Friday, February 25, 2011

violin in your hands

Dear Sophie,

You were two years old, riding in the back of the car.  Your sisters were asking you what instrument you wanted to learn.  Your immediate answer was, "I'm going to play the violin when I am four."  I was surprised to hear you say that.  The only exposure you had of the violin was on Little Einsteins.  I thought you would surely out grow that idea and stick to an instrument we have at the house (piano or guitar).  Well, you didn't.  You said it anytime instruments were brought up.  You mentioned it to friends---as one of your topics to strike up a conversation with bigger kids in our car.

I have to admit...I wasn't terribly excited about it.  Violin played well is BEAUTIFUL...but I had heard enough bad violin...I assumed that good violin wouldn't come from your violin very quickly. :)  I finally asked a friend who was really familiar with violin.  She recommended a wonderful teacher...and here we are---playing violin.

I didn't know that my learning to play with you was part of the Suzuki method.  You know what?  I really enjoy it.  I love playing with you.  I love going to your private and group lessons.  I love it when you want to play without being asked.  You had friends over this week---and you got out your violin to play for brought a big smile to my face.  I love it when you want to practice.  You learned your very first song last week "the monkey song."  After you learned something that had been hard for earned a reward (Squinky).  You danced around the house and shouted with glee (@ the top of your lungs) "This is the best day ever!!!!!!!!"

This hasn't been easy, but anything worthwhile rarely is.  That is one of my favorite things about learning to play an instrument.  It teaches you over and over again that you can do hard things...and when you work hard at them...they become easy things.  Thank you for being on this journey with me.

I love you~

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Chrly by Kate..."


I got a dog.  He
was cut and funny
and plafle.  we stel
have him.  we watid
my dad to bild him
a dawg haws.  but He
nevr did It.

Above is an essay written by Kate in her first grade school class.  She is really good about going to school.  She does well when she is there.  But her heart, and sometimes mind, are elsewhere...

Kate loves to be home.  She loves everything to do with being here.
Her ideal day would be:  
sleeping in
a leisurely (one hour) breakfast
playing in her room
getting dressed in sweats
grabbing a book and curling up in a reading chair (Ivy & Bean are her favorite lately)
after lunch (homemade mac & cheese)
she would play with her dolls...
and then her sisters
dinner at home
a movie night on the couch

I think she takes after her mom :)

the end

Sunday, February 20, 2011

without saying a word

He just came in from the cold- climbed up the stairs.
He was exhausted..."I'm so tired" he said to me.
He had been up since before 5:00 a.m. with a snow shoveling assignment.  
Later, we went to church and then out to tackle more snow (at our house and for some neighbors).
He was glad to be inside.  I could read I NEED A NAP! all over his face.
He was turning to head into our room and Ellie pleaded from another room---
"Dad will you play outside with us!?"

I never even heard a sigh or moan...
"I'll be right there!"
His boots and coat were back on in a flash.
They headed outside...
jumped on a snow covered trampoline
played with Charlie
played on the swingset
& even made a snowman.  
He taught me so much without saying a word---silent as a snowman. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

We treasure her~

Last weekend we had a family party after Robert and Whitney's open house.   Michel was our official d.j.  Grandma was standing off to the side, leaning on her cane.  "Shoop" by Salt and Peppa came on and Grandma was dancing!  She was so cute...I could hardly stand it.  Just before that she was on the ice skating rink, in her wheel chair with her great granddaughters behind her---giving her a ride.  She was grinning from ear to ear!  I will never forget it.  A few other things about her I love~

she loves....
making doll clothes
going to parties
collecting beautiful things
going anywhere...she's always ready
Mimi's Cafe
Blossom (her dog)
her kids (grand kids)
sleepovers with Quincy (a great-granddaughter)
giving gifts
shopping at Gardner Village

