Friday, July 30, 2010

The best for last...

Henry went to a movie with his friend Max tonight. Since Ray had spent the day with the kids, Anna and I finally had our turn together. We blew bubbles and went to the park and ate ice cream at a local coffee shop . . . . Three great reasons to love summer!

So, I'm working on my photo exposure . . . trying to get it right when I first take the picture, rather than having to fix it later. For me, it is such an effort to consider everything as I shoot. But the exciting thing is that I'm finally remembering to think about the process. I'm starting to slow down and frame the scene and get the exposure right and consider the background (and, and, and . . . . ) Compared to my typical "point, shoot and hope for the best" method, I'd say the "thinking" method is a big step for me.

Photos from the evening . . . .

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Not to be out done....

Last night Henry said, "mom, take some pictures of me on the swing set."

I think I finally got the color in his eyes just right.

Henry always asks, "mom, are our eyes the same?" Of course, he knows the answer. When I say yes, he gets a sweet little look - - satisfied knowing that we share this together. Our eyes connect us. He gets it.

My best shot monday 7.26.10

My obsession . . .

Anna is all three. Demanding. Hilarious. Adventurous. Animated. Radiant. Intoxicating. Although I'm ready to tear my hair out at moments, I am totally taken with her and who she is right now. If I could, I'd stop time and simply watch for a little while longer.

I took this yesterday when the boys were running through the sprinkler, and Anna was playing on the porch - - watching but not getting wet. Right after this shot, Anna wouldn't let me take another picture of her the whole evening. I'm glad I already had this one.

(It was just about an hour before sunset. I'm usually not a big fan of sepia tones, but I thought the coloring worked well with the light. I used my Canon 50 mm f/1.8 - the nifty fifty. I haven't used it much since I bought it a few months ago. It was fun to play.)

Linked to Tracey Clark's "My Best Shot Monday."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I forgot...

I am grateful for a "parenting 101" wake-up call from Henry.

Tonight about 9:30 p.m., Henry walked home teary-eyed from a sleepover at his friend Matthew's house - - well, a near-sleepover....

Matthew lives across the street from us. Henry decided he didn't want to stay after all. He said he was scared. He said missed us too much.

We spent a good 20 minutes in a state of total sadness and struggle and anger. Henry was really conflicted. Part of him clearly wanted to go back. He wanted to sleep over and have fun and be a big kid. But, it was scary at the same time. Thankfully though, that's all over now. Henry is upstairs, sleeping soundly in his own bed. Despite a bit of leftover disappointment, he was clearly relieved. He wanted to be home. And so he is.

This whole big drama made me realized that this situation was pretty much my fault: I NEVER ASKED HENRY IF HE WANTED TO GO TO A SLEEPOVER!!! I just said "Yes!" when the invitation was offered. Of course Henry would want to go. Of course. How fun. Henry and his buddy were going to sleep outside in a camper and tell stories and fall asleep listening to the crickets. Fun, fun, fun!!

But did I remember to ask Henry what he thought about the sleep over? Nope. Mom forgot that tiny little detail. (oops!)

I also forgot that this would have been his first sleepover at someone's house, other than family.
Seriously, what was I thinking? I guess Henry plays with Matthew all the time, so I didn't give an overnight much thought. But clearly, a sleepover is a whole different beast.

In all honesty, I'm not sure what Henry would have said if I had asked him if he wanted to go ahead of time. My guess is that he may have said yes, but he may have hesitated too. He really is pretty tuned in to his feelings and what he feels comfortable with. At least we would have been more prepared and maybe could have avoided the situation that ensued this evening . . . .

I've also concluded that maybe I push a little too much. Henry's natural tendency is to shy away from social situations. He is way like me in this regard. So, I overcompensate for him (and for me . . . ). I've been setting up all these play dates this summer, keeping him connected with his friends and in the social groove. And although I do it with the best intentions, Henry simply may not be ready for all of this. He may not want this. Really, he is only six!!!

So, next time, I'll ask first. And even more importantly, I'll listen to the answer. Really hear what Henry is telling me. And, I'll remember to practice the same mantra that I've used since he was born. The one that hasn't failed me yet - - "Trust Henry."

Or maybe I need a whole new matra for myself: "Hey mama - just shut up and THINK before you speak/act/do something that will wreak family havoc at 10:30 p.m.!!" (boy the problems I could solve if I could just put that one into practice!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

My best shot monday 7.19.10

Pure summer torture . . . getting drenched on a hot day so mom could get a good shot!

(this is my first post to Tracey Clark's "My Best Shot Monday.")

Sisters, brothers & cousins...

My cousin Gina indulged me today . . . . I went to Northfield and took pictures of her beautiful boys. My cousin Jeff's daughters happened to be there as well, and they were really ready for a photo shoot. Everyone had lots of fun posing and rolling down hills and jumping and making silly faces. We laughed a lot!! And I think we got some nice shots too.

(that last one may be among my favorites ever).

Thanks again Gina. I'll have many more for you on Thursday at dinner!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sassy sally...

Anna shared an iced coffee with me this morning . . . . then she was ready for the day!

(For her, more milk and sugar, much less coffee! Trust me, this is one kid who doesn't need an extra boost. She's good to go all on her own!)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just add water...

I am grateful for Minnesota humidity. Really!!

Today is another hot and humid summer day! I love days like today! I know, I know . . . I don't make any friends by saying that I love the humidity. But to me, these hot and sticky mid-summer days, with air as thick as syrup, are my absolute favorites.

Maybe I'd feel differently if I had to work in it, or if I didn't have a comfortable air-conditioned house to retreat to. But, in doses I can control, the humidity makes the summer feel real. I know it is July. I know that I'd better enjoy these days right now. Living in Minnesota, I know that the cold is never far away . . .

Plus, humidity is motivating. Of course it is uncomfortable, so we need to make the most of it. We'll go to the pool or the lake, or bust out the sprinkler, or have a water fight. It's summer!!

When I lived in Alaska, the summers were cool and SO dry. Alaska never had humidity, at least not in any measure. I always hated that. And I missed it. So to me, humidity feels like home.

(click on the pictures for a better view)