Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's all in the Details

It's all in the Details
I wanted to end this series of blog posts on something that I want to do... 
Focus on more details. capturing them, and remembering them. I do a terrible job keeping a journal that includes the day-to-day living we do, but from here on out I want to make a sincere effort to jot down little notes about finger painting, snack time, and funny sayings. I want to write down the awful jokes that Lydia tells, the things that make Rooster mad and the things Layla does everyday... the things that I overlook or take for granted. I want to keep record of what they did when nothing was going on... when everything was just okay. After all... that is life.

Dreamy Black and White

As Ya'all know, as on of my photography goals I would figure out and understand how to get some black and white conversions down... well... I've played with a lot of tricks and options and this one is just want I wanted... It's hazy and light and slightly off color. I am happy with it, at least as 1 black and white conversion.
I know this won't suit everyone's taste, but I thought I would pass along my steps to anyone interested or anyone just learning.

Hope they help! ;)

{ photo shop elements }

Step One : Convert to Grey scale using the Gradient Map Option
--layer,adjustment layer,gradient map, okay, click the bar of color and make sure you choose the black and white one ( the third one over on elements 7)
Step Two : Open up your levels
--Layer, Adjustment Layer, Levels
On the drop-down menu choose blue
set the first number ( on the bottom ) to 55, the second to 204
Step Three : Add a Warming Filter
-- layer, adjustment layer, photo filter
In the drop down menu choose "warming filter 85" then make sure the density slider is on 25 and the "preserve luminosity" option is checked.
Step Four : Add a Solid Color Layer
-- layer, fill layer, solid color
Choose a Buttery Yellow { f7ff9a } and set the blending mode to "screen" at 25% opacity

That's All!

I wish I could make this into an action, but I don't have regular photo shop, so I apologize...

Calm after the Storm

For it is said, Let the man who has a love of life, desiring to see good days, keep his tongue from evil and his lips from words of deceit:
~1 Peter 3:10

Sometimes, as parents, we need to remind our selves that lies should never be taken lightly... and that we are doing right by our children and our Lord for reprimanding them.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I am ...

I am only as much as you ... only as real
I am just the aftermath of all the things you feel
I am only a sweet song, if you choose to sing it
Only the air, if your willing to breathe it.
I am everywhere and nowhere, a thought, a lost letter
I am the reminder of days gone by, and that days will soon be better

Holding Hands

A mother's arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.  ~Victor Hugo

Holding Hands

Being a mother means always having the energy, always having the open arms and the gently touch, it means holding hands if that's all you can do.
I know that the time for skipping and hand-holding is dwindling. Since Lydia got this new hair cut she is feeling even more grown up, and Rooster refuses to admit he is 3, he will yell "NO I'M FOUR!" He says he doesn't need help doing anything. Even Layla has her moments of fierce Independence. Sure, I have made the effort to teach them independence, and that they are capable "can do kids" ... but it breaks my heart. 
So, even more than I already have, I vow to cling to the moments of holding hands, and carrying Rooster up to his bed at night. I will speak softly and remind them that no matter how big they get, they are always my babies. I will foster independence by re-affirming security in my love and arms... I will be all I can for them ... and will continue forever.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

happy... as i see it

After Reading Maegan's lovely little blog about being Happy ( since she had been tagged to list 10 things ) she said if you're reading this, you've been tagged ;) Well... I thought it was such a nice, simple way to appreciate the day... so here is my list...

1. my children. in everyway and without having too, they just make me happy.
2. books, whether it's just a picture board book for my babies or an old, first edition novel. I love them all.
3. robins egg blue, or tiffany blue whatever you call that color. I see it and instantly feel good and refreshed and just ... well... happy. I love it on clothes in paint and photographed!
4. opening the curtains when I have cabin fever. when you can't get outside it's nice to feel those beams of light.
5. taking and editing photos. :) of course.
6. my husband... please don't take that he is number 6 rather than number 2 out of context, he makes me very happy and I love him with all my heart... for whatever we go through, he is my soulmate.
7. being barefoot outside all spring and summer long ... it's heaven.
8. my friends, in my life ( including my family) and online... I love having such a wide-reaching support system to pray with me and wish for me even states or oceans away.
9. my ever growing vintage camera collection and Lydia's Wizard of Oz collection, they are just perfect and I cannot wait till spring when I get that curio to properly display them in, yay.
10. this may be heavy ... but what makes me really happy, is that no matter what happens or what goes wrong, I have a place in heaven with a Lord that loves me and will carry me all my days on this earth ... so that I will never, ever, walk alone.

