Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year. {365 - Day 366}

Only I would choose to do a 365 photo project on a leap year.  Call me an overachiever.  But I did it.  Here is the last photo of 2012.  At the beginning of the year I thought I'd have to create moments and work hard to find interesting things to shoot.  But it turns out that there is something, someone in my life every day worth taking pictures of.  Especially this sweet little blonde I know.  Were it not for this beautiful ray of sunshine, I may never have made it.  She is my inspiration.  The love of my life.  And pretty darn cute to boot.   Thank you Sarah Beth for being a willing subject for your crazy Mommy.  Thank you to Kurt and everyone else who has fallen victim to my lens.   Thank you for reading and for your enthusiasm.  I will miss this project next year.  I am sure I will continue to look for "the picture" in everything I do.  It has made me a better photographer and a better writer.  I will continue to blog, although not every day, and come up with new projects to keep me on my toes.  I hope you continue to read and enjoy.

Cheers to a beautiful 2012, and to the new adventures that 2013 will bring us.  Happy New Year to you, near and far.  Friends, family, and blog followers.  Love to you all.  Now get out your cameras and take a picture. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Sunday. {365 - Day 365}

Last Sunday of 2012.  Chocolate chip pancakes & bacon.  Fresh water and coffee. Pajamas on the couch watching cartoons.  Playing with ponies and paper dolls.  Rearranging a "big girl" room and folding laundry.  Vacuuming up cheerios and broken beads from costume jewelry.  Cream cheese & olives on wheat bread cut into quarters for little hands. YMCA.  Whole Foods, organic kale, ripe lemons.  Parking garage.  Home for supper.  Bath time, bedtime, blogging.  One more post to go.

Day 365 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sarah Beth, Photographer. {365 - Day 364}

Sarah Beth got a camera for Christmas.  It's a VTech digital camera designed for kids.  Meaning it's got two handles and two viewfinders like binoculars.  Kid friendly controls and it looks like you could toss it across the room without it breaking.  I'm sure that theory will be tested sooner or later.  The great thing about it is it's a real deal camera.  2 megapixel, zoom, memory card, plus a lot of fun kid-centric features.  Sarah Beth was thrilled.  She used to play with our little point and shoot until it bit the dust, so having her own camera is awesome. 

I took her on the greenway today for a photo walk.  We both had our cameras.  She got so into it.  Squatting down to get the right angle.  And I must say, she is actually really good for being only three.  She has an eye for composition.  In fact, I chose her portrait of me as the picture of the day.  It was so much fun sharing my passion with her.  Teaching her how to stop, point and shoot.  How to look for the light and take her time getting the right picture.  She's a natural.

I know I'm biased, but check out her use of the rule of thirds in her composition, the leading lines and the lens flare in the photo below.  She even got my boots in the frame.  All of her images below are right out of the camera, no cropping or editing. I'm a proud Momma!

 Day 364 {VTech Kidzoom taken by Sarah Beth, age 3.5}

 And here she is taking that picture of me.  Cuteness!

Future National Geographic Photographer?  I think so.
 The photographer.
 Her shots.

My favorite picture of hers, I think.  :-)

Eventually she got tired and had to take a break.  And I had to carry a tired photog and her camera back up the greenway to the Target Starbucks to recharge with a hot chocolate.  It was a great day.  And I'll have these photographs to remind me of it forever.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Almost over. {365 - Day 363}

Time to stock up on Champagne. Only a few days left in 2012. Only a few days left of my project.  When I started my 365 366 photo project, I didn't know if I could really do it.  Take and post a photo a day, every day, for the entire year.  It was a major challenge, artistically and sometimes logistically, to come up with a photo, upload, edit and post.  Some days the photo just came to me.  Other days I was not as inspired.  I already love looking back at my entries, some of these moments have already been forgotten.  It will be so wonderful to have this year captured from this blog into a book, where I can look back at the ups and downs of 2012 as each day unfolded.  Seeing Sarah Beth grow throughout the year.  Reading about what was important or funny or dull about each day.

