Thursday, May 31, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday - a little talk therapy

{Penny for her thoughts}

Penny for Her Thoughts Diptych  

I have learned after 27 years experience of being a mom 
that sometimes important conversations pop up out of nowhere. 
And many times when you least expect one.
When my oldest son was a teen, it was usually as I was driving and he was in the back seat.

Grace porch 3

I can't say that I can remember word for word what those car conversations were
but they were meaningful to both of us and important to him.
Nick is now an adult, on his own and he and I are still very close.

Grace porch 2

A few days ago I took Grace out for some photos and noticed
she seemed preoccupied with something,
and when she smiled she was tensing up the muscles around her mouth.
Something wasn't quite right.
 I put down my camera and we just talked...about school, friends, Summer, etc.
Eventually I found out about a little 3rd grade drama going on with a friend at school.
Thankfully Grace wasn't being bullied.
We talked about some solutions and what she could do.
Hopefully we'll continue these conversations.

Grace porch 1

 Edited with Florabella's Classic Film and Honey Haze actions at low opacities,
from her Classic Workflow collection. 

the long road

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

22/52 - his alter egos

   Pretty amazing how wearing a pair
of Batman sunglasses can make
Batman (on the left), Superman (middle) and the Hulk (right) appear.

Will's alter egosTriptych

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - my youngest son

My Youngest Son 1

He has a big name for such a little boy, our 
"William Michael Yousheng."
At age 6 years - 4 months, he is 42 lbs.
of fun, feisty and activity.

My Youngest Son 2

Pretty much from the moment we met Will in China, it was obvious he was a gifted child.
He's very intelligent but he's also a deep thinker. Will understands the concept of time travel, 
comprehends death and the implications of it, knows directions (North, South, East and West), 
and grasps the days of the week and time passing. 
Many of these things have become apparent when he asks us questions
about specific topics
and we had no idea he even knew about them.

(I love his strong hands).
My Youngest Son 3

He's gifted physically as well...he loves anything that's physically challenging.
(Dance and gymnastics for far. He'd like to try karate next).
He reads (far above his grade level) and writes (more legibly than Dan).
I don't have any idea what he'll become when he grows up but his
outgoing, friendly and compassionate nature could lead him into
many careers.
I would love it if he became a doctor or a person who helps people.
Mostly I just want him to be happy.

My Youngest Son Diptych

Four years ago we found Will on our adoption agency's special need's list.
His special need was a repaired cleft lip and palate.
This superficial physical anomaly has been beautifully repaired and by the time
he's an adult it will only be a vague memory.
However, Will's real special need wasn't his cleft. His real special need
is related to an emotional disability and chemical imbalance in his brain.

My Youngest Son 4

And now as we hear words like "low levels of norepinephrine and dopamine " and "neurotransmitters".
They're words that have meaning to me because of my nursing background, but
now those words have additional meaning because they explain some things.
For the entire time we've had Will we've been learning more about him and
learning from him - attempting to understand and help this complex child.
He has sensory issues, problems with anger and defiance, and difficulty
attending and focusing in school.
We have a long road ahead, with no easy answers or a quick fix to any of this.
But we'll do whatever it takes to help Will cope with life and school a bit better.
Will has such a dear sweet heart and caring nature;
we want the world to see who he really is and not label him.

I am a photographer but that's just a part of who I am.
My most important role is that as a mom and right now my son needs me.
I couldn't possibly love this child anymore than I do right now.

Ni Hao Yall

The black and white of Will was taken about 30 minutes before sunset
and composed in camera using
the rule of thirds. 

Nikon d700
85mm 1.4 lens
f- 2.2
1/250 sec.
ISO 320

Friday, May 25, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday - time is flying by

(Grace is wearing Sophia Jane Boutique's shabby flower clip
that matches perfectly with the Matilda Jane Serendipity line)

Growing up 1

In a little over 2 short months she'll be 10 years old.
Double digits.
My baby girl is growing up so fast.

