Spring is being a bit shy this year.

Doesn’t Spring know how much we love and miss her? It has thankfully warmed up a lot, but last Friday was so gray, colorless, windy, gloomy and cold. Hopefully we won’t see another one of those days for a few months.

The weather is much more pleasant than what it has been previously, but it’s still fluctutates so much; and it’s a day-by-day thing trying to decide how to dress my baby for the day. Don’t get me wrong, we have brutal summers here on the Gulf Coast so I am in no hurry for that type of dangerous and miserably hot weather. Spring (and Autumn), already usually very very short, is usually the best time of year for outdoor activities.

 

flower photos, spring, gift of nature

Vibrant colors, pleasant temperatures, gentle breezes, sun kisses, and dancing butterflies–We love Spring and hope to see more of it very soon!

 

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My Baby is 2 Years Old!

(3-7-11).

On March 7th our darling turned 2-years-old!

Time is really zooming by. Looks like it has been 5 months since I’ve posted here. Well a 5-month gap isn’t too bad (lol). I’ve been super-busy with so many things. Who isn’t super-busy these days? I really do long for simpler times.

For my daughter’s first birthday, I made this post: My Baby is One Years Old

Here are some photos from that post:

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So what I am using my business blog for is to not only post gift ideas, baby shower ideas and birthday party ideas, but to also provide the information where various gifts and products can be purchased.

(These photos below are courtesy of a partner site)

butterfly party cookies, birthday party food Butterfly-Birthday-Party-Favor-Boxes butterfly party decoration

So for anyone looking for (butterfly-themed) birthday party ideas, this post on my other blog gives a great place to start and shows you where the party decorations above can be purchased.

Friday Night at the Pier

The pier is Megan’s and my hangout spot. Dad comes along sometimes, but he is not as much of a nature lover like Megan and me. A few times we have been able to go early in the morning. The air feels different early in the morning, and it’s so refreshing and a great way to start the day. 

I’ve learned that it’s best to take the stroller along. When she first started walking, she was okay with holding my hand and letting me lead the way. Now that she’s gone through some growth spurts, she’s become so much more independent and adventurous.

Just being out isn’t enough for her anymore. She wants to truly interact with the environment and her surroundings. One morning when we went to the pier, she kept pulling her hand away from mine, and she’d take off running away from me. We’d go to the beach area and she really thought it was okay to just walk straight into the Bay.

If you see a tiny 5’2″ mama with a pink polka dot diaper bag chasing a gorgeous little 1-year-old….that would be Megan and me. 🙂 Sometimes I’m like, “I have become one of those parents I used to always look at and say–“Woops, their baby is wilding out.” LOL.

We both really have a great time though. And so many people are always smiling and speaking to her, no matter where we go, she brings  smiles to so many people’s faces.

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Friday night at the pier was smooth sailing. A great outing.

I usually don’t carry my DSLR with me anymore. It’s just too big and gets in the way now that I have so much mommy and baby stuff to do. I debated whether I should take it and said, “Well you never know when it comes to nature, there may be some good shots to take.”

It’s always a lot of people fishing and they take it seriously; boy I tell they concentrate hard, lol. But I’ve never seen so many people, about 25, gathered in one spot and looking in the water.

So I thought I’d just stand and look too. I was trying to see who looked kind enough for me to ask what’s going on, but then I saw this scene:

Nature Photo at Pier

And this one:

Pier Nature Photo

I later found out that everyone was looking at a man standing on the rocks fishing. He had been struggling with a fish for quite a while. Someone told me that when it takes that long to pull in a fish, it means it’s a big fish and people have to tire the fish out  in order to pull it in.

I don’t know anything about fishing, but learned something that night. Sure enough he pulled out a fish about as long as a toddler. Everybody started clapping, and Megan was ready to continue her breezy Friday night stroller ride. 

Thankful Thursday: Like Mother, Like Daughter

Last week Meg and I had another great evening at the pier. No big ole’ stroller, I just carried her around and she did a lot of walking–with me holding her hands from the back. She is so funny. Sometimes there are big dogs out there, and they would walk past us on the side walk. Of course, their owners would have the dogs’ mouths covered up and have the dogs on a leash. However, I noticed that the big animals don’t scare Meg at this point. She actually starts walking towards them.

She doesn’t have that fear of the unknown yet. Well, besides strangers. She doesn’t like any stranger trying to hold her or even to get really close to her. The other day we were out there, the ducks were getting really close and feisty. They kept looking like they wanted to attack and take Megan out of my lap. So there were a few times we had to get up and move away from the wild ducks. She wasn’t scared though, but I was taken aback.

