BEGIN September 2014 | Corina's Corner

Jordan's Birthday Weekend

9.23.2014


This handsome guy just turned 28! And even though his birthday was on Wednesday, we pretty much celebrated until Saturday. Wednesday morning I woke up a little bit earlier than usual and made him French Toast breakfast in bed. Later that day Reagan and I headed down to his office to pick him up for lunch. We decided to take advantage of Salt Lake's Dine O'Round and go to two different places for lunch. We went to Taco Taco, pictured below as well as Bocata (not pictured). Both were good, but I'm still dreaming about the Cuban Pork Bocata, and I can't wait to go there again.



On Thursday, we dropped the baby off at Grandma's and headed to our usual Benihana birthday dinner. It was divine, as always.



Jordan's work does this awesome thing where each employee gets a birthday holiday 30 days before or after their birthday. He decided to take it on Friday. We took advantage of having him home by going on a hike near our house. We hiked up to the Adam's Canyon Waterfall. It was a bit harder and a bit longer than we thought it was going to be, but the waterfall sure was cool.



^^We totally weren't intending on having Reagan play in the water. I'm not sure why, but we did not plan for that. She was very sure that she would be playing in the water though, and made sure we knew it and let her! In just the past week, I have learned (Third times the charm?) that whenever there is water, the baby will be playing in it, and will be soaking and need a new change of clothes at the end.



As if all of these festivities wasn't enough, we were also able to go to the BYU football game on Saturday! And they won! And they're undefeated! We weren't planning on bringing Reagan, but somehow our entire babysitting list was unavailable, so she came along. She spent one quarter wrestling with Grandma at her seat, the 2nd quarter under the bleachers with Grandma, slept through halftime, spent the 3rd quarter with Jordan and I at our seats, and then I spent the 4th quarter with her under the stands. Whew! Having a Reagan is tiring (but great at the same time!).



And there you have it! Jordan is officially 28! That old man. He is so great. I'm so thankful for what a hardworking and fun dad he is for our family. He is truly the best. Love you!

Going to Church

9.21.2014


I am Mormon. Did you know that? I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am starting this new series on my blog called "My Mormon Life." I want to more openly discuss my religion and how it makes me happy, influences my day-to-day life, and creates meaning in all that I do.

First, I want to talk about actually going to church. We live so close to our church building that we walk every week. It's wonderful and I think Reagan loves it. We attend with a bunch of people from our neighborhood, in what is called a ward. We go to church every Sunday for 3 hours.

The first hour is called Sacrament Meeting. This is where we partake of the sacrament, worship, provide (and receive) gospel instruction, perform ordinances, conduct ward business, and strengthen faith and testimony. It is a great time to reflect on the past week and recommit to living better, being kinder, and to doing more service.

The second hour is called Sunday School. Jordan and I have the privilege of teaching a class during this hour. It's for people in our ward who are getting ready to go to the temple for the first time, it's called Temple Prep.

During the third hour the men and women separate and each attend their own classes. I get to spend this time with the 12-18 (specifically 14-16) year old girls talking about applying gospel principles in their daily life. Jordan spends this time with a majority of the younger adult men in the ward learning about how to be better husbands and fathers, and talking about how they can better look after the welfare of all of the families in our neighborhood.

In December, when Reagan turns 18 months old, she will be able to go to her own class, called nursery with all of the other babies and little kids 18 months to 3 years old. For right now she just tags along to all of the classes with us.



I go to church because I learn how to have more patience with Reagan, be more supportive of Jordan, form and strengthen friendships with my neighbors, and most importantly it helps me remember that I have a Heavenly Father who loves and cares about me and my family. I go to church because it helps me be a better person.

P.S. If you have any questions about my Mormon life please comment or email me at sorensencorina (at) gmail (dot) com. 

Utah Cultural Celebration Center

9.19.2014


Reagan and I ventured over to the Utah Cultural Celebration Center the other day at the recommendation of Jordan who knew I would love this Chinese Arch (which looked very similar to the one we saw while we were in Washington, D.C in Chinatown). I didn't know something like this existed in Utah. It was definitely very neat. The Cultural Center was pretty cool too. They had some neat artifacts on display as well as an interesting exhibit about immigrants. I'd recommend it if you're in the neighborhood!



^^This is literally the only good picture I got of Reagan (and I say good, very loosely...) because every time I would stop holding her hand she would sprint over to the pond. I swear she tried to jump in at least 3 times. Crazy spunky girl! She sure has a mind of her own.  

