tuesday randoms...

* Greece was fabulous.  Oh, I mentioned that already? Well, it was!

* The process of traveling home from Greece?  Not so fabulous.  We were up at 5:30 am to get ready, toss last minute things in suitcases, get G breakfast and close up our house.  By 8:45 am we had arrived at the airport - right on schedule to check in for our 12 noon flight.  The only problem? Our flight was delayed and had been pushed back 4.5 hours to 4:30 pm.  Seven and a half hours. In an airport.  With a toddler. We were a bit panicked but, G was amazing.  We could not have asked for a better traveler.  He people watched, ate, ran around a bit, napped and played for a few hours in the incredible playroom at the airport run by Greek NGO The Smile of the Child.  If I ever win the big lottery, I will give back to this organization and open more in airports around the US.  What a blessing it was to have a safe, clean, entertaining place for G to play during the long wait. We waited (and waited, and waited) until it was time to board. G settled in to the plane, played with toys, ate a few snacks then fell asleep for almost the entire flight.  Rock star baby traveler. Seriously.

* After downloading two of three memory cards to our home computer, following our return from Greece, I diligently started editing, then...disaster.  Our laptop was infected with a trojan virus that started hiding all of our files and wouldn't allow us to use the computer.  Mr. Boom was able to rescue all of the photos and move them to our external drive but, the computer is not useable quite yet.  Hence the lack of blogging. 
* Smiling boy on our early morning walk last Friday.  With the scorching hot forecast, I got him out early for some playtime at the park.  I got some shots that I just love but, can't share them because, well, see above.

* On Saturday night, G woke up in the middle of the night.  When I checked on him, I found that he was burning with fever.  104.4 to be exact.  We got him in a cool bath immediately and called our pediatric nurse line for support and guidance.  A trip to the doctor Sunday morning gave us a diagnosis of the Coxackie virus.  Poor little guy slept on me most of Sunday, felt a bit better yesterday and, thankfully, seems to be back to himself today.
* Getting some fresh air before the heat set in on Memorial Day Monday, we walked past our local grocery to find it in full bloom with new cafe tables set along the sidewalk.  All those flowers = happiness.


oh, hello u.s.a...

We are home. 

How we got here is a bit of a story but, we are safely back on US soil after a fantastic family vacation in Greece. 

We relaxed.

We ate.

And ate.

And ate.

And walked even more than we ate.

And played even more than we walked.

We watched our toddler grow, flourish, laugh, bond, enjoy and learn.

We were sad to leave.

We are happy to be home.

I have so much to share.  In photos, in stories, in anecdotes. 

It's all coming.

But, first, I need to get some sleep.  While our toddler was the best international traveler we could have ever dreamed (seriously, he was a rock star), re-adjusting him to the seven hour time difference is the most challenging part.


be back in {two weeks}...

Our little family of three is flying out this evening for a blissful, much needed and long awaited (though quickly planned) vacation to Greece!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing moms out there, including my own.  Love you, Mom!



read the {manual}...

When I first opened my upgraded camera equipment in early December 2009, I was excited, overwhelmed and completely thankful. I had truly outgrown my last camera body and was ready to plunge in and get to know the ins and outs of something new. Switching from Nikon to Canon was a bit trickier than I imagined. The camera was much heavier and the controls were in different spots. But, I wasn't worried because I still had a full month to learn it all before our firstborn's scheduled arrival. In that month I would have Christmas and two weeks of maternity leave to practice and work through the manual.

All the time in the world! (the universe laughs)

George had other plans and arrived early. Before Christmas. Before maternity leave. Before I had taken even ten test shots. Before I had figured out how to change the focal point, resulting in many out of focus hospital shots.

In the beginning, my favored lens was the Tamron 28-75, until I put on the 50mm. And with the first snap, I was a goner. Sharp, fast, dreamy. Loved. Still love. Perfect for my captive subject inside our home and wherever else we went.

Then, George started moving. Who gave him permission to do that anyway? I put the Tamron back on my camera, after a several month break, because I needed the flexibility to zoom in and out to keep up with the little man. And, I just wasn't thrilled with what I was getting out of the lens. No clue why. Drat. Back in the bag it went.

In January I made a commitment to myself. After over a year of holding this camera, it was time to venture into the unknown. Time to dig out the manual, take the advice of the fabulous photographer who shot our family portraits last year and do it.

Shoot in manual.

And, so I did.  I turned the dial to "M", adjusted the ISO, checked the exposure meter and held my breath for many hundreds of shots as I figured out what the heck I was doing.  Then, one day, it just clicked.  My hands learned to change the settings, I learned to better read the light (this is still a work in progress and, from what I understand, likely always will be) and was SO much happier with my photos. 

Getting over my fear. 

Reading the manual. 

Teaching myself. 

To get shots like this...

Taken with the lens I was initially disappointed in and now adore.  Of the guys I adore. Hype understood.  There was no quality issue with the lens.  The issue was with the user. 

I am giddy with the anticipation of capturing our vacation. 

In manual.

----> Do you have a dSLR that you are using in auto or creative modes?  I challenge you to pull out your manual.  Read through the settings and learn how to get so much more out of your camera.  Take the challenge, then link me up to some of the images and your (what is sure to be) new found love of your own equipment.  Just do it!

I shoot with a Canon 50D, Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 and Canon 50mm f/1.4 and Canon 430II ex speedlite.  The speedlite is still in it's case.  Until I read the manual.
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