On Friday my oldest daughter turned 13. I now have a teenager and everyone tells me to watch out because the teen years are so difficult. What I didn’t understand was that I was the one who was going to get all emotional. I was not the mom who cried when her kids started school–I was relieved, but now that I see an end in sight to having kids at my house all the time I am starting to feel really scared. Who will I be when I am not known as Echo or Sadie’s mom? What will I do with myself when I don’t have so many kid activities to plan my week around? It really does just feel like yesterday that Echo was 2–so won’t 5 years fly by quickly too? I wonder if this is harder because we had kids fairly young and so didn’t have a lot of adult time without kids? I wonder if it is hard because my body is dropping extra eggs and trying to make me have one more baby–yikes. Perhaps in a week or so I will tell you how having a teenager in the house slows down time and I can’t wait until she leaves home. Right now–she is awesome, just a really fabulous kid (I mean teenager).
The original intent of this blog post was to show you that when Echo was a baby I took a break from photography. Even though I majored in photography in college, when Echo came along I was smack in the middle of getting my MSW and overwhelmed by anything other than school work and parenthood. I set aside my film cameras and just used a cheap point and shoot for most of her early photos. So–the quality isn’t great, I spent no time in photoshop, and I still treasure them immensely. Do I wish I had not lost my desire to take photos during that time—yes!! I always read on other photographer bio’s how they started their interest in photography when they had their first kid, but for me, having that kid sucked my creativity out of me. Luckily, the first affordable digital point and shoot cameras were around and they didn’t take much creativity or knowledge.
AND,this is what I love about photography. I love coming back to these moments and remembering. I like how they help me to tell the stories. I like making up stories for the photographs where I can’t remember where we were. So, to help me shed a few tears about my baby getting to be a teenager I thought I would share a few moments from her first two years of life.
The photos are in random order–showing her first couple of camping trips, her love of dress up, my total disregard of how to dress her, how young we were, how much junk I let her eat back then. They are so imperfect in so many ways, and I love them.
Okay, I feel a little better now. Man, those were some tough times. Diapers, temper tantrums, spending so much time trying to get her to sleep, playing make believe when I had barely slept the night before, camping with a sticky, smelly toddler who wants to go in and out of the tent all day long. They were really exhausting times, but also crazy fun.
Have a great time with your kids this week. Take some photos of them and photos of you together with them. Maybe, break out the point and shoot instead of your phone. These are old digital photos, but I still think they are better than most phone cameras. Plus, how many of you ever take those photos off your phone?
And then when you want to get the really good shots–give me a call. I would love to capture some imperfect moments of you and your kids.
I usually try to take the month of January to step back from my business and see what worked out and what didn’t work. To figure out where I need to impove, and to define what I am best at. The problem is I get distracted easily.
A distraction to get out at Green Lakes and pick up my camera and photograph something outside of my norm was a good distraction and lots of fun.
Happy 2013 to you and to my poor neglected blog. It will get lots of attention this winter–especially since I have weddings that never got shared and plenty of sessions that only made it to Facebook.
As for books it was an okay year. A few books that I really liked, but mostly okay books. I didn’t actually read that many books. My “to read” list is getting longer every year and it is starting to stress me out that I will never get around to reading all the books that I want to read. I think if I give up on the NY Times I could do it, but that would be hard to give up. This is now my forth year blogging about the books I have read. Here is 2011, 2010, and 2009 if you are ever stuck looking for a book to read. Mostly I keep this list to help me remember what I have read. I know there are all sorts of online ways to do this, but for now I like just jotting the titles down in a notebook and then at the end of the year looking back to see what if anything I remember from each book.
This year I added the concerts and shows I have seen that stuck with me because–I am starting to forget them as well and thought it would be a good way to remember. Maybe this is why I became a photographer–I have such a bad memory I need visual assistance to help me remember anything.
As always, let me know your one or two favorite books of the year. I want to add them to my ever expanding to read list.
This was a book club book. I had loved Bel Canto so I was really excited for this book. While the book was very readable and we had a good discussion at our meeting, I was left disappointed and felt it was just a little too far fetched and left too many questions unanswered.
This was one of those books that I was seeing everywhere, but when one of my bride’s recommended it after last years blog I decided to pick it up. I don’t normally get into self-help books and although I really wanted to like this one, I didn’t. Everything she said was great, but I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was reading a book about how to be happier and I was reading about it instead of being out there and living it.
What to do when you need a vampire book to read and you have already read the Twilight books and the Sookie Stackhouse books? I came across a review for this book about a suburban vampire family and decided to give it a try. It was an entertaining read and I haven’t had to read about another vampire since finishing it. I hear the book was made into a tv show as well, but I haven’t checked it out yet. Maybe when I get bored with True Blood I will try to find it.
This book has been sitting on my husband’s book shelf forever. I think he read it back in college. The cover of the book never really appealed to me, but once I started the book I think it was one of the favorite books I read this year. It is squarely in the YA science fiction genre, but don’t let that discourage you–it is Ender that you want to read about. I hear it is going to be a movie this year. I think there are a few more in the series that I may check out this year, but this one stood on it’s own.
I just discovered the Kindle Singles. They are short stories, memoirs, or essays that run no more than .99-1.99. They are perfect in-between reads for when you just finish a book, but are not ready to dive right into another one yet. This one was a very humorous account of the authors experience with a serious medical issue. I laughed aloud on many occasions.
Another kindle single. I had seen many people read the Three Cups of Tea, and family members had recommended it to me, but I hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet. When I saw this single by Jon Krakauer (an author I have always enjoyed ) I had to see what his take was. As always, an eye-opening read by a journalist who knows how to make facts interesting. If you have read the Three Cups of Tea book, you should definitely check this book out.
The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld was one of my favorite recent reads. I passed it on, recommended it, and they story just stuck with me. So, when I was looking for a book to read I thought I should try out another one of her books. I had no trouble reading this book, it kept me entertained, but I can’t really remember anything about it now.
This was another one of my favorite reads this year. Last year when I read the Hunger Games it was so great to get swept into a book–I had forgotten what it was like to stay up half the night to finish a book and I wanted that feeling again. It seems that YA books do the best pacing jobs to give me that feeling and all YA books right now are dystopian stories. This is another one of those stories, but well done. I am excited to see that another book in this series comes out later this month.
This book was getting a ton of press, but I wasn’t really into reading a memoir. Then I read Dwight Garner’s review of the book in the NY Times. In his review he tells how he was “puddle-eyed” while reading the book. He also said, Parts of this frank and witty book belong in “Best American Sex Writing 2013.” So–I gave it a try. It is a great book, but didn’t quite affect me the way it did Dwight Garner, and I wish it had.
This was my book club pick this year. Mitt Romney had been in the news a lot, and so had talk of Mormons so I thought this book that recounts the story of one of Brigham Young’s wives while also telling the story of the history of this religion was a perfect fit. This is a long book, but my whole book club read it and we had a really interesting discussion. Perfect bit of historical fiction.
This was one of those books that I had downloaded the free part from my kindle and although I didn’t intend to read it right away I couldn’t put it down once I started it. I ended up having to buy the kindle edition because it was way too popular at the library. Then I wanted my friends to read it so I could discuss the ending with them.
I was kind of uncomfortable reading this book about a kidnap victim who is kept in a shed with her small child. The book is told from the viewpoint of the 4 year old kid. I found the voice she created for the child was very effective and it was memorable.
I’ve heard either you like Anne Lamott or you hate her. I loved her book Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son’s First Year which I read back when my 12 year old was first born. I was excited and surprised to see that her son which she wrote about in that earlier book is now a dad himself and that story has now been documented. It wasn’t nearly as good as Operating Instructions, but if you had read that book I would recommend this one to see how everyone is now doing.
In 2011 I traveled to Guatemala to visit some friends who were living there. This story tells the story of the author’s journey from Guatemala north determined to “join the revolution”. It is also the story of falling in love when you are 19 and wanting to do something with your life. Like many of my books this year, it didn’t blow me away, but it was a good, quick read, and since I had been to Guatemala it felt a little more personal.
If you haven’t already heard of this book you will soon. I heard about it from my former bride, and it was a really powerful story of two teenagers with cancer and their love of a book. I really fell in love with these kids, and while teens reading this might relate to Hazel and Augustus the two teenagers, I found myself relating to the parents in the story.
As many of you know I have been heavily involved in the world of cancer, recently documenting my friends journey with breast cancer. Although this wasn’t always an easy book to read and I did get a little bogged down half way through, I would highly recommend it. Mukherjee somehow turns what could be very dry information into a page-turning story.
This is a great book, but reading another non-fiction book right after finishing The Emperor of all Maladies was a bit too much and the reading was slow going for me.
