Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Photo Love

Since today is the last day of April, it's time to post my favorite photos from the month of April.  I took quite a few photos this month since I'm still working on the photo challenge, but below are my favorites!  Surprisingly, the baby has been my best photography model, so she has the most photos in  this post! ;)


 First time in the high chair and she looks so small!



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Photography Challenge - Day 4

I've completed 5 days of Courtney's 30 day photography challenge from Click-it Up a Notch and am really getting the hang of shooting in manual mode! I shoot manual for all of my pictures now, not just for the challenges.  It takes a little more time, but I'm still getting enough pictures of the girls and other activities.  If you would like to improve your photography skills, I highly recommend you buy this pdf.  I'm not even 20% complete with it and I already love it and think it has helped so much just in these first 5 challenges!

Although I have completed 5 days, this post is only about Day 4!

Challenge 4 - Window lighting

I was trying to do "portraits" of the girls next to the windows in our house, but there isn't much space near the windows in our house, so I don't have too many photos.  This time, Meredith was the uncooperative one, so I only have pictures of Mackenzie and Miranda.

 Here are my photos I took as part of the challenge:

All the pictures below include my straight out of camera image (left or top) and my edited image (right or bottom).  I used my Canon EF 50mm lens to take all of the photos.  I'll list the details of each shot below if you are interested.

Mackenzie - even though it's a posed smile, I like this picture because she didn't squint her eyes while she was smiling.  Based on the info below, I probably could have bumped the ISO and shutter speed down and still had enough light for the same photo.  This is a learning process!
50mm   f/2    1/800ss    ISO-1600

I'm not sure what was said, but I love her goofy faces as much as I love her sweet faces.  And I guess I did learn from the above picture because I ended up lowering the ISO for this photo! ;)
50mm   f/3.2    1/160ss    ISO-400

As you can see, I didn't edit these photos too much.  Just enough to pop the colors of her rainbow dress.  Otherwise I'm pretty happy with the skin tone.  I think one of the future challenges is about white balance and skin tone, so I'm curious to see how I will feel about these pictures after I do that challenge and learn how to "do" all that! ;)
50mm   f/5    1/30ss    ISO-400

Miranda sitting up like a big girl!  Again, just a slight pop in the editing.
50mm   f/3.2    1/160030ss    ISO-1600

Miranda's half smile.
50mm   f/3.2    1/640ss    ISO-1600

50mm   f/3.2    1/800ss    ISO-1600

Mackenzie cooperated twice!  I cropped this photo a little more in order to hide some of the junk in the back of the photo.  I don't mind the piano, but the storage boxes don't help the photo! ;)  Again, I should have tried lowering the ISO, but I either didn't think of it or I did and didn't like the photos that followed.  I haven't looked at the details of the other photos to see what I did.  I should probably do that.
50mm   f/3.2    1/500ss    ISO-1600

I'm ready to learn more - moving onto the next lesson!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

That age!

Meredith is at that age where almost every thing she says is funny.  Ages 2-4 are so much fun because of that.  I think it's God's way of making up for the tantrums and meltdowns that also accompany this age group! ;)

The other day as Brandon was putting Meredith in the car to go to church he accidentally hit her head.  She said it was okay because it was only her "headfor".  We had her repeat the phrase several times not knowing what she was saying, until finally Mackenzie spoke up and suggested "forehead" as the possible word.  Meredith said yes that's what she was talking about.  Later at church Brandon was pointing to his knee, arms, chin...asking Meredith to name them and when he pointed to his eyebrows, she called them "brownies".  So, apparently I need to work with Meredith on her body part names. : /  For now, though, everyone has headfors and brownies!

Meredith can't pronounce the "th" sound.  Examples of mispronounced words are:
"wank you" - thank you
"whis" - this
"what" - that
My favorite is how she says her name.  She calls herself "Merediff".  And if I call her Meredith Meyers she says, "I not Meyers, I just MerediFF!"

Meredith discovered nose hairs in Brandon's nose the other day, so when I was putting her in the car she asked me if I had nose hairs.  When I said yes, everyone has them, she immediately said, "not me!"

During her naptime prayer the other day, she thanked God for her tee tees and poops in her diaper. After the prayer, I asked her if I heard her correctly and she just nodded her head and said yes.  I had just told Mackenzie the night before that we could pray for anything and God will listen.  He doesn't always answer a prayer the way we want, but he will listen to us, so pray about whatever you are thinking.  Meredith might have taken it a little too literal. ;)

I think I've said this before, but our family has this ongoing joke/thing about n*pples.  (I don't want that word googled to come here.)  Anyways, Mackenzie's first thoughts about Meredith were that she would have baby n*pples, the girls always request Brandon to keep a shirt on to hide his and so on and so forth.  So, it's kind of been a joke to say the word anytime anyone in our family shows theirs.  Which brings us to me and Meredith in a dressing room while I try on bathing suits!  I get ready to try on the first suit and Meredith says/yells "n*pples!" in a sing-song-y voice.  I couldn't help but laugh while I told her to be quiet.  What can you do?! ;)

She likes to say/complain that someone or something is "correcting her", but I've yet to figure out what exactly she means by that.  Sometimes a toy won't fit and it's "correcting her".  Sometimes Mackenzie is bothering her and she's "correcting her".  And sometimes she doesn't want me to talk to her and she tells me to stop "correcting her" even though I may not be doing that.  

