Friday, June 24, 2011

Moving Up

I'm a momma of a middle schooler. It's a little surreal. Chloe had her 5th grade Moving Up Ceremony on Wednesday night. The 5th grade performed a few songs, one of which included a strings piece that Chloe performed with a small group. I was so proud of her - she wasn't able to play her violin at school this year after the move, and she still asked to be including in playing the piece, brought it home, and learned it. Luckily, she's all set to play violin next year at the middle school. I think she's happy to be moving on. It is always tough to move mid-year, and when you move into a small, close-knit school where most kids have been together since kindergarten, it's even harder. Although she handled it well, she's ready to go to the middle school, where there will be 400 kids (from 5 different elementary schools) in the 6th grade.
I apologize for the quality of the pictures - the lighting was low, and I had to use my long-range lens.

My mom came up for the ceremony, which thrilled Chloe to pieces. Once Chloe's last day of school was done, they hit the road back to NJ, to try and get in as much riding as possible before they leave for Nationals next week. This will be Chloe's last year competing in the Walk/Trot (10 and under) division, and even though she has performed wonderfully the past 2 years, she has not yet won Grand Champion (she was Reserve Champion both years - last year it was a tie, but the other rider had competed in one more class, so it went to her). She's excited and nervous, and we're trying to negate some of the self-imposed pressure.

The weather has been rainy again, which always limits my picture-taking. I did realize it's been a long time since I talked about Addy's teething necklace. She's been wearing it constantly for the past few months, and my feelings about it were that I didn't think it was hurting anything, it looks darned cute, but I wasn't sure if it was helping. Let me tell you, it is helping. Addy had been a bit on the fussy side, nothing major, but was chewing on her finger a lot too. I happened to glance in her mouth during a recent diaper change, and saw 3 teeth pushing through. We've had to do 2 nights of Motrin when the teeth were actually breaking the skin - but that's it. For comparison, we had to do 2 weeks of almost nightly Motrin for the teeth before we had the necklace. I'm a believer!

We are also off to NJ, for a little beach time, a little R & R, and lots of family time. Because I use a desktop computer, I won't be able to do blog updates on the go, but there will be hundreds of pictures when I get back. (Because Pete starts school in 2 weeks, he's earned the next spot on the list for a laptop - but I have converted him to a Mac-user!). I'm excited to do some photo shoots while I'm down there - including a beach shoot (with an awesome cancer survivor/former patient), and a newborn shoot.

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Yesterday, Sarah and I took Liv and Addy berry picking. It may have been the dirtiest activity on record, but we had a great time. The babies gorged themselves on strawberries and dirt. The moms gorged themselves on berries and laughter.

Then we had the 5th grade picnic. Because the school is K-5, the kids in 5th grade are still mostly that - kids. Next year, with the influence of the middle school, they will morph into almost-teenagers, and finally teenagers.
Addy has become a daredevil climber. She has figured out that if she pushes her little chair over to the big easy chair, she can them climb from her chair up into the big chair. Which she thinks is the funniest thing.

I had another marathon photo shoot today. It went well, with lots of good pictures for everyone. Here's a sampling.

Now it's off to bed for me. I'm exhausted, and the week isn't even half over yet.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Achievements - UPDATED

My kid is a mathlete.

Chloe does Kumon, which is a enrichment program that focuses on repetition and speed. One big benchmark for Kumon is the goal of "G by 5" - to be working on Level G by the end of your 5th grade year. This is Kumon's benchmark for successful progress because years of experience demonstrates that students who attain it remain proficient at all higher grade levels as well. Kumon recognizes this accomplishment with a national award. Today was the end of year party at Kumon, and she was awarded her Kumon star, for achieving G by 5. We are so proud, and she is so proud. This week, she reached the goal of Level G in Reading also (I'm not sure what the Reading star will say, somehow Readinglete just doesn't flow as well). She has really been working hard to achieve these levels, and earned an e-reader as a reward for her hard work.

Now that the weather is a bit more seasonal, I took the girls in the back yard for an impromptu shoot. We used these pictures for a father's day gift, which I'm not going to elaborate on until after it arrives (sometime after Father's Day, since I couldn't get my act together). It was a little difficult getting pictures of Addy; she didn't quite understand why we would be in the back yard if we weren't on the slide or the swings. She kept doing her scooter-crawl (on hands and left knee, right foot) gangster-limp on over to sit at the bottom of the slide. We had a "she's walking!" false alarm; on Monday, she took 6 steps, and I sent a gloating text to Pete. Of course since then, she has refused to take a single step. She's so close, it's so exciting!

