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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets. - Yogi Berra

For the second year, Papa coached Boo's little league team, the Dodgers, consisting of 7-8 year olds.  
They both had a great time spending quality one-on-one time together, but Boo just doesn't seem to posses the competitive spirit that sports require.  On the other hand, he does look incredibly cute in the uniform!
He likes being with Papa and his friends, but there's no sense of urgency to get around the bases, or strong will to make an out or even pay attention to the game.  Not sure if this is an stage thing or not.  Boo is still thinking about if he wants to play again next year.
Papa sure would like him to!  But the choice is up to Boo.
Patch, however, who will be 13 this summer, is completely different.
He can push his body to extremes.  He takes baseball to heart.    He tries really hard to find his place among his peers.  And it doesn't come easily for him.

Patch played on the Phillies for the second year in a row.  He's a emotional player, and that's not a good thing in baseball.  One wrong look from his coach, meant he was unlikely to hit the ball and likely to make errors in the field.
{Boo watching his big brother play.  Is this the stuff mama dreams are made of?}

This season started off tough.  There was no joy in Mudville for the first half of the season.  Patch's team did great, but we could not say the same for Patch.  This mama wrung her hands dry and left games with her throat hoarse trying to cheer him on.
Despite practice and many trips to the batting cages and lessons {for months} he was just unable to to get the bat on the ball.  He'd "go down looking" and whiff balls that were too high or too low.  It was hard to watch.  It was hard on my sweet boy who said through tears after many games, I just want to hit the ball!
I've always found it a bit hard to determine exactly when is the right time to step in for your child.  I mean I want them to learn to fight their own battles.  And stand up for themselves.  And I want all my children to know, with confidence, that they can do it.
But... there is a time when parents have to step in.
So there was a little somethin' somethin' that went down.  A little somethin' that shall not be published on this blog.  But someone was made aware by someone else of the tender heart that my sweet boy wears on his sleeve.  Someone was informed that a little "attaboy" would go a long way towards getting Patch to hit the ball and field without errors.
And suddenly, with encouragement, my boy was hitting and fielding and more importantly smiling and wanting to go to games and feeling like a part of a team!
{That sky is completely unedited!  It was just that time of day, late dusk, when magic happens!}
Our Phillies made it to the playoffs.  And then they made it to the finals!  All the mamas and the papas cheered on their boys.
And as they won the finals, (yep... I said the FINALS!)  this mama again found her throat very hoarse, from yelling and cheering the boys on and celebrating for her own boy who had a bit of an extra hurdle to overcome.
Congrats Patch!  The Phillies couldn't have done it without you!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {Distracted}

I was helping Boo with a piano lesson, and she plopped down in front of me, cross-legged.  Beamed that magic smile of hers right at me and said, Hi Mommy.  In my experience 17 year olds don't use the term "mommy" often.  I guessed what was coming.  

Surely you know the Hi Mommy I'm referring to.  The one that teenage girls immediately follow with So some friends and me were thinking we'd go over to Cassidy's house tomorrow after school and have a little school's-almost-out-for-summer co-ed party, and I was wondering if I could go?  And by the way, don't you look pretty today, Mommy!  Are those new earrings?  And you and Papa should go out to dinner tonight for some quiet time while I baby sit.  Can I?

She's got it down to an art form, really.

Except there was one flaw in her technique.  A flaw that I really can't fault her for not recognizing.  It's something that only happens when you're a mama.  Not when your a teenager with the world on a string.
So she plopped down in front of me, cross-legged, and beamed that magic smile of hers right at me, and I'll be darned if I heard even one more thing that she said.  Perhaps she said something about a duel major in astrophysics and basket weaving.  Or that she was going to consider being the 5th wife of the dear older man she met that afternoon.  I haven't a clue what she said.  I heard not a word of it.  As she was getting ready to make her request, she gazed downward for just a moment, and those lashes got the better of me.
I was drawn like a moth to the flame.  Distracted from her words, I stared.
Suddenly aware again that our time together is so short now.  That my influence on her is practically nonexistent.  
And that leaves me wondering if I've equipped her with the necessities and told her enough how much I love her and how God loves her even more than that.  Wondering if anything I've said over these 17 1/2 years is powerful enough to overcome peer pressure.  Wanting to save her from all the hard things that life will surely dole out, but knowing that the hardships make life all the sweeter.
Oh, baby girl.  Dance.  Live.  Do the hard stuff.  Serve with all your heart.  Remember where you come from while dreaming of the tomorrows.  Love God.  Cherish those who love you.

And somewhere around the cherish part that was in my thoughts... she asked me if she could go to a co-ed pool party tomorrow after school.  And like I've said so many times, the lashes were intoxicating, so of course I said said yes.  When will you be home?  Who's gonna be there?  Will you leave me Cassidy's mom's phone number so I can give her a quick call.  
Then I grabbed her and my camera and made her sit for a couple pics.
Lest I forget.
I don't ever want to forget.

