Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In addition to that....

My friend Kim blogged about a friend who left us suddenly a few days ago. She writes,

You never know who we touch with our lives.
You never know who will touch you.

In addition to that, time has a limit. You don't know how much time you have to affect people. And as little as the things you do can be, you don't know how much meaning those little things have to the people you touch.

I work at HarborOne. It is my job everyday to help people. I don't look at it as retail or banking or financial, in nature. At its very core, what I do is help people. It could be helping them open up accounts or solving problems or answering questions...its still helping them. I do something that touches people everyday.

A smile, an answer, a shoulder to lean on, a photograph....

The little things you do are really not as little as you think. They may be little to you because it doesn't take much effort or you think nothing about doing something for someone. But it touches them.

Our friend, Paul didn't just touch people in little ways; he and his wife, our friend, Dana, were very active in their church with young people (who can, these days, use all the guidance they can get). Even through the rough times of illness and recovery, Dana and Paul turned to their faith undoubtingly because they knew it would help them and allow them to continue to help others. Their creativity is what touched (and still does) us. And their example will continue to touch me.

We could all take a lesson from the way that Paul lived and Dana lives their lives. Keep touching others....

Paul, may you find rest and peace and watch over us all. Please continue to touch our lives as an angel.

Dana, may you find peace and solace in your friends and know that he is right here with us always.

We love you both!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Coming down to the wire

School is almost finished for the semester - A&P I with Dr. Hanna has proven to be a challenge - mostly in time management - this class is a lot of work!!!! I can't wait until it's over....2 1/2 more weeks...1 lecture exam, 1 lab exam, 1 histology notebook project and 1 final...

This week was a whirlwind: I worked the first half of the week and then had a double lab with a sheep brain and a cow eye dissection (good times!); right after school, Adam and I took off for a quick visit to NYC so that we could be with my mom while she had her angiogram. Thank God that turned out to be the best possible outcome!!! We drove back home to MA the next night and got home at midnight. I had to work an 11 hour day the next morning.

On Saturday, me and a few of my work crew participated in a charity bowl to support the Old Colony Y's Big Sister Big Brother program. I came in second place in terms of score (77)...I'm not a bowler.

And I studied last night and much of today - despite the fact that I really wanted to be out in the New England 90 degree weather. I found out today that my van needs some freon for the A/C...Adam will fix that sometime this week before it gets hot again.

While we were in NYC, after mom's procedure was done and the news of her relatively healthy heart came over, my parents surprised me with an early Mother's Day gift...a Canon 50D.

Holy Smokes!!!! They also got Dylan a brand new Nintendo DSi for getting good grades.

Because I've been so nuts since we got home on Thursday night from NYC, I didn't even break it out of the box until yesterday. I promise to review the camera on here as soon as I learn what all my controls are. I did though, get to shoot a few while I took a break from studying:
I had planned on taking the kids to the beach to test the new camera but after picking up CTMH catalogs in RI, I deemed the beach too far to drive to with a subpar air conditioner in the caravan when it was 92 degrees out. I took this photo of Angelica across the table at Friendly's - they were ok with ice cream - it wasn't the beach but it was the best that I could do...considering that driving down the highway with the windows wide open is not fun for me.I love this shot of her trying to smile with her eyes wide open!
I guess it wasn't so bad after the ice cream. Not the best picture I ever took of them but I still love it when they are all looking and smiling at me.
Here's Dylan taking a swig of a blue drink. His dad got him that haircut....I prefer the bowl cut but they both liked this haircut better.
This is Melody sitting in Grammie's quad the other night. I love that she loves to have her picture taken. The cut near her right eye is from the other day when her dad turned around to help Dylan with something while she was on the skateboard...he left her sitting and she stood up and then took a spill...nice going dad!

Finally, this is Melody doing her "Angel" face. This is her interpretation of what Angel does when she's mad. No kidding - it's true - I'll have to find a picture of it...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Melody's birthday

