Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Travel Part 1

I have always loved road trips, and am very happy that my children and now grandchildren also enjoy long road trips. Although they are much more enjoyable when you are not strapped for time and can make stops along the way they can still be a lot of fun.
Before we left Val showed Little H the route we would take on a local playground US map.
The first day of our two day drive started very early before the sun had completely risen. It was still pretty dark but as you can see Little H is wide awake and animated as usual.
This next photo of the sunrise was taken leaning over into the back seat and thus the odd angle.
Because we were on a tight schedule we weren't able to get any real sight seeing done. Instead we played games, sang songs and took photos along the way of things that caught our attention.
It was really cute to hear Little J with his "Picture it Grandma" requests every time he saw a bridge or a car he liked.

 Although the flooding along the Missouri river has gone down since the beginning of July parts of Interstate 29 was still closed, causing us to have to reroute our trip.

By the end of the day we all were pretty tired and ready to reach our hotel. 

However, when we got within three miles of the off ramp we ran into a major traffic jam. Construction had the highway so backed up it took us 45 minutes to travel the three miles to our off ramp.
Even though we were more than ready to call it a day by the time we got to the hotel the trip went pretty smooth.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On the Road Again

I will be leaving early tomorrow morning to travel back with my daughter back to her home in Virginia. I will be unable to access the blogs for posting and commenting until Sunday. 

Wishing all a very fun and safe weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sibling Group Portrait

Over the years I have often wondered if it was just my family or if others had the same problem when it came to having family portraits taken. You see getting my Zoo to all have a natural smile at the same moment is like pulling teeth from a lion. With all our children home for the first time in many years my husband and I wanted a group photo of the kids. After much pleading and cajoling we got them all to stand for the portrait to be taken.

As you can see they don't seem to thrilled to be having a group photo taken. They even suggested  I just take separate photos and Photoshop them together. One would think by this request that they don't like each other or get along but that is not the case. Here is what happens when we get them all in one place at the same time.

As you can see they have a major tendency to goof off. From the time my children were young we have encourage them to be independent thinkers and although we didn't allow them to be outright disrespectful we did allow them to express their opinions. At times like this I almost regret that decision, because one of the best shots expression wise was tainted with their freedom of expression.

 So as always I found myself going through upwards of 30 photographs till I found ones which I could use to create a natural looking composite  portrait photograph of our kids.
I am a bit undecided though if I want to frame and display the composite photo above or if I would rather just go ahead and print my favorite of them in their NATURAL state.

Next time maybe I will follow their suggestion and photograph them individually.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Photo Restoration

Restoring old photographs can be a challenge but it is one that I find very rewarding. A client came to me with this photo of his father who passed away some time ago. This one inch by two inch photo was all he had left of his father, and wanted to know if I could fix it and enlarge it.
In addition to the obvious damage the photo has hundreds of tiny cracks that needed to be fixed. Due to the extensive damage instead of just repairing the rips and discoloration I began with a blank canvas and digitally painted the portrait. Here is a low resolution view of the finished repair, which I was able to print at 8x10 for my client.
The lesson here is not to despair if one of your important photographs has become damaged. Most of the time they can be repaired just contact me at Artistix Network L.L.C., or another photo restoration expert and have the photo brought back to life. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fleeting Moments

Toddlers are so great, you never know what fun entertaining things they will do next. Thanks to cell phones with camera's it is now pretty easy not to miss those precious moments that pass so quickly. A few weeks ago a friend stopped by with her two small children. I am so glad I had my cell phone with me or I would have missed this shot going to get my camera.

These days cell phones are able to capture fairly good shots, and most are high enough resolution to at least be printed at a quick lab. At Artistix Network we have even done a few memory art prints made entirely of cell phone photos. So go ahead and capture those fleeting moments with your cell phone, it is better than letting them fade into an obscure past.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless and Not so Wordless Wednesday: Anytime Anywhere

Yes my grandson little J can fall asleep anywhere and anytime. Here are some of the odd places and positions he has fallen asleep in.

well not so odd

So maybe those aren't such odd places for a toddler to fall asleep but check these out
Going up the stairs

On the top landing of the stairs
Little J is now four years old and he is still falling asleep in odd places, strange positions and at times when you wouldn't think he would fall asleep. Probably the only time he doesn't fall asleep quickly is bedtime.

