Alphabet Madness!

This week’s MCP Blog photo challenge is a letter of the alphabet. I chose to take a photo with LOTS of letters from the alphabet. This is a creation by my oldest son Noah! It is the space shuttle sitting on the launch pad ready for take off. I loved how he used such basic blocks for his creation. He has access to lots of blocks of all shapes and sizes and yet he gravitated to these very simple ones.

 

Have a fantastic Tuesday!

A Fantastic Graduation! Valentin Karate

If you are a regular to my blog then you know that I have both of my boys enrolled in World Tang Soo Do Karate at Valentin Karate.  Noah started his Martial Arts journey last September.  Ezra jumped into the game a couple of months later.  Since then I’ve seen my little boys blossom and grow in ways I hadn’t expected.  Originally I was just looking for a good physical activity they both could participate in that spanned longer than just a couple of months time.  Yes we planned on doing sports, but sports run just a couple of months and then everyone moves on.  I’m trying to help my children develop longer lasting relationships not just with other children but with adults as well.  That is hard to do when everything is over and done with in just a month or two.

The quality of the program consistently blows me away.  The instructors are absolutely top notch professionals who love what they do.  They are the sweetest, kindest, most patient people.  They understand the craziness of small children and work with them to bring out their best.  Their expectations of behavior are set high, yet reasonable.  They model respect, courage, discipline, and kindness.  Valentin Karate is involved in every kind of charity work you can imagine.  The level at which these schools give back to the community is mind boggling.  I cannot keep up with the number of charity events these people do.  I love the example that sets for my children.  I told you before that I have extremely high expectations for programs for young children.  Valentin Karate exceeds them at every turn.

So this year Noah earned four belts if you include the very first white belt that they are given after completing the first class.  Noah really did earn that belt as he was as nervous as anything and it actually took him two classes to feel comfortable enough to participate and earn that belt.  Ezra started a little later so he was able to earn three belts.  Quite impressive for a three year old if you ask me.

Last Saturday was graduation day!  My boys had recently completed the latest round of belt testing and it was time to celebrate.  Noah was moving up from the Tiny Tigers program (for 3-5 year olds) and into the Dragons program.  He earned his first yellow Dragon belt.  Ezra was moving into his Tiny Tigers green belt.  These boys worked hard for these belts and I was the proudest momma in the entire building.  And that is saying a lot because there were LOTS of momma’s there that day.

This was Ezra’s first BIG belt ceremony.  Usually they receive new belts during a special class.  But in December and June they have a large ceremony at a local Boys & Girls Club.  Ezra was nervous.  He didn’t want to leave Mommy’s side.  It took all I had to move away from him.  Then for a bit he didn’t want to sit with the other children.  However these instructors understand all of this and they worked with Ezra until he was comfortable.  Before I knew it he was sitting and laughing with the other children.

Then the show began.  Master Valentin lead the group himself in a quick warm up.  Quite the sight seeing all of these students work their moves.  Once that was over the Tiny Tigers (my boy’s class) performed their forms.  Then each and every class had their turn.  I watched my boys faces.  They were in awe over all that the big kids could do.  I hope this inspires them to keep at it.

Near the end they invite the parents down to the floor to officially tie the new belts.  I love this part.  I’m so glad we get to participate and not just stand by and watch.  The instructors fan out and happily take family photos with all the of the dozens and dozens of cameras that the parents bring with them.  Here is the photo we were able to capture.  I love it.

Afterward we celebrated with ice cream at Friendly’s.  They practiced their warrior faces while we waited.  To say they were wound up and excited would be an understatement.  Thankfully the Friendly’s crew set us off in the corner where we couldn’t disturb too many other customers.

That night Ezra appeared with his jammies and his new belt tied around his waist.  He sweetly asked if he could wear it to bed that night.  I couldn’t say no.  So I’ll let that be a testament to just how much my boys love their Karate classes.  We’ll keep attending all through the summer.  We might take a short break for some family vacation time.  But honestly, it is the part of the whole week and we wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Have a great holiday weekend!  See you on the blog next week! (Perhaps on Tuesday, I just might take Monday off.  We’ll see.)

