Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Personal Project: Four People – Twelve Times. January 2011.



Check me out.  I did it.  Month one = success!

Ok.  To summarize January.  The thing that comes to mind when I think of January is SNOW.  On top of our White Christmas, it snowed heaps and mounds in January.  We had about 4 inches of the white stuff, and about an inch of the frozen white stuff (ice).  All of this winter white resulted in THREE days off from work.  WooHoo!  We constructed our very own high performance sled – made out of an old couch cushion, plastic and lots and lots of duct tape.  Yes, we are hard core.  The neighbors coveted our sled as we raced down the surrounding the driveways.  Ok.  So that’s a lie.  But we had fun.  Alena’s primary goal was to achieve mach 1 as she raced down hills.  Algis was more interested in the snow-ice buffet and enjoyed eating as much of the white stuff as he could stomach.  Hopefully what he ate was all white and not yellow.  We also built, what I am pretty sure was the biggest snowman in the neighborhood.  He was decked out in an AUburn t-shirt, AUburn shaker and a roll of toilet paper – ready to roll Toomer’s Corner in honor of Auburn’s BCS Championship Title!!  War Eagle!

January meant back to school for the kids.  They were lucky enough to spend the entire month of December on vacation.  Jonas’ parents came here, then took the kids home with them – and the kids were shipped back and forth for the month.  Happy that they got to spend so much time with their grandparents.  Times with my grandmother are my most precious memories, and I’m glad the kids get to create some memories of their own.  The only drawback was the reintroduction to the schedule.  Actually Alena was eager to return to school and all of her friends.  She is our social butterfly.  Surely she will be class president or the leader of The Pink Ladies...something.  Algis was a little less than thrilled to return.  After about a week of prying him off my leg in the mornings, he is back into the groove.  He is the sensitive one.  Might not run for office, but always the first to make sure everyone is ok.

I have made a conscious effort to be more present when I’m around the kids.  My life is passin’ me by and no matter how hard I dig in my heels and try to slow it down – it keeps on truckin’.  I don’t want to forget a thing.  This little life that we have created for ourselves is so precious to me and I want to cherish it.  As they get older and I hear these things come out of their mouths: Alena at hearing a Miley Cyrus song, “I just love this song.  It makes me want to cry”  WHAT?!  How old are you??  Or as I am getting smoothies out of the fridge for Alena, Algis yells, “Hey Lena!  You want a smooth knee?”  Hilarious.  These little moments that crack me up and melt my heart are signs that they are growing up and their personalities are solidifying.  And I didn’t all of a sudden see the light or even have an “ah-ha”  moment about trying to be more present.  One night during the dreaded bed time routine, I raised my voice at Alena and her little chin began to tremble and her eyes welled up.  She did as she was told and went to bed.  At first, I was proud of myself for being firm and following through.  And then I thought about it and it didn’t sit well with me.  I don’t have many memories of my mom yelling at me to the point of making me cry.  And whatever Alena did that night, I can’t even remember what it was, certainly did not deserve a tongue-lashing from a frustrated, exhausted mommy.  I went into her room and apologized.  “It’s ok Mommy.  I love you.”  For real?  Dagger to my heart.  That was all I needed to hear.  I will do better. 

The photo for this month was taken on a freakishly warm weather day in January.  70 degrees.  It was glorious.  We took full advantage and headed down to Tomas and Neely’s for fun, food and fresh air.  So in addition to completing month #1 of my little project here, we also had our first “Sunday Family Dinner” with Tomas, Neely and Lila – and friends.  We plan to make that a tradition as well.  Who said you have to be Italian to enjoy Sunday Family Dinner?

Also this month: Alena cut her own hair.  It wasn’t a huge chunk, but there is definitely a handful missing.  We have yet to get it fixed since she is adamant that her hair grow down her back, but I think a trip to Pigtails-n-Crewcuts is in our very near future.  The kids went to the dentist.  Alena’s 2nd visit and Algis’ 1st.  Alena is a rock star at the dentist.  Algis…..well….let’s just say that we are hopeful that he will actually allow the dentist to look into his mouth at his next visit.  The dentist was able to get a quick peek and said that everything looks great.  Jonas started a new job.  WooHoo!  He already seems happier and more motivated than ever.  Its good to see him get his Mojo back.  We both started exercising again.  Of course.  Its January.  That’s what we do.  But with my other fitness goals this year, I had to start some time.  Jonas is P90Xing and will be rock hard in about a week.  (Men!  I swear he works out twice and he’s right back to top form.  Me?  Not so much.)

As far as I can tell, January was a complete success.  Here’s to keeping the streak alive!



