Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Battle of the Books

Battle of the Books is always a big deal around here. Long ago I stopped reading the books with the kids. I expect that they will do what they need to in order to participate and contribute to their team.

Robyn and Ivory were both captains again. I volunteered every day there was a battle and ended up being with both kids for one battle. (They try not to have the moms with their own kids.)

Robyn I saw on Pool Play day, when they are battling simply for points. Her team did very well. They were called the Fierce Flames, and their poster was one of the top five in the school. I love how they cut the top in the shape of fire.

They did very well on bracket day as well. They made it to the semi finals, only to lose by one question. I hear it was a very emotional loss. But losing is a part of life that we forget is important.

I went to watch the finals even though Robyn wasn't up there. It was actually much more stress free to cheer for the teams when I wasn't invested in one. And in retrospect, it was just as well. Robyn was sick that day and I brought her along to watch from the back. She was whispering answers to me as we watched.

Ivory did well also. Here she is by her cute poster. I like their swirly nerd glasses.

Sadly, I was the officiator in the battle Ivory lost. She made it to the quarter finals, but missed the first question and lost her composure a bit. I'm not sure if others could tell, but I could hear the little quaver in her voice when she knew there wasn't a chance to catch back up to the other team. I was still so proud of her. And once again, I think losing is a good thing. You have to learn to be a good loser.

Ivory was basically carrying her team. She read all the books and although there were occasional whispers from her teammates, you could tell she answered the majority by herself. Next year I just hope she has someone who is as motivated as she is.

June also competed in Battle of the Books at Jr. High, but for some reason, her school does not opt to follow America's Battle of the Books style. Instead of 30 books, they only had 7. And instead of questions about specific books, they had questions about details IN the books. They didn't battle in a bracket. They just sat at tables and everyone answered simultaneously with a white board.

Her team still did well and they came in third overall. Good job June! Also, she found some books that she loved and devoured some new series. That was probably the best prize of all for her.

That wraps up the Battling for this year. Next year Daisy joins the battlers. Can't wait.

Still Life - Dutch Masters

Quote from Since it was forbidden to depict any religious symbols in Protestant Holland, Dutch painters focused on capturing everyday scenes: flowers, food, dead animals, and manmade objects like glasses, plates an pitchers.

I didn't have any cool pewter plates, china, or withered books, but I do have a kitchen and eggs. Lots of eggs recently. And somehow, this was a good still life to me on that day.

There are some fun shadows and the toaster sure looks ancient. Behold, still life.

Not sure why, but I really like that photo.

Next week: B&W - STREET

Portrait - Bounce

Ahem...besides being behind on my photo challenge, I decided to not tackle the Brenizer Method. Since I am not actually participating online with this challenge, I think I am okay to let one week slide. However, I need to catch up the other weeks.

The week after Brenizer Method was Portrait - Bounce. This means having two light sources. Traditionally, a main light source and then using a white surface to bounce that same light back onto your subject.

I took Robyn out while the sun was setting. There was beautiful light and I had Daisy stand nearby with a white foam board to bounce the light back onto Robyn's face.

It is hard to tell the difference just by looking at it, but as I set up the picture, I could see the difference as I brought the white board closer.

It does bring some nice soft light back to the face, but I don't know if I can be bothered to drag around a foam board. I don't take enough pictures right now to have a grip reflector, but I can see how one would be very useful in many circumstances.

I also like this picture too, although it doesn't show off the bounce effect as well.

Up Next: Still Life - Dutch Masters

Ice Castles, the Still Version

Tyler made such a fun video of us going to see the ice castles that I have put off blogging about it. But for my blog books, I want the pictures. This is one of those posts that has been hanging over my head, much like a bunch of sharp icicles that you will see in a moment. But it is one more check mark on the quest to document the Cazier's in all walks of life.

The ice castles were so fun. I would like to put quippy comments throughout this post, but I'll spare you the blathering and I'll save some space in my book. (Pictures fit so much better without commentary.) Just enjoy the ice. It's nice.

