Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fairies and Wishies

I told my daughters that when the sun light shines through the window and the little things (we big people know as dust) are flying through the air, the specks are little fairies. They believed me. I think I want to be a kid again. I went to bed last night thinking about how excited I was for the sun to shine through the windows and for little fairies to fly. (Oh...and Nicholas clapping his hands together and telling his sisters he just squashed a bunch of fairies - what a sweet big brother he is.) Ah yes, Spring is in the air.

We have daffodils blooming all over the place and although they're not my favorite, they are the sign that the blooming of tulips is just around the corner. I'm giddy thinking about walking around outside barefoot, dirt under my fingernails, and using the hose to spray down my dirty children. I DID lose an hour of sleep and should be bitching about how horrible today has been...hahahaha, who am I kidding, I slept in until 9. Yes, 9! The joys of having children who can pour their own cereal (no special Sunday morning breakfast for you kids...Mom's sleeping in because I lost an hour!!!).

Anyway, back to my point. (Did I even have one?!), fairies...Wishies...I hate dandelions in my yard (they're showing up every where as well). But they sure are cute when my kids blow them in someone else's.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Fix You"

I've been in a funk all day. The tragedy in Japan, feeling blah, and then...this song came on. When my Dad was sick this song became a lifeline...

Many years ago I started viewing everything through my camera so as to block out the messiness of what was surrounding simple objects (I still's amazing therapy, being a photographer). It seems that the more "things" I find beauty in, while blocking all the messiness surrounding, the stronger each and every little thing becomes. Inadvertently, this makes me feel more powerful. Does that make any sense??! Images taken while my Dad was sick are probably some of the best images I have. Not because they're technically great, but because they are the ones that have the most feeling, the most power. They're the ones that blocked out the ultimate "messiness" possible...My father dying from cancer. I've been looking back through my images (now that I finally have them accessible after a computer crash) and I thought, rather than post only a song that makes me cry every.single.time it comes on, that I'd show some images that are related to the time when I'd walk around with said song stuck in my head. I'm not trying to be a downer, this is just the reality. And rather than waste money on a therapist... ;)


I had a 'moment', while the kids and I were in our backyard playing with hundreds of ladybugs that came to visit. This little guy, was broken. I named this image, "you may go, but I know you won't leave". I'm sure you can translate the relationship between this little guy and what was happening in my real life. Taken in Spring of 2009.

This image was taken on my Mom's birthday of 09. It gave me hope. I called it "rebirth".

My parents had a hummingbird feeder outside of their home in Nevada. I took this image knowing that I needed to remember how amazing this little guy was. How Dad knew when the same guy was coming to feed (there were a couple regulars but he knew the difference in them). How this little guy would give him an escape for the moment that he fed. I am forever grateful to him for that. As silly as that sounds...he had more impact on our lives than a lot of human beings.

This image was taken in February of 2009 (Spring comes early in Nevada). My Dad lived in DC for many years. When the Capital Mall was in full bloom with cherry blossoms, I always heard about it from him. While he didn't openly admit to his excitement of Cherry Blossom Festival, I knew about it every-single-year. I believe it was something he looked forward to. Cherry blossoms will forever make me think of him. This image hangs in my home.

While growing up my Dad would talk to me about astronomy. The moon, the constellations, the planets. He had a telescope. I loved that thing, even though it wasn't the greatest. I remember looking through it as a child. I took this image and shared it with my Dad, so proud of what I had captured. It became his desktop image on his computer. I saw it was still there after he passed.

I took my family to his site at Willamette National Cemetery a couple weeks ago. The kids put rocks on his headstone. It's still a surreal feeling to visit my Dad's grave site. People say it gets easier. No, it doesn't. Yes, the moments of sadness and anger and longing for just one more day are farther between, but when you have one of those moments, it hurts just as bad as the day you said good-bye.

Here's the last photo taken with my Dad (this was my 31st Birthday).

I would have given anything to fix him.

Hug your loved ones.

"We must be diligent today. To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly..." Buddha

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hippies No Longer Need To Use The Back Door (A post in progress)

Hippie (1960's):
someone who rejects the established culture; advocates extreme liberalism in politics and lifestyle

Hippie (2000's):
Caring for the environment, helping your neighbor, attaining world peace by attaining inner peace, achieving social justice for all, living simply and simply living.

Why the hell wouldn't I want to be one?!?!

Modern Hippie Mag

I'm "granola", apparently...avid recycler, vegetarian, support local, I grow my own food and eat organic (when possible), use reusable bags, I believe in natural medicine. I practice attachment parenting, cloth diapered my babies, breast fed until they weaned, co-slept, wore my babies, delayed vax, and yes, I've even hugged trees. I could go on. If those things make me a hippie, then I'm proud to be one.

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds." Bob Marley
Become conscientiously aware~Change your mindset~Fuel desire with emotion

I may be only one person, but I have four little people looking to me for guidance. If I teach them the things that I'm passionate about, all I care for will carry on.

