Letters to our Children – June

We’re at the beach now, taking our first beach vacation with the girls.  I thought I’d go ahead and write this letter while Asha’s taking a nap, and Ariya’s playing with her cousins.

Dear Ariya,

We went strawberry picking this month.  You were so excited to spend time with daddy and pick strawberries.  They were so yummy!  And there was a playground to play on.  But the best part of all was the strawberry slushy.  So delicious!!

The last time you went to the beach, you were 6 months old.  We went to Jamaica for a friend’s wedding.  The water was so calm and clear, blue and green, warm.  A great way to ease into the water.  You’re not so impressed with the beaches of North Carolina.  We’re staying in Kure Beach, and you are so scared of the waves.  You love playing in the sand, digging, building sand castles.  But you’re will barely get your feet in the water.  Even when your dad or I go in the water, you cry and get scared.  You’re afraid we’ll wash away.  We won’t, we’re pretty good swimmers.  Nani and Nanu stayed with us this weekend at the beach, and you were so excited to have Nanu at the beach with us.  Nani is not a fan of the sun, but she’s been waking up early to go for her walks, gathering sea shells for you. And Nanu wanted to take you in the water, but you weren’t ready.  Now, your grandma and cousins are here, Auntie Carmen and Uncle Eric.  Your favorite cousin Jayden is here, and Phelix.  And Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff and Mekhai are coming tonight.  What an exciting beach vacation!

You started taking swim lessons with your friend Asher at the country club.  You love seeing Asher and his big sister Marni.  And I guess the pool is different from the ocean.  You love splashing and kicking in the water.

When we get back from the beach, you’ll take soccer camp.  Right now you love kicking the soccer ball around so I think you’ll playing soccer.  You’re taking soccer camp with Asher, so at least you’ll have a friend with you.  I can’t wait to see how much fun you’ll have.

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Dear Asha,

You turned 6 months old this month. You’ve been rolling over like crazy, enjoying tummy time.  We started sleep training you, but you have the hardest time going to sleep on your own.  You’re ok to fall asleep in our arms, or when I’m wearing you.  The car sometimes helps.  But I’m hoping you’ll figure it out soon.  Your morning naps are getting longer (YES!!).

We’ve started you on solids.  Your first food was sweet potato.  You made the funniest faces, trying food for the first time. Since then, you’ve had apples, pears and now bananas.  I think you like it.  Now you make the cutest faces, every time you see your spoon.

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Project 365 Film edition – May 2016

So, as I’ve said in past blog posts about film, I’m obsessed.  like OBSESSED!  I’ve shot a TON of film.  Picking the best 30 or 31 for each month is no problem.  I probably have enough for the rest of the summer, and it’s barely started.  I’ve shared a ton on instagram, so if you feel like checking me out there, the link is here.

Recently, I submitted a few photos to the Analog story.  I wanted to share my story, why I shoot film.  Best decision I ever made, committing to shooting film.  Unfortunately, my husband is starting to wonder what all is involved (cost of film, cost of development, etc).  But then he loves the prints that come back.  So I’d say it’s well worth it.

Here are a few of my favorites from this month. Some Portra 160, Portra 160NC, Portra 400, Lomo 800, Fuji 400h.  Shot with Nikon f100, Pentax 6×7 and Mamiya 645AF.

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Letters to our Children – May

I’m writing this while Asha takes a nap and Ariya is in pre-school.  Let’s hope I can get through this.

Ariya, my sweet girl.

We got to go to the Apple Blossom Carnival this year!  Your daddy was actually off for the week of Apple Blossom.  The weather was horrible for the parade, and we ended up going out of town to visit Nani and Nanu, see Grandma and Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, Auntie Carmen and your cousins.  But I was so excited (and I’m sure you were excited) to go to the carnival and for you to actually be able to ride some of the rides!  You had a blast, you rode a few rides, won a few prizes, rode a horse, had some cotton candy (which you loved!) and a chilli hot dog.  You were tired by the end of the day and didn’t want to go home (which you say all the time now “I don’t want to go home”).

I made the mistake of telling you our summer vacation plans.  For a month now, all I’ve heard is “and now we’re going to the beach.  Let’s go to the beach.  Are we going to the beach now?  I want to build sand castles!”  Yes, Ariya, we’re going to the beach at the end of June.  But until then, I guess I’ll hear your wish to go to the beach now, every darn day.

