Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dylan's 7th Birthday Party

The story before the story is that since there has been a lot going on in our household the past few months, I waited until early October to start thinking about Dylan's birthday party.  That messed everything up.  Way too many emails were sent out.  Plans were made, then changed, then made, then changed.  We finally booked the party room at a theater and planned to see "Free Birds" with just his cousins and a couple close friends.  Then, Wednesday evening I got a call that they were pulling the movie from the theater because it wasn't making enough money!  Thursday, (2 days before the party!), I called the only place I hadn't called yet, (because we had his party there LAST year).  Once again, we partied at Chuck E Cheese.  Not ideal, but I'm pretty sure Dylan still had a blast.
I am never happy with the birthday party photos, since the lighting is always horrible, but here's a few anyway...

The party was from 12:30-2:30 , so afterwards, since it was a pretty warm day, we went to the park.  I was taking photos of Dylan playing, and Jim was spinning Dylan around on the tire swing.  He would stand still and make Dylan and the tire swing spin around him, while I commented that it didn't look like a great idea.  Then Jim got the bright idea that I just HAD to do it, and take a shot of Dylan that way.  He was so emphatic about the idea, saying "that way he'll be in focus, but everything else will be blurry"!  I tried it, just to appease the poor man, but told him it wouldn't work with the lens I had, so he decided to try it with his cell phone.  And that brings us to perhaps my favorite part of the day...

(What's that?  I should have asked him if he was okay?  Well, I would have, but I was laughing too hard!  Hey, I did walk over to see if he was still moving!  He says what makes the video so funny is me laughing my @## off).

After that awesomeness, we went to Boston Market for dinner, and then headed home for Jim's favorite part of the day.  This was something he had been waiting for since he first found out he was having a boy - introducing him to Star Wars.  I was really nervous that after all the buildup to the event, that Dylan was going to be completely bored and ask us to turn it off halfway through the movie, but luckily that didn't happen.  Although he asked a billion questions the entire way through the movie (at least I was told - I fell asleep half way through), he seemed to really enjoy it, and asked to see The Empire Strikes Back the next day.  He keeps calling Darth Vador, "Dark Vador", but Jim is taking great pride in explaining it all.  We had to go get 2 light sabers (one for each "boy"), with his birthday gift cards, so let's hope the force is with us all.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

To Dylan on Your 7th Birthday

Dear Dylan,

Today you are seven!  I figure rather than be completely predictable and complain about how much bigger you are, and talk about how sad I am that you are growing up so fast, I will list all the ways you haven't changed at all.

1.  You still love to laugh, and you do it with gusto.  One of my favorite memories of this past year, is taking you to see "Despicable Me 2", and listening to you laugh louder than anyone else in the theater.  Your sense of humor is maturing, and you often "get" your dad and I's sarcasm and jokes we don't expect you laugh at.  At the same time, though, if I chase you around the house saying "I'm gonna get you", you still laugh and giggle like when you were a toddler.  There are few things I would rather do than make you laugh.

2.  You still love to go places and try new things.  You have a sense of adventure that I love.  Like always, when we asked you what you wanted for your birthday, you didn't really know.  You're much more interested in doing things than in having things.  Your favorite place to go lately is to an arcade - Chuck E Cheese, the arcade at the mall, FunFest, Dave & Busters -  an place you can play games.  Your dad has much more patience in this area than I do.  The noise makes me a little crazy, my dear.  You loved going to Great Wolf Lodge, and doing the Quest.  You also enjoyed the pool and water slides, which is a change.  You finally conquered your fear of going under the water this year, thanks to your swim instructor, Eden.  When you went off the diving board for the first time, I was pretty sure I was going to explode with pride!

3.  You continue to amaze us.  Everyone talks about your math skills, and you always choose to do your math homework first.  You are really becoming a great reader, although we still have a hard time getting you to read to us.  You still do NOT like doing homework!  Even though it is easy for you, you complain, and get very dramatic if you mess up, or feel like it is taking too long.  You seem to like your first grade teacher, and never complain about going to school, although we still don't get much information out of you about your day.

4.  You are still sweet.  One day when I stubbed my toe, you immediately ran to get ice for me, and then sat rubbing my back for a while.  My proudest moment of the soccer season was when you stopped to ask someone who fell if they were okay.  I've watched you around your friends and you are sweet to them too.  You laugh at their jokes, play what they want to play sometimes, and comfort them when they are sad.  You put a lot of time and thought into making cards for everyone.  You are very sweet to your neighbor friend, always coming inside to get the two of you snacks or drinks. 

5.  You still adore your dad and I.  You still give us drawings that say "I Love You Mom and Dad".  You still tell us you love us (all.the.time!), and give us hugs and kisses.  You promised me recently that even when you don't fit in my lap, you'll still snuggle with me.  Today, when I dropped off your birthday snack at your classroom, you came over to hug me in front of all your friends!  You like to spend time with friends, but you are still very happy to spend the day with your mom and dad.  Your dad and I are going to soak it up as much as we can, and I would love it if I can write the same thing in next year's birthday letter!

