Thursday, August 22, 2013

Moon Rising

Having enjoyed my sunrise shoot so much the other day, and having discovered a local spot where the bay (and the hills in the peninsula) I was aching to get out and watch the sunset.

I chose a day based on what my schedule allowed.  The sky wasn't anything special that day.  There was a grass fire a couple miles east of me, so the sky was hazy.  But there were no storm clouds (I missed one heck of a lighting storm the other night ....) or anything spectacular.  Living in a valley, however, I've not been able to watch sunsets regularly like I used to growing up.  When I was in college I had a dorm room on the top floor of the tallest building on the hill looking west.  It was an ideal sunset watching location.  And I LOVED it.  But the last 8 years or so have really been lacking in sunset availability.  So any sunset is awesome in my book.

At any rate, I hopped in my car and drove to "my new spot."  Got there in plenty of time.  Due to high winds on this hill, I did not take a tripod.  My tripod isn't very sturdy to begin with, let alone with high winds.

I was waiting for the sun to do it's thing.  Got a couple "practice" shots in, set my exposure, got a feel for the location and waited.  I sat down on the bench, facing east, and saw this.  


The slight hazy/smokey sky with the sun reflecting off it was pretty in and of itself.  But the moon coming up just behind the clouds ... MONEY!  I was excited to get it; kinda wish I noticed it a minute earlier when it was only half up.  I've been aching for a decent moon photo for the better part of 6 months.  I like this one enough to share it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hike with the Girls

I took a detour on the drive home the other day and ended up driving past a local regional park with some hiking trails.  After I explained what the place was, Audrey was itching to go on a hike and check it out.

So Saturday afternoon, after we all took much needed naps, the girls and I went on a little hike.

We logged about 2 miles total.  But with small children, that's 2 very SLOW miles.  We stopped a lot and rested.  We took our time going up the hills.  We looked out on the valley below from the top of the hill.  We mooed at the cows at the bottom of the hill.

The girls each had a copy of the map and they followed along, finding each trail marker on the map as we passed them on the trail.  We got to the 5th trail marker when we decided to turn around.

It was windy.

The girls learned that cow poop is also called a cow pie.  They learned what they look like and know not to step in them.

I practiced patience with them and let them play and have fun and move at their pace.

They posed for pictures.

Audrey fell, got up, wiped off the dirt, and was ready to keep going.  (My girl's a rockstar when it comes to falling!)

It was an awesome outing and I hope to go again.

Got the map - we're ready to go!
The view from the top of Donlon Hill
Looking down at the valley below
Believe it or not .... the bay is visible from here.
CHEESE!  (now can we go home mom?!)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Discovery Channel in our Front Yard

We have a bird's nest on our windchimes.  We noticed it a couple months ago.  Sometime this week two of the three eggs hatched.

It has been a fun opportunity to teach the girls about birds and nature and family and caring for babies.  Every time we hear the babies start cheeping the girls run to the front window to watch them and see what they do.  It's been neat for Josh and me also to see something from the Discovery channel happening in our front porch.

I've had a really hard time getting photos of this because the nest is in a really secure spot.  We don't have a ladder to really see up in the nest, and we don't want to disturb the occupants to much so we're trying to keep our distance.  I'm relegated to taking photos with my telephoto lens from the window standing up on the couch or coffee table (all the while not exacerbating my knee injury).  If do believe I can get some better photos if I can get some improved lighting outside.  I might take some lamps out there and try to move the light source so the nest isn't backlit as much.

At any rate ... here are some neat photos of the baby birds and some of their mama.  (We think we've seen the dad too.)

The best photo we could get of the inside of the nest (when mama bird is gone).  You can't see the two birds that are sleeping, but you can see the remaining egg.
Baby birds sleeping
What I thought was poor focus turned out to be crazy looking eyebrow things.  Reminds me of my Grampa Bob
More sleeping birdies
Hungry baby ... Mama looks like she's keeping an eye out on something
Still hungry birds - I think mama might be tending to the remaining egg

VBS Sunday

A couple weeks ago our church participated in the tradition of Vacation Bible School (VBS).  This was Audrey's first year to attend.  She was super excited to be a part of this.  I think she felt like a big kid and kind of felt like she was going to school.

Kymberly was an awesome big sister and took her to and from VBS every day and took care of her in the afternoons.  She was a HUGE help to us and made it possible for Audrey to attend without Josh or me having to miss any work.  Because I work from home on Fridays I was able to go see the closing rally and hear them sing all their songs and watch their photo slideshow.  It was great to see ... I got to see Kymberly in her element of being a youth leader and see Audrey interact with the preschool kids and play and have fun singing songs and dancing.

Sunday morning all the kids who attended VBS showed the congregation what they learned.  Audrey was a bit shy to be up on stage; she watched her friend Hannah the whole time to know what to do.  Annie was allowed to go up on stage and sing with the big kids.  Annie knows all the songs and dances too.  

I hear from the youth (middle school and high school students) how much VBS meant to them as little kids; it makes me really happy that Audrey gets to attend and be a part of such an outstanding program that is held in such high regard.  

Here are some photos from VBS Sunday.

Audrey waving while she and the kids wait for church to start.  (It's the 9 am service; I think they'd rather be sleeping)
Tina telling the congregation about VBS
"Gonna say yeah yeah yeah yeah yes to vuh uvh vuh vuh VBS"
"Yes to the best thing, JESUS IS LORD!"
Everybody get down let me hear you say
(whispered) Y E S to VBS
Dios Nos Ama
God Loves You!