A Family Bonding Fun Chore

Some of my fondest family memories have been the ones where my family sat down in a huddle and turned the pages of our photo album, a real book with real pictures and wonderful memories. If you want an activity that can give you a closer family, this is probably one of the best family bonding experiences. Its one of those activities that gives you one on one time with your family, young or older, and helps you re-live not only your story but theirs, which is an important part of who you are as a family and as individuals. Many times during these huddles, our individual stories would come out. Either mom & dad would expand on how we were when we were too small to remember or, as we got older, we could tell our own perspectives on that day. Often, these times were filled with laughter, fun and the closeness of a family.
Today, computers & TVs play slideshows, but it’s not the same as having those memories in hand as slideshows move on to the next picture too quickly. In my opinion, you lose some of the closeness a physical picture can create. Don’t let your pictures sit out in cyberspace forever, make them real things.

When deciding which ones to get developed, try to remember a few things:
1) Step out of your own perspective for a minute and think about your whole family and which perspective they may want to remember forever before you discard a picture.
2) Try not to be overly critical. A picture where your hair may be slightly out of place when hugging your child may be one of your childs’ favorites as they grow up. You shouldn’t destroy a memory another may cherish because you don’t like the way you look. This one is especially difficult for me as I am not a photogenic person but I have to remember that these aren’t just my memories, they are my families’ too so there is a middle ground that I have to come to when picking which ones to send to the printers.

You may say “Christy, I’m so busy, I have 8 kids, a full time job, a demanding spouse, I don’t have time to get them developed or organize them afterwards!”
To that I would recommend, find the time, its an easy task! Here are some of the photo related things you can do while you are cleaning, showering, cooking, feeding, or doing whatever your busy self is doing. These are multi-tasking opportunities.
– Plug your camera into your computer to upload your photos
– Upload your photos to the site of your choice for backup and future (near future) developing.
Note: You can always go back and edit which ones you want to keep later during those rare few minutes of peace in your life, but when you’re busy, just get them off your disc.
Find a photo developer that is convenient for you. There are developers who will deliver right to your mailbox. If you don’t want to pay the extra shipping, you can order from your local department store and then you can pick them up on your regular trip there.
You say, “Then what? I don’t have time to put them all in a book, organize them, etc, they will just sit in their envelopes and gather in strange places all over the house.” Let me give you an easy solution. Keep one of these

When you pick them up, write on the envelope (be sure to take the pictures out of the enveope first) the occassion inside with a general date or date range and stick them in the box for snowy or rainy days. On the snowy or rainy days, organizing them either in a book or in some sort of organizational order would make a great family moment. You can bring in your older kids to help.
For the older pictures, organize them best you can but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to remember exact dates, just get them in your box or book.
Note: Make sure if you put them in a book, it has acid free pages as the acid in the old books have been known to contribute to the detrioration of photos. Most photo albums made today are safe, but this may be another good reminder to remove old pictures from old albums to save them from further detrioration.
In summary, make your memories a priority. It may not seem important in the everyday ‘busy-ness’ of our lives but the moments when you all sit down together, turn off the tv, and go through those little snapshots of time will create memories in themselves. It will give you together time and you’ll even likely hear others differing perspectives of the same events. Your family will bond and learn more about each other. This is even a great event for older crowds during that Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering! This is one of those beautiful pastimes for all ages, that doesn’t cost a lot and can keep you all entertained for hours on end.


Remember to Upload!

Has this happened to you?
Your child decides to make some funny faces in the mirror, you stifle a laugh, rush for your camera turn it on but get the message that your card is full. DANG! You forgot to upload all of those pictures off of your camera from a birthday party weeks ago. Next thing you know, the moment you were hoping to capture is gone forever.