I love you my sweet boy and I am so proud of you!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Dear Dylan,

I want to remember this Mother's Day forever.

I want to remember that when I came in your room to wake you up the day before Mother's Day, and you said "Awww!  You're waking me up today?!", I had it all wrong.  I got mad and my feelings were hurt.  I thought that you wanted to see your dad and not me, so I told you, "If you're going to be mean to me, have Daddy make your breakfast!"  I felt horrible later, when I found out that the reason you wanted Daddy to wake you up is so you could work on my card!

I want to remember that on Mother's Day morning, I came down five minutes earlier than I usually do, and Daddy said, "No!  You can't come down!  Go back up and get back in bed!"  I went back up, got in bed, and waited and waited, until the two of you finally appeared.  Daddy was carrying breakfast and you were banging two plastic bottles together, singing "Happy Mother's Day to you..." with a big grin on your sweet face.

I want to remember the three of us talking in bed, while I ate my breakfast.  Daddy said that you asked "When is Kids Day?  Moms get Mother's Day, and dads get Father's Day.  When do we get a day?"  Daddy told you that every day is "Kids Day".

 I want to remember how sweet you were to me all day.  Every time I would do something, you would say "You shouldn't be doing that!  It's Mother's Day!"

I want to remember you hiding the presents you made (at Mi-Mi and Bubba's house).  There was two for Mi-Mi and Mi-Ma, but three for me, "because you're the specialest".  We each got a drawing and a gift certificate, and I got a special gift you made at school, a painting with your little hand print.
I told you that I am going to save the "one free hug and kiss" gift certificate until you are a teenager, and you said it expires when you are 11.  I told you "Nope, sorry, there is no expiration date on here, so I can use it whenever I want!"

I want to remember your answer to the question "What is your favorite thing about your mom" - "She will love me no matter what I do".

Yes, I will, my sweet boy!  Thank you for a great Mother's Day.
I love you,

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I finally took Dylan out during the "golden hour" and got some shots.  It was a beautiful day, so we headed to the playground.  I managed to get this shot, before another little boy came along and wanted to play, which of course meant that photo taking time was over!
(I entered this in I Heart Faces May "Play" photo challenge).

Photo Challenge Submission

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

He Is Kind

There has been a big change in Dylan this year, and I need to write about it, so that I can remember.  Dylan started going to preschool when he was almost 2.  As an only child, I felt it was important to get him around other kids regularly.  Unfortunately, each year I seemed to be getting the same report from the preschool teachers... he didn't interact with the other kids that much.  Dylan has never been shy, but he just seemed to like to do his own thing.  

I will never forget going to the spring program at the preschool 2 years ago (when he was 4).  The teachers had asked each child a few questions and put their answers on big posters placed on the walls. One question was "Who is your best friend at school?"  I looked to see what Dylan had said... "Maya".  Then I looked to see who Maya had answered.  It wasn't Dylan.  I held back tears as I noticed that no one had answered that my sweet boy was their best friend.

I worried at the beginning of this year.  Would he make friends in kindergarten?  At the beginning of the year, things seemed to be the same as they were in preschool.  But, sometime during the course of this year, things have changed... in a big way.  In his kindergarten class, each child gets a chance to be "Kid of the Week" once.  A couple weeks ago,  it was Dylan's turn.  Once again, I had to hold back tears, but this time, they were happy ones.  This is what he brought home...

Dylan has always been described as "smart", and I have to say that each answer made me really happy, but nothing made me more proud than seeing that someone said "He is KIND".  

You know the expression "Be careful what you wish for?"
Well, yea, I'm living it!  There is a little girl that is a year older than Dylan that lives next door.  The two of them are inseparable lately!  We cannot take a step out into our back yard without her appearing, and vise versa.  The two of them playing is unbelievably cute.  Dylan is SO sweet to her, always giving her drinks or snacks when they play, letting her go first, being very gentle with her when they play.  (Once when I said they could play a certain game, he replied, "I don't know about that.  That might be too rough.  She is very delicate".  DELICATE?!  

I sometimes joke with Jim that we might have a problem on our hands with these two when they are teenagers.  The other day, Jim and I were finishing dinner while Dylan and her played in our yard.  Suddenly, she appeared at our back door, saying that she picked flowers for me!  After I thanked her and she went off to play some more, I told Jim, "I might cry!  My future daughter in law picked me flowers!"  He laughed, and replied, "She's already buttering up her mother in law.  Smart girl!"

(I don't know if you can tell, but they were pretending to talk on the phone!)

