Leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on a journey. ~ Charles S. Lauer
Leaders don’t force people to follow, they invite them on a journey. ~ Charles S. Lauer
I usually just file the RAW files away in folders after I take photos of my family. I used to edit most of them within the same month. And then it got fewer and fewer the busier I got with work, and life, and marriage and motherhood. I’m a bit sad that I’m at a point that I’m not photographing them nearly as much as I used to. And very, very few ever receive any love and attention or get shared. But I’m ok throwing them in a folder labeled “someday when they are grown and I am bored”. It means I’m spending more time with my family, I’m loving them. But I have to photograph them. For them, for me. No matter how tired I am, I need to, or I know some day I’ll regret it.
And then there are these photos. Two and a half months old. I’ve been thinking about the 56 files sitting in a folder almost daily. Wishing I had the time, the attention, to love the files. And then I realized tonight, that won’t be any time soon. So….every night when I’m ready to shut working down for the night (morning?)…I’ll proof at least one, maybe two. And then in about a month, they will all be done. So I opened the folder tonight to proof one and this one grabbed me first….
My boys. I’m sure it is because Jase is holding on tight to Teagan. Our baby who is growing and changing and flourishing every single day. Who reminds me of Ty so much it is a bit ere at times. And Ty, who is turning 13, a teenager, in just a few days, is breaking away from them. He’s finding himself, figuring things and this world out. It’s not easy. There are challenges daily. It’s so hard to let go and hang on all at the same time. I’ve always said that the hardest part of the large age gaps in our children is that they are always going in separate directions. I think I was wrong. I think the hardest part, at least right now in this moment, is to have a fabulous little 2 year old reminder of what my 13 year old was just a few blinks of the eye ago. It is bitter sweet. I love who they both are right now, I truly do, but there are moments when I see them together that its like hitting a motherhood brick wall. Ty’s toddler days are gone. Just like that. There are only small traces of boy lingering now. He’s breaking away, not all at once, not yet, just a little at a time. In little ways, that all add up to independence. This is the hard part, this is the tough road of parenting a teenager in a scary time. Are we ready? I ask myself that daily. And then I look over at Teagan and remember what once was with Ty. That reality and loss of time stares at me. Back then I thought I’d always be a stroller pushing, park venturing momma of a little boy. I knew he’d grow up, but I thought it would go slower. The silver lining is now I know, just how fast, it really goes. It changes the mother that I am and I should be thankful for that. I get to stop and soak them all in a little differently.
1. My kids are in an ‘outside’ mode all.the.time. It is so much easier this year now that Teagan is a toddler to be outside all the time. Mother’s Day was spent digging in the mud, planting in our flower bed, getting dirty and just hanging outside. Teagan can dig a mean hole. And by dig I mean throw the shovel around in the mulch and make a huge mess. HA! But he loves it. This photo of he and Jase together isn’t in focus but it totally cracks me up! And Taryn took the photo of Ty on the tricycle doing a Taryn impression, funny stuff.
2. I swear we can give the kids a bucket of water, a couple of sponges and scrub brushes and some random item (bird bath, bikes, a wagon) to clean and they are entertained for at least an hour. Even Teagan. They love it. Maybe it’s the bubbles?! I don’t know but it’s my new go-to trick to keep them busy when my brain is exhausted.
3. T’s class did the CUTEST bluebonnet art project at school – it came home from being on display this afternoon. I’m going to blog about it tomorrow, so cute!
4. After 2 weeks of dance, Taryn tells me tonight she doesn’t want to go to ballet anymore. What is that about?! We’re going. Maybe she’ll snap out of it.
5. At the playground this afternoon Teagan climbed all the way to the top of the play scape and went down the big, long, twisty slide. When he got to the bottom I had to look at him and laugh. He looked a little pale and his eyes were bugging out of his head. I said “you alright bud?”….”uhhhyeah”. All one word. HA!
6. On our way to pick up Taryn from school today I overhead Teagan talking to his blankie in the backseat…..”Blankie, youa good blankie….I love you….you messy blankie….mwah…mwah…mwah”. I don’t think love begins to describe it. Funny kid. And speaking of blankie, I heard a banging noise in the house this morning. I went to investigate and found this. Teagan with all 3 of his blankies, chillin in the kitchin kicking cabinets.
7. The sleep apnea is still kicking his butt. It shouldn’t be. It should have gone away. We have a follow up appointment next week to figure out what is going on with them. I swear the kids a big puzzle and the pieces just don’t all fit together. All I know is that at his age, he shouldn’t be non-functional by 9:30-10 am after a full night sleep and a long nap every single afternoon. Not just tired, exhausted. Poor little dude.
8. My step dad is having another surgery this week. He and my mom are already at the hospital doing all the pre-op stuff this week and the surgery to remove some of the pressure from his spinal cord is on Friday. Any thoughts and prayers for them during this time would be much appreciated!
