09-18-2008, originally uploaded by Darter02.

When Teri came home from work we all jumped in the car and drove to nearby Mammoth Park for a quick picnic. We’ve basically developed being able to have these easy, after dinner meals to a simple science. There is really no better way to have dinner, in my opinion. We get to relax outside, go for walks and play with the baby with no distractions. I’m sort of sad the end is near and soon it will be too cold outside to do this.

Until then, we’re going to continue to try to have at least one picnic/week!

You can see a short clip by clicking here.



09-17-2008, originally uploaded by Darter02.

The weather was simply perfect today. It was warm, bright and sunny. I just HAD to get out! Freja and I went to Conemaugh Dam and after having fun in the playground, we went for long walk on the West Penn Trail. She took a nice, long nap on the way in. After going about 2 or 3 miles, we came to where a small stream flowed though a tunnel under some rail tracks. Freja woke up just as we got there, perfect timing. Once in the tunnel, we had fun with the echoes! On the other side is a little pool and a cement platform where we had a simple picnic and played in the leaf litter. I taught her how to pick up small stones and drop them into the water, something she did with a lot of gusto!

You can see a short clip from the walk back by clicking here.



09-14-2008, originally uploaded by Darter02.

As I was "putzing" around the house, my wife called to me, "Honey, there's a Praying Mantis in the fern by the front door. I was happy to hear it was still there, in the fern. A few days ago I saw it as I was coming into the house, then this morning I found a dead male on the porch. I didn't expect her to still be out there, but there is was a nice, big female. It seems she has chosen our Boston fern as her territory.

At first, I tried using my on camera flash, but when it wasn't working well I just went with natural light. It took me a while to get a good shot; the winds from Hurricane Ike were really whipping things up!



09-13-2008, originally uploaded by Darter02.

We went to visit with Flavia today, something we’ve been neglecting to do for most of the summer. While Teri took care of the baby, and they played with Flavia’s mother, I learned how to make a lamb stew. I’ve always LOVED Flavia’s cooking! Having her show me how to make one of her dishes was very exciting for me. I can’t wait to make it at home! In fact, Freja loved the food as well! She ate up a lot of food, homemade applesauce from wild apples, and lots of the super tender lamb meat. She gobbled up more meat than at any sitting up till now!

As for this lens, it has its pros and cons. I really like the wide angle, and the f/2.8 is nice and fast, as well as the general build of the lens. It just doesn’t have the same “punch” as my Ef35mm f/1.4, but that is to be expected. It would be great to have a W/A that does though! Of course, it is a 3rd the price… so… I guess I can’t complain!



09-12-2008, originally uploaded by Darter02.

It’s wrestling time in the baby’s room again. I’m also trying out my new Tokina lens today. I need to get used to this lens, and learn its ins & outs. There’s some interesting potential here I think…

I’ve been spoiled by my EF 35mm f/1.4L lens though. I want a superior wide angle lens that can perform as well as that lens. Ideally I’d get the EF 14mm f/2.8L II but it’s hard to justify the over $2K price right now.



09-11-2008, originally uploaded by Darter02.

Our neighbor gave us a big bag of plastic balls. I put her small, inflatable pool in the dinning room and “presto” instant fun! She simply loves to crawl around in it, and Teri has taught her how to throw a ball! We’ve even tossed them back and forth, from about 2 feet.



09-10-2008, originally uploaded by Darter02.

As I started to make dinner I noticed the light was changing just “so” outside. I quickly bundled up the baby and we made a dash to the Calisti home. Again, I had to do distortion correction, someday I’ll get a T/S lens…



09-09-2008, originally uploaded by Darter02.

After the baby has her bath we are starting to have a new, nightly ritual. All three of us spend time in the baby’s room, playing with her. Tonight Freja was particularly thrilled to wrestle with mommy!