As I was saying in yesterday's post... I could have spent my entire day following little Zoe around. She is a little over one year old and toddling around like a little busy bee, keepin' her mom active for sure. She also has two big brothers...and from the sweet looks of her here, I think they will spend their lives being her fierce protector. Don't you think?
Saturday, May 30, 2009
My friend Nicole asked me if I would come be her back up camera at a wedding she was shooting. What a great, no pressure opportunity to just practice some skills--and help a friend. :) I found that I liked capturing the candid small moments, over the posed ones. And see that little cute thing in the bottom right hand corner. Her name is Zoe and I've known her mama for a very long time. I could have followed Zoe around the entire time. I'll post one of just her later.
Oh, and to see the pictures up close, just double click over them.
Friday, May 29, 2009
On this 365 project I am learning...
1) to be open to discovery.
2) to never underestimate that the discoveries can happen literally at my doorstep. (Thank you army men)
3) to wait. Subjects and moments will unfold. While snapping the above army men/root combo my daughter passed out on the couch--after a complete meltdown. How could I pass that up?
P.S. One other thing I learned today: when you allow your daughter to have an Icee, Tootsie Pop, popcorn, and candy at the movie theater, there will be: fallout, consequences, payback, regret...and the conviction that it will never happen again. (Even if my husband treats us all to a movie and goo with his birthday $50 theater gift card.)
60 second lessons learned.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
I know Michaela. It's totally horrific to watch and I feel your pain. When Daddy cleans out his car it makes me sick to my stomach too. Once it's complete though you'll move on...until months later it happens again. That disbelief you felt today will come back to you all over again and you'll shake your head, offer a tsk tsk, but it won't make a difference because he will never reform. He is part of that half of the male species that just cannot keep his car clean.
Let us take note of what your dad removed today:
Two breakfast-caked bowls. (note: our nice bowls)
Three of our best spoons. (If you wonder why we never have enough spoons, now you know.)
One precious coffee mug. (A Christmas prezzie from you Micheala!)
Your bathing suit. (Next time you are looking for it, check your dad's car first.)
A cool snack bag (thanks Jodi) that probably contains stale crackers and a hot cheese stick.
And what the *@#!??!!! A half eaten piece of chocolate cake?! (There. Are. No. Words.)
A thrashed paperback Bible. (I'm not sure which is more sacrilege: a tossed Bible or a half eaten piece of chocolate cake left in a car?)
A little bag of Jelly Beans (Which I know you want but I need to inspect them first.)
Two books, titles unknown, but two of hundreds he owns. (I hope you like to read as much as Daddy.)
Melted Balance Bar. (Why, I ask, do I spend 99cents on those things if they just melt in the car?)
One of two of his phones. (No comment.)
Ha! And another uneaten piece of pastry goodness from the coffee shop! (Ditto on the chocolate cake comment.)
Truthfully Michaela, today was not that bad. There was no mold, unreturned DVD's, or lost underwear, dirty socks, etc. Pretty tame if I must confess. Nevertheless, next time you are cruising around town with Dad, squished between stacks of cd's, books, breakfast bowls, empty water bottles, football cleats, and spoons, please take a moment to talk to your father about the health and safety hazards he is subjecting you to. Tell him you don't want the ambulance drivers to find you at the scene of an accident, knocked out from a flying bowl, or impaled by a spoon, or sick from inhaling mold spores. And maybe we just need to start praying that you marry from the other half of male species that likes a clean and tidy car?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Have you ever seen such a serene after-school activity?! Michaela is enjoying her left over math workbook brought home from school. Zach, perched on his skateboard, is reading his favorite new book: 39 Clues.
While snapping off some pictures I asked myself...What the heck am I doing out here? I should be taking advantage of this quiet moment!
Summer is almost here. When they are complaining that they have "nothing to do", I will be pointing them back to this photo to remind them of the possibilities.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
While at a party I wandered into the host's vineyard and was captured by the beautiful and speedy spring growth of the vines. I was witness to their first spurt up into the air, reaching for the light, before the vine dresser decided what he would do with them. I knew some of them would be pruned away and discarded. Others would be gently tied down, trained to grow in the place that would support and shade the main fruit-bearing vines. It was cool to see them in this wild stage of growth, yet I was reminded that lots of wild green growth and activity may produce fruit but not perfection. Only proper, tender pruning and training by the master vine dresser would bring about one desired result: perfectly sweet and desirable fruit ready for use.
In that moment of the setting sun, surrounded by the lush green growth I wondered if my life often looked liked this: lots of immature activity that looked good and fresh and busy, yet needing some tender pruning. Because all that vine activity and growth is worthless if it produces mediocre results. And might I recognize the pruning when it comes? Will I realize that the pruning and training is only done for the greater purpose of producing something fruitfully far better in me than I could have ever imagined? It is so much easier to understand this when I see it played out in the life of the young grape vine. Yet, why is it so difficult to surrender to when it is my own life?
Monday, May 25, 2009
...proudly waving from the fragile chocolate tip just says "eat me". Being oh so simple and tasty, I cannot eat just one. I made a suggestion to Michaela that she glue some on to the birthday card poster she is making for a friend. But secretly I hoped that she would use the colorful foiled ones left over from Easter--not the plain, silver, simple ones. Because let's face it: nothing can top the original. I don't care if it's filled with almonds, carmel, white chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter, fudge, or my favorite, mint. Or if it's wrapped in a shiny pink, aqua, gold, or zebra striped wrapper to attract my attention. Whatever. Only the original keeps me coming back for more. So I'm thinkin' I better go hide the rest, lest they be wasted on some 4 year old birthday boy who really does not give a hoot about what's inside the wrapper, just as long as its candy. Such immature taste buds...
Labels: food and wine
Sunday, May 24, 2009
After school on Friday we scurried out of town and visited old friends and neighbors. It was a good time to get away after a crazy week. Sometimes you just need to escape, you know? I love this picture because it looks like my husband is walking on air. He's pretty amazing I think. I mean, we all knew he could walk on water...but air?
The boys were drawn to the beach wall for its soft texture. It was only after I took this pick that I realized they were adding their contribution to the carved graffiti on the wall. Not to mention speeding up the rate of erosion...
We spotted some "M's" so of course we had to get our picture with them. It was actually my lure to get at least one picture of her. Because when you are a little girl playing at the beach, you do not want to stop and take your picture.
But Zach was good to his mama and gave me one. Just one. Thanks Zach.
And another of my Bean. I could not get enough of the light and warmth bouncing of the wall. A pretty cool place for portraits...that is if you can get anybody to stop and let you take one.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Hello Little Lucy. Lucy Love. You are one of the littlest, sweetest, smiliest peanuts I have ever met. Thank you for bringing your mom and dad down to visit so we could reconnect over taco salad and Moose Tracks ice cream. After seeing only pictures of you on your mom's blog it was a joy to finally meet you and hold you and witness the Little Love that you are. It was also very kind of you to join us on a post-dinner walk and then show off your sitting skills, even though I know you preferred to stand. And thank you for ending the night right with your yoga moves and conversational babble. Pure joy. How very lucky your mom and dad are...very very lucky.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
These feet have walked at least 5000 miles in the last 5 days. Ok, maybe not 5000 but humor me. I am home briefly then off running again. Alas, these are the crazy days of Spring: end of school year stuff, events, performances, responsibilities, blah blah.
I have a 40th birthday coming up and my feet have certainly felt the passage of time. While shoe shopping, I have begun to pass over the youthful, cutsie shoes, opting to try on the more comfortable, and in my opinion, less attractive options. (My mother calls them LOL shoes: Little Old Lady shoes.) Soooooo depressing for someone that has loved shoes all her life.
Oh well, I tell myself, at least I can say I've grown in wisdom and character. So I'm apologizing up front for the future fashion faux pas' I will commit. If you see me in a beautiful dress wearing sneakers you'll know why and you won't judge me. Or at least just whisper behind my back and spare me the humiliation.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
They throw the term around so loosely. She just had a full day of school (her favorite place) and then a three hour playdate. Of course, what could top that? Certainly nothing I could offer. I'm boring. (And I'm fried from my long day so I am seriously lacking in the creativity department.)
So here she is scooting around on her dad's new board, complaining she has nothing to do. Bored on the board. What's a bored little one to do? Such is the drama of a 6 year old girl.
Monday, May 18, 2009
minutes until my daughter completely falls apart.
times I have told her her she can play Webkinz.