I still try to read aloud to my kids (9 and 12), but it is getting harder and harder. I did get in a few books this year, and Jason continued to read them the Lord of the Rings series.
Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters by Matthew Cordell (really fun book that I read to Sadie-great to read aloud, but she could have easily read it herself), Bread Crumbs by Anne Ursu(the kids and I enjoyed this while we were reading it, but I don’t remember much about it now), The Princess Bride by William Goldman ( I had read this book in high school and I forgot how exactly like the movie it is. Still, really fun to read to the kids and then watched the movie together).
Didn’t finish: Mink River by Brian Doyle (the writing was just too weird for me, but I’m sure it was genius), Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel( I am going to come back to this one), Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (really enjoyed this one, but lots of other books on my night stand made me want to rush it).
I saw two great live bands this year.
When we moved to Syracuse I promised myself that we would take advantage of living so close to NYC. We try to get out there once or twice a year and we try to see a show every time we go.
This year we caved and bought tickets to Wicked. We like to just get cheap tickets to things last minute, but Wicked is one of those shows that you can’t find cheap tickets to, and the kids really wanted to see it.
I got to go to NYC once with my girlfriends and I talked them into seeing One Man Two Goveners with me. I thought it was hilarious.
We were in NYC on opening weekend for the revival of Annie. It was fun, but packed with kids who had to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes and that was pretty annoying.
Peter and the Starcatchers was my surprise favorite this year. We drove out to NYC in time to see the 2pm Annie show. Then we had a big dinner, and at the last minute I decided that we should see another show. Jason was sure he would fall asleep. We got to the show and for the first 30 minutes Echo kept saying, “I don’t understand what is going on”–she said that while laughing her head off. This was one of those shows that I could see myself seeing over and over again. I loved it.
And that is my list this year. Happy Reading and Happy 2013!!
So, if you are a fan on my facebook fan page you might have already seen that I have been a bit busier than normal this summer documenting my friends battle with breast cancer.
This spring my friend Annmarie told me that she found a lump in her breast. It was nothing–I mean the lump hurt and breast cancer lumps are not supposed to hurt, right? Every time she was told not to worry, the tests came back with lots to worry about. Finally, she was told that it was breast cancer. Not knowing what to do to help, I did what I always do—offered to take some photos. I wasn’t really sure what photos she might want–boudoir? family session? to document the whole thing?
I told her that I would photograph as much as I could of her doctor appointments and surgery. I told her it was her choice what she did with the photos or even if she wanted to look at them.
You may remember hearing me talk about Annmarie before on the blog. She has a huge Race for the Cure team, and two years ago I did a fundraiser to help this team–and you all really came through during my best friend portrait sessions. Look back here to remember. http://genphotos.com/blog/?p=4820
I have taken many photographs of Annmarie’s family since I met her. Some photos were during actual portrait sessions.
Most photos were taken at parties, or backyard dinners. Casual, fun photographs. Photographs that are easy to share and easy to show off.
Soon after showing Annmarie the photos I took of her lumpectomy, she started blogging about her experience with breast cancer. She calls her blog Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer.
She decided to take her most personal feelings and very intimate photographs (the ones I thought she might never want to look at) and she is showing them off and in the process reaching out to others who have cancer, and helping to raise money to spread awareness and to find a cure.
She is talking about the scariest times.
She is being herself.
She is educating my girls–and also showing them how to handle a crisis.
Here she is letting Echo try on one of her many battle shoes–the ones she wears to important surgeries. I might add that this photo was taken just days after her double mastectomy surgery.
Annmarie is in the process of her reconstruction now, and while we mostly see her with a smile on her face, the wounds that breast cancer make on a person’s body and soul, the toll it takes on her family, are often inconceivable to someone (like me) who hasn’t been through it.
Part of the way Annmarie is coping is with her blog. I encourage you all to please check it out and pass it on. It helps to understand what she is going through, and it reminds you to keep your doctor appointments, and to schedule those mammograms!
Happy 2012 everyone! After a nice vacation visiting family in Arizona I am back to work. This is the time of year that is filled with newborn and maternity sessions (people who don’t really have a choice of when to get their photos done), and business stuff, website updating, and the ever needed–get organized before the crazy season. I also have hopes of getting out a newsletter, end of year photo review, and getting some of my own images printed! Even though this sounds really busy, it is actually my slow season. The time of year that I get to catch up on movies, TV shows (yeah Downtown Abbey), and I get to read a little before crashing at bedtime. Over the holidays I loaded up my kindle with lots of books and I am excited to get reading.
