Absolutely Shameless Parental Bragging… you were warned

So yesterday I had my first real Parent-Teacher conference.  Even though I suspected it would go well (based on the way Dylan talks about school and more importantly the fact that I haven't heard any thing from the teacher or school that would lead me to believe otherwise), I was really really really nervous.  I'm not really sure why, but I suspect it had more to do with the fact that I felt like I was going through one of those Parental Milestones that mark the passage of how much your child has grown.  With this conference I now enter the world grades, and expectations, and "real" school.  Except that it's still just kindergarten, so things can still be light for a little while longer… I'm clinging to that as much as I can this year.  :)

Anyway, here comes the bragging.  I was happy to meet with the teacher and get her take on how Dylan has been doing in school so far (according to Dylan he is the best kid in his class).  And I think he may actually be close to telling the truth based on the fact that she started the conference off by recommending that Matt and I break out a bottle of champagne that night and celebrate the fact that we've raised a great kid.  Dylan is eager to learn, beginning reader, rule follower, kind friend, and an overall happy and outgoing little boy.  Which I know (of course, wink), but it's nice when someone else recognizes those traits in him.

End of bragging… for now anyway.


More is on the way

I'm so excited for tonight!  I found out about a local photography class offered by an art studio that Matt and I both like (though haven't been to in a while since they moved locations) from a mom of one of Dylan's friends and decided to sign up for it.  It's a 6 week intermediate course.  I'm hoping that I didn't over estimate my abilities by skipping the beginner class... and it starts tonight!  I am really looking forward to actually LEARNING more about photography instead of just kind of having an idea of something that may work, let me try it this way and that way, and oh look at how that came out-- I wasn't expecting that but it looks good so I'll go with.  I am also really looking forward to getting some good feedback about pictures I've taken.  I need the criticism and an outside eye to know what I need to improve.

I'm also just looking forward to getting out on my own and engaging my brain again.  I hope other people take notes, because I'm really looking forward to taking notes too… it's been a long time since i've done that.  Nerd alert :)

And in semi-related well timed news, I've decided to participate in a Project 365.  It's where i take (and I think post) a picture every day for a year.  One of the photography blogs that I've been following lately is starting up a challenge on Nov. 1st and I think I'm going to jump in and try it.  I nearly take pictures every day anyway, so I might as well.  Hopefully I can stick with it (a year seems like a LONG time), but I think I'll stand a better chance if there's a little community that I can participate in.

Click It Up A Notch



Self Portrait: Running

I've been wanting to try this out... take pictures of myself running.  I couldn't really figure out how to do it outside, but since I do most of my running on the treadmill these days I decided to just go with that.  I used a tripod and my 18-55 lens (which is my worst lens, but the only thing that would work for this situation) and tried a couple different angles.  I think my favorites are the ones showing my feet moving... they look so fast!

Walking and hydrating to start off.

Light jogging for 10 minutes.

Usually in the middle of a treadmill workout I do what I call "sprints and recovery" It basically means I run as fast as I can for 2 minutes, then I jog for 2 minutes.  Repeat a few times.  I'm sure there's some technical running term for this (or better method), but I don't know what it is and this works for me.  At the moment, my fastest sprint speed in 8.0 mph

Running hard.

"you've never seen my feet 'cause they move so fast"
Breathing and staying focused (me... not the camera apparently)

Slow part of my sprint running.... also, my view from the treadmill.  I used to face a blank wall... that was torture.  This way I can at least look outside and see the squirrels burying their nuts in the backyard.  Also I get motivated to tap into my inner Hulk Strength when I need a little extra push.
Walking to cool down with my life-line still on.  Do other people actually use this?  I find it super annoying because I knock it out with my hand a lot and then all my info from my current run disappears... however, I'm terrified that if I don't use it I'll trip, fall, knock my head on something and black out, and the treadmill will keep going and I'll wind up getting rubbed down to the bone.  So I wear it.
Sweating and splotchy after picture.


Self Portrait: Window light experiment

I took a couple shots just for fun the other day.  I was trying to play around with lighting angles.  It's interesting to see how different the pictures come out.

