Posts Tagged ‘park’

My Week(129) in iPhone Photos

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

What crazy week. Thank God the gingers had no idea how crappy it was in the real world and just enjoyed their spring break.



Look! A totally uninteresting part of a 60 year old submarine! You STILL can’t see the interesting parts (where E works on the modern ones).


Running away from their BBQ pork. Obviously they were switched at birth. Both of them.


Reading with Aunt Erin



7:30 am in New London, CT


The first time I tore myself away from the news that day the moon was already out


I let the kids stay up for extra cuddles and totally mindless children’s shows



I spy ye, matey!


Even pirates need a cup of milk sometimes


Passed out with her (old) Easter hat



Good morning, this is my tongue.


The gingers are doing their best impression of a cheesy movie slow motion run


Reading hat


Meal plan + shopping list = What’s For Dinner? will be back soon



Stroller Strides at the beach EFF YEAH


The view made working out less sucky


Children’s Museum Hat





Caught red handed!


There are approximately 300 of these on my phone from this day, since the kids got the iDevices while I watched the news…


…and read ALL the Twitters.



And sometimes my view during Stroller Strides is LESS inspiring


Introducing the gingers to Moe’s


Swinging is fun

 And now school vacation week is OVER and I get some Suzanne-time back. I love love love my children more than life itself, but there’s a point during the day where I want to lock them both in a closet. THE WHINING OH THE WHINING. It’s amazing what a difference 5 hours a week makes to my sanity and patience. Oh and P.S. World? Try not to go totally INSANE again next week, ok?

The Anatomy Of A Photo Shoot With My Kids

Monday, September 24th, 2012

In case you thought my blog was in danger of turning into just pretty pictures and lifestyle crap, I present the anatomy of a photo shoot with my kids.

The plan: A relaxing afternoon of hiking and playing at a local state beach, followed by a few shots of the kids being adorable together as the sun sets.

The reality: Leave the house at 5 pm as the sun is already setting. Forget memory card. Find 4 GB memory card in side pocket of camera bag. Unbuckle Caroline to discover she found part of a cookie in her car seat and is COVERED in red frosting. Clean up Caroline, get kids out of car, shout at them to stop running away stop running away STOP YOU JUST RAN THROUGH A PARKING LOT GOD HELP ME.

kids at bluff point

The plan: Beautiful shots in the golden light on an abandoned beach.

The reality: Turns out I’m not the only genius who likes the beach at sunset, so there are people all over the place.

kids at bluff point

You do not belong on my living room wall, lady smoking on the rocks.

The plan: Smiling children.

The reality: Evan, look at me. Evan. Evan. Evan. EVAN. Smile. SMILE. Look at me WITH YOUR EYES.

kids at bluff point

The plan: Reflection shots right at the edge of the water.

The reality: No Caroline, don’t get wet. No, honey, it’s all muddy, stay away from the edge. It’s muddy! Caroline. Caroline. CAROLINE.

kids at bluff point

The plan: Photo of the kids standing on the path.

The reality: Hey, kids, the path is kind of rocky, why don’t you slow down. Kids. Guys. GUYS STOP RUNNING IT’S DANGEROUS COME BACK HERE.

kids at bluff point

The plan: Photos of the kids throwing rocks, something they had been doing for 10 minutes.

The reality: Guys, stop picking up the seaweed. Guys, no, stop playing with the seaweed. Look at all the rocks, throw the rocks! GUYS.

kids at bluff point

No, seriously, GUYS. It’s just drifting back to shore, there’s no point. It’s wet and dirty. Stop.

kids at bluff point

EVAN AND CAROLINE. STOP. THIS IS NOT GOING TO END WELL. Ok, fine, whatever, I’m not responsi-

kids at bluff point


The plan: One shot of the kids standing next to each other, looking at the camera.


kids at bluff point

kids at bluff point

kids at bluff point

kids at bluff point

Alright, if you’re not going to listen I guess hugging is OK.

The plan: It’s only going to be 30 minutes, how dirty can they get?