Lately, you’ve been waking up early.  Like, really early.  Before, your bedtime was 7:30/8pm, and you’d wake up at 7:30/8am.  But I don’t know if it’s that you’re hearing Asha’s cries, or if you’re missing your daddy and want to catch him before he leaves for work at 6:30am, but you’ve been sneaking in our room, getting into our bed early in the morning.  This morning, I almost stepped on you, you were sleeping on the floor next to the bed!  I hope this is a phase, I love that you want to cuddle, but you should really get more sleep!

It’s your last week of pre-school.  I’m a little nervous for this summer.  You’ve become obsessed with Disney Jr and now love Octanauts.  It’s a pretty cool show, but you’d be content to sit on the couch and watch 3 or 4 episodes in a row.  When I’m not feeling well or tired, sure, it’s ok to veg out on the couch.  But I don’t plan to let you do that all summer!

These were all shot with the Nikon f100 and Lomo 800, rated at 400 and pushed +1 in dev.

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Asha Asha Asha.  Why won’t you sleep!  What happened?  You slept for long stretches at a time.  you know how to do it.  I know you do.  But for some reason, the past few nights, you kept waking up every few hours.  It was tough on your mommy and daddy.  I have a feeling you are hitting a few milestones and don’t know what to do with yourself!  You’re drooling a ton!  I keep feeling around your gums, but don’t feel any teeth (thank goodness, I never nursed a teething baby before, and I’m scared to do it now!  Ariya stopped nursing at 6 months and her teeth came in soon after.)  You love gnawing on your toys, our fingers, my shoulder.  And now you’ve started rolling over!  At first, you look at me with this huge smile, like you know you’ve done something HUGE.  And then you start to freak out and cry because you don’t know what you’ve done and you just want to go back to lying on your back again, or better yet, be held.

You’re now 5 months old.  You love to grab your toes, sucking on your fingers, roll to your side and stare.  You’re a pretty calm chill baby, until you’re tired or hungry.  We love playing with you, especially Ariya.  She loves giving you hugs and kisses, and laying with you.

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Feel free to follow the circle and check out Kristin’s blog post here.

Letters to our Children – April 2016

I’ve been a bit behind on everything, it feels like.  But I didn’t want to forget a letter to my daughters for April, because this was the month that my eldest turned 3!

Ariya, my first baby that is no longer a baby, my sweet, silly big girl.  You turned 3 on April 11th.  Last month, we talked about throwing you a Sofia the First birthday party, and yup, it happened.  We were going to have it in Richmond, with family.  But you have been talking up your birthday party so much, that we felt like we had to throw it here, at home.  We invited your friends.  Aiden, Declan, Sei, Hideshiro, Aaliyah, Marni, Asher, Veer, Jai, Elizabeth, Grace, Sheye. Wow, you have a lot of friends. And we were lucky to have family come up.  Your Nani and Nanu were here, along with Grandma, Auntie Carmen, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, and Jayden, Mekhai and Phelix!  You are so loved!  I think you loved wearing your Sofia the First princess dress and tiara.  You loved your birthday cake and all the balloons and streamers.  You loved playing with your friends. But I think what you loved best was the petting zoo.  Yes, your mommy got carried away and got a petting zoo to come to your birthday party.  There was a llama, a miniature pony, a pig, a sheep, a goat, some chickens, guinea pigs, bunnies and I think even hamsters.  It was all pretty cool.  I think even the adults loved the animals! It was a pretty fun day, and we loved helping celebrate your 3rd birthday party!

Here are a few photos taken on film for your special day.

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Asha, my sweet baby.  You turned 4 months in April.  You love smiling at your big sister, and always seek her out when you hear her talking.  You giggle sometimes, but only when your mommy makes a fool of herself.  I don’t mind, I love to hear you laugh.  You love blowing bubbles and grabbing your feet.  You’re not a fan of tummy time at all.  You can last for maybe a minute?  You don’t get the hype of tummy time, and that’s ok.  You do love rolling on your side though.  You’ve started sleeping in your crib, and you’ve even slept through the night a few times.  What a treat that was for Mommy and Daddy!  It didn’t last long though, but that’s ok.  We’ll get there eventually.