She gets so much attention when we’re out. On this most recent outing, it must was about 8 people/couples wanting to play and talk with her.

She used to be scared of the fountain, but she certainly wasn’t last week. The photo below was taken in November and she wasn’t with me on that night. However, it’s the same huge fountain that we sat near last week during sunset. And Miss Meg started taking her shoes off and was trying to wiggle out of my arms and get in the fountain!!

It was hilarious. I sat her down so she could dip her little hands in the fountain, but I was surprised and tickled pink that she wanted to get in there. I think she thought it was bath time since she now takes baths in the regular tub and not the kiddie tubs anymore.

We walked along this pier. I have a wonderful picture of her holding onto the rails and looking at the water. That’s when I thought to myself, she’s going to be a nature lover just like mommy!

The picture below was taken with my cell phone. It doesn’t matter….DSLR (which I never really carry anymore) or cell phone, practice framing your photos! We’ll buy her a camera when she gets older and go on many nature photo shoots.

Thankful.

10 things I want to say to my daughter

1)You’re currently 13 months old!

2)You’re not walking on your own yet, but you love to walk while holding our hands and holding onto furniture.

3)You love to push small boxes, chairs, and anything with wheels around the house.

4)We went to the Strawberry Festival this past weekend. When I took you out of the stroller you decided you wanted to push the stroller and you didn’t want me to pick you back up.

5)Your absolute most favorite food in the world is…..RED GRAPES!! You love love love them.

6)You like music, and you like to do baby dances. You also really like the final Jeopardy music and will stop what you’re doing to look at the TV.

7)When you get older, I know that you will like music from the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s, because that is your momma’s favorite music; so anytime I listen to it with kids in the family, they end up liking, no LOVING those old songs.

8)You are such a mini-me with all of your talking and feistyness. Lately you’ve been pointing your fingers, while standing in your crib and giving some very serious baby talk. I call you the professa (professor). Your dad calls you Preacher Megan when you do that. We’ve got to get this on video.

9) You like to take books and pretend you are reading! Seems like you will take after your dad in this regard and read lots of books on your own when you get older.

10)It’s been an amazing journey with you. May God continue to have mercy on us and allow us to all have a beautiful future together. 

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**Hugs & Kisses**

Taking photos and keeping baby happy

I love taking Meg to the pier. Most of the time I don’t bother to take my camera because I have her stroller, snacks, her diaper bag, some toys for her, as well as my cellphone and other personal things I need. One time I was feeling energetic enough to take the camera, but not the stroller. I’m cool with carrying her on my hips. So one time I tried taking photos with her on my hip, lol, my photos were of course crooked and hard to compose.

During our most recent visit to the pier, I brought the stroller, and of course wasn’t free to move around very much. So I wasn’t so sure how the photos would turn out, but they came out fine. For each shot, it took me about 10 seconds to give Meg a snack, test my camera setting, make sure Meg is content, readjust my camera setting to the correct setting (in this case I increased shutter speed to decrease the amount of light coming in), compose the shot, and snap the photo! I didn’t have time to sit there and continue to adjust the settings to see what results I could come up with, but these worked just fine.

The sun sets so very quickly. You have only a few minutes to get it together…

before it’s gone. But then you’re still left with other photo opportunities.

Baby was happy, and momma was happy!

Mother’s Day Ideas!

 I love Mother’s Day!

As I mentioned in this post, Happiest Little Girl in the World, I had a magical, wonderful childhood thanks to my wonderful parents. And of course, we just happen to live in a neighborhood with lots of kids, and a great location that provided us many opportunities to have so much fun.

Mother’s Day is an important day for me. I may let Christmas gifts and Birthday gifts slide, but Mother’s Day is that day where it’s important to make sure mom feels very special and appreciated as you look back on the years she has given so much to raise a family in this challenging world that is about everything but family.

Ideas

1)I’m in the process of starting my own (online) photography gift shop. I’m starting off by offering photo books and 4×6 and 5X7 prints as part of a gift package. My 1st photo book is Rainbow-themed. It will have rainbow photographs that I have taken, as well as prayers, quotes, cooking ideas (How to make a rainbow cake), a photography article (how to photograph a rainbow), and rainbow lesson ideas for teachers and parents. I will like to give my mother (and my motherinlaw) the first copies of my book that I hope does well. More on all of this later.

2)So I will basically like to have an entire table set up for mom with all types of little things, such as:

3)Colorful flowers, something to match the very slight rainbow theme I am going with. Of course this will be a joint effort of my sisters and me.

