31 March 2009

Life lessons from a 1.75-year-old

31 posts in 31 days: After a week or two of daily posting, in March, I couldn't help myself from trying to maintain the perfect record through the entire month. I definitely will not impose this daily homework on myself in April!

A2 says sometimes you're ready to let things go,
stuck leaf

only to realize that maybe you weren't as ready as you thought.
stuck leaf 2

But keep at, and one day, you'll be free (notice the free floating leaves above his head?).
leaf toss

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.
~Author Unknown

30 March 2009

"The true art of memory is the art of attention."

...so says Samuel Johnson.

Well, I suppose that means that entire weekends go by without my having paid any attention because I am often at a loss when asked what I did over the weekend. But I'm prepared to answer today because I took photos to help me remember, to help me pay attention.

A1 baked another batch of scones because I wanted to try store-bought lemon curd. Less lemony and more sugary than homemade--that's just an observation, not a complaint. I finished a whole jar by myself!

There were some Wrestlemania bouts. I called A2 the victor in this battle.

I took these photos at Bill Barber Memorial Park. We were at a portrait party (many consecutive, brief photo sessions without session fees and with discounted packages) because I was getting a little tired of not having any photos of me with the boys. They're going to look back at photos of their childhood and wonder why I was never there!

We drove to San Diego to make use of our annual zoo passes. There were some pretty impressive animals there, but for some reason I only have photos of flamingos and a parrot.

A2 enjoyed the petting zoo, jumping right in to feed the animals.

A1 seems to prefer his animals two dimensional.

They were wearing matching rhinoceros shirts, but I never got a good shot of them.

29 March 2009

365 Photography Project, Week 10

64 of 365: This photo felt like a vintage douche commercial.
64 of 365

65 of 365: We saw a tail-less lizard sunning himself! A lot of discussion about predator and prey strategies ensued.
65 of 365

66 of 365: The next day, he was in exactly the same place. He started walking slowly away from us and I got a better view of the tail stump. It was a little gross.
66 of 365

67 of 365: It's a Small World. I don't see much during an average day...just the yard and Disneyland, as evidenced by this 365 Project.
67 of 365

68 of 365: What can I say? I love babywearing photos!
68 of 365

69 of 365: A field of flowers. I think I like them close up better.
69 of 365

70 of 365: Skyfari in the San Diego Zoo. Terrifying.
70 of 365

28 March 2009

Mama, am I in your shot?

When the camera is aimed at A1, he runs in the opposite direction. But when I (try to) take photos of something else, he runs toward the camera to ask if he's in my shot. And he'll do it over and over again too!
in shot 1
in shot 2
in shot 3

27 March 2009

Foto Friday

Why I love taking photos of other people's children:

- I've memorized all of my kids' expressions in my heart. I see them in my dreams and I recognize them across a crowded room. But geez. Enough already. What mommy photographer doesn't love a little novelty in her life?

- Even if a photo of one of the boys is completely out of focus and shows only an ear instead of a face because he ran out of the frame too quickly, I still have a hard time deleting it. Fortunately, I'm not emotionally attached to photos of others' children and can see (or delete!) them for their compositional merits.

- There's a little flutter inside of me when a mother enjoys a photo I've taken of her kid. I enjoy(ed?) sewing for people, but that takes so much longer. And while a photograph takes longer to produce (it's my dependence on post-processing) than most people recognize, it's still quicker than a sewing project.

26 March 2009

Thankful Thursday, the wordy no-photo version

1. As we officially usher in Spring (not that Winter is all that Winter-y here in So Cal), I once again realize how grateful I am for sunscreen. I'm also quite pleased that the boys let me slather it on without putting up a fight.

2. A friend of mine recently lost her dad. I absolutely adored my own dad before, but this tragedy made me appreciate his presence even more.

3. Photoshop makes me happy. It's analogous to the question of which I enjoyed more, the therapy or subsequently being able to conceptual the therapy with others. I honestly can't say which makes me happier, taking photos or post-processing those photos.

4. Night-weaning has made this mama much happier!

5. The vegetable patch is almost fully planted now and it's such a relief! I slacked the last 2 years so I'm especially excited to watch this garden grow.