 

 

Fun With My Kiddo’s! iPhone Silliness! And of Course the Winner of the Gorgeous & Co Giveaway!

Horray!  It’s Friday!  Did you all have an enjoyable week?  I did!  We had our fair share of craziness!  It seemed my Noah had a touch of the stomach bug early in the week.  The rest of us have suffered from terrible spring time allergies, or a cold… not sure which but both are miserable!  We also battled a silly little field mouse!  I have to say though that it was an extremely productive week!    I am so looking forward to tomorrow!  I get to get out and shoot a wedding with LaViera Photography!  It’s been a while since I’ve worked with her and I am very much looking forward to it!

Do you remember last Friday’s post?  I wrote about What I Hope My Children Say About Me In 30 Years! In that post I talked about wanting to be a more fun loving mom and how I’d like to spend more time just playing with my kiddos.  I was serious about that!  So I stopped yesterday afternoon and I sat down at the kitchen table and rolled up my sleeves to play with play-doh!  I had a really excellent time.  Truth be told I LOVE play-doh.  It was one of my favorite activities to set out when I was a public school special education preschool teacher.  It was so soothing not only for my students for ME as well.  It was awesome to sit and really enjoy my boys for a little while.  And I was able to unleash a little bit of creativity at the same time!  I thought it’d be fun to document our little play time with my iPhone and share it all with you!

What a mess we made together!  I think that was the best part!

So I hope you all have a great weekend!

Oh wait!  Were you all hoping to learn who the winner of the Gorgeous & Company $25 gift certificate is?  Of course you were!  I absolutely enjoyed this give away!  I hope to do something like it again soon!  Giving away stuff I love is a blast!  Hmmm…. what should I choose next time?

Anyway, without further a due… it seems in this case the early bird catches the worm as comment number THREE from Kim is the winner!  This is what she said….

“I Love G and C…been meaning to get my hands on one of her products for awhile…pick me, pick me!”

 

Congratulations Kim!  I’ll be sending you an email shortly!  What a way to end the week!  Hooray!

Why Stand Still? My Story About Overcoming Fears and My Constant Quest to Keep Improving!

Are you satisfied with who you are? With your life? With your own character? I have to say that I am not and dear God do not let me ever be!  I’m not saying that I am not happy. I truly am. I’ve said it before and I say it often because it is true! I am blessed beyond my wildest measure. My life is taking me in directions I never planned yet the path I am on is turning out to be far better than the path I once thought I wanted to be on.

I have everything. I want for nothing. I revel daily in the blessings I have been handed. I spend many waking hours thankful to God for what he has bestowed on me.  But I know I cannot stand still. I cannot stop here. I am too hungry for that. I am in a constant pursuit to better myself in every area of my life. I want to know more, do more, see more, experience more, and GROW!

Is there anyone out there like me? Sometimes this trip I’m on is pretty tiring and I’d love a friend.

If I stop now I may never become the person I was meant to be. I’ll become bored, stagnant, and probably depressed. I find it very hard to understand people who stay in the same place in their lives. Never challenging themselves, never bettering themselves. Especially, when they say they hate their job or other aspect of their life. Are they so afraid to take a risk on becoming who they were meant to be that they would rather wallow in their own muck?

About 3 years ago I was cruising Craigslist checking out opportunities for photographers and dreaming about someday or what might be. I had no intentions of responding to any ads. I wasn’t a good enough photographer.  I was just daydreaming. I spotted this ad from a wedding photographer offering to mentor and train potential wedding photographers free of charge. She simply wanted to give back. Something drew me to that ad.  I don’t know what it was.  I had never considered wedding photography up until that minute.  Any sort of photography business was still a pipe dream.  Even if I applied, never did I imagine I’d be chosen. I just didn’t think I was good enough and I thought I never would be. Plus, weddings are crazy stressful and HARD! I mean, what if I royally screwed up some poor girls day? I could be SUED! Who was this photographer anyway? Some sort of saint? No one offered what she was offering. She must have a horde of would-be super talented photographers beating down her door. Surely I never would be chosen. I had a million and one reasons not apply. I had a very long list of fears. But I did apply. Almost as a joke as in “See, she didn’t pick me. Just proves what I already know. That I stink!”