Growing up 2

And at almost 10 we're seeing a few glimpses of 'tween-dom'.
 (My made up word)
With some attitude changes now and then...perhaps it's a bit of those hormones kicking in...

Growing up Diptych

And though I'd love for time to stop for quite a while,
I'm embracing it all.

Growing up 3

Sweet artistic, compassionate, caring, and kind daughter.
She is a dream come true!

Growing up 4

the long road

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

21/52 - a slice of life

{5-6 days in May}
Instagram collage May 2012

Per Instagram, a little view of our lives.
I think it's these ordinary things that I capture that will eventually be looked at as very special.

Starting at the upper left:
1. Grace and her friend playing with a fortune teller (Grace makes all kinds of sizes and plays with them often. 2. Grace and Will playing in the bath. 3. Grace's first 'official' pedicure.
4. Will chillin' with his
blankie and finger in his mouth (he does this when he's tired, and I think it's adorable).
5. Will on the tire swing last night.
6. Jack the kitty keeping an eye on the dog.
I am zoemom3 on Instagram.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - Almost to the Finish Line

{Playing hopscotch}

Finish Line 1

 Grace and Will recently asked me how many days
 were left until Summer vacation.
We're doing a little countdown on the calendar until the last day of school.

Finish Line 2

As of today we have 13 and 1/2 days of school until it's here.

Finish Line 3

This is the first Summer we have nothing dance, no Summer school,
just Grace's birthday and a vacation to Door County in August.

Finish Line 4

I may be more excited about school getting out than they are...
We're hoping to have a couple of trips to the Chicago area to see friends.
Other than that they'll be spending some lazy days of sleeping late (wishful thinking on my part), running through the sprinkler, swimming,
playing with friends, and going to the library to check out new books to read.

It's hard to believe how fast this school year as flown by!

Finish Line 2 Diptych

Though the first one is my favorite image,
it was a little mistake (as far as not what I was planning to shoot) that I found when I uploaded the pics.
I loved how as Grace was jumping, her legs framed Will in the bokeh and the
word 'finish' framed the bottom.
It's kind of funny because I'm finding as I continue on my journey
with photography some of those happy accidents with me and my camera
are becoming my very favorites.

Finish Line 5

Taken a few evenings ago with my Nikon d700.

50 mm lens
f/1.8 (the first image)
1/1600 sec.
ISO 640

Edited with Florabella's Classic Workflow actions
using Classic Color, 1968, and a tiny bit of Cross Process.
Please go on over and see some photographers that do amazing and inspiring
work at Stefanie's Sunday Snapshot.

Ni Hao Yall

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

20/52 - Birthday girl

{Zoe - age 1}

Zoe pup 1

Our newest member of the family is officially one today.
Oh Zoe, what can I say about you?
You're a dear sweet girl who makes me laugh every day about your antics.
(Except for the week you chewed up 3 pairs of my shoes).
But we can pretend that didn't happen.

Zoe pup 2
I'm hoping that she's full grown now, she weighs 65 lbs,
has long legs and can run like the wind.
Can't imagine our lives without her.
Zoe pup 3
I've really been a terrible blogger lately and hope to be better about that...
have had a lot on my plate lately with the dance recital, end of school activities, and some things
going on with Will.
He's fine, I'll be blogging about what's been going on with him very soon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

19/52 and Favorite Photo Friday - it's showtime!

{Spring Recital}

Recital Diptych 1

I'll admit that this is one of my favorite times of the year,
and also some of my personal favorites as far as photos that I take
of my children.

Recital Diptych 2

There were some funky lighting situations... but I made the best of it and took
my time enjoying these moments.

(Grace and her friends waiting in the hallway before going on).

Recital Diptych 3

Last year at her recital I got thinking 
that there probably aren't too many people
that get to see this magical little 'world' that lies backstage at a dance performance.
The air is charged with excitement.
It is incredibly special to me.

