Sunday, June 26, 2011

455 For the Love of Matty

Just a few pics since it has been so long. I will fill in the backstory later when I can do it justice.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

454 Photocation - Kid Torturing Edition

My photo buddy, Tricia Spaulding (she is the photographer behind Made You Look Photography, check her out on Facebook!)  and I hijacked the kids for some photo fun ... well, it was fun for us. And isn't that the important thing?! There is a little ramshackle house off of Highway 51. The paint is peeling and there is junk EVERYWHERE ... but man is it an awesome place for pictures.

Honestly, I was raised to stay off of any property that you don't own or weren't invited to visit, so I spent the whole time looking over my shoulder, waiting for the police to come and tell us to leave. I know ... I worry too much, and the cops never came. (On a sidenote: kids these days need to learn that lesson about staying off other people's property, too many bikes and scooters are going missing on our street).

And then I got down to the business of pulling teeth ... at least that is how the kids acted. You would think I was chasing them with a pair of pliers instead of pointing a camera at them. Its not like I asked them to comb their hair ... I wasn't trying to work miracles after all.

Connor definitely wins the How Not To Say CHEESE! Award ...

He was more interested in playing with Alex. I just can't compete with another boy ... and sticks.
I had fun with some actions in Lightroom .. though none are straight actions. I only use them as a jumping off point. Really, if I couldn't scroll through some actions to get an idea of how a picture would look black and white, sepia, saturated, unsaturated, or completely tweaked I would spend so much more time processing pictures. Actions are a great source of inspiration, but use them wisely .. you don't want your pictures to look like everyone else's. And there is my most important advice on photography ... and the reason you probably should not ask me for advice.

I don't know why ... everytime I try to get a picture of Katie with a younger child she tries to choke them into submission. There is a picture of her doing the same thing to her cousin about seven years ago. Oh .. you know I had to look it up ... 12/20/2004
And here we are going to pretend I asked Connor to blow a kiss ...

And as with all things ... it ended with Katie dissolving into tears. This time it was about having a sleepover. I let her have the sleepover ... and I have this picture to show her later in life when she acts up ... or to show her boyfriend/husband/children.

Tricia in action. At least Alex was a wee bit cooperative for her.

I didn't even ask them to do the Chorus Line kick ... gotta love girls!
They might not have been as cooperative as I had hoped, but then I really didn't have high expectations going in .. I love the pics I got, even though they may not be technically great. I know I am not a posed portrait type photographer. I like to catch the action, the INTERACTION. I want to capture the memory, not just the look. Hoping to find the balance of both .. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

453 Goodbye to Snowflake ... and other matters of importance

I don't want to be one of those people always apologizing about not posting. Seriously, the world likes to get in the way. The medical emergencies have grown.

Connor had a spider bite, which I thought was a brown recluse (but luckily, it was not).

Katie spilled a bowl of molten hot homemade soup in her lap and suffered second degree burns.

Chip's father has been in the hospital for five days. It is much more serious, although he is on the mend. Since it is not my story to share, at this time I will only ask for your prayers, healing thoughts, and good vibes. Whatever you believe to work, please ... do it.

And then yesterday, Katie's hamster Snowflake died. She just wanted her hamster near her ... and she didn't think about the fact the sun was blazing hot when she brought her out in her travel cage. It must not have taken long. I didn't even know she had taken her outside. The next thing I knew, Katie came running inside with Snowflake cupped in her hands. We are all a bit distraught. She was possibly the sweetest hamster EVER. She put up with the constant handling and snuggling, and she even seemed to like it. How many hamsters do you know that like to have their tummy scratched? Snowflake did. She was a constant companion for the past few months, and this is a really hard lesson for Katie to learn. I do want her to understand that every life is precious. Even a hamster. The little things around us need our care and our compassion. It is our responsibility to look out for those who look up to us. It is a lesson I want her to always carry with her in life. I hope it is a lesson that will make her a better friend and person in general. 

This is also Connor's first brush with mortality. We went to buy a "coffin" for Snowflake and when we returned he ran to her cage ... "Snowflake's still dead?" And I tried to explain it to him. And then, watching tv, out of nowhere he said "Mama, is Snowflake better now?" Oh my honey, Snowflake will never be better. She is gone. And he CRUMPLED! His little face first as he started to cry, then he just folded his body forward. The pain a three year old can feel!! I gathered him to me and rocked him. My poor baby. He loved that little rat (Chip and I always called her 'little rat'.. it became a term of endearment for her) as much as anyone could. In his little world she was a huge part. Today he is still coming to terms with it. I know it will fade quickly. A three year old can't remember forever ... at least not the depth of pain, thank goodness.
We will try again in a few weeks. A new hamster, preferably a Winter White like our Snowflake. But for now, we are mourning the loss of our Snowflake. She never stayed too still, so the pictures are usually blurry, but here are a few ...
We brought her home on February 7, 2011 ... as we walked out of the pet store there were snowflakes falling. She is a Winter White, so it was only fitting that Katie decided to name her Snowflake.

Connor always wanted to be around Snowflake, and he was surprisingly gentle with her. Still, we had to keep her in a locked room when he was running around after Snowflake was discovered on the kitchen counter. The story finally came out that he had taken her out of her cage, brought her downstairs and then tried to give her a bath in Dawn dish soap... I guess at some point she escaped him because Chip found her wandering around the counter. At first he thought it was a mouse, and he was about to smush her ... luckily he noticed the grey stripe on her back. It took a lot of very gentle cleanings to remove all the soap. For a few days she had water in her ear, and it threw her balance off. But she got better, and stronger ... and after that ANY kind of handling seemed gentle to her.

 We finally got adventurous enough to try out some "regular" food ... she loved pecans. She would take the nut in her little paws and eat and eat. Sweetest thing.
She was a Jackson ... even if she was the littlest. We miss you Snowflake. Katie says she is so sorry. She promises to take better care of the next hamster and to love it in your memory. Sleep well my little rat.