For Cole's birthday, we met up in downtown Seattle with my friend, Dawn and her family for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, followed by a night at Gameworks arcade. (And for the record, can I just say that I'm not sure if there is any place in the world harder to in shoot than an arcade - the low light, the flashing, colored lights, the fast movement, etc. Ugh.)
That's our best friend from college, Dawn. (She and my sister were roomates and she met Roscoe-T for the first time when he was about six months old.)
That's Annie finding out she could order a milkshake to go along with her dinner.
And that's Coley blowing out the candles on his birthday cheescake. (Yes, I know it's a lousy shot, but I was too busy enjoying Ross's cheesecake to get up from my seat for a better viewpoint.)
And then we hit the arcade.
My sister is not going to like that last shot, but it showcases her enthusiasm for the arcade so well that I just had to post it anyhow.
Seriously, do you see the green color casts on their shirts? (Those were the kinds of color casts I was dealing with in most of my shots - but on their faces - and if I couldn't edit it out, I converted to B&W.)
Roscoe-T, sporting Space Needle socks.
And that was Annie's response when we got off the elevator to the parking garage and saw her momma's favorite number.
And then they all got in on it.
And with that, Coley's thirteenth birthday was officially over.
My mind is all over the place this morning, so I've kind of got three posts all rolled up into one here and though somehow, I was able to connect the dots in my own (crazy) head, I'm not sure there will any dots connecting for those of you reading this.
Sorry, it's just not a dot-connecting kind of a day for me.
One morning while I was up in Seattle, my sister showed me Ross's current Facebook page.
I love that boy (and am so thankful for getting a few days to visit him.)
And I'm trying so hard to remember that these three little ones who are still at home will be full grown before I know it too.
And I'm trying so hard to remember that parenting with intent is not for sissies.
And I'm trying so hard to remember that one day, their frontal lobes will be fully connected.
And I'm trying so hard to remember that one day, they'll be grateful for the childhood they had. (No guarantees on that one.)
And I'm trying so hard to remember that I need to more concerned with their hearts than their outward behavior (Thanks for the reminder Rachel.) since behavior is always a heart issue.
But right now, I'm just feeling tired and defeated.
I was out grocery shopping until 9pm last night and then I came home and worked in the kitchen until 10:30 putting everything away, planning our dinners for the week, making a new breakfast recipe (refrigerator oatmeal) for them to have in the morning and packing their lunches. (I know they could do all of that themselves, but they've already got plenty of chores and responsibilities around here, and honestly, my compulsive mind is slightly consumed by the shortage of years I have left to sneak good, healthy foods into their pie-holes.)
And this morning, I woke up with a smile on my face (due to my well-stocked fridge, my dinner-plan for the week, the pre-made lunches and the chia seeds I snuck into their oatmeal) and immediately began waking my kiddos, one by one.
However, when my well-intentioned, I-stayed-up-till-10:30-last-night-making-this Refrigerator Oatmeal was met with varying degrees of criticism, my smile quickly faded and I immediately started threatening everyone who was unwilling to eat their oatmeal with not getting Cottage Cheese Pancakes tomorrow for breakfast. (I substitute regular flour with whole-wheat or gluten-free flour and they still taste great - especially when topped with some fruit and a drizzle of real maple syrup.)
And breakfast ended with one person (me) ranting and raving about how nothing they do as a mom ever feels "good enough", two children reluctantly eating their oatmeal (Cole and Courtney) while half-heartedly smiling and saying, "It really isn't that bad." and one child sitting next to a semi-eaten bowl (Annie) in tears.
And I know it's just refrigerator oatmeal, but at 7:00 am this morning, it felt really symbolic.