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Monday, January 24, 2011


My goals for 2011 are my loftiest ones yet. I thought if I published them, put them in writing, maybe the odds of me actually achieving them would increase. So – that’s what I’m doing tonight. I’m sorta skerred to post them. In the back of my mind is the lingering fear that I lack the motivation to complete them. Lack motivation. Lack time. Lack the drive… this post is already leading to the formation of yet another goal. So without further ado:

1. Run a half marathon. I am not a natural runner. I do not enjoy running. Years ago I tried to convince myself that I was a runner. Well, I got a little older. A little slower. And wised up. Running a half marathon is one of those bucket-list things that I just want to check off and be done with. I have yet to register for an actual race, but I have started running again. At a snail’s pace. On the treadmill (gross).

2. Complete at least one triathlon. I have only done two triathlons in my life. They were simultaneously some of the best, and worst, experiences in my life. In the moment, I hated it. Kicked in the face during the swim. Left in the dust of bad-ass bikers on what I swear were Olympic style, velodrome bikes. Passed by grannies on the run. I hated it. It sucked – the whole time. And then I finished. I loved it. It was sort of like child birth. While its happening, you would rather be anywhere else. But as soon as its over, you want to do it again.

3. Read 5 classic American Literature novels. Honestly, my original goal was to read 10. And then I started reading Wuthering Heights about three weeks ago and already lost interest. I mean, it has footnotes for God’s sakes! I am battling through it, but only because I said I would. I need to do better research before I choose the next one. Otherwise, this goal is sure to fall by the wayside. *Also reading Three Cups of Tea – and love it.

4. Family Date Night. Carpet picnics while watching “Bolt.” Building forts with blankets and enjoying a buffet of pop-corn and popsicles and pop rocks. Museums. Movies. Make-up. Moon sand. Marbles. Melissa and Doug. These are my favorite times with my little family – and I plan to make these happen more often.

5. Personal Project: Four People – Twelve Times. This is a popular project among photographers. I have seen several versions of it – one photo every day for a month, one photo every month for a year, even one photo every day for an ENTIRE year (Good Lord! Can you imagine??). I think once a month for a year is doable – even for me and my procrastinator ass. So – once a month – I will take one photo of all four of us, together. Self-timer, hand held or phone-a-friend to do it. I will post the photo and jot down some notes about our month. Not so much because I think other people are interested and would actually read about us (that actually creeps me out a little – the thought of strangers reading about us) but more because I just want to remember us. The way we were. The way we are. My grand plan is to pull those posts from my blog and have them made into a book. Since I am NOT a Scrapbooker, the thought makes me cringe, actually, this will have to do.

6. Blog more! As I said, I don’t want to blog because I think other people are interested or will read my blog, but I want to read it. A year from now. Five years from now. Thirty years from now. In the past, my posts were few and far between. Primarily I posted only photos for other people. Now its time to post photos for me. I deserve a little attention now and again too.

Six lofty goals. Doable? Time will tell.



LiveJournal Tags: life

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lucky Number 13.


13 years of marriage for these two crazy kids.  13 years.  Whoever decided that 13 should be an unlucky number never met Chris and Deidre.  Here’s to 13 more! 

Up for anything.



I’ve gotten lucky with photo sessions lately.  Nothing makes me happier than folks who are up for something a lil different.  ‘Want to use the abandoned house down the street as a back drop?’  ‘Ummm..yes please.’  ‘Should we go to that old grocery store on the corner and see what we can find?’  ‘Heck yea.’  A little adventure never hurt anybody.  And the fact that this Momma-to-be is stunningly gorgeous and would look beautiful standing in the middle of a swamp – makes it that much more fun.  Hope this trend of fun-foto-shoots continues….. Now.  Where is the nearest swamp?  ;) 

Monday, November 22, 2010

“Orange skittles are my favorite.”




Skittles can be a photographer’s best friend - they make excellent bribes rewards for smiles.  Not that these handsome boys needed more than one skittle each, but it turned into a little game.  Games = fun.  Fun = smiles.  I rest my case. 

The Beatles, a blankie and Chuck Taylors

5w 1w



7w8w4w 6w   

I’m not sure I can adequately express my appreciation for individuality and personality – especially when it comes to family photos.  Will I take your pictures if your family shows up in matching khakis and white shirts?  Sure.  Will I be inspired to capture your child’s individual personality and goofy quirks?  Maybe.  What I’m getting at, and what I discussed with the coolest mom I have met in a while, i.e. the mother of these fabulous kids, is that I want to capture a real, living, breathing, true life snapshot of your family.  When was the last time you were all decked out in your denim and black shirts and hung out at home for family night?  Probably not too recently, eh?  Please let your kids pick out their favorite shirt or accessory (Beatles t-shirt?  Right on. Fuschia and gray hoodie?  LOVE it.  Pink tutu?  Perfect.)  You’ll be happy that you did.