty is the passion of an Artist's heart
By God's design, we are a skin kaleidoscope

We've gotta come together,
Aren't we all human after all?

-Colored People by dc Talk

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In Memory of Matt


A year ago today my world was rocked.  One of my great friends, Matt Miller, was tragically killed at 25 in a freak hunting accident.

It's been over a year since his chat window popped up on my Facebook.  It's been over a year since I last answered the phone to: "Christy, this is God speaking."  It's been over a year since we've argued over Auburn/Alabama football.  It's been over a year since I laughed at his writings.  It's been a year of missing my friend.

I first met Matt when I was 10.  I had the biggest crush on him for about 2 years; one of those doodle his name everywhere crushes, lol.  Matt was always the guy I could go to for everything; and I do mean everything.  After my husband, he knew all my secrets.  He could have an entire room doubled over in laughter or hollering out Amen.  He was (is) a role model to me and so many more people.

We stood in line for almost 2 hours at his visitation.  There were so many people at his funeral they streamed it into the gym at church after the sanctuary filled up.  I think I heard the number somewhere in the 3,000's, but I can't really remember.

The night after he passed away, I dreamed about him.  I dreamed about the accident in striking details that I did not find out where true until days later.  When I woke, I woke with a feeling of peace.  I know he is in Heaven.  I know good will come of his short life.  I know his legacy will live on, and it starts with a couple of sentences he had as his 'about me' on Facebook.

"I strive to live life different.  When I die I want people to say that I had a positive impact on the lives of people that I came into contact with because I was willing to do things, say things, and give things others only dreamed about, and I want to have fun while I do it"
-Matt Miller

He was a pastor at the Methodist church in Millport, Alabama.  In his honor they named a food pantry after him:
 look at the inscription under the quote:  'spent a lifetime giving hope to the hopeless, feeding the unfed and loving the unlovable'

Today for every comment left on this post I vow to donate to the Matt T. Miller Food Pantry.  The average price for a can of food is about 60 cents, so for every comment I will donate 60 cents towards the Food Pantry.  In full disclosure, I can't send it till the end of the month, but I will send it in then, I give my word.

So ... tell me:
Is there someone who has giving you hope when you were hopeless?
Is there someone who has feed you when you were unfed?
Is there someone who has loved you when you were unlovable?

or tell me a way you want to live your life differently this year ...

Tweet this; share this; make me literally pay for this post :-)

(you don't have to have a blog or blogger account to post a comment.  chose the Anonymous option in the comment box and add your name!)

Silly Scavenger Hunt

A Different View
Different View
Audrey looking out the window.  It is just her height, and so cute when she stares out it.

Looking Up
Looking Up
Leah with her green balloon she so loved playing with.  I love that she is smiling so big and her eyes aren't even open!

Ice (and bokeh) on my car.

It was so windy at the top of the mountain!  Her hair was everywhere.

One night last week Leah decided to pull her pants up over half of her body and run around like that!  She cracks me up!

Thanks for stopping by to see my Scavenger Hunt pictures.  Visit Ashley for more entires.
It would mean so much to me if you could also go check out In Memory of Matt.  For everywhere comment left there I will donate in memory of my friend to the Matt Miller Food Pantry.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Two Weeks of 365

week 1b
week 2b
Pictures are in order from left to right; top to bottom:
Week 1:
1. Our New Year's Day dinner ... ham (pork) and black eye peas for good luck, and greens for money
2. Beautiful Child ... the light caught Leah just right to make the absolute perfect picture
3. Audrey's Shadow ... we went to the park and I loved the shadows around Audrey.  These pictures also inspired my new blog header
4.  Messy ... Audrey after spaghetti dinner; needless to say she loved it!
5. Loving Tank ... Leah petting our cat (Tank); taken with no flash and my attempt and shooting in manual
6.  Hello ... Project 52 Hello photo taken on the day I wore my new pink sweatshirt to work.  It was quickly covered with coal, but I loved wearing something girly.
7. Day one at Camp ... the girls loved the rocking chair and the fire in front of it

Week 2:
1. Slide:  Leah, Audrey and me about to go down the super fast slide at camp.
2. Hoop-a-loop:  Leah was sad because she didn't know how to 'hoop-a-loop'
3. Sledding:  It snowed like crazy in Birmingham and we went sledding with some neighborhood friends.  Leah absolutely loved it!
4. Snow: in our yard with my footprints ... doesn't happen often in Birmingham
5. Window:  Andrew finally took the tree down and I rearranged the room.  I love it!
6. Waiting:  Leah looking out the window and waiting for Grandma and Granddaddy to come.
7. Toes:  Audrey's toes ... 'nuff said; gotta love baby toes!

Linked with:
The Daily WyattNapTime MomTog Project 365