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Winner winner... Color!

Picture {Perfect}
Please forgive the delay for announcing this month's Picture Perfect winner.  I've been without internet for several days now as we transition to our summer.  I've no less than 48 post wandering around in my brain and countless pics that need to be edited and posted.  Internet still isn't back completely.  But for now it is here, so let me not waist another moment!  Let's get down to business and talk about winning!

The First the Runner Up-
Amy, of Whachootalkin'bout, is probably gonna kick me in the shins as I've picked her as runner-up two months in a row now!  But again, like so much of her photography, I love this shot!  Blue skies just convey so much about freedom and summer and joyful abandoned.  Couple the rich blue color with the girl on the swing that seems to convey the exact same feelings, and it's hard not to smile and feel it!  So summery!  The composition is perfect with the sun up there.  Swing shots are so hard to get both the focus and composition right, and I'm envious, Amy!

And without further adieu... 
drum-roll please... 
The winner of Picture Perfect May 2011 is...
Melissa--- First of all, I adore you as a person.  I am truly a better person with you in my life.  And blessed that I've had you in my life for... gulp... almost 30 years now.  And now we have this same itch for photography too?!  Thank you for it all, Melissa.  
But back to the pic... I fell in love with this image for the main reason it jumps out at everyone that sees it... Yellow yellow yellow just takes over and conveys such a feeling of warmth and peace.  There's just a hint of sun flare, and I happen to adore flare.  But this is a shot the obviously would never work out in black&white.  The golden cast takes me right to the ocean and makes me want to be there!  That's what photography should do.  Not to mention the fact that this image is SOOC, (straight out of the camera) un-edited, and taken with a point-and-shoot!  Which I know to be true because I've taught Melissa how to edit and remember when she bought her first DSLR well after with pic was taken!  (I'm going to email you your Picture Perfect winner's badge for your blog.)  Just gorgeous, girlfriend!  Thank you so much for entering this pic and inspiring us.  I am hoping that you have this one framed in your home somewhere!  If not, please do.  It is lovely.  

I'm planning on announcing the theme and starting June's Picture Perfect contest on June 1st!  Feel free to contribute suggestions!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To be a thief

Photography is my therapy.
Photography can be my mirror.
It can be my diary.  My friend.  And occasionally my enemy.

I find inspiration in many places, and one of those places is looking at other's images.  And as it often happens, I often wish I could have take those images, or at least I wish I had the talent to take something like the photographs I'm drawn to.

I've always said, I'm far from creative... but I am a pretty good thief!  So I will often try to copy a photographers style.  Or sometimes I'll try to replicate an entire photograph.
It's the sincerest form of flattery... right?

So here's the photographer I found myself trying to replicate this time.  {Hi Sharon!  Surprise!}

We've actually exchanged several emails, and I was initially drawn to her photos because I thought her daughter and mine, Tess, looked so much alike!  These two are from the same part of the world.  {And there're a myriad of other similarities between us.Except for that vegetarian thing, and she's way pretty too!}  But then I came to appreciate her black and white images.  Oh, they are just delicious!  But as much as I tried to copy her style, I just couldn't get Tess to sit still, like she is able to get her daughter to!

Till this weekend.

Sweet delicious black & white.  Void of distractable color.  And able to focus on the essence of the image.  Sharon does that so very well.
Here's what I came up with-
Oh, I could just dive into those eyes!  They seem to be telling me something within their depth.  
So, go ahead and try copying a photograph or a photographer's style.  Copy someone who's photographs you are really drawn to.  Think about the lens they might have used and look at the lighting.  Crop the subject in the same way.  Then work on imitating the post processing.  You're Photoshop skills (or Lightroom in my case) will be stretched and grow.  Then go ahead and use your newly acquired skills for inspiration and take it one step further.

Give it try.  Be a thief!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer reads. Looking for suggestions.

I'm stock piling my summer reads.  I really don't have time to enjoy ready during the school year so I savor the extra time summer affords to read a few books.  Truth be told, I've never been a very good reader.  I wasn't as a child or student and not as an adult either.  When I was in my teaching years, I poured all my reading time into young adult literature, learning what my students read.  I went through all of the Little House books and became a life long fan of Lucy Montgomery and the Anne of Green Gables Series.  I read a ton of Edgar Allen Poe, because squirrely 5th and 6th grade boys can't easily be convinced to read poetry unless it's a bit gross and scary and looks like a "short book."  Wrinkle in Time is still one of my favorites to read to my own kiddos, and I still have big sobby snotty crying when I read Where the Red Fern Grows.  

