Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wyle's 2nd Birthday

Yesterday was my baby's second birthday!  My how time flies!  It was a cold one, but she begs to go outside every day, regardless of the weather, so we took a few minutes to enjoy birthday cupcakes in the back yard.  But more than frosting, she wanted to run around!  No surprise there.  We had a wonderful day together, full of presents and balloons and Facetime with our family.  

I don't suppose I'll be checking back into the blog until after the new year.  Things are busy here as I imagine they are at your home, too, and there are only so  many minutes in day!  Once everything quiets down I will have a little more time to get out there and shoot some photos of this beautiful snow.  I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of it this winter.  Wherever you are, stay warm!  And have the happiest of holidays!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wyle - 23 Months

Hi everyone!  So here are some photos from this year, if you couldn't tell :)  We got our first snow a few days ago and it has mostly melted off, so Wyle and I spent some time playing in what remained.  She has been begging to "play snow" all week but with her runny nose I didn't want to let her freeze out there in twenty-something temperatures.  When it finally warmed up, we went out and she was so happy.  In the first picture, she is examining a piece of ice, and of course she is running wild in the second shot.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Autumn Glory

Now that it has snowed here (an inch or two, today), I am finally getting around to showing you some autumn photos!  I'm sorry I am so far behind but that is just how life is now.  In fact, these are photos I took LAST YEAR that I am just now getting around to processing.  That's right.  I'm more than a whole year behind.  I hate when my files stack up like this, but it is more important to get out and shoot and let the files languish on my hard drive than to not shoot and feel all caught up.  I am definitely pickier about what and when I shoot since my time is so limited, but even still, it is hard to keep up.  The ratio of shooting to processing time is quite vast.  I don't know if everyone realizes that.  To shoot digitally means that you can take hundreds of photos in minutes, and that can take hours to sort through.

Anyway, here is Pittsburgh in her autumn glory, if a little late.  I am glad I did go out and take these last year because a lot of rain really battered the pretty leaves from the trees this year and I spent a lot of time saddened that the foliage had thinned out so quickly this year.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Little Sunny Spot

Here is one last peek of Beechwood Farms in late September.  I found this little sunny spot while I was walking with Wyle.  It was late afternoon and the sun was just lighting up this one little patch of grass while everything around it was descending into shadow.  I loved it, and the little white flowers in the background.  Which do you like better, the horizontal or the vertical?  I can't decide.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Back to September

It is somehow November already.  But we need to go back and revisit September for just a moment. It was truly beautiful.  As a kid, I remember my mom being allergic to Goldenrod, and as a result, I just hated it.  But many years removed from that, I have to say I now find it beautiful.  Which is good, because Pittsburgh is covered in it in the late summer and early fall.  There is a field of it at Beechwood Farms, where I love to go and take photos, though you can't get a feel for just how vast it is from these pictures.  It is like a sea of gold, and the bees just buzz from bloom to bloom, forming a collective cloud of activity that hovers just above the plants.  It's so pretty, and so alive.  I tried to get a few shots of the bees, but Wyle, who was in the backpack, did not want to sit still, so those didn't work out.  But I hope you get an idea of just how lovely it was.  Amid the goldenrod there are tangles of other wildflowers, like in the first shot, making pretty vignettes that break up all the gold.

Monday, November 4, 2013

One Last Look

Here is one last look at Lake Champlain and its beautiful waters.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guest Post on The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog

I had the pleasure yesterday of guest posting on The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog.  I wrote about something that has been bothering me for some time - how my child will grow up so differently here in Pittsburgh than from how I did in small-town South Carolina.  Writing this piece helped me to see that it's not a bad thing, and, that in fact, there are just as many positives that I can focus on as Wyle grows up.  I want to thank Nadine for the opportunity!

Anyway, I hope you all are having a great week, and of course, a great Halloween tonight!  Have fun and stay safe!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ausable Chasm

Towards the end of our vacation at Lake Champlain, we decided to drive up and visit Ausable Chasm.  We had looked at brochures for it and were not quite sure it was worth one of our days, but I am so glad we went.  As you can see, it was really amazing.  This privately-owned attraction has several different options for hiking and rafting through the beautiful natural formations.  We hiked a three-mile trail, that hugged the chasm walls and gave us amazing views.  It was one of those days were it is sunny one minute, and quite cloudy the next, but it didn't rain on us, and the clouds at least relieved us from the heat a little.  We were a sweaty mess by the time we finished the trail and returned to the visitor's center, so I'll spare you the family photos of us..  I think next to riding the ferry back and forth across Lake Champlain, this was my favorite part of our vacation.  We took the baby in the backpack and I think she enjoyed the scenery, too.  The admission price is a little steep, but I think it is well worth it if you plan to make a day of it at Ausable Chasm.  We later learned that heavy rains have twice flooded the place, ripping down walkways and bridges and since it is a private enterprise, you know that your money is going towards maintaining the immaculate trails and facilities.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Top Floor Windows

I forget what little New York town we were in when I shot this.  I remember wanting to get closer and explore this building, but alas, we had only stopped at the local grocery store for supplies.  This gem of a building was hiding behind it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Country Lane Toward the Lake

We stopped along this dirt road, in Vermont, headed toward Lake Champlain, on one windy afternoon.  There was not much of a view of the mountains, as I had hoped, but it was still pretty.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Essex Ferry, Early Morning

