Monday, February 28, 2011

2/28/11 - Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday.  We're so sad that she's so far away and miss her SO much!  Nathan and I decided to make today's picture for Mema.  Nathan was surprisingly cooperative. Perhaps it's the lollipops I promised him? (Sorry Mema....I'm sharing a few of your birthday lollies with Nathan)

Here is the picture Nathan liked the best.

And a few outtakes just for fun.

2/27/11 - Session Snap

Had a great head shot session yesterday at my favorite location.  I love to go to this giant park very near my home.  Part of the park is a nature reserve with walking trails and a lake.  It's so lovely and peaceful.  I always like to shoot near the lake for the soft blue background I can get from the water.  While my client was looking through her bag to touch up her makeup, I started setting the exposure in my camera so we'd be ready to shoot as soon as she was done.

Exposure check: suddenly occurred to me...I can do my shot of the day!  I love shooting by the lake and just adore watching and listening to the birds in the background.  I quickly set my exposure and had enough time to quickly turn my dial to "P" and turn the camera to the side and snap this shot of the birds in the water. Quickly turned the dial back to "M" right when she was ready to go.  Sometimes it's good to have that P on the dial!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2/26/11 - Harborlites


If you know me well you know that I've studied two styles of music: Opera and Barbershop.  I like to say I was born and raised "Barbershop"; I've been around it my entire life.  My mom started singing with a Sweet Adelines chorus when I was 4 months old, and she has continued to sing in choruses and quartets ever since. I officially picked up the hobby when I was 15 and started singing in my first barbershop chorus. Like my Mom, I haven't stopped yet. It's a wonderfully addicting hobby!

Barbershop has shaped my entire musical life and it is, I'm sure, in no small part why I'm a music teacher today. 

Now...barbershop has changed a great deal in the almost 35 years I have been around it.  My first impressions with Sweet Adelines were always good.  As I child I LOVED going to rehearsals with my mom.  The ladies just had so much fun!  The sang...they danced....they got to wear sparkly costumes!  What's not to love.  The songs were simple and easy to learn.  Everything about it appealed to me as a child.  The singing wasn't always amazing...but there was such a great sense of community when performing as a group with the other women that just can't be paralleled. The artform today, when performed at its best, has risen to a level on par with any other musical genre worth perfecting. 

I'm lucky.  Somehow, 8 years ago, I found myself within (a tad extended) driving distance of the best Sweet Adelines chorus I had ever heard.  The first time I went to a Harborlites rehearsal I was blown away.  I had never heard or seen anything like it.  They were preparing for their regional competition at the time and I had never seen such discipline, energy, and drive from a group of singers in my life...and I had seen a lot of singers!  The first thing I heard them sing was "This Joint is Jumping!" and boy was it ever!  I was hooked instantly.  I had been hooked on barbershop for years...but now I was hooked on Harborlites. 

I joined Harborlites at an amazing time.  I was with them when we won our first International gold medal.  I wept while watching the webcast at home with my 12 day old infant in my arms as they won their 2nd.  And I was there last October when with our best score ever we got our first 2nd place International medal.  There have been many ups and downs in the last 8 years. Lots of work, joy, love, frustration, acceptance...really, just about any emotion you can imagine. 

It used to amaze me that even after a masters degree in music education...I could still learn so much about music and performing at a Harborlites rehearsal.  I'm no longer surprised...but pleased that it continues.  As the chorus grows, so do ways far more significant than just musically.  Being a Harborlite means striving for excellence.  It means working...a lot....harder than for anything you've ever worked for. It means not standing still, and never settling.  It's truly special.

Why do I bring this up now?  Well, today was an amazing day of Harborlites coaching and it seemed like a fitting day to take a Harborlites themed photo.  I wish I had a better picture to share to celebrate..but didn't get the chance to take one of the ladies in action today. 

I know that it's a really long post for a really little picture.  But I've quickly discovered that, for me, this project is about more than the picture.

I give you two....cause I'm ever indecisive.  Would love feedback for which one I should use as the official photo.  Feel free to comment.

Here is my pretty Harborlites pin on the Pitch Pipe page showing the International Chorus results.  I like it because it includes more of what I'm thinking about today...but am a bit irritated that the Harborlites logo isn't so clear.

And...clearly this is just a better photo of the pin....but if you don't know anything about's just a pin.  The photo isn't really supposed to be about the pin. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

2/25/11 - Co-sleeping

So, we don't officially co-sleep, but I think someone forgot to tell Nathan that. 

