Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Day Out with My Girl

Last week, Bella and I went out to the Lost Barrio Shops.  They are these cute little shops, tucked down a little side street off of a busy road here in Tucson.  The street was quiet, but for the shop owners and employees that were coming and going.  We did not get to spend much time in the shops themselves, due to way too many attractive (and breakable) things for my little one to grab.  Temptation was just a bit too much for her.  ;-)

However, I found the bright, colorful shops to be a cute backdrop for some photos of my girl.  And Bella loved the fact that every single store had like 6 steps to climb up and down.  I was hoping to get some further away shots to capture the feel of the area, but Bella was having none of that.  Perhaps I'll go back soon since I now have my 28mm lens. 

Regardless, I had a blast with my little girl and got a few cute shots. 

Really, this little mini-photo shoot was inspired by the fact that my girl's hair was finally long enough for barettes!  Look!  Real barettes in her hair!  I was swooning over this, and thus had to go take some photos. 

Doesn't she look so grown up?  I can't believe it!

She got her daddy's gorgeous eyelashes.  Lucky, lucky girl!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Little Fairy

I'm digging these photos out of the archives (last month).  Apparently, I never got around to sharing them.  They certainly aren't perfect, but my little girl is running around Old Navy with fairy wings, so I kind of love them regardless...  =)

I missed focus in these (especially in the second one), but look at that face running through the store! 

And then she made a friend.  They became BFF's for all of about 20 minutes, bonding over the ball basket.

Stay tuned for Isabella's upcoming fairy birthday party.  Two.  How is that possible?

I think if I go back and get these wings, her party will be a big hit.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mama and Bella Weekend - AKA: Don't forget to change your ISO!

About a week ago, Bella and I made our way up to Phoenix sans Dada, who was in brewing heaven for two days, brewing two batches of beer.  Impressive, but still not quite so much as the weekend Bella and I went to Disneyland for a girls' trip with my family, and Ray pulled out the ultimate quad brew weekend.

At any rate, Bella and I went to Phoenix for birthday party extravaganzas (two in one day!), dinner with Papa (my dad) and also my stepmom, stepsister, and her boyfriend, and then finally the next day, breakfast with her other grandpa (well, one of her other grandpas), lunch with Auntie Jenn, and then I was off to a bridal shower while Bella and Auntie Jenn had a grand afternoon planned.  Whew!  Are you as exhausted reading all that as I was living it?  Probably not.  =) 

In the midst of all that, at one of the aforementioned birthday parties, Bella and I got some park time in.  I kind of felt bad because I barely saw any of my family members at this party, but if there's a park with swings and slides, I wish you the best of luck trying to do anything with Bella that does not involve swinging or sliding.  Needless to say, there was a lot of this going on:

Bella was having the time of her life in the swings and going down the slide at least 245 times.  At least.  And I was having a blast taking pictures of her!  I missed focus a few times on the swings, and I wasn't at all thrilled with how the slide pictures turned out, but I was loving some of the swing pictures that I captured. 

After we got home from our whirlwind adventure on Sunday night, and Bella was sound asleep in her crib, I couldn't wait to upload these photos to edit them.  I was looking at them and thought they looked...  off.  Then I noticed the settings.  ISO 1600.  Ahhhh!  For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, basically I forgot to switch it to a lower ISO.  You use high ISO in low light (like indoors without a lot of light), but it can make photos more grainy, and especially if you do much editing to them.  Outdoors in good light, you should be able to use ISO 100 or 200, which is what I should have been using.  So, my awesome pictures weren't as awesome as I thought they were.  I was able to get rid of some of the noise, but I was seriously bummed that they weren't as good as they could have been.

Oh well.  Live and learn.  It has made me a little more aware of my ISO, and hopefully someday I'll stop doing that.

At any rate, high ISO or not, I still captured some great memories with my daughter at the park.  And that really is all that matters.  And Isabella still loved her swings, regardless of my ISO woes. 

Oh yeah, and we did pry her away from the swings and the slide for a few minutes at least to see some family.  She's got my Uncle John wrapped around her cute little finger.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out Mama! Out!

After my daughter's nap the other day (Yes, she is still in her pajamas.  And yes, we were both in pj's all day long), I wanted a sweet picture of her smiling in her crib, happy to see me (the face I normally see after a nap).

