Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Have you ever gotten sick of looking at your trip photos? We ended up taking over 1000 photos over the 4 day trip.
Yesterday I uploaded both memory cards and then looked at every image and deleted a few that were beyond recognizable.
Today, I have spent the morning going through them all again and writing down what photo #'s I like and then creating albums in Facebook.
I'm tired. I have tried three times to create one more album to finish showing off the photos but Facebook is giving me a fit so I thought I would take a small break.
I think I have recovered from our trip.
The laundry is done and things have been put away. My sunburn is starting to peel, except that it is only peeling on my forehead and nose, not cool.
Here are some of my favorite photos from Sedona and Flagstaff  The kids really enjoyed all the trains that run through Flagstaff. Rob and I really liked the feel of the town. We wished we would have had more time to explore.

This is the inside of our tee pee. It was better than sleeping on the floor but those metal, round beds were not very comfy. We had Rob and Wyatt in one bed, myself, Kelly and Chelsea in another.

We ate at the Galaxy diner our first night. A cool 50's-60's restaurant that we enjoyed.
Our last morning we had breakfast at the Crown Railroad cafe. The restaurant was train themed, with a electric train chugging around, the seats had train themed fabric and the tables were given railroad names, like Georgia Pacific and Santa Fe and the windows even looked out toward the train tracks.
There were trains passing by about every 10-15 minutes.

One recurring theme that Rob and I noticed was that we like to photograph dead trees. Up in northern AZ there are lots of dead trees and in some very interesting places.
Here are some of my favorite photos of the GC
Grand Canyon
Of course there are others but I'm sure no one wants to see hundreds of photos from the same place.
So this is just a quick over view of our trip. Hopefully I'll come back later today and post more in depth detail of our trip. I'll need it later when I go to scrapbook.
** Up close and in detail*
We headed out Thursday morning for Flagstaff and map quest said that the trip would only take 4 hours. That's it? So we knew we could make some detours along the way. Rob did 100% of the driving because if Rob doesn't drive Rob bounces off the walls. Believe me I experienced it once, and once was enough.
So outside Phoenix we stopped at a rest stop to, you know and stretch our legs. Yep that lasted about 5 minutes before we were all ready to climb back in and take off.
Rob took the turn off to Sedona and we meandered our way to the town. The scenery is so green right now and mix that with the reddish rocks it was like seeing glimpses of hidden treasure.
We swung the truck into every "scenic view" spot that we could find and would snap a couple of pictures.
 As we drove through the town, in the distance up against the red mountain is this church so we decide to go investigate. The Church of the Holy Cross sits at the base of the mountain and you walk up this winding ramp to get up into the chapel with the window that looks out across the town. But when you walk back out and walk to the side you see this one elaborate million dollar home that just does not fit the area, but is stunning. I took plenty of pictures of this home and then came home and zillowed the address. Only 1.1 million with 10,000+ sq ft.
Anyway we headed back on the main road through Sedona when we see this little sign for Schnebly Hill Road. Rob asks me if we want to take it and after a split second I say let's go for it.
At first I was a little bit scared because we are on this very bumpy dirt road and no one in sight. Within a few minutes we see a tourist jeep coming toward us. So I know if we get stuck we won't have to hike back out. A few minutes later is another tourist vehicle, then a Hummer touring truck. Then we start to come upon people camping and others out hiking. So basically I start to sit back and enjoy the ride. Poor Rob, every few minutes I would tell him to stop or back up so that I could take a photo. My reasoning is that you never know which photo you take is gonna knock your socks off so take 'em when you see 'em. We stop to grab some lunch out of the cooler and then it was only a few more miles back to the interstate and only a little while later that we came through Flagstaff.
Wyatt and Chelsea both love trains and the railway comes through the middle of town. So every 15 minutes or so one of us was pointing out a train. On Saturday morning we walked around the downtown a bit and Wyatt had the opportunity to stand at the crossing arms and wave to the conductor as the train came by. He was so excited.
Back to Flagstaff, we pulled into the KOA campground and found out where our tee pee was located. Once Rob pulls into the drive we all pretty much dump out of the truck and go check everything out. The tee pee is certainly big enough to house six comfortably and it has a paver floor with a couple of woven grass mats. The restrooms and showers can be seen from our campsite so no real worries there and then off to the left is the playground. This was how we ended our evening besides doing to dinner. The kids were able to have the entire playground to themselves.

