First Signs of Spring

Despite the fact that it was cloudy and looked like it was about to rain any second, today was a gorgeous spring day! My elderly neighbor is considered, in my book, the plant whisperer. Her yard in immaculate. She knows what to plant and how to keep it alive in this harsh Texas climate. I’m completely envious of her yard.

Last year she asked if she could pull my weeds because it was therapeutic for her.

I’m sad she’s moving. It’s not often you find a neighbor who wants to pull your weeds!

So today while I was enjoying this weather, I noticed her peach tree in the front had begun to bloom. It’s gorgeous.

blossoms

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According to her, it produces peaches better than Georgia peaches.

The blossoms are so beautiful. Spring is just starting to peek out! It wont be long before it’s summer and we’re up to our shins in weeds and ant hills. So with the windows open, and the breeze blowing by, I’m completely enjoying this perfect time of year.

It was the Golden Hour

Just for fun, Pete and I decided to head down to the river by our house. I really wanted to take some pictures with my new 85mm 1.8 lens he got me for Christmas. It was actually one of the nicer days we’ve had this “winter.” Warm with a cool breeze.

The lighting couldn’t have been more perfect. The only thing missing was someone to take pictures of! So I subbed in my hubby for a few.

This would be an amazing location for a more artsy meets high fashion shoot.

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IMG_9445[2]web See, there he is. Checkin’ out the water… like a boy.

IMG_9450[2]web These rocks were so cool. They look like your average limestone rock prevalent in Texas. But up close, they had crystals growing on them!

IMG_9462[2]web I’ve never seen anything like this on limestone before.

IMG_9463[2]web How awesome is that?

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IMG_9455[2]cloudsWEB Seriously gorgeous. 

Contact me if you want to have a shoot here!

 

The Stars at Night, Are Big & Bright..

..*clap clap clap clap* Deep in the heart of Texas!

I thought that was 100% appropriate.

And you can’t say(sing in your head) the first part without saying(singing) the rest of it.

Ask anyone.

:)

 

August 11th was the night!

We sat out, cranked our necks, listened to music, and oo’d and ah’d

I sat out from 11pm until 4:30am. The hubs stayed out until about 5:30-6 like the trooper he is.

It definitely didn’t peak at 3am though, and that was a little bit of a let down.

According to some photos I’ve seen, it really got good closer to 6am.

But, we did get TWO shots. They were small meteors, and the only ones we were lucky enough to capture.

I need a wide angle lens.
Mom?
Santa?
Anyone?

 

Please click the photos to view larger.. you wont be able to see the meteors unless you do. :P


Baby Meteor #1

 


Baby Meteor #2

We sort of had to “get lucky” when snapping photos of the meteors. They were just so random, we had to just aim for the sky and cross our fingers.

I’m less than satisfied, but still glad to have SOMETHING after sitting outside for 6 hours!

Ah well, there’s always next year!
Maybe I’ll have a new wide angle lens by then.

This shot is pretty neat though…


The moon is lined up with Venus and Jupiter! Very cool to see.

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Well, I hope you all got to see some meteors, or as the child in me likes to refer to them as… shooting stars.

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Well, I’m off to start my Christmas List!

1. Wide Angle Lens
2. $$ for wide angle lens

Meteor Shower Watch


[please click any photo to view larger]

Last night Pete and I ventured out to scope out a spot to watch the meteor shower that’s taking place tonight. We went to 4 different spots.

This is how it went.

Spot #1 (Signal Hill- furthest away from the house): This is the perfect spot! We’ll come here, and it’s only 5 minutes from the house if we have to run back.

Spot #2 (Down on the San Gabriel River- second furthest from the house): Oh, I like this spot much better. It’s a lot darker than the last, and only 3 minutes from the house!

Spot #3: (Open grassy area in our community): Well this spot isn’t bad either. It’s as dark as the rest of the spots, and just down the street from the house!

Spot #4: (Our backyard): Pete: I’m just gonna check out the backyard quick and see how bad it is. (10 seconds later) Andrea, come out there. It’s not bad! And we don’t have to leave home!

This proves you don’t ever have to leave home. For any reason. Ever.

Ah, well, the night wasn’t wasted. It was still a fun trip.

But, I was really missing the gorgeous night skies of Minnesota last night. With the nearest “big city” being 35 minutes away (from my home town) across a vast flat land, there is virtually no light pollution. In fact, I can recall a bunch of times driving with my dad at night, and the only “light pollution” was the moon. Sometimes it was so bright you could drive without your headlights on. Of course, totally illegal (do not try this at home, and only trust your dad to do the driving), but what happens in the country… really doesn’t matter. We’d be so lucky to watch the shower there!

