Welcome

I am a God-loving, husband-adoring, mybabyboys-hugging, mind-reeling, photo-taking, life-documenting, yummyfood-cooking, garden-planting, country-living girl. Writing about life, with boys, in the sticks...
this is life... with boys... in the country...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

9 Years Ago Today…

It was nine years ago today that my grandfather went to Heaven.

It was also nine years ago today that the Lord gave me a little piece of Heaven on earth, by bringing Matt into my life.  Nine years ago today, 2 people fell in love.

I remember that day like it was yesterday, and if you’d like to read about it in its entirety you can here.  But, I can save you a click and tell you that a few hours after I watched my grandfather lose his life to ALS, my life quite literally began when Matt walked through the door of my grandparents’ house for our ‘blind date’. 

I’m never quite sure how to feel on this day, as it surely is a bitter-sweet memory.  I’m comforted, though, knowing how much my grandfather loved Matt and thought we should be together. 

And where, of course, would I be had that day never happened?  Most definitely not in Molalla.  Not with my husband.  Not with my three precious little boys.  I wouldn’t be me.

I am also comforted knowing that there are people and organizations dedicated to researching and finding answers about the mysterious illness that is ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.  I recently met a woman through this wonderful world of blogging, who walks each year to raise money for this cause.  If you feel compelled to, you can donate to her walk here.  But as always, prayer is the most effective way to go… please pray for a cure, a method for prevention, a deeper understanding of ALS. 

And I just thought I’d add an image of 1/3 of what resulted from the love that began 9 years ago today…

Cooper Leroy

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What I Wouldn’t Do…

…for a picture of genuine smiles???  Apparently, I’m willing to risk my kids' safety for one. On our walk the other night I stopped the stroller and it went rolling away down a slight hill and being boys, Gage and Cooper thought it was hilarious. 

“Do it again, Mom!” they begged…

Seeing their sheer joy, I decided to seize the opportunity. 

Because most often when I’m photographing them, I get totally cheezeball smiles, a tongue sticking out, a glare with a head tilt, or the back of a head.

So, I pulled the stroller back up the driveway, aimed it toward the gate and let go…

Over and Over and Over again, until I got this… Gage-and-Coop-in-Stroller

And it was worth the risk of toppling them over into the muddy ditch that the stroller inevitably steered toward, every time. 

I thought I’d share this endearing moment, too, of Gager smooching his little brother on the cheek…

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Sorry, I couldn’t pull that off… that was a total lie.  He wasn’t smooching him, he was spitting on his cheek.  And a second after I snapped this picture, Cooper wacked Gage right in the face for it. 

There is often a lot more to a photograph than meets the eye! 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Come Join Clickin’ Moms…

Just thought I’d put this out there, in case anyone is interested in learning a little (or A LOT) about photography.  Clickin’ Moms is a private forum where you can read tutorials, post questions and pictures and learn anything and everything you ever wanted to know about DSLR photography and editing.  Membership is made up of women (and one man) from total newbies to serious hobbiest to seasoned pros so you’re not to be intimidated.  And being a ‘mom’ is most definitely NOT a requirement for membership… It is safe, secure, honest, and fun.

I’m addicted. 

I LOVELOVELOVE Clickin’ Moms. 

And right now, they are having a ‘sale’ on their membership!

Click on the banner in my side bar that says “For the Love of Photography” and enter the coupon code “FRIEND” at checkout and receive 10% off any subscription.  Enter the coupon code “LOVECM” at checkout and receive 20% off a lifetime subscription.

Offer ends Friday, July 2nd!

And if you join, I’m lacey143 on there… look me up and I’ll show you around!

Out and About in Nature…

Yet another thing that Matt and I used to do A LOT… hiking.  But as the number of kids has increased, the number of hikes we’ve done has decreased.  Dramatically.  To the point that this was the first ‘destination’ hike we’ve done all year. 