After my father passed away, I realized that having a family was about so much more than love and tradition. It's about legacy. Yes, that seems so cliche' to say, but really, it's as simple as that. It's through me, that he gets to carry on whatever message he wants to send the world, what impact he wants to have on the future. Everything he and my mom taught me was so much more than survival. It was about making a difference. About being better than the last generation. How I didn't think about that until recently, I don't know (and please, no emails telling I'm stupid for just realizing this. ;p ) My point is, I have this opportunity, to teach these four little people in my life whats important to me. I'm not talking about religion and politics. They can learn and research those subjects on their own (just as my parents allowed me to). It's about teaching them how to make something, anything, better. How to never fall into the ruts of doing everything the simple way, about working a bit harder for something that gives you no monetary compensation, but a feeling inside that lasts a lot longer than the dollar.

"Feed them on your dreams" (Crosby, Stills & Nash)


All images from 2006.

"You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one..." (John Lennon)

The innocence of children...a home video from 2006. This was on Easter morning when they were a little amp'ed from the Easter Bunny's visit. I had to share Olivia running around with her little cloth diapered butt singing and dancing like a ballerina.

Oh, and don't forget to do your Yoga.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Birth: Nicholas ~ 15 Dec 1998

Coming soon

Your birth day in history

Billboards #1 song on your birthday: "I'm Your Angel" ~ R. Kelly & Celine Dion

A Birth: Madison ~ 28 July 2001

Coming soon

Your birth day in history

Billboards #1 song on your birthday: "U Remind Me" ~ Usher

A Birth: Olivia ~ 30 November 2003

A photographic revisit of some of the events that took place during my pregnancy with you, and on the day you were born.

Yes, I did have to triple check (over the course of three days actually).

I thought I was going to lose you and Dad rushed me to the clinic. I was very relieved when I saw you.

I had to have a lot of ultrasounds with you. Fluid checks, monitoring. It seems the fluid was a little low at some point in my pregnancy. I was also high risk due to having only half a functioning uterus (and because of the scare at six weeks). They told me I most likely wouldn't make it to term with you, but we proved them wrong.

The day before you were born we celebrated Thanksgiving. We decided to wait for Oma and Opa to come up so we could have one last feast before you came along. I fought with the doctors to keep you in until after the week of Thanksgiving. We scheduled a cesarean for the day before your due date. In all honesty, I was hoping to go into labor on my own because they said they would possibly allow a vba2c (vaginal birth after 2 cesareans). Didn't happen that way, but you arrived safe and sound so I'm grateful for that.

We had to be at the hospital at 6am. Dad was awesome, comforting me as I went through my roller coaster of emotions.

View from our room:

~ Olivia Grace ~ born at 10:06am

Heading home:

When you were just a few days old:

Your birth day in history

Billboards #1 song on your birth date: "Stand Up" ~ Ludacris featuring Shawnna

A Birth: Avery ~ 29 April 2005

While I wish I could recount every moment of what happened that day, I'll allow the story to be told through the images. I did put a little bit of information below, small details I remember.

It's a girl! Our only one we found out with...Dad and Nicholas needed preparation after already having two girls/sisters:

High five:

Your brother and sisters painted my belly about a week before you were born (Olivia painted her own belly too):

Several weeks and a week (respectively) before you were born:

Four kids. Wow. I still had a baby at home, Olivia was only 17 months old when you came into our lives. I was so scared, more scared than I had been Madison and Olivia, probably just as scared as I was with Nicholas. I had to have a scheduled cesarean as I'd previously had three, but I begged the doctor to schedule it as close to your due date as possible.

My surgery was scheduled on April 29. One day before your due date. I remember checking into Madigan Army Medical Center at 6am. I was happy, excited to meet you, spent time talking with all the nurses and doctors. The anesthesiologist walked in and we discussed the surgery, I asked for the spinal as I had a bad experience with one epidural delivery I had. He agreed, said he'd see me shortly and walked out. In that moment I shut down. Fear set in a bit and I was just ready to have you. I was prepared for a longer surgery this time as I had so much scar tissue from the previous c/sections, but all in all, it went rather well. At 9:29am you were born.

I had a few complications after delivery, a bit of hemorrhaging and a ridiculously painful procedure to get the bleeding to stop, but I had you, and you were beautiful, healthy, and nursed within a moment of me getting out of the operating room and into recovery.

We stayed in the hospital that night, by midday the next day I was ready to go home. They had me stay one more night just to keep an eye on everything, then released us the following morning.

The morning of April 30.
View from our room:

I stared at you while the sun was rising, watching it cast this amazing color on your skin. I wondered in amazement how something so beautiful could be created partly by me.

Getting ready to go home:

Couple days after you got home:

Avery Gwen~

Your birth day in history

Billboards #1 song on the day you were born: "Candy Shop"~50 Cent featuring Olivia