I walked down to the park on the shores of Essex, NY one morning during our stay to photograph the ferry.  It crosses several times a day, and I wanted to see it in the morning light.  I loved how these little purple asters framed it as it glided back across the lake to Vermont.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Of Sailboats and Rowboats

There were so many different kinds of boats on the lake at any one time.  We watched from the ferry as this sailboat and rowboat pass each other one afternoon.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Boats At Rest

There were so many boats moving about on Lake Champlain.  There were just as many moored right offshore, waiting to be used.  I took this shot from the Vermont side of the lake, looking toward the New York side.  Those are the Adirondack Mountains you see in the distance.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Essex, NY

I did a lot of looking around, trying to decide just where to stay on our week-long vacation to Lake Champlain.  I knew we'd stay on the New York side, as it made for the shortest drive.  It was not difficult to settle on the lovely village of Essex.  The entire hamlet is on the National Register of Historic Places and retains the quiet and charm of a small town.  There are a few places to eat and to shop, but there are no chains or fast food.  We had to go out of town for groceries, but we enjoyed breakfast almost every morning at a cute general store overlooking the lake, and ate two gourmet dinners, at Chez Lin and Ray's, and also at The Essex Inn.  There was also a cute ice cream shop where we tried to beat the heat, and a playground and little beach where we played with Wyle.  It was a safe place to walk around and the pace of life was perfect for our little family.  Every home was beautiful, and every public space was clean and tidy.  It was really a nice place to call our home away from home for  a week.  I have only one word of warning - if you stay, bring some earplugs!  There is a church bell that rings every hour, day AND night.  By the end of the week I had ceased to notice it, but it cost me some sleep the first few nights!

To learn more of this town's history, visit the Historic Essex site.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Essex From the Water

Here is a view of the town of Essex, NY, from the water.  The entire charming hamlet is designated as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.  I'll show you photos of the town in my next post.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our Charming Rustic Rental

Here is the rustic house we rented in Essex, NY.  I was completely charmed we we saw it upon arrival, and it suited our needs perfectly during our week-long stay.  Grandpa stayed upstairs, and in the afternoons we'd sit on the upstairs deck, enjoying a breeze.  We stayed downstairs, in a large bedroom that accommodated Wyle's Pack'n'Play in the corner with our bed at the other end of the room.  We could close it off while she was sleeping with big barn doors, and continue to cook in the kitchen and relax in the dining room in the front of the house.  I loved the rustic feel and it was just enough space for us.  I will remember our time here fondly.  And I'll show you photos of the town of Essex, next time.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Knight's Point State Park

We stopped at Knight's Point State Park as well during our day trip to the northern islands of Lake Champlain.  It was a pretty, quiet little spot, and the whole family had a fun time walking around and playing.  Wyle particularly liked the old beached boat full of sand and toys.  Grandpa was happy to find some shade (it was a warm day, for sure).  There were canoes just waiting to be used, right along the shore.  It was a lovely spot to end our day, and we headed home, through Vermont and back across the ferry to where we were staying in Essex, NY.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blue Shed Doors


These lovely blue doors belong to a maintenance shed in one of the cemeteries we poked around in.  We found a lot of Bri's relatives on those northern Lake Champlain islands, long ago buried.  Bri spent a lot of trip researching that wing of his family and found a lot of interesting facts.  Best of all was getting to actually see the land those people worked.  Somehow seeing the land (not so unchanged in the last century) connects you to your family history, in a way that you cannot feel otherwise.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Barn and Field

There seemed to be a lot of open spaces on the islands at the top of Lake Champlain.  I think there was once much more farmland, and nature has begun reclaiming it with fields of tall grasses and flowers.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Alburg Dunes State Park

On our second day of vacation, we drove up from Essex, NY, to the top of Lake Champlain, through the islands, and stopped at a couple of the Vermont state parks in the area.  Our first stop was at Alburg Dunes State Park.  We didn't know it was a hot attraction for the locals, boasting a sandy little stretch of beach that everyone seemed to be out enjoying.  Despite being out without bathing suits, Bri couldn't resist letting the little girl play in the water.  Thank goodness I always travel with a spare set of clothes.  She was wet from head to toe by the time she was done.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lake Champlain

Hi everyone!  I have time for just a quick post today so I thought I would finally show you a photo of Lake Champlain.  I loved the way the water looked in this shot, though I never did get the 'perfect' photo of the lake I was looking for during our trip.  But that's ok - sometimes you have to remember you are on vacation, and the memories matter more than the shots you got.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fort Ticonderoga


On the first day of our vacation to the Lake Champlain region, we visited Fort Ticonderoga.  What you see here is a restoration of the 1755 fort, completed by the Pell family in the early 1900s.  It is quite grand and includes a museum inside the fort, reenactors and even a lunch spot.  

This place is significant not only to the history of the region, but to that of the nation.  It was used by both the French and the British during the French and Indian War.  Later, it was held by the British when it was taken by the American forces of the Green Mountain Boys in one of the first victories of the American Revolution.  Though it was recaptured and then burned by the British, the cannons that were taken from here by the Americans were relocated to Boston where they were used against the British army in 1776, forcing them from the city.