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Project 365 Film edition – April 2016

This project focused solely on film has become so much bigger than I thought it would.  I’m obsessed.  The loading of the film, the guessing with the metering (I’m too lazy to pull out my handheld meter most of the time, a goal of mine is to get better at metering accurately), deciding what to rate the film at, if I’m going to push it, shoot without knowing if I got the shot, or how it will look after it’s developed, the process of packing up the film to mail out and be developed by a film lab, the anticipation of getting that email saying that my scans are ready to be downloaded, clicking on the link, and loving close to every one of my photos.  No joke.  This is a serious love affair.  I have BARELY touched my dslr b/c I’ve been OBSESSED with film.  Like, really obsessed.  Any way, I’m not going to bore you with my all of my film shots, b/c they’re mostly of family.  But I will post a few of my favorites from this month. If you follow me on instagram, you most likely have already seen these pictures, as I was too excited to wait until this blog post to share.  But if you haven’t seen these, well here you go!

Nikon f100, fuji200

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Nikon f100, portra 800

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Nikon f100, fuji 400h

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Nikon f100, ilford xp2

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DITL (Day in the Life) – April 2016 edition

I’m currently enrolled in Jessica Thomason’s workshop, the documentary Approach, on clickin moms.  I’ve taken a gazillion workshops it feels like, and this may be my last one for a while.  I’m burnt out, having a 4 month old and a 3 year old is a lot of work!  I still take pictures, but uploading them on the laptop, editing them always seems like more effort than its worth right now.  But this class is great, and Jessica’s work is awesome.  If you’ve never heard of her before, you have to check her out.  I love how open she is with her knowledge, and willing to share.  Her photography is documentary, and it’s very real.  No posing, no staging. You can find out all her info here.

Anyway, our week three assignment was to capture a day in the life.  And with this assignment in mind, we had to answer a few questions.  How different is our life now from 6 months ago, how different will our lives be in 6 months, etc.  And the reason why I started photography in the first place, was the hope that my daughters would look at these pictures years from now, and remember what their lives were like way back when.  So this was a great exercise in seeing how our lives are like right now at this moment.

It’s exhausting.  My DITL started this past Sunday.  And I already forgot to take pictures of our morning, waking up, getting Ariya dressed, etc.  But I did the best that I could.  I also took these photos with the fuji x100t.  I have such a love/hate relationship with it.  I’m so close to selling it, I’m just more comfortable with my nikon d610.  But I love how small and portable the fuji is.  Anyway, here is how we spent our day.  Enjoy!

 

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Project 365 Film edition – March 2016

I’m so in love with film.  So in love.  I’m learning a ton, and I still have a LONG way to go.  But shooting film just fits with my lifestyle right now.  one thing I’m starting to hate is the time I spend on my laptop.  When it was just Ariya, I had plenty of time to sit down after her bed time and just hang out on the laptop, upload pictures, edit, etc.  Now, with a baby…forget about it.  Asha only naps for 30 minutes at a time in her crib.  She can be high maintenance at night.  And honestly, I’m just tired. At night,  I just want to sit down, watch my favorite tv show, hang out with the hubs actually have a conversation.  So the only time I want to spend on the laptop is if I’m typing up a blog post.  Like right now.  Right now, my husband and I are catching up on the OJ mini series.  Ariya is in bed, Asha is swaddled and in his arms.  And I”m catching up on blogging.

So, a few days late, but here are a few pictures from March on film.

Mamiya 645 and Portra 160

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Mamiya 645 and Kodak 400vc (Had I known how awesome this film was, I would have treated this differently.  But now I’m on the hunt for more VC. If you have any, send some my way)

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Nikon f100 and fuji 800.  This was old expired film that my mom gave me.  I didn’t know how to rate expired film, or if I should tell the lab to push it.  Had I known, I would have done things differently.  But now I know, and have some more expired film that I plan to experiment with.

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Mamiya C330 and fuji 400h

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Mamiya 645 and Portra 800

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Nikon f100 and Portra 400 rated at 200

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That’s it for March!  I’ve got plenty more for April.  This 365 project is going much better than my digital version, that’s for sure.  But, I refuse to give up!

10 on 10: April 2016

I’ve been in a photography slump lately.  I’ve taken workshops, but I’m just tired.  Running after a toddler and a 4 month old baby, it can get exhausting.  And I’m just taking pictures to take them.  I’ve fallen off the 365 wagon (digital version).  I’ve been shooting, just haven’t been editing.  I’ve fallen in love with film.  I’m not able to get on the laptop and edit.  I love the colors of film.  The only problem is that I don’t get instant gratification.  Which is why I still shoot digital.  But this isn’t a love letter to film.

