It's hard to believe that the holiday season is in full swing already. We have had so much fun with Alex and preparing for Christmas as a family. Alex has been a good sport for all of Mommy's holiday photo shoots, enjoyed gazing at the tree, and "helped" me shop. (...meaning...he didn't scream bloody murder when I carted him around the stores.) I'm telling you that I am also loving the "find it at a store" link on Target.com. It's so comforting to know that when I go to the store in search of something, I know it will be there. I have a precious 2-hour window each day between naps, feeds, poops, etc when errands are a possibility and that link is a lifeline. How did we shop before the internet? I guess the hard core shopping types probably really enjoy the hunt for the requested gifts. But I'm not a hard core shopper. I'm a get-it-done shopper, so thanks Target.com.
We are really excited about going to Texas next week to spend the holidays with our family. I am so anxious for everyone to see Alex. He's changed a lot in the past week or two. He rolled over, started giggling without prompting from us, started eating cereal, and even slept through the night (10 hours!) a couple of times. These are really fun days for us as a family.
This year we have really purposed to cherish this season. We have much to be thankful for - marriage, our son, a home, and wonderful friends and family. Each day we try to remind ourselves that this season really is not about get-it-done shopping, but about the ultimate gift of Jesus. Celebrating His birth, remembering His sacrifice, and enjoying relationship with Him is what it's all about.
We pray you and yours also enjoy celebrating the true meaning of Christmas this year...May you be truly blessed as you give and receive. May you remember that family and friends are precious. May you organize your time so that true worth is placed on people and not things. May you practice hospitality and charity. May you focus on Christ as the center of this wonderful holiday.
With much love from our family to yours, Nicole, Jason, & Alex
For my final in Photography, we had to turn in a portfolio of all our assignments including a final print. The final print qualifications were to shoot a photo of something we hadn't photographed before and to use an alternative angle or crop. I chose this photo I took of the mural on the wall of the Blues on Grand in Des Moines. Blues is right down the street from us and I walk past it a lot. I've always liked this guitar. So I decided to lay down on the ground and get a picture of it. Hope I get an "A" on this one.
Thank you for keeping up with my photography journey this semester - I'm slowly learning more and more about capturing good photos. Stay tuned for next semester: Studio Photography.
This assignment was to photograph moving objects (cars) at night using a slow shutter speed. I took these photos before I invested in a tripod, so they aren't wonderful. I've learned that there are lots of shots that need a tripod! Anyways, the neat thing about these photos is that you only see the lights moving on the cars and not the cars. The streak in the photos are car lights. I am hoping to get out and take some more of these at night sometime because I think they are really cool. I'll let you know if I decide to venture out in the 14 degree weather with my tripod...
Tonight we hosted our Connection Group for a little holiday dinner and family fun. This group has been a tremendous blessing to us in Iowa. When we moved to Des Moines, we never would have imagined that less than a year into it we would have such a precious group of friends. This year we've had a sort of Baby Explosion - 7 of 8 couples have had a baby or been pregnant since we joined the group in January! We seriously love these friends and their babies. (Chris and Mary: we also love your yet-to-be babies =)
Here are a couple of pics of the Groupie Babies from tonight...We are still waiting on the arrival of 2 Groupie Babies any day now!
This year, we celebrated our traditional Thanksgiving meal a bit early. The Ramsey's, Sage's and us hosted a group of Indian students from Iowa State for Thanksgiving dinner on Monday. We loved the opportunity to visit with the students and share dinner. In my opinion, a shared holiday dinner is always better. The Ramsey's are wonderful hosts - even though Erin is 9 months pregnant! And Michelle rocked the turkey. I contributed the sweets and our new friends contributed the wine. It reminded me of holidays when I lived overseas...they were always shared with friends instead of family. This year we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our Thanksgiving with friends in Iowa.
This was a portrait assignment. The task was to shoot the same person for two photos. One should be flat and plain and the second should show a characteristic of the subject not shown previously ("bring it to life like Pinocchio"). Erin was my model for this...isn't she the most beautiful pregnant woman you've ever seen?
This assignment was to shoot three things: A type of vehicle, a stone residential structure, and an urban sculpture. I found all three items in my neighborhood. I like all of them except the creepy thinking rabbit...but it is an "urban sculpture" so I guess it's supposed to look like city art. City art is my least favorite. Jason likes to call it "crap that taxpayers probably pay for". If I was going to pay for a city art sculpture, I'm not sure I would have chosen the rabbit. But they didn't ask me. I'm sure there are some artsy people who love it though!