Part II Grand Canyon Later

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Howdy from Flagstaff!!

Just a quick drive by to say all is well and beautiful. We drove through Sedona and took the
"scenic" off road Schnebly Hill Rd and saw some amazing natural wonders.

I would never have seen this gorgeous meadow if we had not gone off road.
Here in Flagtaff the roadsides are covered in these black eyed susan type flowers. Acres of yellow.
It reminds me of Michigan.

Yesterday we spent the day at the Grand Canyon.
Oh I have so much to show and tell.
But the big man is telling me to get off and enjoy our vacation.
We are off to Sunset Crater and who knows where else.
Let's just say I/we have already taken 600 photos!
Have a great Saturday.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Just WOW!
I have had more than 1,000 people see my photo from Tuesday's paper and to all I say a humble thank you.
It was a pretty crazy week last week and I was on a high for most of it.
Couple all of this with the fact that this weekend we are going on our first family vacation and it's my 35th birthday and yowsers I'm tired just thinking and planning.
photo credit

I've been checking out websites, looking at blogs, making notes of all the places I want to photograph. I've learned how to take and stitch a panoramic photo because my biggest hope is to take a panorama of the Grand Canyon.
Our plans are to relax and have fun and explore our awesome state. Knowing me I will be taking a TON of photos and I'm already excited about scrapping them.

With the help from friends and family I have procured lots of copies of last Tuesday's paper. I have a fun photo idea in mind and I'm hoping to execute later this afternoon.
Rob is suggesting that we frame it but I don't know.
I've also been told that I need to set up a portfolio. I'm not that good, but it doesn't hurt to have your favorites printed out.
My mom is setting up a connection with a gentlemen that takes photos for postcards.
I was also told to try and freelance for the local paper.
We will see, I'll leave it all in God's hands and let him direct me.
Here's hoping for another storm tonight. The clouds are building up. Monsoon season is over next month.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just remember you can click on the picture to make them bigger.
These were taken last night.
What a crazy night for a storm.
I had been home from work for maybe an hour when I heard thunder.
I asked Rob if he was cool with me going out. I really couldn't be long because I still needed to do my work reports and get stuff ready for school in the morning.
So I headed up to the parking lot of our local CVS that sits on a hill looking east. This is one of my first shots. The lightning just kept getting more amazing.

I had to trim a couple of the shots because I had a bit of light flare from the parking lot lights but DANG!
This is one of my absolute favorites!

I was leaving my camera open for about 20-25 seconds and the flashes were fast and furious

So my experience last night- wow.
I ended up having to leave the CVS because my battery went dead and I left my spare on the charger.
I know, I know, don't lecture. :)
When I got to my house, 1/2 mile away it was pouring. So I headed back to CVS and the storm had moved more west and I had to move to a different spot.
I really didn't like the next spot so then I remembered to head back to the hill at Lakeside park. That is where I got these last three beauties.

Can you believe that the local TV station didn't show any of these shots but they showed one of someone elses that was blurry and had power lines showing.
Am I biased, Hell yes!
I posted an album on Facebook with about 45 different shots but these are my favorites.
It looks like I'll be changing or adding some pictures to my walls.
After about and hour though I had to head home. There was a storm coming up from the south, a new storm from the east and the one heading west was petering out. The lightning continued for a couple of more hours with rain here and there, but I had stuff I HAD to get finished and so I enjoyed watching from my living room window as I did my work.
August and September have produced some of my best photos so I'm sure there will be at least one or two more good storms before the season is over.
* Update- a local channel 4 has emailed me that they will be showing my photos tomorrow morning. Cool!
** Received another email today, this time from our local newspaper Arizona Daily Star, wants to publish the second photo in tomorrows paper!!
*** I made the front page! Az Daily Star  and channel 9 news showed photo #3 several times.
It has begun!
First Day of Schooool!
This morning we headed back to school to start 1st and 3rd grade. Saw a lot of classmates from last year and some new faces too.
I'm praying for a great year this year.
Both kids got the teachers that best suit them and were able to meet their teachers and check out the classrooms last Friday.
Kelly and Wyatt have been psyched up all weekend.
This morning both kids were up before 5:30am and dressed just waiting.
As a little something special I took a picture of Wyatt and Kelly together and sent it in to one of the local stations. Every morning they show celebrate pictures and there were plenty of us celebrating the kids going back to school!
The last photo they showed was Wyatt and Kelly and their good luck wishes from Mom, Dad and little sister Chelsea.
Wyatt and Kelly were sooo excited to see themselves on TV! Of course I had to tear up, my babies are getting bigger so fast and they are changing so much that at times I can't keep up.
This monkey <---- will not look at the camera. He was so fidgety this morning that this is about the only picture that is not blurry.
The kids helped pack their lunches and get their stuff ready and were watching the clock just chomping at the bit to go.
Thankfully they still want to go to school :)
This year will be a lot easier because there is only a 15 minute gap between the two grades getting out instead of the hour wait last year.

