Saturday, September 28, 2013

Photo a Day | September 2013 | Weeks 2 and 3

Ah yeah, this photo a day post is only almost three weeks late. And covers two weeks. Whatever. It's here. Enjoy. 

On the wall

This is my dad at 17 years old. My brother was an artist and drew this from a picture I have of my dad. My brother's nickname was Cowboy so he almost always added cowboy hats into his pictures. They are quite a challenge to find, but you always know how many are in the picture by the roman numeral after his signature. This pictures hangs next to one of my mom where she's about the same page.


Leftover candy from something Riley and I went to. So long ago that I can't even remember (Olivia's b-day party?). I'm not much of a candy person (except for chocolate - more chocolate please) so much of the candy Riley acquires at parties and parades get thrown in the trash... after Jesse picks out his fav's. Is this bad? I guess it's better than in our bellies.

What you did today

I worked from home! I'll likely write a post on this turn of events, but after a 9 month journey I was finally approved for an adjusted work schedule. I didn't ask for what I ended up with, but am quite happy with how it turned out. It's a big change and I miss seeing my team every day, but I think it will help in the end.


Sigh. Not happy with this one. I mean... just look at it. Lame-O. I had ideas! Plans! I was going to be so creative! But the day got away from me and this one had to do. Meh.


My husband works from home on Friday so I figured we might hang out a little during lunch time, but he was nice enough to go get lunch for us. We even got to follow it up with a walk before I had to get back to work. And yet another bonus to working from home.


I've had some body stuff going on lately - pain stuff - that's been keeping me from doing strength training at the gym. For almost 3 months, I was walking and stretching, but nothing else. I didn't even feel up to my regular yoga class (Vinyasa Flow). But I finally felt enough relief (thank you arm for no longer feeling numb after 2 months) so I worked in a little strength training (but still stretching as I am about to do above).


Oh camping, you've sort of let us down lately. We keep thinking September is going to be the perfect camping season, but have been wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm not sure we'll ever learn our lesson. See you next year... don't forget to bring the rain.


One of the many frames I had in my cubicle in the office. Apparently, I haven't updated them in a while because most of them were from about 2 years ago. Now that I am working at home I suppose I have no excuse.

In front of me

I don't play with the cats nearly as much as I used to (see: kid), but I took a moment during my lunch to play with them this day. They sort of looked at me like "what the hell is she doing", but finally decided to play along. Poor cats get the shaft far too much.


My dad has given me a number of items from when he was younger so I felt like I had a number of things to choose for this prompt. This compass my dad used when he was in the Korean War. My dad was stationed in Germany and helped rebuild bridges that were destroyed during WWII.

What is this?

I suppose this could be considered 'vintage' as well. Years ago I had done some reading on stereoscopes. Shortly after, my uncle pulled the family stereoscope out while I was visiting him with my dad. I went a little nerdy on him talking about these things. Later, he decided to give it to me since I had been so excited about it. There are quite a few different pictures that came with it as well - so very interesting for the late 1800's and early 1900's (and some are so not PC). Plus, I feel a little honored that he gave it to me.

In the morning

Basic Riley ritual these days. Get up, eat, get dressed, go to school. Maybe eat some of my breakfast too.

Rule of Thirds

Hey, is it vintage week or what? I have a thing for old cameras and have a number of them displayed (with the stereoscope, of course). Some I picked up at garage/estate sales, some were gifts from friends who know of my interest, and one was handed down through the family. I've never actually taken any pictures with them, but maybe one day...

Made me smile

Since I started this project back up, I've only taken pictures with the iPad for these prompts. But today was different. I took this picture, but it was with the good camera. We were playing outside enjoying the first day of fall and she was enjoying herself so much. I can't help but smile at this girl.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Practice Photo Shoot

Tonight, Jesse, Riley, and I went over to Wolfe Park to have a little practice photo shoot. My sister in law asked me to shoot her oldest daughter's senior pictures. After reminding her that I am no professional (not even close), and that she won't get what she would with a professional she still agreed that she wanted me to take these pictures. I have to admit I am a little nervous that they will turn out.

Saturday evening is the big day. I suggested a park that I know, but I wanted to go over and check out the spots I was thinking of shooting at during the hours I plan to shoot. I took along Riley and Jesse because I knew I wanted to actually take some shots and needed some models. It was a little challenging since Riley is always moving - especially tonight - and Jesse would rather watch paint dry than have his picture taken.

I am also a little worried because I think something is off with my camera. Even Jesse agrees that it doesn't seem as sharp as it once was. I'm sure there is a whole bunch of user error in there, but I'm sure somethings wrong with the camera too. One of these days I might bring it in to be repaired, but I will admit part of me is thinking "I might as well upgrade to a new camera". Seems logical.

