Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Heart Faces - Best Face Photo From May 2011

This week's I Heart Faces photo challenge is a "People's Choice" challenge with the theme of Best Face Photo of May 2011. I love the People's Choice challenges because YOU will get to be the Guest Photographer Judge and help pick the winning photos! Here's how it works, the challenge is open for one day only. After it closes, Angie & Amy will go through all of the entries and narrow them down to their very top favorites, somewhere between 50-100. On Thursday, the Linky will open up once again showing only the favorites and then anyone and everyone will be able to vote on their favorites from that mix. Voting will be open until Friday afternoon and winning photos will be featured on Saturday. Fun!

The photo I'm picking is one I just took last week of baby Julia at 7 months. Remember Julia's pictures from 3 months? I can't get over how big she's getting! And girlfriend's got attitude too! She was not happy about being awoken from her nap, about being at the park or about my camera being anywhere close to her! She absolutely refused to smile. But luckily, the kid is just as cute frowning and pouting, so we got some really cute (albeit serious) pictures. The more her mom and I smiled and played and made faces and noises, the more annoyed she got. She was just not having it. So we decided that "attitude pictures" are just as good as fun smiley pictures because they truly did capture her mood for the day. I chose this picture because her face just kills me...she looks so sad!


Make sure to check out all the other entries in the I Heart Faces challenge.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

I hope you all are having a safe and happy Memorial Day.

I also hope you'll take a few minutes to remember all those brave soldiers who have fallen defending our country and everyone that has served to protect and defend us. I am blessed and honored to live in such a wonderful country and incredibly proud of all of those who have put their life on the line for it.

Happy Memorial Day!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Options

Sometimes being a dog is hard. 
So many options, so little time.
I'm considering reporting her to "Hoarders."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Current River Camping

Soooooo, this post is LONG overdue.  All this miserable cold rainy tornadic stormy (i.e. royally shitty) Spring weather we've been having makes me miss the Fall.  I was searching through my picture files the other day and came across these beauties from a camping trip that Ryan, Mally and I took back in October.  We love camping.  We usually try to go a couple times a year.  We strive for early spring or late fall - times when there aren't many people out on the water (fishing or camping).  One year we even went in February!  I am not kidding.  It was cold, but a wonderful weekend (as always). 

This past year, for our October trip, we had perfect weather.  My husband tends to stalk the Weather Channel app on his phone for weeks leading up to our trip to make sure that we pick the best weather weekend of the month.  He's pretty darn good at it too.  Knock on wood, but he hasn't taken me on a camping trip where we've had miserable weather yet (well, other than the freezing cold February trip, but I should have known it was going to be cold...hello, it's FEBRUARY!).

Anyway, we've got our camping routine down to a science.  We Ryan gets up before dawn and loads the canoe and packs the truck.  Mally and I sleep.  We get on the road super duper early.  Mally and I sleep.  We get to the river a few hours later and unpack the truck.  Mally and I sleep.  Ryan wakes us up and forces me to drink some coffee (or a beer) and he takes the truck to the pull-out location.  He gets a ride back while Mally and I get ready for our adventure.  I suit up in my boots and waders, Mally barks at the rocks and barks at the trees.  I load the canoe.  Mally barks at the sticks and barks at the water.
Poor Mally!  Doesn't she just look miserable!
Here's the canoe, all loaded up.  We've got a tent, 2 sleeping bags, an air mattress, pillows, clothing, blankets, towels, firewood, human food, dog food, lots of beer, gas stove, grill for the firepit, radio, camera, water jug, fishing rods and fishing gear, Camelback, floatation devices, oars, waders, boots, a table and 2 chairs. 
Not too shabby, huh?
And we're off.  We start heading down the river in search of a good campsite.  We're looking for someplace elevated (in case it rains and the water rises), sandy (so we don't have to sleep on rocks), big enough for us to spread out (so we're not sleeping in the canoe), clear of brush (so we don't have to weed to set up camp), and not close to any stagnant water (which are breeding pools for mosquitoes).  Picky, picky.