Every year I keep a simple journal to keep to track of the books I have read over the year. I can’t remember how it started. I don’t journal and can barely write words with my blog posts, but I am so happy to have this simple record of my year. I know that there are all sorts of online ways to keep track of this stuff, but I’m sticking to my journal–although now that I have 6 years worth of books in it I wish I had picked a cuter journal. Ahh, well. This is my third year blogging about the books I’ve read. You can see 2010 HERE, and 2009 HERE.
2011 didn’t see me reading that many books. I actually started quite a few books that I then got stuck on or never finished for a varitey of reasons. I’ve included them on my list just in case I decided to come back to them later and can’t remember if I’ve read them or not.
This was the first book I read of 2011 and I still remember it. I knew more about the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe than I knew about Patti Smith. I actually ended up googling her to listen to her music before I really got reading.
I loved this book. It was sweet and sad (not what I expected) filled with good stories, and it made you think about what it meant to be an artist. I cried when it was done.
I downloaded the first Hunger Games book after reading lots of people say it was one of their favorite books of 2010. I read the first chapter slowly, but after that I stayed up all night to finish it. It had been a long time since I couldn’t put a book down and it felt great to have that experience. I made myself wait a few months to read the other two books because I knew I would end up ignoring my family and getting behind on work once I did. I then made my book club read them, and my daughter just finished the series. I even got my husband to read the first one. And, even if you don’t like series books you can read just the first one in the series.
I went to France this year and decided to read a few books that took place there before I went. This was such a fun read, and it really made me get a whole new view of Julia, and especially her relationship with her husband. If you only know her from SNL skits, you will be surprised at the Julia you find in this book and the love story that it is for Paris, food, drink, and her husband.
This was a book for book club that I think most of us enjoyed. It took place in England, so I automatically had a soft spot for it. It wasn’t too heavy, or too light–just a good read–although at times I think the target audience is someone a bit older than I am.
Still reading these books from time to time. They are good on a plane. I think I read one on my way to Guatemala. I got a little bored near the end of these books, and I was a bit bored with the TV show based on this series as well (True Blood). Still a fun series with lots of blood, gore and sex.
I actually read this book while in Paris. It is a story about Ernest Hemingway told in the voice of his first wife Hadley. The author said that she was inspired to write the book after reading Hemingway’s, A Moveable Feast, where at the end he says: “I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.”
This was among my favorite books that I read this year.
This book had been on my “to read” list for a long time. The author went to my college and the setting was supposed to be a thinly veiled version of Bennington. It is a smart read–a psychological thriller I think it is called. Having just read up on Greek mythology with my daughter it was fun to follow in those references as well as all of the descriptions of Bennington. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I was in a class discussing it–I’m sure I missed many references to classics and how they influence our lives.
Another one of my favorite reads this year. I am not usually a person who pays a lot of attention to the actual writing or words used to describe something. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a well written book, it is usually that I think a book is well written if I don’t think about these things much. Swamplandia had me stopping and enjoying descriptions and sentences like I have never done before and it was in a very good way. She has a totally unique style, and the story pulled me along as well. I’ve recommended this book to quite a few people.
This was another book club book, but I didn’t really get that into this one. It seems to be a love it or leave it book, and I was more on the leave it side of things. It was written by an author who has written many YA books, many which I respect, but I just didn’t get into this one.
I can’t remember how I got a hard copy of this book, but it sat around for quite awhile. When I picked it up I was happy to be back in the fantasy world with witches and vampires, and it had a pretty good start, but by the end I was bored. Then, when I realised it was a part of a series I was really annoyed. Perhaps, if you like the fantasy genre try this one again when the whole series is done.
This is a YA book, and part of another series (ugg), but it was a good read. It takes place in the future where love is considered a disease that you get cured of on your 18th birthday with a surgery that frees you from love forever. I’ll probably read the next one when it comes out.
My last book of the year. I’ve always like Diane Keeton and just picked this one up for something easy. Her mother kept really good journals which she used along with her own memories to make a book about her, her mother, and her family. I enjoyed her mothers journals, especially when she would write about Diane, or going out to eat with Diane and Woody, and the scrap books she kept of Diane’s rise to fame. I love the sections where she talked about the movies she has been in, and the men she has been involved with–Woody Allen, Al Pacino, Warren Beatty. I watched Annie Hall when I finished reading the book.
