Friday, July 29, 2011

Warm Summer Rain

It's been raining a lot here. Much more then I remember being typical of July. We have mushrooms growing in our yard. And the grass is lush, soft, and green, you know, when it is usually crusty, dry, and almost brown. Our yard is so awesome. It's the kind of grass you just want to lay down and nap in. Or wiggle your bare feet in. I will not complain about the rain because it is making my flowers and plants in the backyard grow like jungle foliage. I. Love. It. Anyway, the best rain by far is the rain that comes in the wee hours of a summer morning. I love waking to the soft pitter patter of rain drops on the roof. I love the splashes on the window. I love the cool breezes that come with it. I love that it seems to wash the dry, thirsty earth clean. I love the smell of it. I also love it when later on in the day the clouds part, and the sun comes out and warms the wet earth, and everything is just so alive.

About a week ago we had this kind of rain. Sweet Pea woke up and she could hear it. She woke Daddy up and declared happily, "It's raining!" She had looked out the back patio window. "There's a lake! I can wear my rain boots!" He thought that was a great idea and took her out for some early morning frolicking in the rain. I sleep with earplugs so I didn't hear any of this. I woke up to an empty house however, and when I went looking for them this is what I found:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Some Summer Fun" or " Why I Don't Blog More Frequently"

This month has gone by in a blur. And there are still so many things I need and want to accomplish THIS month. But there's a reason I haven't gotten to it all. Lots of reasons really. We've been doing some of this:
Pumpkin enjoyed the fuzzy bunnies. A lot. But her heart truly belonged with the chickens. Gross. I tried to point out every other cute, warm, fuzzy thing there but she kept going back to the chickens over and over again. And again. And again.
My nephew preferred the goats, there were some pretty tiny ones there. I think that he might have thought he would be able to sneak this one home in his pocket. Superman really kind of took to the teeny, tiny baby camel. Just a few weeks old. So wobbly and adorable.
We've also been doing this:
This was Pumpkin's first boat ride. She LOOOOOOOVED it. A lot.
And this:
Her latest masterpiece. I love this one. She does this thing when she paints...compartmentalizes. Her yellow stays with her yellow. Her green does not mix with any other colors. Blue stays blue. It's kind of weird. But I like it. This one is now hanging in my bedroom directly across from my bed. I get to look at it a lot and it makes me smile.
There was this:
This is Pumpkin's first cotton candy, well technically not her first. Her first was a couple weeks earlier at a local festival. But this summer was her first time eating it. She thinks it's delicious, fluffy clouds. Her personal fav is the pink because, of course, it's Pinkalicious, but she'll eat any of it. (This is also gross to me. Oh well.)
Squeezing together in the seat on the Ferris wheel. She thought this was a blast despite the scrunchy face she's making. She laughed hysterically while I got sick. That's crazy because I love roller coasters. The round and round things really make me want to hurl though.
She went on the swings, the carousel, and almost every other ride in the park, except for the roller coaster and bumper cars. That was not because she didn't want to. She was devastated when the park worker told her she was just a little too short for the bumper cars. Just devastated. So we took her on a pony ride. The last thing we did before going home.
I think she thought it was an adequate substitute.
And then some of this:
Pumpkin can dig. And dig. And dig. She is a regular beach bum. This particular afternoon we were just about the only ones there. It was great. And the waves were just big enough to be exciting for her. She was a little apprehensive in the beginning but the longer we were there the braver she got. I had to run out after her a couple times. I didn't want her to get sucked out with the current.
Just look at this smile! I think I'm the luckiest mom in the world!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My New Favorite Book

As I have mentioned from time to time in some of my infrequent posts here at DoodleDaisy…I am an art teacher. I work with high school students and I love it. One of the classes I teach is photography. To make a long story, well, shorter, this year we’ve been gearing up for a change. As the last term of the school year came to a close I started going through our photography cabinets, storage closets, the darkroom and processing room, gathering together all things pertaining to manual photography. Our enlargers, extra lamps, developing tanks, reels, trays, bottles, 35 mm SLR cameras (the manual ones), film, paper, extra chemistry, timers, easels, etc, and so forth.

I did an inventory and prepared everything to sell. It was a bit overwhelming to say the least. And a bit sad. It sort of marks the end of an era for us. No more manual photography. I mourned the loss for our students, for about five minutes, then shook it off, and started thinking about how I would piece together a curriculum for a digital photography class. By the way, for those of you who are curious as to why we would stop teaching manual photography, put simply, it is cost prohibitive. With such tremendously steep cuts being made in education now days I couldn’t let an opportunity to help save my district loads of money pass by in good conscience. Digital isn’t just the way of the future…it is the now. And our kids can have the same phenomenal educational experiences and growth with digital that they did with manual. And they will be better prepared as they leave us. You have to admit that the manual processes are certainly antiquated.

Okay, so on that note, I have been scouring the internet, Amazon mostly, for good references to use for my class. It was during one of these “scouring” sessions that I paused to take a break and was going through my Google reader when I came across a blog post about an ebook. A photography ebook.

It definitely piqued my interest so I left a comment in the hopes of winning a copy in the giveaway. Alas, that was not to be, but the fantastic author of this fine book contacted me and offered me the opportunity to look through it to see if it might be something I would use with my students. So, I read Katie Evans' ebook, The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer, and emailed her as soon as I was finished. Here’s what I can tell you:

I love this book. With a lot of love.

There are a few reasons.
Let me share some:

1. I have a huge and varied spectrum of learners in any given photography class I teach. This book will reach them all.

2. It is accessible to those who have no experience whatsoever with a camera while still being very appealing to those few who profess to be proficient with a digital SLR.

3. Katie speaks to the masses. She eliminates superfluous and wordy nonsense while giving enough technical information that we can still feel like we really know something and can talk intelligently about our photography.

4. She covers all the bases. So very informative.

5. It is perfectly organized with each chapter building on the prior.

6. Ummm, her photography is beautiful. Just take a look.

7. And hello, last but certainly not least, it is crazy affordable. Really.

Here are some sample pages for you to peruse. I am sure you will find, as I did, that this ebook would make a valuable addition to your reference library. Thank you so much Katie! This is just what I needed. For those of you who teach photography and are interested in taking a closer look at this great reference I can direct you to Katie’s blog. She has an email posted there that you can use to contact her directly. She is fabulous.