Ryan sits in the back of the canoe to steer, while Mally and I sit up front to enjoy the scenery.
Mally hates water, but she loves the canoe.  Sometimes she puts her chest up on the front bow of the canoe and hangs her front legs off the sides and just watches everything as we float by, like a hood ornament.
We float for a couple miles and eventually find the perfect camping location. 
Ryan pulls us to shore and we begin setting up camp.

He starts working on assembling the tent. 
I take pictures and tell him he's doing it wrong.
He tells me to shut up and have a beer.
Mally scopes out the location, clearing it of all birds, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, opossums, rabbits and all other woodland creatures.
It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.
And then she needs a nap.
Ryan's finally got the tent assembled and the air mattress blown up.
I do my magic and make the place cozy and homey.
Ryan moves on to gathering kindling for the fire.
I take pictures and tell him he's doing it wrong.
He tells me to shut up and have another beer.
So I do. 
You can't argue with that kind of reasoning.
And then we chill for a while and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Until something moves or the wind blows and then Mally has to bark at it.
But soon, it's time for lunch.
Today I brought the fixings to make stuffed Greek pita pockets.
Spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives with hummus and feta cheese. 
Perfect light, but filling lunch.
Finger-licking good.
I assemble.
Ryan enjoys.
After lunch, Ryan works on catching us some fresh trout for dinner.
I take pictures and tell him he's doing it wrong.
He tells me to shut up and have another beer.
So I do.
Man, I love camping.
Mally does too.
After the initial excitement of getting out on the river, she eventually turns into "chill camp dog."
I think it's a bit of sensory overload. 
So many smells and so many things to do/chase/bark at that she can't handle it. 
She just chilllllllllllllls.
Isn't she so pretty?
Towards the end of the day, I get the campfire ready.
First you find lots of big rocks and make a circle.
Then you use an oar and dig out the center.
Then you gather all the kindling and make a teepee.
Then you douse it in lighter fluid and throw a match on it.
Viola!
Ryan gets the Coleman stove ready so we can make dinner.
We're having turkey meatballs...
...with bowtie pasta and tomato sauce, with a side of fresh lemony trout.
Delish!
(Wow, please ignore the hideousness of the below picture.  No make-up allowed on camping trips.  Yikes.)
And as soon as dinner's finished, it's bedtime for doggies.
Out like a light.
But, of course, she has to sleep on her towel.
The rocks are too hard for this princess.
Bright and early the next morning (well, like just before noon), we rise and shine!
Mally's rejuvenated but still in super-chill-mode.
She gets some petting and kisses from her dad.
She's a happy happy dog.
Ryan starts breaking down the tent and packing us up.
And I prepare the most amazing camping breakfast sandwiches in the entire world.
Sausage, egg and cheese on a croissant.
I was not kidding when I said we eat well on these outings. 

The morning is usually a good time to fish, so after breakfast, we give it a shot.
Ryan suits up and gets serious about fishing.
 
(Isn't he handsome?  I'm so lucky.)
I, on the other hand, fish from the shore because I'm too lazy to put on my boots and waders.
Ryan takes pictures and tells me that I'm doing it wrong.
I tell him to shut up and have a beer.
I cast about 7 times and don't catch anything, so I give up.
Patience is not my strong suit.
Also, I suck at fishing.
So instead I take pictures of fishing stuff.
Way easier.

While we're not paying attention, Mally wanders through a huge patch of cockleburrs (aka "sticktights").
They look like this.
And then I have to spend an hour cutting them out of her hair and pulling them
out from between her paw pads.  Poor baby.  I hate these things.
But that's a small price to pay to have views like this all weekend.
Once we're packed up, Mally and I decide to sit back and watch Ryan stalk trout.
He's so good.  He's quiet and graceful and very very sneaky.
Sometimes he gets really lucky and catches giant monsters like this.
Whoa. 
That could feed us for minutes.
He's not happy with that catch.
And with that, it's about time to go.
Once last sniff of the fresh country air...
...and we're back on the water, heading home.
Until next time!