Nathan came into our room last night at about 4am....drank the water on my bedside table that I always make sure is there....climbed over me and laid in-between me and Rich and spent the rest of the night there. He does this practically every night.  I never mind it...but sometimes my back/neck complains.  Nathan has this way of snuggling up close. Really really that you are hanging half off the bed. But again...I never really mind. I love waking up next to him and being able to snuggle him early in the morning.  It's nice on the days I work (like today) to still be able to see him and hug him.  If he stays in his room I don't get to see him until after work.

I'm going to be late for work...but I really wanted to get this snap up this morning. So here he is sleeping in my spot.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2/24/11 - Ivy

Yesterday, as I was walking through our complex, I noticed that there was this really neat looking new growth on the ivy that lines the sidewalk. Decided to make the bright new growth the picture of the day before it turned dark green like the rest of the ivy.

And a closeup of a single new leaf that popped up amongst the old.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2/23/11 - Am I Crazy?

Do you think it's crazy that I told my 3 yr old boy to throw his baseball right at Mommy's camera? 

Boy, he sure does look determined to hit it!

2/22/11 - Head shot Session

Had a really fun head shot session after work today.  Shot at one of my favorite locations and the light was really lovely in a few of my favorite spots.  Here is a mosaic from all of yesterday's images. 

The mosaic was made with the free program AndreaMosaic.  To make it work a little better I allowed the program to alter the coloring and exposure of the images up to 20%. Some day I should try this with a whole year's worth of head shots. Hmmmm...

2/21/11 - Aerobie at the Park

We had a very lazy weekend, but finally decided to get out of the house and do something active for the Monday holiday.  Rich brought along the Aerobie...a favorite childhood toy of his.  Nathan has a unique throwing style.  I'm always amazed to watch him throw something because it is truly a whole body activity.  For Nathan, throwing starts with an intense twisting action and always ends with a jump.  He LOVED how far he could make the aerobie fly.

 In between throws I asked Nathan where Daddy is...and this is him smiling big and pointing at the Daddy he loves SO much!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2/20/11 - We Have CHOCOLATE!

Enough of this Kiwi for dessert stuff.  I'll take chocolate any day.

I love you M&M's!

2/19/11 - Library

We had a pretty lazy day today.  Sat around most of the morning, but we did manage to get out to take Nathan to the library after his nap. 

Nathan is so cute at the library.  Since he's really starting to read well, he loves picking out the books and reading the titles.  He's so much like his Momma...he just plops down in the middle of the isle and reads a book.

I took TONS of adorable photos of him at the library and it was really hard to narrow them down.  Thankfully, Rich helped me pare it down to these four. 

A little collage.

And the official photo of the day.  I just love the studious look on his face.  I had a hard time picking between him reading and smiling and this one....but Rich and I agreed that the focused face wins.

Friday, February 18, 2011

2/18/11 - Kiwi for Dessert

I really wanted chocolate, but since there is none in the house...and it's raining cats and dogs out there...I made due with a lovely and tasty kiwi.  Kiwi is one of my very favorite fruits, probably among my top 5.  I adore it even though it causes me great physical pain to eat it.  I have a very benign condition called lingua geographica that causes some of my favorite foods to inflict great pain to my poor odd tongue. Pineapple, strawberries, tomatoes, bananas, and even potatoes....the list goes on.  I just eat until the pain is so bad that I have to take a break.  Sadly, even chocolate causes pain now and then.

But that's not the most fun part of this evening's kiwi dessert.  I sat there eating my kiwi and Nathan proclaimed that he does not like kiwi.  I said "are you sure" and offered him a taste.  He licked the strange looking green fruit on my spoon...then ate it and exclaimed..."I DO like it!" "I changed my mind...I do like kiwi"

Of course you do.  It's delicious!

Really poor picture of kiwi taken in just about the worst lighting possible.'s a photo.  I cranked the ISO up to 4000 for this shot. LOL!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2/17/11 - Cherry Blossoms

The cherry trees have blossomed!  There is a very brief period of about 2 weeks where the beautiful cherry trees at the park near our house bloom.  I have wanted to get a decent picture of them ever since we first moved here, but I always manage to miss it.  Today, I made sure to pack my camera in my car before work so that I could stop at the park on my way home before picking up Nathan. 

Sadly, the strong winds and harsh sun made it difficult to get the shots the way I wanted them, but I did get several that I like.  Here's one.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2/16/11 - Worth Every Penny

These flowers are amazing.  These are the same yellow poms I purchased (and photographed) for the Day 33 post.  These cheapo flowers...purchased for just under $5...have lasted 2 full weeks already, and they still look great.  Usually I buy flowers and they last 4-5 days at the most.  I'm just so pleased with these little guys.  If they perform this well in a vase, maybe I could manage to keep a bunch of them alive in a pot. Hmmmm....