But, we do with what we can, and it actually wasn’t too bad last night.

We sat on Signal Hill with our friends, the deer, for a good 2+ hours. Staring into the sky, being stared at by our “friends” while staring into the sky, cramping our necks, arguing over camera settings and having a great time.

Sorry, sarcasm.

After having a “doh” moment, we finally figured out that the image stabilization was turned on on the lens and it was the source of our streaked stars.

We were finally ready to relax.

We set up the lawn chairs, grabbed the cooler, sat back and stared into the abyss.. uh, sky (wishing we would have brought neck pillows).

I never got a shot of the little set up on the hill, but Pete grabbed one before we left.

And it wasn’t complete until we had a NASA bag full of rocks helping to weight down the tripod.

How appropriate.

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Okay, so getting back to the reason we were sitting on a hill at 2:30 in the morning hanging out with some deer..

The meteors!

The Perseid Meteor shower is going to be at it’s peak tonight at around 3AM. Although you could still see some meteors last night, and probably will be seeing some for a few days following, tonight is the night to watch if you are planning to see anything!

Take it from me. I took 118 photos with 30 second exposure over the period of a few hours, and we saw only about 6 meteors (out of frame, damn).

I read somewhere that we could see up to 100 meteors per hour, or 1-2 per minute tonight. How awesome!

Now, it will probably be a little less than that because of our light pollution. Being about 20 minutes out of Austin still gives us quite a bit of light pollution. :(

But, we’re hoping for the best!

Now, even though I didn’t get a shot of any meteors last night, I did get some good star pictures, and an awesome shot of the red moon rising.

So, tonight is the night. Cross your fingers I get some great meteor shots! I will be posting back here with more pictures.

Before & After: Mom’s Garden

Since leaving Minnesota, I had kind of forgotten about the work we put into Mom’s garden when we were home in May. Last year I did the same thing when I was home. And both times I wasn’t around long enough to see the garden fill out, and go crazy.

My sister texted me a photo about 2 weeks ago showing me just how crazy the garden had gotten.
This is similar to the photo I got from her..

And if you remember from my post back in May about mom’s garden, it was just starting to bloom a little.

When I left, those blue and purple violets were still little sprouts, only a handful had bloomed. NOW look at them! They cover the whole flower bed!

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Here’s a before shot..

That Minnesota black soil sure does wonders.

The path before….

After..


Do you see that path there? Yea… thats what it’s like now.

Wild, untamed and weed free! I wont even pretend I’m sad the weeds have no room to grow.

I wish my front flower bed was this awesome!


The little violets before….


Holy cats.

My sister took these “after” pictures for me with only a few grumbles. I lub you Danae.

I knew I had to post the after photos because the change was so drastic! I’ve never seen it do this before.

Sorry if I’m freaking out.

My favorite part of this whole thing is that the violets reseeded themselves and spread everywhere. Normally they’re only an annual.

I’d say the very warm winter with no snow that Minnesota had this past year might of had something to do with it.

I wish it could bloom all year round.

Trip to Lambeau Field – Green Bay, Wisconsin

You could say this trip mean’t more to my husband than me.

I’m not too much of a football fan, and I married the biggest Packer fan in all the land.

So I made the compromise (it must be love), and am trying to appreciate football more.

The butts in tight pants help.

:)

In my effort to learn more about football and get insight into the minds of the obsessed, I went along with Pete for a day trip to Lambeau Field when we were up in Wisconsin in June.

He was excited like a kid on Christmas morning.


When it comes to having his heart, I think the Packers have the first 50%, and I have the rest.

But maybe I’m flattering myself. haha

(click any photo to view larger)

We really only had time to take these first few shots and buy our tickets for the tour and hall of fame before we found out the Packers were having a practice open to the public! Totally lucked out! Talk about the icing on the cake!

I may not be the biggest fan of football, but I was sincerely excited to watch them practice, in person!

We couldn’t have gotten there at a more perfect time. We headed over to the practice field across the street from the stadium and found us a spot on the bleachers. The weather was misty the whole time, not quite rain, which was good. Not enough to have to put away my camera.

Now, who’s ready for some tight butts?!


Hey, Aaron Rodgers,
no, I’m not crazy,
I like your tushie,
so call me maybe?

(Don’t tell Pete)

I think he’ll call.

Who wouldn’t?!