To see more wordless and not so wordless Wednesday photos visit these meme's

here is some more

and at Busy Working Mamma

For not so wordless Wednesday, here you go

and then, she {snapped}

Monday, July 18, 2011

Memory Monday's - Summer Fun 1

This year was the first time in seven years that all of our children have been home at the same time. My hubby and I were very happy to have them home, although we were a bit sad that our Son-in-law and one of our granddaughters were not able to be with us.
Of course having so many of the family together in the same city called for a family BBQ. Our oldest son hosted the BBQ and we all had a great time. Here is the memory photo I created out of some of the photographs taken the day of the BBQ. With all our kids still in town I have been very busy so I opted for a rather simple style memory photo of the event so that I could share it with you. After the kids have gone home I will be creating fancier memory photos to frame and eventually add to our family genealogy album.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Adventures in Growing Young

Growing up may be tough, but growing young is exhausting. Sure I could sit back and glide through middle age, accepting all the old lady philosophies. As a matter of fact I did try to follow these antiquated guidelines for almost nine of the last ten years.

  1. Mature women (ie: over 40) should wear their hair short and neat.
  2. Mature women should wear clothing that is stylish but does not accentuate their figure.
  3. Mature women should take part in only appropriate hobbies, ie: gardening, golf, sewing, reading, bingo, bridge club etc....

Now I am not saying that women who choose to do one or more of these things are OLD, yet if this is ALL they do then where is the adventure, where is the zest?  Without adventure, without zest it does not matter if you are in your twenties or in your sixties you will feel OLD. Regaining your youthfulness once you have let it lay dormant for a number of years is not an easy task, but it is well worth the energy.

For example last night I attended a local Jazz festival. Now I could have been joined the 'Mature' group sitting on blankets or in comfortable folding lawn chairs, visiting with friends and listening to the music at a SAFE distance from the stage. 

But I didn't, my friend and I stood or maybe I should say danced within four feet of the stage, along with a large crowd of very energetic individuals. I am sure if I had joined the 'Mature' group I probably still would have enjoyed myself. However, I would not have felt the beat of the music, I would not have danced and I certainly wouldn't have felt like I was 25 again.

When I am gone from this world I want my children to tell their grandchildren I really lived as Walter said to the Sheik's great-grandson in Secondhand Lions.

More Jazz Fest photos can be seen here.
Linking up with Say Hi Sunday, hoping everyone is living life to the fullest!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless and Not so Wordless Wednesday

Peaking in on Wordless Wednesday.

And now for the Not so Wordless Wednesday.

I am all about trying to make as many special memories as possible. BUT this isn't what I had in mind. My daughter is visiting for the month and yesterday morning while straightening her hair with a hot flat iron it dropped and her automatic reflex was to try and catch the falling hot iron. The result is second degree burns from the tip of the finger to the second knuckle across all four fingers of her right hand and on the pad of her palm just beside the thumb. As you can see my little dog has become very attached to my daughter and was rather upset that she was hurt and stayed by her side all day.

and then, she {snapped}

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bonds of Friendship

This time of year tends to evoke a lot of very fond memories for me. Growing up in Southern California there was always somewhere fun to go. However, looking back I really don't think it was so much about where we went as who I was with.

This photo includes four of my six closest friends through my teen years. It really didn't matter where we went when I was with these girls life was filled with excitement.

Three of the four in this photo are sisters and two of them worked nights helping their father clean the drive-in theater. I have many fond memories of going to help clean the drive-in. You wouldn't think picking up trash and cleaning bathrooms could be so much fun but it was with these girls. The bonds with these girls have been lifelong bonds.

Having this group of friends taught me the importance of friendship. It also taught me the importance  of parents encouraging their children to make friends and to allow them to have their friend over often.

While my kids were growing up my husband use to complain that our home was grand central station. It was a very busy place with our four kids and one or two of their friends over at the same time, sometimes even more. At times there were up to seven extra kids at our home.

It may sound crazy but aside from the fun memories that were created and the reassurance of knowing where our kids were and who they were with there is another benefit I never thought of. The bonds that were made with some of our children's friends have remained over the years even though they are all grown now with families of their own. A few of them like this beautiful young woman still call us mom and dad and now even have their children call us grandma and grandpa.

So to all you parents out there of pre-teens and teens I highly recommend an relatively open door policy for your children's friends, while it may make life a bit noisy and hectic at times it is well worth the benefits.