... I like the idea Maegan had, so if you read this, consider yourself tagged !!

PS: Maegan you make me happy too ;)

Handwritten Reminders

Handwritten Reminders

I take spells where I keep great records, but I'm ashamed to  say there are gaps in Rooster and Layla's baby books. I need to reorganize all my family tree records, and arrange them into a book. I have gotten lax on my letter writing in cards and this year, I really want to do better. I want to keep much better records, and take them time to hand-write things as much as I can.
Children don't see writing or creating on paper as a chore, they love doing it and can do it for big sections of the day. They love giving things they have made, and written. I want to take more delight in those things as well... stop excusing myself because I am "busy" and make that extra effort to make others feel special. Or to have better records to pass onto my children.
And there is something so delightful, about knowing that someone took the time to physically, tangibly write to you...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010



No task is too small for a child to not give it their full intensity, they experience everything to it's utmost. Poor Layla poked her hand with the pen 3 times while "drawing". She kept making swirls and showing them to me, so proud. I love that she doesn't even acknowledge the camera that's snapping these photos, that what she is doing is important to her.
I want to approach all my tasks, be it photography or writing even housework, or the most important being a Mother and Wife with as great intensity... I don't want to get distracted or waver from what I know is right. I want to delight in my tasks and find the blessing in them, everyday.

At Rest

At Rest

Sometimes the "perfect" shot isn't about how much we've learned or composing the shot just right... It's about seeing, taking your time and feeling the photo. Whether it's as simple as your baby girls "piggers" of someone looking out a window... It could be anything... Photography should, at it's core, be something highly personal. It shouldn't be rushed and it should be enjoyed fully.
Being "At Rest" is what makes things fall into place.
This whole series was shot in a 30 minute time frame, while Layla scribbled on some paper in the large window of our laundry room. She isn't freshly bathes, she doesn't have her hair in adorable pig tails, there is no set up, it's just how our life really is.
Everyday we have the oppertunity to view the world, inside our homes and out, as the beautiful place it is. To see it as a child and to love it, for all it's faults. To embrace the reasons life is worth living... and all the blessings we have.
I want to take more time to SEE the world, to let go of my idea of "right" because when I do... my photos mean more to me. I want to keep learning, but I started this journey to enjoy and to find a part of myself. So I must always carve out a spot for shoots like these.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Our Three Perspectives Project this week was themed, “Letter” which really rang home with me. Oddly enough, it was my turn to pick, and in keeping with our “rules” I closed my eyes, opened my faithful old dictionary, randomly dropped my finger and opened my eyes. It landed on “Letter”.
| top - Maegan; middle - Sarah; Bottom - Johnna(me) |

Just over a year ago, I was sitting in a hospital room, writing letters to Layla in my journal for her. I was praying and trying to keep faith that she was going to be all right.

I have been writing letters to my children since Lydia was born … it’s something I wanted to do, so that someday when they are all grown up, or when I am gone, they will have my deepest emotions and my truest sentiments of the love I feel for them.

It’s something to leave behind.

So in the spirit of things, I dug out the first letter I ever wrote to Lydia…and spent some time reflecting… It was Mothers Day 2005.
I love letters.

Handwritten memories.

I think we should all keep more journals, write more letters, take more photos. This is our legacy we’re leaving behind.

Layla wanted to “write some letters” too, so, I gave her the pen and paper and I sat back and took some photos. She wore Lydia’s handmade dress, and just sat in the window sill and enjoyed her self.

I live for those moments. They are what REALLY matters.

Each of the photos in this series mean something different to me... and they are all very simple. But something came together for me while taking them ... that we have made it, that our children are healthy and there is nothing to small to see beauty in... So, Each day I will blog about the photos in this series  ... It's something to refocus my thoughts and priorities... 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

{ Canon Love }

I wrote this a few days back, and since I now have the internet I am blogging here a little late...