I had the first of my marathon Mom's group photo shoots yesterday. It was a little bit hot, but we were at a park with great big shady trees, so we utilized those. It was a lot of fun - 30 minute sessions all day, so it was rapid-fire picture taking. It was nice to be able to see what works and what doesn't, and luckily most of the things we tried worked. It was also an opportunity to work with the preschool aged crowd - a little more challenging than babies! Here are a few of my favorites from yesterday - so many smiles!
(Forgot this picture. Sorry!) And are those not the most delicious baby legs you've ever seen? This picture doesn't even do them justice. So cute!

I've got another marathon shoot next Tuesday, and then can turn my eyes towards vacation. Watch out, Dirty Jerz.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Short 'n' sweet

Do you ever look around in surprise, amazed at where you are and what you are doing? If you had told me a year ago that I'd be a stay at home mom with a blossoming photography business, I probably would have taken your temperature, started IV fluids, and called in a psych eval. I would have thought that there would be no way that I'd leave pediatric oncology, that I'd worked to hard to become a nurse practitioner to walk away. I don't miss fighting with insurance companies, or the endless documentation, but I do miss the families. But, and this is a big but, I wouldn't change a thing. Who knows, maybe in 10 years, I'll be back in my lab coat and stethoscope talking with someone about how I used to be a photographer. It's really about the ride so much more than the destination, anyway.

So we're almost to the mid-way point of Pete's work trip, and we're missing him.

Today was photo shoot #1. In the next 7 days, I am doing 3 days of photo shoots involving 16 kids. Crazy? Probably. It went well, although Addison (the little girl I was shooting) wasn't really interested in having her picture taken, so we had to work for it a bit. We did get some good shots, and it also provided me with the opportunity to set up my Zenfolio page - there's not much there right now, but as I do more shoots, I'll be adding more pictures. 
Big-girl Addison from today's shoot

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lazy Saturdays

We've had a quiet few days, catching up on housecleaning, laundry, and naps. The heat wave finally broke, and we soaked it in yesterday. Sarah and Liv stopped by for lunch, and some playtime in the back yard.

Looking at these pictures capturing Livy's dramatics just make me laugh out loud

Even though it's still side-by-side play at this age, we like to think that the girls love being together - they both squeal and clap when they see each other (kinda like their mommas!)

We love lazy Saturday mornings. Pete and Chloe went off to get bagels, and I was "working" on the computer (catching up on the Kelle Hampton blog). I had that feeling of dread seep into my bones - it was a little too quiet. I wonder why.
I guess she just wasn't interested in waiting for the bagels to arrive. But when they did arrive, she was in heaven.

It's cool and rainy again, so we're adjusting all of our outside weekend plans. Pete heads off to a conference in St. Louis this week, so the girls will be holding down the fort. Sun, please come back!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I scrolled through my pictures, and realized that although I don't have many words to justify a post, I have plenty of pictures... so here we go!

I did a little impromptu photo shoot with Addy. It was just the way the sun streaming through the windows, brightening up her big blue eyes, that make me know I had to grab the camera. And even though she was in a bit of a contemplative mood, with a small downturn at the corners of her lips, there are some of my favorites.
Addy had her first taste of watermelon. I think it might have at least shaken the pedestal that she places blueberries on - and that's saying a lot!

We had our (almost) weekly brunch with our Mom friends on Monday, when we eat all the things we shouldn't (muffins, pastries), and chat. It's taken on a new, slightly discombobulated feel now that all the babies are mobile (and the boys are walking!). Lots of unfinished sentences, trading babies around, and eating. It's probably not so good for our waistlines, but oh so good for our mental states!
 Sarah hosted this week. Addy and Alex spent the whole time crawling to the top of the 4 steps, and giving us heart attacks as we scrambled before they took a wrong step off the edge of the stair. Take them down, give them toy, watch them scramble to the top. Repeat one hundred times.

It's been hot, which means that we try and grill as many nights as we can manage. The girls play in the yard, Pete mans the grill, and I snap pictures, and soak it all in.

Today we hit another splash park. It was hot (upper 90s!), and it was crowded, so we didn't stay long.
Forget the sprinklers. Give the girl a stick and a ball, and she's in heaven.

Finally, this evening I did a photo shoot this evening with one of my mom-friends, her husband, and their 9 month old, Ava. We had fun, and got some good shots. Here are a few of my favorites.

I have 3 more photo shoots coming up in the next 2 weeks, so I'll be busy! Stay cool everyone!