What I learned is that there is beauty and interest in everything when you look for it.  There is a story behind everything.  That every day, every moment counts and should not be taken for granted.  That it is important to take photos of the ones you love, to write down special moments, silly moments, the little day to day stuff of life that makes it so great.  Otherwise you will forget.  You will forget that silly smile your child had when she was 3.  Because by 3 1/2, it changes.  You will forget how breathtakingly beautiful that sunset was back in May.  You don't need a fancy camera.  In fact, some of my favorites have been taken with my phone.  You don't need to be a Pulitzer-prize winning author.  Just write what you feel.  Even if no one reads it but you, you will have captured those moments for yourself forever.

Day 363 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Coca-Cola {365 - Day 362}

Before we left Hendersonville this morning, we stopped for lunch downtown at Mike's on Main Street.  Our favorite soda fountain.  On the side of Mike's is this beautiful Coca Cola hand painted billboard.  My Dad told us that they just finished restoring this sign.  That there is a guy who works for Coca-Cola and his job is to travel around and restore these relics.  I have always loved this sign and seeing it in all it's vibrant glory, I love it even more.

Day 362 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After {365 - Day 361}

SB partied hard yesterday. I thought she'd want to sleep in, but no dice.  She was up at 7:20 looking for her barbies.  We went out to breakfast and came home to spend the rest of the day inside at Grandma's house, as the weather was cold and wet.  Not that Sarah Beth noticed.  She had the best day playing with Grandma on the floor.  Legos, dolls, games.  Poor Grandma didn't get a break all day, except for when Grandpa took the remote control car for a spin in the living room, Sarah Beth chasing behind it.

Here she is in a rare quiet moment with her new doll.  "Big Baby" as she calls her.  She just put her doll in the time out chair and was explaining how she needed to be a good girl as she fixed her hair.

Day 361 {iPhone}

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! {365 - Day 360}

Christmas started at 7AM here.  It was gloomy out so it seemed even earlier. But SB was ready to party to we got up to check out what Santa left her.  She was enchanted by the tree and wasn't sure where to start.  She got over that quickly though, and made short work of her presents, creating a wrapping paper explosion in the living room.  Favorite gift?  It's a tie between the remote control car and her Disney Princess Barbies.  She is sleeping with the Barbies right now.  She would have slept with the car too but Mommy had to draw the line somewhere.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Day 360 {Canon 5D Mark III by Kurt + Photoshop}

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve. {365 - Day 359}

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to friends and loved ones near and far.
Day 359 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Downtown (Uptown) {365 - Day 358}

Today I headed downtown (uptown) to take some pictures of my friend Emily and her family.  Fortunately it was a nice day and despite the crowds of people (Panthers game, Nutcracker) we were able to take some nice family photos.  We stood on the corner of Trade and Tryon for a little while and I pointed my camera up to get a picture of the very pointy "official" downtown (uptown) Christmas Tree. We usually take SB downtown (uptown) at least once before Christmas to see the decorations, check out the ice rink on the Green and visit the animatronic singing bear orchestra in Founder's Hall.  It's bizarre and yes, I think a little creepy.  But it's one of those very Charlotte things to do at Christmastime.  They run through the end of the week so maybe we'll make it down there before the bears go into hibernation until next year.

Day 358 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ride Em' Cowgirl. {365 - Day 357}

Sarah Beth has been a bit cooped up this week, between errands and work and bad weather, it's been tough getting her out to play.  And boy does it show.  Today I was bound and determined to get her to a playground.  We had to run a few errands this morning, but we stopped for lunch and then hit the park.  We ended up at Squirrel Lake Park in Matthews since we were in that neighborhood anyway.  She loves that playground and is particularly fond of the horse.  I took this picture while riding the neighboring cow.  I'm sure I looked ridiculous, but I was having almost as much fun as she was.  Ok, I was probably having more fun than she was.  Yeehaw!