Then I forgot all about it. I went back to what I was doing. I kept at it with my photography because I loved it!  It fed my brain!  I need to feed my brain!  But when I heard nothing from this lady I figured I was right. It wasn’t for me. She didn’t choose me. After all I had no online portfolio to share with her at the time so she knew I stunk. Life moved on.

Until 9 months later when I finally did get an email with a request for a interview. I nearly passed out from shock! I had put it so far out of my mind I thought it was a weird spam thing and I nearly deleted it.  I sat and stared at it for a good five minutes until the pieces all came back together for me!

After much back and forth and plenty of coaxing and pep-talks by my husband I went on that interview. I seriously need to share that story some day. What a trip that was. But the rest is history. I was set on a path I never planned. I was given opportunity for growth I didn’t know I wanted. I found a love and a passion I didn’t know I was looking for. And I’m creating amazing relations and life experiences I never would have otherwise had. All because of an email I sent even though I was sure it would never be answered.

I’m thankful that I am always hungry and looking to keep moving. Otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today. Now that is a scary thought.

This photo of me was taken just about 11 or 12 years ago not long before I graduated from college. Boy were my hopes and dreams different back then! I’m glad I didn’t cling to what wasn’t right for me and instead I’ve moved forward and changed and grown. It all makes me sort of excited for what the next decade of my life brings!

What do you hope your children say about you 30 years from now as a mother?

Yesterday afternoon was beautiful one.  The sun was shining, it was relatively warm, and my two older boys were enjoying the backyard and fresh air while I scuttled about the kitchen doing the things moms tend to do.  I heard the whoosh of the sliding patio door behind and when I turned around I saw two sweet little grubby smiling faces. In their dirt stained hands they carried bunches of dandelions.  “These are for you Mommy!  We got them for you! Aren’t they pretty?”  Of course they were!  They were the most gorgeous flowers I’d ever seen in my entire life.  I grabbed a glass and filled it with water and set the treasures out on our dining table.  This delighted my handsome little men and they ran off to find more!  Before I knew it the glass was nearly overflowing.  It reminded me of my own heart and how it overflows with love for them.

Later in the evening when we gathered around the table for dinner that little glass prompted made me think about all of those times I did the same thing for my own mother.  How many times did I pick bunches of dandelions when I was a child?  Too many to count.  And why did I do it?  Because I absolutely loved my own mom.  I still do!  I wouldn’t be who I am without her.  She made me who I am.  She sacrificed to provide me a good life. I have the best Mom I ever could have asked for!  All of these thoughts led me to reflect on a question I saw floating around Twitter several weeks backs.  What do I hope my children say about me 30 years from now as a mother?  I wish I could remember the source.  I’d love to link to them!

My three small beautiful children make my life so worth living.  They make the world so alive for me.  Sometimes people sort of scoff at the idea that I have three babies ages five and under. I must be so crazy to have so many so close together!  I think that is so sad!  I couldn’t imagine life any other way.  My babies teach me more than I ever imagined.  They humble me in a way I never could have fathomed.  They are treasures here in this world.  I do not deserve these sweet souls.  I am wise to remember that they do not belong to me but they are on loan, gifts from God, and I have been called by Him to raise them in His reflection so that they may grow up and fulfill what they will be called to do on this earth.  What a responsibility.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed like I could never be capable or worthy of such a calling.  But I know I wouldn’t have been asked if I didn’t have what it takes.

30 years from now when my children reflect back on the life I provided, on the lessons I taught them, on their experiences… what will they say about me as a mother?  That is sort of a scary thought isn’t it?  Do you live your life with that sort of forward thinking?  30 years from now what is done will be done!  There will be no chance to go back and do it all over again.  There will be no opportunity to change or make better.  There just aren’t any do-overs!