I say ‘destination’ hike because most of our ‘walks’ around our home could be considered hikes to some.  But today, we actually drove up the Molalla River and ended up at Joyce Lake.  Matt strapped KadeyKade on, grabbed a fishing pole and off we went. 

 June-27,-2010-011-E

Cooper took it upon himself, as his personal duty, to clear all big rubble off the trail.  This made for slow going.  Just fine for out-of-shape, me.  But it also made me pretty nervous because he’d throw some of the rocks and branches so hard, he’d nearly throw himself off the edge of the trail, too.  

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We’d never been on this hike before, so weren’t exactly sure what our destination would be… but once we got close we could sense it.  As we climbed higher and higher, the boys often times crawling on their hands and knees up the inclines, we knew we were getting close to the end.  And suddenly the trail petered out and through a few sparse trees we saw this small clearing and carefully maneuvered out to it. 

I liked my view from ‘back here’ quite a bit… of all my guys gazing out in quiet amazement at the wonder of God’s creation.  Once I took in this view for a moment, I had to come up to the edge to see what shocked each of them into silence… 

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We could see for miles and miles.  Nothing else but trees and sky. 

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Though beautiful, our stay at the top lasted only a few minutes because I couldn’t quite breath watching my 3 year old get oh-so-close to the edge. 

Much of our walk back down looked like this to me… trying not to trip over Cooper who found himself sliding on his bum, most of the way.  I don’t know how many times I heard him mutter, “There’s another bruise…”  or “This is pretty dangerous…” or “Whoops… that’s what happens,” to no one in particular. 

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Our hike brought us back down to Joyce Lake where we decided it would be good place for some fish catchin’.  And some lunch.

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Matt prepared the boys for how it would go… “I will cast, and Gage will reel in.  Then I will cast, and Cooper will reel in…” (repeat).  Taking turns is STILL not one of their strong suits. 

So, they each took a few turns reeling it in, and then thought it best to just wait until there was actually a fish on the line.  And so they waited patiently.

June-27,-2010-057-E And waited. 

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And waited some more.  June-27,-2010-066-E

And Cooper emptied out his sandal for the 57th time on our trip.

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Nothing yet, but we could SEE the fish out there… only a matter of time…

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A little more waiting… passing the time by playing with an empty bullet he found in the water… 

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And with sticks… (it is unbelievable how boys can find entertainment out of nothing,yet at other times, be surrounded by ALL their toys and be SO bored.)

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By the way… how manly is this guy I married?? Fishing with a baby in the front pack?? And yes, he has a gun in his pocket.  You just never know…

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Anyway… FINALLY!  Matt got one on and handed it over to Doot, to reel in his first fish.  A little beauty that was joyfully returned to the lake after getting nose to nose with the boys. 

(Gotta give credit where credit’s due… Matt took the following picture of Gage, because I was nursing Kaden.  Go figure!)

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And thank the Lord, Matt hooked another one shortly after, so Cooper officially caught his first fish today, too.  We NEVER would have heard the end of it had he not. 

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And the only thing that could have made this outing even more wonderful, ACTUALLY happened… all three boys slept the entire drive home.  This is our kind of a sunny, Summer, Sunday. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

TestingTesting… 1,2,3…

The boys are back at their monkey business in the tree (Cooper actually told me that he’s going to “swing from branch to branch looking for some tasty leaves to eat.”) and I thought it would be a good chance to work on figuring out how to eliminate the nasty green cast the leaves put on their faces last time I took pictures of them in the tree

Enter, custom white balance.  White balance is “a camera setting that adjusts for lighting in order to make white objects appear white in photos. This is more difficult than it might seem due to the fact that light cast from different sources is different in color (technically called temperature). That is to say, light is rarely truly white in nature. The light from an incandescent or halogen bulb, for example, is red/orange in color, while that from the sun is relatively blue.”  Therefore, a proper white balance setting in a camera will prevent, for example, a white shirt on a child in a tree from appearing greenish.  Or their skin. 