The 10th happened to fall on Ariya’s 3rd birthday.  Ariya decided she wanted a Sophia the First themed party.  And what started off as a small party with a few close friends turned into something bigger.  Family came into town.  We had a petting zoo.  It was nice, but wow, it was exhausting.

So, I didn’t shoot a true day in the life, it was chaos trying to get ready for the party.  Honestly, I turned my fuji x100t on auto, thinking I’d give it to someone to shoot.  Big mistake.  a lot of the photos were out of focus.  I didn’t change the ISO to auto, so a lot of the outdoor shots were blown out and not salvageable.  I was wearing Asha in a wrap b/c that was the only way that she would take a nap, so taking pictures were not very comfortable. the angles are awkward, etc.  I shot film outside, which i have to send out to the lab, so I won’t get those photos of the petting zoo until sometime next week or the week after.  The downfall of film, the wait.

What I realized, and hopefully learned from this is that I’m no longer taking a gazillion photos at my daughters’ birthday party.  Either hire someone, or get a photographer friend to help.  But if it’s just me, I’m taking a few key photos and that’s it.  Because there was no way to be 100% present.  And a lot of my photos were not the best, so it almost doesn’t seem worth it.  Anyway, that’s me just venting.  It was a great day, just wasn’t documented in the best way.  Live and learn.

Here’s a few from our day.

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Feel free to follow the circle, and check out the talented Francesca Russell and how she spent her 10th here

Letters to our Children – March 2016

It’s that time again.  I’ve been thankful to join this blog circle, to have a reminder, a way to write to my daughters and let them know what I’m thinking, what we’re going through at this time, the good times, the bad.  I used to keep a journal back in the day, and while I regret not keeping a journal throughout Ariya’s beginnings, I’m glad that I’m doing it now.  Better late than never right?

Oh Ariya.  I can’t believe you’ll be 3 in less than a month.  Where did the time go?!?!  And every time I look at Asha, I remember when you were a baby, so small, so sweet, so perfect.

Right now you’re excited at the thought of celebrating your birthday at school.  We’re also planning a small family get together in Richmond, and you love the idea of a Sophia the First birthday party.  I’ll see what I can do.  You love princesses, but you also love super heros.  You’re always talking about your super powers.

I love seeing your imagination at work.  You love making up stories and playing with your stuffed animals.  You always ask me to sit down and play with you, color with you.  And I do the best that I can, I promise.  The dishes can wait, the laundry can wait.  Just as long as I can spend extra time with you.

You’re going through a phase right now, and I hope it will pass.  Lately you’ve been saying that you want a hair cut, that you don’t like your hair.  And it breaks my heart.  It took me 30 years to accept my curls.  I did everything I could to fight it.  I hope you won’t make the same mistakes I made.  Your hair is beautiful, YOU are beautiful.  You are unique, and sweet, kind and mischievous.  Your laugh is infectious (You definitely get that from your daddy).  You are our sunshine.

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The many faces of Asha.  You turned 3 months old and you’re getting more aware, of your surroundings, of your sister, of your daddy and me.  You love to clutch at any and everything.  You are constantly pulling our hair, but we forgive you 🙂  You’re not a fan of tummy time, you kick, and you struggle, but one day, you’ll realize how awesome it is.  You’re getting stronger every day.  Right now I’m watching you, drooling, kicking your feet and cooing. You’re growing too fast!  Please slow down.  Please?03_Asha-2 03_Asha-3 03_Asha-4 03_Asha-5 03_Asha-6

Feel free to follow the circle and check out Kristin’s letter to her children here

Project 365 Film edition – February 2016

I survived the 2nd month of this film 365.  I tried 2 different things this month.  I tried pushing film and I tried using the lensbaby sweet 35 on my Nikon f100.  I’m not sure if I was successful, but at least I tried 🙂  I still don’t know what I’m doing (I don’t know if I ever will), but I’m having fun trying! And for the record, I’m having a hard time taking a photo every day.  so my rule for this project is to get at least a decent photo for each day of the month.  I may get a few decent photos on one day, nothing on the next day, maybe a few more dent photos in one day, etc.  The only way I can keep this project going.

Tri-X 400 +2 on Nikon f100, using the lensbaby sweet 35

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Tri-X 400 on Pentax 6×7 with 105mm lens

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Portra 400 on Mamiya 645 and 80mm lens50_021916 51_022016 52_022116 53_022216 54_022316 55_022416 56_022516 57_022616

Portra 160 on Mamiya 645 and 80mm lens58_022716 59_022816 60_022916