Melody turned 4 years old last Friday - I can't believe that the biggest surprise of my life is already 4 years old. I'm feel aged...not like a fine wine but someone who is getting older. Although, Melody (and I are both) getting better too...
This was Melody and her big brother and big sister - she was just a few hours old.
This is Melody when she first came home - she was a bit jaundice like her brother and sister so we had to put her in the sun.
Melody grew up fast like the other kids.
Just Melody and me - hanging out in the family room - right before maternity leave was over.
Melody has always loved bath time...Nice toes, Adam.
Taken during Melody's first visit to Disneyworld. She recently asked me if we could move to Disneyworld. I told her that I didn't have a job there. She told me that I could take pictures at Disneyworld for a job. I wish...
Melody's first Easter - visiting her grandparents at a campground. They don't have their RV anymore. Melody wishes they would have it back so they could go camping this summer. Moment of silence for the RV...
This is Melody poopin' out after her first birthday party...she just finished eating a brownie and hadn't taken a nap...well, she took a nap here.
Adam and Melody's first trip to Maine together. We went up the year before without him (he was in the Police Academy).
This is Melody finding her daddy's baseball cap and then wearing it backwards so that she can see. She's so naughty looking...
Here's Melody eating one of her favorite things in the world - a bowl of cereal. This kid could have one for every meal of the day. In the bowl: Kellogg's Corn Pops.
Here's Melody's second visit to Disneyworld - she's a little pooped out from travelling - it was our first day there (on her big sister's 4th birthday).
One morning, Melody woke up and told me to take her picture.
And once in the car too -
Thankfully, Melody is one of my more willing subjects...although I did not take this picture of her.
One of her favorite things in the whole world to do: swimming.
Melody's second favorite thing? Playing in dirt.
While I don't think she looks that much like me, my mom says that there is a picture of me just like this one - I think she means the pout...if I ever find that photo, I'll post it with this one.
Bubbles - Mel, you're out of bubbles...

I'm on the top of our playgound in the backyard shooting this photo of Melody going up the wrong way on the slide (that used to drive my dad nuts when we did that at the park).

Thank you for that flower, Melody.
I hope she always looks up to me (although, I think by the time she gets to high school she'll be taller than me).
I hope she stays silly.
And sweet.
And fun.

And I hope she always lets me take her picture.

Melody used to be the most shy of all my babies - and now that she's a little older, she's much more outgoing. And this kid forever has no problem with a dirty face or a runny nose (yuck!). She is by far, the youngest of 3 kids and that is obvious. And no matter how old she gets, she will always be my Melody. Happy birthday, baby!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Our Parent-Teacher conferences were yesterday. Let me share our experiences:

Some people think that I have it altogether - managing a full-time job, part-time school, full-time mom, part-time everything else in the universe I do. I certainly have a lot of support - from my manager at work, my professor at school, my husband and in-laws, my parents and friends.
But it's not always perfect.

My poor husband was working in the yard the other day and got poison oak on his face. He woke me up at 5am yesterday to tell me that he was taking a ride to the local emergency room as his right eye was swollen shut (he could have just gone to the doctor's like I told him to the morning before but he was too busy getting work done on his tattoo - while his face was slowly swelling to look like Rocky post-fight). Don't expect a picture here because he'll freak out if I take one and then freak out even more if I post it...
Anyhow, he got home in time to bring the kids to school and comes to find out that Melody didn't have school because of parent-teacher conferences...so he got the 2 minute one from her teacher -that's ok - she's in nursery school.

According to Melody's teacher, "She's doing great here. She's very well-liked, probably the most popular kid in the class. She loves to talk and sometimes gets in trouble for talking too much during circle time."
I like this picture of Melody - backlit (from the side), focused well - she's a little washed out from the sun (you'd only know this if you saw her, otherwise I don't really mind how lit up her face is). BUT no catchlights in her eyes is a little bothersome (although now that I look at this picture closer, there are catchlights but not enough for me). As soon as my Photoshop CS4 comes in the mail, maybe I will learn how put in them in - despite that purchase, I still would rather take a photo properly without a whole bunch of post production stuff.
Better catchlights here - Melody's in open shade facing light. Catchlights are also more prominent in lighter colored eyes than in darker colored eyes.

According to Angel's teacher (who was Dylan's teacher in 1st grade too). "Angelica is a doll! She is an excellent writer and is doing everything expected of a 1st grader. She sometimes gets tired after recess, but I think it's because she's real little and petite and plays hard to keep up with her friends. She is well-liked and always keeps herself busy when she gets the work done. She's a solid reader and knows her stuff. The only thing Angel needs to work on is the pouting after not getting something to go her way - like when she isn't first or doesn't like something."
HA - no surprise there...
I've posted this picture before (I think). For the most part, Angel is a happy person.
As for being little, I'm not too worried (actually, I think she's growing and has had some growing pains of late) - she's good at keeping up and giving people a run for their money.
I love this picture - I shot a bunch of these a couple of weeks ago - Angel's in love with that shirt - my mom sent it to her. Centered shots are not as interesting as off-centered shots (to me anyway, and I suppose it depends on what you're shooting) - but I like this photo of Angelica because she's swinging in mid-air (hard to tell but if you saw the other photos in conjunction with this one, you would be able to tell that I shot her while she was swinging - some of the other pictures made it to an earlier post).

