Posted on 04-13-2012 under Adventures
It’s been 9 months since my last blog entry here. Time to do something about that! Needless to say, I’ve been busy. Aside from caring for our children and growing my photography business, I’ve also been writing a monthly blog for the Columbia Tribune. The Tribune blog is about raising a child with special needs.
This past week I have been working on my entry for the next exhibition going up at the Columbia Art League. The theme is Blue. I have had so much fun working on these pieces! I wanted to give everyone a sneak peak at them. There are two triptychs, one of the blueberries, and the other features two tiny grape hyacinths. I hope to also have greeting cards made and ready for sale on Artrageous Friday’s (April 20th, 6-9), Come see me!
If you are looking for something to do Saturday, please come down to Orr Street Studios to help celebrate our 5th birthday! We are having an open house house tomorrow, the 14th from 11-3. There will be birthday cake, painting demonstrations and lots of frivolity. Come watch the short documentary video about the history of the site and how it came to be the awesome space it is today!
Posted on 08-04-2011 under Uncategorized
It’s fair to say this summer has been a doozy for my family. Actually, I’d say the past 6 months have been full of lessons of one kind or another. Unfortunately, the big ones I’m thinking of right now are all about our son, Isaac. This past week we got a crash course in the mental health system. I’m sure I will have MUCH more to say about this as I process everything, but for now there are just a few things that have been on my mind the most.
A week ago, Wednesday, one day after returning from our family road trip to North Carolina, we made the heartbreaking decision to admit Isaac to the local psychiatric hospital, MUPC. After months of debating this and researching options, the decision was actually fairly easy when it came right down to it. Our seven year old was in so much conflict within himself that he wanted to die. His outward behavior had become increasingly erratic, volatile and aggressive. His anxieties seemed endless. Every moment of our days was spent in some sort of conflict and all of us were stressed to the breaking point. When he told Linda he wanted to die and that the world would be better off without him and asked her if she’d help him do that…. we knew it was time for outside help.
It took a meer 6 hours to get through the admissions process. From what I’ve heard, this is not too bad. We feel infinitely grateful to live just 10 minutes away from the hospital and to have working schedules that allow us to visit and call and do all the things necessary while he was there. Some people we know live hours away from the nearest child psych unit.
Isaac spent 7 full days in the hospital. Though I have lots of little things that frustrated me about the experience, overall we still believe it was the right choice and that it was beneficial to him and to us. If nothing else, there are many more resources available to us that we knew nothing about before his hospitalization. The most disturbing thing to us is the lack of guidance and direction to us upon his release. We were sent home with no less than 106 pieces of paper (pictured above) printed from the internet describing lots of things, including Aspergers syndrome, detailed descriptions of all his medications, mood disorders, summary of his school days there, relaxation techniques, on and on and on. Everything except the instruction manual to how to handle the day to day moment to moment experience of living with and parenting a child with oppositional defiance disorder, mood disorder, anxieties, and major aggression. What we really wanted was someone to give us something new to do with him–something that worked.
What we did get was the message that we were doing a great job and we were, indeed, rock star parents. At the time it’s not what I wanted to hear, but as the week has passed since he’s been home, it is something that has sifted through to my heart. We ARE rock stars and we ARE doing the best we can. And sometimes even that isn’t good enough. So we reach out for help. It gives me a tiny bit of solace to know that this illness is not something WE created. It just is what it is.
We roll with it–the good and the bad. We had one really great day since his release and, honestly, at the end of the night Linda and I looked at each other as bewildered as to how that happened as we are when the days go all wrong. What we know now is we need to take that day and put it in our bank. We remember the smiles, the happiness, the love. We don’t spend the night looking through the day to see what it was we did differently and try to recreate it all tomorrow.
We’ve learned a whole lot about living in the moment.
When I started writing this post a week ago, I was still frustrated and confused. I’m glad I haven’t been able to sit at my computer for a week. I definitely feel more peace today and I know more about some of the lessons we are learning. That in itself is another good lesson–patience and less reacting to the circumstances of my days. My mom taught me that sometimes on an archaeological dig you have to sift through a ton of dirt before you find something good. We are sifting.
I have to give a shout out to Columbia Public Schools and especially Grant Elementary. Without going into pages of detail, I’ll just say they are rock stars too. We love them. Our home school and the whole district support team is doing whatever we can to make his school experience successful. Thanks team!
I’ll close with this quote from The Little Prince. I read it this morning on fellow photographer, Aline Smithson’s blog:
“Here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
A good reminder of something I’ve learned along my journey in photography: Shoot with the heart, not the head. Now, I need to go get shooting again!
