Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lillian's First Birthday

edit 12-8-1 cropedit 12-8-2 cropedit 12-8-3 cropedit 12-8-4 cropedit 12-8-5 cropedit 12-8-6 crop
edit 12-8-7 cropedit 12-8-8 cropedit 12-8-9 cropedit 12-8-10 cropedit 12-8-11 cropedit 12-8-12 crop
edit 12-8-13 cropedit 12-8-15 cropedit 12-8-16 cropedit 12-8-17 cropedit 12-8-18 cropedit 12-8-143 crop

Lillian's First Birthday, a set on Flickr.

By request... More pictures from Lillian's party.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You have reached the end of the internet. There is nothing more to see.

Perhaps it's more accurate to say, I've reached the end of my bandwidth... and I'll be damned if I'm going to mess with linking pictures here from Flickr. Nope, I'd rather create a new blogging ID and set up a new blog and continue on my merry way.

Too Many Cooks: Part Deux

Friday, September 23, 2011

In sickness and in health

Hi. Long time no see. I've had pneumonia.

This goes back to a cold I had about three weeks ago, that I got over 90% of but never shook off the last 10%. Then I had a week where I spent multiple days on the road, and they were long days - days that involved regular office hours, followed by gymnastics class, followed by meet the teacher, followed by the kids' bath and bedtime and then capped off with a 3 hour drive to Niagara Falls and a hotel check-in during the wee hours of the morning.

During those days in Niagara Falls, Chad and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary - not together, mind you - (and hopefully, more to come on that later) - and to celebrate we decided to spend a night where it all began, at the Elm Hurst Inn. The Elm Hurst is not far from Lakeside so the plan was to have an anniversary dinner and spend the night there, then continue on to the race in the morning. I started feeling unwell on the Friday as I drove up to the Inn, and by the time I got there, Chad was all set for a steak dinner and I had a bowl of soup. Upon waking up the following morning, it was pretty clear that there was no way I could race that morning. Chad went on to race the duathlon, but I was there merely as a spectator.

(Sidebar: this means that my 2011 triathlon season produced the following results: one race only 2/3rds completed; one completed with a horrific swim; and one DNS. It was not exactly a successful season. I am only half-jokingly pondering retirement.)

After the race ended, I went home to bed and stayed there for approsximately three days, feeling worse and worse all the time. Finally, when I started having trouble breathing, I decided something must really be wrong and went to the emergency room, and six hours and two chest x-rays later, at 2 a.m., I had my diagnosis: pneumonia.

Isn't this something only old people get? And didn't people stop getting it back when the iron lung was invented? It feels all medieval-like. Apparently not.

So... yeah. Things have been a little quiet and slow around here, and have led to some questioning of what's essential and what is not, since this seems to be evidence of being spread too thin. Back with more when I am back to normal - hoping that it's one day soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The hay is in the barn (and other random musings)

Chad and I are racing at Lakeside on Saturday, and I am starting to regret having signed up. My training for the past month has looked like this: race at Rondeau, go to Disney for two weeks and eat copious amounts of ice cream every day, come home and spend a week being miserably sick, get well right in time for Taper Week. I am a little underprepared - the work put in earlier in the summer'll have to do - and it's supposed to be cold on Saturday morning - not great weather for jumping into a spring-fed lake.

I've been asked by a few people to share more Disney pictures, and I will... I have roughly half of them edited, and working on the remaining half - but I haven't been home much lately and can't edit on the road. Here is one - the first picture of the entire trip. Taken in the garage prior to piling into the car and driving to the airport.

Ebayers suck. I wanted one Missoni bag from Target but when the merch went on sale on Tuesday, Target.com crashed and the stores sold out the same day - people grabbing carts full of merchandise solely to resell on eBay. The $35 bag I wanted is now $255 and counting. I don't want it anymore.

The other night, Mallory asked Chad if he wanted to help her sing "a love song to mom". She spent a few minutes coaching him and then they sang me the Barney theme song. She is a keeper, that one!

Liam has developed a bald patch on the back of his head. This coincided with the start of school and I wondered whether the pressure of Grade 1 was getting to him - if he was pulling his hair out in class. Then Chad found a clump of hair on the floor in the music room. I guess hanging around the house is stressing him out?? The bald spot does not seem to be growing so I am hoping this is a one-time thing and that he is not on his way to looking like Grampa Ralph by age 7.

