I bought my first DSLR shortly after I found out I was pregnant. On a whim, I chose Canon. I read it was easier for beginners and I was familiar with the brand.
I wanted to be able to take photos during my pregnancy and pictures of my baby after she was born. Little did I know I’d get hooked.
I hit the ground running, read the manual from cover to cover, tried not to stay in “auto” mode for long, and fell completely in love with photography, specifically photographs of my family.
You know I’m all about making beautiful memories and capturing that. Well, 5 years and 3 Canons later, I didn’t expect for some of the moments I’ve captured to have such an impact on my life. While there are countless moments that wouldn’t have been the same without my DSLR, I’m narrowing it down to 10 today.
I’m partnering with Canon to share some photography tips and more specifically, I wanted to share 10 moments I may have missed without my DSLR camera.
Last year I dedicated this day to talk about my cool siblings who don’t get as much time to shine in this space, but this year… Forget them, I’m talking about the siblings I gave birth two. My two kids.
Yesterday I mentioned on My Facebook Page how I took my kids out to snap some bluebonnet pictures and how it was pretty much a fail. It’s like a right of passage here in Texas. You’ve just gotta do it… Every dang year.
I always tell myself I’m just going to let them run in the field and play and not stress about getting that perfect shot of them both smiling and looking into the camera. But once we get going I think ‘Oh, it shouldn’t be that hard to get just one.”
Who am I kidding? This one shot above came after dozens–Ok, more than 100 tries. It’s just not as easy for me to get both of my kids to cooperate. Not to mention they’re a little scared of the tall weeds, and my husband told them to watch out for snakes… THANKS A LOT!
Aside from that, Lil’ J is a snuggler…
But Big T isn’t.
And just when it seems like he’s going to play along.
He punches her in the face.
Oh, and that “perfect” photo I mentioned earlier? Isn’t even like it seems…
But my own little sister was nearby, to make up for all of the sad faces, with her cheery smile, always ready to be photographed.
All this to say don’t feel bad if you don’t capture those seemingly perfect moments! Many are just pretending to be perfect, and all the other moments are special in their own way too. The more I looked at these “outtakes” the more I realized they were just as awesome in their own way.
Someday when they’re older, maybe photographing them together will be less torturous.
Happy National Sibling Day! Hop over to My Facebook Page for a special caption contest I’m sponsoring. I’ll draw a random commenter will win a $25 to The Children’s Place. Gift card sponsored by yours truly as a thank you for reading and playing along!
Lil J was so excited to come home and share what she learned during fire safety week at her preschool. She goes through an entire performance it’s so adorable.
Lately I’ve been thinking what we’d do if there really was a fire in our home. As much as I pray that never happens, it’s smart to have a plan in place in case it does. Here are some things you can do to make a good fire escape plan.
1. Draw a floor plan of your home, and an escape path.
If you do this with your kids it’ll help them understand where to go in case of a fire. I printed off a floor plan of our house, then Lil’ J and I traced it and talked about where to go if the fire alarm went off. There are two exits for each room, the window, and door.
The Allstate Information Team says we should create multiple escape route plans so that if one exit is blocked, you and your family can easily adjust to locate another in a time of emergency. We cut out starts and flames to change around and talk about where to go in each instance. It was kind of a fun game.
2. Pick a family meeting spot
I can’t imagine leaving my house without knowing my kids are out first. So if my brilliant kids go straight out where they are suppose to, and I don’t see them in the house, we will meet in our meeting spot, which is (if you ask me, appropriately) right next to a fire hydrant.
3. Practice fire drills
Practice makes perfect. My daughter knows how to undo a deadbolt and we’re working on unlocking and opening windows.
When there is something tragic like a fire, you could lose everything, including some of your precious memories. Your safety is most important, and you should never go back into a burning house to try to save an item. You can replace a computer, but some of those memories you had stored on them may be priceless and irreplaceable. Here are some tips for backing your photos and videos up so you won’t have to lose those too.
Free TB of photos, Videos. Every month I try to dump all of my images for the month into my private Flicker folders for that month. With a free TB of storage just for photos and videos, I’ll likely never run out of space. And if several years down the road I ever do, I can just create another account.
2. Google Plus and/or YouTube
You probably only thought of YouTube as a place to share videos. While that is the site’s main purpose, I also sometimes upload my cellphone videos here in addition to Flickr or Google Plus and set it to private to have an extra place to pull them from in case of an emergency. Unlimited uploads and no limit on how long the video can be (whereas Flickr has a 3 minute limit, and Google Drive will eventually charge you for storage). While it’s not as intuitive on how to get your videos back off of YouTube, it is possible.
3. External Hard Drive & Fireproof Safe
I have a rotating batch of external hard drives that I keep backups of my computers on. I try to keep at least one of them in our fireproof safe, so that if there’s a fire, and I lose my computer and everything on it, I still have a recent backup to fall back on. External drives are so inexpensive these days, you can get one and do a monthly backup that you keep in the safe.
I’m hoping I never have to put all of this planning to use in a real fire, but being prepared will help protect our most precious people and memories just in case. For more ways to better prepare you and your family check out 20 Days to Ready. It’s a series of simple, daily tasks to help you better prepare for emergencies and protect your family when disaster strikes.
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.
A few weeks ago my son could hardly sit still for a book. I wrote about it being National Read Aloud Month and realized I could be doing better myself. That night I started pulling books from his shelves and reading a few to him each evening. At first he could sit for one, then he’d ask for his bottle and chill through the rest. Now he keeps handing me things to read and yelling “MORE BOOK!”
