Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy First Birthday Shelby!

On July 17th, 2008 we brought a precious baby girl into this world. Just this past weekend we celebrated her first birthday!

We had a lovely party at a beautiful, quiet park located outside of town. It was a wonderful day! Shelby loved all her presents, ate lots of cake, and spent quality time with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Here are some pictures of her special day!

For a dear daughter
Here's a wish for happiness
And many dreams come true
Not only on your special day
But always, all life through
Happy Birthday precious girl!

Mommy, Daddy, and Will (Big Bubby) love you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Love for Photography

Photography has always been one of my favorite hobbies. At one point in my life I even wanted to start up my own photography business. I especially love taking photographs of my children! They aren't always the best subjects when it comes to keeping them still. I do get a lot of good candid shots from them though.

So just a little background information about me and how I came to love photography. In 1996 I started taking phot
ography classes at the University of Kentucky. I liked working with many of forms of art including, ceramics, painting, and drawing. I mostly enjoyed photography.

Developing both film and photographic prints were challenging at times, but I had a lot of fun.
I learned how to utilize a camera in manual mode, develop both film and prints, along with constructing my own camera out of home bought materials! I also learned how to develop on fabric. I made a family quilt with all I had learned (something I still need to finish sewing). I had a lot of fun with it and spent many late nights in the darkroom. I could not tell you how much paper I wasted trying to get the perfect photo! Developing film and prints requires a lot of patience and time. So imagine how frustrating a hobby like this can be sometimes.

In 1998, my career plans were put on hold. I got a job at a local printing company working as a technical support representative. It was a great part-time job for a college student, and the pay was great. I never thought I would build a career working there though.
Six months later, I was still working at the same printing company and I graduated from the University with a bachelors degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis on photography and graphic design.

So where am I going with this....

The other day I stumbled upon a really awesome photo enhancement program called Adobe Photoshop Lighthouse. I was able to find a free 30 day trial on the internet. So of course I downloaded it on to my computer.
I've been testing it out for a few days. I am totally addicted!! I have used many other enhancement programs, such as Adobe Photoshop and Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8, but nothing like Adobe's Lighthouse version. If you know what you are doing, the results are endless. Turning ordinary photos into the perfect photo is just a clicks away!

I still have a lot more to learn, but here are my first few tries.

Before / After
The photo on the far left is the original photograph. The one in the middle was done using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (I adjusted the auto white balance, and auto tone. I also brought more focus to her face). The photo on the right was done using Jasc Paint Shop Pro (I enhanced her eyes, making them pop out more).

Before / After

Before / After

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Travel

It has been a very busy summer and this is the first time I've blogged since VBS . We are all having a great time, and it's hard to believe we are already in the month of July. Our summer is flying by quickly. In just one week our little Shelby will turn ONE (WOW)!!

Here are some photos to show what we've been up to these last four weeks.

We had one week of Vacation Bible School. I taught the four year old's (with Will in my class) and Shelby stayed in the nursery. Ashley, Heather, and I had a great time getting the classroom ready. The kids loved it!

My classroom during VBS week

We traveled to Paducah to celebrate Nana and Papa's 40th wedding anniversary. We took them to Whaler's for dinner. We had a great time! The weather was extremely hot and humid that weekend!

Photograph of us taking a carriage ride
downtown by the river.

Blake had planned a get away for just the two of us while the kids stayed with grandparents in Paducah. We had a wonderful three nights stay in downtown Chicago. We did lots of sight seeing, ate lots of different foods (including Chicago's famous pizza), and were able to relax some too. This was our first time away from Shelby. We knew she and Will were in great hands though. It seems Will has taken on a new sport since then too. He and Papa played lots of golf that week.

This is Blake and me sitting in the
John Hancock Observatory in downtown Chicago.

One more ride on Papa's golf cart!

Just one day after being home from Paducah, we were off to Mechanicsville, VA. to visit my sister, DD, and her three children. My mom, two sisters, three nephews, and two nieces all made the trip. A 9 hour trip with three toddlers and an infant riding in my van was not so bad. The DVD player is what saved us!

DD and her three children

All the children watching 9 deer grazing in the pasture.
I've never seen this many deer at once. It was an amazing sight!

Pool time in Virginia

The highlight of our trip was going to Virginia Beach.
We spent an entire day basking in the sun!

Shelby's first time being at the beach. She loved the sand.
There were times when I thought she might eat it!

Just two days after returning home from Virginia we had a contract to sell our home. It was time to find another to place to live so the kids and I hopped in the car and headed to Danville. We had only planned on being there for one afternoon, but my family wanted us to stay a couple of nights. The kids and I searched for places to live, got several hours in at pool, and spent lots of time with their Mimi.