Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christian + Rhema Lights = AMAZING

Last night, we took Christian to see the Rhema lights for the first time.  For those that are unfamiliar, Rhema is a Bible college and every Christmas they cover every inch of their campus in lights.  I think they start sometime in August!  The pictures really don't do it justice.  Anyways, it's one of my favorite things to see during the holidays, so I didn't want kiddo to miss out :)


I think the excitement here is because he's in his car.  He LOVES this car, but he's getting too big for it!  His feet kept dragging the pavement b/c his legs are too long :( 


It really is fun to see. 


This would be my son schmoozing with everyone.  He was waving and yelling, "hey!" to everyone we passed....like he's running for office! 



I really love this photo. 


I love this son of mine.  I know there are times he is frustrated with me and I with him, but at the end of the day he's still the best decision I ever made. 

{Belated} Christmas Day Recap!

Christmas was great this year...and unless something horrible happens, there isn't much that will change that for me.  To be honest, I wish there was less emphasis on gift giving.  I think it takes away from the spirit of Christmas...you know, when you see the YouTube video of people fighting over discounted bath towels...really?  When I was in college I used to work at Wal-Mart.  If you want to see someones true nature, come to wal-mart during the holidays.  I remember people would up and take things out of your cart when you weren't looking.  If you stop and think about it, most likely you already have more than most and I think around the holidays you should stop to think about that.

 *Stepping down from my soap box*

Ok:)  Onto the Solomon Family Christmas Recap....well, Christian's Christmas Recap!

Well, lets start first with one of my favorite things about Christmas time...


Our nephews make sugar cookies every year.  Their toppings of choice this Christmas season: sweet tarts, M&M's, sprinkles, and sixlets. 

We started out at my parents house on Christmas Eve.  My parents have been dying to get him a tricycle, so TaDa!  He's still a little short to reach the peddles, but I bet when summer rolls around, he'll be all over the place terrorizing everyone.


Did you guys realize the box is just as fun as the actual toy? I seriously think parents should save their money the first couple of years and go get a few boxes instead.  You're not being a bad parent if you don't spent $200 + on your toddler on something he will not remember.  You're being smart! Just sayin'


Helping grandma and grandpa put his tricycle together :)



He loves his Grandpa!


Then came Christmas morning...


What IS this???


Woah! It's a Thomas the Train Tent/Tunnel Thing!  When we visited our friends Carol and Jacob a couple of months ago and he loved their son Connor's pop up tent.  Unfortunately, we did not look at the dimensions.  It literally takes up our whole living room.  Granted, our living room is teeny, but still. 


Um, here's a story for ya.  The other day he was hanging out in the tunnel part and when we stuck our heads in there we realized he had been tooting the whole time!  The confined space really kept in the smell! 


Love that smile :)



Later that evening, we went and visited the GREAT grandparents for some super awesome toys :)

I couldn't ask for a better Christmas...everyone I love is happy and healthy and that is all I can ask for :)


I will share one gift my husband got for me.  For about a year now, I've been looking forward to the holidays because after Thanksgiving Saks Fifth Avenue here in Tulsa sells a Tulsa snow globe.  It displays all your major buildings/statues.  The reason I wanted this was because a friend of ours had one and for whatever reason, I wanted one too.  I picked up an NYC snow globe each time I was in New York, so I thought this might be a thing I start doing when we travel :)  ANYWAYS, I found out this year that the company that normally makes them will no longer be producing them. 

Nooooooo!

So, that put a kibosh on that.  Well, unbeknown to me, my husband continued to look for one.  He called around to see if any other stores might have some older ones...he even called the city chamber of commerce.  Well, the lady he spoke with said they plan on making them again in about 6 months.  Matt explained to her that this was the one thing I wanted for Christmas and if she could do him a huge favor and maybe send out an office email to see if anyone in her office has one they would be willing to sell him he would much appreciate it. 

This nice lady did and someone responded. 

There was a man in their office that had one of the last year they made them (2009) still in the box.  He was nice enough to sell it to him :) 


{Next Blog} 2011 Recap! I went by so fast...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Engagement Shoot - A Few Things I Am Learning...