At any rate, even with my mildly willing subjects I was able to get some decent pictures tonight. As far as my niece, I am guessing that she won't be moving all over the place so I will be able to capture more. I'm crossing my fingers that the weather is just as beautiful this weekend. I plan to use mostly my 50 mm, but might pull out the 18 - 70 mm. I love the flexibility of the zoom, but love the pictures I get with the 50.

Arriving at the park. Already showing signs of cooperation.

This bridge is a good spot for pictures, but I imagine on a nice Saturday night it will be hard to find it abandoned. Might have to get Jesse to help me clear the way.

Apparently, these flowers stink as Riley complained of the smell and then noticed the 20 bees snacking on the flowers behind her. She scooted off the rock she was sitting on, but still let me take some pictures of her. Turns out the lighting was better when she was off the rock. Thanks kid.

Impossible to walk past the playground to the pond without stopping. First stop - bee riding with daddy.

Ha! Gotcha when you weren't looking.

After much coaxing I got us all over to the pond, but Riley was really over it all. At least the ducks let me take their pictures.

 And I was able to sneak one more of my husband because I wanted to capture this spot with this light.

My niece is a beautiful, smart young woman so I know I have a wonderful subject to work with. Hopefully, I am able to get her some quality pictures that she's proud of. Did I mention I am a little nervous about this?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Random updates

Wow, I just realized that we've had a lot going on around here that I haven't been blogging about. I'm even behind on posting my photo a day series - I've been taking the pictures, but just haven't sat down to compose a post.  Part of that is because I haven't had time, but part of it is because I have been tired or have been spending time watching TV with the hubs. He got me a little sucked into Hell on Wheels. Anyone else watching that? Not happy with who they killed off at the end of the season.

At any rate, I thought I'd get you caught up with some of the things going on around here:

My dad worked in heating and air conditioning for 40 plus years and was part of the Sheet Metal Local 10 Union. The union has a yearly picnic and my dad asked us to go with this year. In the past the union would have other meetings that I would attend with my dad (because I still lived at home) and I always won something so I was crossing my fingers that we would be lucky this time. The raffle was done a little differently this year so I wasn't able to enter, but my dad did and was hoping to win something for Riley. And he did win a set of golf balls... apparently he put his ticket in the wrong bucket - the one for adults, not kids. Oh well, we still had a lot of fun even though it was quite the steamy day.

The bouncy house was a hit as long as there weren't a lot of rambunctious boys in there. 

Riley crawled up this thing multiple time and then freaked out and refused to come down the slide. I went up once, but I didn't care for riding down the slide - although she loved it on my lap. Here Jesse tries to show her how fun and easy it is. She wasn't buying it and he had to go back up and ride down with her.

There was a lot of junk trinkets and such given away on this day. This 'hard' hat was one of her fav's. 

Food was weirdly served at this event. First there were hot dogs and beverages (including free beer) served at the counter in the shelter, then back behind the shelter was a truck where you could get french fries. In another building was a stew like item my dad called bouillon, but it was like a thick stew. My dad often calls things by different, but slightly similar names so I am guessing this name wasn't quite right. I don't know. Then after some time had passed the ribs were ready, and after what felt like an eternity the corn on the cob was served from a tent near the shelter. I'm not sure if this was all intentional or just poorly planned out, but no one seemed to mind - except for us who were dying to eat some vegetables after eating hot dogs and fries. 

Willard and my dad used to work together.

The next day Riley and I attended Olivia's b-day party. Olivia is my friend Josie's daughter. She was supposed to have a party a couple weeks before but since her dad's appendix burst that morning it was cancelled. They turned her rescheduled party into a birthday party and Viking's season opener party. Seemed like a good excuse to wear our Viking's gear.

Olivia is about 6 months older than Riley, and her little sister, Ellie, is one years old. Ellie (above) is the quietest child I've ever met. Ever. She is just the sweetest little thing, and although I've been told that girlfriend has attitude I've never seen it. She's so stinking adorable.

Got my fix of Filipino food. Num.

The birthday girl taking her turn.

Riley took one little tap at the pinata, but only after I practically walked her over to it. Guess she's just not that kid. That's fine - she has her things. Let the other kids whack at this thing.

After a little adult assistance the pinata was opened. Riley was pretty good about not taking too much and even put some back when she thought I was telling her it was too much. Actually, I was just trying to get her to grab a specific candy bar for me. I never did get that Kit Kat.

Seriously envious of a play room this big.

It was a busy, but fun weekend. Glad we were able to spend the time with our friends and family. And one of these days I might get around to providing updates on Riley's sleeping, preschool, and my new work arrangement, but now it's time for a little TV with my husband.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Camping Adventures 2013

My husband is convinced he is cursed since this is the 4th camping trip he's planned that has been marred by bad weather. Last year I finally got Jesse to agree to camping with Riley which resulted in sleeping in a leaky tent during a super bad storm with an incredibly irritated hubby. We followed that up with a new (read: not leaky) tent and headed up north only to be met with a super cold night where we lasted until about 2 am and then headed to a local hotel. 

