Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quarterly Top 5 Photos (July - September)

I am linking up with Sarah Halstead, The Naptime Momtog for the Quarterly Top 5 Photos (July-September).  The idea is to look back over your photos from the last three months and pick your favorites.  It was a hard task but I loved looking back over all that we have done and how much my kids have grown in just this short amount of time!

This was taken at Levi's second birthday party, he was enjoying his Mickey Mouse cupcakes after he took the time to hug his Mickey Mouse candle.

I love the unfiltered joy in this picture!  We made a makeshift cape out his Mommy-made quilt and then spent at least a half hour running around laughing!  The puppy, of course, wanted in on the fun as well.

I love this picture of Lily!  This was part of her 7 month pictures and she is really starting to show her personality.  She makes all kinds of funny faces and that makes it a lot of fun to photograph her!  I love how much better my pictures of her are since she was first born.  I have learned so much about shooting in manual and my pictures are proof!

I love fall!  We do a lot of fun family activities in the fall like corn mazes, apple picking and going to the pumpkin patch.  This was the first year that Levi really got the idea of apple picking and could enjoy the fruits of his labor!

While out of town for a friends wedding, we had the chance to catch up with some of my husband family.  We don't get to see my husbands cousin very often but Lily seemed to really like him and gave him lots of smiles in the short time we had with him.  

From a Father-Son birthday to a beautiful fall wedding we had a great summer!

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Sunday Snapshot: Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad!

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Ni Hao Yall

Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest Post: Friday Favorites - All About Photography

Today I am lucky enough to welcome my best friend, Lauren, to do my first guest post!  She has a photography blog called Create Something Out of Nothing, you can also find her on Facebook.  Lauren inspired me to learn more about my camera and it is because of her that I have been shooting in manual since the beginning of the summer!  I hope you will take the chance to go check her out and follow her along her journey to becoming a professional photographer.
A special thanks to Lauren's husband for taking this photo for us!
Without further ado, here she is...

I’m excited to guest post for Two Red Birthstones today! Danielle and I have been best friends since college and we are both been very passionate about photography since high school.  We have both watched each other grow this past year as bloggers, her as a mom, me as a newlywed, and both as photographers! I love her Friday Favorites and wanted to guest post some of my photography favorites! Stop by my blog Create Something Out of Nothing and read about my photography journey.

1. My Camera—I’m a Nikon girl! Though only since recently (I grew up shooting with Cannons), my husband purchased a Nikon D70 without discussing with me first, thinking he’d surprise me and ask for forgiveness later hoping I’d be okay with his large purchase. AND I WAS! I was over-joyed, jumping up and down, smiling at this brand new (new to us), “Big Kid” camera! I have now since upgrade to the D700 and have never looked back!
Lauren Bodwell Photography
2. Lightroom 3—(Lightroom 4 is now out) Editing has become part of my life, I shoot 100% in RAW (which allows me to manipulate my files and giving me more control in post-processing). I would love to one day edit solely in Photoshop, but for right now, Lightroom makes my life so much easier. It organizes all my files by date and stores them in the appropriate folders. The basic editing panels are easy to read and use, it is powerful and has some of the same features that you find in PS, such as the cloning/ healing tool. I also love the fact that you can sync multiple photos with the same features all at once! (The best part, education discount!)
Screen shot of Lightroom from Lauren Bodwell Photography
3. Clickin Moms! ALL photography Blogs, websites & forums for that matter too! Clickin Moms is just one of the many websites that I read on a daily basis. They offer great Workshops, Breakout Sessions, great products and more! I’m also a lifetime member on their forum, another great feature. This is a space where members can go to ask questions, respond to questions, give critiques and just vent about life, photography, clients, you name it! I have fallen in love with the photography community!

4. My NIFTY FIFTY! The one thing I have discovered about myself is that I LOVE prime lenses…I’m not a zoom girl…even though when I was young that’s all I wanted to use because it made me feel like a real photographer. I love the power my 50mm has, I have all the control, I get to choose the depth of field (if I choose I can shoot wide open at 1.4), if I want to zoom all I have to do is walk closer or step further away, I can handle that! I’m saving up for the 85mm!
5. My MAC! This past Christmas my husband and I thought instead of exchanging gifts to each other we would buy a new computer. Since we are apple users anyway, an iMAC was the logical choice! I couldn't be happier, though looking back on it, we should have upgraded to the 27” screen…but it just looked HUGE! But we are both very happy with our 21” screen, it makes editing so much easier, the color is almost 100% right on, it’s fast, simple, it just works for me! I LOVE IT!

(6.) A GREAT BAG! This is something I don’t have yet, so I can’t say it’s one of my favorites, but I really, really, really, really want a Kelly Moore Bag! (it may or may not be under the tree this year for x-mas!) I’m all for looking stylish while out shooting, a camera bag that looks and acts like a purse, sign me up!
*To be a photographer you do need the right equipment, but you don't need it all at once.  Take the time to research which camera, lenses, and software works best for you before going out and purchasing it! Photography is expensive, invest in good equipment, you will thank yourself later!

Thank you Lauren, I loved having you!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Diaper Laundry

Mommy's big helpers!

