I got an early birthday present! A brand spanking new Canon 7D. I can not tell you how over the moon I am about this camera. Dan and I did a lot of research and comparing and finally settled on the 7D because it is super awesome! Not only does it have a gazillion mega pixels (18) but it is also fast as lightening and has a fantastic menu that really makes it easy to use and navigate. I found with my XT that I didn't use a lot of the manual settings because it was such a pain to go into the menu and switch things around.....I shot mostly with aperture priority and the lowest f-stop I could and stayed there most of the time. I find the 7D really easy to use. I also really love the larger 3 inch LCD. I am incredibly excited about the video capabilities! Keep a look out for videos being added to my blog hopefully in the near future. First, I need to figure out how to really use this camera! The 7D is a monster compared to my little XT. But its a very beautiful monster and I love it! Now we just need to decide whether to sell my XT or not.....that was the plan, but it appears that Dan is forming an attachment. How can I tell? He has been playing with it every chance he gets and also took out all my lenses and cleaned and organized them. Watch out world, we may have another photographer on our hands! :o)
A few pics taken by the 7D I can tell there is a difference in lighting already..... much higher ISO capabilities!
I've been working on spending more individual quality time with Maddie. I think that being very deliberate with our one on one time makes her feel special and we connect better. And just like with any relationship, when you are connecting, everything runs more smoothly. She listens better, has a better attitude and overall has improved behavior. Last week (or was it the week before that?) I took Maddie bowling. She had been one other time with her school, but I think it was nicer not having to wait as long to take a turn. One game was good, two games was pushing it as far as attention span goes, but we got through both and the scores were pretty close. There was also candy involved which always adds to the fun factor. We had a great time, although I worried that we might have broken the floor with a couple of Maddie's bowling ball throws! She talked about bowling for days after our time together and for at least a week she asked if we were going to do something else together. The answer to that is, yes! But its hard to explain to a 4 year old that our special time together will not always look the same and often times it won't be nearly as exciting. But it WILL happen.
Interesting bowling fact: Small children and bowling balls are a bit scary!
And just in case anyone is curious.....we've been having the girls get themselves dressed and pick out their own clothes. Thus the AWESOME outfit Maddie is wearing! :o)
Maddie had her first soccer game of the season this past weekend. We were a bit trepidatious about how she would do, but those worries were for naught. She did fabulously! There were a couple of times that she got overwhelmed and wanted off the field, but she was able to have some water, take a breather and get back out there to play. She was aggressive at chasing and stealing the ball (which is a big improvement), she didn't fall down nearly as much, and she was even able to score her first goal!! We are currently working on the idea that she is on a team, and when her team does well, she does well too. She gets upset when she can't have the ball and make a goal, but if her teammates make a goal its as good as her making a goal. We are also working on being happy for our teammates when they succeed at something even when we do not. Maddie puts a lot of pressure on herself to succeed and I'm hoping that she'll soon realize that in team sports the overall outcome is just as important as her individual part in the game. "Mama, if I don't win then I lose. I don't want to lose." I don't know where she gets this drive to win.....it surely isn't from me. I am highly uncompetitive. Here's hoping the rest of the season just gets better and better!
A little half time break.....it was very chilly out!
Her goal :o)
Gotta love the teammate high five!
Charlotte is their team mascot. She was cheering her heart out for Maddie and the Sprites I love that the team lets her huddle with them
I'm feeling very discouraged today. Which is generally how I feel by the end of a long week. Then I have the weekend where I recharge before another week begins. Sometimes just the thought of getting through another week and another week and another week brings me down. Is it just me, or does it seem like a majority of our lives are spent working for that small minority of time where we get to do what we want? That my friends, is depressing.
The baby is not happy. Teething? Belly aches? Not quite sure what is going on....I keep thinking she is teething but we have yet to see any pearly whites and this crank-tastic-ness has been going on for weeks. The drool is epic. Maybe we'll get some teeth soon. I miss my happy, calm, sweet baby. This crying, fussy, never happy version is not nearly as much fun!
Maddie is just Maddie. She asks me a million questions all in a row and doesn't wait until I give her the answers. She asks me for a drink, doesn't even pretend to listen to what I say to her and then 2 minutes later asks me for a drink again......and again. Sometimes she is my super easy kid and sometimes she is a royal pain in the neck.
Charlotte is loud. So amazingly, fantastically, magnificently LOUD. She can not keep her voice down. She wakes the baby up from naps all the time. You can hear her anywhere in the entire house. My head buzzes with the sheer volume of her voice. I am tired of telling her to keep it down.
I love my kids! They are so precious to me. But I need a break. Or a vacation, or a hobby, or a job outside of the home......I need something.
My name is Gina, and I'm having a bad day.
They're still super cute though. Especially since a picture is silent! :o)
As much as I want to fight it, spring is here! I don't really have anything against spring per se, but it just means we're thismuch closer to summer. And I have a BIG problem with summer. Once the earth starts to thaw and the trees start to bloom I kinda like spring, especially the spending lots and lots of time outside part! I know my girls feel the same way.
