I love being an amateur hobbyist photographer. I have no deadlines, no clients to impress, no “look” to achieve, no rules to follow. I am able to enjoy this, purely as a hobby, and at this point in my life I am so enjoying my learning.
I spent this past week doing a lot of self-teaching specifically with regards to low light photography and black and white processing. I’ve been so inspired by this series, and particularly the interviews with Sarah Wilkerson and Melissa Gibson. I’ve never preferred black and white to color, but after seeeing some of these ladies stunning images, I’m starting to admire the beauty in a well done black and white. They are just so moody and emotional!
So on a particularly dreary day this week, I decided to put my new knowledge to test on Big Zoom’s second birthday present from my sister. He loves this Radio Flyer bicycle to death. It has yet to see real action on the streets because we haven’t gotten a helmet for him, but he spends plenty of time “riding” it around the living room/dining room/kitchen/family room. Thank goodness we have a house with an open floor plan.
We’ve had a few sniffles and a hacking cough over here this week so we’ve been laying pretty low. Thomas t-shirts and bike riding made the time pass quickly.
I’m quite pleased with how these, my low light + black and white images have turned out. And they fit perfectly with the Still Life theme on my Project 52 challenge.
Check out the rest of my friends here!
Meet The Green Frog.
Big Zoom has been without a pacifier since he was 4 months old. Though he slept through the night starting at 8 weeks (don’t be mad; I paid for that BIG time with Little Zoom-he took 6 months), he would wake between 15 and 20 times each night needing his pacifier after it popped out. We made the decision to replace the pacifier with The Green Frog and after 3 days it worked!
Now, The Green Frog is his constant companion. I’m not sure it’s any better than a pacifier because he literally WILL NOT fall asleep without it. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve searched drawers and cupboards frantically at 7pm looking for this lovie. We’ve retraced miles, yes miles, on trails after realizing it had been thrown out the side of the stroller. I’ve driven to friends houses in a panic at 7:30, Big Zoom bathed and already in bed, to collect The Green Frog when it had been left behind. I’ve considered crafting some sort of leash for the thing so it will be continually attached to his body.
Why you ask, don’t I leave it in his bed? Because car rides, grocery shopping, and doctors appointments are unbearable with two unsettled kids, and as long as The Green Frog is in his hands, he’s calm.
What about getting a spare? A backup? Don’t you think I’ve thought of this? Pottery Barn Kids discontinued them. The new green lamb, brown elephant, and blue lion don’t cut it. We’ve tried.
We’ve finally managed to get him to say Froggie instead of Frog, which for several months sounded more like “fock”. Yes, you read right. My two year old traipsed around town showing every store clerk, neighbor, and friend his “fock”. Now it’s more like “foggy”. We can work with that.
Please check out the rest of my P52 friends too!
We moved to this, our first house in November of 2010. We love the neighborhood and though the house is still half empty we’re feeling more settled than we ever have. However, we’ve not been kind to our yard. Last summer was insanely hot. And I was enormously pregnant with Little Zoom, meaning I had no interest whatsoever in being outside doing yard work. I’m quite certain we killed about 45% of the brand new sod that was laid when our house was built. We had no clue how to mow properly, water adequately, or fertilize effectively. By August there were brown balding patches covering most of our totally unshaded backyard. Whoops!
Several weeks ago, I broke down and hired a lawn care service (not a lawn mowing service; bummer). They claimed they’d fertilize to make the yard green again, and they’ll continue to come back and spray throughout the year to keep it healthy. All we have to do is water and mow which we’ve started in earnest with the warm weather quickly approaching. A few weeks ago we laid our pine straw. I must say, our yard is looking much less sad than it did a month ago.
Last weekend, we decided to work on the porch. We scrubbed and scrubbed the yellow pollen off the railings and rocking chairs, bought our ferns, and I planted this little herb garden to sit next to the front door.
My garden consists of a strange mix this season. Don’t ask me what I’m going to do with lemon verbana, other than smell its leaves every time I go outside.
One of our favorite things about living down here are the summertime thunderstorms. Though they haven’t quite arrived yet, we’re anticipating them eagerly. Most evenings you’ll find us sitting on the front porch in our rocking chairs watching the storms come in.
