Tales from the Hill's Country

Quips, stories and observations from our adventures in marriage and parenting (as told by Katie).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gordon in the Backyard

While Chris worked in the backyard, I grabbed my camera and tried some outdoor shots with little Gordon:
He did a little zoolander for me.
(Happy Dog, used for catalog.)
(Blue Steel, used for high fashion)
(El Tigre, it's new... I probably shouldn't even be talking about it!)

The next day I went out an hour earlier and used the correct light settings on my camera (whoopsie). Gordon was much less cooperative with the faces that we've practiced:
 But at least the lighting is better!

I also wanted to try to get some "jumping dog" shots.

This is from the first day and has been cropped and touched up (the light was bad) with Picassa:
This is from the second day and has only been cropped. I'm finding it's much crisper to take the photo right the first time, than to try and fix it later... 
Not quite the shot I was looking for, but still fun. Watching Gordon run is one of my favorite pastimes. He leaps like a dog, but runs more like a bunny! Hopefully I'll be able to capture that someday...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WBW: So Long Adam

My dear pal Adam is moving to New York City to pursue a career as an actor. Although I wish him well, I selfishly think he should just stay put in Houston, thankyouverymuch.

(Taken during a high school mission trip.)

Adam and I have been pals since we were in 6th grade and found seats next to each other in confirmation class. Both of our dads raced sailboats and were racing to Florida that summer. So we found ourselves fast friends as many of the family members traveled to Florida to meet the racers when they arrived.

That's where the first photo was taken of this (now safe to say) life-long friendship started.
I secretly hope Adam gets super famous so I can send that photo into E! for their True Hollywood Story...

Here's another delightful (or delightfully awkward?) photo of us in middle school:
It was actually hard to find photos of just Adam and I as we had a third partner in crime, Billy:
(pictured here around age 15 when Billy and I had our braces off... Adam loves to tell everyone how he never needed braces. Bravo, Adam!)

Through the years even our families became close and in high school we went on many family vacations together. Like this one to New Mexico for a ski trip:
(Pictured with Kristin and Morgan-- more partners in crime and life-long friends.)

Although we were always "just friends", Adam was my prom date. Here we are with Billy before the big dance:
I adored that dress... it had pockets!

So I wish Adam much success in NYC-- and not only because I'd love to have an actor pal up there so we can rule the city, like on Entourage-- but also because Adam's a good guy with a lot of talent and charisma. So long, friend-- and break a leg!

Have a Way Back When-sday story that you'd like to share?

Step One: grab a button and to put on your WBW post (that will send readers here):
The Hill's Country

Step Two: fill out this easy form and a link will pop up here to send readers to YOUR WBW story!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Photography Class

My pal, Kristin, and I decided we needed some extra help with our new Fancy Pants cameras, so we checked out Farrah Braniff (www.farrahbraniff.com).

She has workshops fairly frequently and we were both very impressed with the experience! We were able to score amazon coupons (like groupon), but even at the listed price ($95), I think the class is worth it.

Kristin and I both commented that Farrah is a gifted teacher, with a talent/passion for photography. (Clearly, she's a gifted photographer too!) Going into the class, there was some fear that we'd have a passionate photographer who couldn't really explain things to us-- but that was not the case at all!

Farrah explained a small chunk of information, then showed each of us how to apply that to our individual cameras. Then we all went outside and tested it out.

Like this feather exercise she had us do (to practice with shutter speed). In both photos, the feathers are moving at the same speed:
(Taken with a "low and slow" shutter speed.)

The feather is still moving, but I changed the shutter speed:
(Taken with a "high and fast" shutter speed.)

What a difference!

After grasping the concept, Kristin and I took some silly shots:
As a working mom of three, Farrah was able to give practical advice on how to get good shots of your kids and family. I really appreciated that perspective (as opposed to someone who only shoots in a studio all day).

The key now is to practice, practice and hope that my blog readers don't get bored with photos of Gordon (my current "like a toddler" dog-model)!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Afternoon Snooze

You might remember this post from a few days ago. Where Justin and Jeremy are each sleeping while taking care of their wide-awake newborns.

Well the other day, I walked in to see Chris and Gordon in a similar state:
As you can see, Gordon is wide awake!
I decided that neither of those shots "told the story" very well, so I got all artsy (I'm such a photographer now...)
Then I decided to get really close to Gordon's face:
Really, really close:
A little too close... I don't think he liked that!

I guess even puppy papas can get exhausted!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Maria Learns to Read

If you ask PD, Maria is very advanced. He tells stories of his 5 month old granddaughter running around the compound, riding her bike and calling him on the telephone to hold conversations.

