Forward thinking

Monday, August 27, 2012

School starts in 7 hours and I'm not even ready. The summer has flown. It was nice having a lazy schedule with the kids. Maybe too lazy since I failed to get them all ready?? But just like everything else, I suppose, it'll work out.

The week at our local Elizabethtown Fair and the fireworks display signaled the end of the season for us. The nature of Jon's work is such that we don't really get in a lot of summer fun. While some women are football widows, I feel more like a summer widow because the hotel demands so much time from him. I tend to look forward to Fall a little bit more because of that (and sharing football season with him.)

I'm also looking forward to spending time alone with Trae man and seeing Blair become a big, full-time elementary school girl but a little sad that this is Belén's last year of high school. Everywhere I look it's a little bittersweet for me but I just have to remember to be thankful and enjoy.

So here's to the summer that was and the Fall that will be!

This land

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm a lover of National Parks. One of my favorites is Yosemite, which holds extra special memories for me.

When Jon and I were first married we lived in Monterey, CA and took a day trip to Yosemite where we hiked to a waterfall with our friend, Mike. We decided to drive up to Glacier Point and see the gorgeous vistas.

Suddenly, I wasn't feeling well so I laid in the backseat of the car while we slowly wound up the long drive to the top. We were behind a tourist bus, going through tunnels, so I figured I was sensitive to the exhaust or that the hike wore me out. Never had I felt so nauseated and dizzy. Maybe, I thought, it was the beginning of the flu.

Finally out from behind the bus, we parked in the lot and I was able to breathe the fresh, mountain air and see famous Half-dome in the distance. The striking views, incredible rock formations and how everything existed together was nothing short of a miracle, I thought, and only brought by God. It was so beautiful I wanted to jump around in celebration or something.

Shortly after we got back to Monterey I went to the Dr. where he informed me that I didn't have the flu, just a little baby, who would make his or her debut in about 8 months. And that - will always be Yosemite for me.

But besides the baby (Belén) you can see why it took my breath away.

Watch a little or a lot. Enjoy.

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

A birth story - baby Andie

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My friend Heather texted me at 12:15 am and said she was going into labor so I texted back and said I would be on my way to the hospital. A few months earlier she asked if I would document the experience of her daughter's birth. I was excited by this request; honored really. I got ready and headed out the door for an exciting night (or morning) of seeing the events of this day unfold through my lens. We would catch all the emotion leading up to the birth and then right after. We discussed what kind of pictures to take and had it all planned.

I arrived at the hospital just before 1 am and texted her from Triage at 1:03. I was assuming that they would be in the room, talking, waiting and going through the motions of getting to the stage when delivery was just minutes away. I had planned on at least 5 hours of this and was happy to be there.

As I sat in the waiting room for a little while, I took a few pictures of the surroundings that would help tell the story. A woman finally came to the desk and smiled as I walked up to her. I told her I was there for Heather and she asked me to wait a moment. She left, came back and said to go to room 60. I would have to go back through security to get a badge and door pass. They were really accomodating and although it had only been 4 years since I was there, I noticed they had changed a few things around. I didn't remember the strict security of the building but thought it was good.

Entering the hall, I noted how hushed it was and took a photograph. Another nurse met me and asked if I was there for Heather. She pointed down the hall, smiling, and asked if I was ok with births and everything. I just nodded knowing she, of course, wouldn't know that this wasn't my first rodeo.

The door was open but lights were dimmed and I tiptoed inside realizing right away that they were in the thick of things. How long ago did this start?? I asked myself. I overheard a nurse say "she's going fast" when I was walking into Triage but didn't know they were talking about Heather. Pulling out my phone I looked at the text. 50 minutes. I was amazed at the progression. She is a rock star, I thought.
Knowing that photographs weren't allowed right then, I waited and listened.
I stood just outside the door wondering if I should even be listening to such a moment but I needed to be close so the nurses could call me to come in.

