Thursday, April 26, 2012

6 Months Old

Jonah Buddy is 6 months old. Where did the time go?  Really....where did it go?

Today he figured out how to crawl.

He's already into everything, but thankfully he's pretty slow still.

 Yes, that's right Jonah....I caught you. 

Jonah is also eating real food now.  He's eaten avocado, bananas, sweet potatoes, and peas.  All of which were pureed with love by his momma.  He likes everything with a little fresh ground pepper.  I walk around his chair with my pepper mill and ask, "would you like fresh ground pepper on that sir?" 

He loves being outside. (Good thing since we're outside so much for baseball games these days.)  He went swimming the other day for the first time and loved it.  Splashing water is fun!  

I feel like the next 6 months will fly by.  Before I know it we'll be celebrating his first birthday.  How will I handle this little one growing so fast?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photo Shoot Rules to Follow

I am not a professional photographer.  

For every decent picture I take there's about 5 before and 5 after that aren't so great.  I do however have some rules that I try to follow so I don't pull my hair out, get frustrated, scream at the kids, and give up during  a photo shoot.  When I follow these rules I'm not as disappointed when going through the pictures later on my computer.

1) Prepare everyone ahead of time with what you want to accomplish.  

In this case I told the kids before we were standing in a chigger infested field sweating that we'd be taking some pictures standing, some pictures in the chair (and yes, we'd take turns getting to sit in the chair).  Sometimes Carter would hold Jonah and sometimes Evan would hold Jonah.  If they know what's going to happen ahead of time it's easier to move from one pose to the next.  

2) Shoot in digital!  It takes so much of the pressure off.  You can snap a million photos and hope there's a good one in there somewhere.  

This series is a perfect example.  Evan is a stone cold poser!  He looks directly at the camera, smiles, doesn't blink and even attempts to comfort Jonah all while looking right into the lens. 

3) Listen to their ideas.

 Rather than fighting with Evan about holding the bluebonnet in the picture (which I started to do), let them have their way for a few pictures.  What does it hurt?  He's excited that we used his idea and even though I'm not going to hang these on the wall, I still enjoy them and they make me laugh a little.  Trust me...a strong-willed child needs to be heard, accepted, and validated often.  This was an easy way to do that without a huge fight.

 4) When it's sunny use the "" approach. 

 They're not going to be able to stare into the sun while you set up your shot.  To avoid as many squinty eye and closed eye shots explain to the kids that they can keep their eyes shut until you count to three and say open.  Practice inside for a while so they understand what it feels like and how to open their eyes and not look crazed.  

You might still get a picture like this though.

5) Make sure you're the only one with a camera at the photo shoot.  

It's frustrating to upload your pictures when you get home thinking have a decent picture of all three boys but one is actually looking at someone else's camera.  

Only have one person giving direction too.  When there's too many leaders and too many cameras the kids get confused and frustrated.  You will not get good pictures if they are frustrated.  

You have to keep the models happy!

(Evan's goofy smile in this one cracks me up.)

6) Don't let the models eat...not even the props. 

7) Most of us mommies aren't professional photographers so lighting may not be perfect and your composition may be off a little. The easiest way to improve your pictures is to eliminate distractions.

  Don't let them wear distracting clothing.  Solid color shirts are best.  

Jonah's socks were really cute that day, but the label on the bottom was distracting.  Pay attention to those things and remove them from the picture.  

Also look for things like houses, people, or telephone lines that might end up in the background of your photo.  Your kid may look cute but if there's an old junker car in the top corner of the picture you won't be able to use that for a greeting card.  Try your best to pay attention to these things.  Sometimes they can't be cropped out.  

8) Don't be too hard on yourself.  Accept that you're doing your best and capturing memories that you otherwise wouldn't have if you didn't try.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Texas Bluebonnets

We finally has some rain here in Central Texas.  A lot of rain!  With a lot of rain comes a lot of flowers.  Bluebonnets are the state flower here and if you live in Central Texas you take pictures of your kids in bluebonnet patches.  It's just something you have to do.  You dress them up, you take them into a field, you get chiggers, you sweat, and you say things like, "look please...just a few more...come on guys...".  It's great fun.  

Here are the best pictures from that day.  
(I'm so thankful for digital cameras because we had a lot of duds.)

Carter 8, Evan 6, Jonah 5 1/2 months
Carter wanted one of himself laying down in the bluebonnets.

Evan is such a ham.  It's hard to believe I got one of him looking so serious.

They grow like weeds.

Always happy and always there to brighten your day.  
Blogging has become increasingly more difficult over the past few weeks and even months.  We no longer have a cleaning lady, so my mornings are spent cleaning up the house.  Before my mornings were spent reading blogs, writing blog posts, and drinking a cup of coffee.  Jonah is on the move now. Well....he's working his hardest to be on the move.  He doesn't crawl yet, but that could change later today.  He's almost there.  

Baseball has taken over our lives.  Both boys play and Shawn helps coach Evan's team.  I love going to watch them all dressed up in their uniforms.  Jonah enjoys the great outdoors and is usually happy being pushed around in his stroller.  After basketball he's used to hearing me yell for the boys.

Big things are happening to the Cheek house too.  We're in the very beginning phases of adding on some extra space to our house.  We've been meeting with builders, looking at land, and doing our very best to make the right decision.  We decided to stay in our house and add some fun extras.  As things get moving I'll keep you posted with updates and pictures.  

Until the next time I can sit at the computer I want you all to know....I think of you often and I'm so grateful for each person in my life.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Break Activities #2

The boys have been wanting to go camping for quite some time but the problem is, their parents aren't much the camping type.  Good thing their Gramps is! Time is not usually on our side when it comes to our schedule because of church, baseball, the studio...etc so camping far away was really out of the question.  An easy solution for that problem is camp in Gramps' back yard.  

First they built a fire pit. 

Then they built a fire. 

(I'm a worried Evan may be a little too interested in fire.  He wouldn't stop throwing things into the fire, poking the fire, staring at the fire. Help me!)

They pitched a tent.

(Actually Gramps pitched a tent. Carter and Evan mostly just got in the way.)

They cooked hotdogs and beans over the open fire. 

They told stories around the camp fire.

Shawn, Jonah, and I left after eating and playing a little guitar around the fire.  What I don't have pictures of is what happened at 3:00am.  The wind picked up, the rain started, the thunder clapped, and lightning lit up the sky.  Carter woke up and said, "Gramps it's raining." Evan slept through it all had to be woken up right before they decided to make a run for the house. There's something about my dad and camping that always seems to bring the rain.

The kids thought the trip was successful. I thought it was successful because they slept all day Sunday.