(Patience, my dear!)
is the age she's about to be.
(Where did the time go?)
years of motherhood now behind me.
(Though my body feels like it has been 20.)
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Above: an alien looking onion plant, ready to flower and re-seed itself.
Below: garden lettuce. Actually a Cabbage Patch Kid ready to be birthed. My brother is growing them and selling them on eBay--knock off Cabbage Patch Kids sold to unsuspecting kids. They'll never know the difference. Just kidding. I'm loopy with exhaustion.
Labels: garden life
Saturday: The Annual Family Garage Sale.
Up at 6:00am. Papa's truck loaded to the max. Headin' down the highway to Uncle James and Aunt Gina's house (the prime location for a GS). Donuts waiting and change buckets ready. The goods displayed. Ready to make some money! All this in 100 degree heat. Can you say "melt"? Here are the kids at their booth. Zach, the crazy salesman, just like his dad...could sell a single blue dirty sock to just about anybody.
Scott and I were thrilled that the purple Boom-Bah finally entered into the "sellable" category. The story behind it: When Michaela was two and a half I was pushing her in a cart through Target, post Christmas. There were walls of these creatures slashed to maximum clearance prices. I put one in the cart with M to occupy her and quickly discovered that it was the most annoying thing I had ever seen! Obviously I did not buy it for her. Flash forward several months later...we were at a school carnival and Zach took all of his game winning bucks to the prize center and "bought" M this purple Boom-Bah! Oh. My. Gosh. But how could we say no to the brotherly love?
So yesterday, years later, it is sold to a random lady. No doubt it is the best 75cents she will ever spend! And with no return policy, it is out of our life, for good.
Story behind this: When Zach was 3 I found him ripping out some pages of this library train book. It was not in good shape to begin with so I wound up taping up the pages, plus some others that had been destroyed by other little hands. Glad I could go through all that effort...I wound up having to purchase the book for $20. Oh yes, I made sure we read that book a lot. Fortunately he loved trains.
Friday, May 15, 2009
When playing Webkinz on your Dad's computer just isn't stimulating enough, you head out to the garage and load your pockets with golf balls and head out to the park across the street because that's where Dad and Brother are, smacking golf balls. You watch them hit a few and get some pointers from your Dad and then try it on your own. Who cares if the golf club is too big for you and you can't hit the ball very far, because when you're wearing your fave boots you feel sassy, able to do anything. Plus you look beautiful while you're doing it too, so it's all good.
p.s. My mom said she could give me pointers cause she took a golf class in college--her senior spring quarter when she found out she was half a unit shy of graduating--but she thought that 18 years later, her camera skills might be better than her swing skills. I think Dad would agree.
p.p.s. Oh, and if you click on the photo's you can see me up close.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Picked up my camera to go take a walk outside but was halted by the door when my eye landed on this book Scott had brought home. So aptly titled, don't you think? Oh to be "sorted" completely, once and for all.
A little self disclosure here: If I were a dog I would be an Australian Shepherd. I would thrive on herding everything that moves into tidy little groups. As a person created with the O gene (organization gene), I naturally love to herd objects into tidy little bins and places. Marbles in jars, flashlights in one drawer, shoes in a basket by the door, etc. I deplore visual clutter for the anxiety it creates in me, and find myself organizing a drawer just for the fun of it. Those of us with this gene spend our lives battling the law of entropy. We are at constant war and we enlist our children and husbands even though they may not give a rip about participating in it. Some of us even go on to make money selling our skills and helping others who lack this genetic disposition, who find comfort in clutter. (Horrors!) We impose our formulas for "sorted" living with our color coded file folders and color coded bins and our strategies for keeping the clutter at the threshold. We have assumed that the messes, whether physical or emotional, can be fixed with a simple method of sorting. We know that those who lack this gene will buy our books and watch our shows because we know they believe that we have the answers. Right?
Please, I am not bashing organization. I will never tire of organizing a junk drawer. And I do believe that our external worlds often mirror our internal--cues to what is really going on underneath it all. Order can be good too, healthy for our bodies, healthy for our children. But like anything good in our lives we have this human way of perverting it to the extreme (think OCD) until it becomes the drug and we find ourselves addicted to the fix it brings. A temporary fix...