The reality: Filthy, filthy children.

kids at bluff point

Wrap up: 400 photos taken in 30 minutes. 50 deleted on the camera, 50 more deleted at home once I see how out of focus they are. 200 like the ones above, another 60 that are OK but not worth it. 40 left to resize and edit, 20 of those are worth putting on Facebook, 10 are nice enough for the blog.

Total time invested: 4 hours.

Total energy invested: ALL OF IT.

Total sanity invested: Ask me after I finish this bottle of wine.

End Of Summer Rambles

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

My last posts about E’s hideous work schedule and struggling to parent my preschooler came across wrong and I’ve been feeling dishonest. I miss E, my husband, the guy I married, a ton. I miss talking to someone about what we did that day. I miss sharing dinner with someone who doesn’t throw food at me and demand a toy and fries instead of his mac and cheese (I curse the day I bought that first Happy Meal). I miss someone else taking out the trash and mowing the lawn. The LIFE part is sort of overwhelming to do alone after not doing it alone for most of the last 8 years. And although I struggle with consistent, positive parenting I’m also enjoying the crap out of my kids. It helps that I’m writing this after we’ve had a lovely morning and that we have fun stuff planned every day until school (school!!) starts on Tuesday, but I don’t feel like I’m struggling to keep my head above the stream of challenges.

I have gotten used to this all-the-time mom thing. My little family – my daily we – is just one person smaller most of the time. We leave the house. We take vacations. We go to the beach. We buy groceries. We read lots and lots and lots of books. I don’t even cringe when I realize I’m doing bedtime alone every day. I’ve actually pushed the kids’ bedtimes back so I can spend more time with them – evenings are lonely when no one is coming home to talk to. So You Think You Can Dance is only good company for a couple episodes before you realize it’s kind of sad to comment out loud to the cat on Cat’s crazy outfit.

We have fun, the kids and I. We’re good together. Even when I’m failing at the technical details of parenting they’re always ready to forgive me, give hugs and kisses and go on another adventure.

Even though saying it seems like sacrilege to the gods of warm weather, popsicles and iced coffee, I think we’re ready for our fall adventures to start. Caroline has outgrown this outfit – our favorite all summer – and it’s a smack-you-in-the-face kind of metaphor for how this season of our life is ending.

I might cry the day she outgrows those shoes though. I know she will.

Our carefree days with no schedule and no responsibilities and spur-of-the-moment fun at the zoo are officially over. Evan has school Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Both kids have gymnastics on Wednesdays. It’s making me doubt this whole preschool situation a little. As good as I know it will be for both of us to get a little time apart, it feels like I’m sending a piece of my heart off into the world to fend for itself.

I promise I’m trying not to write a post filled entirely with the most cliched mother cliches ever. I’m so blessed. My kids help me see the world in a new way. I love them so much my heart might explode. Being a mom is the best job in the world.

But those are all mommy cliches for a REASON.

Caroline is such a big girl and so smart and understands almost everything that I’m thinking about sending her to school after her birthday. Two year old preschool has always been something I thought was silly – it’s just DAYCARE, don’t try to make it sound fancy – but even if all she does all day is hang out with other 2 year olds and scribble with crayons and eat Goldfish at least it would be with actual trained teachers who could focus on building her skills instead of a mom who just takes Instagram photos of her.

I like to think knowing my own strengths and weaknesses makes me a better mom.

But then I will be childless for 5 hours a week and that kind of free time might be too much for me. I could run! I could shop! I could sit on a park bench alone and read a book! I might also sob for days and/or catch a case of baby fever that ends with spontaneous triplets. The possibilities are endless.

Here comes Fall, y’all. We’re so ready for the adventure. Are you ready for us?