And my recent favorite was a week ago as we were driving to my parents' house.  Brandon was driving, so I was in the passenger seat and had turned my head around to see what Meredith had said.  She had already repeated the word two or three times and I just wasn't understanding what she was saying.  When I looked at her, she looked at me, pointed to her mouth and said something to the affect of "watch my lips" before repeating the questionable word again.  I laughed so hard by the "watch my lips" thing that I still don't know what she was trying to say and she gave up.

She keeps me laughing every day and I probably only remember half the stuff she says that is funny.  Mackenzie asked me the other day if she said anything funny when she was little and I could only remember a few things, but thanks to my handy dandy blog turned book, I was able to look at past blog posts where I documented what she had said when she was little.  Mackenzie was basically wondering if she was funny when she was little, but just because she's five doesn't mean she doesn't say funny things.  My current favorite is from a couple of weeks ago when she was drawing me a picture.  As she handed me the picture, this is what she said...

"If there is one heart on the drawing it means I love you. If there are three hearts, then I love you as much as God loves us. If there are hearts all over then it means I love you MORE than God loves us. Here's your drawing - I just love you regular right now. I'll draw more hearts later."

Haha! I laughed outloud on that one.  You'd think she wouldn't be able to top that one, but I'm sure something will be said in the next month or so that will be even better! ;)  Here's to many many more funny saying from my girls!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tot School - Letter C

Back in February we did a tot school unit on the letter C. Yep, I said February. I'd say I have a lot of catching up to do, except that we've only worked a little on letter D, so there isn't really any catch up other than just posting about the letter C.

Tot School

I'm using Carissa's Tot School printables.  Meredith really wanted to use the dot markers to trace the letters and connect the cats.

Color matching...
She showed no interest in the printables about other pets, but instead chose to work our animal puzzle.
On another day she was interested in the pet long as she could glue them to a piece of paper.  So we did. ;)
Cat puzzle...
I tried the counting/number exercise again, but she was more interested in playing with the magnets.  So we did.
We also color matched from the Cats preschool pack (also from 1+1+1=1).
She and Mackenzie also colored the verse craft from Raising Rock Stars Preschool.

We also talked a lot about circles.  I found this wonderful blog that had a lot of great printables!
Matching circle shapes.
Matching sizes and colors...
Our miscellaneous activities included stringing beads on a pipe cleaner...

...and sorting our counting bears.
I had planned to do a lot more with this unit, but life happened and we never got back to it.  When we finally got back to doing school the other day, it was just easier to start a new unit.  I can already tell school is going to be better these next few weeks, because in the last couple of weeks, Meredith has started to grasp 1:1 correspondence in counting and her coloring skills are improving (as well as her interest).  Maybe this next time around, she'll actually do a counting activity with me! ;)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Playroom Toy Storage

Right after Christmas, a corner of our playroom looked like this:

Everything was piled into a corner and overflowing from a small basket on the floor.  I never knew what I was going to step on or how far I'd have to reach to open the blinds every morning.  I wanted to have some sort of storage but I didn't want it to be huge and take up too much space.  Enter IKEA.  When I bought the storage for the hand-me-down organization, I also bought a storage unit for the playroom.  The size is perfect and the stepping makes it look smaller than it is.  I love it and it brought immediate organization to the room and helped control some of the clutter of toys.

While the toys had been in the proper buckets since January, I didn't put labels on the buckets until a week ago.  :/  The sad thing is that I made the labels on the computer in February and finally printed them a week ago.  I took pictures of the toys inside and in some cases just used pictures we already had of the toys.  Once I printed them, it took all of 5 minutes to put them on the buckets.  I hate it when it takes me so long to do such a simple task!  But at least they are finished. ;)

I love a good before and after - especially this one!

I have another organized space to blog about soon - again, I only have to finish the labels!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blowing bubbles & beautiful weather

It's that time of year when Houstonions don't complain about the weather.  That really only happens for about one month twice a year - once in the Spring and once in the Fall! ;)  We enjoyed a couple of hours outside not too long ago, even if it was a little windy.  Meredith is learning to blow bubbles and apparently it takes a LOT of effort!

Mackenzie was learning to play with a yo-yo.  She was a little unsuccessful, but she still enjoyed it.

We brought out a blanket for Miranda to lay on, but it kept blowing onto her face.

Eventually she just sat in my lap and then about an hour in she went to sleep!

We did a lot of sidewalk chalk together, but I didn't take any pictures.  :/  Meredith had fun ordering drawings from me and since sidewalk chalk is still fun to me, I had no problem cooperating!  Houses, flowers, letters, apples, ponies, you name it - we drew it!  Here's to many more outside play time this spring and summer, even if we have to get out at 7am to beat the heat! ;)

Monday, April 21, 2014

My favorite outfit!

So, I have a favorite outfit that I bought for Mackenzie when she was 6 months old.  I love it and was so excited for it to be worn again when Meredith was born.  Since I loved it so much, I kept it in the keepsake storage container along with shoes, tiny onesies and other baby stuff I wanted to keep for each girl.  So, yay - I get to see it on another baby girl again!

 So of course, since it is my favorite outfit, I had to do a side by side photo of all three girls!

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