I imagine I am like all mother’s.  I want my children to say fond things about me.  Who on earth would want their children to hate them?  I want them to think of me as  loving, patient, kind, and fair.  When I look at that short list the word patient sticks out at me.  I struggle with that.  I don’t think I’m alone on that front and it is a daily internal tug-o-war.  I also want them to think of me as someone who set high expectations and provided the support to help them succeed.  On this front I feel decently comfortable.  As a matter of fact my husband and I have been tweaking our family routines in order to create this very atmosphere.  I’m seeing great success!  Perhaps that will be a future blog post.

I want my children to think of me as a mother who set firm boundaries, who didn’t let them get away with anything, and yet was very fun loving.  When I reflect on this one I think I’m doing a fine job munchkin’s in line.  They are great well behaved kids.  So much so that I am able to let out the proverbial line so to speak and offer them appropriate freedom and flexibility.  I do not usually feel the need to breath down their necks every minute of every day.

But am I fun loving?  I want my children and I to enjoy their childhood’s!  And 30 years from now I hope we are both enjoying their adulthood’s!   I think I can do better.  I believe I get so caught up in the day-to-day that I rarely stop long enough to just play, to just be silly, to just enjoy the moment.  I know my boys would love for me to play with them more.  What better way to show them I love them than to make time to do what they love to do.  Maybe I’ll write that on sticky and put on my mirror so I think about it every day.

30 years from now I hope my children are mature enough to see how much I love them.  I hope they believe that I gave them my all and while I will never be perfect that I always do that best that I possibly can.  I hope they can reflect on the hard choices I’ve made and understand that I truly believed I was doing what was best for them.  30 years from now I hope my children enjoy me and that I enjoy them.  What could possibly be better?

All of this because of few yellow dandelions.  I can’t wait until they get out of bed today and go out and pick me so more.  I am thrilled that they love me that much.  I am truly blessed!  Patience and fun!  I can do better and I plan to work on these things.  What will you work on?

The Sock Monster Followed Me!

Growing up all through the years I always had one issue.  From the time I was born until the time I left the nest and moved out on my own I was always plagued by the sock monster.  You all know what the sock monster is right?  He’s that mysterious little creature that likes to feast on socks.  He is finicky though as he does not like seconds.  He’ll only dine on one sock from each matching pair.

One year when I was around nine or ten years old that sock monster must have brought his buddies around my house.  It seemed I could never ever find a pair of socks.  My family took such pity on me.  At Christmas that year all of my relatives bought me packages of socks.  If I remember correctly I acquired 38 pairs of brand new socks.  I kid you not!  The sock monster must have been licking his lips!

The sock monster didn’t seem to follow me to college or onto life away from home.  If he did his appetite was much suppressed.  I only seemed to loose a sock here or there.  Not several with every load of laundry.

Then I had children.  Low and behold the ugly sock monster came out of hibernation and reared his ugly head.  Once again I find myself frustrated with the lack of matching socks to be found in my home.  I keep a drawer of mismatched socks for my boys.  I do try to sort through it from to time and get things matched up.  It doesn’t seem to help.

So this week with my husband couch bound with his torn Achilles and me behind on seemingly every chore in the house… I gave up!  I actually encouraged my munchkins to wear whatever socks they could find, no worries about matching today!

They were delighted!

So there you have it!  The sock monster wins!  I admit defeat and my children have missed matched feet!  At least they are clean right?

Stretching Myself and Enjoying It! | CT Photographer

A person is born, they grow up, they might get married and have children, they grow old, and eventually they leave this earth.  That is the cycle of life and the way God intended it to be.  It all works according to His perfect plan.  Our time here is limited and brief.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to leave a mark, a legacy so to speak.

What is left of you from the days of your infancy or childhood?  Not much!  You might still have a few toys stashed away, maybe a beloved hard won trophy.  What of your grandparents?  What is left of them from the days when they were young and perhaps fools in love?  Maybe a few treasures, some cherished wedding gifts perhaps.

