Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Big Suprise...

Last night we had a small little birthday celebration for Barry. We had a BBQ, we blew out a few candles, we ate some birthday brownie and then...

We surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland.

It was worth the anticipation of the surprise, and I'm pleased to say, we were delighted with the result. Their reaction was truly disbelief and excitement. And then, for the rest of the evening they walked around saying "I can't believe this" and "Thank you!".

I made journals for the kids, to document their trip. [Also part of their 'homework' as they're missing a week of school]. We picked up a couple of t-shirts as part of their celebration uniform as Barry called it, and I made up made some fun luggage tags that will go on their backpacks.

Can't wait to see how they do... We're pretty sure we're capturing them at the most perfect age... Here we go!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. Sometimes 13 years feels like a lifetime. Other times it feels like we just got married. Today is an overcast, rainy, somewhat dreary day. Just like it was 13 years ago on our wedding day. At that time I was told that rain on your wedding day was a sign of good luck. [That's the only way I could justify not being totally upset about a rainy day, and indoor portraits] I think it's only fitting that rain on our anniversary still signifies good luck.

You still have my heart. [Even though it would be awesome if you could find the laundry room sometimes]

Happy Anniversary Barry, I would indeed, do it all over again... ;-)

Photo Challenge - A Touch of Sun

I sometimes tend to stay away from these challenges, but I have a picture that fits this challenge perfectly. I couldn't resist.

I took this photo of Barry and the kids in the summer, my sole purpose was trying to achieve the sun 'flare'. I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Texture Tuesday - September 13th

Once again, participating in Kim Klassen's texture Tuesday. This week's challenge was to use the texture Autumn Burst and center the photo around the verb DO. I happened to go to a wedding this summer, so the word couldn't have been more perfect. Here's my picture:

To play along, or find out more:


Sunday, September 11, 2011

11 on the 11th of September 2011

As I was preparing to do my 11 on the 11th [which let's face it, has been a little bit sporadic this year] I suddenly realized that today is September 11th. September 11th, 2011... 10 years after that fateful day we all now know as 9/11. It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years. Already. I can remember things about that day, as if had happened just last week. Images that have been burned into my memory. Horrifying images. So today's 11 on the 11th is being dedicated to the day that changed the way I saw the world.

On September 11th, 2001, I went to work, like I did any other work day. I went for coffee with Janet, like we did every morning, and she said to me, "Did you hear about the plane that hit the building in New York?" I hadn't heard about it. My initial thought was that it must have been a little tiny plane, someone was very confused, had made a very big mistake. I thought someone had miscalculated and missed the airport. How awful, was what I had thought. As we came back from coffee, we met a swarm of people, located on the plus 15 level of our high rise building, watching the televisions that were on. It became very clear to me, very quickly, that we were not talking about a small plane. It was a commercial airliner... Which had crashed into one of the world trade center buildings. As we stood there, in shock watching the live coverage, suddenly another plane hit the 2nd building... How could there have been two tragedies of that magnitude? We learned shortly after that, that this wasn't random, or an accident, but a well thought out plan put into motion. Those images, that we saw over and over, burned into my head forever. We saw people jumping from windows, as the towers became fiery infernos. We saw repeat coverage of the planes crashing into the buildings, until I was completely numb by it. Throughout the day we learned about 2 other planes that were involved in the plan as well, one headed to the Pentagon, and one crashed into a field as it's heroic passengers forced the pilot down.

From my office window, I watched planes gather on the run ways at the airport, as there was a world-wide grounding of air traffic. I tried to contact Barry, who was on a plane that very morning [though only on his way to Regina, thank goodness] I wanted to be home. I certainly didn't want to be on the 27th floor of a high-rise, on the west edge of down town. I wanted to be on the ground.

2 years ago, in 2009, I was in New York. As we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn back into Manhattan, I kept looking at the skyline, thinking how horrifying it must have been that day, when people were heading into Manhattan for a routine work day, to witness what they did. Here's my picture of the Manhattan financial district skyline from the bridge, back in 2009.

This is what the people on the bridge and in Manhattan saw on 9/11.

Throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn we came across tributes to honor those who were lost. They never failed to take me right back to that day.

One of the places I needed to see on that trip, was the site where the former World Trace Center stood, then known as Ground Zero. Because we were there in late September, there had been a tribute on the anniversary of September 11th. When we arrived, plaques and wreaths, and notes to lost ones littered the area. It was extremely emotional. It was hard to believe I was standing in the spot, where the world had changed. None of us spoke to one another, I can only speak for myself, but if I'd opened my mouth that day, I would have started sobbing.