Another example happened to a friend of mine. She recently told me how she took a lot of adorable pictures at her daughters birthday party. She came home started on her chores, turned on the TV and thought it could wait until later to unload the photos. The next day she took her children to the pool with her camera in her bag and fell in! She not only lost her camera, but the pictures of her childs 3rd birthday. It can happen to any of us.
I know we all live very busy lives, but when you come home from that vacation or that birthday party, do yourself and your family a favor and take the time to get those pictures off of that disc so your camera is ready to go and your pictures are more safe then they were. The longer you leave them in your camera, the more you risk losing them forever. Take the next step as soon as possible and upload them on an online site for extra protection. That way if your computer goes down, you still have a place to go to retrieve them.

Another thing you should do to ensure your camera is ready, is remember to format your memory card. Formatting your card is a maintenance step for your disc to keep it healthy and less likely to become corrupt. It is recommended you do this each time after you’ve uploaded your photos to your computer or storage device. Before you format, be sure your photos have been properly uploaded because formatting will delete the images and you will likely not be able to recover them. Read your camera owners’ manual to find out how to format your disc.

Lastly, don’t forget the batteries! Make sure you have new ones on hand and keep at least one set near your camera at all times.
These are just some of the things that help me, as a photographer, stay ready for any moment. Most of you may have all ready known these tips, but I hope if nothing else, it serves as a reminder to make your photo memories a priority.

My next post will contain a tip about
– something to do with family (whether you have a young family or older)
– it’s free
– it will cross something off your to-do list
– And potentially provide hours of entertainment!

Back in My Old Home

About one year ago I moved my blog to my Mamarazzi Pages address.

I’ve decided to move back here to this blog.
Why you ask? Because it just seems to fit this time in my life more. Also, I was putting too much pressure on myself to post 2 – 3 times a week so when I got busy, I didn’t blog at all for the last year except for my post over on my other blog about The Robinsons that I did this spring.
I do love to write and I’ve missed blogging.

This blog will be a little more about photography, with other things thrown in here and there and I’ll probably be a bit sporatic with the postings. I’ve got so much coming up in the next few months, so much happening, that my head is spinning just thinking about it but there’s a lot of growth in areas of my life that really desire it like my art, my photography and possibly, when I find the chance, or when the fall & Christmas season slow down, some painting or other form of art. My heart longs to be able to try so many things but there are only so many hours in a day so I just take each day as it comes, trying to get as much done as I can and thank God for all of it.

For those of you who follow me back here to my beginnings, Hi! Glad to see you here. Missed you all, really I did and I look forward to sharing with you what I’ve got coming up.
For the new people who find my blog, Welcome! I love hearing from everyone in my comments, it makes me happy, no.. seriously it does!

Flying High……

Ok, so I honestly dont get out much. Well, not too far outside of the midwest anyway.

I just had a whirlwind business trip to San Jose, California. Travel Monday, work Tuesday, travel home Wednesday. It was work, it was a little fun, it was exhausting. I don’t hate to fly, I just don’t care for the confinement of the tiny little space the airlines give you for your hours of travel.

Luckily I had a window seat. Obviously, with loving photography as I do, I’m a visual person. Wether in a car, or in a plane, I love to watch the world pass by me. I love to see the land we are blessed to have and how it changes from mile to mile. I’ve flown a few times before, but this time I was blessed with poofy clouds. Maybe I’m strange… ok, so anyone who knows me well, knows I am a little strange, but I’m actually amazed at the beauty and the formations of the clouds, I always am, even when on the ground. I rarely shoot a scene with sky unless I have clouds. Oh I do now and then, I mean I have to sometimes as I haven’t quite figured out how to instantly summons the atmosphere when needed, but I honestly prefer to have clouds if I have sky in photos.

So me being the way I am, if I see beauty, I have to capture it, it’s a necessity in my mind. Unfortunately, G2 (thats my cameras name, um, yes, I named my camera) was up in the overhead and I had 2 sleeping grown men between me & the aisle. I know, I should’ve taken my camera out of my bag BEFORE I sat down, but theres just soooo little space I couldn’t even see making room for G2. So I pulled out my handy dandy Blackberry phone, in airplane mode of course, and started snapping. I hear the Iphones have a pretty nice 5 megapixel camera built in. Its the first time I wished I had an Iphone.