Of course, we all know that's silly, right? At least I thought so, until I saw some photographic evidence of little Maria reading a book!
She even gets the jokes!
Yep, that little girl's a smart one! Next time I come over to Baton Rouge I'll have to remember to bring her my old Algebra textbook (don't ask why I still have that...)!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Camera Practice with Gordon

So on the same day I hosted a Gordon photo shoot I also decided to take a few shots of a wreath that I made for St. Patrick's Day:
It hangs on the inside of our door:
After taking a ton of photos of Gordon, then a ton of photos on my wreath... I started to get a little loopy. Which is when this seemed like a good idea:
Gordon was concerned about it:
(Click on the image to see it larger and you can see the humor in the panic in his eye.)

But he still had the important job of guarding the house. He tried to accomplish this with dignity:
But those efforts were futile:
I'm beginning to doubt Gordon's commitment to being my toddler-like model for "fancy-pants camera training". 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WBW: Rain!

In honor of yesterday's rainstorm, I have some rainy day fun for Way Back When-sday.

Here is my brother and I taking a rainy day stroll:
(Notice I'm barefoot... my mom used to call me a "street urchin" because I refused to wear shoes.)

And here's me. Hanging out in the rain. With a parasol (meant for sun, not rain). In a swimsuit. Either posing or mid-eye roll:
I loved that pink swimsuit!

If you're a blogger, I'd love for you to join in the Way Back When-sday Fun!

Step One: grab a button and to put on your WBW post (that will send readers here):
The Hill's Country

Step Two: fill out this easy form and a link will pop up here to send readers to YOUR WBW story!

And for those that don't have a blog, make sure to click on the links that are posted so you can enjoy even MORE WBW fun! (And sorry if you already know all this... I spent 20 minutes last week trying to explain all this to my mom, so I figured I should spell it out just in case!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gordon's Photo Shoot

It keeping with what seems to be pregnant family law, Chris and I bought a fancy pants camera. Working definition of fancy pants camera? Anything that's not an iPhone camera.

I figure the closest thing to photographing a toddler, is a dog... so Gordon became my instant model!

So here's Gordon, doing his usual afternoon routine: guarding the house:
Which is an exhausting job:
Every once and a while a biker, car or jogger will go by:
And Gordon scopes out the possible intruder:
On this day, he had me to deal with too. I tried to get him to look over at the camera, but it was rare and quick when he did. You know, the important work and all:
Guarding the house from pretend intruders is a tough job:
Sometimes is so exhausting that little Gordon can't help but take a snooze on the job:
But don't worry, the second someone walks by with their dog in tow? Gordon is back on the job!
So that's an hour or so in the life of my dog. Rough life, right?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Daddy/Daughter Time

Johanna and Laura sent me each of these photos this weekend... completely independently of each other...

Here's Justin, watching Lucy at the St. Patrick's Day parade:
And here's Jeremy and Maria on a snoozy Sunday afternoon:
I guess the girls didn't get the "nap time" memo... but the dads sure did!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Girl loves her pizza

Jojo and Jeremy ordered pizza the other day... and Maria was quite pleased about it!
There's something adorable about a baby in a Bumbo... even more so when it's my cute niece, Maria, surrounded by Dominoes Pizza!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Living Room Update

Even though BH isn't due until August, it's never too early to start preparing the house.

So on Saturday, Chris and I drove around Houston on the hunt for a nursery chair.

We came back with a living room rug.
I guess we'll slowly ease into this parent-hood thing.

My mom came over to help me move the old rug out and the new rug in. In the middle of that, I thought to snap a photo:
That's our cleared out living room and our wonderful hard-wood floor.

While this was going on in the living room, Chris and my dad were busy wiring electricity to the backyard. Again, not sure how this goes on the "things we need to do before baby arrives" list, but it IS something we've wanted to do for a while.

Here's a photo of my dad, working on the wiring from the inside:
See where the light from the window doesn't show you what's outside? Well, this is what was outside:
Chris, working on the wiring from the outside!

It was funny to see them working on either side of the wall... just a shame that the iPhone camera couldn't pick that up in one photo!

Oh, and the living room rug? It's down and we're LOVING it. My dear friend, Hedi, gave me a piece of baby furniture that is now sitting on that new living room rug:
I snapped this photo and texted it to Laura and Jojo, "this just got REAL." Crazy to think that in a 5 months we'll have to  have all our house projects done... because we'll have a new little roommate!