Mini Vaykay

Williamsburg, we couldn’t stay away.
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Damn, Disney

Disney, I didn’t miss you that much. Try as I might, I’m not clear about why I would subject myself to your theme park again. Oh… wait. It must be something about sharing an experience with my boys. Yes, that’s it. Otherwise, the first four-day hopper marathon in 2010 would’ve been my last World entrance as a parent of young children.

I’m still not clear whether I can bring food inside the gates. I mean that guy standing in line with the contraband tuna fish sandwiches didn’t seem to have issue getting his family’s budget meal from home into the park. But that lady doing the bag checks? She was pretty concerned with the 10-ounce juice I packed for Ri. It wasn’t water and that was some source of concern for her.

I’ll pretend the $100 a person price tag doesn’t bother me. After all, one expects to pay for vacation fun, right? And that $4.50 hot dog my son scarfed down in 30 seconds? Totally worth it. I searched the park for funnel cake. I didn’t find it, though I am certain you sell it somewhere. I smelled the sweet goodness at every turn, but had to settle for a $3.50 strawberry frozen fruit pop.

I loved the changes you made on that Fast Pass system, and really wish someone had mentioned I could book our reservations online. Finding those tablet carrying agents and negotiating times for rides should have been quite easy… but somehow, it was not – especially when we stood in front of the rides we hoped to revisit without the lengthy wait and could not simply hop on the consoles (all covered and in a collection like tombstones) and grab our own pass.

We elected not to bring our autograph books this trip (because we’ll just write letters to Disney characters and wait for reply, that wait is more climate-controlled and doesn’t waste precious park time). You would not believe the time saved by merely snapping a quick shot of a spotted Disney character when in-between pictures with other guests! And those we did pose with? Well, we picked the ones indoors, or split our family between two nearby lines, swapping spaces to get each of us in the pictures with maximum costumed-celebs.

Ri, socialite that she is was all for walking up to the bunnies… until one bent down to greet her. That was it – she panicked, sounded her “Danger” squeal, and retreated behind my legs. Chi tried to coax her back, as I stood holding my camera poised for a picture. And finally – realizing there would be no Ri and the Easter Bunny snap shot made otherwise – Chi held a discontent Ri between the two rabbits and we caught a quick picture. As soon as she was released, Ri sauntered off, waving at everyone she saw and flashing her smile with confidence.


honeymooning (with kids) on relaxation coast

The hubs and I delayed our honeymoon until we could bring the entire family along for the trip. Weird, right? Well, with the combining of two three-person households, it seemed ideal to make our first family trip happen rather than escaping on a romantic adventure sans minors. (Our minors are majors, after all.)

[Texture Tuesday @ KK Cafe featuring “Little Things”]
So, we packed up our beach bum wardrobes, rented a van, and cruised down 95 south. Half a dozen stops and many hours later, we arrived in North Myrtle Beach – a seaside vacation spot with streets lined in souvenir shops and miniature golf attractions.

Our home-from-home apartment was a nice two bedroom, two bath place in Wyndham’s WestWinds resort. Unfortunately, the biggest selling point of the location was its beach front location and friendly staff, because all other comforts and amenities I’ve been spoiled with at other timeshare locations were not featured here.

What is here in abundance is ocean waves that never cease. Dilapidated wooden fences are nestled in long grasses. And a serenity permeates even when storms threaten high tides and pelting rains.

Ok, did anyone happen to notice that I said I was driving a VAN? Yes, to fit my family of six (plus Oma), we had to get a bigger vehicle. Poor Celi sat at home and I missed my sleek, speedy sports car terribly as I whipped through traffic in the Chrysler Town & Country beast. I suppose this is one of those turning points in parenthood – when the car of choice is no longer functional for transporting the growing family.

We’re still learning how this new family dynamic works. Our littles are used to being the “baby” in their respective family- but there can only be one and both of them have aged out of the role in our cast. Our bigs are always the oldest, except now one is no longer. Instead, she claimed the role of “princess” as the only girl in a house of boys.

Admittedly, I’m still getting used to this collaboration thing. I’ve been independent for a long time and it’s still novel to have a partner sharing responsibilities and joys. I kinda like it.

So the “honey” in this vaykay is the sweet that comes from realizing that this man of mine gives my heart flutters whenever he says “I love you.” It’s his insistence that the pudgy girl I’ve always been known as is beautiful in his sight no matter what the mirror reports. It’s those times when we say the same thing at the same time without intention. It’s the hugs, hand holding, and kisses of someone who adores me (and it’s reciprocated).

