Friday, August 29, 2008

Birthdays, Baseball and Beautiful Brides!

Well, been a little busy as of late, but I've finally found a minute to post something new! Ninety years ago today (Thursday), a woman was born who would eventually become my grandmother! She's seen and done it all and will most likely outlive all her children...because she's too stubborn not to!! And we love her all the more for it! We had a surprise birthday party for her at her nursing home. After the initial shock when we all yelled, "SURPRISE!!" the first thing out of her mouth was, "Oh, you a**holes!" (It was said good-naturedly, of course! That's just Gram!) Below, Luci leans in for a smack from Nana.

Drew's turn for some kisses!
Here is most of the group who attended. We lost a few immediately after the meal, so not everyone is shown. She doesn't know it yet, but I'll be putting this picture in the local newspaper. Most likely she'll want to strangle me!
Here are the last three remaining "H" sisters. On the left is Great Aunt Kate, then my grandmother in the middle, Millie, and on the right is my Great Aunt Pat. They are 92, 90 and 82 respectively. (Longevity must run in my family!)
Ok, so I didn't mention the tea party in my headline, but it messed up the alliteration, oh well! The girls wanted to pose for some pictures, so we decided on a tea party theme and went for it. I got out this backdrop which I've only ever used once before for Luci's dance pictures, but I think it works well for this theme. Here are a few of my favorites.

Since my equipment was already set up, we talked Papa into posing for a Yankees picture! If you look closely, the girls both have on Yankees shirts as well. Obviously Papa is quite a Yankees fan, so I'm sure he'll love hanging this shot on his bedroom wall!
This past weekend, I shot a wedding in Alexandria Bay, NY. It was beautiful...though not nearly as stunning as the bride! Now you don't know her, but I was impressed with how a few of these shots turned out, so I thought I'd post them. I'm certainly improving! (Admittedly, it is quite difficult to get a bad shot when your model looks like this!)
The next two shots are the same picture, but I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so I posted them both. You be the judge!

I've got one wedding left this year (I shot 6 so far this year), but have booked two weddings for NEXT year already! Business is definitely good! On another good note...Dean has chosen a date to start demolition on the back of our house! September 6th is the day. I have a baby shower and my niece's birthday party on that day as well, but hopefully I'll be able to see some of the demolition and post pictures here! Until then, take care!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Camping...Adirondack Style!

Man, have we been missing out! My brother, a certifiable nature enthusiast, convinced us to go on a "REAL" camping know, tents, sleeping bags, the Great Outdoors??? Now, we've done this numerous times in the past, but gave it up once Drew came along as she really didn't appreciate 50 pounds of blankets on top of her body at night! Hence the camper thing, which we also love! But this trip really was an eye-opener for me. I hadn't realized just how much I missed camping until this past weekend!! My brother has camped in the Adirondacks for years and had a spot on Raquette Lake picked out for us. I have camped on Raquette before, but not in the lean-to site he found for us. It is about a 15 minute drive from the boat launch at Raquette Lake (the town). The one I've been to is a mere 3 or 4 minute drive from the boat launch. Anyway, this new site was way on the other side of the lake and was far more remote and QUIET! (Have you ever heard deafening silence before??) Below is a shot of our site from the water. (Click on the picture to get a full size view.)

For anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to camp in a lean-to in the Adirondacks, I highly recommend it! A lean-to is basically a small log cabin with only three enclosed sides. The fourth side is exposed to the outdoors. Below, Drew gets a tickle from Uncle (as she and Luci call him) and you can see part of the lean-to.
Here are some of the views around our site...

Now, mostly, this is a pretty pristine area, but not everyone respects these spots and someone thought they'd be funny and spray paint, "I chopped her body up" on the outhouse door! Actually, though I'd never do this myself, I did get a chuckle from this! Yes, this IS the only bathroom available! It was pretty stinky and I held my breath every time I used it!
One thing the girls got to enjoy this weekend was fishing! They caught more fish than I can count! Granted, they were nothing more than very small sunfish, but they didn't care! Here we see Uncle helping them out!
And here we see me tossing back the latest catch. (I used to be an avid fisherman before the girls came along, but I just can't seem to find much time to enjoy it anymore!)
Here's Drew first catch of the weekend. Her first fish ever was last year, a rock bass caught with Uncle's help!
And here's Luci's first fish ever! Like I said, they were catching them all weekend! They'd go turn over a rock or dig in the ground to find a worm and come running to catch another. When they couldn't seem to find anymore worms, we switched to slugs. They work and they also stay on the hook better than worms!
Below, are a couple shots of some of the wildlife we saw on our nature walks through the woods. Here's a beautiful salamander.
And of course a toad.
Speaking of wildlife, Drew thought she'd try out a tree to see how a bear scratches himself.
Luci couldn't quite get the hang of it, but managed to scratch her bum a bit!
We had been watching the weather to see what we might be in store for there and prepared ourselves for chilly nights. Thankfully, it wasn't nearly as chilly as we expected and our nights were pleasantly comfortable! The first morning, we awoke to some fog hanging over the water, trees and surrounding mountains. It was beautiful and serene.
During the day, it was warm enough for a dip in the lake!
Later, the girls enjoyed a boat ride to see some more scenery.
Here's a shot of our site taken from near the outhouse.
Uncle got the girls to pose for him!
In the evenings, we'd all sit around the fire pit and enjoy the fire. You can see the inside of the lean-to behind them. We didn't actually sleep in the lean-to, my brother brought his tent. But the lean-to came in handy for keeping our stuff together and off the ground. To the right, you'll see a silver tarp which we suspended from the ceiling of the lean-to to keep our food in to discourage the mice. It worked well! As a matter of fact, we didn't have any animal encounters whatsoever! A couple of deer got within a hundred feet of our lean-to, but Mouth #1 and Mouth #2 made sure they came no closer!
This morning (Sunday) we awoke to no fog, but a beautiful sunrise. This first shot is just before the sun rose.
And here's the first glimpse of the sun.
And finally, it popped out over the mountains. It was gorgeous!
A shot taken a little later in the morning. I'm still fishing!
After a fun, full weekend, this is the result on the ride home!

As I've mentioned before, what a wonderful weekend this was! The girls got experience some TRUE camping and they both REALLY loved it and had a good time! They got to explore and see things they've never seen, they got to go fishing, a brand new experience for Luci! They never sat still the entire time. We set a boundary for them and then let them run free whenever they wanted! They absolutely loved it as evidenced by the squeals of delight every time they found something new! The ONLY downside to this fairytale weekend was the lack of loons. We heard one brief call on our first night there, and then a few faint calls the next night, but that was it. And then, wouldn't you know it, while we were packing the boat this morning for our return ride, we heard Luci say, "Wook, a duck!" We turned around and there, a mere 15 feet from us was a loon! It was beautiful!! I scrambled for my camera, turned it on, zoomed in on the loon and just as I was about to hit the button....the damn bird dove under the water!!! Argh!! Oh well! At least the girls got to see one close-up! I'm so glad we took the girls on this trip, it was one way to celebrate Luci's "Gotcha Day", "Adoption Day", "Forever Family Day", "Insert your label of choice here Day" was Friday the 15th and she had a ball! (Wow, has it really only been 3 years since we adopted her??????) And we all had a ball! Next year, I'd like to fit several more of these types of trips in to our summer!