Sunday, March 20, 2016

The PhotoWalk

It usually works out that at least one day over spring break is perfect weather for being outside in the world that God made for us. This year was no exception. 
Em has really gotten into her photography now. She can usually be found with a book in one hand and a camera in the other, snapping away at the birds and flowers and sunshiney shadows. She's got the eye, that's for sure, and Evan isn't far behind.

SO, I planned a very special photowalk this week. They didn't know where we were going, they only knew it was out of town, and somewhere we had never been before.
Which was pretty much all I knew about it, too, aside from a nice "come over anytime!" from the owner and the pretty instagrams he posts.

We arrived early in the day, before it warmed up too much, drove around, and found the walking trail entrance. There were 3 trails. My kids unanimously voted for the "long" trail, which wasn't actually "long" at 2 miles, but it was a perfect distance for little legs!

 The trails were AMAZING. Like, moss covered trails, all shady and quiet. Birds singing, mushrooms growing, and angels singing their hallelujah chorus. We all immediately gasped as we got into the woods, and exclaimed how much we wished daddy were here. He would love to run the trail. For sure. 
 The kiddos had each brought their own Lego Minifig to photograph - it helps with focal points and framing, and other such hidden agendas, but really, most of the time they took absolutely breathtaking pictures without them. They were so excited at all the forest life around them that they just snapped the day away, running to and fro, calling out for each other to "look!" "Oh my gosh!" "This is soooo pretty!" "come here QUICK!". 

And this spot just made me think about...
I remember when the littlest Castro was just toddling around, we would all go on photowalks and I was always SO amazed at the pictures that I would download off baby Evan's camera. The world from 2 feet tall. The things that a toddler views as interesting or unique. A bug we pass by without thinking, a crack that somehow looks like a bird. A wet leaf in the gutter. Mom's crocs. It's a whole different world. A whole different beauty.
I think about that a lot, years later, and wonder what kinds of things would God take photos of on a photowalk? Would it be the same as us? Or would see the beauty in things that we don't?

I pulled a collection of pictures off of the kids' cameras when we got home, and I was beaming with pride, as mommas usually do.
I love the way they see the world. Their colors may be off, sometimes even the focus is wonky. But they see life in a way that makes me proud.
Especially one this magical.

----- Emma's Photos -----

..... Evan's Photos .....

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it"
-Ansel Adams

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

They're back...and it's personal this time.

I friggin LOVE spring.
I love the rain, and the thunder, and the smell of wet soil, and the baby animals, and the bulbs all pushing their way up like a baby in a post-nap stretch.

There's one thing I hate about spring. And it's not the tornadoes, or the sideways winds, or the flash floods.
Its the TURKEYS. 

They've been scaring me since year one in this house, and each year they roll a little deeper, and get a little closer, and sound a little louder, and seem a little braver.
And how the HECK do those big a$$ birds hop my 4ft fence?!? And sleep in trees?! And be so BIG AND NASTY AND SCARY?!?!

The other day, they had me surrounded in my car.
In the driveway.
Big ol' gangsta leader turkey with his Braveheart painted face spotted me and I felt the chill go down my spine.
I jumped into the back seat where the window screens were up and pulled out my phone to video my last moments for my family to find later when they fished my phone out of the belly of one of those killer birds. 
I was held up in that van for EVER until they finally left, gobbling threats that you'd hear on the Godfather movies.
"We'll be BACK, Heidi!"
"You win THIS time, but we'll be back!"
"We know where you sleep!"
"Snitches end up in the ditches!"
"We're comin' for ya!"

I swear, as the last one waddled around the corner, I heard a gobbly "See you in your dreeeeeams, biotch!"
I mean, I'm no turkey translator, but I'm about 90% sure that's the correct translation. 

I'm telling you.
They roll deep.

As soon as I made my move to get out of the car and run for the house, my neighbor across the street came out giggling, after having watched the entire attack unfold and invited me over for a decompression.


They've almost caught up with the june bugs on my scary-enough-to-pee-my-pants list. 

Anyone else?? I mean...

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The Castros Cruise Cali {Hollywood + The End}

Our last day in Cali was bittersweet. As we slowly made our way back up to L.A., we said our farewells to all the family we visited along the way. 
In the morning, the girls tearily said goodbye and see ya in the summer, and it dawned on us all how much Emma had grown, much to Niecey's dismay. ;)
We met my auntie for some frozen yogurt and a quick run-and-grab of some of the Star Wars Tsum-Tsums at the Disney store nearby. 
(Notice Chewie grinning for the camera)
 I couldn't resist taking these guys photo as we passed by the Imperial Highway.
(Are you humming the song now?!?)
My mom took us to see my grandpa in his home that day. 
Isn't he adorable? :)
I always thought it was so funny that he and John had so many likes in common. Had we lived closer to him, I'm sure they would have been inseparable on nights that boxing matches were going on and maybe even have run a few races together. It's funny, isn't it, that sometimes you can see the pieces of your life fitting together in God's bigger plan. It always comforts me. There are no coincidences. 
We find people who complete us, and fulfill us, even when we don't realize it. 
That evening, we headed to Hollywood to see the walk of fame. 

There were a few stars I was pretty excited to see. 
 And, by the way, The Monkees (or whats left of them, snif snif) are coming in concert this summer!!! Anyone wanna go?!? Because, MONKEES!!!
Emma & I will probably be the youngest concert-goers there, but hey. (Or hey, hey), I still stand by the fact that they are, and have always been, one of my very very favorites. 

And also...

When we got to the famous Chinese Theatre, they had mostly gotten all the Grammy Award tents and carpets packed away, and all that was left on the streets were the millions of tourists and some taxis. 

I forced this one on him. 
There was no way I could fit my hand into hers, or I would have. 

So, after looking at all my favorites, I'm beginning to think I was born into the wrong era?
People were swarming the newer names and prints and Katniss and Divergent and Twilight, but here I was, fangirling over the same prints as all the WWII vets. Eh, whatever. 

We stayed in a hotel by the airport that night, and got to sleep in for the first time since we arrived. 
 They drove us to the airport a little early.

And then we were off in the skies, heading back home. 

The END!!

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