9. weather.com hates me. I’d swear by it. I’m watching the weather closely this week as I had 6 sessions scheduled total. I know the minute I reschedule any one of them, the sky will turn blue and the chance of rain will go from 60 to 0% in a hot minute.
10. I’ve been sitting here for 11 hours, naptime ran until right before Ty and Jase got home so I’ve had a nice long work marathon today. I think Jase could see the stress and mile long to do list in my eyes when he got home because took the kids to half-price books and then to dinner to give me some quiet time to work. I got a lot done but my eyes are starting to cross. Time for bed!
While I like to keep it real around here, I rarely air out our dirty laundry when it comes to my marriage. Today however, it feels appropriate. Yes, I realize it is Mother’s Day. It’s relevant. Promise.
A tree. A simple little tree. See, last Mother’s Day my husband came to me and asked me what I wanted. While I don’t necessarily believe that I’m *entitled* to a gift for being a mother, I knew he would go out and buy something regardless, it may as well be something I’d enjoy and well, if I’m being honest, he doesn’t have the greatest record of gift giving (like the year I got a new bike just weeks after breaking my tailbone). Anyway, last year I couldn’t decide between a bench for the front porch and a tree for the back yard. I reaaaaaally wanted a tree, but I knew it would cause a stir because we’d been talking about getting a tree for the back for awhile and could not agree on where to put it. I want several trees in the back yard, Jase doesn’t like to have to mow around anything (insert eye roll here) and wanted to plant the trees on the other side of the fence in the green space. My beef with that: it’s not our property and we loose the rights to maintain it. Plus I think it’s just plain lazy to not want to have to mow around anything especially when Ty cuts the grass! He’s just being stubborn. But, in the end I asked for the tree and asked for the ultimate gift of being able to be the one to decide where to plant it, that was the real gift. He put up quite the fight about me choosing placement, but in the end he agreed to at least buy the tree as my gift. Mother’s Day came and went and I was promised a tree. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. A few months later I brought it up again and then a few weeks later he came home with a tree. It was crooked and ugly to be 100% honest. It looked like an ugly, crooked twig. I don’t think he even knew why he bought it. We decided it needed to be returned and he took it back. We got distracted by kids and life, I was working a lot and there was no mention of the tree for awhile. Every now and then when we would be outside or talking about planting tree he’d feel guilty and grouchy about it. I know he felt bad he’d botched my Mother’s Day gift. But then…..
Out of nowhere one day I notice a tree poking over the back fence. Just a few weeks after the last tree was returned. IN THE EXACT SPOT HE WANTED TO PLANT IT. hmmmmm, a coincidence, he swears, but I highly doubt it. What are the odds of ONE new tree in ALL the acres of greenspace behind us landing EXACTLY where he wanted to plant it. AND it’s fast growing, just like we were looking to purchase. My theory is that it was purchased and planted while I was off working one Saturday morning. We’ve had many, many *discussions* about this tree over the course of the last few months. I swear he planted it there, he swears he didn’t. Someday, hopefully many years from now, one of us will be on our deathbed and he’ll look over at me and say….”I have to tell you the TRUTH, remember that tree in the greenspace…..” and I’ll say “oh the one you planted on the wrong side of the fence?” and he’ll say “yes”. I just know it. Unless of course he wants to confess early and save us years upon years of marital discord (ok ok, it’s really more like banter). Other couples fight about money and in-laws and much bigger, more serious things. No, not us, we fight about trees (and his driving but that is a post for another day!).
All in all, I had a great Mother’s Day this year, I got to sleep a little extra, they made me breakfast, I got some amazing cards and beautiful homemade gifts from the kids….
And I have a husband who truly puts in an effort to make me feel loved and appreciated, not just today, but many days throughout the year. I love him. Even if he does plant trees on the wrong side of the fence. 😉
1. Dealing for Duchenne in Austin. Amazing. Very cool night. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it. At one point, Jase I were surrounded by Texas royalty, he turned and looked at me and said “how did weeee get heeeere?!” HA! Yes, a little surreal to say the least considering we’ve only been open here in Austin for under 2 years. A lot of money was raised for a very good cause. I will say, and this is difficult for me to admit, that I felt very proud when Timmy’s slideshow played for the crowd on the big screen. I get very nervous in big crowds in general, but when it comes to people viewing my work, I’m not sure why, but feelings of success are difficult for me to grasp. I put so much of myself into my images and get so attached to my clients, my work, that it feels a bit vulnerable to watch other people view it. Yes, I hide behind the computer quite a bit. I do all online proofing, so I rarely ‘see’ others looking at my work. And while there was a part of me that wanted to crawl out of my own skin at the thought, about midway through the slideshow presentation, I looked away from the screen and at the large audience. And I saw people crying. Women, grown men, my husband, tough football players, moved to tears by my take on Timmy’s story. It was a very proud moment for me that through images, people were able to connect. I’m honored to have had the chance to get to know the Revell family and tell a small part of their story. I hope the money raised helps Timmy and all the other boys with Duchenne. I don’t think I realized just how close they are to finding a cure. Very close. But they need help. And money. Every penny counts.