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Live and Love...Out Loud

Photography Scavenger Hunt

Cracked - The paint on our house is cracked and chipped and it needs to be re-painted.

Fallen - These wood chips have fallen from this tree that has been ravaged by woodpeckers and termites.

Ordinary Color - Baby toys are a great source of ordinary colors but the engineer in me loves these gears!

Bokeh - This is a photo of my husband at his college roommates wedding this past weekend.  He was a groomsman and they all wore newsboy caps and suspenders.  The reception was in a barn and the rafters were decorated with white string lights and they made a great source for my bokeh!

Fence - Surprisingly, I had a hard time finding a fence that I wanted to photograph.  I decided to use what I could find around my house and thought that it would be fun to set up my sons Legos as my props.

This was one of my hardest weeks but I loved the challenge!

The list for next week is:
-Getting ready
-Teeny Tiny

If you are looking for some inspiration or some practice, think about joining in the hunt!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: Angry Pumpkinhead

This weekend I had the privilege of attending the wedding of my husbands college roommate and his beautiful bride.  Since my husband was in the wedding, I hung out with my brother-in-law (my honorary wedding date) while the wedding party was getting photos done.  He and I decided to combine two of the beers that were being served to make our own drink.  We combined Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale with Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Hard Cider to make what I decided to call Angry Pumpkinhead and it was delicious!  It was the perfect fall drink!

 I have now decided that I need to try to make a pumpkin-apple pie...I will let you know how that goes!

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Ni Hao Yall

Friday, September 21, 2012

Puppy Love

I would like to introduce you all to our furry baby!  This is Axle, he is almost 6 years old but he still acts like a puppy.  He reminds me very much of Marley from Marley and Me by John Grogan and if you have read this book or seen the movie than you know what a handful he can be!  He listens much better to my husband but if he thinks he is going for a ride than he will do whatever he is told.  As crazy as he is, he is also a very loving dog, so much so that he has earned the nickname, Sir-Licks-A-Lot.

The day we brought him home, I ended up rocking him to sleep in my arms because he wouldn't stop crying, he missed his mom and his brothers and sisters.  It broke my heart but when he fell asleep, I was instantly in love!  After that, he had no problems falling asleep, in fact, that puppy would fall asleep in the most strange positions.

He may get on every one of my last nerves, but he is a great dog and seeing him play so gently (most of the time) with our kids puts a huge smile on my face.  He loves them just as much as they love him!  I can't believe that next week he will be 6, he was our first baby and my first dog and he will always have a special place in my heart!

On a side note, my photography has improved so much in 6 years...I love seeing progress!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm A Crappy Mom

Since I started blogging, I have found a community in the many other mommy bloggers out there.  I have found many blogs that I read and enjoy on a regular basis.  Life with Levi is one of those blogs.  Jen, the mom behind Life with Levi, recently shared a picture on her Facebook page.  It showed 4 moms all stating different parenting choices that they had made.  The photo and the message behind it was that we should celebrate the fact that we (moms) may have different parenting styles but whats really important is that we all love our babies.  Instead, some people used that as a place to share their thoughts on circumcision and it turned kind of ugly.  Jen took this as an opportunity to share some of her parenting choices that others might not agree with.  She then took it a step further and welcomed other mommies to share their parenting choices  on her blog as well.

I love the idea of all these mommies supporting each other and not bashing them for the parenting choices that they made.  So here it is, my list of why I am a crappy mom...

1. My son learned how to use my iPad at 18 months old.
2. We follow the traditional vaccination schedule.
3. We cloth diapered Levi from 8 months to just over a year and then I stopped because I got pregnant with Lily and the just thought of spraying his diapers would send me into a puking fit.  Once I could stand the thought of spraying again, he went back to cloth but he started getting wicked rashes so I gave up.
4. Lily hasn't been in a disposable diaper since her umbilical cord stump fell off.
5. We watch too much TV.
6. Levi is a climber and unless he could seriously injure himself, I let him climb.
7. Chocolate chip Eggo pancakes are my go to breakfast when we need to get out of the house in a hurry or when I am just too tired to make anything else.
8. I breast fed Levi for a little over a year and would have kept going if my milk supply hadn't of disappeared due to my pregnancy with Lily.  I hope to breast feed Lily well past a year and I am not afraid to whip out my boob anywhere if my baby is hungry.
9. I taught Levi the word "toot" so that he would stop saying "poop" after he passes gas and I laugh just as hard as he does when he says "tootie".
10. I will do just about anything for a big hug or a giggle from my babies!

I am not a crappy mom, my kids are happy, healthy and loved!  Levi has a love for books and anything with wheels.  Lily loves watching her big brother run around the house like a crazy person.  I love hearing Levi ask for his "sissy" every morning.  I love hearing Lily babble away in her little baby talk.  There are hard days but I would not trade any of them for anything in the world!  I love my kids more than words can say and I can only hope that they know how much they are loved!

Let's stop all the mommy judging and just do what we feel is right.  Let's support each other instead of tearing each other down.  Motherhood is hard enough!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: My Sweet Girl

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Live and Love...Out Loud

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