He has a favorite, I have to read it every night. We read it last right before he goes to sleep. Sometimes I even catch him “reading” it to himself during the day. I never want to forget his cute little voice and excitement as we read this book together.
I pulled out my phone the other night to record this little moment. I did it twice, once with the rear camera facing the book, then again with the frontal camera facing us.
A little video recording/editing tip: Recording something that’s going to repeat multiple times and getting multiple angles gives your story more dimension, and makes you feel like you’re there in the action when you watch your video back later. It also makes editing easier because you have more video to choose from.
I know the neighbors were driving by our house and shaking their heads at our icicle lights still dangling mid-January. But it was so hard finding the time to take them down. First, we had to borrow a ginormous ladder, then we had to wait for a warm day that we were both off from work (cause someone has to supervise the kids and make sure they done dive into the street while the other takes the lights down). Then we had to figure out how to open the huge ladder, and try not to kill ourselves in the process. … Did I mention we hired someone to put them up? Oh Yea, and that they died about 3 days in. *sigh*
Anyway, my husband ended up kind of flinging the lights off by grabbing one end of the string and pulling them down. It worked great (aside from a few light clips still being stuck to our shingles)!
The kids and I took care of everything inside the house right before new year. There’s more cuteness where this came from. I shared more of this experience and starting the year fresh on my NEW Tampico photo blog! Check it out.
I was going through a bunch of videos that I took with the kids last year. I was starting to file some away as archives and back them up when I realized a couple of things.
1. My kids grew SO much in the last year. It was crazy seeing videos from early last year. Lil’ J looked like a toddler at the beginning of the year and Big T was still an infant.
2. I probably would rarely open any of these video files again. I HAD to turn them into something. Compile the moments into something I could easily watch when I want and remember how sweet this last year with them was. Their favorite toys, their reaction to surprises, the sound of their laughter at this age.
If you know me or my kids (or have read my blog a while and feel like you do) you may want a tissue. If not, well, just imagine this being something with your kids.
My absolute favorite moment in this video is Lil’ J’s reaction to her new swingset. I didn’t notice it when my husband recorded it (which his why that part of the video is sideways) but the gasping motion she makes with her hands is just too sweet.
In a couple of weeks we’re surprising her with a trip to Disney World (the day we leave) and I can’t wait to record her reaction. I only hope it’s just as sweet.
Does looking at this make me think maybe someday one more baby wouldn’t be so bad? … Sorta. Ugh! I wish it didn’t.
For those who have asked, I used Final Cut Pro to edit this, but it can also easily be done with iMovie, or other free movie applications. If you’re interested I can record a little bit of the process I follow to make something like this.
Lil’ J helped me pick the music for our video and loved recapping the year with me.
I think this year I may try to make a monthly video using the iMovie app on my phone. I was playing around with it and impressed with how easy it is to make something. If I give it a go in January I’ll show you how it turns out and post a screenshot tutorial.
The days sometimes seem to go by so slow, but somehow the years go by so fast. Someday I want to look back remember as much as I can.
I am a FP Insider, chosen to help bring advice and encouragement to parents like myself. The thoughts and tips I shared in this post were written as a part of a partnership with Fisher-Price. All opinions are my own. Also, here are some of the toys my children enjoyed this last year that you may have noticed in this video: Laugh and Learn Table, Smart Stages Train.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the moment I became a mother the world as I knew it was forever changed. The smell and weight of this tiny human in my arms made me feel like a new person with so much responsibility. I felt so happy. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her.
With my son the story was much the same. I was so excited to meet the little guy and just as quickly as he came into the picture, it felt as though he had always been a part of our lives. We had no idea he was a boy, and the huge grin on my husband’s face at the realization made the moment even more special.
They were definitely two of the best days of my life.
Fast-forward three and a half years, and the day I became a mom is a pinnacle of my life. I love the tiny people they are becoming, and feel so blessed to be their mom.
When it comes to keepsake home videos I’m in charge of making them happen for our family. In the past I’ve made some for my husband with our daughter, but I want to be sure to be in some as well.
I recorded some moments with my kids, and gave Lil’ J a little Mother’s Day interview about her mommy. Big T can’t answer the questions just yet but I didn’t want him to be left out. One of my favorite things about him is his little raspy laugh. He’s had it since he was a newborn and I can’t get enough of it. So he’s on here just doing what he does best… Being cute. Here’s our video:
If you want to make something similar for Mother’s Day, or any other day for that matter… Here are some fun interview questions for kids:
1. Describe your mom.
2. What do you love most about your mommy?
3. What is your mommy’s favorite thing to do?
4. What’s your favorite thing to do with mommy? Why?
5. What does mommy like to play with you?
6. What does mommy do that’s silly?
7. When you’re scared or sad, what does mommy do to cheer you up?
8. If you could go anywhere with mommy, where would you want to go?
9. What do you do that makes mommy laugh?
10. What does mommy do to show you she loves you?
11. Why do you love mommy?
And going a step further, I thought it would be awesome to ask my own mom questions about Motherhood and document it in my journal.
Here’s a list of 20 questions to ask YOUR mom about motherhood:
I made a printable you can take and add to your journal. You can download it here.
What did you think of Lil’ J’s answers? I’m a little disappointed she only loves me to the moon (right before I started the camera she held up her fingers about two inches apart to demonstrate how much she loves me, but then outstretched her arms as far as she could to show how much I love her), but what can ya know… Kids say the darndest things.
I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.