This year we decided to head up to Grand Marais, but aborted the camping when we discovered rain and cold weather was in the forecast. Instead we booked a hotel. It may not have been camping after all, but it was still a getaway with crappy weather.

And then we have this past weekend. First off, we failed to plan this trip out, beyond picking dates, until the last minute. This meant all the places we were thinking of were booked up. We decided to stay local and headed back to Baker Park Reserve. Jesse may not have appreciated this campground for all the trucks and trains that we had the pleasure to listen to all night, but did think this was a great location when you have kids. 

I guess it should have been no surprise that the weather turned shortly before the weekend arrived. Not only were we left with cooler weather, but it was supposed to rain all night on Saturday night. This was after we decided to make it a one night instead of two trip. Forging ahead with our plans, we showed up at the campsite Saturday afternoon and were able to get the tent up just before it started raining for the next 16 hours straight. 

At first, it was only a light rain so we headed over to the playground. We weren't going to let a little rain get us down, right? Luckily, parts of the play area were covered with trees so this wasn't as horrible of an experience as it might have been.

We had already decided that we weren't going to be doing any grilling because of the rain. Initially, we were going to grab some sandwiches and eat them at the campsite, but that was with the hope that it wouldn't start raining until 7 pm. We let go of that idea and headed into Wayzata to eat at Sunsets. It looks sunny out that window below, but trust me - it was raining. An added bonus here was that Riley got to view multiple trains right outside the window.

If there was anything positive about this day it was that Sunsets was located right across the street from a Yogurt Lab. We could not NOT go in. I'm a dark chocolate and salted caramel fan, but this time I had the chocolate with salted peanut. Crazy, I know.

Channeling John Waters

Ok, so I know this doesn't really seem like much of a camping trip. There's always next year for the real deal, but we did go back to the campsite and sleep in the tent. Riley watched Brave (and even though I've seen this move a good 30 times, I apparently have not seen all the scenes). I also read part of my super long, but good book on my iPad (A Prayer for Owen Meany). And then it was time for bed at like 8. Nothing like being trapped in a tent for 12+ hours.

It rained nonstop all night long which made for a challenging and muddy trip to the bathroom at 1 am. I came back to the tent wet, cold, and hungry and laid awake until 2:30. Good thing I went to bed so early. For those who are thinking about going camping, but aren't sure if it's for them, please know it is usually way more fun than this. Seriously.

Last year when we camped at this location we spent a lot of time near the water throwing rocks. In the morning we walked near the water, but everything was so wet, and cold and all we wanted to do was go home.

But first we had big plans to go to an apple orchard. We went to a different orchard out this way a couple years ago that I planned to go to this year, but I acquired a free hay ride coupon to the LuceLine Orchards and thought it was worth checking out. Turns out it isn't a pick your own apple place, but they did have a lot of other great things that make it an orchard I would return to. Unfortunately, we arrived cold, tired, and hungry and right at opening time so we didn't stay as long as we might have.

Love these hay bales in the parking area.

Turns out this place is owned by Terri Traen (from the KQRS morning show) and her husband. They had a good set up and everyone was very personable. We wandered around the grounds and spent most of our time near the farm animals. 

Riley was initially freaked out by the noise the animals were making (as she is with most noise), but finally came around and liked this area the best.

We decided to not go on the hay ride or do the corn maze. Everything was wet and chilly. We did get to meet the new baby pig named Runt and we got to sample some of the orchard's offerings. We picked up a peck of Sweet Tango, and a jar of honey butter that is to die for. But before we left we had to have our picture taken.

When Terri saw me taking this picture she came over and took a whole bunch of us as a family. Seriously, a whole bunch... smiling, sticking our tongues out, frowning, looking down at the dog, etc. She had us cover pretty much every emotion. I joke, but it was nice of her to do.

After one last visit with the farm animals and a nice conversation with Terri we headed out. By this time it had already gotten out with the staff that we were the people who camped in the rain the previous night - "Oh, you're the people who camped in the rain last night". Yup, that's our thing.

Later, once home and slightly warmed up, I got to work making my grandma's apple crisp recipe.

Now, what to do with the 20 other apples remaining? Oh wait, Riley already got her hands on those. I walked by and found this half eaten gem in the bowl. She ran up a few minutes later and dug into another one. 

 I imagine these apples will be gone in no time at all.

So it was cold and rainy (have I mentioned that enough yet?), but I still had fun and think it was totally worth the time I got to spend with my family. Crossing my fingers that 2014 will be our year to camp in nice weather. A girl can dream...