I think of her when I see:
baskets of gold (flower)
black-eyed susans (the first flower she gave me from her garden to plant in mine)
fruit trees
any doll
Shirley Temple movies
onions growing in a vegetable garden
books on flowers, art or church history
a movie in the theater
ribbon & lace
vintage doll clothes

Love you Grandma!!!!!!! Want to go to a movie tonight!!!!????

p.s.  I asked Sophie what grandma loves the most...her immediate response, "Us!" 

images taken August 2008

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

get the focus

I have received a few emails regarding focus to be exact.
I have had some troubles with it myself lately.  I will take a string of pictures of my girls---and it almost never fails...the image with my favorite expression is the soft image.  The images before and after it are strong and focused....then that "perfect" image between them is soft.  It KILLS me!

A couple of weeks ago I visited Pictureline and talked to Ken (my go to camera question friend).
I have heard complaints in general about the Canon 5d and their focusing issues (both the 5d and the MarkII).  I wanted Ken's opinion.  A few things I learned:

Canon did improve their focusing with the 7d...and they might possibly extend those improvements into the 5d MarkIII (not yet released).  Canon does also have a much better system in the 1ds.  Nikon has more focal points...and they do have a more polished auto focus system.  I am going to wait it out for the MarkIII---then I will decide. 

Some of Ken's suggestions in the meantime:
  • check my AF settings (ie:  AI Servo, One Shot, AI focus) maybe it's time to quit being lazy in AI focus and actually select my setting for still (one shot) or moving (ai servo) subjects.  One more thing to think about :)
  • shoot in continuous drive mode and shoot A LOT OF IMAGES-  I used to do this. A LOT.  I went away from it because I wanted to get the shot right once and then move on.  One thing I do notice---there can be the most subtle changes and expression...and it can make all of the difference.  If I am continuously shooting---I will have more to choose from.
  • adjust my diopter---I have to say I had never done this.  I think this would be more important if you are manually focusing.  He suggested focusing (auto) on an object (I think a flat plane would help so that you are clear on what is being focused on).  Once you have the focal green light (it is green on my camera) then adjust the diopter wheel until the object looks it's sharpest.  Easy!  There is more here on this.  Again...this is more important with manual focus.

Monday, February 14, 2011

forever...and ever.

i will you love you~
and ever
and ever
and ever

Danny, "you turned me into somebody loved."
I am so grateful to be by your side...
forever and ever.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

a celebration...

We had been waiting to celebrate together~
a celebration filled with family and friends...
hot chocolate & hot apple cider
ice skating
long nights chatting
a visit that ended too quickly for us~

We are so happy they are Mr. & Mrs. Davis!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

chicken noodle soup

With a little one sick...and the frigid temperatures outside...
I decided to make some chicken soup.

I began with roasting a few vegetables- onions (2), cellery, a few small carrots (they were all I had in the house), and parsnips!  This was the first time I had ever cooked with them...and they are a new favorite roasted vegetable!!!!!  I loved them!  I topped all of this with sea salt, minced garlic, rosemary, paprika and plenty of olive oil!  They went straight to the oven (around 375 degrees) until they were tender.

After the vegetables were roasted I chopped them in the pan.  I emptied the rest of the white wine I had on hand (a few cups) and about 10 cups of chicken broth.  I boiled this together and began making the noodles.  I used this recipe.  It was a little dry for me.  I want to try this one next time!  I don't have a pasta maker (yet!) so I rolled and cut the dough by hand.  They were a little too thick for me.  

While I lived in Argentina I had the most AMAZING!!!!! handmade pasta!!!!!  AMAZING!!!!!!!  I have never had anything like it since.  I want to recreate it!  I am going to practice!  We love pasta!  :)

After I cut the pasta...added it to the broth and vegetables...I cut up a roasted chicken (cooked from Costco) and added large pieces to it. soup!  It was Danny's favorite!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

sick day

a day filled with books, naps, and sunshine pouring through the window~

she has a fever and is laying low.
with the biting cold air outside---
it was a nice day to stay in.