When I didn’t have my camera, Pete had it, so we pretty much have complete footage of a 2 hour practice, in picture form.

Why do you think it’s taken me so long to blog about this part of our trip!


Mmm, Clay.

Jordy catching a punt.

 


Hey Driver, thanks for showing me your dance moves. ;)

After practice we went back to the stadium to eat lunch at Curly’s, go on the tour, and then to the hall of fame.

Here’s some pictures from the tour…

Now on to the hall of fame…


The office of Vince Lombardi was very cool. It was set up almost exactly how he had it back in the day.


Pete, why aren’t you a football player?


It was a really fun time. So glad we went! The hall of fame was so cool and interactive.

Definitely recommend going to see it! Take a whole day. You’ll need it.

I had a happy husband at the end of the day. We were both super tired, but it was worth it.

Blue Skies & Bluebonnets

I know I’ve said this before, but.. it’s spring in Texas! Although it could be summer because it was sweltering yesterday. And last week felt a little like winter.

It doesn’t know what it’s doing. So you could say I’ve decided it’s spring around here.

Someone’s gotta.

Regardless, it’s the one time of year when everything is green and blooming for a while!

So, Pete and I went on a cruise yesterday.

I really wanted to go take photos of the bluebonnets that are everywhere.

Everywhere is no exaggeration.

We jumped across the highway to the gas station to grab some drinks before our drive. Glancing out the window in the check out line, we spotted 10 vehicles parked off the highway. Every one belonging to a family who were now scattered across this 40 acre field of bluebonnets snapping shots of their kids.

They’re everywhere. The bluebonnets that is.

Since that field was quite occupied, we went off to find another patch to snap some shots of.

Like many roads in Texas right now, this one had bluebonnets in the ditch.

They make me feel warm and fuzzy.

And one last one…

They’re so pretty.

Here’s some more from our drive…

I want to live here..

I love horses. Such beautiful animals.

I also love bluebonnets.

And spring.

Business or Pleasure?

I’m here in lovely San Jose, California, accompanying my husband on a business trip. When I first heard he was told to hitch up the wagons and head west, I was sad to think I’d be left alone for a whole week! But that quickly changed when I found out Pete’s parents would be back in Texas before the trip. Babysitters! Well.. more like doggie-sitters! I don’t like leaving my dogs with just anyone. Luckily they love them just as much as we do. Dropping them off the night before we flew out was like getting a break from our children. No one to follow me around the house for a whole week. No one to feed, let outside, or pick up after! Yahoo!

The flights went smoothly. No long layovers. We arrived at 11am, with the rest of the day to do whatever! We intentionally came a day early so we could do some sightseeing over the weekend.

First, I must say, car rental employees sure are curious! I’ve never rented a car in my life. Maybe this is normal to everyone else, but during the whole process we were asked prying questions. “What are you in town for?”.. that’s an obvious one, I’m okay with that. “Business or pleasure?”, “How long are you here for?”, “What are you planning on doing?”, “Why are you paying from a personal account if this is a business trip?”, “What is the natural color of your hair?”, “Do your parents still get along?”,”Were you hugged as a child?” So the last few were exaggerations, but I was really taken aback and wasn’t expecting to be drilled. Most of those questions might be standard, but one question led to another and it felt like an interrogation. Like we were on a watch list of people who may decide to flee the country with a rental car. We look the type don’t we.

Do we?

Well, apparently I am naive.

I’m usually so good at picking out salesmen. My sweet husband had to explain to his dumb wife that they were digging into the deep, dark, depths of our lives to find out what more they could sell us. Makes sense too.. dirty buggers.

Then after a hilarious exit of the parking garage which forced us to drive on a spiral ramp from the 1000th floor to ground level, we left, and I moved on.

Sometimes I feel sorry for my husband who’s married a woman with steadily increasing blonde moments.

Saturday:

Since we arrived so early in the day we drove up to Half Moon Bay and took a very beautiful, scenic drive on highway 1 which runs right along the coast. We found ourselves ooing and ahhing, and stopping every ten feet to take pictures. It was gorgeous.

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^That’s my husband. He is cute.^

Sunday:

We got up super early, to pack in a bunch of sightseeing on our last full day before the work week. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you get up early.

I really wanted to see the Red Wood Forest. I have always wanted to see it. There wasn’t enough time to see the HUGE red woods, but we drove through some windy, crazy roads and saw breath taking sights. I was so happy when we found an area with the red wood trees.

