Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nathan Graduates (aka The Marbles are Gone)

A few years ago, I was trying to remind myself to cherish each moment that I had left before my kids were out of the house.  I decided to put marbles in a bottle to represent how many weekends I had left before the next child (Nathan) graduated from high school.  I put the bottle in the windowsill in the kitchen where I could see it daily.  Nathan told me he found it depressing.  What would be even more depressing, I told him, was to let those last days slip by without appreciating them fully.

Well, now the marbles are gone.  And I am a little sad.  But mostly I am glad for the wonderful time I had raising this son!  Nathan has a very tender soul.  He has always been the one most likely to say thank-you and the one most likely to notice if I was having a bad day.  Right now Nathan is heading into the nursing program at UT (that's University of Tennessee for any of my old Texas friends who read this blog).  I give him the right to change his mind (as many freshmen do) if he decides on a different career, but I must say that this path suits him.  

I sure will miss having him around, but I am excited to see what is ahead for him (and I won't miss tutoring him in Precalculus)!  Nathan didn't participate in a formal graduation ceremony, but we had two great parties.  

First, a friend of ours hosted a family cookout with seven graduating seniors:

We had plenty of food and the kids played Ultimate Frisbee.

Here is a picture of our senior, his teacher and his principal:

And here is a picture of the grad with his sister, who also graduated from college the same day!

A few days after this party, on the same day of his last-ever co-op class (his dual enrollment classes had ended the previous week), we celebrated his actual "graduation" with our immediate family.  We ate at Calhouns on the river, toured the UT campus and drove by Reese Hall where Nathan had just found out he will be rooming with his long-time friend Kevin O'Bryan, had dessert at Coolato Gelato, and then headed to World's Fair Park to watch sunset from the Sunsphere.  It was a wonderful evening!

Nathan graduated Magna Cum Laude! We had to tell him what that was.  :) 

Nathan's new home on the campus of UT:

  Of course, Nathan will always have a home in his Mom's heart!  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Your Family in Pictures

We are a photo-taking family.  I grew up watching my Dad develop B&W pictures in his darkroom in our house.   At family events, it is not unusual to see five or six cameras going at the same time.

I have always wanted to take better photographs.  With just a few tips like (1) keep the light behind you (2) get close, and (3) put people in your scenery shots- I have managed to do a better than average with my photos.  I have learned much more watching my daughter develop her photography skills.  Also, many years of scrapbooking have led me to take pictures that tell a story - I think more like a journalist when I am taking photos of family events.

So I was delighted to get a chance to review "Your Family in Pictures" by Me Ra Koh.  I just love this book!  It is written for a person using a fully manual OR automatic camera and even has some special info about hybrid cameras like the one I use - a Panasonic Lumix G1.

This book has a lot of great information presented in a very readable way with lots of - you guessed it - PHOTOS!  The book is very well-organized and has chapters on every day life photos, holiday photos, family portraits, travel photos, etc.  Each chapter has some prescriptions to try - giving specific aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings to try in a particular set-up.  I think using these as "projects" would be an excellent way to learn take your photography to the next level.

Me Ra Koh has two other books in this same format "Your Baby in Pictures: The New Parent's Guide to Photographing Your Baby's First Year" and "Your Child in Pictures:  A Parent's Guide to Photographing Your Toddler and Child from Age One to Ten. " Based on how much I liked "Your Family in Pictures," I may start giving these books as baby shower gifts.  Good photos are such a treasure.

Besides this book, Me Ra Koh has an excellent blog ( which I am going to be visiting regularly.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.