I know this because over the years I have experienced a slow revealing of this lie: the notion that if you organize the mess you will feel "sorted". I realized I poured over Pottery Barn magazines not for their beautiful furniture but for the pristine life they conveyed. Not an ounce of clutter! (Where did they hide all the McDonald Happy Meal toys or the esoteric crap their kids accumulated? If only I could live inside a PB catalogue!) But my thoughts revealed what I had fallen for when I found myself saying, "If my house was completely clean and clutter free, then I could cope, all would be good." I realized that my organizing had become the substitution for dealing with the underlying root of my anxiety: that my life was not perfect, that I was not completely in control. Perfection and Control--the eternal quest. (If I could just order my outer world then my inner one would feel a whole lot better.) What a battle! When my anxiety flared up, my need for clean ramped up to meet the ante. As I have been dealing with the personal issues, I have found that I can coexist with the moments of clutter with ever increasing degrees of ease.
There's a reason my hubby found this book in the bargain section of the book store: the fix wasn't enough, a better book came along, the methods were too hard to keep up with. But just because I have grown does not mean that I am not tempted to give in and crack it open. Hey, I've got the O gene. But I know better now.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Lori lives in a home up in the hills on a small, quiet piece of land. Her place is basically everything my heart dreams for in a home: modest home, gardens, fruit trees, chickens, land for the kids to explore, trees, sweeping views, peace and quiet. Another friend and I drove up to have breakfast with her this morning. After scrambled eggs (freshly plucked from the nests of her two old hens), scones and berries, we went outside to wander on the paths her hubby had forged along the contours of the hillside. Down in a grove of trees we took turns launching off a wooden perch in the wooden-planked swing, soaring into the great oaks, and laughing the entire time. Here you see Lori swooping up into the oak canopy. If I lived there, I would be in that swing every day. Every day.
I like to imagine that Heaven will be everything that gives us peace. Because up in that swing, for a moment, there is nothing on my mind but the present space of where I am, the beauty around me--my life and all its responsibilities left behind as I launch off that perch. An absolute moment of peace. I think there must be a grove of trees waiting for me, with a swing or two ready for my presence.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Behold a mystery flower/weed growing in the shared space between my house and the house next door. So sweet and delicate. Ah, but what you do not see is that it is attached to a celery type stalk, which is part of an overgrown, flowering, weed the size of a ginormous tumbleweed...that is seriously overtaking all other life forms in its path.
At least I think it is a weed. Indeed, it could be an overgrown celery plant. But do they get that big? And why, I ask, would our neighbors plant a celery thing next to their driveway?!
You see, our neighbors are sweet people, but they have "planted" some odd things. And in a shared space, it can be a bit, you know, frustrating, when their idea of a "cool attractive plant" is not your idea of a "cool attractive plant".
Scott was mowing the lawn last week while I pulled weeds and we both stopped and puzzled to ourselves: "Dang. What IS that thing? Do we pull it up? Is it edible? Is the HOA gonna freak about this and send us a letter?" (They send out spies every week to make sure we are keep up appearances. We've already recieved two letters informing us that our lawn was not edged to "HOA standards".)
See, now you wish I had stepped back and captured the whole plant so you could puzzle over this with me. But I'm going to leave you with just this one picture. I want you to enjoy the simplicistic beauty of this tiny flowering something captured against a peaceful green background of bokeh. That way you can be spared the angst of trying to love thy neighbor with me, despite the mysterious things they plant.
(I will not even mention the lone green cactus they planted, growing like a single skyscraper, between our gates.)
Monday, May 11, 2009
If you are not a chocolate lover just stop reading now. (You completely baffle me and I stand astounded at the lameness of your taste buds, but whatever.)
Saturday my girlfriend and I ended our one day early Mother's Day outing at Icing on the Cake in Los Gatos. Bad news was that we were both craving anything chocolate, cakey, fattening, caloric, bad for you, evil.
I walked away with 5 different cupcakes nestled in my pink little bakery box. Yes, $17.25 worth of cupcakes sitting in that little pink bakery box: peanut butter and fudge, two chocolate swirlies with butter cream centers, caramel delight, and chocolate with vanilla cheese cake. (No not all for me! Please, I have some restraint!)
After dinner I split them all (except for one) into quarters and my family indulged in the goodness of each.