(Older ballerinas watching Grace's class perform on stage.These girls were so encouraging to the younger ones).

Recital 7

And for Will...this was his first Spring recital.
The waiting part was a little hard for these guys
in the boys (5-7 yr.) hip hop class. They couldn't wait to show the audience what they could do.
The boys had 2 performances on Saturday and they did awesome!

(Waiting to go on...Will was the first onstage and led his group out).

Recital Diptych 4

Months and months of practice come down to this....
and finally it's their time in the spotlight.
My husband and I couldn't have been more proud of our two!

Recital Diptych 5

Grace had strep throat the week of the recital and missed both rehearsals as a result.
The photos of her were from Friday night of the ballet, "A MidSummer's Night Dream."
She was part of the lavender field.
Unfortunately she was too sick to dance on Saturday
and didn't get to perform in the ballet again or in her jazz and tap dances.
She was a little disappointed but is really looking forward to dancing again next year.
And thankfully she's healthy now.

Will's hip hip group danced to "My Girl" by Mindless Behavior.
He loved being on stage for his dance and also the finale (his first one).
He's still thinking about hip hop for next year but may possibly switch to gymnastics.
This boy can move!

the long road

And Happy Mother's Day a little early!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Snapshot - exquisite

{Grace - age 9 and 1/2}

MidS Night Dream 1

The inspiration for these images
was my daughter Grace's
beautiful ballet dress.

MidS Night Dream dptic 1

My mother is a talented sewer, and it's from her that
I've gained a true appreciation for fabric, and love of color and design.
The pattern of the tiny beads on the top of this dress is exquisite
and I loved capturing the detail.

MidS Night Dream 5

I originally thought I'd keep these images all in color 
but felt black/white suited them just as well.

MidS Night Dream Triptych

You can see so much
 of this gentle, sweet soul (who is Grace)
in them.

MidS Night Dream 3

These were taken early last week
when we had some time one late afternoon.
I used the beautiful north window light from different perspectives,
using light facing Grace, from the side and behind her.

MidS Night Dream 2

Taken with my Nikon D700,
the portraits were taken with my 85mm 1.4 lens
with settings of:

ISO - 320
 1/200 sec.

For the other images I used my 35mm 1.4 at:

ISO - 1000
1/250-1/500 sec.

MidS Night Dream 4

Edited with Florabella's bl/white 'Vanilla' action (one of my favorites for bl/whites).
I opened up the action and tweaked it a bit with the contrast and light, leaving the tones the same.
In the very first image I also added a little bit of 'White Haze' from her 'Hazy Skies Collection.'
I liked the effect.

For the color versions, I used Florabella's 'Classic Color' action with a touch of  'Soft Warmth'
on a couple of them.

For the last one of her profile,
 I did very little other than crop the image (it didn't need much)
and increase the contrast a bit. I love the simplicity of it.

As for personal favorites, I have two... they're the first one and second to last images.

Grace and her brother Will performed this weekend in their dance school's recital.
I'll blog about it later this week.

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, May 4, 2012

18/52 and Favorite Photo Friday - recital week

{Sunday at the dance school, waiting to get photos taken}

Recital week border image blog

It's taken 9 months
of learning and practice
for Grace and William to get here, and recital time is nearly upon us.
I'd forgotten to bring my big camera (twice) to the dance school, so
 used my iphone to quickly get a few from this week and the above one was my favorite.

We've had a lot going on, add to that Grace has strep throat
and missed 4 days of school.
The antibiotic she's on has finally kicked in.
Right now I'm thinking she will perform Friday night and Saturday if she's up to it,
but we'll see.
Thankfully Mr. Will has stayed healthy,
keeping my fingers crossed with that one.

Below is Will at his dress rehearsal...unfortunately the end of the video
isn't there. He did a series of cartwheels and a round - off.
That's my boy! ;)

Have a great Friday!

the long road

© Aging with Grace and strong Will
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