Thursday, February 28, 2008

Photography 101: Lesson #3

I sent in my 2 photos for this week's assignment. I wasn't feeling too great about my pictures as I didn't even read my lesson until late Friday. Come Saturday morning as I sat at the dining room table, I decided that this view of the lake would be one of my pictures showing extensive depth of field. Of course, many, many, many attempts later, I decided that one of them would work for my assignment. My next shot was to demonstrate shallow depth of field. A portrait is what it was going to be but Cara-Li was out as I used her last week. I wanted to use Alexia as my subject but I couldn't figure out how I would keep her from moving. Every time I have the camera in my hand, she feels the need to come at me. Well, here she is just coming out of her bath with her bear towel on. I placed her on the chair and thought I'd try taking one shot but lo and behold, she didn't move for the longest time allowing me to take quite a number of pictures. One of them ended up being my shot #2.

Did I mention that the instructor loved them both stating that the landscape one looked more like a painting than a photograph and the one of Alexia was good enough to enter in a photo contest! Wow! I was not expecting that!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Family visits and 16 months!

That's right... Alexia is 16 months old today. Happy Birthday baby! Finally, we have arrived to an age that I know. You see, Cara-Li joined our family at 16 months therefore when we received our referral of Alexia at 8 months of age, I panicked. I didn't know what to do with an 8 month old baby! We made it through the last 6 months and they were fabulous. Alexia couldn't be a better baby!

During the past weekend, we had family come in from out of town. My wonderful sister-in-law (Hi K!) and her 2 wonderful (and big!) sons decided to make their way east on the 401 for a funfilled long weekend of skiing, snowmobiling and late nights! We had a blast on Saturday with our 'Pizza Night'. Everyone got to make there own personal size pizza with a vast selection of different toppings. Of course, the boys (young and old) soon left on the snowmobiles for fun on the lake. There was lots of skiing as well and we all played hooky on Monday and stayed for the day. Mommy actually got to ski the entire day! Imagine that! Boy, I had a blast!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Photography 101: Lesson #2

So here we are another Tuesday night when I frantically must choose my pictures for my assignment due tomorrow. This week we had to take 3 shots: one in close-up mode, one in portrait mode and one in sport mode. These are all automatic settings so I thought to myself, easy-peasy (as Cara-Li would say). Well, this week we had to keep in mind composition as well. So it wasn't just snap away. I had to think about it a little. Well, after 506 pictures taken either wandering through Montreal-West freezing, hanging in Montreal-West arena (freezing as well!), lying on the floor in the family room, standing on furniture in the family room, playing in the snow at the cottage, and aggravating my entire family, here are my 3 submissions.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thank goodness it's Monday....

I never thought I'd say that but weekends are exhausting! It is rush, rush, all week to get the laundry and groceries done for the weekend. Then it's Friday and we grab a quick bite after Cara-Li's skating only to fly off to the cottage. Then it's shovel, shovel, shovel (will it ever stop snowing??) just to get into the cottage which is warm thanks to the magic of programmable thermostats.

On Saturday, it is up early to shovel the roof (Gord) while I make waffles (yum-yum). Once the breakfast dishes are done, I throw some ingredients in the slow cooker to make a mighty tasty beef stroganoff. Once that was going, I throw together a lunch for the skiers (Cara-Li and Gord) who leave me for the entire day of fun in the snow. Then, I bake an upside down pineapple cake just because I have a pineapple lying around. Alexia is either napping, eating or playing during all the cooking / baking time. Somewhere in between all this, I read my next photography lesson and think about my assignment which is stressing me as I do not know when I will take my 3 required shots. Upon the skiers' return, dinner is promptly served and devoured by all. Once the kids are tucked into bed, it is my turn to lie down on the couch and catch some ZZZZ's before starting another day. All this before 8PM!

Baby, Mommy has to taste it first to make sure it is not too hot!

Here you go, Baby. Try this. It is tasty!

Sssshhhh, Baby. What did Oprah just day?

Alexia is proud to be feeding Baby!

My delicious Upside Down Pineapple Cake

On Sunday, it is up even earlier as Cara-Li insisted on skiing again. So Gord and Cara-Li are gone by 9AM and back by noon looking for lunch. After a quick bite (there was noooo cooking today - leftovers only), we decide to snoeshoe around the lake. This is my opportunity to get my pictures! So with camera around my neck, I try to capture the beauty surrounding me. And after over 500 pictures, I think I got my 3 shots. My family is ready to disown me at this point. I even caught Gord wishing the batteries would die or that the memory card was full. They just don't get it! Alexia and I return to the cottage for a nap while the other 2 snowmobile off into the sunset. Oh and let's not forget our lovely Sunday night dinner at Chalet BBQ. It doesn't get better than chicken and french fries after a weekend like this!

My snowshoers, Gord and Alexia.

And Cara-Li, the other snowshoer.

And they're off to blaze a trail around the lake.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, hubs is finally back just in time for Valentine's Day. However, no plans were made for tonight. Just as well... with restaurants so busy, the service and quality is inevitably jeopardized. We have decided to take a rain check (along with 2 missed birthdays and a missed anniversary) for next week when things are a bit more quiet. Looking forward to a night out with lots of good food and good wine... and NO kids!