Dylan's the only one who gets letter grades (Melody doesn't get a report card and Angel gets check marks in Always, Sometimes, Needs Improvement). He got 10 A's and 3 B's; The only change he had was in reading from an A- to a B - reading comprehension can trick him (is what his teacher says). Dylan's teacher also said that "he's a good kid, gets along well with everyone, and needs to elaborate more when he writes. Everything he writes is very short and to the point with no explanations or elaborations."
Adam says he has police mentality: Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts.
Dylan is a sweater - this was taking at the end of the year hockey banquet - and no, he wasn't playing hockey, he was running around with his friends. The small catchlights in his eyes were from the fluorescent lighting in the hall...I had to adjust this picture post production for skin tone (I didn't adjust my white balance for fluor lighting and the original picture had Dylan looking yellow).

We also got test scores for Dylan from a test he took in February. The City administers a test to all 3rd graders to see if they are candidates for the TAG program - Talented and Gifted. As a 3rd grader, Dylan is performing on a 5th grader's level in both math and reading. According to his teacher, he was only one of two boys in their class who will be invited to further screen for the TAG program that he would begin in the fall. Very EXCITING!!! He averaged a 91 in reading and a 92 in math (more impressive was that he scored a 96% in math concepts and estimation)
Love this picture - even with the goofy smile - he's since lost one of those top teeth - the one that is hanging further down than the others. I love the blurry background which makes my eye focus on Dylan. And there are those catchlights again.

Both Adam and I are thrilled with all their grades. We couldn't ask for better reports...

Today is Melody's birthday - we'll post more on that this weekend too!

Gotta go - one last day before the long holiday weekend! yippy!!! and then the kids are on vacation - lucky them...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I need the weekend to get here!!!

Things have been crazy as usual!

Dylan's hockey team is finally over - there will be a father-son skate and then they get most of the summer off.
Tryouts were last week and yesterday - got this shot from the bench...
This is pretty much how Dylan dealt with tryouts - falling and getting back up again - nothing wrong with that - just usually, skating works out better if you stay on your feet. My guess? He'll be on the Squirt C team (which is great because he'll have the same coach he did this year - Darren was a great coach!!!).

Gotta go - will have more to post this weekend...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Time to relax -for a minute...

So, I took my 2nd A&P test yesterday - felt pretty good about it afterwards. About half of my class has dropped out...it's a tough class - tougher when you take it as a hybrid class (i.e. half online/half onsite).

Here are a few more pictures from last weekend.

Melody was a willing subject - she usually is - sitting in our half-circle driveway.
It was quite breezy - I didn't ask her to look that way, she just was...
Later in the day, I took a break from studying and shot Angel on the playground in the backyard. This photo was unedited.
This photo was edited with PSE 6.0 - I'm seriously thinking about upgrading to Photoshop CS4 extended. Any one with thoughts on that program - it's a lot more advanced than elements but I love all the cool things you can do with it that PSE can't do. Anyway, I used an action called contra pop on this one (got that action at EZactions.com).
And on this one I used an action called Vivid Color....makes that blue hood really come out...

More later - gotta go to work.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The weekend's over? Already? sigh!

OMG! Where did this weekend go? This was my first weekend off from work that we didn't have to leave the state in a while - I've been studying all weekend long...with breaks for a friend's birthday party, dinner at Mom and Dad's with sister and her kids...I had a CTMH demo at Mimi's house tonight...thanks girls - that was fun!!!

I also managed to fire off about 500 photos between yesterday and today...I'll post a few here...
It only took me 7 shots to get this one...I liked their smiles better when they came with actual teeth.
This is Angelica, who has lost 5 teeth so far - it was almost 6 today when Dylan was swinging his sisters on the hammock out in the backyard that then turned over with Angel falling face first into the dirt - top left hand tooth is now a little loose...at least the tooth fairy won't have to worry about unemployment at this house.
I'm in love with that dimple! It was easier to see in the picture before this one.
Angel was also brave enough to put earrings back in her ears. She's had them pierced since she was 2 months old and only took off her earrings a few months back. Here she is showing them off after putting her hair up in a hat. There's that dimple!!!

Here is Angel pointing out that the tooth fairy is still in business at our house.

The pictures above and the following pictures were all taken with my Canon 50mm f/1.8 in midday, nearly high-noon, directly overhead sun. Angelica's pictures were all taken on the front porch in the shadow of the house, while most of the next 5 pictures of Melody were taken in our front yard, in the middle of our half circle driveway.
Ah, a mouth full of teeth - except Melody is dying to have a loose tooth so that the tooth fairy will pay her, she said.
These pictures were taken in succession - I stepped back a half a step when I took this one - no zoom on my 50mm...my feet are my zoom. I highly recommend learning on a prime lens...we'll get into that some other time - when I'm not in a rush to finish a blog entry...
I used to wish they would always look at me - now I'm glad that they don't sometimes.
It's still great when they do, though.
Finally, I'm sitting on the grass and Melody just got up...she's too cute for color tv!!!

Ok - really, I'm not going to blog and will probably not shoot anything for the next 2 days...for real...I have some books to hit! I just had to put these cuties up.