I’ve never seen anything like them in my life. There are no words to describe..TV doesn’t do them justice. In real life… they’re so humbling and majestic. You feel so small. I was totally speechless. I felt like all was right in the world. The smell was totally overpowering. I couldn’t believe it. It was piney, and Christmasy, and crazy strong. Like, take your breath away, strong. Those breaks in the reality of life are what seems to make me feel whole again. I would be perfectly happy to live in those trees for the rest of my days, completely unaware of anything else going on in the world. Just so you know.

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I’ve only had time to process a few images, but here is one from our drive through the woodsy area.

It was raining for the better part of the day, but it made for beautiful photos. After we did our adventuring though the wilderness, we made our way to San Francisco. We checked out Haight & Ashbury, walked around Pier 39, saw the Golden Gate Bridge and just drove around.

Alcatraz from afar.

We did all the touristy things and concluded that San Francisco is kind of just one big tourist trap! It was a little disappointing, but worth the experience anyways. We are the type of people who prefer to get down to the real [insert destination here]. Like, find all the spots where the locals go. Experience the local flavor and life where ever we go. We did enjoy our time at The Cliff House that night though. Very neat place. Best calamari ever. Ever.  If you’re ever in the area, make sure to go there before the sunset! Unfortunately when we went it was already dark. It’s right on the ocean… on a cliff. Perfect.

I think the best part of San Francisco was the way it looked at night. It is a beautiful lively city.

And the hills are crazy cool to drive on.

We might come back. Who knows. As for living in California… that option is available, but we love Texas. Austin to be more specific. It’s comfortable and homey and has all the city life we’d ever need. And we don’t need much.

Don’t ask me about Colorado though.

A Year of Learning

Pete & I

It was our 1 year Anniversary yesterday! We took a day, and just went adventuring. Speaking for the both of us, I’d say that road trips/adventuring is our favorite thing to do as a couple. We love stumbling upon places we’ve never been, taking pictures, experiencing new things, and just enjoying each others company(I hope Pete would agree :) ). And that’s exactly what we did. It was perfect. It had been a while since we got to spend time with each other outside of the house, alone. Pete’s parents came over to watch the dogs, because Ruby can no longer be trusted to roam the house unbridled while we’re gone for any length of time(..tune in next time for that story of heart ache and pain).

Pete and I had somewhat of a plan.. at least we knew which direction we were headed. We only had a few hours, so we couldn’t go too far. No big deal, but much more fun than dinner and a movie.

So, we drove around, saw some pretty scenery, took a few pictures, giggled and smiled as we squeezed each others thighs cruising down the road. Cheese ball, I know, but mostly true.

Half way through our trip we found a cute little gift shop in the middle of nowhere. We found something we both liked, and agreed it was a gift to the both of us. As with the other few things we’ve purchased on fun trips or days, there’s a little story behind the item, and for anyone interested in hearing, we’ll tell them.

This fun decor piece is carved ironwood. It makes us feel edgy and particularly more special, because ironwood is illegal to harvest in the US… so this came from an artist in Mexico. :P Oh boy.

Before we headed to dinner we stopped at a local vineyard and did a wine tasting. I’m not a huge fan of wine, but the vineyards themselves are beautiful and I’m always up to take pictures.

It’s sad to say I’ve never seen such a thing in my life. Living in northern Minnesota for 20 years can do that to a person. Who knew grapes could be beautiful. Maybe I’m just crazy.

It was a really fun time. I found a wine I liked too!

Thinking back over the past year, there has been a lot learned between the two of us. And not just about each other. There’s still a lot to learn about each other, but mostly we learned to face reality together and work as a team. The reality of owning a home, paying bills, dealing with a dog that acts like a toddler. .a toddler who chews up shoes.. The normal stuff.

Once your married, your responsibilities are now your partners as well. We are still working on the “working as a team” part. I think it will be a work in progress for a while. My idea of teamwork is, getting a little more help when Pete’s home. Like for instance, asking Pete to put his boxers in the laundry basket so I don’t have to. That experience taught me that when asked to do such a heinous task, he drops his drawers and scoots them closer to the basket so I don’t have to carry them as far.

Like I said.. a work in progress.

Within this past year, I’ve learned a lot about Pete’s character too. He is probably the hardest worker I know. Never has a bad attitude, just does what he needs to do, and does it well. I am proud he is my husband.

Can I hear some “awwww’s”? Ha ha.

Regardless of the stress we faced this first year, it’s only made us stronger, and showed us how to get through the tougher times together. I’m excited to see what this next year will bring.