I'm facing the window pretty straight on. 

Window is on my right side.

Window is still on my right side, but at more of an angle.

Window is behind me.


From Another Blog

I'm sure I'm not alone in the amount of blogs I read.  For the most part I enjoy reading them while in the moment of doing so, and then I tend to move on.  But every once and a while I read something that resonates with me....

 I just stumbled upon this (somewhat old) entry on a blog I started following not too long ago and I really appreciate the way this woman talks about being a mother.  (also her house is pretty fabulous)  So I just thought I'd share.

Here's the original post:  http://www.designmom.com/2013/06/living-with-kids-ginger-johnson/

And some of the snippets I liked (it's kind of long):

"My children have forced me to dig deep into who I am and what I value and to draw upon patience that I do not naturally have, and become creative in ways I had not contemplated before (who knew a brand new box of tissues makes for the best entertainment on a 5-hour road trip for an 18-month old?), and be selfless in a way I could not have fathomed before having kids. Just as I would be a different person if I had not married my husband, I would be a vastly different person if I were not mother to these two boys."

"Yes, it’s important to savor the moment; it’s true that the years pass quickly, but savoring the moment only gives you snippets of life. It’s even more important to have a wide-angle perspective, and savor the sum total of these moments. We all have good moments and bad moments, good days and bad days. When we look at the grand mosaic of these moments taken together, we can see the artistry and the beauty of the life that we have."

And the phrase she uses "kindergarten confidence" completely applies to Dylan right now.  He is so sure of himself, his abilities, his likes and dislikes... sometimes maybe a little too sure of himself (trying to correct him can be really difficult because he fully believes himself to be right in all things).  But that's because he has every reason to still believe in himself.  The self-doubting and peer pressure phase haven't kicked in yet.  And I am naively wishing it never will, that somehow Dylan will be spared from that.  But there's so much that's out of my control now that he is out in the world on his own more... so much...  mostly for the better but the possibility for worse keeps me worrying.

 Reading her post got me a little gushy about my own motherhood experience.  The day to day stuff can definitely feel tedious, unrelenting, non-monumental, and HARD.  And it challenges me to dig deeper and push myself every day.  I mean how rewarding is it to constantly have to make peanut butter sandwiches for lunch? help kids put shoes on, break up fights over toys, and seriously Aaron... how many times a day do you really need to be pooping?  But I know enough to realize that the hard stuff is usually related to the best of life.  Because on the flip side of the nonstop messes and kid-to-parent power struggles are the giggles, and hugs, and sweet/silly/joy-filled moments.  Have you heard Dylan laugh?  Is there a more real expression of innocence and live-in-the-moment silliness than that?  I don't think so.

It also made me think about how being a mother has changed me and pushed me into becoming a better person all around.  In some profound ways, which I am still trying to wrap my head around... and in some smaller ways.  I spend more time outside: playing at the park, going for walks, hockey in the driveway, raking up leaf piles, watching t-ball games.  I started running, and photography, and even cooking because of this new lifestyle.  I have more patience (which is good because I also use it up quicker), I have a reason to be silly (which I would not ever bother with if it weren't for kids), I have learned to be flexible and spontaneous, I've learned what real worry is like, and most importantly to appreciate all the love I have in my life.

Also, on a less serious note, I love the way she describes the New Hampshire winters.  That is the kind of winter I wish I could experience every year.


Aaron at One: Nothing in Particular

Just being your typical cute and clumsy toddler.


Self Portrait: not quite right

I got my recent film files today.  Here are the bathroom selfies I tried (that go along with the ones from the dslr I previously posted).  They are a little off from what I wanted, but I think I understand why for the most part, now I just have to learn how to correct things and how to change the way I normally shoot so that things turn out better in B&W.  But in the interest of learning from mistakes, here they are:

I totally exposed the wrong thing.  I'll try again.
too blurry

Gah!  Not a bad picture, just a too serious face.  Also, probably need to just go ahead and use a tripod next time.