It’s knowing that this active brood of youngsters is under our care – that together, we’re developing wonderful and independent people who will enjoy family, adventure, and learning.

And it’s saying good night or good morning to those whose company is cherished.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday: Simply random

Scavenger Hunt Sunday items: Seeing Double/Two, Whatever, Sweet, Space and Bright

Seeing Double
The goal of this shot was to create a picture with the family name in it. The shadow Ya? Bonus.
I need to preface this by saying that I abhor just about everything about chocolate – the smell, the taste, the way it melts on skin. But I couldn’t resist taking the free “tour” at Angell & Phelps while we were in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Fancy Mint Creme
Live-narration tours run daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., but the best way to photograph the candy making process is between tours or in the early morning when the crowds aren’t there.
Chocolate Chips

There is something so interesting about the displays in a gift shop.
All those bright colors highlighted by the florescent lighting of the store is appealing.
Mosaic Mug
Everything just screamed buy photograph me.

I sort of thought this was a joke theme… I mean, really? Do I just stick in whatever? Do I find a photo that screams “What-ev-er” with the w symbol and Clueless-style twang?
I really don’t know…
grasshoper lover
So I decided to post a few of the photo set from my Museum of Natural History excursion this past week. And, as has become my niche of late, it was all about the bugs…
walking stick bug
Think whatever you want 🙂

Oh, and the walking stick bugger? He’s my “little thing” beautified just a bit with Kim Klassen‘s Water Stained Frame.
Look really closely, and you’ll realize that the space being occupied here is by more than just a few leaves. And this butterfly? Totally spaced-out eyes, man. Totally!

Photographer Lessons

I learned something about my photography style this summer.

I learned that waiting for the connection with the eyes of my target is not the only factor in capturing a great image. In fact, looking the the assortment of photos that I absolutely love from our week in the south, there are fewer than 10 percent that I like where my “model” is looking at me.
Legit Laugh
Model? That’s probably a terrible misnomer.
Attitude Adjuster
Hence, the second thing I learned about myself: I am a student of fly on the wall photography. There was certainly a reason I was drawn to being called a photobug (a play on the paparazzo – Italian for mosquito – title I’d earned from years of carrying my camera everywhere). I enjoy capturing life as it unfolds unscripted before me. In the same way that I obsess about my insect safaris, I obsess about being the unobtrusive non-participant documentarian of a moment. I suppose I am still a photojournalist even if I’m not working in the field.

Just a few days ago, I was crushed to be rejected by a company that makes custom frames. Frames! All I really wanted to do was purchase a few for my photo wall that I’m working on and I loved the idea of complimenting my images with color. But I was told my portfolio is not developed, that my photographic eye is not that of a portrait photographer (from the e-mail: “express a sound understanding of photographic composition including such elements as: content, lighting, balance, symmetry, depth, framing, and perspective.”). And to grind in this snub further, I was given links to tutorials about composition and good photography.

Believe me, rejection hurts. It makes the tear ducts explode. I pout. I whine. I complain to anyone who will listen (sorry, if you’re reading this, yes, I’m still at it).

That leads me to the third thing I’ve learned. My style – my passion – isn’t going to appeal to everyone. Excite
I know, shocker.

So I’ll be a little selfish and shoot for me. I figure that if I’m never in any family function photos, I might as well document the events the way I like. Fair enough?
Jumping waves
I thought so.

I’m ever the student – as any good teacher is – so on with the lessons. The forth thing I’ve learned is that I adore – I absolutely love photographing in the light of sunset just as the sun is parallel to the tops of nearby buildings, but not quite on the horizon.
Sunset Cool
It makes for a warmth of light cast on my people that I think is simply stunning.
Davis Sands

Show Off: Determined focus

Cool Running
I was feeling a little tired of vibrantly colored beach photos… so I thought I’d toy with Black and White (and chocolate, too) for a bit.

Tomorrow, though, in my attempts to inundate the blog with a record of our annual vacation journey, there’ll be ample sunset-colored pictures to make me wish I was still hanging out on the beach. Or to make people wonder if the ubiquitous sand is going to be a daily feature. Oh why did I have to be so very click happy? {Cough, cough – don’t answer that.}

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