The following pictures are not the best, in fact, they are pretty pixelated but at the same time I hope it proves to some that its not all about having the fanciest camera, its about seeing & capturing the beauty.

I think this one is my personal favorite. We were literally flying on the edge of a storm.

Yes you will see a few shots with a plane wing in it. There were a few times I really couldn’t avoid the wing but I personally kinda like it, what do you think?

To me, the sight of these clouds bathed in sunlight was a surreal type of loveliness. It seems like a puffy, soft, foriegn  terrain when viewed from above. I think, when earthbound, I’ll look up at the clouds and wonder what they look like on the other side.

This is just outside of San Jose, the morning sun had not yet pulled the blanket of clouds completely away, instead the hills clung on to them like a sleepy child.

I’m not even sure where this one was taken, somewhere between San Jose and home.

I felt like a child snapping pictures all the way with my phone. I felt silly even, wondering what others thought. (I admit, I feel that often when snapping pictures.)

But I was happy, and in the end, that was all that really mattered.

Spring in St. Louis (in the summer)

Ok, so its summer, but I’m going to post some spring time pictures because, well, I want to!  Thats how I roll baby!

Its hot, no….its stifiling in St. Louis today! We dont need no stinkin sauna, just step outside & you have instant sweat! (I have never, ever liked saunas!) 

But I do love my town, my city, its where my roots are. Maybe I’ll talk about that some time too….

Anyway, time to think about beautiful, less stifiling, suffocatingly hot days.

Here are some pictures I took in the spring time by the Arch.

A happy….


nice time….

Ok so if you live near the arch, you’ve probably visited it minimum of a few times.

I’ve lived near the arch my whole life, been on many a field trip there in my grade school days. I didnt know until recently that there was a beautiful lake off to the side of the arch!

I think that everyone is so busy looking UP, or looking at the river that they dont notice the very pretty lake.

Its gorgeous when the spring trees are blooming and you see the colorful reflections in the water.

And the old cathedral. Its a beautiful church in the perfect setting, just beyond the very symbol that is the Gateway to the west.

I had to walk in there for a look. The smells instantly transported me in time, back to my grade school days (not all that long ago right?Ha!).

Back to the Catholic schools & churches of my youth. Its funny how smells can cause a rift in time and seemingly take you back….I just stood there for a minute and soaked it in…

The sights…the smells….the memories.

Ok, time to get moving…my daughters seem a bit bored. Time to go explore some more.

And make new memories…..

Are there any smells that take you back in time???? Please do tell….

The freindliest little squirrel, adorable!

Ok, so these pictures are not perfect, but I have to share this little story!

My new neighbors across the street were having a new fence installed. They hired a company who came promptly to their house and pulled out the equipment to dig the holes & install their fence, augers, etc. They measured & prepared, and just as these guys were going to start digging the hole with the auger, they had a little visitor. A little baby squirrel scurried up one of the guys legs! A bit shocked at this little guy’s bravery, they gently tried to place him out of harms way and tried again to proceed with their job at hand. Again, this little sqirrel had other plans, he ran around them & frolicked in and out and again tried to scurry up their leg. Finally, one of the workers went to my neighbor and asked her to lock this baby squirrel in her garage as they could not finish their job without fear of hurting the little guy.

So my neighbor did as they asked because she didnt want any harm to come of this little creature either.

Fearing he was starving, she then did what we all would probably do and fed this little guy some walnuts. When her fence was finished, they opened the garage door hoping this guy would go out on his own and live a normal squirrels life. It wasn’t long before she found that she had been adopted by this squirrel. He has evidently decided not to leave, and he dearly loves his new friend!