4)A CD with some family videos of her grand kids. Also will be the Easter speech videos from her grand kids. She saw the Easter speeches on my cell phone as best she could. She asked for these to go on a CD, so what better way than to make it for Mother’s day.

5)I’m thinking of putting together a little booklet where each grandkid write something for her and draw something. Gotta get the rainbow theme in here somehow.

6)A Giftcard for her to, I guess her favorite store.

7) I will need to have a photo of all of the grand kids on it.

8)She has already asked us to cook for her. (Why didn’t we think of that). So for dessert it will be the layered rainbow cake.

Photo Credits:

 http://static.tastykitchen.com
http://chella.typepad.com/
 

My Baby is One Years Old!

I loved planning our baby’s birthday celebration. Everything went great! I loved having all of the family together, and the kids had a blast. When it comes to kids, all you need is some food and enough room for them to run around and play! The adults were all smiles and enjoyed themselves as well. Everyone absolutely loved the decorations and ideas!

Megan wouldn’t let anyone hold her. She cried & fussed with her little pink tutu on. It’s funny at first, she and I were taking pictures, she was so happy and playful. As soon as the first guests walk through the door she starts fussing. If she doesn’t see you everyday she doesn’t know you at this point. She always loves the kids though.

This was the inside of the birthday card for everyone to sign:

Those are the lyrics from one of my favorite songs called “Black Butterfly” by Deniece Williams. I used to listen to this song all the time when I was a teenager. The song’s full lyrics were posted outside of Megan’s bedroom door. My baby gonna set the skies on fire! What beautiful lyrics…makes me cry.

I’m very picky (extremely!) and am usually very much against invites where you hand write anything, but it really didn’t matter as these weren’t mailed out. They were just given out for fun and keepsake:

I wrapped a computer desk with red paper and made it the ‘Red & White Table’ with peppermint favors at the top…

….And at the bottom, in between these 2 hearts  was a pearl necklace which had “The name Megan means pearl” written near it. There was a label that said “Butterfly Kisses” because the hearts had Hershey’s Kisses in them.

Each of the kids that were invited had to choose a butterfly picture to color. I framed them and put them in an “Art Gallery” for the party. The one below is from my 6 year- old nephew Will. Bless his heart; okay bless his parents’ hearts because he was so excited about the party that he didn’t sleep at all the night before!

This poem was also in the gallery. I didn’t care about the ink getting low; it was readable so I didn’t reprint it. I try hard to stop being a perfectionist so I was proud of myself for letting this stay just like it was. That’s paper I bought during my teaching days.

The display table had this book on it.  Of course none of the kids touched the book, but of course they grabbed those noise maker things. I love my babies.

Below is one of the poems that was displayed. .As I read a lot of butterfly poetry to decide which ones to choose, I noticed that the poems were all so beautiful. WOW. I usually do not like poetry because I usually don’t get it & had to interpret it in High school and my interpretation would always be wrong. Like how am I supposed to know what the authors meant when they wrote their poetry? All of the butterfly poems were so straight forward, deep & powerful I would have made a “Megan’s Book of Butterfly Poetry” if  I would have had time.

Display table. I adore bows and tulle.

Sunflowers. I can’t begin to explain how much I LOVE flowers and especially these sunflowers. Goodness! At first I was going to use Crazy Daisies, but then I saw the sunflowers. I would ask the floral people if the flowers would be in bloom on her party date and was smiling a mile wide when they said yes.

I found information on how sunflowers relate to butterflies and I printed it and displayed it.

These things are hard to photograph because they are very dark in the center but then the petals are very light. Especially since I only have a pop up flash, I try to use natural light & avoid flash most of the time, but that just didn’t happen this time. I had to use flash to get the (somewhat) detail of the center/head.

The jar kept tipping over so I had to position them in a certain way.

Below is natural light coming in from the balcony. So when it was time to take photos of Megan and other people….their movement caused the photos to be blurry as my camera remained set for still life, no flash, so basically wide aperture and slow shutter speed.

As I was reading a critique of someone else’s blurry photo, lol, I was supposed to: 1)Increase shutter speed to freeze motion 2)When you alter one setting you are trading off something else. So since less light would be coming in by increasing shutter speed, I would need to increase ISO. I shoot in Manual Mode and am thrilled with how far I’ve come with understanding how to use available light. However, it’s time to also focus on decreasing motion blur.

partay 0655

My husband took this photo; and it’s a good one! My little handwriting can be rough.

From the Mouth of Babes

My niece (age 9) goes: “Ummm so we’re at a party and we still have to do school work?”