Day 357 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sunbeam. {365 - Day 356}

Well there's still a few minutes left here but it would seem that the Mayans were wrong.  Good thing. 
I think 2013 is going to be a good year. 

This afternoon we were working on some arts and crafts that Sarah Beth's pal Avery sent for Christmas.  And by working on, I mean sticking little foam stickers all over the kitchen table.  The girl likes to embellish things.  Anyway, we have lots of trees in our backyard, and with our house set up the way it is with a walk out basement below, looking out our kitchen windows we are up in the trees.  In the summer we have a lush canopy of green, but in the winter, the sun beams through in the afternoons and blinds anyone sitting at the table for about 2 hours until sunset.  I really need to get some curtains.  This is the precise moment when the sun lowers enough to cause retinal damage. 2:47 PM.  After that, we have to switch our seats so our backs are to the windows, thereby allowing SB the chance to decorate the other side of the table and complete her masterpiece. 

Day 356 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Best Gifts. {365 - Day 355}

I tried to jam an entire season of Christmas shopping into one day and failed miserably.  I don't know how it ended up being December 20th already.  As I ran around, trying to figure out what to give everyone and getting all stressed out on a dreary day in the middle of a crowded shopping center, I remembered that while I love to give gifts with thought and meaning behind them, the most important thing is that we are together.  Toys break, sweaters wear out, books are read and then stacked on shelves, but memories of Sarah Beth's wonder as she sees Grandma and Grandpa's tree, her conspiring smile as we leave out milk and cookies for Santa, and her pride as she reminds us to say the blessing at dinner will be the most precious Christmas gifts of all. 

Day 355 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Legos. {365 - Day 354}

It was a beautiful day but SB preferred to stay inside today, much to my dismay.  Legos. on the coffee table.  Rocket ships and cars and castles.  Who am I to get in the way of that creativity?

Day 354 {iPhone}

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Big Shopping Cart, Little Shopper. {365 - Day 353}

We went to Trader Joe's this afternoon to pick up a few things.  Sarah Beth, as we know, has an obsession with her toy shopping cart, so pushing a full size one is nirvana.  She doesn't want me to help either, thus endangering numerous product displays and the ankles of other shoppers.  I did manage to take the lead in the wine aisle, however.  Those precarious bottle displays would have been wiped out in about 30 seconds. 

Day 353 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sweet Dreams. {365 - Day 352}

All year I kept meaning to sneak into Sarah Beth's room after I put her to bed to take a picture of her.  Tonight, with only a few days left, I remembered.  Here is my angel, sleeping peacefully in her bed, warm in her monkey pajamas.  Goodness how I love her and thank God for her every night.

Day 352 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Poncho. {365 - Day 351}

Sarah Beth and I headed to Park Road Shopping Center this afternoon to do a little Christmas shopping.  Michael's Craft store, Hallmark, and Blackhawk Hardware.  A trifecta of places for a 3 year old to wreak havoc.  I averted danger at Michael's by bargaining with her (ok, blackmailing her) to ride in the cart.  Nonetheless, she still managed to snag items off the shelves as we cruised by and hide them under her poncho.  I had to frisk her before we checked out to make sure we weren't stealing anything. 

Hallmark was tougher.  No carts.  I had to let her pick out a totally random card and carry it around the whole time to keep her hands busy.  It was a Lightning McQueen "Happy 7th Birthday Grandson" card.  When we were ready to check out, I had to explain that we didn't have any grandsons who were seven.  She was skeptical but allowed me to put the card back.

Blackhawk Hardware is smart.  They have free popcorn.  That means one hand holding the bag, other hand shoveling popcorn in the mouth.  Perfect way to occupy a 3 year old, especially one with a newly discovered popcorn obsession.  It even worked later when we went to the toy store.  I held her remaining popcorn while in the store, and when I was ready to leave, I lured her out with it.  Genius.