Flowers from my darling husband

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Photography 101: Lesson #1

A couple of weeks ago, my blogger friend, Mortimer's Mom, mentionned that she was taking an on-line photography class. So I decided to join her on this 4-week journey as it has been probably 10 years since I've wanted to take a course. Now with my new Canon Rebel XTi, I decided it was time to finally learn how to get off the automatic mode and onto manual mode. There are a lot of little buttons on this camera that until now have always been a mystery to me. Sure it comes with a manual, but who reads them past the initial set-up and automatic photo taking!

Our first assignment came in last Wednesday and due to lack of time, I only started reading the lesson on Sunday night. Unfortunately for me, my best subjects are at the cottage (lake, snow, trees). And with 2 sicks kids and 1 husband out of town, I had a really tough time taking photos at home. While one was a school and the other was napping, I managed to snap some shots in my backyard. Nothing too interesting. Then I tried some flower shots indoors. Nope. No good either. Then some of Cara-Li's Chinese dolls. These were good but did not depict the lesson quite right. I will reuse this subject at a later time as they are cute! Finally, as I was in the bathroom, I looked out the window to see the temperaure on the thermometer and there it was. My photo! I must have shot this exact photo 50 times at different times of the day. Finally, in the late afternoon as the sun was setting, I got my picture. And it was shot in many different settings to be able to clearly understand the difference. I e-mailed my photos just in the nick of time a they are due tomorrow. Here is my personal favorite. And if anyone cares, it was shot in P mode, no flash, daylight WB, f/32.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Homes, Cottages and CNY

Owning a home isn't always what it's cut out to be. Sure, you have your glorious moments but when things go wrong, they go wrong. And it always seems bad things happen when the husband is not around. So last week when we had a couple days of warm weather, the roof of the newer part of our house started to leak from the skylight area right onto our dining room table. And then shortly thereafter, leaking from by the window. I had huge tubs all over the place trying to catch all the water coming in. Poor Cara-Li kept asking why it was raining inside the house!

Then on Friday (once again husband not around), I head up to the cottage with the girls and my girlfriend for the weekend. Dying of starvation, I head to the basement upon arrival for a pizza from the freezer only to discover that the fuses had blown and all the frozen food was, shall I say, not so frozen! What a smell! We hadn't been there in 2 weeks so god only knows how long it has been off. Good thing the lights were not working either so I couldn't really see what I was taking out of the freezer. Gross! After our much deserved tuna sandwich (thank goodness for canned goods!), it was off to bed. But not for long, as I was awakened by the sound of dripping water. Yes, folks... the roof was leaking into my bedroom! And then making its way to the lower floor into the bathroom.

On Sunday, were headed back to Montreal through a snowstorm to attend the Adoptive Families of Quebec Chinese New Year party in Chinatown. A great time was had by all and it was great to see so many friends and familiar faces not to mention all the little ones running around!
After the party, we shuffled the girls back home where we tried to get a posed photo using my new camera and the timer feature. Here is our best effort.

Oh yes, and I will mention at this point that more water was leaking from the ceiling by the window at the house with plaster having fallen all over the table. And yes, if you haven't noticed by the lack of husband in the photos, that's right, the husband is still not home! But if you look closely, he does make an appearance in the photo behind us on the piano.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Chinese New Years Celebrations

Once again, as every year since we have be home with Cara-Li, we had a wonderful New Years Celebration in Chinatown (of course!) with family and friends. This year, along with the usual suspects :) , we had some new families, Mortimer's Mom and Red ,join us making our party spill onto 2 large tables instead of the usual one. Our lovely daughters were the center of attention and really the reason why we were celebrating this very important Chinese holiday. Dinner was great and the company was even better!

Julia, Cara-Li and Gabrielle

BB, Cara-Li and Dumpling (BB & D from Mortimer's Mom)

Yummy from Red


What do you do with your extra candy canes from Christmas, you ask yourself? Well, rats (or mice) for Chinese New Year, of course! Cara-Li and I made these little creatures as a little thank you for coming to dinner for all their little guests.

My doorbell rang this afternoon and look at what was at the door! A lovely bouquet from Red and family as a thank you. What a nice surprise!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gong Hay Fat Choy!

Send this eCard !


Happy Chinese New Year from our family to yours!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

5 months already

When do we stop counting how long that our baby Alexia has been with us? Probably never as that day is forever marked in our hearts as the most important day of our lives... the day that she became part of us, part of our family. I guess eventually we will only celebrate the actual day much like a birthday but for the first year, we allow ourselves to celebrate each month! So for the next 7 months, you will see a post on the 2nd of each month until we celebrate the big 1st Anniversary. After that, I promise that the anniversary post will be saved for the actual day itself.

Friday, February 1, 2008


What is this world coming to? This is the question that you ask yourself when an 8 month old baby is found near death in an outdoor parking lot stairwell at below freezing temperatures, beaten and left to die. And after circulating her photo around for 2 days, no one has come forward to identify her.

This only brings me to think of my daughters' birthmothers and how they lovingly and safely placed their babies in a public area where they were sure that they would be found and taken care of. These women showed my daughters one last sign of love by jeopardizing their own lives to ensure that their daughters had a chance at a better life.

This is not what the parents of this poor 8 month old girl did. My God... what were they thinking?