Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Camp Out

What can I say about camping with 24 Kindergartners??  Exhaustion.  Exhilaration.  Excitement.  All the "E's" are in order for this one.  Plus a big fat AWESOME!  It truly was.  I was beyond impressed and proud of these 5 & 6 year old kiddos.  No one complained.  No one whined.  Only a few tears for mommies - and none of those tears at bedtime.  There was hiking and journaling and bug hunting and scat hunting and tire swinging and camp songs and camp fire and laughing and giggling and running and jumping and team building and coffee (for the chaperones) and great food (that I didn't have to prepare or clean up!!) and resilience and strength and the happiest darn Kindergartners you ever did see.  And did I mention I was chaperone for 6 giggly little girls??  yup.  Girls are loud.  And sweet. And sensitive. And giggly. And strong.  And giggly.  It was a true "pink fix" for me.  But I also got to observe my sweet boy near and from afar.  I saw a side of him I so rarely see.  He was so independent.  I loved seeing him with his friends, being strong and confident.  And his chaperones gave me the greatest of gifts - they told me how awesome he did in his cabin, and how he followed the rules to a T, and was helpful and kind and quiet (quiet????!!).  I think I teared up when they told me this.  Yup, I did.  Super proud of him.

And as for me, I honestly truly loved the experience.  I was definitely wiped out by the end (as were all the chaperones), but it was that happy kind of exhaustion that I'll take any day.  I'm so glad I got the opportunity to be a part of this special experience for my boy, and all his pals.  I love his school.  His teacher is beyond exceptional (did I mention she slept on the deck of the cabin so that the chaperones could have access to her should they need to, in the middle of the night??).  And my boy, well, he's 4 days away from being a first grader, and this experience definitely elevates him to this new status!  First grade here we come!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Camp Kindie

Tomorrow I leave for an overnight campout with Jackson's kindergarten class.  Yeah, you read that right.  A camp out with 24 five and six year olds.  C.R.A.Z.Y.  But honestly, they really are such a sweet, awesome group of kiddos.  We are so fortunate that Jackson is in such a terrific school.  And that it has a top notch adventure education side to the curriculum.  It should be quite an adventure!  (And I should add that the camping itself is actually a Camp, with cabins, and coffee, and a cafeteria.  So "camping" is a relative term.  But again, 5 & 6 year olds -- it's all relative.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Soccer Mom

If this is what makes me a "soccer mom" then by all means, slap the label on me...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mile High Photographer

Last night I made a bold move to attend my first Mile High Photographer's work shop in downtown Denver.  Just getting me down town on a "school night" is a challenge.  I never go into Denver.  Ever.  But there I was, TomTom guiding me, ready to meet and greet with a bunch of like minded souls.  While I do think of myself as fairly extroverted, meeting a large group of professional photographers made me a wee bit butterfly-ee.  I channeled my inner-Robb-Pike (if you know my friend Robb you know what I'm talking about, if you don't, let me just say he's the guy at every party who makes all the guests feel at ease, introduces himself to every person, and is who I try to emulate when I'm thrust into a social situation where I don't know anyone) and forced myself to introduce myself to everyone I came in contact with, to try not to be too terribly shy, and to hold myself up as a professional rather than just a "mom with a camera."  It was a good exercise for me.  It pushed me out of my small town shell - something I haven't ventured out of really in 5 years.

The topic of discussion was "building a successful portraiture business," and while I didn't feel the discussion really delved deep enough into this topic, it did serve as a good pep talk, reminding me that my journey to photography is my own individual experience, and just as important and pertinent as any other photographer's journey.  I am not just a "mom with a camera."  I have a passion for photography that was there all along, I just had to find a way to bring it out.  My love for capturing moments is genuine.  I do feel I have an "creativity" for this path I've taken. It started years and years ago when I was staging my doll house furniture, putting on plays for the neighborhood kiddos, and relishing my babysitting jobs because I got to spend time with little ones.  It further grew as I was an adult - traveling throughout Europe, experiencing a cross country relocation all by myself, planning my wedding to my Prince Charming, setting up my first home, and yes, finally, capturing my babies on film.

So yes, 2 years ago I told Shawn I wanted a "really good camera."  I got that camera.  And so much more.  Now my next move is to grow that passion that I discovered laying (or is that lying?) dormant, and grow it into the career I envision for myself.  Because I am not just a mom with a camera. I am an artist with a story to tell.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bubble Boy

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Anything is possible...

This morning Jackson was recognized twice at his school's "All School Meeting." They announced his birthday and he very excitedly stood up to applause. Then they introduced all the art show artists from last month, and he somehow became extremely embarrassed and tucked his head into Daddy's arm and hid. No worries little guy, that's a big step to go to the front and stand up in front of the entire school. You'll be up there next time, I just know it! Shawn and I were super proud of him, even if he was hiding under Daddy's arm when the artists were all applauded.

Following these and a few other announcements the third graders put on a mini-version of "Seussical the Musical" (it was darling!), and one of the songs they sang included the lyrics "Anything is possible!" to which Jackson turned to his Daddy and me and said "well, not anything." So literal my little man.