Books I didn’t finish: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamontt, The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates, Life by Keith Richards, A tree grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I will probably come back to all of these books. They were put down for a variety of reasons, but not because they were not good-they just were not at the right time.
AND–that took me much longer than I thought it would. I am really out of shape when it comes to putting words together. Happy reading folks.
I am so excited to show you these photographs of Taj and Ambereen. Taj is my husbands cousin, and while we were unable to attend their Chicago wedding this summer because I was working, we were thrilled to be invited to their Walmina (this is sort of like another wedding celebration hosted by the grooms family) this November.
I was the photographer for this event and we had a great time wandering around the Brookside Gardens in Maryland.
The cute couple!
Aunt Jan, Uncle Mo, Taj, and Jason!
The image on the right is one of my favorites!
Ambereen was so much fun to photograph.
She looked stunning.
It was Ambereen’s idea to throw up the leaves, and it worked–love this image.
I must say it was so nice to have so much time with the bride and groom with no rushing. I know this rarely happens during the timeline of most weddings days, but it sure did make things easy–and the fact that Taj and Amber were so easy going.
After these photos there was a reception with lots of toasts and musical performances by friends and family. My girls even got to sing and play an instrument. If I can, I’ll post a video of one of the songs Sadie decided to sing on Facebook (can’t seem to figure it out here).
Congrats again to the wonderful couple. Thanks so much for including us.
Today is my 14 year wedding anniversary. Thinking back, my wedding was a pretty much a perfect day, but if I had it to do over I might just hire a photographer. We were pretty budget, and I had just graduated from getting my degree in photography, so I guess I looked down on professional wedding photographers. Ahhhhh……the irony. Anyway, everything else was perfect, even the heat and the fact that we ran out of food because people stuck around for so long.
Since I am still filtering through my France photos, and it is going slowly since I am smack dab in the middle of wedding season, I will just share a few funny outtakes and some point and shoot snaps from our trip to France of the two of us for today’s travel post.
Hiking in the French Alps.
quick snaps–gotta do it.
still playing for the camera.
In the Louvre, where you can take photos of anything.
At a fancy wine tasting.
Maybe next year for my 15th wedding anniversary I will get some scans of some of the actual photos from my wedding day.
I’m off again collecting photos in France for some really great Travel Tuesday posts. Thanks to all of you who are having to wait a tad bit longer for your little looks on the blog and online. I hope you find it worth the wait.
Outside my window this afternoon there is a heavy gloom and rain is lightly falling. It is chilly and I am drinking coffee out of my recently purchased ceramic mug from Guatemala (something I collect). Just one week and one day ago I was arriving in Guatemala. I have yet to sift though all of my images (some for work, some just for me), but I just had to get started on Travel Tuesday showing a few of my images.
Today—I am just showing off the ride from the airport in Guatemala City to Panajachel the little lake town that I spent most of my time. When I was reading through my guide book one of the things that stuck in my mind was the warnings about bandits on the roads, and that buses go off the road a few times a week!! Now, I am no fan of flying, but I think I was a little more nervous for the 3 hour drive than the airplane, but when I got off the plane I found myself more excited than anxious and the ride went by quickly–no bandits or accidents.
No bus for us, but our van didn’t sport any seat belts. It makes me think that they have to actually take them out, right? I am glad I had friends who were willing to jump on this journey with me.
It was a hazy,cloudy, smoggy, smoky sort of afternoon when we headed off. I like to think it was volcano smoke because it sounds more dramatic.
All of these photos were taken out my window during the drive.
I saw lots of trucks filled with people, or with goods that then had people sleeping on top of the goods.
I’m not sure what town we were going through at this point, but I appreciated the small towns we went though because they gave me a break from the crazy passing on the highways.
There was quite a bit of road work going on due to mudslides earlier in the year.
Now we are really getting close to Panajachel. Off in the distance in the first two photos below you can see a colorful cemetery. I regret that I didn’t get to visit one while I was there. The last photo is looking down on Lake Atitlan where our hotel was. located.
We arrived—had a nice fresh snack (yum)—and 15 minutes later we were whisked off to a volleyball game–and that was my first three hours in Guatemala.
*thanks to my friends who will appear in many of my Guatemala photos. Just to prove I was there here is a photo of the crew on the Lake.
I can’t wait to show off some of the other photos from this amazing place.