How to Photograph the Night Sky

9.17.2014
tips and tricks

One of my favorite things to photograph is the night sky. I am always looking for excuses to escape the city lights and stay up late to take pictures of the stars. I am continually trying to improve my skills but have learned a few things along the way that I'd love to share with you! Read along to see my tips:



1. Find a place with really dark skies. Escape the busy world for a while and get away from the city lights. I always try to take night sky pictures when I'm camping or on a late night hike. If you can't get away, try to find a less busy street with no street lights.



2. Use a tripod. Or if you don't have one, set your camera down on something stable. I don't always like bringing my tripod everywhere so I have been known to use a big rubbermaid bin, huge rocks, bridges, and the ground on occasion. Stability is really important in getting a good clear shot.



3. Don't touch your camera. To go along with the last tip, for even more stability use a remote or the self-timer. I don't love the remote I have (I need to get a new one) so I am often using the 2 second self-timer for night photos. It's basically a delay so that I can get my hands off the camera. To get the best shots, you don't want to be touching your camera because no matter how still you think you are being, you are still moving.



4. Use manual focus and set to infinity (∞). When I was first trying to take night pictures I could not figure out how to get the pictures in focus, and I hate when pictures are out of focus (just ask my family...). The key here is just to set it to manual and infinity.



5. Learn how to use the histogram on your camera. When you're shooting at night, and you look at the LCD screen, you'll probably think that the photos are bright enough, and then get home or look again in the morning and notice that the pictures are way too dark. The histogram on your camera will help you fix this problem. It's that charty looking thing that appears when you press info. Basically, if most of the lines are on the left side it means the pictures is too dark, and if most of the lines are on the right side it means the picture is too light. You want your lines spread out fairly evenly across the whole chart. This will be difficult shooting in the dark, but it is possible.

Most of these pictures I took with my wide angle lens, on manual (I always, always shoot in manual), with f/3.5-4, ISO 400 and somewhere between a 20-30 second shutter. It's all trial and error though, to get it exactly how you want it. The long shutter here is key, and sometimes allows you to catch neat shooting starts or satellites. Try it out! You'll love the results.

P.S. I'd love to see your pictures, if you try taking some night sky pictures comment below with a link!

Up The Lazy Weber

9.16.2014


Last weekend we got to go up to our friend Jessica's cabin. It was a wonderful little getaway, complete with foil dinners, fire, fresh air, friends, and fishing. Oh, and lots of babies running around. What more could you ask for? As far as I'm concerned it was perfection.



We got there at about 7 on Friday night, started a fire and cooked our tinfoil dinners. After we ate, we let Reagan play for a little bit and then we put the babies to bed. Unfortunately, Reagan had the hardest time going to bed, and didn't end up falling asleep until about 10 :( After she finally fell asleep though, she slept great all night and was the last baby to wake up in the morning.



I was super excited to be going to the mountains this weekend because there was a 30% chance that we would be able to see the Aurora Borealis. I don't think we saw it but I did get some fun night sky pictures with cool clouds and some with the Milky Way.



In the morning, we had a delicious breakfast with scrambled eggs, hash-browns, bacon, and fruit. Then, we took the babies down to play at the swing set. The boys got a game of horseshoes in while the girls talked and chased babies.



After a while, we headed up to the grown-up swing. I hope that I can adequately describe the terrifying/ thrilling/ fun that was this crazy swing.



You would start by standing on the edge of this platform and getting situated on the seat of the swing. When you were ready, someone would pull a huge handle/lever that would drop the platform below you, causing you to fly swinging up into the air.



^^I'm not sure if you can really tell in these pictures but you were swinging 20-30 feet in the air on the initial swing. Hence the terrifying/thrilling/fun (when I went it seriously knocked the wind out of me). Reagan was so funny. Whenever Jordan or I went on the swing she would start bawling! Seriously, so so mad and sad. But she could care less if anyone else did it. Maybe she was nervous for us. It was sad and silly.



^^Love these cute babies, from left to right: Reagan, Phoebe, Asher, and Nixon.



After the swing, we cleaned up the cabin, packed up and headed to the lake. We went to Smith and Morehouse, which I have to say is possibly one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever been to in Utah (besides Bear Lake...). The boys fished while the kids played in the water.



When we finished at the lake, and on our way out of town we stopped for some lunch at Oakley Polar King. You know Jordan and I can't resist a greasy diner, especially if we've never been there before.



It was a wonderful little trip! Thanks Jessica for inviting us!
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