February 13 2010

I miss you…

I miss you, flickr, face book and blogger friends. I miss your lovely photos, touching words and status updates.
We don’t have the internet now, so I am blogging on my desktop and will hopefully be able to transfer them over soon.

Things have been busy here though…

I didn’t want to jinx it, so I haven’t mentioned it, but since now, it is sitting here beside me, I will spill… John bought me my Canon dSLR! The EOS Rebel xsi! The one I have wanted for, almost, 2 years now. WOW, it seems unreal! The switch from Point and Shoot to dslr was one that was even bigger that expected! I feel like now, I hold in my hands a better tool, the right tool for the job. I also appreciate it even more that I thought. For the last 2 years I have been trying to “earn” it, and not just in a cost sense, but in an “effort” sense. I refused to let myself think that I couldn’t learn with the ample point and shoot I had, I sought out the things I wanted to learn and thanks to flickr I conquered many obstacles and started to find my niche with editing. I developed a personal taste and worked around the blocks with my camera to achieve pleasing results, now… I am by far no pro, and still have much MUCH to learn, but… I feel like now I am to the place to really move forward. Can you tell I am excited? ;)
I am forcing myself to shoot in manual focus, which is a little frustrating. It’s like, starting over in a way… but… it’s a really cool feeling. And I love having more control over everything my camera is doing. I am in awe of the “bokeh” I can achieve now… wow…

My Hubby is the Best!

On a different note, I got a laptop too. John is waiting to get his, but I am loving this, I installed pse7 to it tonight and edited some photos. I love having something of my own, my own little space to edit and search and write yay! It’s like a “super diary”.

Since I will probably be super duper busy tomorrow, Happy Valentines Day to all of you!

My Mother in Law made the girls these adorable pillowcase style dresses for Valentines, and we bought turtle necks and tights and leggings to go underneath. They’re so precious. Roost is going to wear his white dress shirt with a red tee underneath so I can’t wait to get a photo of them all decked out together. Yay! Kids are so cute!  Speaking of Mother in Law, Sheila and I had a great time today, Lydia, Layla and the 2 of us had a great time today, shopping and visiting.  I love that we get along so well.

Well, have a great night and I will, hopefully, see you soon!

A Day in the Life | being a stay at home mom

… in the past 6 months there have been a string of comments made, both about myself and about stay at home mom’s in general… not so nice comments, I’ll add.

First of all, I am not lazy, I am not just a slob, I am not selfish or inconsiderate, I don’t watch TV at my own convenience and  I never sleep in.

I really need to get this off my chest, it’s been eating at me for a while now, even beyond the 6 or so months. I have always gotten an “off” response when people hear I stay at home… so… I think it’s time to clear the air.

And Moms (Keehner and Riddell) this is not in any way directed at you, both of you have been supportive and kind of John and I and our decision to be a 1 income household.

