Thursday, August 19, 2010

Looking At The Sky on Fridays


Sadly, summer is coming to an end.
I just wish it could stay summer all year long.
This was taken at one of our favorite places, Ocean City, New Jersey.

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Looking at the Sky on Friday


The view from my front yard: past a branch of my favorite tree. Happy Friday!

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm 40 . . How is that possible?

I turned 40 last week. By my request there was not much fanfare, no big party or anything. Good thing we didn't spend a lot on that kind of stuff, because as of this week we have a leaky 27 old kitchen faucet and the air conditioner in my car just died. Sigh.

As one of my Facebook friends said . . "40! How is it possible? Wasn't it like just a couple of weeks ago that we were standing in line for [our favorite college bar] with fake ID's?"


Turning 40 is not really a huge deal for me. I'm actually grateful to have made it this far.

But, marking my 40 years on this earth has got me thinking about a bunch of things, which have boiled down to the following questions:
  • What do I want to be when I grow up? (Yes, I still don't know)
  • What can I do to make my rather ordinary life extraordinary?
  • What would best help me to live another 40 years with just as much fun (if not more!) as I've had in the past 40?

As I mull over the answers to these questions (maybe once I figure out some coherent thoughts on that, I'll answer them in another post), I decided that rather than envy my daughter in all the things she's learning, like photography, I should join her and take strides to learn something new myself.

So, for my 40th birthday, I asked to take photography classes. I start one of two classes next Monday.

Yes, each Monday evening until December 13th, I will have two hours to myself to get over to our local community college for photography courses. The first course I registered for is Basic Photography, then I move right on to Advanced Photography after Basic ends. In the spring I hope to take more classes - there are Commercial Photography and Photoshop classes that look interesting.

These are non-credit courses that don't count towards anything, but that's OK. They are affordable, and the course description is right down my alley.

Now I did look into a photography certificate program at our local art and design college, but the classes were $500-$700 each, require a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera and it would have taken a couple of years.

So I decided to start small. The classes I'm taking are $128 each, and I can use my point and shoot camera.

Yes, of course, I do want to buy a DSLR, but I'm not there yet (and neither is my bank account) I decided I should master the camera I have (which is fairly new) before I am ready to move on.

So why photography, you ask? I love to take pictures - I always have. I take a ton of them. And typically I do a whole lot of nothing with them. Whenever I go to a wedding, I take 100+ pictures to send to the bride. I figure I can get some shots that her photographer is too busy to get. Plus, it's fun!

Sometimes I get lucky and take a great one. I would like to take more great ones.

And someday, if I stick with it and show some promise, maybe I can make a little money doing it (and thus maybe answering question #1 above). . and if not, at a minimum, my skills should improve enough in order to create plenty of lasting memories for our family.

It feels great to do something for myself. Pre-kids, I used to take tennis lessons, cooking classes, all kinds of stuff. Haven't done anything like that in years, and I miss having some time to work on something for myself.

Hunter has many hobbies - hunting, fishing, poker night, etc. My hobbies consist of reading for 20 minutes before I go to bed and cleaning my house (which I suck at, my house is always a mess). And an occasional exercise class here and there (on my lunch break!).

It was surprisingly easy to coordinate - Hunter graciously agreed to be home from work every Monday by 6:30 so I can go to class.

Hopefully it will remain this easy. So far the kids have no activities on Monday nights, so we are clear!!!

I will continue thinking about the questions posed in this post and will follow up with my Next-40-Year plan soon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday to #3!

Our beloved #3 turns TWO YEARS OLD TODAY.

Just two short years ago, we welcomed her to our family. Here she is, not too long after her birth, with her very proud big brother and sister:

And here she is partying it up with Diva and Daredevil on her first birthday.

And here she is recently, posing with her two favorite playmates:

We have a small family party planned to celebrate #3's big day. I am tearing around town seeking"Finding Nemo" party stuff since that is her current obsession. Since that movie came out a long time ago, the Nemo stuff is pretty scarce.

Anyway, we can't believe it has been two years already. Like all my kids, #3 is growing up so fast.

Strong and determined, she can often be found bossing around her siblings, the dog, and her parents, telling them to "Sit down!" or "Read it!" (read her a book), or asking for some "foo" (food). And if you can't understand what she is asking for, she will be happy to take your hand, pull you up off the couch and lead you straight to whatever it is she wants you to get or do for her. She cracks us up!

Happy Happy Birthday #3. You make us smile every day and we love you!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm "exonerated" . . But I didn't know I was accused of a crime

I was reading my local paper and came across an article with this title:

"More Exoneration for Working Mothers"

I kind of bristled, but thought I'd read the article before casting judgment. You can read it here.

It basically talks about a study where children were followed throughout stages of development. Such study concluded that children in day care fare no less well in the end than those with stay at home parents. Basically there are advantages/disadvantages to both, but for the most part it all evens out.

That's all fine and good - I didn't have an issue with the article.

And I agree with the study results - in my experience, I already know my kids are doing just fine - great, in fact. They are happy, healthy, well adjusted, well behaved (um, most of the time) and do very well in school. Same with the kids of my stay-at-home parent friends.

I am offended by this headline. I guess it's the word "exoneration". Like working mothers should feel like they have committed a crime and are looking for absolution? Ugh. Seems we are still in the dark ages.

The article was reprinted in my local paper. It originally appeared in the Washington Post.

When I went to the Washington Post to check it out, the article actually appeared under the following headline:

"Study: Working mothers not necessarily harmful to children's development "

Not a whole lot better, but a little. Still, the impression here is that generally working mothers are somehow harmful to their children, and we need studies to prove that wrong.

Am I being overly sensitive here, or does this seem to reek of bygone eras and judgments that shouldn't exist anymore?