However, me adjusting my settings apparently took too long (like a minute), and thus, we were left with this:

"Out!!!  Out Mama, out!!"  Poor girl.  ;-)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Check out Arizona Education Commitment

Check out Arizona Education Commitment

As a former teacher, and now especially as a mom, I believe strongly that our legislature needs to put a much stronger emphasis on saving education.  Funds going towards our public schools have been cut so drastically that they are having a severe detrimental effect on our schools.  The reaction has been to invest more into private schools and/or charter schools, but there are many problems with having this approach.  These types of schools should exist as alternatives to public schools, and I do believe in parental choice in education, but I do not believe that public schools should suffer significantly in the process.

There is an unfortunate movement (that I used to believe was all conspiracy and exaggerated) to undo the public school system entirely.  As someone who used to sub in the charter school system here in Tucson and has seen firsthand what these schools can do and the lack of standards and accountability they face, this frightens me like nothing else.  For example, I subbed in one elementary school in particular that used to have a normal curriculum the first year I subbed there (science, math, reading, writing, social studies, and extra curricular - such as music, art, and P.E.).  When I subbed there the following year, in order to boost their test scores, they had done away ENTIRELY with any science or social studies - at ALL grade levels (K-5).  They taught two classes of reading, writing, and math each day, with one period for extra curricular (P.E. twice per week, and also music one day, art one day, and one other class that I can't recall).  I was shocked and appalled that these kids were learning absolutely NO science or social studies.  None.  The heavy emphasis on reading, writing, and math was also taking its toll, and by the afternoon, they were bored and restless.  I was so appalled, that I refused to sub at this school ever again.  This is perfectly legal in charter schools.  Teachers also do not need to be highly qualified and/or certified in their subject area to teach in charter schools or private schools.  These schools are not required by law to accept all students.  I could list a million reasons why I do not support the idea of charter and private schools becoming the mainstream in education.  Yes, there are great charter and private schools out there, but there are also a lot of really shady ones (at least charter schools).

I believe strongly in the merits of a strong public edication offered to all children in our state.  I believe this only makes us stronger as a state, as a nation, and as a world.

If you wish to show your support for public schools in the state of Arizona, please visit the link I provided above, then click on the "sign on" tab, and take a moment of your time to sign the commitment to go to our state legislature.  We need to let them know that we DO value education in our state, and that their approach to utterly slashing education in our state is unacceptable and they need to find another way to balance our budget.  We need to make our voices heard, and they also need to do their job as outlined in the Arizona Constitution to protect education for our children.

Thank you for allowing me to take a moment to blog about something that is very near and dear to me.  Thank you also for taking your time to read this and especially if you take a moment to sign the commitment in the link I provided.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Two weeks ago, a tragedy occurred in an area that is roughly 20 minutes from my home.  In an area near where I used to teach.  In an area where many of my friends live.  It's hard to convey how close to home something like this hits.  It's hard to convey how it affects a community, even if you do not know any of the victims.  The idea that it could have been you.  That it could have been your friend or your neighbor.  The complete and utter senselessness of this shooting causes you to stop and think, to reflect, to feel grateful for the time you have with those you love.  And to feel grief, sadness, and even anger over the deaths of 6 completely innocent and good people, as well as the horrific injuries to others. 

When things like this happen, and especially in your community, you can't help but stay glued to the news for more information.  To grab your cell phone or log into Facebook and make sure all of your friends are safe.  I know that I spent the weekend glued to the TV, switching to different news stations to see if anyone had different news.  And although over the past two weeks, life has pretty much returned to normalcy, I still find myself thinking of those affected by this tragedy.

Which is why a couple of days ago I found myself calling my husband at work to ask him if he minded taking care of Bella on his own that evening so that I could go down to UMC to see the makeshift memorial that has been growing by the day since the night that this happened.  I felt like I needed to feel a part of the love that this wonderful community has been spreading to help heal the grief and shock felt by so many.

To say that I felt that love while standing in front of UMC would be a tremendous understatement.  I brought my camera with me to try to begin to capture the emotions, the love, the support, and the tremendous community spirit that is Tucson.  I don't know if I could fully capture those emotions that I felt while standing there, looking over a sea of flowers, candles, balloons, signs, photos, cards, stuffed animals, and every other momento left by thousands of visitors.  But I tried.






























About Me

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I'm a high school English teacher turned stay-at-home-mom. The more time I spend home with my daughter, the less I want to go back to teaching (although I love it and miss it). I have a new interest/passion/obsession with photography, and while I know I have a very, very long way to go, I am completely loving my new-found hobby. I am completely Disney obsessed (and a former Disney World Cast Member). For those familiar with the Disney lingo - I worked in Entertainment. Best friends with Mickey Mouse. Is there a better job in existance? I would argue no. Well, ok. Staying home with my sweet girl ranks up there pretty high. Although, when I get to merge my loves (Disneyland + Bella), it's pretty much my idea of heaven.

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