Day 351 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Saturday, December 15, 2012

See the Light. {365 - Day 350}

Something so tragic happened yesterday.  Amid the excitement of the holidays, the best time of year to be a child.  When children wish, hope, dream, believe.  Someone did the unthinkable and wiped out precious innocent lives.  Devastated families, a community, a country.  It is beyond comprehension how a person could gun down 20 sweet beautiful children and 6 adults who gave their lives to protect them.  There are families right now, reeling from loss.  I can't imagine how they go on.  How do you make funeral arrangements for a small life stolen from this world, when yesterday you were buying Christmas gifts for them and listening to them chatter on about Santa while decorating gingerbread houses?  Gifts that will never be opened.  Gingerbread houses no longer at risk of losing candy decorations to small mischievous hands.

I look at my own daughter and my heart breaks for these families.  Tears fall for their loss.  For the senselessness of it all.  We are people who search for meaning, who want reasons and ways to "fix" something so it can't happen again.  But how can there possibly be a reason for such madness, other than madness itself?  If not madness, then pure evil?  And that level of evil cannot even be imagined.  No reason exists that is adequate. 

There is good in this world.  There is love.  There is compassion.  For every tragedy that befalls us, there are people that step in to pick us up.  There is light all around us.  We just have to lift our eyes when the darkness sets in.  There are twenty-six new angels in heaven.  Twenty-six new lights in the sky to guide us tonight.  God bless them and all who have been touched by their lives.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bedtime Snack. {365 - Day 349}

Sarah Beth had apparently been begging her Daddy for sushi the entire time I was out of town, so tonight we indulged her and headed over to Rusans.  We ordered a few things for her, including her favorite, miso soup.  She likes to pick all the noodles out.  After that, she didn't really eat much, just pushed some food around with her training chopsticks.  So much for her desperate need for sushi.  Then she started talking about the chocolate "chopsticks" and we realized, the only reason she wanted to go for sushi is because they give her a treat of chocolate covered pretzel-like sticks called Pocky Sticks every time she visits.  I don't think she even opened the package this evening, she just liked holding it in her hand, knowing it was hers. 

Instead of her Pocky Sticks, she satisfied her sweet tooth with a little gingerbread before bedtime tonight, while watching yet another episode of "The Fresh Beat Band."  (Don't ask.)

Day 349 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Park and Church. {365 - Day 348}

My last day in New York was spent wandering around again, taking pictures and people watching.
I started at Central Park and wandered down 5th Avenue to St. Patrick's Cathedral to warm up.  Both of these beautiful locations, quiet sanctuaries to sit and reflect in the midst of symphony of city noise. 

Day348 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Central Park. {365 - Day 347}

I spent a few hours today wandering around Central Park.  It was the perfect day for it.  Clear skies, slight chill in the air.  Walking over to the boathouse, I strolled through the Bethesda Terrace Arcade, an architectural feature with amazing ornate tilework.  There was a group of musicians playing, echoing beautiful music through the hall, and this homeless man sitting in the corner.  Something about the juxtaposition of the man surrounded by all this beauty touched me out of all the photos I took today.

Day 347 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Church. {365 - Day 346}

One of my favorite things about the city is the amazing architecture and how beautifully ornate (and slightly spooky churches) sit wedged in between apartments and office buildings.  This one sits across the street from where I'm staying.  Tomorrow, I will be wandering around taking photographs until my feet or my fingers give out.  I will try not to photograph every old church I see but I make no promises.

Day 346 {Canon 5D Mark III + Photoshop}

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Hanukkah. {365 - Day 345}

We took a quick business trip to NYC this week to meet with one of our favorite clients.  She has the greatest view from her office.  The Empire State Building, bathed in a blue for Hanukkah, in a foggy sky. 

