Wednesday, April 21, 2010


(Posted retroactively, since at the time we found out, we weren't quite ready to tell the world yet...)

First, the big news... *ahem*...


We confirmed it at the doctor’s office today, after a positive home pregnancy test result this morning. We’re excited, overjoyed, and terrified all at the same time — and it hasn’t even entirely sunk in yet! We’ve been trying for more than a year now, so we’re at the same time amazed that it took this long to get here and amazed that it finally happened.

Heather is technically a month pregnant (!) already, which makes our expected due date December 29 — looks like we’ll be having a winter baby, though who can tell at this point if it’ll be 2010 or 2011 when baby arrives! Either way, I think that pretty much decides our Christmas plans for us... :-)

We want to do something big to celebrate, but we haven’t been able to yet because Heather’s pretty well out of commission due to a bad case of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. It’s causing her a lot of pain, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite, so even just going out to dinner tonight was out of the question. We’ll celebrate once Heather's feeling better, which hopefully will be really soon.

I really want to do a whole photo series tracking the pregnancy, a la Pacing the Panic Room, but Heather's not feeling well enough to be a photo subject at the moment, and I've still got some more learning to do with my fancy camera before I'm a master photographer (ha!). We've got a decent amount of time for that still — the Panic Room series started at around week 16, and I guess there’s not really much to show before then anyways.

One thing is absolutely certain — there are exciting times ahead for us!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photo Class

Once we got a DSLR camera, it rapidly became clear that while it's possible to treat such a camera as just a fancy point-and-shoot, that really wouldn't be making the most of its potential. Fortunately, we found that Durham Tech offers a series of digital photography classes. Initially we signed up for the “Beyond the Basics” class but after the first session it became very clear that the basics were beyond us rather than vice versa — so we switched to the “Basics of Digital Photography” class and continued with it.

The class just completed this past Monday. I've learned a lot from it, both in terms of how to use the various bells and whistles on this camera, as well as how to take better pictures in general. (The pictures in our Easter post are an early product of that education.) Each week we've had photo assignments to get hands-on experience with various features and techniques — aperture settings to control depth of field, shutter speeds to blur or freeze motion, the effect of wide angle versus telephoto, and so forth. Basic, perhaps, but surprisingly helpful. For example:

Shutter speed: 1/640s versus 1/20s

In addition to weekly classroom sessions and homework assignments, the class included a weekend afternoon photo outing to the Duke Gardens. We were given three hours and about a dozen photo assignments to complete, along the lines of “Take pictures of the same subject at the same distance, but vary from maximum wide-angle to maximum telephoto on your lens” and “Take a picture that has only two colors.” While working to complete these assignments, I came up with a few photos that I'm somewhat proud of:

Even though the class focused primarily on DSLRs and all their various manual settings, it'll definitely help me in taking better pictures with our everyday point-and-shoot camera as well. I'm thinking about taking the “Beyond the Basics” class this fall, time permitting, since (as is often the case) by learning this much, I've become very aware of how much more there still is to learn!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Happy Easter!

We had a great Easter weekend with my  parents and sister and brother in law, who came up to stay with us.


We spent the weekend visiting, eating, playing games, taking a walk through Duke gardens and just enjoying each other’s company. The only rotten part of the weekend was Saturday morning when we woke up to find Hannah and Bizzy’s car had been broken into – in front of our house! ! They busted the drivers side window and took their GPS and iPod and a pocket knife. Unfortunately no one saw anything and we couldn’t find any shops that would fix the window over the weekend before they had to drive home on Sunday. We gave Pasha a stern talking to regarding to her role as watch dog – next time she promises to be more alert.  Of course we just hope there isn’t a next time!


Thanks family, for coming up to see us and for spending Easter together!