My day doesn’t start when I decide. Most of the time I am greeted by the sound of escape artist Rooster running across the kitchen floor and blasting sleeping Layla’s door open. She cries, he runs, I run after him, it’s 6:40 am… I’ve tried the locks, gates, lack of stepping stool objects, and still he scales the door with those monkey feet and creeps downstairs. My 3 year old, he is a ninja.
So, then, after the diapers have been changed and the potty rules laid down, Lydia strolls down the stairs. “Hi Momma” she says, “Hi Baby”. I love that she is 5, the perfect little angel, most of the time. At this point it’s about 7:30 and Layla is clinging to my hip, to avoid a fight I turn on some PBS kids and Layla and I retreat for a 15 minute “flickr break” to check the comments and see what others uploaded in the night, we swing by “face book” and I skillfully check my pages, and block her attempts to restart the computer. My 1 year old is an octopus.
Pee Break, Chaos ensues in the living room.
I return to the living room to sing a few songs along with cartoons, do a silly butt-shakin dance and kiss a few boo-boos. I like this part a lot, we all giggle and everyone is happy. My day would be a breeze if it went like this all the time.
8:30, John’s Home, I sneak through the gate, leaving the kids happy since they are unaware of my escape. I kiss my hubby and ask how his day was… grabbing the stray toys from the path, “Can I get ya something” I ask… “A Pop” and I get hubby a pop and talk with him while I start breakfast. Scrambled eggs again ;)
At this point Rooster realizes I’m not there, he is hanging from the gate, “Momma, Momma, I need to be supposed to be in there!” Layla hears him… now she knows… “Uh Uh Uh” she is grunting at the gate too… and Lydia, of course puts her 2 cents in “Mother, I’m hungry!”
I spend the next few hours, feeding them, scolding them and quieting them. Daddy needs to get some rest and it seems that everyday they forget how important it is to get quiet. Someday they’ll learn.
I steal another flickr break, with Rooster this time, who insists that since he has peed on the potty twice already he has earned to look at ghostbuster pictures or pbs games, so, I compromise, we flip between flickr and elmo for about 15 minutes. I set the uploader to put some photos on, then Rooster gets a bath. Layla needs one too… she’s next.
We all return to the living room, have our lunch… sandwhiches, chicken nuggs or fruit, with milk and whatever else we can find. We roll around in the floor. Not for long though, I’m backed up on laundry, and dusting and sweeping… not to mention the bathroom… I do a little of all 3, And Lydia comes with me, to get some big girl time. She still hasn’t mastered the whisper. My 5 year old has no “volume” knob, it’s all outside voice all the time ;) We talk about all kinds of things while I sort laundry, I enjoy that too. She’s my little buddy.
The rest of the day follows suit, sometimes Layla naps, sometimes she doesn’t.
6:00 rolls around, PJ Time, we wind down, or try to, then up to the bedrooms at 6:30. We say the prayer, tell a story, give hugs and kisses and talk about the “stay in your own room” and “leave the light off” rules. I remind them that Layla is a baby and needs her rest, so if they don’t fall asleep right away,  to please be quiet.
I tuck Rooster back in at least 3 times, or send him back to bed… Lydia has 1-3 pee breaks. My Children, the sneaky stall-ers. ;)
I try to spend some time with John before he leaves for work. I need to do those dishes, but, hubby time seems more important…
John leaves at 9:45pm. I kiss him and tell him to be careful. I straighten up the house, a little and try to stay awake to play on flickr, type up blogs and respond to emails. It’s my time but I am thinking about how cozy the bed sounds.

I can count on one hand the times I have been out and about without any of my kids. I miss them when they’re away. I don’t spend “girls night outs” with anyone or spend my afternoons watching soaps and eating candy. I don’t spend my husbands hard earned money on handbags or clothes. And I enjoy getting gifts at tax return time. I don’t think that I am a queen, I don’t think I am above hard work. I take out the trash, I do the dishes, I vacuum and change diapers. I get the luxury of watching my children grow everyday… I CHOSE to sacrifice having “nice things” to have wonderful memories. I am not lazy, I love my family and I don’t appreciate your rudeness. My job is hard. Whether you think so or not.

I am far from a saint.

I mess up, have bad days and sometimes, yeah, I don’t work as hard as I should, but we all have days like that.

I hope I didn’t come off badly, it just hurts when people don’t see the time you put in, and the effort you make.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Journey | Happy Anniversary

Today we celebrate.
Quietly but deeply, the years we have shared, the work we have done and the journey we have taken.
We celebrate all the moments we choose to live a life together rather than run to our own selfish corners.
We treasure the good times and recognize all we learned from the trials.
Today we celebrate, love.

I was 19 then, scared, insecure and still so unsure of myself or my convictions. I didn't think I could handle the responsibility, that I would fail to live up to the expectations I imposed on myself. But I was ready to embark on a life of meaning. A life with someone else.

I was 20 when Lydia was born. The most happy and emotional day of my life! I was thrust into very tangible roles as Mother along with Wife and we were no longer a couple but a family. More insecurity settled on me. John was faced with more financial responsibility. We struggled. Sure, we struggled a lot those 2 years. We didn't know who WE were, let alone the proper way to live and love. We tried, but we both got hurt and we both got angry.

