She pedals!

Friday, February 20, 2015

So last week Havi decided she was going to get all "grown up" on us and start riding a pedal bike.  Yep, you read that right.  It all started when I accidentally tried running over her balance bike because a certain little someone left it right in the middle of the garage, and I couldn't see it when I opened it up and tried pulling in.  The sound of crunching metal made me stop, of course.  So I got out and surveyed the damage: twisted handle bars and back tire/brake.  I managed to fix the tire and brake while Patrick repaired the handle bars all before we left for camping.  Thank you Jesus.  

But it got me thinking...if I couldn't fix the bike, I surely wasn't going to replace it with another balance bike.  I determined that she would just have to learn how to ride Madeline's old pedal bike.  Well, while we were camping, there were a handful of little pedal bikes with training wheels on them because of all the munchkins on our camping trip. And so I decided to put Havi on one of them to see how she liked pedaling.  Well, it was clear she enjoyed it. So when we got home from our trip, I decided to take Madeline's little pedal bike to the shop to get air put in the tires and let Havi have a go at it.  Needless to say, she took off!  Little girl knew exactly what to do.  In actuality, she probably could've started riding it sooner. She has shown so much control on her balance bike.  But maybe I was secretly hoping to get some longevity out of the bike since it wasn't the cheapest on the market.  Who knows?!   lol

Anyway, the other night I snapped a few photos of the kids playing tennis in the driveway as I was getting ready to take some photos of Havi riding her bike.  But then I ended up talking to a neighbor and didn't take any more photos before the sun set.  Oh well.

And here's a video Caleb took of Havi right after she learned how to ride her pedal bike last week.  I really need to have him get a few more videos because now she cruises up and down the street with some serious speed.
We are just so proud of her.  
And now she can keep up with all the bigger kids on the street.  She may be the youngest and smallest, but she won't be left out!

Did somebody say "camping?"

Friday, February 13, 2015

It's hard to believe it's been since last August that we went camping.  Unfortunately, Patrick had a big test he needed to study for that kept us close to home at the end of last year. Add to that two failed camping attempts, and you end up itching to get out there in the fresh air and under the open sky.  We usually go camping with two groups of friends.  However, this time our friends Lisa and Shail invited one more family to join the fun.  I kid you not when I tell you that there were seventeen kids to go along with the eight grown-ups.  Yep, we were a pretty large and rowdy bunch!  We just couldn't help it. lol
Our campsites were right next to a huge "forest" that the kids had so much fun playing in all weekend. They climbed trees and rode bikes and scooters all day.
Most of us managed to find a bike or scooter to use in order to make our way over to the petting farm. 
The animals are always a hit. And we lucked out that there were several kid pygmy goats and lambs that were just two or three weeks old.  The kids got to hold the kid goats, which was precious.  My heart just melted at the sight.
One of our campsites was next to an empty site that the kids decided to use for games.  Let's just say that didn't go over well with security. lol  Oops.
Our new friends finally arrived late Friday night.  So we ended up going back to the petting farm with them on Saturday.  I didn't have any camera with me.  So I missed shooting that outing.  Then afterward we hit the pool.  Yes, you read that right.  Being that the lows were in the mid 40s, we didn't bring swimsuits for the dumplings.  But that didn't stop them. Madeline borrowed a suit, and Caleb and Havi swam in their clothes!  I, of course, didn't have a suit, and so I couldn't get in the pool with Havi.  Instead, I watched her on the steps.  She rather quickly remembered what to do- holding her breath, opening her eyes, and then kicking and swimming.  I couldn't believe it!  She had a blast swimming around the steps.  And because I had to watch her closely, I couldn't snap any photos.  Boo.

I did manage to pull out my camera as we were getting ready to have dinner that night and head to the rodeo.
Popcorn was a big hit with all the spectators.  And I remembered to bring my 80-200mm f/2.8 for close ups of the cowboys and cowgirls.
My favorite part was watching the bull riders.  Eight seconds seems like forever! lol
At one point, the kids participated in a calf catch.  They tie two ribbons on the calf that the kids chase. They break them into two age groups, and now that Caleb's ten, he went with the older group.
He got pretty close in that photo above, but he didn't get a ribbon.  One of the younger boys in our group, however, grabbed a ribbon in the younger age group.  He won a swamp buggy ride!  Not bad!

Team Ghost Riders was there with these cute monkeys riding collies!
Then it was time for the cowgirls to do some barrel racing.
After the rodeo, all the kids lined up to ride the mechanical bull.  A few of the dads rode it too!
Our last morning, we had a little church service.  We sang praise songs blasting from the iPad, and Patrick did a little bible study.  Of course there was bible trivia and candy or chocolate was given out for correct answers.  Then we all went to brunch at the restaurant. And after that we started packing up.  
The fathers stayed back at the campsites (working very hard) while the mamas took the kids to the pool again.  Well, first we went to play mini golf, which was a very long bike for Havi.  But we were misinformed about cost and had to turn around because our pockets were empty.
That's when we hit up the pool for a second day.  Once the guys were finished, it was time to head out.  We had such a fantastic time.  It was great to make new friends and hang out with old ones.  While camping does take work on our part, we love how it pulls us out of the daily hustle and bustle of our lives and allows us to relax and just be present.  We love watching the kids have so much fun, and we enjoy the fellowship we have with our friends.  It's such a refreshing time. And thankfully our next camping adventure is just around the corner!

That roll of film that took forever

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

 I popped this 35mm roll of Kodak Portra 400 into my Nikon F100 last June and shot the first 2/3 of it during the summer.  I didn't finish it until almost Christmas.  Oops.  Anyway, here they are.  And just like in the past, these are straight scans (from Richard Photo Lab using their Noritsu scanner) with my watermark added.

Last summer, this precious peanut often fell asleep in the hallway by our office/my sewing room.
Cupcakes Frosting for breakfast.
Chillin' at the tennis courts.
Silliness at home.
I snapped a few shots of Havi using Madeline's old pedal bike while she waited for her balance bike to arrive.
And then I snapped a few once it finally did arrive.
Then Christmas was upon us (note the tree in the background and the somewhat "winter-ish" attire)
(That's a bling-y sticker on Madeline's ear; they're not pierced yet.)
Every time I pick up my film camera and shoot, I get mad at myself for not doing it more often.  It's challenging to shoot active kids for sure, and I find myself hesitating before pressing the shutter.  But I love the challenge and surprise of getting my scans and prints (yes, prints!) in the mail.  This art is not lost on me.  I love it.  I sure wish I had shot more rolls in 2014 though.  I only shot 3.  Boo.  But I hope to shoot more this year and start learning how certain films behave. I have spent all of January trying to declutter my home and also my life.  In doing so, I hope to create extra time for the things I love, including shooting film.

About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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