2/15/11 - Spaghetti

Nathan said he didn't want to eat spaghetti for dinner.


2/14/11 - Happy Valentines Day

If you can call it that.  Nathan was a real jerk today. Sorry, Son...but you were.

I had lots of fun valentines activities planned, but you had something else in mind....being a demon child. We made cotton candy after your demanded to eat all of it.  You wanted to play Mario Cart, so I said, "okay..for a little while." You played while I made Daddy a valentines treat. Once Mario Cart was over, you were impossible.  I tried to play a game with threw all the pieces on the floor saying you didn't want to play.  I tried to put the pieces said "NO!  I wanna play!"  You "played" by throwing the pieces all around the room.  When I tried to take them away from hit me!!!!  (Nathan does NOT hit, so this is a huge deal!)  When I told you to go to time out, you hit me again!

Time out did not go well.  You wouldn't stay in time out, so I spent about 10 minutes picking you up and putting you back. Finally...for both our protection, I locked myself in my room saying I needed a time out.  You threw things at the door and screamed louder than I have ever heard any being on this earth scream.   You snapped.  After a few minutes of hearing you scream, I came out and helped you with your tantrum.  I told you to stomp your feet hard as you could, to hit the floor with your hands, and scream.   You did.  I asked if that helped you feel better and you said yes. You then stood up and put yourself in the time out spot.  You quietly had your time out. I guess you got it out of your system?

After time were a changed person. Sweet and loving as could be. You apologized and said you loved me and you were so sweet giving kisses and hugs and telling Mommy she would be okay.  We talked about hitting and you seemed to understand everything. You have been sugar sweet ever since.

Here you are enjoying one of Mommy's homemade lollies moments before Daddy came home.

Happy Valentines Day!

2/13/11 - Under the Covers

Nathan loves it under the covers. Every night and every naptime he has me hold up the covers so he can bury his entire body under them.  He's started just playing under there too.  I walked into my bedroom to find Nathan playing under there...grabbed the iPhone and snapped a photo.  The stuffed animal you see there is his trusty shark buddy Dude.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2/12/11 - Chutes and Ladders

Today was a very difficult day.  We're all coming out of the longest lasting flu we've had as a family, and it's proving to be very trying.  Because we were too sick to do much else, Nathan got to watch a lot of tv this week. MUCH more than is normal or accepted for this family.  Sadly, it seems to have taken a toll on our child who is having a hard time getting back to normal.  Today we had our share of tantrums, complaints, whining, and being contrary.  Nathan is just out of sorts.

One of the few bright spots in the day was our after dinner game of Chutes and Ladders.

Nathan counts very well...the boy can count to 100 with just the slightest bit of help...but he does find it tricky to navigate the Chutes and Ladders board with its twisting and turning ways.  Here Daddy is guiding Nathan's hand as they count the spaces.

Nathan chose to play the girl with the long dark hair.  :) 

 Nathan takes the lead as he leaps over his mommy.

The game of Chutes and Ladders is full of surprises.  This was one CLOSE game! Daddy pulls out in front.

But in the end the winner is.


NATHAN!  Really...this is no surprise.  Nathan is the undefeated champion of Chutes and Ladders in our house. I have yet to discover his secret, but I WILL find out how he does it, and when I do...WATCH OUT!

2/11/11 - Tricycling

Nathan has been begging to go tricycling for days now...but I told him that we couldn't go out as long as he had a fever.  Yesterday, his fever was gone...but I was far too sick to be up and about. we're both well enough to venture outside, so long as Mommy can sit on the curb while he plays. Nathan was overjoyed to finally be able to go back outdoors, although the exercise did have him coughing up a storm.

Here he is, the happy boy on his trike.

2/10/11 - In My Arms

Nathan has been extra sleepy with his illness these past few days, and for the first time in years, my baby boy fell asleep in my arms today.  I'm thrilled that I had my iPhone handy to snap the memory, but so sad that I didn't know that the front facing camera on the iPhone doesn't take full quality photos.  Oh well, here it is anyway.  It's far from perfect, but I cherish it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2/9/11 - 103.09 Degrees

In the fever contest, I win topping out today at just above 103 degrees.  This was not a great day.  Fever, coughing, chills, aches....just plain sick.  Nathan was a pretty good boy for me.