Day 345 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fork. {365 - Day 344}

SB and I were driving home this afternoon when we ended up in traffic behind our friends Scott and Caveni, or "Scott-a-kenni" as Sarah Beth calls them.  Kind of like Brangelina.  They were heading to a restaurant to watch football, so we joined them for a little while.  This is dog bar, apparently, because there were 3 dogs from big to small hanging out on the deck with us.  SB thought that was quite fun.  She got to sit at a tall bar table which was also a thrill.  And she thoroughly approved of the chicken tenders.  Here she is, doing a great job at sharing.

Day 344 {iphone}

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Crash. {365 - Day 343}

SB was feeling good enough to play with her buddy Gavin for a little while this morning, and then follow me around the house today with her shopping cart.  I have little divots on the back of my ankles from where she keeps running into me.  This afternoon we were building a "nest" on my bed.  Piling all the pillows in a circle then resting like birds in the middle of the pile.  She was a giggly mess for about 15 minutes, then she snuggled up and popped her thumb in her mouth.  3 minutes later she was out like a light, wearing her frilly Hello Kitty headband.  Have a nice nap, little birdie.

Day 343 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Friday, December 7, 2012

Shopping Cart Lady. {365 - Day 342}

Lately, Sarah Beth has become a little obsessed with her shopping cart.  She wheels it around everywhere, collecting random things along the way.  Current inventory includes:  one pink solo cup, photo album, my hair brush, a new pair of my tights, still in the packaging.  A stuffed reindeer, a Christmas ornament, a bag from the pharmacy containing 3 small stuffed animals.  2 toy catalogs, her jewelry box which holds a fun size bag of M&Ms and some chocolate Hanukkah gelt, and her swim goggles dangling from the side of the handle.

The cart goes where she goes.  Last night she woke up around 1:30.  I heard her get out of bed and take a sip of water.  Moments later, in she comes, pushing her shopping cart.  She parked it by my bed, placed her water cup on my nightstand and crawled in, making herself at home under the covers.  She pushes it in the bathroom when she has to go potty, parking it methodically to the side of the commode.  She is quite possessive of her cart and doesn't want me to go anywhere near it.  I tried to get a snapshot of it earlier and she stood in front of the camera, guarding it from the paparazzi.  I got smart and waited until she was in the bathtub tonight.  Slipped her cart into the hallway for a shot.  She protested and I had to move the cart back into its spot in the bathroom before a full-on mutiny ensued.  I hope if this is an indication of her future, it is as an avid shopper, not as a crazy shopping cart lady.

Day 342 {iPhone + photoshop}

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sleeping Beauty. {365 - Day 341}

My sweet daughter was under the weather today.  Her preschool called an hour before quittin' time, saying that she was looking a little ill and had a temperature of 101.  Makes me feel like an awesome Mommy - I swear she did not have a fever and was fine this morning, really.  So I of course jumped in the car to rescue her.  She seemed a little out of it, but perked up when we got home to eat her lunch.  And then requested a second sandwich.  We scheduled a doctor's appointment later in the afternoon just in case and proceeded to spend the rest of the day on the couch, watching way too many episodes of "The Fresh Beat Band."  If you do not know what that is, be thankful, be very thankful.

She managed to stay awake until 20 minutes before we had to leave for her doctor's appointment, of course.  I hated waking her up, especially when she looked as peaceful as this.  She has the longest eyelashes I have ever seen.  She is going to break some hearts when she learns to bat those lashes just so.

Day 341 {iPhone + Photoshop}

The doctor prescribed some antibiotics and she is now on the road to recovery.  Hopefully tonight she will sleep as soundly as she did on the couch this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Attention Target Shoppers. {365 - Day 340}

Sarah Beth loves Target.  She requests to visit Target on a regular basis.  Today was her lucky day.  I needed a few things so off we went.  Now that she's a "big girl" I have to negotiate getting her to ride in the cart.  She would much prefer to browse the aisles for herself.  We worked out a deal and she hopped in her ride.  We rolled past the accessories section and she pointed over to the sunglasses - I want glasses Mommy!"  Ok then.  She picked these out.  What do you think?