Posted on the still functioning fire station No. 10; was a plaque dedicated to the fire station who lost 6 of their crew on that fateful day.

We also spent time at St. Paul's Chapel, which miraculously sustained no damage, despite being right across the street from where this tragedy happened.

So what have the last 10 years been like?

• The world as we knew it changed. In. One. Single. Day.
• We watched a nation come together in a time of need.
• I lost a grandmother, who would have been in disbelief about what happened that day.
• I got pregnant and had my first baby [whom I was told when I went into Labor, was a 9/11 baby]
• I have personally never flown on an airplane since, without thinking, "What if?"
• I have had the most extensive full body pat downs, every time I go through airport security.
• I think we tend to look over our shoulders more now. An attempt to see what's coming.
• I don't take anything for granted, especially not tomorrow.
• Planes take off [we live by the airport] and I still hope they all make it up, up and away.
• I don't think I'm as naive about the world, as I once might have been.
• As long as I'm with my family, I feel like things will be all right.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Trying Stuff

I took the kids to Fish Creek Park yesterday. It was lovely, though the wind was a bit cool. It would seem that fall has arrived. Mason has a homework assignment we've been working on all summer, to get to places all around Alberta. The Ranche at Fish Creek Park being one of places on his list. So away we went, with camera in hand, of course.

I also came across a diy tutorial, on creating an action in PSE, it's the Coffeeshop Sunny Pop Action and Unwrapped tutorial. You can read about it here. So of course, I had to try it out. And to be honest... I think I'm in love... This action is to add warmth and boost contrast, and I think it does both quite nicely. I would have to say, I'm a bit more than intrigued about altering pictures than I ever was. I just wish the whole part of photoshop didn't scare me so much!

So, here are few of the pictures I altered, they are before and after, though I didn't label them that:

I LOVE the red wooden building, but the kids were less than pleased to pose for me. They've had enough of the camera... It's been a long time coming. I don't know if I'm totally crazy about this action on the red, but it's definitely growing on me, but check out the next couple of shots.

Mason has mastered making the face, just as I release the shutter. Seriously, every time. And it's pretty funny. I guess I'd hate a camera in my face all the time too.

And not to be left out:

Yup, she's a card too. I love how this action works on the white background. LOVE it. Makes me want to alter a ton of pictures! It's just completely changes the picture. So there, that's what I've got.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

We Did It!

We made it through the first day of school. What a relief. It seemed like utter chaos. I can't for the life of me understand why they can't just let the Mum's and Dad's have this morning, to see their kids start school. But we got shoo-ed out, like a bunch of cattle. Boohoo, so that means absolutely not one single picture of the kids in the school. Plus, this was the first time we had 2 kids going in 2 separate doors, at the exact same time. We had to split up. [I'm very lucky that Barry has been able to come with us, to the first day of school, every first day of school] I know Mason knows what's happening like an old pro, but why Madelyn suddenly seems like a toddler to me, is beyond all reason...

I got up bright and early this morning, to make two lunches... ;-) That's right, two... Of course there were some special first day of school things for each of them.

I wanted them to both know I was thinking about them of course!

I attached a wee little baggie of smarties for each of them. The shocker was, Mason's came back all finished, and hers didn't! [It might have had something to do with the little note I slipped in her lunch reminding her to eat her healthy things first!]

Ready to head to school. [You see, the photo shoot a couple of days ago didn't at all mean I wouldn't be taking pictures!]

They rode the bus home together after school. Miss Maddy was annoyed that they didn't ride it up to the school this morning. When she got off the bus, she was smiling ear to ear. She's also told everyone who asked that "Grade one is so AWESOME!" I certainly hope it will be.

My first assessment is that the class sizes are way to big... Scary big. I'm going to sit back and see how the next few weeks play out. They've made some changes I'm not crazy about. It's hard to let your kids go, and have absolutely no idea what's going on during their day. And the kids just don't seem to be that great at passing along information. For example, when I asked Madelyn who her teacher was, and I named all three, she wasn't able to give me a definitive answer...

There were no tears on my part. And I didn't break out the champagne... I thought it might be inappropriate on school property. I can't believe my baby is in school. Having said that, she seems so much littler than Mason was when he started Grade One. I guess that's because she's the last. She'll always seem younger than Mason. No matter what.

So we all move on, in this second stage, and feel our way, and figure things out.