Back from the bunny trail...
So here are my summer reads thus far.  
Half Baked isn't even published yet, I don't think.  My go to gal, Melissa, gave it to me an advanced copy of it and said to read it.  Anyone else have that faithful person who you'll read anything they say and then love it too?  (I have a person like that for music, Krissy, and movies, My Uncle Paddy, too.  Having those folks for recommendations is AWESOME!)  
A few are just for review, like Parenting you Internationally Adopted Child.  (A MUST for adoptive parents IMO.) and the Asian Grocery Book is fun to go through again too.
I already finished Sh*t My Dad Says.  Not recommending it.  I guess I thought is would be funnier than it was.  You can only drop the S bomb so many times before you stop thinking it's amusing.  I don't know what I was thinking.  
I know I'll get through the new Mitch Albom book quickly.  Not sure how good it will be, but I couldn't pass up a new Albom for $1 at a yard sale.  
That really only leaves 4 books, one of which I've already started.  

So I'm please looking for some suggestions to add a couple more to my pile. 
FYI-books are like movies to me.  I have VERY little time for either, so I really only like to read ones that are good.  Nothing too heavy, please.   But it has to be well written.  I adore historical fiction, but I'm not bound to it. Funny is always good, and I love authors that can weave humor into a good story.  Good non-fiction is good too.     
Some of my favorites from the past include-

  • The whole Phillipa Gregory series of The Other Boleyn Girl
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain
  • The Time Traveler's Wife
  • Daughter of Fortune
  • The whole Voice in the Wind series by Francine Rivers
  • The Help
  • Freakonomics
  • Water For Elephants  (Haven't seen it, but quite mad they made a movie out of it.  That usually ruins it for me)
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
  • The Poisonwood Bible


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Snapshot {Bill}

I'm a firm believer that God places just the people you need, right in your path, at just the right time.  Kinda like heaven sent angels.
Our lives have been blessed with the presence of these angels.  Some of these angels, we've known about, like Papa's co-worker who has become one of his best friends and much more.  Or the sweet woman who helped us get to the hospital many years ago when I accidentally cut Sunny's finger off.  (That a whole 'nother story.)  Or the nurse that was first on the scene when I rolled my Volkswagen in college.  And Tess's occupational therapist that help calmed my nerves weekly.
I'm sure there are also many other angels from God that we haven't know about too, that have helped us along our path, guided our way, provided us with information.  God is pretty neat like that.  He knows just what we need and gives it to us.
This is one of those angels.
This is our angel, and he doesn't even know it.
This is Bill.
He is the bus driver that takes T&J to school each morning.  Bill drives the "special bus."
I'll be honest.  Those first mornings that he came to pick them up wasn't good.  Tess was screaming, and Jude was scared silent.  I kept my happy it's-gonna-be-alright, mama face on and helped them get on the bus, handing them off to Bill who took them under his wing {literally?} and buckled them in their car seats.
Bill was so surprised that first morn how small my sweeties were.  Tess was still 2 years old those first few weeks.   On that first morning, as the bus pulled away, and as I'm sure you saw coming, the bus pulled out of eye sight quickly my happy mama face turned to tears.  I crumpled in the front door and bawled like a baby.
The weeks passed to months, and Bill came to know T&J better.  I came to know Bill better.  T&J came to know Bill better, and I'd say it's safe to say that we all came to not only appreciate but love each other.  Upon seeing the bus coming down the street, T&J now happily give me hugs and kisses goodbye and run down the walkway and eagerly climb up the huge steps to see Bill... smiling broadly and so excited to say hello to him.  And the feeling is very mutual.  After buckling in my sweeties, there have been many many occasions that Bill has stepped off the bus to tell me just how he adores my littles.  How proud he is of Tess when she learned to buckle herself in.  How smart he thinks they are.  And these days, with tears in his eyes, how he will miss them if and when he doesn't have this route next year.
I have every confidence in the world, that if anything were to happen to that bus, Bill would watch after my sweeties as if they were his own.  I've told Bill that.  Bill is so amazing.  God is so incredible knowing how much both T&J and I needed Bill.

Our days with Bill watching over T&J are now very very few.
I had to get out there and take some pics of him and them together so I never forget the face of this angel and how how he poured love on us all during these days.
And how magnificent God is to give us just what we needed just when we needed it.  
Another ordinary miracle.

Sunday Snapshot

PS - Yes, the school bus has car seats.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo Gallery {17}

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

mother and daughter at 14 1/2

Can you see it?
I see the same ear lobes.
The same shadow past the left eye.  
The same smirk.
Both with two piercings in each ear.
And both with Brooke Shield eyebrows.

Maybe it's easier to seen in black & white?
I know y'all are going to call me crazy, and maybe it's just a mama thing, but...
nope, I just do not see it.  

the long road

PS---Only 3 more days to enter May's Picture Perfect!  Mr. Linky closes Friday night, then a winner will be selected!  You're gonna LOVE the color on the thumbnails!  Looks like a crayon box threw up over there!  Pretty stuff!
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