Yes, we’re 30 going on 70, and we love it.
There is something about photographs of food that I just cannot get enough of. Confession. Most of the foodie blogs I follow are those whose author focuses on photography just as much as they do on their food and recipes. In fact, most of the recipes I read and pin I never actually get around to making. I’ve got an entire board dedicated to food pics on Pinterest which torture me daily as I attempt to lose the last of my baby (#1) weight.
This weeks theme was right up my alley. Our local farmers market is stellar and I absolutely adore it. When we lived downtown I’d go weekly and buy my produce, taste fresh veggies, and chat with the farmers. Heck, I even organized playdates with friends at the market. Sadly, we now live 30 minutes away and I don’t get down there as often as I’d like. I stopped by this morning with the boys to snap some photos and was so glad I made the trip down.
I was stopped no less than three times and asked what newspaper I work for. HA! One old grandma even said I looked like I was in a “real creative zone” as I snapped away at some bright red beets. Tip: if you want to look like you know what you’re doing all you’ve got to do is carry around an entry level DSLR and act creative. Worked for me. I laughed with the grandma and explained that I was just trying to kill some time before naps.
Though it’s still technically root vegetable season at our market, herbs and strawberries are starting to make an appearance. Soon the stalls will overflow with peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, corn, beans of every kind, lettuces, peppers, and zucchinis.
Fall apples become spring apple cider.
Pecans. I absolutely adore the colors in this picture and want to live in that barrel of pecans.
Hope that got the tummy growling a little. Go visit your local farmers market! And, be sure to check out the rest of my P52 friends.
Thankfully, we have not been stuck inside too often this winter. It’s been unseasonably warm here, which is just fine by me! I am a warm weather kind of person, and could probably be content without snow for the rest of my life. Bring on the sun. While we haven’t been too confined by weather, we have been confined by illness. These pictures were taken on a morning spent in the house. Cozy and warm, watching movies, and trying to feel better.
A boy and his dog. Is there no greater love?
Mr. Zoom and I brought Barley Zoom home from the shelter in February of 2009, just two short months after we’d moved to the US from Ireland. I was desperate for a friend, and on a particularly desperate day, asked Mr. Zoom to take me to PetSmart to look at the dogs during an adoption drive. BAD BAD BAD idea. A depressed woman and an adorable dog are a match made in heaven. Side note: several years ago, after a particularly bad break-up, I adopted the worlds most viscous cat who now resides 3000 miles away with my parents.
I wouldn’t classify myself as an animal lover. And that alone should have stopped us from driving to Petsmart that cold February afternoon. As expected, I fell in love with a reddish haired mutt, and had named him Barley before we even left the store. It took several days for the adoption to go through and I waited in angst, desperate for that sweet dog in the PetSmart to become ours. The night I picked him up from the shelter, giddy with excitement, was the same night I ran over a deer going 75 miles an hour down the interstate in our rental car. Our first hours together were spent waiting at the Hertz rental car counter explaining to the manager why the front of the SUV we’d rented was totally smashed in and covered in blood and hairs (ewwwww).
Over the years, Barley Zoom has eaten furniture, barked incessantly during naptime, nipped at a few small children, and shed pounds of dog hair all over my house. He’s eaten a tennis ball, nearly caught several squirrels in his mouth, and chewed through our coffee tables and couches. All that being said, he’s possibly the sweetest and most loving dog I’ve ever known. He’s constantly at my feet, follows me around wherever I go, is extremely well behaved on his (now, very infrequent) walks, and tries really hard to be a good boy.
Best of all, he’s been absolutely incredible with Big and Little Zoom. Though he doesn’t seem to care much for other kids and needs constant supervision around them, he’s beyond gentle and patient with Big Zoom. The infamous “witching hour” from 5-6 in the evening has turned into a joyous, if not a little rowdy, time for our toddler. Big Zoom grabs his tail, chases him around the house and laughs hysterically, crawls all over him, feeds him snacks, and sticks his fingers in Barley Zoom’s mouth. And, during meals Barley Zoom is always present, ready to snatch up any of the frequent droppings Big Zoom sneaks over the side of his tray. Best friends, I tell you.