Of course it's not back to school without new clothes and shoes.
I had the kids lay out their outfits last night so there was no scramble this morning.
We also had to make sure that their back packs and lunch boxes were ready to go too.
For some strange reason Kelly has decided to use her old Dora back pack this year instead of the one she used last year.
Wyatt is finally able to use his backpack that we got him last year. His kindy teacher didn't want them to use backpacks so Wyatt's hung up on his door for the entire school year.

As cheesy as I am I gave the kids instructions that they had to wait for me to get the camera ready before they could take off across the parking lot.
Maybe this year I will experiment with just dropping them off, but I really enjoy talking to other moms and seeing the kids' teachers.

Also this morning I reminded the kids that it being the first day of school what treat do we get?
Dairy Queen!!
Here is to a wonderful school year!

P.S. Chelsea is a little bit lost this morning without the big kids and is getting into a bit of trouble. We are all going to have to find and get into out routines again.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

If you've been in a store lately you know that it's back to school shopping time!
Yeah!!! Boo!!!
I took the kids to Wally wold to pick up some school supplies this morning. We got there about 7:30 and thankfully there were no crowds to fight.
It's crazy some of the supplies that the teachers are requesting. Well not completely crazy but still
the list included, paper plates, forks, spoons, cups.
Of course there is always the Kleenex, paper towels and hand sanitizer. That's a no biggie.
This year instead of getting the kids the boring folders I went ahead and let them pick up ones that are more their tastes.

Kelly needed two folders and Wyatt needed three. The choices were pretty minimal but they both found ones that they liked.
They also got to pick out what color some of their other items are; rulers, calculator, pencil sharpeners, pencil boxes.
Combine all this with what my mom has purchased they both have lots to take in.
I'll bring the general class supplies on the Friday before school starts and hopefully the teachers will take them off my hands otherwise the first day is going to be a little more crazier than usual.

On the way home from the store I asked the kids what they wanted to do next. Kelly says, lets go home and lay all our stuff out and take a picture!
That's my girl!

This is most of Kelly's stuff, we just need to put her name on the things that go in her bin and her name on her bin. Sigh

I love shopping for school supplies and this year I bought myself a new notebook and a pink clip board.
If I had a craft room I would have picked up a couple of more things.

Wyatt's collection, well most of it anyway.
He is so super excited about going back to school. I told the kids yesterday that we were going shopping this morning.
Wyatt misunderstood and thought that after shopping we would be going to school. Not yet dude. Soon enough.

Normal craziness around here. I've been sick since Sunday. A cold/sinus allergy thing. So far today is better. Plus getting the kids ready for the new school year. Then the craziness of my demo job.

I need to do some more research for our family vacation at the end of the month. There was a change in plans with my job and I'm not working as much as I had planned. So now I need to make sure that for the activities that we want to do we have the money to do them. Thursday we drive up to Flagstaff, Friday is the Grand Canyon, Saturday is Meteor Crater park, maybe Slide Rock?? Sunday we come back home.
Yep we need to do more research. Driving directions, park costs, restaurants.

Right now my yuckiness is kicking up and making me feel so tired. I really need to go straighten up the living room and kitchen before my new demo kit arrives and I can play.
I start demoing at Best Buy this Saturday, back to  Michael's on Sunday. Our company is sending me a baby bug and some supplies to make samples for the BB demos. I haven't used a baby bug in years.
I think I'll take a nap first.