Are you chilled yet? Trust me, there were many more. I chose some of my favorites. And kept it under 30 pictures. That is pretty darn good for me. Happy end of March. Hopefully this is the last we we will be seeing of snow. It snowed yesterday. Get it out of your system Utah. Let's have a warm spring break.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Treasure Hunt, Easter Style

Wow. Easter has come and gone, although there are still some pending Crack Offs to happen. I thought I had a lot on my blog list before, but now I am swimming in potential posts. It is hard to choose whether to do an old post or something recent. Usually, my confusion leads to paralysis. However, yesterday I actually edited some pictures, so that is what you get today. An Easter egg hunt.

I seriously considered doing the city hunt this year, but after I looked at all the goodies I had in store for the kids, I gave up. They don't need the sugar overload. Is there such a thing as a kid who is overly spoiled? Seems redundant. 

I didn't get out to hide eggs until the afternoon (as you know), so the sun was out and it had warmed up just enough to be nice outside. (The morning was rather blustery.) I hid prizes and eggs and then the kids were ready to hunt. There they are. The traditional spot. From here all kids plan their attack.

As always Pearl is first out the gate. We gave her a 45 second head start.

Daisy was off next. She headed right for the Nemo egg on top of the grill that Pearl overlooked.

She took a different route to find eggs Pearl had yet to discover.

Ivory in turn went straight to the side finding eggs the other two missed.

She got one up high. She was so fast that I missed the shot, so I told her to reach back up. She dutifully stretched high, but her eyes give away that she is really hunting for more eggs while I take the picture.

Now Robyn. Don't worry...there were still eggs in plain sight that she headed for.

This poor little bunny is always last. And she often doesn't find all her eggs, because only the hard ones are left. I think she enjoys the challenge. She only missed one egg this year that Ivory found later on the tire of Dad's car.

Seems like she has plenty of energy saved up. Go, go June!

She headed down to the sport court where there were plenty of eggs in the open.

We have so many plastic eggs that we could probably sponsor the city hunt. I don't use them all. The kids get to find about 20 each, not counting the camo eggs. Many eggs are interchangeable, but I only mismatched two this year. June happened to find them both.

I got the girls Easter shirts this year. (Cheaper than dresses.) They were hidden with their names on them. Pearl finally found hers.

I think everyone found June's before she did. Sadly, it wasn't hidden as well after repeat customers had handled it. I think she has spied it.

Ivory had the hardest time finding hers. I simply put it on top of the recycle bin, but the colors were similar enough that it blended in. (Sneaky mom.)

Robyn is enjoying her hunt. She has almost all her eggs.

Can't believe June got those peeps. They were up there forever. I guess the kids are usually looking down.

Daisy was down on the sport court when she spied something. It isn't an egg. Can you see it?

It was a snake. We took some time to stop and enjoy Mother Nature's hidden treasures.

By this time, Robyn was done. Impressive because she had her camo eggs already. Most of the kids needed help finding those. They are super tricky to see in the grass and trees.

The snake was free again but finding it hard to find the grass. He kept slithering in circles. We helped him make it to the field.

Next it was time to open eggs and see what treats they scored. I'm not sure why Daisy was indoors? She still had two camo eggs to find. I guess she wanted to check out her shirt.

As usual, the $5 is the most coveted camo egg. The girls inside didn't have it, so it was still outside. June needed one more egg and Daisy needed two. I knew where all three were and I gave them hints. June had a strategy. She knew where two eggs were, but she hadn't picked one yet because she wanted to look at all three first. (Talk about calculation.) But it didn't work out for her this time. In looking for the third one, she inadvertently stepped on it, and it cracked open revealing coins. According to the rules, it was hers now. She wasn't very happy about it. But Daisy had never found the $5 before, so June finally decided it was okay. Get it Daisy!

I think all the girls had a good time. Daisy, obviously, was happy with the results.

I still haven't gotten a picture of the girls in their Easter pastel shirts. Truthfully, it may never happen. But it is the thought that counts here.

Maybe next year, I'll have the girls hide eggs for me. They can put coupons inside to do chores for me. That would be a fantastic hunt!