Posted on 07-27-2011 under Uncategorized
I can’t believe Hannah will be 3 in just a few short months! We had a great time laughing and exploring her new house. I think she also enjoyed the giant lollipop I brought along.
Posted on 07-26-2011 under Uncategorized
What could be more fun than a sweltering Sunday morning in the park? A sweltering Sunday morning with a bit of a breeze, 2 adorable twin girls, their big brother (and parents) and a HUGE bowl of STRAWBERRIES!!! You’ve seen this family before, we’ve known each other since Trey was a baby. I am THRILLED I get to hang out with them every year and you just can’t help but giggle at these two one-year-old girls! Here’s hoping the stains came out of their dresses!
p.s. it was the first time for them to try strawberries….
Posted on 07-06-2011 under Uncategorized
I have several friends who have asked me over the years to fix up their snapshots or restore old family photos. It’s something I really enjoy doing! I wanted to share this with my followers and let you know I’d love to fix up your photos as well. Contact me directly and I will give you an estimate of what the cost will be. Here’s an example of a recent fix-up I did for a father’s day surprise:
Posted on 06-10-2011 under Uncategorized
I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more loved than I did two weeks ago in seattle. If you follow the blog, you know things had gotten tough with my son, Isaac. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it to seattle to document my good friend Hilary Scott’s wedding. I asked for help from super hero amazing photographer, Kevin Kubota and he agreed to post something on his blog asking for help from any Seattle photographers. If you’re a photographer and you don’t know who Kevin Kubota is, do yourself a favor and click on his ‘for photographers’ link.
True to his word, Kevin made a blog post asking if anyone would be willing to shoot this wedding for me. Unfortunately, it was posted the same day my plane was leaving and we had already made all sorts of arrangements for Isaac, who seemed to be doing marginally better.
Imagine my surprise when the emails started rolling in! I couldn’t believe it! Twenty-One (21) Twenty One(!!!!!) photographers replied and offered their services.
Because a fellow photographer asked for help. It seems to be the way with this profession. I was overwhelmed.
So before I get to the images of Hilary and AJ’s wedding, I’d like to post links to all of those Seattle Photographers’ websites. If you live in the Seattle area or know anyone who does who is looking for a wedding, senior or family photographer…. please consider using one of these pro’s. It’s really the best way I can think of to repay them for their generous offers to help.
Kelly Bowie, Aric Becker,Jeramie Shoda,Kip Beelman,,Rick Takagi, Laura, (Laura is actually from North Carolina but offered her support in other ways) Emma Smith,Cami, Joni,David Gasser from Puerto Rico, Ben Becker,Natalia, Delanae, Ben and Molly Nickles, Katie Trujillo, Dani Weiss, , Kathryn Stevens,Lowell Sannes,Brianna Widen,And finally, from Colebrook, CT John Parisi.
And now for some photos!
This first one we like to call, “How many lesbians does it take to get Hil ready?” In this case, it take 4!
And my two newest buds, Momma Pam and Aunt Sherrie, who forced me to remember their names. (Not too hard considering they’re as silly as I am)
I know I was supposed to be in Washington that weekend. I felt the love. It is a beautiful part of the country I’d never seen before. I have lots of new friends. I got to see my friend Hilary marry her best friend, AJ. It was an amazing weekend. Thanks for being a part of it!
Posted on 06-03-2011 under Uncategorized
UPDATE: The special has been bought! Good luck next time!<br><br>It’s your lucky day! (Well, for one of you it is!) For the first person to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I am extending a spectacular deal.Lock in a most fantastic price for photography sessions now! $1500 (payable all at once) will get you five (5) five! photo sessions of any type I offer. Up to two of these can be transferable to friends or family as gifts or you can split the offer with one friend/family. You will have up to 5 years to schedule the sessions.AND, you not only get the session! For this special deal, you will get a fully edited and processed cd with the images copyright released to you so you can make prints for personal use.I don’t have to tell you what a ridiculously great deal this is– you already know!Give me a call or contact me if you have any questions. Payment can be made by check or credit card (using PayPal).Good Luck! I can’t wait to see who the lucky person will be this year!
Posted on 05-21-2011 under Uncategorized
The past few weeks have brought me to the edge of what I think I can handle. About a month or so ago, Isaac’s diagnosis was officially changed to bipolar-mixed. Part of me was thrilled because it meant we could now really educate all those in his world with a more complete picture of what we are dealing with. I’ve learned that there are no clear answers or solutions as we navigate through the world of pediatric psychiatry.
