Monday, August 30, 2010

Someday, I Will Be a Butterfly

Right now, I am a caterpillar.  I am inching my way along in the world of photography, soaking up as much knowledge as I can.  I feel so new to this creative outlet and it's a craft that requires constant tweaking and growing.  Just as a caterpillar builds his cocoon, layer by layer, I am building up my step at a time.

Every chance I get, I lift up my camera, adjust the lens, and click click click.  I go through hundreds of blurry, unfocused, useless pictures, deleting and organizing until I have 589 pictures whittled down to a manageable number.  I'm currently working with a free trial of Lightroom, which presents a whole new learning curve when it comes to editing.  But those skills are building step at a time.

I break out my camera when I'm alone, shooting pictures of flowers, food and glasses of wine.  I grab it at home when Ava is doing something silly, looking especially cute, or simply just being a normal 18 month old on an average day.  I put it in my bag and tote it along on outings, snapping pictures of Ava and her little friends.

It's not an interest that will fade.  It's not "just a hobby."  I will not grow tired of taking pictures, of figuring out neat ways to edit, of buying more lenses and equipment.  Just as the caterpillar makes his cocoon and bides his time until he turns into something beautiful, I will do the same.  I will learn and grow, step by step, until one day...I become a butterfly, ready to fly off into the world of professional photography.  What a wonderful thing to look forward to! 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Camden, Donovan and Ava, Oh My!

Ava spent the weekend with her two potential boyfriends...although I think Donovan has a leg up on Camden.

We drove up to Lockport, IL on Friday to visit our friends Derek and Amy, and their twin boys Camden and Donovan.  Although it was just a quick weekend trip, we managed to pack in loads of fun.

Saturday morning was spent watching the little ones get acquainted and play in their pjs.  Within minutes the living room floor was scattered with balls, fake food, puzzle pieces and other assorted toys...and pretty much stayed that way the rest of the weekend!  Although the day began as gray and cloudy, the sun eventually peeked out and we headed off to the Brookfield Zoo.  There were animals to watch from strollers, from the arms of mommies and daddies, and even from the floor, where the kids could get up close and personal with fish and sting rays.

Lunch was a quick affair in-between visiting the animal exhibits, but it offered us a dose of air-conditioning and a chance for Camden, Donovan and Ava to fill their tummies with homemade jelly sandwiches, watermelon cubes, hot dogs and french fries.

Before leaving, we made sure to stop by the gorilla's cage and were lucky enough to witness a bit of a squabble!

Will those two EVER stop fighting?

Uh oh, I think we're being watched...

Let's get outta here!

Back at home after their naps, the three littles played and played and played.

Uh, Ava?  Don't you think you should fix your strap?

Camden thought it would be a good idea to drink water from a cup...

Lots of time was spent outside splashing around in the wading pool, dipping into the cold water bubbling up from the splash mat, or running through the yard collecting grass on small feet.  It also gave Ava and Donovan a chance to get to know each other better...

That evening, Amy made dinner for the kids - standard issue chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese with broccoli - and then it was bath time.

While the kids slept, the grown-ups had an amazing BBQ take-out dinner: tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs slathered in sweet sauce, and crispy curly fries dipped in ketchup.  It will definitely be our go-to dinner place any time we visit!  After stuffing ourselves, we had a few beers and played euchre...a fun, relaxing evening after a hectic day chasing after the kids.

Sunday morning allowed more play time for the little ones, including fun with a hair bow:

...and "let's see how many can fit on this toy motorcycle" aka Donovan gets jealous of Camden and Ava.

Okay, that's enough!
What a great weekend spent with friends and our babies.  I wish it could've lasted longer!