On Wednesday we had Meet the Teacher. Mrs. Garrow says Mallory is not giving her any trouble, is polite, raises her hand before she speaks and contributes to the class. Is this MY Mallory? She said she was asking the class what they know about apples and Mallory raised her hand and shared that there are shapes inside when you cut them open. Pretty clever!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

School Daze

The first day of school was very underwhelming for me from a photography perspective. On Tuesday morning, I took a few quick pictures of Liam on the front porch, and on Wednesday I had my camera with me when I dropped Mallory off for the first time, but it really wasn't what I wanted it to be. This is a big year for us - Liam has gone full-time and is now in an official grade. And it's Mallory's first year, period. This deserved some documentation.
Plus, it's a good time for a photo shoot. Reason number one: it's been a number of months since Birthday Portrait Season. Reason number two: it's coming up on Halloween Costume Portrait Season and Christmas Card Portrait Season. No time like the present to keep the kids on their toes and get them all practiced up for the many fun photo ops in their futures.
So on Saturday night, I dressed the kids up in some school-appropriate outfits and we went over to the school yard. (This is when it comes in very handy to live right around the corner.) I brought gummy snacks for bribery purposes and I brought Chad for entertainment purposes.
Mallory was crying about having a sore toe before we began and I thought this photo shoot was destined for failure, but the allure of the gummy snacks won out, Chad made some stellar faces, and in less than ten minutes I had several portraits of my newest little kindergartener and big Grade 1 boy that I totally prize.
We are getting there, slowly but surely - to the point where we can have the official picture-taking be over and done with in a very short period of time, if everyone will just cooperate from the getgo. Then they get to move onto the fun stuff - in this case, making use of the playground equipment.
I still have a hard time believing we have a kindergartener and a Grade 1 student in the house. Time is flying.
As for me, I still haven't figured out this formatting thing. Why do they have to go and change a good thing??

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Going to the drop-off

OK, so clearly I still have Disney on the brain, because that's a Finding Nemo reference... when you're a fish you go to the drop-off on your first day of school. Yesterday was the first day of school for the vast majority of people (including Liam) but since Mallory is an A day student, today was her first day. And let it be known - she was PUMPED. Here she is, carefully packing her lunch the night before. She was so excited about school that she promised to eat all the produce we packed for her, and she made good on that promise. We should have started her in school three years ago.
Last night she slept terribly - maybe on account of nerves or excitement, or maybe on account of something else entirely. She was up multiple times and each time she got up, she left her bedroom door open and Captain got in - he has a real affinity for her room - and while she loves that cat more than almost anything by day, he terrifies her when he gets into her room at night. So every time I was just getting back to sleep, she'd be up and wailing again about the purring or rustling coming from the corner of her room.
We did manage to drag ourselves out of bed this morning and make it to school by bell time. Mallory was in no mood for pictures (despite me getting these few) - I'm not convinced I would have gotten that many more even if the weather had cooperated. It was pouring rain, which put the kibosh on a lot of first day of school pictures that I wanted to take and also changed the usual classroom routine up. I didn't have the opportunity to shoot the class lining up along the fence as they normally do, because today the kids and all the families all crowded into the coat room to get out of the wet. It was crowded, it was getting hot, and it was quite chaotic.
In the midst of all the chaos, I didn't have a chance to give Mallory a proper good-bye. Mallory is usually hell-bent on getting a kiss and a hug from me in the morning, and it doesn't matter if Chad is hollering at her to get in the car - she still wants it and is willing to endure his wrath to get it. This morning, Mrs. Garrow was telling the parents to wave and leave before I knew it, and there she was on her spot on the bench way across the room from me with twenty parents separating us. I gave her my wave and lost it. I didn't expect to get so emotional; certainly not for the little girl who has been challenging me constantly these last few months, fighting every morsel of food I ask her to eat, bath I ask her to take and polite words I ask her to say... suddenly she seemed very small and helpless over on the other side of the room. I expected her day to be wonderful but the tears came just the same. We left work early today, to pick the kids up directly without having them go to the after-school program. And just as I'd expected, Mallory had a wonderful day. In fact, she told me school is the best place in the world. "More wonderful than Disney World?" I asked, and she said yes. She chattered the whole way home and then some, telling us first and most reverently about the opportunity she will have one day soon to take a show-and-tell item into the classroom and already decreeing that it will be her souvenir charm bracelet from Disney. She also told us about lunch, what she did at recess, how she made the puppet she brought home with her today, what songs they sang in music, who sits at her table with her, and otherwise giving us more information about school than we gleaned from Liam through his whole first kindergarten term.
As for Liam, he seems to be doing pretty well, too. He has a good mix of kids in his class, some from last year and some he remembers from the year before that. He likes his new teacher. He saw Mallory in the hallway today. And most importantly, he thinks he is the coolest kid ever with his new Buzz Lightyear backpack that he can not only carry as a backpack, but also roll like a piece of luggage. A last-minute purchase that is already well worth the money. (Publishing this today using Blogger's new interface, which totally sucks. Pardon the mess - I have not yet figured the formatting out.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Disney World 2011 highlight reel

One day, there will be an extended version of this movie made, with some of the clips that were too long to fit into a movie that condenses 11 days into a 3:49 song. For now... a sneak peek into our trip.

ETA: There is some sort of phantom background music from about 2:00 to about 2:30 and it's driving me crazy. I can't get rid of it and can't figure out what's causing it. I know what it's from... it's from one of the fireworks clips... and it baffles me because that clip is muted (as most clips are) and that's not the point in the movie at which you hear it. So what gives?? Any iMovie geniuses out there, please let me know!