What's Pop Rocks, Mommy?

I think we can all agree that watching children try pop rocks for the first time is the funniest thing ever? They wanted to know what Pop Rocks were. And you know as well as I that understanding Pop Rocks requires eating them! Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4 f/4.5 (I usually keep it between 4.0 - 5.0 when I'm taking pictures of them together & want them both in focus), 1/400, ISO 800 (inside with some inside lights on bright & a bit of window light).

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You Say Tomato

It's really nice having grandparents who grew their own tomatoes. Its even better having grandparents who share their own tomatoes.  The next installment for this series will feature our other grandparents, who grow their own potatoes. I'll let you guess the title to that post! Side note, my children eat tomatoes like they are apples.

Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO 200, all edited with a Lightroom preset from Kate T Parker with some modifications.

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We visited NASA's Johnson Space Center last week. You can't live in Texas and not go there. It's just how I remembered it from my last visit, only better because of the kids. You really can't wrap your head around how massive everything is until you see it in person. Last night there was a full moon. It's hard to believe that big beautiful rock used to be part of the earth and now it is forever orbiting out in space. Thanks to the dozen space books we checked out from the library, Claudia can tell you just about anything you want to know about the moon... including that she will be going there someday. I guess we will have to wait and see about that!IMG_2436Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-48Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-48 IMG_2444Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-50Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-50 IMG_2479Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-54Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-54

Russell asked Patrick what happens inside the rocket boosters during takeoff. Here is Patrick explaining how explosions work: IMG_2504Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-58Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-58 IMG_2505Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-59Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-59IMG_2489Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-56Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-56 IMG_2509Houston_The_Woodlands_photographer_family-60-2Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-7

Gravely Beautiful

Taking pictures midday can be pretty tricky. This is doubly true when it is summer in a hot climate. But sometimes you see beautiful things in the middle of the day and you just have to get over the bright, direct light and shoot anyway. Such was the case when I passed by the Old City Cemetery in Galveston, Texas. We were just leaving town, the car was all packed up and everyone was settled in their seats, ready to drive. I had seen the cemetery earlier and when we passed it again, I couldn't help myself. I made my husband pull over and I bribed Claudia to take some pictures. Again, it was hot (upper 90s) and midday. I knew I couldn't shoot for very long, so I had to be quick... like 5 minutes quick. I put the hood on my 50 mm, put some sunglasses on Claudia and luckily we found some dandelions for her. I underexposed all the images because I wanted to really catch the beautiful blues of the sky and the bright yellow wildflowers. The entire cemetery was covered with wildflowers. The graves went back to the early 1800s, mostly European immigrants. So again, not an ideal time to shoot... the sun was directly over us and it was hot as hell, but it was just too beautiful to pass.

Canon 6d, 50 mm 1.4, f/8.0, 1/640, ISO 100 (for all), all edited in LR with VSCO pack 1, Fuji 400 H- (minus grain)

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Just Beachy

I don't think there is anything more satisfying than a day at the beach. I get so excited when I walk down a wooden pier, knowing the sand and shore is just steps away. Galveston, Texas does not have the bluest waters... it would be more fair to call them brown, really. But when the sky is just the right shade of blue, even that muddy messy water seems to sparkle. On a bright day like this, I will keep a narrow aperture, a super fast shudder speed, and a very low ISO. Canon 6d, 50mm 1.4, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 100 (approximately around there for all of these), all edited in LR with VSCO pack 1, Fuji 400 H- (minus grain, plus a few tweaks) preset

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The Alley

For better or worse, my kids don't experience near enough alleyways. But on this fine day they did.

Canon 6d, 50mm 1.4, f/4, 1/320, ISO 4000 (it was almost dark outside...think I should have widened the aperture & brought down the ISO because Claudia's face was super grainy.