Over the weekend, I had my first engagement shoot.  Granted, I haven't had tons of photo shoots, so I still get super nervous before each one.  I always say after it's done, "Thanks for letting me shoot you!  I can use the practice!"  Honestly though, I can hear myself saying that even 10  years down the road.  I do feel with each session, I am getting a little better.  I've also been renting lenses from borrowlenses.com to find a lens that fits me and my style (if I have a style yet).  I know I would eventually like to get a wide angle lens, but for now I wanted to find a go to portrait lens.  I've rented the following so far:

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM - I liked it, but I wish I had more time to fiddle with it. 

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM - This was an amazing lens and I think if I had the money to purchase it, I could really find out what all it can do.  How much? $1900-$2200 depending on where you look.  I originally rented this one after doing some research online...trying to find out what other portrait photographers use as a must have lens.  As of now though, I thought it was a little too much lens for me to handle...financially and technically.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM - This is the lens I used for the below shots.  I REALLY liked it.  It created a nice bokeh and it worked well with me.  When we received our family photos from Artsy Phartsy Photography, I saw that this was the lens she used, so I thought I would give it a shot.  This really is the lens I want to save up for. 

So a few things I have learned so far? 




1. Think outside the box when it comes to your location.  I know a lot of people want to go downtown or in some super floral location and there is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes a nice background is right around the corner.  All the shots were taken in Sand Springs.   It's a small town with old buildings and houses.  The one photo with them leaning on the bookshelf was at my friends bookstore.  Now any time we drive around anywhere, I say to my husband, "Oh that place would make for an awesome photo." 




2.Pinterest has really helped me create some creative shots, especially with this engagement shoot.  Anytime I come across a cool pose or fun props, I pin it. I really love using props.



3.  It really helps when your clients are into it.  Hayden and Ashtan were so awesome.  Chalk it up to young love :)  All I had to say was, "you guys can smooch and stuff" and smooch they did! :)  Heehee.  They were super cute and really had fun with the whole process.   It was SO cold that day, but she was a trooper.   They were up for anything, so I tried everything on them - the bike, the wedding date, the hearts above the head, etc.  They had amazing chemistry which really came through in the shots.


4.  Since I'm still new at editing, I feel in the beginning I really over edited.  I wanted to try different styles and colors, etc.  I've noticed now that less is more.  I also realized I don't have all the time in the world to edit!  I would spend hours just on a few shots. 




5.   Don't get discouraged when a shot isn't working out so well.  We tried one shot that she saw online, but I was getting frustrated that it wasn't turning out the way it should.  Lighting is super important and knowing how to shoot in awkward lighting...it's just one more thing I need to study up on :)

This shot was done right off the highway!


So there you go...some little photog lessons I'm learning.  I feel I'll always be learning something new and I love that.  It never gets old...right? :) 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Recap - Christmas Party and My 'LiL Mobster

We had a pretty fun weekend to be honest.  On Friday we went to our small group Christmas party.  I think every year they get a little better...due to our level of comfort with one another.  The first couple of years in our small group just reminded me of awkward years of junior high - looking for someone to chat with...hoping you will develop a friendship with someone...yada yada...but now it feels less awkward and more enjoyable.  Church Sunday school is no different than any other social setting you will come across in your life...as much as you would like to think otherwise, people tend to gravitate to individuals like themselves...or with like interests.  Don't get me wrong though, I think as a whole group, we get along well for having so many couples.  :)

We made our rounds to the grandparents starting off with my folks.  Here is where is gets funny...so my mom loves to dress Christian in name brand clothes.  It's what my mom loves to do and I genuinely appreciate it.  His wardrobe consists mostly of Target apparel and HMD's and that is just fine because there will be one day when he cares more about what/who he is wearing and clothes shopping will cost more.  So for now, I will enjoy the less expensive days.   She bought him a nice insulated winter coat along with 2 tracksuits.  As soon as he put on the tracksuit, I immediately thought of any Jersey mobster characterized on TV.  Let me show you....


I think it's because he has a poochy belly...all he needed was a gold chain and couple of rings on his fingers!  I think I laughed the whole time he was wearing it. 

Over the weekend, we also tried to mix up bath time.  We threw in some Mr. Bubbles and some fizzy tub tablets.  Ooooooooh :)  There are 3-4 tablet colors, so you can change it up.



We also did some thrifting over the weekend.  Since I've been quilting, I've been spending more time at the thrift shops looking for vintage looking sheets or fabric.  