2. I know I’ve said this before, but if you are a photographer, give. Of yourself. Of your talent. Of your gift. It will change who you are and what you see in those you photograph every day in ways you could never imagine. It doesn’t have to be a large event or a big organization. Just find someone who needs you, needs photos, needs a smile. You won’t regret it.
3. There was a little bidding war on the silent auction item I donated (a full session with images). In the end, I decided that if both parties donated the funds for the final bid to Cure Duchenne that I would do them both, so two sessions it is! Thank you to both families for your donations, I can’t wait to do your sessions!!
4. Fun Ty facts about the evening: he wore cowboy boots for the first time in his life, he ate enough fruit kabobs to know the waiter by first name, he was tickled to no end that there was a rootbeer float bar, he was bummed he couldn’t bid on the Mack Brown signed football at the auction, he loved taking a photo with Bevo, he introduced himself to Ricky Williams, said kabob waiter introduced him to Quan Crosby, his eyes almost popped out of his head when Mack Brown looked at him AND smiled, I actually think he might have stopped breathing for a brief moment. Or 5. Yeah, he had a blast and didn’t stop talking the ENTIRE way home. I’m so glad he got to go with us.
5. Best moment of the night….right when we arrived there was quite the media circus outside the UT Golf Club. Tim and Laura were doing an interview and a family member was walking around with Timmy. As we approached, I heard Timmy say “Where are we going?…..What is over there?….Why???…..Where is the cannon?”….and I knew, I just knew what was coming out next before he even said it…..”Do I get to shoot it?!” LOL!
6. The second half of our weekend was filled with my mom and a little getaway to San Antonio. I love that city, it holds fond memories as Jason, Ty and I took one of our first trips together way back when. This trip, we surprised the kids with the news the day before we left, stayed on the Riverwalk (always amazing), ate yummy food and went to the Alamo. I loved watching Teagan at the Rainforest Cafe….hilarious as he pointed and exclaimed “I in a TREE, there a MONKEY over der!” The next morning we all hit the zoo and we all loved it. Taryn was in heaven, she’s such an animal lover. Teagan too. Their little legs must have walked for miles and miles. They each got a little disposable camera to take photos of their fave animals. Taryn loved it. Teagan kept looking through the view finder backwards so I’m pretty sure we have at least 23 photos of his eyeball. But he didn’t care. The butterfly exhibit was out of this world. Taryn loved the blue (azure a la fancy nancy) ones. They frolicked around and landed right on us.
7. More zoo pics coming soon. One day. Maybe. Yeah, who am I kidding, they will land in a folder and wait until I’m not busy. HA!
8. I FINALLY bought a new stroller today. I’ve been meaning to do it for months and just never did. We’ve been using the same uber cheap Chicco stroller that we bought right after hurricane katrina for almost 5 years. It was in bad shape to put it nicely. We have a double stroller that I use a lot but I also wanted an easy, single, lightweight stroller just for Teagan. I bought this one. Simple. Love it. So does Teagan. He was a happy little camper when we went for a walk tonight after dinner.
9. I need to buy Teagan another carseat too. I want to move his present one in to Jason’s car and get him a new one for the van. Mostly because I’m sure Jase is tired of moving the darn thing back and forth between vehicles, but also because now it’s not as comfy as it used to be and now that Teagan and Taryn are in the van and no longer right next to one another, he lost use of her cupholder. It makes him ca-razy to get anything on his blankie, crumbs, a little bit of a drink, anything. Sure, it can stink to high heaven, no biggie, but a crumb, forgetaboutit. Cause for freakout. Have a carseat (with cupholder) that you love? Feel free to plug it in the comments!
10. My mom went home today. I miss her. The kids miss her. Leaving is always so hard. On all of us. July is right around the corner, right?
Alright, enough jibber jabbering, I have to get back to work on this little beauty’s birth photos…..
Taryn got a big kid bike today, her very first. We took the training wheels off as soon as we got home. I have a feeling that (1) Jase is going to be massively sore tomorrow morning from all the assistance in balancing her today. Even with this. (2) She’ll have it down pat very soon. (3) Teagan will be taking over the big kid trike within days and (4) My girl is growing up much, much too quickly.
I also finally managed to catch a quick video of Teagan running, which I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. His run makes me smile. And laugh. I think if the whole world ran like this, it would be a much better place. And yup, he’s still obsessed with Ty =)