"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mending a broken heart...

For those of you who followed me last year, you'll remember my original post about my very first garden. What you may not remember is any other posts about it. As a newbie blogger, I felt compelled to only blog the good stuff. (Not realizing the bad/real stuff should be included in this real life blog) And so what you never knew was what became of that promising garden.


The rains came and flooded it. And what was left, the bugs came and devoured it, all in 24 hours. Needless to say, after all that sweat and hard work, I was one sad gardener. I swore to never garden again. My heart broken and defeated.

After stewing over it through the winter, I realized there were a few things I could have done to prevent that catastrophe last year. For one thing, better drainage. The rain had no where to go last year. Trying to avoid pesticides, I now know there are bug deterring plants you can use in a garden like marigolds and cilantro.

So with courage and commitment about me, I restructured and started again. When you fall off the bicycle...get up again, right?

Flowering sugar snap peas...mmmmm. From my new garden!

Maybe we'll have home-grown tomatoes in our salads this year!

I hope, I hope, I hope!

Friday, March 25, 2011

What Brothers Are For

Brothers are for company on a fishing adventure

It's important to know you won't be alone...

They help you keep your concentration...

They watch your back...

Unless, they're too busy chasing their shadow...

Cowboys and a Cowgirl...

Every year in March, the big to-do in Houston is the Houston Livestock and Rodeo show. There are parades, concerts, carnivals, cook-offs and of course rodeo competitions. For a whole month, the whole city turns it's center of attention to all things cowboy!

We went to the rodeo they very first year we moved to Houston. We were excited to see what the big deal was about. After spending a million dollars in tickets and rides, shoving our way through endless crowds and spending overnight in our car trying to leave the parking lot, we promised NEVER to go to the rodeo again! (Our first mistake was planning to go on a Friday night.) The only thing we knew we would be missing were those ridiculous fried Twinkie's!

All that changed this year when we received FREE tickets and found friends that were able to go during the weekday. After some encouragement from friends to skip the over-priced carnival rides and head for the livestock show, we were skeptical but optimistic.

I'm glad to say, we found a much better way to enjoy the rodeo!

We got to see cows and their day old calves...

Big fat pigs and their piglets...

The kids got to plant sunflower seeds and take them home to germinate...

Pet fluffy little rabbits...

Patiently wait and watch for cows to be milked (frankly I'm surprised they still drink it after that demonstration)...

And because we're the meanest mom's in the world and wouldn't pay $20 for a ride at the carnival, their favorite ride of the day was the...


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crazy Thing

About a month ago, I brought in new mulch bags for the landscape in the backyard. It's springtime here so we've been fixing up the back yard and helping prepare for the new growth.

Well as things go around here, I didn't immediately get to those bags of mulch. They laid in the grass for quite some time until I was able to get around to them.

When I moved the bags to where they were intended to go, I notice a funky looking thing growing under the bags. I could only assume it was some kind of weed or even worse fungus growing in that dark wet spot. Eewwww I thought. I don't want to touch whatever that is, so I'll get Ian to take it out for me.

Well as things go around here, Ian didn't get around to it...ever.

So today I decided to brave whatever diseased, fungal growth it was and get rid of it myself. I pulled up half of it and realized these were no ordinary weeds. There were seeds at the roots of the plant. Confused, I tried to recall what seeds had been laid there because I don't ever remember planting anything in that patch of grass.

Then it came to me.

There was this....

And then this...

That's right. Some good, clean, pumpkin smashing in December. Well...I had to break them down for the compost, they boys were happy to oblige.

Anyways, back to the story. We have pumpkins. Pumpkins growing in our grass! Jacob can't wait for the harvest so I can make him some fresh pumpkin bread.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Panning Submission

Tonight is my photography class so I thought I'd post my submissions.  Our challenge was to take pictures with a low and high aperture and to create a panning (motion in background and subject in focus) shot.

Low Aperture

High Aperture

Panning (this is hilarious to me because we were playing kickball with 8 year olds!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break

We live in the third largest city in the U.S with over 5 million people around us. So it goes without saying that one of our favorite things to do is to escape to the country and enjoy God's creation in nature.  There's no better way to do it than to go to Camp Tejas with friends! Camp Tejas is a Christian retreat center with incredible facilities. Not only are the accommodations cozy, but the views are gorgeous and the grounds are extensive. There's so much to do but none of it involves computers, TV or video games. Woo-hoo.

Some of the things we like to do there are...

Tree climbing...

Canoe tag around the ponds...

Friendly games of kickball, volleyball, soccer, basketball or tennis. 

Or...not so friendly in Ian's case!

Taking walks on the trails...

Hanging out with friends...

And perhaps the boys most favorite activity...going down the zip-line...

No matter where you are, conquering your fears always makes for an adventure. This year, for the first time, our 5 year old was able to tackle the zip-line. His only regret was that he didn't want to jump off but had to sit down to start. Still, he did GREAT!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Playing with F-stops

*Disclaimer: I am not a photographer. I do not consider myself a photographer just because I have a nice camera...but we all have to start somewhere right?

A friend of mine and I have been taking a photography class together at the Houston Photography Center. In class it was brought to my attention how utterly foolish it is to have such a sophisticated camera and always set it to auto settings. Our challenge was to start shooting in manual.

"What? You mean I can't point and shoot with my DSLR?" I guess technically, I can, but I shouldn't.

So we learned about all things white balance, shutter speed and f-stops/apertures. Our challenge this week was to shoot something in a low f-stop and a high f-stop. Lastly, there is a prize to win a Starbuck's gift card (not that I'm interested in that because I only drink Antigua coffee) for whoever can create the most interesting panning shot (subject in focus while area around is blurred from movement). The first two assignments are proving to be easy enough, the latter however, is not as easy. Although it isn't for lack of moving things in my world to shoot =)

So here's my first attempt at low f-stop shot at 5.6

And here's my version of a high f-stop, shot at 18

For the grand finale, not really, my panning shot. This was created spontaneously and was not my original idea. It still needs work though. This will probably not be my submission.

I like that he's in motion and has that strange look on his face but you can't really tell he's up jumping. He could almost be standing for all you know. I'm not sure this qualifies as a "panning" shot but I'll keep trying.

Thoughts? Suggestions?