Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekendly Iphone Dump - Week of April 6

Until I started keeping a 365 Project over a year ago and joined Instagram, I forgot so much of what was happening in my life.  I looked back and thought it rather boring and mundane.  Now I feel differently.  I realize my life is quite full.

Since my friend Sean taught me how to knit in the round and finish a hat a few weeks ago, I have been a hat knitting machine.  I loathe having idle hands, so I do my best to keep them busy when the rest of me is not.  Hats get started and finished while I sit in the carpool line to pick up my kids in the afternoon or during their karate classes.  Or Sunday afternoons when my honeys takes the kids to the tennis court and I rebel against other household work.

Abbie got a shave.  Mostly on her back, but it did wrap around her shoulders a bit.  She's a sight to behold from other angles, but feels so soft to the touch.  It's hard to not pet her.  Over and over.

My honeys asked if I would make him pancakes for lunch.  So I did.  With wheat flour, blueberries, a bananner and almond milk.  They're pretty yummy and I don't feel as guilty afterwards.

Hot tea with honey from my friend Lisa's queen bees at Jiggystick has been constantly filling my favorite handmade mug.  I love the thumb rest on top.

Our roof was over twenty years old.  It had extreme wind and hail damage.  As well as one nice hole through the shingles and into the attic that was lined with brown hair.  I was told.  The roofers were supposed to arrive between 7am and 7:45am.  The project manager knocked on the door at 6:30am, which had me stumbling downstairs in my Hello Kitty pajamas and no coffee consumed.  Lucky him.

Ruby didn't like the roofers.  She didn't like their noise or their mess.  Or the fact that they were on the roof.

I missed most of the noise with a teaching appointment.  I was greeted by this gnome, then fresh strawberries with coffee and pound cake.  And a cat named Zeus who purred in my lap for awhile before we pulled out a camera and lights and discussed how they would best work together and what settings to use.

Cookie dough makes everything better.  And a husband who agrees edible cookies are better than anything telecom related.  I made a batch of oatmeal cookies, ate so much dough that I felt sick (mission accomplished) and had several dozen make it out of the oven.  Of which, my honeys hid half the next morning to ensure I wouldn't eat them all.  I may or may not have done this in the past.

For weeks, I have been writing text for the pages of my new website.  For weeks, it has felt like a daunting task.  I have one week left before I absolutely need to hand all the text and image files over to my web designer.  After that, I'll be shooting weddings, babies, and traveling photography conventions.  I need to have everything done so I can move on.  I surpassed ten thousand written words and that felt like an accomplishment as I narrow down the remaining number of pages for which I must write.

I visited my ENT this morning.  The sinus infection I had before I went up to Minnesota didn't die with the previous round of antibiotics.  I got new ones, along with steroids.  And promises that by next week, I'll feel good as new.  But for now, I'll work in the peace of my car while the kids are in karate.  And keep my ear drums in tact.

New RAM for my Macbook.  I've replaced RAM for my iMacs in the past, but have been scared to open up my Macbook.  It took longer to blow all the dust and cat hair out of the inside than it did to replace the RAM.  Yick.

Between pollen counts over 5,000 (the official extremely high count is 1,500) and the dust from our new roof, the pool died.  It's no longer clear and is sporting some lovely green algae.  The water turned from blue to aqua.  When walking up the steps from our basement, I close my eyes or look at the ceiling, rather than see the layer of pollen covering our hardwoods on the main floor.  It is so invasive and quickly covers every surface within an hour of being vacuumed or dusted.

My aunt and uncle drove into town from Alabama.  Old photographs were pulled out of boxes.  Postcards from the early sixties were read.  I was reminded of my love for old stamps and how I used to make bookmarks with them on poster board with rubber cement.  Note to self: do this with the kids on a rainy afternoon.

My great aunt Ethel is on the right, standing with her parents and my great grand parents on a family vacation to Iowa in 1949.  Based on the ripples in their dresses, it appears Iowa was every bit as windy then as it is now.

I sat next to this sweet baby at dinner.  Do you remember Ella?  She's grown quite a bit in the last year and a half. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Another Pear Tree Photography Wedding Album Delivered

I love so many things about what I do.  From being with my couples all day on their wedding day to going through the thousands of images to select THE best photographs to share with them in the coming month.  To creating wedding day slideshows that bring you right back to the day as everything unfolded.  To designing the wedding albums.  And finally, placing the finished book in my couples' hands.

Working with a couple of creatives made for a different experience on my end.  Normally, I handle all the design work myself.  But this was very much a collaboration and many hours went into designing Matt + Mike's wedding album with my grooms. 

Matt created the cover file using his work from their wedding invitations and programs to ensure all of the fonts matched.  Seeing their names and the long date along the spine was a great touch for this album with a wraparound cover.

I like that designing albums is specific to each of my couples.  It's not so impersonal as to be outsourced, nor is each spread a template I purchased for use in every album I create.  Each layout is completely customized to be exactly what my couples want.  I really like that.  A lot.

I like that most spreads have white space and room for each photograph to breathe.  While others are full spread photographs bleeding off the edge of the pages and printed much bigger than the 8x10s you give to grandparents (Pear Tree Photography wedding albums are 12x12 inches, which more than takes up your lap).