Enter Monday lunch time...home from a good walk/run and then a carb-light lunch. I was feeling good about myself yet quite set on ruining it by chasing it all down with the lone cupcake that was beckoning from the fridge. A little smooshed by travel but alas, ever so tempting. Because if I've never shared this before, I'm telling you now, I can never say no to cold, (yes cold is the X factor here) chocolate cake. Dense, moist, bitter sweet, cold, chocolate cake. And this one had been marinating in the fridge for 36 hours. It was simply a matter of time.
But calories eaten while doing a blog post don't count right?
BTW, the best chocolate cake ever was from a now defunct restaurant in downtown San Jose called Blakes. A mile high cake made with bitter sweet batter, with a tinge of saltiness to it. They served it, yes cold, in a fat wedge on a plain white plate. Impossible to eat it all at once so you brought it home and ate the rest the next day. Does anyone remember Blakes? I've never had a slice like it since.
Labels: food and wine
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Best part of my day: spending a few hours at the beach with my family. It was one of those beautiful days too. Scott and I have started a little "thing" with taking shots of him close up with his glasses on--capturing me in the reflection. Started with us trying to capture a cool Facebook profile pic last summer and today I wanted to get me and the beach reflected in them. A cool way to document where we were.
Zach spends the entire time at the beach with a shovel in his hand. It's a shovel, no it's a plane, no it's a bulldozer, a ship, a rocket, a mud flinger, hole digger, crab catcher...
I said, "Zach go rinse off all that sand on you because you are not getting into the car looking like a corndog." This is him "rinsing off". Note the shovel?
Favorite part of the day? Michaela snuggling on the towel with me while she ate her apple. She took a Michaela sized bite and then giggled...
"It's his little apple mouth mom." And then it was all giggles from there as we heard from Mr. Apple. Here she is mimicking his smile.
Hope your Mother's Day was blessed...
Saturday, May 9, 2009
For those of you who have followed the Abby story from the beginning you will be sad to know that Abby passed away this morning shortly after 11am. She was with her mom and dad, surrounded by lots of love, at a wonderful hospice home. Please continue to hold her mommy and daddy, and all of her family in your thoughts and prayers as they walk the grieving journey. You can read about Abby's story in her mom's daily web journal.
All our love and prayers to you, Khampeth family...
Friday, May 8, 2009
I know it's been kind of a "Michaela week" but I had to document this. If you remember my bit about her being a social butterfly then you'll know why I had to insert these pictures into today's post. Not any "wow" sort of pictures but I wanted to mark one of her favorite moments in her school experience: the field trip, especially "riding on a bus with her friends" kind of field trip. And Daddy is meeting them at their destination so it is beyond exciting. Oh, and she brought her lunch in a brown paper lunch bag. She has been reminding us all week to be prepared for this.
"Do we have a brown lunch bag mom?!"
"Yes my dear, I think I can scrounge one up."
Here she is on her way to the bus...
Waiting to get on to the bus, chit-chatting with J and C. Talking hair, split ends? It all starts so early...
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Just playing around with the Picasa freebie software. I'm a little slow, so I just discovered I can make collages. It's fun to step out of my normal routine of shoot, edit, upload. I am not techno-savvy so it takes me awhile to realize that there is a lot out there to do and play with when it comes to my pictures. I'm off to go see what else I can do...
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Took some time after my walk to visit this oak tree.
I was thinking this morning how nature knows that any chance of survival depends on its ability to pursue the light, this being its singular goal. Funny how I, with an intelligent, complex brain, often fail to take nature's cue. Without Light to sharply expose my path, I am left to view life in a blurry, out of focus, distorted, random, meaningless, abstract, purposeless, way. Why am I so dense when it comes to recognizing this key ingredient for survival?
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
If she could have a play date with friends after school every day of the week, she would be in heaven. (Actually now that I think of it, heaven for her would be one big fiesta.) You see, her social capacity is unlimited. Her love for being with people obvious from the start.
She evidently did not inherit her mother's introvert gene. No, she inherited her dad's extroverted nature: loves parties, social gatherings, play dates...and crumbles if she has to miss any of it. She even loves school for the very reason that it is a daily excuse to see her friends. One day home sick is her limit before she asks to go back. I am certain that she will walk through life with good friends, fostering relationships where ever she goes. My little social butterfly.