Each set came with a flat and fitted  queen size sheet with pillow cases - I spent $7.00!

So that is the Solomon family weekend update.  I hope everyone has a great week!  13 more days until Christmas~!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Who is your doppelganger?

So I would normally do a weekend recap, but we were struck by THE PLAGUE {stomach flu for the kiddo and food poisoning for the hubs and I}.  We laid around all weekend wishing the other felt better only so someone could nurse us back to health. 

While I was at church Sunday morning, a friend from class asked me if I had caught the last episode of 2 Broke Girls.  I hadn't, but she said this girl was my doppelganger. She said for a moment she thought it was me.  What can I say, I act, I quilt, I can do it all! LOL.  SOoooo, I had to see this doppelganger of mine.  What what?  What's a doppelganger you ask?  Literally translated it means "double walker." 

I watched the episode and found out the girls name is Miki Ann Maddox...she played the "hipster girl."



My second doppelganger is Michaela Conlin from the show Bones.  I have never watched Bones, but a few people have said to me that I look like this girl....after seeing her they must mean on my most excellent day do I pass for this girl.


So who is your doppelganger?? :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Very Belated Thanksgiving Recap and More Quilt and Photog Talk

Last week I took some vacation time.  I worked super hard Monday and Tuesday and cleaned our house from top to bottom.  By Sunday, it looked worse than when I started.  This whole house cleaning thing {with child} is a bust.  Who likes to do something EVERYDAY knowing it'll be a disaster again probably within the next 10 minutes?  I know it has to be done, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.  BOO TO NEVER ENDING HOUSEWORK. It's like tossing water out of the Titanic with a bucket...sheesh.

- End of Rant -

So I haven't been keeping up with the ol' blog like I should have.  This blog actually is very important to me - it's my journal of my day to day life.  So one day when I'm super old and don't know where I am, I can look through this blog and at least read about all the stuff I don't remember.  Hopefully I'll know I'm reading about MY life and not someone else's:)  (BLURB.COM - you can make your blog entries a book!)

So Thanksgiving!  It was great.  Like I've said before, one of the best perks about marrying my husband is his family.  I totally love them and the best part is that they are all in driving distance.  So that means I see most of them on holidays :) 

Let's take a look at the delicious food one more time...Mmmmm...Grandma Solomon can probably make garbage taste good, so you can imagine what she can do with ingredients.  She makes everything from scratch.  Grandma Bush and Aunt Sam also put together a nice spread. YUM.  They make this coconut pecan pie - O-M-G.  Deliciousness. 


Christian had a great time out at Aunt Sam's.  He played ball, (reluctantly) rode on a 4-wheeler with dad, ran around, and yes,he put leaves in his mouth...great grandma quickly removed them.





Christian was obsessed with their German Shepard Bruno.  Honestly, I would kidnap that dog in a heartbeat.  Bruno was walking away from Christian, so he felt the need to chase him all around the house.



Bruno's not the only dog he tried smothering with his love.  Later that evening, we went to my parents and he tried pulling that stuff with Rocky.  Shi zsu's aren't known for being fond of children, but Rocky knows if he tries anything he'll get spanked, so he just sits there and looks REALLY uncomfortable.

Overall, I think we had a great Thanksgiving.  Christian was worn out!  So bad so, the next day he ran a fever for a few hours I think just from exhaustion.  I'm very thankful my family is happy and healthy.  Things might get tough sometimes - whether it be financial or otherwise - we always get through it and as long as we have our health I'm good :) 

On another note - My Next Quilting Project! 

 My friend Sammi mentioned I should make her a t-shirt quilt, so I thought I should try it on mine first.  I found out you have to use fusible interfacing to stabilize it...now I just have to find all my high school and college shirts....I really think I only have 2 high school t-shirts and 1 is a French Club t-shirt....wow, way to have school spirit Cristal.  I might have to start adding other shirts since I don't think I have enough school shirts...maybe my bachelorette party night shirt...race for the cure shirt?  We'll see :)


Photog Talk

Here are a couple of photos of my newest little model from the Carter Family Photo Shoot :)


Friday, November 18, 2011

Bookshelf Quilt COMPLETE and a Cute Tote Bag

So I finished these 2 crafty gems awhile ago, but I was giving them as gifts, so I didn't want to post any photos until I gave them away.  They were gifted last weekend, so now I can show off :)

I'm so proud of Carol's Bookshelf Quilt.  It was my first official quilting project.  I was so nervous about finishing it, I started and completed 2 baby quilts in the mean time.  Here is the finished product.