I don’t think I’m ready to get too specific here on my blog, but I’ll just say things have gotten increasingly difficult for my little guy in the past two weeks. I thought frequently about my photographic body of work all about him that I’ve been working on and sharing with professionals in the photo world for the past 6 months. The thought that came to me the most was how it hardly touches what’s been happening recently. And how I have no idea how to show that and still be respectful. Today I feel certain I’ll figure out a way because the process of making images is what truly grounds me in my world. It helps me see and show parts of me that I can’t share in any other way.
So this morning I was unpacking a framed print that had been exhibited in Joplin at the Spiva Center For The Arts annual PhotoSpiva exhibition. It was an image from the Isaac series and as I pulled it out and had a look, I had a completely unexpected reaction, bursting into tears. It may be unbelievable to you if you read my blog, but I don’t typically burst into tears. The image had a strong affect on me. It’s so innocent. It holds a lot of meaning for me but I think there’s enough space for others to bring their own experience into it as well. I’ll share it with you now.
Posted on 05-13-2011 under Adventures
With hours of planning and preparing completed, making an image of the 300+ students and staff of Grant Elementary in the shape of the number 100 went off without a hitch this morning! Big thanks to key problem solver and PE teacher extraordinaire, Laura Dye, who really did the hard work of laying it all out on paper and then drawing chalk outlines with teachers’ initials onto the blacktop. Every teacher had a designated area to squeeze their students into.
I climbed the ladder to the roof of the media center. (For those of you who worry about me, it’s a flat roof.) Ms Dye and I shouted down final tweaking instructions and the students all did a fantastic job of being patient. When we were happy with the shot, Laura went back down to join the group and principal, Beverly Borduin, made one final call over the intercom to be sure we had everyone present. While we waited, I entertained the crowds with my dancing abilities. I was encouraged by a certain 5th grader (not mine) to do the YMCA moves…so I obliged. I haven’t talked to Joseph yet to see if he was mortified.
One more big thanks goes to The Defining Print who will crank out a poster for me by this afternoon so everyone can see it tonight at the big celebration. The Defining Print is a great little print shop on 9th street in downtown Columbia. Check them out if you ever need to print something really big at a very reasonable price!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANT ELEMENTARY!
Posted on 05-08-2011 under Uncategorized
With all the buzz on facebook this week about replacing your profile picture with an image of your mom, I found myself thinking quite a bit about my mom.
Mine was a stay-at-home mom who detested the phrase, “housewife”. She worked hard to change the label given to women who didn’t work a 9-5 job. She volunteered tirelessly leading my girl-scout troop for years and years, sitting on the parks and rec board of our small town, working with the food pantry and all kinds of other human service organizations that I can’t remember. She even substitute taught at my small grade school… much to my mortification.
Everyone who meets my mom falls in love with her. She has a zest for life and a sense of adventure that is almost unmatchable. After my two brothers and I grew up she traveled around the world, got a masters degree in archaeology and even worked one summer at the dig site in Pompeii!
She taught me how to climb into the engine compartment of our big old Ford pick up and touch a flat head screw driver to something in there to make a connection that started the engine when it wouldn’t start the normal way-with a key. She camped with us a bazillion times, taught me about dunk bags, leaving a camp site cleaner than how I found it and to appreciate the nature all around us. She and my dad regularly woke us up in the middle of the night to go to a dark place in town to watch meteor showers. We had two plots in the community garden and I have fond memories of weeding it at the beginning of every season—picking gigantic clods of weeds with dirt hanging on the roots and flinging it at my brothers.
She definitely taught me to question authority, to respect my elders and to make friends with people of all ages.
One of my greatest memories of my mom is one I wrote about in an elementary school paper about my hero. My mom took us out in the rain and let us stomp in the puddles. We often went on walks to find the biggest puddles we could and splashed like crazy.
Two things reminded me of this story: 1. I love to drive through puddles. Whenever it rains I pick up my boys from school and we drive around looking for puddles to drive through. (Of course we also put on our boots and go stomping in them as well) 2. Isaac recently wrote an autobiography in school. In the page about me, the most important thing about me is that I take a shower every morning. The things that make an impression! Hopefully he’ll also remember all the fun things we do!
Happy mothers day, Mom. I know you’ll read this without me even sending you the link because in addition to being my mom, you are also my biggest supporter.
p.s. I promise not to break my neck at Six Flags today.