But you know what buddy, in this case, you are wrong -- anything is possible! I see that in you every single day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Grammy and Jackson

One more from the birthday weekend celebration!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Six IS a big deal

This past weekend was Jackson's 6th birthday party. With miserable cold winds whipping around us at Saturday morning's soccer game, I opted to move the party from the park to our house last minute. THAT was a crazy couple of hours. Mom and I (thank you Mama!!) went into frenzied mode cleaning the house and getting together snacks, while Shawn went to borrow a bouncy house from his (amazingly awesome and wonderful) pal Corky. We some how managed to pull it together for 15 or so kiddos under the age of 7! And most of all, Jackson had a blast and so did his buddies. I really do love throwing birthday parties for my boys. I don't like last minute venue changes, but I'm so all about giving them a fun party to celebrate another year!
A little pre-party bouncing -- yep, that thing fit in our basement!

It ain't a party without favors: mini flashlights, woot!
...and the spread...
ahhh yeah, this is where it's at! Cupcakes baby!
The party guests, heading down to bounce! bounce! bounce!

The birthday boy...I love him!
Crazy jumping fun!
If you will, please note my youngest babe crying his eyes out amidst all the gleefulness. The kid gets a little claustrophobic in crowds...
present time! My son has some really awesome friends. And I don't mean because they brought presents... they were all so genuinely excited to see what he got. They are all such great buddies.
Wow, do you see that look of pure excitement on his face to be getting his picture taken with his parents?? Obviously he's thinking "wow, thanks Mom and Dad for such a kick-butt party with all my cool friends! You two are by far THE coolest parents ever!!" Or something like that.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Celebrating Mom...and NYC Pics

First and foremost - Happy Mother's Day to all the awesome mamas I know out there, especially my own Mama who was here for two weeks to help with the boys while we were gone and to help with Jackson's 6th birthday yesterday, which we had to move to our house last minute due to cool weather and wind. Whew! I think that was a run on sentence... Anyway, I'm a blessed Mama and a blessed daughter!

And on to some NYC pics... with apologies, none of these pictures are in any particular order. I'm growing weary of uploading on blogger. But can't make the move to another blog host. So I'll just upload quickly and forgo a lot of the formatting.

Times Square

Pretties in Central Park

Breakfast on day 2, near Central Park
My Sweets in Times Square
Radio City Music Hall
China Town
Battery Park - this statue was in the lobby of the World Trade Center for several decades. It was damaged when the towers fell. Ironically the artist who created it meant it as a symbol of peace...
Us, overlooking the Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty
More of Central Parks' loveliness
St. Paul's Cathedral (I think??)
Times Square on the night of the bomb scare. We snapped this as we were leaving dinner, heading to take the train to visit Ruth's bar in Brooklyn. We had no idea, a this time, that there had even been any kind of scare or that several blocks were evacuated.
Fiddle head ferns in Central Park
St. Paul's Cathedral near Ground Zero. You can see the edges of the "Trinity Root" structure, which was cast in bronze from the tree that protected the tiny church from debris when the towers fell. I wish I'd gotten a better picture of the full sculpture.

Me and Adam, my best friend from college
Shawn and I at Adam's apartment in Manhattan -- after several cucumber margaritas and ahhh-mazing muscles in white wine!! mmmm...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Dear Jackson, on the eve of your sixth birthday...

You are six. How did that happen?! I know it is cliche, and that people say it all the time, but time does fly by in a wink. It does feel like it was just yesterday that you were born. You came into this world, quite timely as I always say, on your due date. After a long hard labor. You were worth the wait, the pain, and the pushing. You were worth it all. The sleepless nights that soon followed. The constant worrying about whether we were doing everything "right." Every moment that you have been with us has been a blessed one - even the ones where we are arguing about whether you can wear your snowboots on a 75 degree afternoon.

You are, at the ripe old age of six, smart, funny, witty, and most of all -- FUN! You love school - even though you often tell us you don't want to go. You love your friends - Lanae, Jackson George, our playgroup pals, all the kids in the neighborhood, all your buddies at school. You make friends easily, and are excited when you meet new kids when we are out and about. You love your teacher Ms. Jody. You are obsessed with Star Wars and spiders and riding your bike. You eat voraciously, and it is not uncommon for you to ask for a second breakfast, lunch, or dinner -- or all three. You love watching "Phinneus and Ferb" and all the "Star Wars" movies. You love playing "Star Wars" and "Batman" on the Wii. You dress up in costumes just about every single day, alternating between -you guessed it - "Star Wars," "Transformers," and various superheroes. Holden is your very bestest pal. You are a total Daddy's boy. But you cry for Mommy when you are hurt or scared. You are sensitive and kind. You can throw one heck of a tantrum. You are polite - most of the time. You are considerate - most of the time. You are loving - all of the time. When you see an ambulance or a firetruck go by on the street you immediately say "I hope everyone's ok." I love you for that. You are genuine. You can read level 3 books. You are an amazing artist - we didn't see that trait coming, to be honest, but it has become very apparent to us over the last several months. You are tall (who knew!?)! You still have the most stunning blue eyes that have only gotten brighter and more beautiful with age. Your hair is soft and yellow. You are starting to have the real face of a boy - much less "baby" face than before. You have the sweeItalictest voice. And the biggest feet. You are all we could have ever asked for in a son. And we relish the year ahead for you, and all that it holds.

Happy Birthday my sweet Jackson James. We love you all the way to the moon...and back again.

Six years...

Daddy and Mommy just before you were born (yeah, that really is Mommy...)
All swaddled up with no place to go - shortly after you were born
Age 1
Age 2
Age 3
Age 4
Age 5
Just a bit before age 6