I added some titles to the books, like her wedding date, the date her son was born, where she went to high school, what she majored in college...and if I didn't added a title, I used fabric that represented parts of her...like OU, golfing, skiing, etc. 

I also made my friend Helra a tote bag.  She mentioned to me she likes the black and whie damask print and soft pink.  Well, I had this super cute tote bag pattern that I found on Pinterest! so here is Helra's Tote Bag



It came out super cute :)  I told her it's no Louis Vuitton, but I would be more than happy to sew in LV :)  She was happy with a CS instead. 

I love these girls and was more than happy to make them something.  Don't mistake all this as a thoughtful gesture, it's secretly a little selfish too.  I know that when they get it out they will be forced to think of me, lol. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time - Why Don't I Have More?




Modern Mom
Part breadwinner, part breadmaker
We try to do it all...but are we spreading ourselves too thin?

Just recently, I'd say since Christian came along, I feel time is always on my mind.  "Will I have enough time to....?"  "What time will I need to get done with this to have time for that??"  "What time is it?" "I don't have time, I have to do this...or that."  I think it's odd that before I had a child, I really had no interest in developing any hobbies, but as soon as we decided to have a kid, I wanted to do a hundred different things...pinterest hasn't helped matters either.  I love my child and would die for that kid, but he consumes 99% of my available and unavailable time....so by the time I get home from my full time job, get dinner on the table (which sometimes consists of grabbing something from a local eatery), getting him fed, bathed, and ready for bed, I have 2, maybe 2 1/2 hours tops to do anything extracurricular...and house work does not fall under that category.  So, if I am working on a quilt or anything sewing I tend  stay up even later because I just want to stay in that moment...I realized I don't like time restraints and I resent sleep a little too.  I LOVE to sleep, but I resent that I need to sleep..does that make sense?

So, I am completely in love with sewing.  I love making things and learning new ways to use my sewing machine.  Also, I have mentioned my love for photography...a venture that is slow going, but I feel is really good for me. I know it seems like anytime a woman becomes a mom she also becomes a photographer...and that may be true, but so what??  I have always loved photos and admire the seasoned photographers out there that have spent solid time developing their craft...why should I be any different?  I'm admittedly new at this, so the only way I'm going to get any better is by learning and practice, practice, practice.  I'm not going to have the nicest equipment right away or master editing skills, but I'll get there.  We all had to start somewhere.  

Does it get easier the older your kids get?  Or does that time you think you will have get taken up with sporting events, homework assignments, and even more house work? 

I feel selfish sometimes when I want to have this time to myself to do what I want...but I know all moms are different and for me to be a good mom, it is something I need...whether it be quilting, sewing, going out and snapping some photos, or having a night out with my girls - I need it.  I don't want to lose myself in the bundled role of mommy and wife.  I am much more than that...it hasn't always been easy for me to make the transition.  Please don't misunderstand me, I am forever IN LOVE my husband and son - I don't regret one second having them in my life on a permament basis. ;)  I just have to let other parts of me out from time to time.  What can I say?  I'm like a diamond, there are many facets to all that is Me :)  ...or maybe I'm like an onion, I have many layers, lol.  An onion sounds less arrogant than a diamond.

This was more of a rant posting.  I'm being a baby because I want more time and I can't get it. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

{Gotta Start Somewhere} My 1st Photo Shoot

**My blog address has changed!  It is now http://www.letsabrakadothis.com/**

Ok, so here goes! I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but honestly I doubted myself and worried what my "seasoned" photographer friends would think...but then I realized that this is a hobby of mine and I LOVE it.  I still have lots to learn, but you have to start somewhere.  The more I practice, the better I will become.....right? :)  I by no means want to quite my job and do this full time, but it's something I enjoy and want to get better with every shot. 

So, I've only had time this week to edit 2 photos!  LOL - that's what the weekends are for...at least they will be for me.  QUESTION: So does anyone want to tell me how I go about starting a simple photography website?  Who do you go through?  I googled it, but it's all a bit overwhelming...I would appreciate any help!