I love that there was dancing on this wedding day.  These two weren't my only couple who have told me up front that 1. We're not your traditional couple and 2. There won't be any dancing following the ceremony.  I'm not sure why there are initially plans for no dancing or what happens to change that, but seeing couples dance together always makes me happy.

I'm not sure what makes so many of my couples tell me they are nontraditional couples, either.  I think they're all pretty stellar and they have only reinforced for me that leaving corporate America to become a wedding photographer was the right choice.

Matt + Mike?  You two have blown me away with your hospitality, kindness and humor.  I have so enjoyed working with you over the last several months and was thrilled I could return to Minnesota to give you your wedding album in person.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Play Doh Breakfasts and Super Hero Dinners {Austin Texas Lifestyle Family Photography}

In spite of a last minute re-route through Austin and only a handful of hours to enjoy my people, my time felt so laid back and relaxed.  I think that speaks volumes about my people and how they handle life and the environment they create.

The six year old was off to Kindergarten early.  Earlier than I awoke, which is to say that by Monday, I hit full vacation mode and slept in much later than I ever do when in more westerly time zones.  By the time I stumbled downstairs, coffee had run through the French press (I think I need one.  and a stove top kettle.  the whole process was soothing and zen) and play doh was in full swing.

David and I discussed our OCD qualities and how they pertain to the mixing of play doh colors.  He is further along in his journey than I am in accepting that some things are okay if they can't be undone.  I have to admit that my heart rate still goes up a little, although I can sit back and not say anything now.  

Andy is one thoughtful little three year old.  After spending several hours together, he clasps his hands across the table from me and then opens them up wide and asks me, "So how was your day?"  Well, Andy.  My day has been pretty rad.  I've had fabulous conversations with you and your folks.  Your little self renewed my desire to make photographs off the clock and reminded me that documenting life and love is what makes me happiest.  You made me thankful that I brought along my big camera.

My people were house sitting this creature.  I'm not sure what it was, but it liked me and wanted to be in my lap.  A lot.  It's irises were alien and almost octagonal.  I've never seen anything like it before.  It knew the command, "Down."

For the most part, it was a decent enough creature and didn't snarl or try to bite.  But it did poop on the kids' belongings.  More than once.  Not cool, little creature.

I liked these bubble gardens for succulents.  I saw dozens hanging throughout Austin.

My kids are now nine and eleven.  I felt like I traveled back in time to when they needed so much more supervision and assistance.  It has been so long since we played with play doh together.  Or they needed my help in getting dressed.  Or worked through meltdowns and toddler tantrums.  I feel so much better equipped to handle those situations now, than I did when they were happening.

I love the life that David and Sara have built together.  I love that parts of their history are scattered over the refrigerator.  Some photographs dating back over twenty years.  They were kids.  Kids!  Standing together in cut off jeans and bikini tops with big silly grins.  I love seeing this kind of history.  And seeing them together now.  As partners, spouses, parents and best friends.  I also love seeing their history in photographs right along side photographs of their two boys.

Green Goblin met his demise in turquoise play doh.  FYI.

I love that these two make childhood fun.  They make it seem so easy.  Celebrating life with mustache glasses and piggy back rides from one room to another.  Being with them was a good reminder that I probably take myself too seriously.  And my children.  And that I could probably lighten up a bit (my honeys has been telling me for years to "Lighten up, Francis").

Oh my gosh.  Those cheeks.  His eyes.  They're even more delicious than the last time I saw this boy.  Which was three years ago in San Diego, when he came into this world.

I liked this wall in the dining room.  The middle canvas held my attention more than the other two.  For the past couple of months, I have been contemplating personal goals and dreams.  How to make them happen.  They are big changes, but I am going about them quietly.  For the most part.  I might be driving those closest to me a little nuts.  In the meantime, I'm working on simplifying and clearing the noise in my head while pulling back from my phone and online media.

Once Jack came home from school, we went outside to play.  The hose was turned on.  Guacamole was made with a secret family recipe and brought out to the picnic table with a bag of chips.  Reminders to not spray your brother, or the house or us were repeated.  And I got to know my friends a little bit better.  I like that.  That with every conversation, I learn a little more about my peoples' hopes and dreams.  What brought them to where they are and what their plans are for moving forward.

The smaller house guest made an appearance at the picnic table, to beg for chips or attention.  Or quite possibly, both.

And then it was dinner time.  And I was in the middle of the kitchen, tripping up parents and chefs as I saw a moment I didn't want to forget.

Where the boys were quiet and the light shining on them was perfect.  I just wanted to stop time.  And live in this every day moment of theirs for a little bit longer.  To breathe slowly and soak up the warmth in this home, wishing I could bottle it and take it back home with me.  While simultaneously planning my next trip back.

I still can't believe I have been on fifteen flights since November.  Traveling so much has ignited a desire to travel more.  It has opened my eyes that texts, instant messages and skyping are no replacement for actual face-to-face time.  Or how valuable my friendships are to me.