Watching the two of them “play” together has been awesome. Big Zoom wakes up in the morning saying “woof, woof” and more recently “barwee” and cannot wait to see his best friend. Barley Zoom tolerates him so well. Pure love, from both perspectives.
And though he drives me insane on a daily basis, we wouldn’t be the same without him. I mean c’mon. How could you not love that face?
I had grand plans of concocting some sort of delicious beverage recipe for the project this week. I even went as far as buying a pack of Oreos and a tub of ice cream to whip up one of my favorite milkshakes to share. However, the week got away from me. The Oreos became a batch of cookies and cream scones (check back this weekend for the recipe), and the ice cream tub is being empties one slow spoonful at a time.
I did manage to grab these shots of Big Zoom with his beloved sippy cup. We must have 6 of these cars and trucks themed cups and I find them scattered around the house. This morning for example, I found one tossed in the bathtub. My guy loves his “app-jooce” and watches intently as I carefully fill his cup with the proper water to juice ratio. And bonus! We’ve almost got the “tank you” down pat!
Please check out the rest of the shots my P52 friends snapped here!
After attempting hundreds (yes, hundreds) of shadow shots in the backyard, the driveway, the park, and on the deck, I decided that I needed to think a little more creatively about this week’s assignment. So I dug out a box of old eyeshadows (one of many, many, many) from under my bathroom sink.
I’m not really a makeup kind of girl. I have these grand ideas of waking up every morning, getting dressed in something trendy, and hitting the playground looking like a stylish mama. The truth is, I am MUCH more comfortable in my workout clothes and sneakers and I’m a sporty kind of girl. For me, makeup is sort of a hassle. Therefore, all the dozens of eyeshadows I’ve bought when I get on a stylish mama kick, sit unused in piles under my sink. Here is one of those compacts the lady at Smashbox somehow talked me into buying 3 and half years ago. Eyeshadows!
And here, a traditional shadow shot. Anyone know anything about how to revive that dead grass?
Ugh. I was worried about this assignment. How to take an interesting self-portrait without simply standing in front of a mirror? I considered using the timer, but with my focus point issues and lighting problems somewhat unresolved, that seemed risky.
Here is what I came up with: a portrait of myself in the lid of a cooking pot signifying one of my favorite hobbies. My mother instilled a love of the Food Network in me. We used to watch the Martha Stewart show before Oprah came on after school together. We’d watch Martha cook up roasts and stews and sweets and place them on her perfectly arranged tabletop complete with fresh floral arrangements. Oh Martha, you set the bar so high! I watched cooking shows for years before I actually started cooking for myself on a regular basis after graduating college. Now, it’s one of my favorite things to do.
A little over-exposed and with the focus point out of whack: here’s me! Fitting, really.
Oh dreams. I don’t even know what those are anymore. With Little Zoom coming up on 5 months and weighing in at nearly 18 pounds, every book, blogger, and internet google doctor says he should be able to sleep through the night at this point. We’re doing a dreamfeed at 10ish, another feeding at 2ish, and then up for the day at 6ish. Sub 4 hour blocks, though better than the 1-2 hours blocks during the newborn stage, are making it tough to get much solid rest. I’m not sure when the dreaming phase of sleep starts, but I know I’m not hitting it!
Enter Starbucks drive-through. I’m from Seattle, home of Starbucks. I remember several years back when I came across the first Starbucks drive-through. At the time I scoffed at the idea, wondering how lazy a person had to be to hit a drive-through for coffee. What a difference a couple of years make! There are two in my immediate area, and I haven’t set foot in an actual Starbucks in months. Two little ones, an overstuffed diaper bag, and shelves of breakable mugs in a coffee shop are not a place for me and my Zooms right now!
So, because I’m not dreaming real dreams right now, I’ll dream for more drive-through Starbucks locations in our city! I keep telling Mr. Zoom we should have bought stock in the company when Little Zoom was born. I’m certain that I’m keeping our two locations afloat single-handedly.