Had to use the skin soften ++ brush to make it not too noisy. IMG_2266Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer_texas-1

The Start of Summer

There is nothing more beautiful than a summer sky and there is nothing more delicious than a cold slice of watermelon eaten under said sky. Here's to summer!IMG_1901-3Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-1Canon 6d, 50mm 1.4, f/4.5, 1/800, ISO 250

LR edit: VSCO pack 1, Fuji 400 H- (minus grain) preset, upped blues saturdation, dodged Claudia, upped exposure / decreased saturation of clouds

Last Bugs of the Season

This spring we have been attempting to introduce these two to this Louisiana tradition. So far they seem much more interested in playing with them than eating them. Patrick picks up each crawfish, one by one, carefully examines them, then flings them back on the pile, announcing "he dead! for each one. Claudia, being the far more adventurous one of the two, has eaten a few pieces of tail meat, but largely reserves her appetite for the potatoes and corn.  As for me and Russell, we pretty much race to see who can eat the most. My technique is a little poor, so I'm usually behind him. Next year will be my year, I'm sure!IMG_1843Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-2IMG_1813Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-1IMG_1859Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-6The_woodlands_photographer_all_the_gold_crawfishIMG_1847Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-3


Claudia: You are winding down with kindergarten... just a few more days. You turned in your last homework assignment entitled "my plans for the summer."  So far your list includes: (1) going to Chuck E Cheese (we've avoided it this far, so I guess we are due); (2) swim at the beach; (3) have a slumber party; and (4) bake a cake. I think we will do all this and some more. You are trying to help me teach Patrick how to ride his balance bike. Thank you for that... it has not been easy, has it? ;) Patrick: With the weather being so rainy, we go outside every chance we get. You ride your scooter so well, but you are refusing to ride on your balance bike. You just want to "walk it," which means you walk beside it and pull it everywhere you go. Claudia and I are trying to figure out a way to get you on the bike so you can have some real fun! IMG_0897Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-1 IMG_0966Houston_The_Woodlands_family_photographer-3

Just the Facts


Patrick Wallace McLendon. Goes by "Paddy." Wakes up around 7:30, surrounded by approximately 15 diecast cars and trucks.  Eats oatmeal for breakfast, followed by a bowl of Apple Jacks. Rides his scooter to drop off big sis off at school. Likes to pick up bugs. Stores many rocks in his pockets. Charms all the old ladies walking the neighborhood. (Unwillingly) goes to preschool a few days a week. Naps for about 2 hours a day. Excels at jumping into the pool at swim lessons, but refuses to float on his back.  Likes to watch Curious George in the afternoons.  Favorite book is Richard Scarry's Cars & Trucks & Things That Go. Goes to bed at 8 pm. Happy, happy boy.

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Easily bribed with ginger crisp cookies.

Shuffle, Hop, Scuff

Yesterday was your big tap dance show, my Bop. Your class of 15 girls tapped to Sugar Pie Honey Bunch in the Peace, Love & Motown show. Your favorite move was the "Jump, Tootsie Roll." You gave the whole dance your all and if you were nervous, we couldn't tell. You were happy to be dancing with all your friends and very happy to be wearing one hot pink, rainbow sequined tulle enhanced tap suit. And you were very pleased to be treated to a post-show seafood lunch, with red velvet cake, compliments of your Gram & Pawpaw afterwards. It was quite a show... well done, sweet girl!

Week Twenty

Claudia:  It has rained for about 9 days straight here and you are getting a little loopy from being stuck inside. Luckily you found lots of entertainment jumping on my bed this fine morning with Patrick. And all this time inside has given us more time to read together. You are reading the Molly series from The American Girl collection. Also, you have been fascinated with maps and want to identify all the spots on the globe where you have friends. Patrick:  You are getting so good at going to sleep these days. I can leave you after your bedtime stories and you hardly cry. You do stay up singing and making huge messes in your room though. I'll take that over the crying, though! Also, you are swimming so well. You love sticking your face in the water and can glide underwater for a few seconds at your swim lessons. I'm so proud of you!

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