Thank you to my B-E-A-UTIFUL models :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

{Belated} Halloween Recap - Matt circa 1975

I was a little conflicted about Halloween this year.  I know Christian can walk now, but I still didn't want to take him trick or treating - mainly because he's still not that into candy and too young to really know what he's missing.  In the end, we dressed him up for daycare and he just partied it up there with his friends.  We also stopped by Grandpa's later on that evening for some additional candy and to visit with his cousins :) 


Outfit: Thrifted $4.99.  Matt and I laughed so hard when we saw this outfit, we had to get it.  He looks just like Matt circa 1975.  It was like no one had ever worn it.  The tag said Made in America, so we knew it had to be vintage :) haha. 

The droopy look on his face is caused by a double ear infection in the works and sinusitis.  We found this out the day after Halloween.  Him and I have been passing our sickness back and forth to one another.  Matt will be forever immunized due to 10+ years of teaching in public schools. 


My awesome nephews



Is this not the cutest Duck you've ever seen?  He is such a mellow baby. 


HILARIOUS!  I didn't even ask them to do this.  I just said, "Hey guys, I wanna picture of both of you by the tree."  They then went into fighting stance.


I say speed and accuracy because a few days prior to Halloween, Ninja Turtle "accidentally" threw a brick at Ninja Kid's face and broke skin by his eye brow.  What really happened is he threw the brick and Ninja Kid accidentally walked in the path of the flying object. The fun stories I hear from Aunt Katy are limitless.  The joys of 3 boys :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

{Weekend Recap} It's Time For Fall!

So as soon as it turns October, I begin to experience all that is fall.  You already know I ingest anything pumpkin flavored - bagels, hot beverages, candy, etc...but the one aspect of fall I love is things coming to an end.  That sounds kind of sad, but the end of something isn't always a bad thing.  If some things never leave, how will you ever miss it? :)  I love seeing the trees turn from green to an array of oranges and yellows, I love going outside for that first week of chill in the air, and most of all, I like dusting off my old friends my hoodies :) lol. 


So, I just love walking around the neighborhood around this time and snapping a few shots


I think you have to learn to appreciate the beauty around you.  I might be 30, but every time I see a gorgeous sunset where it leaves the sky all colorful, I always turn to Matt and say how beautiful it is. Sometimes I think things like that a photo can't capture...well, maybe not with my amateur skills :)


Not a bad shot huh?


 
So the weather here has been a bit confusing on our vegetation.  We have flowers in bloom and our garden is still producing tomatoes and peppers...but this will probably be our last red tomato before the cold hits.


Christian LOVES being outside, so we've been trying to spend more time outside for him.  He throws balls and Frisbee's at Yoko...but Yoko always look at him with disappointment since his Frisbee throwing skills are below par.



Costello always looks at Christian like he's the one that messed it all up for him.  Well, actually that was probably Yoko, but Christian was the nail in the coffin.  He's definitely not a more than one pet kind of dog.

Also over the weekend, my dad's company sponsored an all family paid dinner and games at Incredible Pizza.  So, this was Christian's first time at an arcade.  It was almost an overload of stimuli - kids, lights, tons of buttons to push.  He wasn't too interested in the actual games...he wanted to press buttons, jiggle locks, and throw balls. At the end of playing skeeball, he decided it would be easier to get the ball in the hole by climbing up and inserting it in directly.  Hey, he doesn't play by the rules, but he gets the job done.


One thing we learned about our child is that he is not interested in rides.  Both the horse and carousel, he was on them for maybe 30 seconds and then he wanted off.  He wasn't scared, just bored.  He had that look like, "this is all it does??" 


This was the first game he actually shown some interest in and of course it was because he could throw something, but as you see he decided to crawl into the ball pit instead.


Sometimes a kid has to create his own fun :)


Fun times with grandma and grandpa :)


My favorite moment of the night.  Christian was having so much fun sitting on dad's lap shooting down...whatever they were shooting down...storm troopers? 


Ha! This is how I commenced my Halloween weekend celebration :)  Of course, after kiddo went to bed :)  Sunday night with a glass of wine and The Walking Dead.  Can you believe Shane shot Ottis??  I mean I knew Ottis wouldn't last long, but really?  I guess that's the first thing that goes after a zombie apocalypse - your morals.  Oh, this wine is really good - tastes just like cranberry and it's pretty mild.

Halloween blog next :)


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