I wake up every morning incredibly optimistic about how successful I'm going to be as a mom that day and little by little, the complaints about being too tired to get out of bed, their inability to get ready on time no matter how early I wake them, the lights left on in every single solitary room of the house, the number of reminders required to get them to brush their teeth (and the resulting toothpaste on the mirror, the sink handles, the light switch, the doorjambs, the hallway handrails...How can a child use that much toothpaste yet still have dirty teeth?), the bickering over whose turn it is to sit in the front seat, the forgotten homework, the tennis shoes needed for track practice that mysteriously go missing for two weeks, the fact that I own 10 hair brushes, yet not one can be found in the entire house, the lost coats, the looks of disappointment on their faces, the email from the teacher, the lazily-done chores, the complaints at dinner time, the papers from school I forgot to sign, the nagging reminder that "All of the other (good) moms are going with their kids on tomorrow's field trip, except for you.", the little feet pounding down the stairs for the fourth time when they were supposed to be asleep 30 minutes ago, and how irrationally weighty my failure feels at 10:00 p.m. every night when the house finally gets quiet.
My mom just called and gave me a chance to unload all of this stuff on her.
She just laughed and said that I needed a bigger wooden spoon (Growing up, my mom's response to anything she didn't like was a wooden spoon.) and then she went on to tell me about how an old friend of the family is struggling with a full-grown daughter who is bulimic and on drugs and making really destructive sexual choices - all while leaving her three year-old son, who is lashing-out in anger at everyone around him to be raised by his grandparents.
And that was all I needed to remember that it's just refrigerator oatmeal.
I've got a full-grown son who was raised by a young, inexperienced mom and somehow, he still thinks I did a pretty bang-up job of parenting him even though he survived his entire childhood on nothing but Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
And I've got three littler ones who fight over who gets to hug me first, who gets to sit by me at dinner and who loves me the most.
And sure, they think my parenting sucks when I serve them refrigerator oatmeal with chia seeds (but one day, they'll have me to thank when they're running like a Tarahumara.)
And I'm going to think my parenting sucks when I serve them macaroni & cheese. (Though I've got two family-sized boxes sitting in the pantry right now because sometimes, healthy & nutritious takes a backseat to quick & convenient.)
Its a no-win situation really.
But in the end, its all just refrigerator oatmeal.
Its not an empty fridge because I don't have enough money to go to the grocery store and its not a kid in a hospital bed who might never eat a meal at home with their family again.
And today, I'm going to keep my heart and my mind focused on being thankful for that.
And now if you'll excuse me, I've got some chicken and a crockpot awaiting me in the kitchen. (I don't know who to credit for this Chiken Chili recipe other than my sister, but it's a good one.)
In the morning, put the following into a crock-pot set on high:
- 2 chicken breasts - 1 large can green enchilada sauce - 2 cans diced green chilies - 1/2 teaspoon chili powder - 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder - 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
After 4 hours, take two forks and shred the chicken breast, then add:
- 1 cup cilantro - 1 bag frozen corn - 3 cans chili beans
Cook for another 2-3 hours on low and then serve with tortilla chips or cornbread. (A little shredded cheese and sour cream is a nice addition as well.)
And while you're at it, pat yourself on the back for attemping to connect the dots.
Got back from my sister's house last Saturday night around 8:00 pm, unpacked, repacked and was on a plane by 4:30 am on Sunday, bound for San Antonio to see my friend Rachael and her family.
I came home late on Thursday, slept most of the day on Friday and then drove up to Corvallis with Josh and Annie for a Beavers game on Saturday. (We got home at 3:00 am on Sunday.)
I've got so many photos to share, but I think I'll start with our trip up to Corvallis for the Beavers game...
It's a 3 1/2 hour drive, but I think it took us closer to 5 1/2 hours.
Blame it on the cute covered bridge I spotted. (And the fact that we ran into Josh's brother in a town we had never even been to before and then a few minutes later, we ran into an electrician that Josh knows as well.)
Annie took that one. (Nice job Yans.)
And blame it on the fact that I left the house without eating breakfast and therefore, needed to stop for both snacks and lunch before getting to Corvallis.
Yans took that one too.
And that one as well.