George started telling me about this story a few days ago, I had been busy at the Spring art walk so did not have a chance to witness this little guy until I returned home this afternoon. When I pulled up in my driveway, I noticed my sweet neighbor on her front porch, throwing down some food for her new friend. I asked her if I could take a few photos, she was kind enough to oblige. She explained that she wants him to be wild, but also doesnt want anything to happen to him, no owls or hawks to pick him up. She’s been putting little bits of water & seeds out for him and when she comes outside, he climbs all over her like they are the best of friends.


Right now shes still hoping he will find his way but he seems so used to people that we are a bit concerned for his safety. At this point in time, unless she receives advice otherwise, I think she plans on doing what she’s doing & hopes that he will find his way on his own.

I’ll let you know if we have any further updates!

Spring has Sprung!!!!

Well here in Mid Missouri, spring has sprung! Thank God!!!

It was a long winter and as much as I love all of the seasons, I longed for the warmth and the rebirth of the greenery and florals!!! This year, it seemed to go from cold to almost summer in the blink of an eye. Before we knew it, everything was blooming and I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who was disappointed with that (except for maybe the allergy sufferers!)

I found myself down in Forrest Park in St. Louis. What an oasis in the middle of city life!

I had a brief visit to the Jewel Box and here are a few of the samplings of what I came home with.

I LOVE tulips! They are so beautiful! I was in the middle of springtime, tulip Heaven!

This weekend is the St. Charles Spring Art Fair which I have been juried into.

And the forecast of rain this weekend, ALL weekend? AH, doesnt scare me!

 Who would be scared of a little stinkin rain? (right?) Not YOU surely!

So get out your umbrellas, your rain slickers, your rubber duckies & come visit me Rain or shine!

After the rain………

Nope, no rainbow here, I missed that. Evidently there was a big double rainbow, but I wasnt looking up.

I’ve never really played around with abstracts although I have ideas in this head of mine. This has been fun for me.

What do you think of them?

Can you guess what these are pictures of?

Happy Friday everyone, one more week until the Spring Art Walk in St. Charles.Tomorrow I’m shooting a wedding and looking forward to it! I hope to have a post with the results of that in a week or two.

Rhinos, Giraffes and Bears, Oh my!

Since my oldest daughter is following her passion & is in the process of getting her “Conservation & Ecology” (or Wildlife) degree, it seems to state the obvious when I say we have made many trips to the St. Louis Zoo over the past several years. In fact, for the past 3 or so summers, she’s been a volunteer in the Childrens zoo, which has only confirmed for her that this is what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

Here is a picture of her, taken by a co-worker at the zoo, of her in action. I get the heebie jeebies just looking at this!

Here are a sampling of the photos I’ve captured of the amazing creatures we share this earth with.


Not the most attractive animals in the kingdom, Rhinos are thought of as rough & tough, but it seems as though they also have a softer side as this picture shows some Rhino nuzzling.

Girraffes are one of my favorite animals to just sit and watch. So tall and lanky with a coat of intricate patterns they are a sight to behold. They seem to have a gracefulness about them that I envy!











This is a sun bear, he looks adorable, but from my understanding they can be very aggressive & have the claws to prove it!












This old girl had me mesmerized. I’ve always loved Chimps and here I looked her in the eyes for several minutes in sheer reverence. It may seem silly, but I wondered what her life had been like and if she was happy. Theres something about looking into the eyes of an animal like this that really made me appreciate life & the amazing journey we are all on!

Also, visit my new site, www.cmartinphotography.smugmug.com

Surprise, mom wants to take some Pictures!

Here are some photos I took of my girls just a few weeks ago!

 These were impromptu photos, I had no intentions of photographing my lovely daughters this day but this old building was a great setting. Obviously not every picture was “perfect”, but then again, sometimes, those can be the best kind! It was actually rainy, and cold but my girls are the best sports ever!! I tend to beg when I find an awesome place to shoot. They reluctantly posed for me because they know how irritating I can be when inspired.

We rushed through these due to the threat of rain & the fact that it wasn’t much above 4o degrees!

Amber accidently smooshed Jamie against the door which sent us all into fits of laughter.

One of the awesome things about being a mom to these girls, is that we have so much fun together.