Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Day at the Aquarium

Last week I went with Ellie on her fieldtrip to the National Aquarium. Now, as a family we have been to the aquarium several times, we have a membership there and really love it. However, this time was really different. I reported to Ellie's school with our lunches in hand and signed the various paperwork making sure I was a good chaperone for the 4 little ones I would be in charge of for the day. We waited anxiously for the bus to arrived 30 minutes late. We travelled to the aquarium on the school bus and Ellie and I watched through the window as we drove into Baltimore. We talked about the different things we saw outside and for me it was nice as a passenger to enjoy the view. At 10am we arrived and ate our lunches on the bus, I know funny, lunch at 10am? These kids have a different schedule than most.

Headed into the aquarium around 1030 and headed for the stingrays. After this we went to see one of my favorite parts of the aquarium, the jellyfish. We stopped along the way to visit the dolphin tank. I love this photo, the kids were so excited to see the dolphins.

After this we headed to the discovery play area for a few minutes to wait for the dolphin show.

The dolphin show did not disapoint, the kids loved it. We then headed to the Amazon rainforest exhibit and the Tropical rainforest exhibit upstairs. Our last stop was observing the many different water habitats that are found in the oceans. My favorite is the tropical fish. So colorful and pretty.

I loved spending the day with my little Ellie. We had a great day together.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Valentine's Day Project

My friend Jeri introduced me to this incredible studio that you can rent for your own personal photo shoots. I decided to use the time to take photos for an album for Chris for Valentine's Day. The album is finally here, so I can share with you the fun we had that day. It was a great learning experience for me.

It was a lot of fun, I can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I love Love Day

Oh my goodness yesterday was fun. The morning started out in a crazy blur: gym for me, soccer for Sophia, then Chris whisked me off to an amazing lunch at one of our very favorite restaurants, The Stanford Grill.

Dessert: Chocolate Brownie Uprising *YUM*

After this we picked up Sophia and Gradon from our dear friend's house where they were being watched, I picked up Ellie from the bus, and the girls and I headed to the libary for some library time. We then headed to the grocery store where we bought food for our Valentine's Dinner feast: Seared ahi tuna with sesame seeds, asparagus with parmesan cheese, creamy risotto, and for dessert, red velvet cake. The girls loved the tuna, I was so glad! I am really pleased at how much they love to try new foods.

We had a nice FHE followed with our card, sweets and gift exchanges. Hubby got me a photography bag, and the girls got new fuzzy bathrobes. Chris' gift is still in transit, but I think he is really going to love it! (The girls and I worked on a surprise for Daddy).

All in all an A+ Valentine's Day. How was yours?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I love watching my girls dance

Ellie has found a niche I think, she loves ballet. I hope she continues this love for a long time. Right now she is preparing to compete in a couple of weeks with her little dance class. I think the version of this song is lovely. The girls are darling to watch as they get better each week. It has been fun seeing this little team grow together.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I love photography

When Chris and I were first married, he bought me my first real camera. I think it might have even been a Valentine's gift. It was a Canon Rebel 2000 slr. I was so afraid of that camera.

Shortly after he gave me the camera, I put it back in the box it came in and I hid it in my dresser. It stayed there for a long time.
Then one day Chris asked me, "Maggie, why aren't you using your camera I gave you?

So one day, when I was alone, I took it out of the box and started taking photos, on the auto setting of course, and I developed the film. I was hooked. After the camera came lenses, a bag, tripod, a monopod and various other fun things for my camera; all gifts from my loving hubby.

Then, four years ago my hubby bought me my current Canon DSLR for Christmas, and totally knocked my socks off. Taking photos has never been the same since. I must say I do miss my film camera sometimes. I have taken some of the most beautiful photos with that little camera, and there is something enticing about having to wait for the film to be ready. Also, you shoot with so much more restraint with film, you have to, with so few images per roll.

Photography is now an obession of mine. I love taking photographs. I love capturing special moments, true moments that really speak and express something beautiful. 

What I love about photography is that it is so unique to each person, how we see the world, how we want others to see us.  I spend a lot of time dreaming up photo shoots and hoping for beautiful light. It has truly been a wonderful adventure learning about how to take photos, how to use a camera, how to see creatively. I am so glad my hubby bought me that camera, and I am so glad I finally took it out of that silly box.

Ellie, age 18 months taken with my first slr.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I love one on one time

Sophia is in a soccer class through our parks and rec program. It's really fun. We had such a good time yesterday. When it came time to pick 'teams' Sophia immediately piped up and said 'I want my mom on my team'. Lucky for her she doesn't know that I stink at team sports. We played several different games and she and I giggled and kicked and ran and shot the ball into the net. She loves playing soccer, and I love spending time just with her.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Love Italy

In case you didn't know this about me, I love Italy. We lived there for 2 years, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It taught me so much about myself, about culture and relationships, about people. We travelled, a lot. We got to see so many wonderful things, and had incredible experiences. Last week the girls and I picked up this book at the library:

Olivia is a funny little pig who has a wild imagination, is very dramatic, and has lots of fun creating excitment in her family and neighborhood. In this book her family travels to Venice, Italy and they have a really fun trip. While the girls and I were reading the story, I would ask them if they remembered our trip to Venice. Sophia did not, obvious since she was only 7 months old when we travelled there, but Ellie did remember the pigeons in San Marco's Square. I am glad: it was a pretty hilarious experience.

After we read the book, the girls wanted to look at some of the photos from this trip to remind them of our time in Italy. I thought it would be fun to add it to this post as I remember Italy, so fondly sometimes it makes my heart ache, how much I love this beautiful, exciting, ancient country.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I love February

I love this month! I think I always have. It's right off the heels of the new year, amidst the gray winter haze, awakened by us romantics and creative types who need a little sweetness and joy amid the dreary winter. The girls and I have been making valentine cards, treats and crafts everyday this week. Ellie comes home from school and the first thing she says is 'Mama, I want to make some more Valentines.' We have gone through A LOT of glitter glue and paper recently. It's been good for me. There have been some unexpected hard things to handle this week, and the blows have been softened by crafty time and sweet moments together. It's been great to have fun one on one time with each of my kids. It's amazing the things you get to talk about when it's just you and one of them.

Another thing that makes me so happy and cheers me up anytime I do it is taking photos. I took these yesterday:

I love those two...they make my heart sing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Curing the winter blahs...

Sophia and I spent most of our free time today making valentines...
This was just what I needed today. I pulled out a ton of fun pretty papers tools, glue, glitters, ribbon and we went to work. Looking forward to Valentine's Day and doing something fun, pretty and crafty helps the moood. I hope spring comes soon. It is soooo cold out there!