I guess you could also blame the length of our drive to Corvallis on how much fun I was having shooting.
Eventually, we got on the road again.
And eventually, we made it to Corvallis.
We were packed in like sardines, so I my shots all probably look the same. (I couldn't move around at all while I was shooting which always makes me crazy, but so goes the struggle of all us moms with cameras.)
And that was Yans during the 4th quarter. (I think it was 11:00 pm, which is waaaaay past her bedtime.)
Beaves - 12, Stanford - 20.
And though the Beavs lost, Josh's evening took a turn for the better when he stopped at a restroom on the way home and ended up talking with one of the drivers that hauls Stanford's gear who said how much Stanford loves coming to play the Beavs because the team and the fans are so great - but how they hate coming to play the UofO Ducks.
Hey guys ( Cole here) posting on 10/17/13. Its my 13th birthday and I'm spending it up in Seattle, Washington with my aunt and brother. I figured that a thing like this only happens once, so instead of having my mom post this, I thought it might be nice if I did it.
So, what happened was I was at school, and during English my teacher got a call saying I had to go to the office. It was about 1:00 and this was the second day mom had picked me up early in a row. So, I went to my locker (at my school you get lockers at seventh and eighth grade ) got all my stuff and went to the office. At 1:10 my mom came and wouldn't tell me why I was leaving so early. I got in the car and sat in the front, where there was a card and a present. I opened the card and it said, "13, it's official-you're a teenager! congratulations and happy birthday!" My mom wrote "And you get to spend your first oficial day as a teenager up in Seattle with your big brother! Love, Mom." I was so exited and my mom got me a book called Everlost (Cole Approved), and we hit home, and went on our way to Seattle for the next 10 hours. We got here at 11:30 last night.
I woke up at 8:00 and had a small birthday celebration with muffins and here we are now.
Today wer'e going to dinner for my birthday with Ross and Aunt Lee Lee, and then were going to a place called Gameworks, and then were going to spend the rest of our time up here with Ross.
There are some of my mom's students who share the same birthday as me, so happy birthday to:
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed my post, and have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This registration is for my first workshop of 2014, which runs from January 6th - March 16, 2014 and registration for that class opens up this coming up Tuesday morning (October 15th) at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time here.
As usual, I'll be opening up both regular seats ($395) and auditing seats ($245) in the workshop. The ONLY difference between regular students and auditing students is that I do not provide evaluations for auditing students. Other than that though, auditors can ask questions, upload assignments for peer evaluation and participate in the workshop just like a regular student.
So auditing seats are ideal for anyone who wants to work at their own pace or save money or for anyone who was unable to snag a seat as a regular student.
I'm taking fewer regular students than I have in past years, so keep in mind that those seats will probably fill up quickly.
That said, if you register as a regular or auditing student during Tuesday's registration, please note that I'm offering a temporary, discounted price for telephone/Skype consults ($75 per consult) that can be scheduled before, during or after the workshop ends (though I think you'd get the most benefit out of scheduling it after the workshop ends) and that consult time can be used for me to review and critique your images and to work through any concepts or problems you're struggling with in your photography.
So the price of auditing ($245 + $75 = $320) is actually $75 less than what it would cost to take the class as a regular student since I'm offering the telephone/Skype consult at this discounted price...and that's $75 that could be put towards a new lens! (And not to push anyone in any particular direction...but consults are my FAVORITE thing to do!)
Oh, and don't forget that one of the bonuses of the workshop is that Erin Cobb spends a week in the forum helping students fine tune her Clean Color editing process (and that's available to both auditing and regular students!)
If you have any questions, please add them to the comments section of this post and/or click here and then at the bottom of the photo, click on 'click here to view a FAQ sheet' and if you're looking for feedback from my past students, there's a whole bunch of links you can check out in the comments section of this post. (I have the best past students you'll ever come across - I truly love them.)
Looking forward to seeing some of your names on my January 2014 class roster!!!