This assignment was to shoot photos in the studio at school. The difference in studio work is the lighting. We had a choice of three categories for this assignment: food/beverage, type (something with writing on it), or fire & ice (contrast two things using color or arrangement). I chose to do my own little category - Fire & Icing. =)
Weeks ago, my photography instructor gave us the assignment called The Seven Deadly Sins. Since I have a constant photography subject in my house, I decided to use him for all of my photos. This was a really fun (albeit time-consuming) photo shoot. It took a couple of weeks to get all the photos, but I am really happy with the final product. Enjoy!
p.s. In case you need a reminder the Seven Deadly Sins are (in order of appearance): Gluttony, Pride, Greed, Anger, Sloth, Lust, & Envy
Jason and I have been very concerned about the economic news lately. It's more than just the price of gas, the new president elect, and the stock market. The thing that alarms us the most is the amount of people now asking for a bailout from the government. People, this is WRONG! I am so frustrated by the organizations (the auto industry, states, cities...everyone!) who are now getting in line for government aid. There is simply no way our government can bailout everyone. More importantly, once the bailout train gets going, who will put on the brakes?!
Well, instead of griping about it, we have decided to do something. Today we took a few minutes to write an email to our State Representative Boswell (who represents our Iowa district) and our State Senators expressing our concern over the bailout madness. I urge you to do the same. This website lists the name of your State Representative and this website lists the names of your State Senators. Just a couple of clicks and you, too, can email them.
If you are not sure what to write in your letter, here's an example:
As a concerned citizen of your Congressional District, I feel it is my civic duty to make sure my voice is heard on the issue of government bailouts. As your constituent, I urge you to vote against additional bailout packages for states, cities, and American companies now requesting aid. Approving more aid will only encourage the endless line up of entities requesting help from the government...and let's face it - the government CANNOT help everyone. There simply isn't enough money for that! The bailout requests are out of control. It is not possible for the American Government to attempt to salvage every failing American Corporation and sector. Industries, such as the automotive industry, which have failed to keep up with current technologies and failed to ascertain the need for inexpensive fuel-efficient cars should be allowed to fail. Even if this comes at great expense to the American people and economy. Companies that make bad decisions should and must be allowed to fail. Virtually all great successes in this country have been surrounded by great failures. It is the true spirit of capitalism that has made America so strong. The latest attempts of government to throw money at every struggling company have, and will continue, to erode the very foundation that has kept America strong throughout its short history. Please, I beg you, reject fear, and inject some common sense into the Congressional dialogue. Do not approve, and fight vigilantly against any additional bailout funding - whether part of a Democratic or Republican agenda. You are my voice and the voice of thousands of Iowans, please make us heard in Washington.
Respectfully, Nicole Reynolds
This has been THE year to get involved politically. Why stop at the General Election?! Take a minute and write to the people who represent you in Washington. Make your voice heard.
The Reynolds Family just returned from a week-long vacation in Texas. We flew into Dallas to visit family and friends and then took a road trip to Houston. We got to introduce Alex to his great-grandparents, great-grandmommy, Papa Gene, and tons of other friends and family. He was a real trooper on the trip. He seriously didn't even make a peep on the plane rides! Everyone around us was complimenting him on his behavior and they all thought he was cute. Of course we just smiled and acted like he is that perfect plane-riding Angel every day, all day. I have lots of pictures to post of our trip and my photography assignments. Hopefully I'll catch up this week!
Y'all know I love time in the kitchen, so I was excited about this photography assignment. The goal was to use design fundamentals such as line, shape, texture, etc. in the kitchen. Using that recipe, here's the finished product. Enjoy!
Love. This. Book. Alex isn't old enough to have a favorite book yet, but this is my favorite. Know why? It's a wonderful story about a little Pea who hates candy and loves spinach. Genius, I tell you. Pure genius.
Alex doesn't stand a chance...he will learn the concept of candy=bad and spinach=good at our house. His Little Pea book will be one of the cutest teaching tools in my arsenal!
* Amy Krouse Rosenthal authored Little Pea and she has tons of other adorable kid books. Check them out here.
Here's Assignment #4. The exact assignment was to shoot three things made of steel or some sort of metal. We were to use our imagination on this and use these criteria for the three items: Imagine one was made by a Japanese gentleman, one by a German gentleman, and one by an Italian. The Japanese man's design was to be practical. The German's design was to be very exact. The Italian design was to be beautifully stupid. Hopefully you can guess which photo goes with which designer...