I have had many AH HA moments when it comes to white balance and setting a custom one in camera, to specifically identify what the color temperature is in the exact situation has become a goal of mine. It makes a huge difference.  To do this, I set my white balance to custom, held my white balance tool in the tree around where the boys were playing, took a picture of the Lastolite grey card and set the white balance off of that picture. 

Here is an example of last time I took pictures of the boys in these trees without any editing…

June 12, 2010 045

And this is an example from today, with a custom white balance… Cooper’s shirt is white and his skin doesn’t make him look like he’s Slimmer’s brother! 

In addition to playing around with Custom White Balance, I’m also playing around with the best way to prepare my photos for the web, so below I’ve posted 3 examples of the SAME picture, resized and sharpened in difference ways to post online.  I have to resize them so that they upload for me and download for you, faster.  And when they are resized (smaller) they get blurry and need some sharpening.  Anyhow, this is more a test for me, and a chance for you to see Cooper’s sweet face, staring off into the distance, three times. 

June-26,-2010-012EdgeSharp2 June-26,-2010-012-HighDef2 June-26,-2010-012-ResizeAct

If you can tell ANY difference at all, PLEASE share... and if they look exactly the same to you, I’d like to hear that, too, so I can stop stressing over this.  :)  I just have to put you through this ‘Test’ because I have to actually see the photos online to really figure out which works best.  And a side by side comparison seemed to be the easiest, quickest way to go. 

And here’s a quick one of Doot, who told me he’s going to sleep in this tree tonight.

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So glad he doesn’t look like he’s battling with sea sickness.  Custom white balance is my camera’s new best friend.

(These may not be very good photos to practice this test with, so bare with me if I have to do another…)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

When I Least Expect It…

The best part of ‘practicing’ photography has been capturing photos that I never would have thought to take before… and when I least expect it, I get ones that I LOVE because of what story is behind the picture.  This is subjective, of course, because most people would probably regard these pictures as just snapshots of a kid sitting by a door…

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…or a snapshot of that same kid just wearing dirty old boots…

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And while, yes, technically they are that… to me they are so much more.

They are photographs of my little boy taking a break from running in the grass barefoot; for the first time in the summer that he was three…

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… taking a moment away from the activity to delicately and thoughtfully examining the texture on a leaf...

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… and of my little boy discovering just how big of a challenge it quite literally is to walk in his Daddy’s shoes.

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   You can capture time… not in a bottle… but in a photograph.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Play-date = Blessings…

Wow, how a play-date can rejuvenate a mama’s whole attitude on parenting… its amazing what a little time with girlfriends can do! We visit over yelling, laughing, tattling, and children’s conversations. We discipline our kiddos between discussions of grocery shopping advice and budgeting and homeschooling approaches. 

Sometimes the kids play together…

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And sometimes they stand amongst the chaos singing their ABC’s while reading an alphabet book…

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And if the weather is as beautiful as it was today, off we go to the park… all the little ducks in a row…June-24,-2010-039 June-24,-2010-042

And when it is REALLY nice weather, like it was today, the water fountains are enjoyed by all…

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And when we are all too pooped to play anymore, home we go for LONG naps (I think we’d all agree that this is one of the best blessings of these outings).

Thank you, friends, for the play-date… I am as blessed by these get-togethers as my kiddos are… if not more. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy 6 Month, Kaden…

A perfect day for you to have found your toes… enjoy, Sweet Boy! 

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Editing… Ay yi yi…

By no one in particular I feel a little mislead in my quest to ‘take better pictures’.  Okay, rather mislead by myself (I have a tendency to just jump right into things without really testing the waters)  My desire to improve my photography skills started around when Kaden was born and I was so inspired by pictures I’d see online and in scrapbook pages that I started reaching out for as much information as possible.  Naive me, thought that those pictures could be captured, simply, with a good camera and some education.