6. Okay, stay with me here as I circle around. Thankful Thursdays make me thankful! There are moments during the week when I think to myself, "Gee, this is really great! I should remember to add this to the list on Thursday." That means this little exercise is actually working to make me more aware of the wonderful things in my life.

7. I think I know what James is getting me for my birthday in a few weeks and woohoo! Am I ever thankful!

Okay, I'll stop here at lucky number 7.

24 March 2009

Discovery Cube

So here's the thing: it's the 24th and I just realized that I've posted every single day thus far this month. I don't have anything witty or earth-shattering to reveal in these photos but now I'm feeling the irrational need to make it to the end of March with 31 posts.

But like they say, quantity is much more important than quality.




23 March 2009

"No, I don't *work*, I'm just a stay-at-home mom."

I was recently asked what life is really like at our house--i.e., what is it I do with the boys all day--so I thought I'd reply in blog form.

As I wrote in my previous post on our no-TV lifestyle, the boys do not expect to be occupied via external sources so they are quite happy to entertain themselves in their sandbox, a designated plot of dirt in the backyard, or any random corner of the house using their imagination to come up with new games.

Since I fill every staff position in this household (maid, cook, chauffeur, etc.), I can't let them impede my housework or else nothing would get done! Rather than shooing them away when I'm busy, I include them. It's incredibly fun to be together but I also use these opportunities to teach social skills, like taking turns, and academic skills too. For example, we count the number of scoops, talk about how the 1-cup scoop is larger than the 1/2-cup scoop, and so on. And of course, the additional small motor practice is quite helpful to A1 since he's always been better at large motor tasks.

But don't worry, I'm not running a labor camp around here; we play a lot too! And there are amazing opportunities for learning and exploration everywhere and at all times during play. I tend to use Socratic methods of questioning to elicit A1's responses and encourage curiosity--though my questions occasionally end up being quite leading and often embed the answers. We talk to each other constantly, like when we're in the car, "Why do you think that bulldozer has to be on the flatbed truck instead of driving itself on the freeway?" or "Now the speed limit sign reads '55' instead of '35' like before. Does that mean we can go faster or slower?" But like I said, sometimes, I have to lead a bit when A1's answers don't fully satisfy the question, "Is ones of the reasons because...?" or "Could it be that...?"

When I'm feeling really ambitious, or if the boys are especially enamored of a particular topic, we explore it a little deeper than just casual chats. Take, for instance, their recent obsession with rockets. I printed out some coloring pages and let them create a scene online. I let them watch a few minutes here and there of some shuttle liftoffs to generate discussion. We checked out some books from the library on the topic. Oh, and we crafted. We're always crafting around here.


I'm not afraid of going into depth--A1 has, for quite some time now, been able to use the terms aquatic, amphibious, terrestrial, or avian to label animals. And he will tell you that a fire gives off heat because it's an exothermic reaction that releases energy in the form of heat. But it's most definitely not my goal to stuff their heads with facts and figures. In actuality, most of what we do involves what I initially mentioned: playing in the sand and mud! I only teach as much and for as long as it pleases the boys--and they always dictate the subject.

22 March 2009

365 Photography Project, Week 9

57 of 365: (Limestone Canyon Regional Park) Blech--I could tell it was bad when I snapped it. I'm too close to see the vastness of the range and too far to see details like those neat branches in the foreground. But that's all I could get by leaning out the van window.
56 of 365

58 of 365: Strangely, I repeated the same No Man's Land mistake again from the day before. I'm too close to see his whole body (no feet!) and too far to see the details of his face like my usual portraits. Oh, and the photo is WAY crooked...but not in an artistic way, just in a clumsy way.
57 of 365

59 of 365: Concentric stars!
58 of 365

60 of 365: Our climbing roses are blooming like crazy so I snapped this shot. I wasn't brave enough to completely crop out the rose even though I much prefer just the bokeh so as a result, I have a lesser image for my cowardice.
59 of 365

61 of 365: This is a photo from the I Dream of France shoot on Thursday.
60 of 365

62 of 365: Ah, to be 4 again...that's the life!
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63 of 365: Saturday's clothing shoot. I had neither model nor mannequin so I used a tree instead.
62 of 365