My other niece (age 10) called after the party saying she loved how their pictures were framed and she was giving me some ideas about the Butterfly Kisses & Hershey’s Kisses.

I was so rushing by this time, the day before the party. I was like…ok, 2 pink flower photos of mine plus the green paper fit into the pink & green color scheme. I doubt anyone picked up on that detail. My husband already told me I was quite “special” when I was mentioning how the balloons’ designs and colors need to be a certain way. He said no one will notice. I know that’s true, but I love being super-detailed. This Photo Shop section was for parents & grandparents to pick out past years photos of their kids and grand kids, as well as some tutu photos of Megan. There was a black and white photo of Megan in a gray frame that said “Bless this Child.”

Butterfly jewelry

The paper it’s printed on has jewelry on it. That’s some cute paper I bought during my teaching days.

I made sure I had the silver one. I’m so attached to it.((Heart)) When my mother-in-law came back later that night she still had on her necklace. My best friend said she’s keeping her bracelet because it’s so sentimental. Indeed it is. (Blurry photo)

These are the (common) names of different butterflies. They were placed throughout the party area.

A cupcake cake….also called Pull Apart Cake. There was also some little debbie cakes called Butterfly Cakes because they were shaped like butterflies.

Fly Away…

We had a balloon on the balcony with butterflies on and it, and the kids counted down so that Megan (with my help) can release the balloon into the air. It floated up and behind the building. Awwww, man, we didn’t get to see it float way. We’ll pay attention to the wind’s direction next time.

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For an update, view this post: My Baby is 2 Years Old!

Why I Love Living on the Gulf Coast

..because I love being around water. Whether it’s a small pond or whether it’s the ocean, I love the peaceful feeling when around water as well as the art of water: The reflections, waves, ripples, colors, etc…

I have to admit though, I’m no fan of driving over bridges & that it can be unnerving driving in certain areas where it’s basically like the road is just sitting on top of the river. You’re literally about 10 feet from the river on either side of you. If it’s windy, the water blows onto the street.

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We don’t have much of a Fall/Autumn Season here. Rarely do we get to see any autumn colors & the few fall colors we have last just a few days. When I travel further North I am in awe of the autumn colors.

couple watching sunset

The Mums are in Bloom!

It’s mum season (Chrysanthemum). These photos were taken last year.

Mum bridge reflection

Yellow mums

Japanese mum festival

Mums on bridge

The bumble bees were highly attracted to these flowers. I had never seen that many bees in one place. Their buzzing was extremely loud because it was so many of them. They were taking over, but I had to, of course, take some photos as these flowers are in bloom for such a short time. I plan to go back for next year’s mum festival, and I’ll be ready for the bees once again.

A Graceful Lady

 

 

My mom (like many old school moms :)) has a bunch of figurines in her home. I want to photograph them, but only had time to quickly snap this shot.

I am working in Manual Mode to control the lighting better. I have trouble with focusing though.  I’m in no rush to work with manual focus. I’m recently learning to experiment with white balance after someone posted a great post explaining it.

Sunset at the Pier

I was so excited when I was able to take these shots (on Nov 2nd).

We just moved near the beaches so I had never seen the sunset near the water around this time of year. It’s a little different from summer’s sunset. When I was driving home on the bridge a few days ago before I took the photos, I saw how dominantly the sun was setting; and there was a silhouette of someone in a canoe. It would have made the perfect picture, but too bad I was driving on the bridge.

So I took my hand and pretended it was my camera and snapped the photo, :):) It inspired me to keep going to the pier to see if I can get something close to it and I did with the photos below.

 

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In the Holiday Spirit!

I truly love the Holiday season. It’s all about quality family time, family traditions, the children, relaxing, sharing stories over dinner, remembering past holidays, and cherishing good health. And oh yeah, gifts, decorations,holiday movies, holiday music, food, and all that wonderful stuff as well. But those things would mean nothing without family.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. It will be Megan’s first Thanksgiving and Christmas! I’m a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade fan. When I was a little girl, my sisters and I would jump up and down with excitement at the end of the parade when Santa Claus would appear. We knew it meant that it’s now Christmas time, mom and dad would be putting up the tree and going shopping for our new toys soon. So when I was pregnant with Megan last year around this time, I started crying at the end of the Macy’s parade and told my mom why. She laughed, I laughed,  and we hugged.

I guess I should post some family Christmas snapshots from the past. As for now, these are some of my favorite Christmas photos that I took in 2010. I was pregnant and wobbling like a penguin. It was extremely crowded and people kept getting in my way, lol, but I managed to do a nice job. I would like to go back to this Christmas Light show this year. 

My favorite one: