Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hiccups in the Road.

Keeping on Track

Each month I have been trying to focus on my photography by engaging in daily or weekly challenges. This past week it got incredibly crazy and I have been off track for the entire week.  It is frustrating to me although I will say that being a working mother of two and wife to my wonderful husband has taken precedence.  There are times that this happens.  This past week I have been trying to begin transitioning my job to next school years job. I have been assigned as the Middle School Principal and Special Services Director (which is my current position this year).  I did not have enough time to complete my work between transitioning my work and thought process, working two days and then attending a conference for two with my husband and kids and ending the week with my husbands shoulder surgery, let alone have some ME time.  (I am taking that now)  I carried my camera and I guess that was the positive or silver lining of the week. I rarely snapped pictures except for a few and did not submit them via Instagram, Flickr, or Facebook.  So I am going to do my best to catch up and share some of those shots.



Here is where I left off with Fat Mum Slim's daily photochallenge (#photoadayjune) all taken with Instagram on my Android phone.

Day 13 Art

My Son's Painting with a Straw!

Day 14 Time

Sand through the hour glass..... Timers we use for brushing teeth in our house!

Day 15 Yellow

Pretty Sunflowers!

Day 16 Out and About

Driving past the Elementary school in Mt. Angel, Oregon

Day 17 In Your Bag
My KABOO bag is filled with files, deodorant and my iPAD!

Day 18 Something We Don't Know About You


Day 19 Imperfect

Broken Tail

Day 20 Fave Photo You've Ever Taken

(NOTE:  This is my favorite photo via Instagram on my phone.  I have others with my Nikon D90)

My Boys!
Day 21 Where You Slept

My Bed!
Day 22 From High Angle

Stood on a table to get this shot!
Day 23 Movement

Portland, Oregon's Double Decker.. Really?

This brings me up to speed on the Photo A Day Challenge for June.  I am going to be more diligent about this and continue on with my daily photos via phone (droid) and Instagram.  With Shutter Sisters photos I can't catch up so I will need to pick up where I left off.  This will be the last week for that particular challenge.  I will be carrying my Nikon around to capture those and upload those to Shutter Sisters through my Flickr account.  Check it out One Word Project photos are tagged #sscolormonth!

Until then.  Thus is the life of a mom!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Goodbye First Year of Preschool~

A Year of Firsts

I remember blogging about the first day of school not so long ago. Wow where did the time go? From the beginning I knew great things would happen for my son. He would soon be experiencing new friends, new curriculum, teachers, having substitutes and learning tons.  I was hopeful that some of the issues we were having with his shyness would dissipate with attending five full days of school and that we would see maturation.  I  remember the first day, when my husband and I got the kids ready, took pictures, and walked together to school a few short blocks away from our home. I remember how proud, anxious and happy we were as parents for what might be in store for him.  I remember how teary eyed both my husband and I were as we left the classroom and how we wondered what his first day was like.  Was he happy, enjoying time there, was he sitting in a corner away from others or was he making friends?  Did he like his lunch that we packed for him?  Did he follow directions?  So many questions, thoughts and feelings we felt that day and now as I am preparing for his final day of preschool I have a crazy amount of new feelings and questions.

What will next year be like?  Only a few of the friends that he has made are remaining in his class next year (one more year before entering Kindergarten).  Many of his closest friends are moving on. He will still get to see them occasionally in the hallway or at all school functions or play dates as we would set those up but it would not be the same.  We have been prepping him for that change. But he so wants to be a Kindergartner next year with them.  Then again maybe, next year will be better than this year.  Maybe having one year under his belt he will not begin with such a shy exterior. He will know his teacher already, and has a great relationship with her, he knows her routine, he knows the classroom and location and he knows her expectations.  He knows some letters already and is recognizing words, he is reading stories and proud to share his knew knowledge. I can only hope that this will be the case.


This year has proven to be a year of new things for our first born.  He has moved from one home to another. He has stopped day care and began formal schooling. He welcomed into our family a new brother and has demonstrated love and affection for him.   He has learned new routines, new names and faces of friends, and has learned so much about God, Catholic Faith, and speaks of it routinely.  He has even grown physically out of his 3T size clothing and into 4T, he has gained weight and height. He has overcome some of his shyness as well. It only took him three quarters of a year to say hello to his Principal.  Now he does this routinely.  He writes his first name, knows his address, family members, recognizes words, follows routines and directions, expresses empathy and much much more. His drawings went from simple scribbles to more recognizable animals and people. Even in activities outside of school, our son has improved and developed. During swim lessons he is ready to move on to the next level. He is no longer shy with his teachers there and is not afraid of trying. He surprises us with what he says from time to time. He is putting it all together and then some. 

The Eve of the Last Day

Tonight marks the evening prior to the last full day of preschool 2012.  To mark this occasion I have collected all of my son's preschool work and am placing it all over the house to show him all the things that he has accomplished and to help him celebrate by honoring his work.   His many water color paintings, his drawings, the special book related projects, his handwriting, and journals as well as the many special projects he has made for his father and I are being proudly displayed for all to view in the morning.

Wow, I am flabbergasted by all of the work he has done! I am impressed with what he has learned! I am proud of him and love him so much.  I am also spending some time to share with him in a letter that he will read later on in life what this year has meant for me as a mother, what I am most proud of him for, and to continue to encourage him to do and be anything he wants to be.  (I hope I get some sleep!)

Morning Will Come

It is true that morning will inevitably arrive and we will complete our morning routine, getting up, laying on the couch watching Baby Einsteins or WildKratts, eating something for breakfast, getting dressed and oh yeah this morning we will add in our photo opt.  Just like the first day of school we took a picture we will be taking a picture of the last day of school. It will be interesting to see the amount of physical maturity that can be seen with these two photographs.  I will relish in the last moments of taking him to school in the morning and watching him walk down the hallway by himself (he often does this now, he really doesn't want his mother walking him to class he is a big boy) and seeing him for the last time this year enter the classroom and complete his morning routine there.  Every morning I drop him off he gives me a big  hug and kiss! I will look forward to this as those are the moments I cherish. 

I know he is excited as am I in some ways.  I am happy that he is growing up, using his manners with others, becoming knowledgeable and loving life. Here's to the end of your first preschool year! It has been a wild ride and we love you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Vibrant Yellows

I love the color yellow, it is bright, full of light and often makes me happy! The color yellow is clean, can be crisp and inviting. There are softer yellows, darker deep yellows and shades in between. Well yellow is also today's color for the one word a day challenge put on by Shutter Sisters. I have been participating in this challenge using both my Nikon D90 camera and variety of lenses as well as my Android camera on my phone with Instagram.  

Here is the first shot of color posted to my Instagram.  I love calla Lilly's!  These happened to be at the local Safeway (for sale) as I picked up a morning cup of joe! Even better below are some yellow sunflowers I stumbled upon at a local farmers market. 

Not Just Flowers

Funny how yellow has been depicted by taking pictures of flowers. I seem to have that theme throughout this particular one word a day challenge with Shutter Sisters. I am on the lookout for more yellow things, items, places, anything other than flowers.  This is what I found.

A local fire department has a yellow ladder truck. Today it was spiffed up and looking super shiny. Too bad it is supposed to rain again soon.  Here is my son's yellow shirt!  He is posing on a local covered bridge at a nearby park. So glad he didn't fall in!

Oh yeah and we once bred our yellow female lab with another yellow male lab and had many yellow labs around.  Aren't they adorable. She was a great mother for sure. Still hangs out with some of her pups but they are a few years old now. 

So that is what I came up with for #sscolormonth YELLOW as today's theme! Just in case you were not aware the first two photos were taken with my Android phone and posted to Instagram the last several photos were taken with my Nikon D90 and stock lens. Let me know what you think about the color yellow and of course my photos, leave a comment on my blog.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Fun Party

End of the first Preschool Year!

To my surprise this school year has flown by filled with lots of new experiences and memories. This weekend was the last weekend before the last three days of school and it was filled with lots of parties to attend. We started the weekend off with throwing our sons entire preschool class and their families an end of the year summer party!  His class has a total of 18 students oddly enough they are split in half by gender 9 boys and 9 girls. I spoke to his teacher a while ago and she had mentioned that this class and school year was one of the best she has ever had.

Over this year we've been fortunate to get to know several of the parents and their students well. I volunteered to complete the auction project for the class which I blogged about prior to this one. I have been impressed with the level of education our son is receiving and the community that we are now becoming more and more involved in. This party was a party to welcome summer, spend time with the kids and connect with parents. It was also to honor the teacher and teacher's assistant for the wonderful work they have done with our kids.

Party Plan

The party included a BBQ, being your own side dish, summer bubbles, bounce house, beach balls and talking.  The kids played hard! The decor was outfitted with bright colored table cloths, colors lanterns, free printables thanks to Creative Party Ideas by Cheryl  and many colored bins and tins to hold things in on the island and tables.  I even used ideas from Pinterest (love me some Pinterest)!  

Each of the parents donated items or money to provide the teacher and her assistant with a gift basket which really was a cute ice cooler bag filled with cute relaxing items. We gave books, movie popcorn, snacks, drinks, gift certificates, drink cups, candles, and more to our lovely teacher and assistant.  They really enjoyed the party and the gifts.

As a parting gift for the kids in my son's class I created a sand bucket list and bought a mini gift bag from Michaels that was filled with a coloring book, crayons and stickers (DISNEY themed) and they were a hit! 

It was great to get to know the parents a bit more and  to learn about what they do and who they are. I was thanked over and over for pulling this together and even told by one parent that no one had ever done this before (she has had several students go through this schools preschool program and on through the upper grades) and that she felt a greater sense of community since most of these folks' kids would be in the same class next year (and hopefully years to come)! I felt good about it.

Ice cream cone cupcakes were the hit of the party too! Kids loved them. They were easy to make however, I will say I made my own tin to hold them up while baking and it really didn't work too well. I noticed on the side of the ice cream cone box an order form for a pan that is made for these creations. Only $19.95 to spend it might just save you a head ache.  I think I will invest in one at least.

Got this idea from Pinterest. Waffle cone bowls to put your fruit salad in. Everyone loved it and it looked super cute. Not to mention no clean up you just eat your bowl and throw away the plastic ware.

 Also used the idea of freezing water balloons to use as cute ice balloons in bins. Worked like a dream. I think next time I will get regular sized balloons so I don't have to make as many.  Below are lanterns and table cloths that I purchased from Target.

I always rate my success of a party to the level of stress that I feel throughout the party. I felt almost no stress. It was a fun party, it was relaxing, and the kids enjoyed it! SUCCESS for sure. It will be a tradition not sure on what scale the tradition will be in terms of size or grandeur but it will be a tradition to host an end of the year something for my kids.  My way of supporting their friendships, education and teachers! Thank you to Mrs. Schumacher and Mrs. Dickey for a wonderful year! Can't wait to see you next year!

And with that my son's first year of preschool is almost over.  A few things planned for the last day of school to celebrate his year of learning! More on thank later!

On a different note: I think I got roped into being CO-Chair of our schools Auction for next year.  Oh something to plan and keep this working mom busy!

Friday, June 8, 2012


 This morning I took photos in the rain before going to work. I shot a few photos in the house of things that I could find that was the color orange.  You can certainly tell that I have kids.. (Goldfish!) Below is one of my favorite pictures of a flowering plant that is on the corner of my front yard.

 You can certainly tell it was raining! I left right before it poured too! Whew.  Then I looked at everything that was orange in my son's rooms, toys, photos, art work on the walls etc.  I have a ton of orange.  I must learn better lighting tricks with my camera because I was not impressed with what I was reviewing after all was said and done! I do much better with flowers and scenery as opposed to physical items especially when they are located inside.
I do however like the photo of these buckets (you will see more about what these pails are being used for in the next few days!)
Off I went to work again looking for the color of the day orange.  Tomorrow will be a bit difficult the color is called yellow orange and hmm that is pretty specific. We shall see what I come up with.  I am a bit tired because I have spent the late evenings working on prepping for the end of the year preschool party getting the house cleaned, making decorations and making sure I went shopping. Thank goodness for Costco right? I am simultaneously thinking about Father's day as well. Plans are around.  Glad to be busy (in a good sort of way!) Till the next time!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Maybe I should plan a THANK YOU party!.

That would be a great theme for sure.  Gifts for everyone! Candy, cupcakes, ice cream and decorations all around! But really I have been overwhelmed with the level of support for my blog! I LOVE planning parties. I am currently finishing up yet another party (preschool end of the year!) Can't wait to share pictures and the story for sure!

It takes time but I love doing it.  I am a full time working mother of two, wife and person who loves to plan parties, love the little details, love giving to others and would love to do this as a profession (some day)! I have my business license for the floral design part, purchased a business name (Sweet Williams Event Floral Design) and am gaining experience! That is about all  I can do.  So from the bottom of my heart.....


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Two challenges.. Lots of feedback!


Today's subject was HAT... We have lots of hats around here. We have hats of all kinds, baseball caps, swimming caps, working hats, stocking hats, Sock Monkey hats and of course my girly hats.  But this hat means a lot to our family and Baranski family as well. It was a hat that my parents gave to a friends family and then was returned.  This hat has been worn by both my kids and we love it.  You can see why!

Carnation Pink

Today's subject for the June Color photo challenge put on my Shutter Sisters + Epiphanie  is Carnation Pink. I have had the distinct pleasure of carrying two new lenses (new to me slightly used) to try out. I took my lunch break and drove around Silverton, Oregon and Mt. Angel, Oregon looking for something carnation pink (something other than flowers).  But in the end I shot these two photos. 

Carnation pink Rhododendrons #sscolormonth

These are a few of the light carnation pink colors Rhododendrons located in the front of my house. And below is a carnation pink plastic egg sitting on my grass.

Is it Easter?  #sscolormonth
Both of these photos were taken with my Nikon D90 and this new lens I was trying out.  It is for Nikon and it is called AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5~5.6G IF-ED lens.  I really like this one. I can't wait to try out the Fish Lens that I am looking at as well.  Not sure how to use that yet so if you have any hints, recommendations etc. I would be happy to hear from you. Just click on comments below and leave me one.   Thanks much.. Oh yeah and thank you to all of my readers for voting daily for the Top 25 Circle of Mom's Party Planning Mom's 2012 competition.  I feel so much love and support.  I will soon be posting more about this weekends parties that I am throwing and attending.  Until then!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June Color Month~


So if you haven't read in one of my recent posts, I am joining in the competition of photographing color each day that has been designated by my friends at Shutter Sisters. I have posted three photos already.  The cool part about this competition is that you can enter as many photos as you would like for that particular color. I find myself carting my camera bag around in the car and looking for colors on my drive to and from work. I look to nature a lot. But I am very interested in daily items, signs etc.  

I have the opportunity to purchase a few lenses from a friend of my husbands. I get to try them out. Can't wait. Currently I use my Nikon D90 camera and have been playing with settings, lighting, focusing etc. These two new lenses will be fun to explore for sure.  

Day One

The first day of the challenge was red.  I love, I mean L.O.V.E. love the color red.  I also happen to love Lady Bugs (a long story for those of you who don't already have background knowledge).  So this is what I photographed. I cheated a bit on this one and used my android camera on my phone.  

I have tacks at work on my cork board that are lady bugs. So I placed them in a heart shape and wallah here is my love of lady bugs and the color red.  I entered this one and have had great responses from followers of my Instagram photos.

Day Two

Today's color was Magenta.  Hmm I already knew when I awoke what photo's I would shoot. I carted my camera in the car but when I returned home I noticed there was a lull in the rain and snapped these photos with my Nikon D90 setting A (Aperture) can't remember the shutter speed etc.  I used my long lens and focused closely!  

This is a photograph of a tea rose located near my bedroom window of our home! Love this.   So majestic and full of color. Similarly the one below this photo is of a plant I never heard of until I moved to this house over one year ago.  It blooms each year in the spring!

I wanted to only focus on the petals of the flower, blurring everything in the background. This is a delicate flower with very hardy leaves.

So far so good! Love the colors each day. Looking forward to tomorrow's colors and sharing my new photographs with you all, Shutter Sisters and Epiphanie as well.  

Always have a Plan B


I just hate it when you are planning something... A party, event or what have you and something goes awry.  It is always important to have alternative plans ready to go. When planning and helping to make your vision come to fruition you must always know what you are willing to let go and what you are not. for example you might have wanted one activity really badly but couldn't buy it (exceeded budget, not available, or could find it) so you have to always think about why the next best thing is that you can make happen but still reach your intended vision come true.

I was reminded of this as I am currently planning and prepping for a preschool end of the year party. YES I am one of those moms and proud of it.  I don't get to volunteer too much during the school day due to my own full time job so the next best thing for me is to make wonderful memories through planned activities and one of those this year is the end of the year party.  Not only to THANK the teacher and teacher assistant for a wonderful school year in which my son and all kids in the class have grown tremendously but to spend time with the kids and connect with their parents in a relaxed environment. 


Plan B

I had envisioned a bounce house as one of the outdoor activities to keep the 18 or so kids engaged outside. I knew of two people who had one and asked each of them to borrow them.  One was broken (bummer) the other I got an okay until their plans changed.  So I made quick work using my social media ties (friends on FB) asking for help and used the Internet to google local shops.  I was now looking to purchase a bounce house (yes I could use one) or rent one for the day (for a reasonable price).  This is only a preschool party you know. 

My husband was great and secured one for me (the kids know nothing about it) and we were back on.  Now I am just watching the weather forecasts and have succumbed to the idea that I will be happy with overcast cloudy weather.  JUST NOT RAIN. 


On a planning note, it is always good to have a second plan (plan a and plan b) so that if something occurs you can move quickly to make it work.  MAKE IT WORK and don't stress out. Parties are supposed to be fun. There is no sense in having the host stress out because that is no fun. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Photo Challenges... YEAH

I have been thinking that if I keep up with photo challenges It will afford me the time to practice, practice &  practice with my camera.  I love my Nikon D90 (DSLR) camera. I even like messing around with different lenses.  I am thinking of buying new ones and even enrolling in our local college for a crash course in digital photography.  I want to be more than just a (MWC) Mom With a Camera (Though there is nothing wrong with that).  I just want my photos to be better with lighting, focus, and stunning.  I have high expectations.

So this  month JUNE. I have already entered a photo in a challenge to win an Epiphanie camera bag (LOVE).  The subject was flying.  Take a LOOK at the previous post titled Come Fly With Me!  I am also focusing on my #photoadayjune challenge from Fat Mum Slim.  This is where I will take a daily photo following a list of things to shoot for the entire month.  I plan to use my DSLR for the most part and submit via Instagram (truly thinking about a FLICKR account though.   (If you have thoughts on that for me let me know in my comments.

Today I was surfing through the net and found a blog called Shutter Sisters and found that they are doing a photo contest regarding color.  Each day beginning today you take a picture depicting the color for that day.  It is to support Epiphanie bags new  color line as well as this blog.  So I thought I would take a stab at it.

This is the calendar that I will follow as part of this photo a day challenge. It will be interesting to see what I come up with.  I will post here as well as Instagram, twitter and the tag will be #sscolormonth.  If you would like to join me that would be fun to see what your pictures will be like.  I am going to try hard and post what settings I am using with my camera so that you could give me some pointers if you have any or comments would be most appreciated.  I truly am trying to get even better.

Here is another way to win an Epiphanie bag as well. Our friends on Beautiful Photo Prop blog have teamed up with Epiphanie to give away a bag.  Contest rules are easy to follow as well.  You might check it out.  I have stumbled upon many new and interesting blogs by going through these motions of entering a contest. Of course you will want to be choosey for sure.