My Week(94) in iPhone Photos

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

I’m not going to lie, things are not going great around here. We see E for less than an hour a day (which will happen every day for at least the next 36 days) but to see him at ALL means we have to skip our morning activities. Caroline has decided napping is for the birds, but so is going to bed before 8 pm (those last 2 hours in the evening are ROUGH). And Evan is still three, which means he recently learned the word “attitude” – literally, he now tells me all about his attitude – and I’m about ready to sell him to the circus. Our week felt a bit like Groundhog Day – the same things over and over and over – so I’m REALLY looking forward to the end of this coming week, when we head off to Long Island for an end of summer adventure.


Exhausted from a weekend with friends, THANK GOD.

HAHA JAY KAY MOM! I’m not exhausted I’m trying to give you a heart attack!

Hand washing device aka drinking fountain


Fish through a fish-eye lens are fun

Giant Oreo cupcake is no match for two toddlers

Then I almost killed myself trying to do C25K Week 5 with a stroller on a hilly path.



Filling out pre-k applications for NEXT year. Cross your fingers (it’s a lottery).

Dream big, little ginger


I asked her to put her jammies in the laundry basket. At least she followed directions?

That blur in the middle is Evan jumping off the tumble track all on his own for the very first time!

Not impressed with BJ’s


Oh no it’s a ghost! A friendly ghost – It goes “woooooo!” and tries to tickle you.

Evan is obsessed with his shadow. Time to watch Peter Pan, I think.

Those popsicles were a mistake.


So happy to be back at Stroller Strides!


I’m starting a diet challenge in 2 weeks. Guess I better order BOTH of these sandwiches NOW!


He says this is much more comfortable. Whatever.

Me: That’s you Caroline! The baby in the pictures is you! Caroline: *mind blown*

After ALL THIS she still refused to nap.

In case that last picture isn’t clear, it’s Caroline in MY BED with two dollies, two blankies, two stuffed mice, her water, her baby laptop, her sound/light machine AND Daddy’s iPad. She insisted I drag it all up to my room and then lay in bed talking to herself for 90 minutes (even after I turned off the iPad). It was a really long day. So now I’m going to bed – good thing I never took off my pajamas! – and hoping we can get out of the house tomorrow for something that takes a LOT of toddler energy.

I’m guessing since Amy had a baby (!!!!!!!) this week, the linky will be off for a while. But feel free to leave links to your iphone posts in my comments, I love looking at them!

5 Tips For Taking Great Photos Even If You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Let me start by saying that while I have learned a LOT about taking photos in the past 3 years, I am by no means an expert. I’m not even a photographer, since my eyes glaze over when people start talking ISO and shutter speed. The only part of photography I actually understand is aperture, and even then I only know a small number means I get a fuzzy background and that looks fancy so, like, do that? Right?

But after owning a Nikon D90 for a while and reading a zillion articles and books and tutorials I feel like I’m qualified to give 5 tips for taking great photos even if you don’t know what you’re doing. And the top 5 things I’ve learned about photography DON’T involve super fancy camera settings or post-processing. Photoshop and Lightroom are amazing programs but if your main goal is to take better pictures of your kids – either for your blog or just for their scrapbooks – you don’t need editing software. I promise. Just be more mindful of the following things when you’re snapping away:

1. Use natural light. It’s all about the light. Yes, your camera has a flash and no, I’m not saying flash is evil. Skilled photographers can do amazing things with artificial light. But when I use flash, everyone comes out looking like a deer in the headlights and/or a flesh eating zombie so I take advantage of natural light whenever possible. I don’t mean direct sunlight – it can often be too harsh – but light coming through a window, a shady spot under a tree or that magical golden hour right before sunset are all better places to take you kid’s monthly baby photos than under your ceiling fan lights at 8 pm. (This goes DOUBLE for photos of food.)

5 Tips For Taking Great Photos Even If You Don't Know What You're Doing

August, 6pm – the light is behind the trees so even though Caroline is backlit it’s the nice halo-type of backlit. Plus it shows of her ginger curls in a way head-on light wouldn’t.