I think the first few years of marriage are maybe the hardest... But I think it's important. Let's face it, what makes it hard is each of you finding your voice. John becoming head of a household and shouldering a heavy load, and Me... becoming a Mother and Being responisble for all the emotional support my family needed.

It wasn't till I turned 25 that I really felt confidence. The kind you hear about. Where you let go and say I really can do all things through Christ and I am strong in my convictions and commitments. I am strong in my role as WIFE and MOTHER. I know that I am right but I know when to back down. I think in the last year John has embraced his role as provider with new-found pride. The knowing that he is capable, that he is a good man and that he is strong in that role.
We've both been hurt, but we both have been loved. I've been loved as if I was the only woman on this earth, as if everything began and ended in me and I have been blessed enough to love someone else that much as well. I have held his hand when he needed me, been the strong and silent one. I have been the weeping mess, collapsed in his arms. I have been the one praying and the one prayed for. I have given and I have taken.

I am only here... because of him. My life would not hold the promises and blessing of 6 years of effort without him. I know who I am becasue of him and I know I have a place in someone's heart because of him.

I am only as happy as him, as loved and as whole...

Thank you for this life, for your patience and for your arms.
I love you John

Forever and Always... till the ends of all that is and beyond still.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

the big snow | camden ohio

the big snow </P>
<P>gravel pit
i hate the snow...
it's keeping me and my babies apart.
i hate that there is a level 3 advisory and that even if i brave the elements i'd probably end up in trouble with the police.


the big snow </P>
<P>old school converted to a retirement home
anyway... it snowed from last night into late morning here. we have tons and tons of snow out there. since i couldn't go get the babies till i cleaned up the walk and dug out the car i worked on it for an hour, than a nice man next door used his bobcat to dig us out the rest of the way. i drove to the local market and got some donuts, i figured i deserved at least a couple ;) then i called mom to check the babies and see if there roads looked okay. they didn't and they also told me that there was a level 3... bummer. the kids were fine, i could here them playing in the background. i am so lost without them, i can barely take it. but i am holding on to that they are fine and safe and warm and that it's only a matter of time till i have them in my arms again.
to kill some time i took a walk around town, i took some photos and tried to make the best of the time i had. the snow is beautiful, but, i'm ready for it to be over till next winter.

the big snow </P>
<P>my favorite red door
be safe. i know some of you got less than us but some of you got more... try to keep warm.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

just wanted to talk...

If you follow my flickr account, you know I uploaded a ton of photos tonight. I couldn't help it, the kids all 3 let me take some photos and we were getting some great light from the window today :)

It's been a surreal few weeks. Sometimes it's hard to tell if I am coming or going, or where I'm going. I looked at Lydia today, all grown up, and Rooster getting there... Layla, she's almost as tall as Rooster. They fight, sure, but they're close and the do look out for eachother. I love that.
I spent last month making sure to be thankful everyday, and letting the world know with the photos I took. I've been busy but I've still been thankful daily, and made sure to let God know that I KNOW how blessed I am.

I'm enjoying all my little photography challenges, and really striving to accomplish my everyday life goals. I am trying to breath more, and just relax. I'm trying to not over-think, and to really keep no record of wrongs.

I've been missing a lot though, missing things that used to be in my life.
I miss spending more time with my sister, and now that she is 18 I'm afraid the time is passing, at least for now. I miss having card games till the wee hours of the morning. I miss picking Mom up and getting nothing but talking accomplished. I miss my cousin Amber, and all the time we used to have together. I wish our lives intertwined more, but, it's not always that simple. I miss having the time and gas money to see Nana as often as I'd like, and I miss just having time.

I don't want to sound bummed, I am far from it, I just get caught up in things I can't change, and I just need to talk it out.