And so I listened and tears slowly fell down my face as I heard in a tired and nearly defeated voice echo those 4 words that almost all of us have uttered during labor, "I can't do this."
Kyle, her husband, immediately said in a tender and calming voice, "Yes you can, Heather, yes you can. You're doing great." He stressed the word "great" and the nurses all chimed in and said the same thing. She had what sounded to be a big personal cheering section around her. I thought it was funny how at that moment we seem not to care who is at our feet. We just need the encouragement. I did anyway.

I heard Kyle say he could see the baby and that she had lots of dark hair, encouraging Heather to keep going. The nurses were excitedly telling her that it was going to be soon; they could see her and she was doing great, just to hang in there and give it her all. Instinctively, I brought my hands to my mouth in nervousness, waiting to hear that final moment of bearing down. Someone said, "Let's go Heather!" and then at 1:21 am, I heard cheers and was quickly called in.

My eyes were a little misty and the intensity of listening made me forget all about camera settings. Everything was so quick it was hard to not get in the way so I hung back a bit and tried to snap pictures as best I could. It was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget.

Although we had this photo story planned out, it went according to another plan, a perfect one.

*shared with permission

The everyday and thoughts on kindness

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hellooo. It's been a very busy week and I've neglected my poor, little blog.
First of all, how are you?

I am dreading tomorrow and seeing the work week start all over again. I am sure I'm not the only one. I know I should be thankful but all I am feeling is burn-out right now, sorry.

We've loved watching the Olympics. I've decided I must get to London. It's picture perfect everywhere you look.

I finished tiling the 2nd little wall in the kitchen and now it's on to the final one. I will have to get to that in-between work this week. I made an adjustment to my little miscalculation but it looks ok, I hope.

Lately, I have been thinking about kindness and how one really cannot and should not expect the world to be kind to them if they're not. That sounds harsh, I know.
It's always been said that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It seems to be true a lot of times but I don't think it's done so happily. I tell my children that for every person they will deal with, whether it's in a work situation, church, or school setting who has gotten or will get what they want with demands, leaving very little appreciation behind, has left a lot of people frustrated in their wake. I don't want them to be that person. I tell them that everyday, unbeknownst to them, they leave a little legacy wherever they go so make sure it's a legacy of kindness.

That has got me thinking I'd like to start some sort of kindness project but have no idea how to go about it. Anyway, just a thought.

Reese and I went on a mother/son date night to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid. We were the only ones in the theatre which Reese thought was so cool since he didn't have to whisper. I felt so bad though because I was so tired only having a few hours of sleep that day. I took Blair's pillow pet with me just in case Reese wanted to snuggle. We shared the pillow and sure enough, I fell asleep the last half-hour. Don't ask me how it ends.

I've had the awesomest of awesome pleasure to photograph lately. One was a birth story even - more on that later.

And that's all on my mind at the moment. Now I'm off to watch the closing ceremonies and make some popcorn. I love popcorn.

Thanks London, you guys know how to put on a good Olympics!
Have a great week!

DIY Adventures

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Everything was going along swimmingly. The first small wall of tile went up in no time. Well, after we cut a lot of tile. When I stood back to look I decided it was worth the extra effort to go with a herringbone pattern. And once the white grout is in and the cabinets are painted, it will all flow nicely and the pattern will peek through.

Then I went on to the next wall where the tile was going all the way to the ceiling. This is when I wanted to punch myself in the face for deciding to do this. You could blame my fatigue (it was 1:30 am) or my lack of good math skills (I'd go with that) but I miscalculated and a large gap, no, huge gap, stood out between two tiles. My eye kept going right to it and I couldn't get around it so down came the tile. It was like that guy I may have told you about with the hair plugs that looked like a row of bristles on a brush. The one who didn't hire me for a job but called and asked me for a date. Then I ran into him later and my eyes kept going to his hair plugs. Did I ever tell you about that? Funny story.

Anyway, it's back to recalculating now. And it's 1:30 am again as I take a blog break which is why I'm digressing. This could be bad. The first wall looks good at least!

Let's just scroll back on up to that...