2. Pick a great location. My couch is moss green, filthy and makes a terrible backdrop for photos. My kitchen is OK but the dark counters and wood cabinets make it a cave. The rest of my home is always a mess. But the park less than a mile from my house is gorgeous – stone pathways, arbors, fountains, lots of shade, space for playing and running and bikes. I’m not capturing our “everyday” in the sense that we are in our house but I am capturing a typical afternoon in our neighborhood. It’s easy to bring the camera along, sit in the grass and let the gingers run in circles while I mess with my settings. Having a great location makes all the rest of the tips MUCH easier.

5 Tips For Taking Great Photos Even If You Don't Know What You're Doing

This was spontaneous wish-making…something that wouldn’t ever happen at home in our family room.

3. Pay attention to your background. This is why you’re shooting at the park instead of in your house (as cute as my tiny gingers are in those photos, the background prevents them from ever becoming prints I hang on the wall). But it also means take three steps to your left to avoid capturing that trashcan or people scooping dog poop or a couple having a fight behind your kid (all actual things I avoided during this shoot). Even if you are in your house, do your best to get blank walls, plain cabinets and doors in the background rather than piles of brightly colored toys and laundry. You can crop in post-processing – even basic, free programs allow cropping – but these are tips for AVOIDING all of that so try to remember to look behind your kid’s adorable face.

5 Tips For Taking Great Photos Even If You Don't Know What You're Doing

Things going on around Evan that you can’t see because I framed the photo well – trash can, people fishing, teenagers loitering and smoking and doing general annoying teenagery things.

5 Tips For Taking Great Photos Even If You Don't Know What You're Doing

There were some people sitting on the edge of the fountain at first, so I took close up shots until they wandered off. Then I backed up and let Evan throw his penny.

4. Children looking at the camera are better than children not looking at the camera. I should have just called this tip “Bribery”, but that seemed crass. I take a LOT of pictures of the backs of heads, butts, shoes, etc. But when you’re trying to take memorable photos, try to get your kid’s face as much as possible. Some of the best ways to get a child to look at you are shouting, waving your arms, playing “Can you see my eye through this camera?” and promising candy/ice cream/ponies. Mostly it’s a matter of following step number 5…

5 Tips For Taking Great Photos Even If You Don't Know What You're Doing

As cute as Caroline’s ruffle skirt is, her “leader of the tiny bike gang” face is way cuter. (Although, technically, the composition of the facing away photo is better…BIKE GANG. I MEAN COME ON.)

5. More is more. As long as you’re shooting digital, keep shooting. At a photography class just a couple weeks ago one of the pros told us to STOP taking so many photos and really focus on getting the shots right the first time. I am definitely going to work on that…soon-ish. But if you aren’t a pro, my advice is take tons of pictures, especially of kids. You might only get a few worth saving but that’s the magic of digital – delete, delete, delete. When your kid is running away from you, shout their name and start snapping – those just-turning-around faces are great and you almost always get eye contact. The same goes for jumping, swinging, splashing, dancing, and running kids – it’s better to have too many shots to choose from than miss a moment you loved.

5 Tips For Taking Great Photos Even If You Don't Know What You're Doing

Dancing kids are hard to keep in focus but too cute to miss, so I took at least 30 pictures in 60 seconds.

5 Tips For Taking Great Photos Even If You Don't Know What You're Doing

Swinging pictures are even harder than dancing pictures (plus the light on the playground wasn’t as good) but I got this one from a collection of many.

I’m not saying you’re going to get magazine-worthy photos from your point-and-shoot or your cell phone camera, but I wish I had known all this stuff from the beginning when I was taking pictures of Baby Evan with my Panasonic. Just remembering to set the baby down somewhere without burp cloths in the background would have made a huge difference.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll try to help or find someone to help. And feel free to link photo tips that you’ve found helpful (or written!) in the comments.

All my photos in the post are straight out of my camera (Nikon D90, 50mm 1.8f lens) – no cropping, no exposure changes, no editing. All I did was watermark and resize the files for uploading. I did use my camera’s manual settings when I shot but I do that fairly often now and still don’t get great results. These photos look nice because I took them mindfully, not because I have amazing technical skills with a DSLR.