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.

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….

cooler….

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….

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.

The Road Trip home…

The road trip coming home from dropping Amber off at college should take 4 ½ hours. Notice, I said should. I left Maryville at around noon and arrived home at about 8:30 pm! No I did not get lost, I did not stop to go shopping, I did not help an old lady cross the road. Instead, I purposely strayed onto the roads less traveled. Seriously less traveled for some of them. Old country roads, gravel roads, where ever my instincts led me, I went. Call me a dork, but I had a blast.
I felt a little like an explorer, wondering what vision I would see over the next hill or around the next bend in the road. I noticed that people in rural Missouri are still the type to wave as you pass them even though they have no idea who you are. Living in suburbia for so long, its so refreshing to see that the courtesy for your fellow man still exists if only shown by the simplest of gestures.
Along the roads, this are just some of what I saw:
This Old barn was off of Hwy 36, it was a grand old barn made with brick and wood. I would have loved to have ventured inside.
I feel as though barns are a big part of our heritage as Americans and feel they add character to our lands.

 

Appreciate the beauty that surrounds you every day. The beauty you look at but dont see. Those are gifts from God.
This last barn made me wonder. Who had been here? What had the lives been like that built, worked in, and played around this barn whose windmill had seen better days and whose walls were crumbling with memories?
Lastly, I know it has been a while between this post and my last, I have been busy getting prepared for craft shows. Next one this Saturday. I should be posting a bit more often here again.
Coming soon:
Baby Maria Grace
A senior portrait session
A Family portrait session
Stay tuned! (originally posted Oct 2009, blog moved)

Christy Goes to college (kind of) (St. Charles Photographer)

Ok, so I wasn’t going to college, I was taking my oldest back to move her in for her 2nd year. She attends college in rural, northern Missouri and the country is beautiful up there. Rolling farm fields of green and gold, the fresh, clean air, the feeling that you have “elbow room”… it would be a dream come true for me to live in a place like that.

Just like her freshman year, move in morning was a bit dreary weather wise.

We arrived at campus early in the morning to start moving her up to her second floor dorm. Both of our cars were packed with her belongings and supplies. There was no elevator in this dorm building, but as another 2nd floor mom said, as she looked on the bright side, “Thank God they’re not on the 3rd floor!” Great way to be positive!
We definitely got our exercise!
We trudged all of her things up to the dorm, arranged her room and unpacked. The dorm she had last year shared a community bathroom, this year she and her roomie are moving up in the college world and have a bathroom to their self, YAY!

(Administration Building)

After her room was mostly in order, we went for a walk around campus with my camera in hand. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sun had come out, it was another perfect day.
Although I had been there before, she was the campus expert and guided me to the good places for the shots.

The campus and the buildings are all as beautiful as the landscape that surrounds it.

The architecture around campus was a mix of the old and the new, and bustling with the youthful energy that inhabits it. I couldn’t help but think of all of these young adults walking around campus and how they are just starting out their adult lives. I never had the “go away to college experience” so it is fun to live it, if only a little, through my children.

The Bell tower in the center of the campus:

To the right: From under the bell tower you can view the flags that represent the home countries of the various students who attend.
The Bearcat is their Mascot. Evidently named by an opposing team years ago because the bearcat is an animal that is hard to catch & difficult to hold on to. (And let me tell you, it’s not an attractive animal!)

After lunch, she walked me to my car so I could begin the four and half hour drive home. I gave her a huge mamma hug and kissed her on top of her head. I didn’t get all choked up this year like I did last year, although I did get that familiar lump in my throat. I guess I’m getting used to the idea that my oldest baby is growing up, although I don’t think it was just that thought alone that caused that lump, I think it can also be contributed to pride.

GO BEARCATS!!!

www.cmartinphotography.smugmug.com