Memories fade.  This ultra special moments you lived as a child or an adult that you swore you’d never forget… you have.  The precious way your baby looked at you as a newborn that you tried ever so hard to burn into your brain as faded into a fog.  Not every memory of course.  Some things really do stay with us.  And I bet some people have better memories than others. I don’t have the best memory and I adore my life.  I want to have photos to help me remember.

This idea is what drove me into photography.  I have a passion for documenting moments in life.  Of course this means I take lots and lots and lots of photos of people.  And I LOVE it!  I love the people I’ve met, the friendships I’ve made, the stories I have learned and then retold.  I love the history I document.  I love the idea that perhaps some day little kids will look in awe at who their parents/grandparents/or maybe even dare I say GREAT-grandparents were when they young and engaged and ready to marry.

That is my legacy.  I am capturing memories for generations.  It won’t buy me fame or fortune.  But I am making a difference, or at least I feel I am.  What is even better is I am helping my clients leave a legacy for their families and loved ones.  What on earth could be better than that!

 

Sometimes though, it is time to try something new… something different.  It is a rare occasion that I ever turn my lens toward something that doesn’t have a face.  I’m not much for landscapes or still life’s.  They don’t have expression, they can’t give me a range of emotions, they aren’t celebrating a memory.

Lately I’ve been inspired by the beautiful spring colors to document something new.  To capture a different beauty. Perhaps I haven’t paid it enough attention.  This weekend I walked around my home and created photographs of the brand new life that is springing up all around me.

Then I decided to take it a step further and stretch my creativity a bit more and try some new artistic post-processing techniques.  I always want to grow!  I always want to try new things.  So here you have it!  My attempt at something outside of my normal comfort zone in many ways.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  I think I might have to try this again soon!

At the Hospital! Not How I Thought I’d Spend My Day!

As I write this post I am sitting in the lobby area of my local hospital.  Not the place I care to be.  I’m just as surprised as you probably are that I am here.  I hate hospitals but of course who doesn’t, right?  With the exception of the birth of a child I cannot think of a single joyous reason to go to the hospital.

A couple of weeks ago my husband tore his Achilles tendon playing rec league basketball.  Yeah yeah, he isn’t so young any more!  If we had a dollar for every time we heard that today we’d be able to completely cover all of his medical bills!  The guy is made of iron though!  He got up and kept playing and then walked around on it for days!  He didn’t think it was torn because who walks around on a torn Achilles?  Even the doctor was amazed!  It was just Tuesday afternoon we learned that we’d be spending our Thursday this way.

It’s been a rough week.  He has been in pain and certainly not as mobile as we are used too.  He’s been grumpy and admittedly so have I.  I’m used to him taking care of me.  We are in somewhat uncharted territory here.  The man is healthy as an ox and rarely even has a sniffle.  And this journey has just begun.  Lord only knows how long and involved the recovery will be.

I feel for him.  He’s never been on this side of the coin.  He’s never had surgery, never been admitted to the hospital, worn a gown, been poked and prodded, had his dignity stolen the way you do.  I birthed three babies.  I understand what it is to sit on that bed.

Then again, I’m charting new territory too.  I’ve never been the one worried, wondering what will happen next, how he’ll be when it is all over, what I can do to help.

On this day, as I sit anxious to be back at my husband’s side I will choose to rejoice and thank God.  So many face so much more.  This is just his ankle.  It is a fixable injury that he will recover from.  He’ll be back home where he belongs just hours after he left.  The bill will be hefty but we do have insurance and savings and we will not be wiped out.  When I step back and look at this from a bigger perspective it will just be a bump in the road.  For that I am thankful.

Oh and I am thankful for something else.  It is times like these when your friend’s have a chance to truly shine.  The offers of prayers, well wishes, and assistance have overwhelmed me.  Todd’s Facebook page is something to see.  I am so grateful for those who love us.  I can only imagine what it might be like if we were facing something more serious!  I asked my dear friend Miss Julia to keep my children today.  She jumped at the chance!  I knew I made the right choice about that because my children could have cared less that their daddy was going to the hospital because, after all, they get to go play with Miss Julia today!  They were ready for the day in the blink of an eye!