Day 340 {iPhone}

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Santa. {365 - Day 339}

Tonight the Neighborhood Theatre in Noda was showing free Christmas movies for the whole family.  And the special guest was none other than Santa himself!  Last year, Sarah Beth and I went to the mall to check out Santa.  And that's about as far as we got.  She was not interested in sitting on Santa's lap or anywhere close to the bearded stranger.  Can't blame her.  The whole concept is a little weird, to be truthful.  And as a person who is not a fan of mascots or people dressed in costumes, I was not about to push her into her first Santa experience.

Here she is outside the theater, getting psyched up for Santa Claus.

Day 339 {Canon 5D Mark III + Photoshop}

This year, however, she was prepped ahead of time.  Grandma had coached her through a mock-Santa trial, explained how to ask for what she wanted (remote control car) and say thank you Santa.  When she first set eyes on the real deal Santa tonight, however, she was less than enthused, yet curious about the big guy in the red suit.  He sat down for pictures and at first she was not interested in sitting with him for a photo op.  Finally I said I'd go with her, so she agreed.  We sat down next to Santa, and she told him in a very tiny voice "mote control car." 

She managed to almost smile for the camera.  Santa was very sweet and tried to butter her up, but she was aloof.  She did manage to say thank you Santa after pictures.  I was proud of my brave girl.  I bet Santa will get that remote control car for her for sure now.

After Santa, we headed into the theater for Charlie Brown's Christmas.  The theater was packed with families and lots of kids, which made it so much fun to watch and hear lots of giggles punctuating the movie.  Sarah Beth had her first box of popcorn.  She ate the whole box, not sharing with anyone, even her Mommy.  In fact, when Mommy tried to steal a few kernels, she moved her seat then head-butted me to keep me out of the box.  I guess Mommy will get her own box next time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

What a day. {365 - Day 338}

Today was my Grandma's birthday.  She would have been 90.  And it was a beautiful glorious day here for her.  Sun shining, temperatures in the mid-seventies.  I whispered happy birthday to her as I put on her ring and necklace this morning.  I have sent her flowers every year on her birthday for a while now.  When the email reminder came up this year on her birthday, it hurt my heart a little, until I decided to continue sending them anyway to honor her spirit.  This year, to my Mom.  Next year, maybe to someone else who needs a smile.  I know Grandma would love this idea.

To celebrate this gorgeous day, Sarah Beth and I went to the playground early.  It was packed with kids enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.  Sarah Beth asked me to make a leaf pile for her to jump in.  She hopped in with both feet and flung leaves in the air, laughing her silly cackling 3 year old laugh as they fell all over her dress. Striped leggings underneath, but a dress nonetheless.  Great-Grandma would approve. 

Day 338 {iPhone}

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's that time of year. {365 - Day 337}

Time to pull out the Christmas music buried at the bottom of the piano bench.  Sarah Beth is finally coming around and allowed me to get through 2 songs on the piano without protesting.  She even joined in for a little while, making for an interesting duet. Trio, actually, if you count the little pony with which she was banging on the keys.  Mozart composed his first piece at 5, right?  We've got a ways to go in the next year and a half.  

Day 337 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Last Month {365 - Day 336}

When I started this on January 1st, I had no idea if I could really do a photo a day. That is a major commitment.  Now, before I knew it, here we are in December. Only one more month of my project.  I've started gathering my thoughts about it and will write a post soon.  But today, I just wanted to note how far I've come.  How far we've all come.  Ready to say goodbye to another year.  I will savor these last few weeks and hope to take some great photos to finish out 2012. 

Today, we start with the basics - ABC's.  Sarah Beth and me at the park today.  She ran and climbed and flew down the slide and flew in the air on the swings, but stopped for a few moments to work on her alphabet. 

Day 336 {iPhone + photoshop}