I have such sweet babies, I am so glad they are around to get me through days like this. :)

I miss my husband. He works nights, 6 days a week, and his job is an hour away... he sleeps, we live our lives, he wakes up as we are winding down and within a few hours he's gone. After a year of unemployment I am eternally grateful for this awesome job that he has, but I wish we had a few more minutes to just hug eachother and say one more I love you. We have been watching "Dexter" together. It's nice to spend a few relaxing minutes together, trying to find out what's going to happen at the end of the season (we just started season one last week and are rounding out the third now). Grown Up talk is nice, I need it :)

Anyway, the Groundhog said we have 6 more weeks of winter, and tonight they are saying we have a ton of snow coming our way. Say a little prayer, John's Grandpa is on his way home from Florida. And say a little prayer for the rest of the family. They've lost someone, and without all the details, I will just say it was much too - much too soon :( . There is a lot of sadness over the area tonight, and a lot of people need prayers.

Sorry I went on and on, I just sometimes need to get it out, ya know. I hope you all have a cozy night, and thanks for listening.


the view from here

I decided to tackle another photography goal... ttv.

1/100 : snowy little february ttv

John got me an awesome group of camera's from ebay, I'm in the process of photographing them all, cleaning them up and just enjoying them. I wish it was spring already so I could use them in some shots that are mulling around in my mind ;)

Anyway, about the whole ttv thing, if you don't know, ttv is a style of photography that is very basic in theory, shoot a photo through the viewfinder of an older camera. It's trickier than that sounds, you need to focus right and block the light from the viewfinder. Some people build "contraptions" to aid in this, but that concept is lost on me right now.
So, I used a piece of card stock to block some light, and made sure the camera was steady, then did my best to focus, it's difficult ;)
I shot this little Popsicle stick snowflake through the viewfinder of a Kodak Brownie Starflex camera from the 1950's. I like it, atleast for a start, I hope they get better.
I also want to keep this really pure to the whole ttv idea, I won't be tweaking them at all, except for the square crop... so what you see is what you get :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Three Perspectives Project { home }

3 of 52

Left to Right
Sarah, Johnna and Maegan

I am so excited about this project with Maegan and Sarah, working with such amazing photographers is really going to inspire me to be so much better! It's sure to be a great year!!

Visit their Photostreams here
Maegan ::
Sarah ::

home2copy.jpg picture by johnnariddell

I had a lot of trouble with the theme... I wanted it to be special and everything I tried to photograph ended up trashed, I was busy and struggled to get focused on the theme. But driving home, along these tracks I so often find myself next to, I thought of all the people traveling home, all of us headed towards familiarity.
the truth is, home isn't really a place... it can be, but it is more of the safety and security of the things we treasure. memories, hobbies, family, and unity. It, in essence is the greatest truth.

Monday, February 1, 2010

hello, sweet february ...

2-1-201037labeledcopy.jpg from here picture by johnnariddell

I had a splendid day!

I didn't pick up my camera much but I spent my day with family, laughing, snacking and playing card games :) It was a delight, pure bliss. I love these days, when memories are being made all around you and the whole family is just beaming with love and joy.
Thom and my Aunt Donna were up, they came for the funeral and are leaving at 6 am Tuesday... so I told mom I was going to come over to visit Monday, and I did, from 11:30 till 7:30 we just enjoyed eachothers company. It sounds silly, but I will be on this high for days :)

2-1-20102copy.jpg everyday : cousins picture by johnnariddell 2-1-20104copy.jpg everyday : family picture by johnnariddell

Anyway, while I was busy playing cards, Rooster was given permission to take photos, and he got some really good ones, he took the one at the top of the post (which i totally adore ) and this one of Lydia. I get so delighted with the fact that he loves to take pictures too :)

2-1-201023copywithlabel.jpg sister picture by johnnariddell

The one thing I did do, flickr and photo related was get my "femininity" shot done for parallel visions :) I wanted to do something different, not lace or makeup, and baby's breath seemed the perfect compromise :)

feminity.jpg - femininity - picture by johnnariddell

I also worked on my song/poem today, it really just came to me...

This world is full of changing times
Sifting sands of an ageless tide
It's full of secrets and it's full of lies
the mournful, soft, sweet lullabies
It's full of long, deep blue winters
And orange summer skies
So full of promises...
So full of good-byes

And, I think I finally know where I belong
Dancing between the verses of an early folk song
And clinging to a memory, for which, I cannot grieve --
And for a moment, thinking,
You're standing next to me...

Here's to the perfect start to the LOVE month