Here is a terrible self portrait.  I had just woken up from falling asleep on the couch while watching tv.  Camera was right there, so I set the timer and grabbed a photo of the last of the sickies.  I looked to the side and noticed that Nathan had fallen asleep as well. 

These have not been retouched at all...I just plain don't have the energy. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2/8/11 - Outbreak

Phew! I almost forgot to take today's picture!  Was sitting here and checking my e-mail before going up to bed, looked at the clock and's 10 o'clock and I haven't taken a picture today.

Today marks a milestone in the project.  I took just one photo today. Yup...just one. And in a moment you'll see why.

Nathan's fever is still there, but improving greatly.  Unfortunately, the illness has spread.  Today it hit the most unlikely of victims, my husband.  Yes, my husband who almost never gets sick.  Poor guy.  He was sacked with a fever and a sick 3 yr old while I was at work molding young musical minds.

So I remember I need a picture...and that I wanted to document the rare event that is my husband's illness.  I quickly grab the camera...glance at the settings and figure they're a good starting point. Then I point, click, and hear my dear sweet husband inform me that he doesn't want to be my picture today.  OOPS! Too late now.

My unwilling model. Think he'll forgive me? ......I made cookies!

  Oh, by the way, I'm next. Expect a not so beautiful self portrait of the sick me in a day or two.  Didn't I just get over a cold? DARN KIDS AND THEIR GERMY GERMS!

Monday, February 7, 2011

2/7/11 - Tin Foil Snowflakes

Poor Nathan is still feeling very sick, so today will be all restful activities.  He is still very feverish, but well enough to sit up for short amounts of time.  I found this sweet little snowflake craft on the entertaining and useful Frugal Family Fun Blog.

Nathan had some frustration ripping the tin doubt due to his not feeling well, but once that task was over he really enjoyed making his little snowflakes.

We're really big on letting Nathan help choose things lately, so he picked out the images I'm sharing today.

Nathan would like you to know that he's saying "poop" in this photo.

2/6/11 - Flu

Looks like Nathan picked up the flu...again. Poor child. This one hit him really hard. Usually when he's sick you can hardly tell. He rarely feels so bad that his mood and/or activity level is affected, but this time it was.  He was really feeling rotten.  I let him play a lot of Mario Cart this morning to distract him from his discomfort. 

Poor child fell asleep right in the middle of a race. I of course grabbed the camera.

2/5/11 - Nilly

We have 2 cats.  Steinway is mine, and Nilly is the cat Rich brought to the marriage.  When they coined the phrase "scaredy cat", they were talking about Nilly.  As long as I can remember, Nilly has been afraid...of everything.  I think the day we brought Nathan home from the hospital was perhaps the worst day of her life.  A screaming, wiggling being that was in HER room! She is still terribly afraid of Nathan who has been nothing but sweet to her from the very long distance that she requires remains between them at all times.  Let it be known...her fear is in no way based in reality.  She has never once been hurt by anyone or anything that I'm aware of.

I'm sad to say that Nilly is nearing the end of her young life.  Several months ago we found a malignant tumor on her leg and at that time made the difficult decision not to amputate the leg and fight the cancer.  We decided that for Nilly (who most definitely is not a fighter) it would be just too difficult for her to overcome losing a leg that way.  We opted instead for the "make her as happy and comfortable as possible for as long as possible" route.  It has been difficult to watch her decline slowly...but I'm positive that it has been easier on her than the alternative would have been.  She no longer has the use of that leg, but it was gradual and painless. 

With losing the use of her leg, Nilly has had to find more bravery than I think she ever thought she could.  She simply can't hide the way she used to.  She tries, but it's hard for her to get in and out of small places, so she has had to be out and about in the presence of that terror..Nathan!  She has had to trust us way more than she was ever willing to.  She has been a real trooper.  She's pretty much the same as she always was...except that we actually get see her more often.

Here are several pictures of our girl.

Here she is on our bed in her spot. 

She looks all ferocious in this photo...but she's really just chatting with us. 

 Pretty Green Eyes

 Neat and tidy

 No kitty has ever been more loved.

 or scared.  Here is her response to hearing Nathan wake up from his nap in the next room.

 This is Steinway.  I include this because my cat has not been as kind as one would hope to poor Nilly. When we added a food dish upstairs so Nilly wouldn't have to struggle up and down the stairs to eat, he started eating all her food. He pushes her out of the way and takes advantage of her in any way we can.  About a week ago, Rich bought this kitty bed for Nilly because it seemed she was getting uncomfortable laying on the floor with the tumor....and I guess Steinway decided that he needed it more. Hard to explain to a cat why he shouldn't be so selfish.