Come to find out that probably 99% of the pictures you see online (and I’m talking the personal pictures, not professional ads and stuff) are edited.  Sorry to burst your bubble. Rarely to falsify the image (like making the person lose weight) but to enhance it… the colors, clarity, sharpness, and to fix it… any errors made when shooting, problems with composure, white balance, exposure, etc. So ignorant little me realizes that I not only need to be well educated in the photography aspect (as well as have the natural ‘nitch’, which I’m still not sure I have) but also educated and armed with the goods for editing (ie. Photoshop Elements or Photoshop or Lightroom… the list goes on and on in regard to these programs). 

My goal in my photography has been first and foremost to capture real life in the best way possible. So, at first I was putting my foot down and saying “I don’t WANT to edit my pictures.”  But the more I’ve learned about photography, the more I know that it isn’t making the pictures fake… its all part of the process of capturing real life in the best way possible. 

Therefore, I’ve kind of changed my tune about editing.  I really don’t want to have to put much time into it so I’m going to do my BEST to get the best possible SOOC (straight out of camera) shot possible.  I’m going to attempt to figure out a quick easy workflow to keep my pictures clean and real

So, now I’m learning about photography and learning about editing.  I have A LOT to learn and I am no where near good. But since I’m all about full disclosure and seeking help, I thought I’d post some SOOC and edited shots.  (Oh, and to make matters MORE complicated, my monitor isn’t calibrated, so I may actually be making my photos worse without really knowing it. Sheesh.)

Let me know what you think. Honestly.    

                                                                         (SOOC)thru May 14, 2010 015

(Edited)

thru-May-14,-2010-015-E                                                                         (SOOC)

June 18, 2010 116                                                                         (Edited)

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                                                                         (SOOC)

June 23, 2010 062                                                                         (Edited (1))

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                                                                          (Edited (2))

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Do you notice a difference between the above 2??  Which one looks better??

All SOOC shots are going to look a little blurred online because when they come out of the camera they are sized to print not for web.  Its a concept I don’t understand enough to explain here, but just had to state it in my defense: my SOOC aren’t that blurry.  :) 

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And this last one is an edit I did to save a pretty bad picture of Cooper. Simply by increasing contrast, cropping a bit and converting to a ‘warm’ black and white, I love it.  So, I guess I don’t have SUCH hard feelings toward editing.

Fortunately, the focus for me is still, and should remain on, getting the best SOOC I can.

Because, like my photography instructor says, “You can’t polish a turd.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Walk with Friends…

Aww, to finally get outside and go for a walk with the Ferlans.  Melissa and I used to do this several times a week but somehow life has gotten in the way. Today, the sun was out and the kids were healthy… and FINALLY, off we went to The Lake. 

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With 4 kiddos running and 2 babies riding, I’m sure we were a sight to see… but, as is the beauty of living where we do… NO one saw us.  We were in our own little world where the kids could roam and not worry about hassling anyone.

And as if that is not great enough for a kid, just to run wild, they got to swing quite literally into the trees, thanks to Melissa’s good pushin’. 

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If that’s not a look of pure joy, I don’t know what is.  The boys have been sick with colds for 2 weeks now and this is their first time ‘out’.  Can you tell?? June-22,-2010-040

Doh!  Where’d you go Doot??? (Again, good pushin’ Meliss!)June-22,-2010-047 June-22,-2010-051 June-22,-2010-055 June-22,-2010-060

And then there is sweet little Gracie. Dainty as a pixie but as tough (if not tougher) than the 3 big boys (maybe even combined).

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While the kiddos played in the water (running, swings, AND water?? They were in heaven!) us mamas actually got to catch up between nursing and comforting the babies and encouraging the kids NOT to try to push one of the row boats out to into the water.

Ironically, this outting ended just as our last Ferlan/Meyers event did… with Cooper peeing where he shouldn’t have.  Last time it was in the mud puddle where Gage and Wyatt were playing and this time, it was in the water right by where they were wading.  Who’s kid is this?  Everyone out of the water, and again, Cooper had to ride home naked.   

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  But not before discovering a dead snake with ants all over it, which just added to these boys’ pure enjoy of this day… 

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Really, it doesn’t take much to tickle their fancy and that’s just the way it is for a country boy.