To Arkansas and Back

We spent a lovely, relaxing week in Arkansas last week where we kicked off our time celebrating the graduation of Lee’s youngest brother from the University of Central Arkansas.  Zach was thirteen when I first met him.  He was fourteen when Lee and I got married.  And now he’s all grown up, has a job and is such a great guy.  I’m so proud of him.

I’m getting verklempt.  Talk amongst yaselves.  I’ll give you a topic.  The Partridge Family was neither a Partridge nor a family…discuss.


We heard rumors that Kris Allen (also a UCA alum) was at the graduation.  Actually, it wasn’t a rumor – Zach’s girlfriend got stuck behind the mob of young fans wanting his autograph.  I didn’t see him, though, and it’s too bad because I think he’s a doll.  I would have stared.  I’m not afraid to admit it.


My son is a goofball.  Seriously, where does this kid get his over the top personality?  Lee and I are so reserved and shy…


My sister-in-law, Becke’, photographer extraordinaire, sat down and gave me some great photo tips.  I learned about ISO (they’re like worker bees.  Trust me…), f-stop, shutter speed, and how the three work together to create the perfect exposure.  I learned how to shoot in Manual mode and, while I need a lot of practice (I still can’t take a decent picture indoors) I came away taking better pictures from just one session.  I’m telling you – Becke’s good.

(She is equally skilled, incidentally, at killing mutant Arkansas wasps that better resemble a hummingbird than a wasp using nothing but a Steno Pad and sheer force while others, who are less brave than she, look on.  Don’t ask me how I know this.)

Flowers are the best practice subject.  They have vibrant color, unique shape and they’re still while you take their picture.  Not like my kids who are apparently allergic to sitting still.


See that blurry background?  I set that!  I determined how much blur I wanted (the f-stop, if you will) and adjusted my shutter speed and ISO to match.  Me!  Let’s all do the happy dance together, shall we?


Now I just want an editing software.  I am hereby entering every contest I come across for Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I need Lightroom or Photoshop, but my want is riiiiight on the border of a need.

Besides photo lessons and graduation, we enjoyed an abundance of family time.  We ate out every night – and when I say every night, I mean every.single.night.  My stomach is in rebellion.  I’m on a bit of a detox today of dried fruit, water and green tea.

We watched the kids soak up as much cousin time as they possibly could.  From putt-putt to Wii, those kids relished every moment together.  I loved playing with my cousins growing up and have so many cousin memories, so I’m excited to see my kids building the same memories.


The lone girl.  She held her own with all those boys, even trying to convince her older cousin that she had boy parts.  We’re still trying to get her to understand that she is, indeed, actually a girl


The baby of the family was so thrilled to be invited along with all the big kids that I thought he might actually jump out of his skin on the way to play golf.


Sam – the concentrator.


Cade – the sports nut.  Feel the emotion.


Eli – the cut up.


Sloan – the one who’s here to have fun.


We are officially back to life, back to reality.  But – glory! – school is almost over.  Tia has three days left.  Sloan has ten.  I can’t wait for summer vacation. 

How long do you think it will take for me to wish school would start up again?


  1. It was such great fun! I do love seeing those kids play together, and am amazed at how well they get along with each other. I definitely believe that Sam and Tia made big strides at getting along this time. They actually seemed to enjoy each other. Great victory! Thanks for coming, and taking the pictures of the kids, and of the graduation.
    Love you,

  2. I love cousin time! It makes my heart leap for joy at watching them create memories for themselves. Great job on the camera stuff! It’s lookin’ good girl! Nice to have you back and I think you’ll enjoy summer. Afterall…at the end of it you are going to ITALY! AHHHH!

    love ya,

  3. I found your blog via the BlogFrog and am glad I did. I learned a couple things about cameras just by reading your post. Which is great as I am soaking up as much as I can about how to take the perfect picture. Looks like you had a great family get away!


  4. Lightroom is awesome! I did a 30-day trial and LOVED it! My nice camera broke and we haven’t replaced it, so I haven’t bought that program, but if (read: when) we get a new camera, I want it!

    Great photos!