He should be out of surgery soon.  I think I’ll go back up to his floor.  It seems to be the place I should be.  It should be quite the weekend.  I hope you enjoy yours, I will find a way to enjoy mine!

Ps. Surgery went incredibly well.  He was home and resting in a flash.  His baby girl missed him!  Now, onto the journey of recovery!

 

Adventures in Photographing Your Own Children! CT Children’s Photographer

There are few things on earth that are harder to photograph than your own children!  There, I said it!  I’m not the first to admit it though.  I’ve heard many great children’s photographers confess that they just stink at capturing their own children’s portraits.

First, they are photographed endlessly so they get mighty tired of that black thing in front of your face.

Second, children always give their parents all kinds of angst that they’d never dream of giving another person.

And third, as a photographer you just don’t have the same kinds of patience for your own as you do others.

There we were on Easter Sunday!  My children were oh so adorable thanks to the stylish wardrobe pieces their Mimi had chosen for them.  I wanted nice photos.  Mimi wanted nice photos.  And they had to be done before the children started playing and eating and ruining their beautiful clothes.

The children wanted to eat and play.  All the adults wanted to eat and play too!  So I did what I could as fast as I could!  What I got is totally precious and completely priceless.  I definitely captured my children’s personalities!


Want to see my attempt at a group photo with all three?  Hilarious!  Noah was apparently running away, Ezra was yelling about bugs, and Joyanna was discovering grass for the first time. She was apparently not too thrilled!

This one is my favorite for the day!  It is just so soft and sweet!  Look at the luscious lips!  Just makes you want to cover her with smooches!  Next week’s I Heart Faces challenge is “Soft and Sweet.”  I’m thinking of entering this photo.

Yes I was a Mamma – Razzi on Easter Sunday.  I think it just might have been worth it.  I created quite a little collection of hilarious photos!  Perfect depictions of just who my children really are right now.  I never want to forget these small moments.

Tenacity! CT Children’s Photographer

Are you tenacious?  What does that mean anyway?  I thought it might be one of those words I THOUGHT I knew the meaning of but perhaps I was wrong or off in some way.  So I looked it up.  Google is so my friend!  I realize it will be a struggle to teach my children to look up words in a dictionary.  Is that even necessary anymore?  Tenacious, according the Merriam-Webster Dictionary website the definition is “persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.”

Let me paint a picture of tenacious for you.  Tenacious is a small baby girl who will absolutely stop at nothing to achieve whatever it is her little mind is set on.  Tenacious is when this bundle will try and fail and try and fail only to try yet again to achieve her heart felt goal, despite bumps, bruises and hard knocks along the way.  Road blocks mean nothing to her, they are actually welcome challenges.

My Joyanna certainly has a tenacious spirit.  I’ve had the pleasure of watching her try with all of her might to sit, crawl, and now stand.  It didn’t matter how many times she fell over.  She had no worry about how many bumps she took.  She kept right on chugging along to her goal.

I hope I always remember the time I put up a road block of furniture around my cabinet of photo albums.  I thought for sure she’d give up on the idea of tearing them apart once she realized she couldn’t get to them.  How wrong I was!  I sat and watched in awe as she worked for 40 minutes to maneuver, crawl through, over and around everything that stood in her way until she reached her goal!  My attempts to distract her were fruitless.  She got what she wanted.

I want to be like her.  No one has ever told her she can’t, or she shouldn’t.  The idea that she might not be good enough, smart enough, tall enough, or whatever enough has yet to enter her mind.  She has no self-doubt.  There is no risk too big or reward too small.  She is just untainted by the world.  I want to live a life like that.  I want to be tenacious.  I want to give my goals, my dreams, my passions, and my faith my all.  I want road blocks to become delightful obstacles.  I want the naysayers to kiss my rear and eat my dust.  I want to silent the voices of doubt and fear.  I want to live with no regrets, no what ifs.

I want to be tenacious!