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Photography Journey

Maybe you noticed that this space is seeming more and more like a photography blog lately?  I apologize for those of you who are wondering if I will ever get around to writing something again.  There are two reasons I don't write as much as I used to.  One, Dylan is in school all day and I don't see him as much as I used to, so I have less stories.  Also, he is getting older, and at some point he might not appreciate me sharing certain stories on my blog.  Two, since making the decision to shoot only in Manual, in January, I have found something I am passionate about and I have immersed myself in it as much as I possibly can.  I'm pretty much an all or nothing kind of gal.

The first thing I did was to join a Project 52 group through My Four Hens Photography.  I missed the first three weeks, but I've done it consistently since starting.  I have even had some of my photos featured!

 Week 2 : Fresh : I missed weeks 1, 2, and 3, so this one was not entered.  I still need to take a shot for the week 1 and 3 themes to catch up.

 Week 4: My Daily Routine (as a part time nanny)

 Week 5: My Favorite Color : Green
I love the color green, because my husband, son, and I all have green eyes.  I love that I can see myself, (literally and figuratively!) in his eyes in this shot.

 Week 6: Light: *Featured*
I watched the sunset for a while on this evening, and suddenly there was a ray of light shooting up into the clouds!  It had an otherworldly feel to it, and looked like something out of the movies. (This is SOOC).

Week 7:  Composed:  
I wanted to do a self portrait.  I think this captures the fact that I try not to take myself too seriously, and I crave fun in my life!

 Week 8: Inspired: *Featured*
The love that my grandparents shared inspired me.  I kept this book that my grandfather wrote in, and this is what he wrote about his first kiss... "my main kisser is my wife.  When she kisses you, you forget about everything else.  That's why we have been married for almost 58 years.  A kisser you never forget.  That's my wife".

 Week 9: White:  

 Week 10: Sunshine: *Featured*
“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness -- just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”  - Laura Ingalls Wilder

 Week 11: Wild Card: *Featured*

 Week 12:  Natural Beauty: *Featured*
I took this self portrait to portray the fact that as women, it it easy for us to see the beauty in others, but often extremely difficult to see it in ourselves.  When I was in my 20's, I made a CD for my friends called "Girl Power", with inspiring songs by powerful women.  One friend told me recently that her 8 year old daughter is now listening to it.  I love that it is inspiring the next generation.  Here are lyrics from one of the songs on the CD...
"When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me.  Every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be.  I know my creator didn't make no mistakes on me.  My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes, I'm loving what I see".
(India Arie - Because I Am A Queen)

Week 13: Pride and Joy:  
When I was a kid and my parents took me to the museum, there was one room that I loved - the Hall of Architecture.  Every time I went in there, I would stop and stare up at the large columns and sculptures in awe.  You can imagine the joy I felt, when I took my son to the museum last week, and he stood staring up at everything in that same room, muttering "Wow!"   I love the wonder he finds in so many things.  I am incredibly proud to be his mom.

 Week 14: Warmth: 
"We enjoy warmth because we have been cold.  We appreciate light because we have been in darkness.  By the same token, we can experience joy because we have known sadness".

 Week 15:  Texture: 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Break 2013 : Great Wolf Lodge

We went to Great Wolf Lodge, in Sandusky, Ohio for Spring Break.  We had been to Kalahari water park for my 40th birthday, which is in the same area, but this time we wanted to try Great Wolf.  I'm so glad we did!  We had a great time.  These are the things I want to remember...

*Dylan singing his own made up song on the way there, called "I Love Today".  Me telling him I wished he would sing that song every day, because I loved it... the first few times.  After about the 20th time?  Not so much.

*It snowed on the way there.  At one point, I was complaining about how dark and cloudy it was, and Dylan said "Hey, at least it stopped snowing, right?"  Love his positive attitude!

*Dylan's huge smile when he first got in that water.

*The first day of the Magi Quest game, we did one "quest" and Dylan was ready to quit.  I insisted we do "at least one more".  After that second one, he was hooked!  He said that was the best part of his day, and the second day he insisted that we do every single quest, until he got the "Master Magi" button for completing them all.

*The looks on all the parents faces who were doing the quest!  We all started helping each other, just to finish.

*Dylan trying to help the little girl in front of him pull the first "lily pad" closer to her, and falling in the pool.  Him attempting to go across the first time, and Jim saying "I see him going in the pool" seconds before he did indeed fall in the pool.  He got right back on and finished, before trying a second time and mastering it.

*Dylan falling asleep within minutes of us pulling out of the parking lot to go home.

The day before the trip, my new camera (Canon D60) and new lens (50mm 1.4) came in.  I was too nervous to take the new camera, but I did use my new lens and I love it!  I'm still figuring it out, so the pictures aren't perfect.  In other related news, I'm taking "The Best Darn Beginner Class Ever" from Clickin' Moms this month.  I already had my first "a-ha!" moment, after only the first lesson!