We've been spending most of our free time outdoors enjoying the sunshine, breathing in the fresh air and picking the lovely flowers (weeds) that are all over our yard. Charlotte is our resident flower picker.....she could spend hours pulling beautiful weeds out of our lawn. Maddie has been enjoying practicing soccer and having a little independence (going in the backyard by herself). It's kinda weird for me to be out front with Charlotte and Eleanor and for Maddie to be by herself in the back, but she likes it and is capable of handling it and it means one less kid for me to entertain! :o) Eleanor has enjoyed being outside too, but her favorite thing in the whole world is for me to hold her and when we're outside that doesn't happen so much. So she mainly fusses while outdoors.
We are doing the garden this year, but scaling back a lot. Last summer was way too much....work and food. We bought a few more blueberry bushes, planted some spring veggies and have been focusing a lot on our front yard landscaping. Dan is going to be doing a lot of traveling this summer (5ish weeks) and Eleanor is still pretty small so we're just trying to have yard work stay minimal. We do want to change the shape of some of our front beds and put new mulch down and we're tossing around the idea of putting pavers around all the beds. We'll see what we get around to. Overall I'm happy that spring has arrived, I just hope she sticks around for a while!
My big sitting up girl
Does it make me OCD that it totally bothers me that the lights are on in my house?
We signed Maddie up for youth soccer and last Tuesday was her very first practice. I'd be lying if I said that it went well, but as with anything new it takes some time to adjust. Dan and I thought soccer would be good for Maddie because she is a very high energy kid. We wanted her to have an outlet for her exuberance and give her more opportunities to socialize with other kids. We also thought that it would be nice to foster a love for athletics early on so that maybe she'd continue with it as she grows. The first half of practice was great, she was excited and energetic and participated really well. Then they had a short break and devotional and the second half of the practice they had a scrimmage. This is where the trouble began! Maddie likes rules, and order and personal space.....which doesn't really exist in 4 year old soccer. She didn't like being crowded, or bumped into or falling down. So the second half of practice was spent alternately between her crying hysterically and throwing herself on the ground out of frustration! It was pretty bad. But, we are not giving up! We have been practicing with her at home and we're gonna finish the season and hope that over the next couple months she adjusts to the sport of soccer. We think that she would really like it if she gives it a chance! Hopefully practice tonight goes a little better. :o)
My girls are adorable. Even with food on their faces! I love them. I think it's so precious how much Maddie and Charlotte love their baby sister. Sometimes it's too much, but there is always love there. They are already starting to play together in small ways and I look forward to the day when Eleanor can do more than sit in one spot while the play happens around her. These three are going to be thick as thieves!! I'm gonna have to run to keep up. :o)
After going through the pictures from our vacation in California I realize that I have become the phantom photographer.....you know, that family member who carries around the camera and doesn't appear to have been on vacation at all?!? Yep, that's me. Not in a single picture from Disneyland. I don't really mind because I feel that I've captured the best looking people in my family (mostly my beautiful girls and a little bit of Dan! lol) but I realize that I need to make an effort to hand over my camera to someone else once in a while so that it looks like I vacation with my fam!
Day two of Disneyland was a lot better than the first! It was far less crowded, the girls were better behaved and everyone was feeling good. The only downside to the day was that Dan, Eleanor and I had to leave early for an engagement. My parents stayed at the park with Maddie and Charlotte and took them to California Adventure park and ate dinner. We got on a lot more rides which makes everyone happy and the lines were so much shorter! I did however make the mistake of thinking that Maddie, my roller coaster/fast ride fanatic was ready for Space Mountain. She was tall enough, so I figured it would be a good time.....yeah, she cried. She was totally scared. I think it was the fact that it was in the dark, and not necessarily the roller coaster itself, but now I know. I'm sure she will be just like her Daddy and me and adore scary roller coasters when she's older (it's genetic right?) but for now I'll remember to refrain from taking her on the really fast ones, especially when they are in the dark!
We had a wonderful time at Disneyland! I wish it could have lasted longer, and I wish that we lived there so we could have passes and my kiddos could experience the magic more often. But on the other hand I feel like if we only do Disney only every so often it will keep it more magical and make it a very special experience instead of just another day. I loved seeing the looks on Maddie and Charlotte's faces as we met characters and went on rides! It is such a special place and it brings out the very best (and quite possibly the very worst) in a kid. Visiting the park reminds me of my childhood and how incredibly excited I would get when we had the opportunity to go. Dan and I have been talking about bringing the family to Disney World, but I think we'll wait until the girls are older.....closer to 9, 7, 5 before we do that. Till then I hope the girls can keep these memories as vivid as the pictures are!
We got the girls Minnie Mouse hats. I think they like them!
Eleanor with her raccoon hat......too bad it's sideways. lol
I don't know how my dad does it.....Maddie is a big girl! She sure does love her papa
The 3 Caballeros is by far their favorite movie
This still makes me laugh...... We went through the whole ride and got to the end where all the countries are represented and Dan in all seriousness asks me, "Is this Canada?" Heh, heh, heh, heh. *snort*
Tea cups with Daddy
I think this was their most favorite thing EVER!
Poor Charlotte....I only got the top of her head
Tea cups again!
And I'll end this with my sweet baby Eleanor who was such a good sport at Disneyland. Not once, but twice!