Thank you, Dave + Sara.  For the last minute intrusion into your lives, the delicious food, and tour guide extravaganzas around Austin (click over if you missed my post on Austin. it's such a cool town!).  But mostly, for your conversation.  I love you guys.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekendly Iphone Dump - Week of March 30

A new week starts with me in Minnesota.  A handful of sunrises have greeted me through this window over the past several months. Every one feels like a luxury, as the sunrise greets me as I stumble out of bed.  At home, I must wake an hour earlier in order to drive to a location that doesn't have trees blocking the sunrise in order to see it.  There is a peace that fills me as I stand, looking through the blinds and watching the rays of the sun extend over rooftops and this still pond.  I'm afforded time in the central time zone that I don't get in the eastern.  Quiet mornings that aren't filled with the rush to make school lunches and ensuring little people are dressed appropriately with all the necessary papers in book bags. 

When I was buying yarn last week, I forgot to wind it into balls at the yarn shops.  I was grateful my friend had the means to do this at home before I headed to the airport.  This process is so fascinating to me as multiple components spin and twist.  The shape of the finished ball makes me happy.

In less than twenty four hours, I made three sets of goodbyes.  I loathe goodbyes.  I had a couple of hours to kill at the airport and had planned on working on writing text for my web pages, but found my mind a jumble with the past two days and mental plans for the future.  I ended up shutting my laptop and mindlessly knitting.

Austin welcomed me with warm temps in the seventies.  It took me awhile to realize that the weird looks I was receiving outside the airport was because I was still wearing my winter scarf.  We drove through downtown from the airport and I saw a new city skyline.

 The interstate underpasses had murals that intrigued me.

On the ride home from the airport, this boy teased me from the back seat with animal balloons that had come untwisted.  I grabbed them out of his hands and then swung them over my head behind me to bat at him.  There were squeals and giggles.  On the way to dinner, I sat next to him and tickled his sides while we made faces at the camera.  His momma is my people, which makes this one feel like my own.  Having no real nieces or nephews of my own, this honorary one fills me with happiness I've never known.  And makes me even more grateful for his momma taking me in and sharing her family.

This creature made itself at home on my lap.  I still can't get over its eyes.

After being gone for three days, my body adjusted to the central time zone and I didn't get out of bed until well after 8am.  A rare treat.  I rummaged through the fridge and found bread to make toast that I enjoyed while the toddler enjoyed his breakfast spread.  I saw coffee get made with a French press for the first time and was drawn in by the process of it.  It felt very zen to me.  I know what I want for my birthday now.

Breakfast was followed by playing with trains.  I had forgotten how busy toddlers can be.  And volatile.  How difficult those situations were for me years ago when my own were toddlers.  And how I would take that back in a heartbeat now.

We went out for lunch.  The people watching of waitstaff and patrons was fascinating.

And then to an antique flea market.  Many booths had various typeface blocks.  I loved the feel of them and wanted to buy every letter.  But that would have been out of my budget, so I didn't buy any.

We went to a boot shop next door and marveled at the decorations.  And I tried on leather coats.  With tassels.  And rhinestones.  None of which were in the budget, but it was fun.

I loved the Airstream food trucks.  Especially the crepes.

The afternoon was enjoyed outside with fresh guacamole and cold beverages.

More goodbyes that filled my eyes with tears.  And more knitting to keep my hands busy and clear my mind.

I saw this at the Atlanta airport after landing and wondered if there was a Clockwork Orange reference in here.

My people were gone when I got home, so I was able to unload and start unpacking.  When they came back, there were shrieks from the girl child.  She couldn't run up the stairs fast enough to squeeze me tight.  I could barely breathe.

Spring break vacation continues, so it was a soft re-entry into reality.  But two mugs of coffee were necessary to get me out the door.

I needed to stop at my yarn shop and buy a darning needle to finish off the hats I've been knitting.  I liked the chalkboard out front.

We walked around a little pond and played on the playground.  The Canadian geese were quite brazen.  My girl child is fearless.  Scared of nothing.  Until this goose walked up and then she was so concerned her legs would be eaten that she had to pull them up on the swing.  I was amused.  And ready to chase off this goose if it became rude.

I love the light that comes into the karate studio in the afternoons.

Martin is my people.  I was thankful to see him in person after too many weeks/months without.  However, my little people were along (as was my honeys) and almost the entire lunch was filled with talk of football and the draft and the best players in every position.  As I stared out the windows, I made a mental note to have an alone lunch date next time if I want to talk. 

By evening, our boy Poe was covered in mud.  He was quite pleased with himself for this mischief.  But none too happy once he got leashed to the deck stairs and hosed off for a bath with dish soap.  Because I couldn't find the dog shampoo. 

With the weather being so nice, the dogs are outside most of the day.  Especially Dylan (in the far back), he loves to be outside.

But no matter how much I wipe their paws or bodies, they still manage to bring dirt in with them.  Between dogs and kids, the floors don't stay perfect long.

Which means the vacuum gets pulled out frequently.  My Friday nights didn't used to be this exciting.

But spring is here, which means I'm a tennis widow and single parent come Friday night.  So all kinds of craziness goes down.  Including finishing more hats.