Friday, July 23, 2010

Already Time To Move On...

This is the second time we have come "south" to visit family and friends. We learned last time that 7 weeks is too long to be away from home, and this time we have learned that 4 weeks is too short. I guess we will have to keep coming back to see what is the "right" length of a trip. Our Sarnia visit was not long enough as time was eaten away by trying to prep the trailer (now labelled the COW by my spouse, meaning Cabin On Wheels). I didn't get the kind of pics I wanted. However, we still had quality time with Opa and Oma (especially the sprouts), both at their house and on day trips.

Some great things about Sarnia and area:

  1. Canatara Park and the waterfront: a great place to run long, hang out at the beach and play with the Sprouts.
  2. On The Front Restaurant: EK and I love this restaurant as it has delish food, excellent service, a great view and an open kitchen so you can see your dinner being prepared. Yum!
  3. Parks: lots of parks for little people to play.
  4. Museums: places to explore, especially for inquisitive 6 year olds, like the Lambton Heritage Museum.
  5. Grandparents: it's where Opa and Oma live!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Most of the trip today was enjoyable, with a stop along the way at another falls, lunch at the birthplace of Winnie (said bear inspiring the Winnie-the-Pooh story), and some beach time at Old Woman Bay on Lake Superior. One of the few unenjoyable moments of the trip was when we stopped for construction (one of the two Canadian seasons). However, for JK this meant he was able to see some of his favourite things. Each time orange pylons appeared, or he noticed a person waving a slow/stop sign, JK from the back seat yelled "Machines!" at the top of his lungs.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On the Road

We are now safely in Thunder Bay (aka "the evil vortex that is Thunder Bay", according to my father-in-law). The kids are in their jammies watching Treehouse TV (a novelty for them), EK is out for a run and I'm, well, enjoying free Wi-Fi. Though the day got off to a slow start (which needed a boost from Tim's: a coffee for me, a French vanilla cap for EK), we have finished the first leg of our journey to southern Ontario to visit family and friends. Because we have driven the route a few times now, we try to find a new place for taking a break from driving, to stretch our legs and eat some food. We stopped today at Raleigh Falls, which the little people loved. We ate a picnic right beside the falls and hiked down a trail a bit. JK threw in many branches to watch them float down the river (his new favourite thing). The stop was a nice break from the tedious drive to Thunder Bay (not one of my favourite drives). I am looking forward to tomorrow, and though we have an early start, I love driving through and enjoying the landscape of Lake Superior country.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Living Prayer

Every time an Alison Krauss song plays we crank up the volume (the Sprouts love singing along with "Down by the River to Pray"). Here's one of our favourites:


Yesterday, as JK and I were on a walk, I was reminded of a camping trip two years ago in which he wore the same shirt (which is now almost too small). How time flies!



Our little man has grown so much in the past two years. He is as curious and physically active as he was two years ago (even more so, at times). He loves to ask questions and give a running commentary on almost anything (unlike two years ago when he hardly spoke at all). Yesterday's walk was all about ashphalt: how it is made, why there are cracks in it and how far it can be thrown.

My dad used to call JK's sister a "praatjesmaker", roughly translated: one who talks a lot or is a gabbler. Little does he know that JK is a praatjesmaker times 2! He'll find out in a few days...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

TV Quote

Yes, I like quotes! This one comes from a TV show The Mentalist that my spouse and I are watching on DVD (as I've mentioned before, we have no cable or satellite). This scene was a LOL moment for both of us:

Patrick: All you need is a basic understanding of the evolutionary psychology of women, rigorously and fearlessly applied. You gotta know what buttons to press.

Teresa: Like we're toasters.

Grace: Like men don't have buttons, too.

Patrick: Men are like toasters. Women... a little more like, uh, accordions. (Theresa and Grace walk away) (To Rigsby) I thought that was a compliment.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


When it comes to change, I do best when I adjust gradually.  I need time to think things through and then act (not the other way around).  Since I first delved into digital photography, my workflow (the way I “develop” my pictures) has slowly evolved into something that is a little more efficient.  When I first started (with a Panasonic Lumix FZ5), I would copy photos over with the USB cable from the camera, not thinking about organization, file names and so on.  This created a mess quite quickly (which still hasn’t been totally cleaned up).  I then used a Roxio photo program to organize and edit photos, and though not ideal, was cheaper than alternatives. 

Over time, I did lots of research on photo editing programs and finally purchased Photoshop Elements (4?).  This was a huge leap in efficient workflow as I could organize captured photos and edit them in the same program.  At the time, I was shooting JPEG, so I didn’t need anything more complicated than Elements.

Then I invested in a DSLR (Nikon D80).  I shot JPEG for some time before making the leap to RAW format, which, for some reason, scared the pants off me.  It took a lot of practice and experimenting to be comfortable working with RAW files.  At the same time I jumped to shooting RAW, I bought Lightroom 2 (LR2).  Now, you may think that I learned to use LR2 to its fullest potential.  Nope!  I would download my RAW photos into an updated version of Elements first, because I was quite comfortable with the Elements organizer and its ease of use (or so I thought).  Then, I would sort through the photos, deleting the less than desirable.  When photos were tagged and organized, I would click on a photo, open the edit menu and use the “edit in Lightroom” function.  I would wait patiently for LR to open, import the photo into LR, and then begin editing the photo and finally exporting it as a JPEG.  On top of that, to upload photos to Flickr, I would also have a Flickr uploader open, bring the photos into the uploader, and then upload them.  Crazy, right?  And the time wasted, wow.

Well, along comes Lightroom 3 (I upgraded recently) and this year’s summer vacation.  I shoot lots (and I mean, lots) of photos during vacations, and even though I have numerous memory cards, I still fill them all up.  Last summer, I used my dad’s computer to download pictures for part of our vacation so I could re-use memory cards.  This summer, I am using my laptop and LR3.  I finally made the leap to using just one program for organizing and editing photos.  I have been learning how to import photos in LR directly, skipping Elements altogether.  So now I use one program for organizing and editing, without the time wasted on using several different programs for my workflow.  And to top it all off, you can send photos directly to Flickr from LR3.  How cool is that?!  Less time at the computer, more time taking pictures!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Family Quote of the Week

FK: "Papa, how do mustaches grow? Do they grow out of your nose?"

(No, I do not have a mustache. This is one of many questions from our very curious Sprout.)

Canada Day

It's Canada Day, up Canada Way, on the first day of July.
And we're shouting "Hooray!", up Canada Way, when the maple leaf flies high.
Where the silver jets from East to West are streaming through our skies.
We'll be shouting "Hooray!", up Canada Way, when the great parade goes by.

Oh Canada, standing tall together,
We'll raise our hands and hail our flag
The maple leaf forever.

"It's Canada Day, Up Canada Way" by Stompin' Tom Connors

Last week we spent part of July 1 in Keewatin to celebrate our great nation's birthday. We enjoyed a lively parade, listened to live music, ate tasty treats (including free watermelon!), rode ponies, and did lots of people watching. We felt a little melancholy at first when the day started because past Canada Day celebrations were spent in Sarnia with my folks, but as the day went on our spirits lifted as we became immersed in the festivities.

And, to top off the day, the family tradition started by my folks continued with a trip to Dairy Queen for a post-celebration ice cream treat.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


The following two pics are from the previous week (I am catching up with my photos). After FK decided she was finished flying a kite that she and my spouse made a few years back, JK wanted a turn. I had the wrong lens on for these pics (I was trying to take a pic of an eagle), so use your imagination a bit to put the two pics together: