How to Wrap a Skateboard

DSC_0389-9How do you wrap a skateboard? Especially when the birthday boy has been asking for it for months and you want it to be a surprise?

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DSC_0317-1You don’t. You wrap a small box, instead. And inside the small box you put a note directing the birthday boy to a suitcase  where his treasure awaits.

Did you know a large suitcase is the perfect size for a skateboard?

You’re welcome.

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DSC_0323-1This particular skateboard had been coming in stock and and quickly selling out for months.  It was a matter of fortunate timing that allowed us to catch it at all. And we know Who is in charge of fortunate timing!

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DSC_0348-1-2His brand new skateboard needed wheels and trucks so we went the very next day to the skateboard shop.

“Hello?”

Only to be greeted by silence.

Where was everybody?

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DSC_0350-2Not to fear.  Thomas soon appeared and was so nice and understanding of fledgling skateboarders that he let Sawyer behind the counter to help assemble the parts.

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DSC_0356-3He showed Sawyer what to do once, then left him to it.

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DSC_0363-4I don’t think Sawyer had ever felt so important in his life.

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DSC_0371-5There they worked, side by side, as I surreptitiously snapped pictures.

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DSC_0377-7If Thomas thought I was weird, he kept it quietly to himself.

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DSC_0378-8One thing’s for sure, he was great at knowing what little kids loved. We found out later that someone had done the same thing for him when he was little. Passing it on. It works.

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And boy, did he pass it on.

“Mom, I think I’m going to open up my own skateboard shop this summer. I can fix up boards and sell them and everything.”

Oh, dear.

Thank you, Thomas!

Loving Grandpa

DSC_0487-6We got our first big snow.

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DSC_0485-5The first thing Sawyer thought of was going to the “old people’s house” across the street to shovel their porch for them.

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DSC_0483-4I’m not sure if making a buck was an incentive or not. But I explained how he needed to do it for Grandpa back home in Maryland.

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DSC_0481-2“Remember how the neighbors help Grammy and Grandpa? We can’t be there to do it, but you can help across the street just like you wish you could help your own Grandpa.”

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DSC_0477-1I think he got it. At least at the time, I think he got it. As it turned out, the nice old lady handed him $2 and he pocketed it before he remembered himself.

And that’s okay.

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DSC_0489-1It was the spirit of the thing that mattered.

We love you Grandpa. We wish you lived across the street from us.

He Said He Wouldn’t Do It…

DSC_0400-4Do you remember me talking about The Christmas Morning Family? They gave Sawyer a couple of bows for his birthday. And not just any bows. These were bows that were handmade with PVC piping, twine and padded hand grips.

Tristan grabbed one and shot away.

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DSC_0395-2This is why bows are ideally suited for outdoor use.

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DSC_0403-5He said he would never shoot at anyone.

Anything didn’t make that list.

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DSC_0264-7Pippin remained happily oblivious.

Danger? Here? In my tree sanctuary? Surely, not.

That’s one way to get a cat out of a tree.

Favorite Shots – part 3

20130610-DSC_0002“Look, Mom!” I never know what I’m going to find when I turn around .  And that’s one of the reasons for this blog– to capture a bit of kidlife while I can.  One day I’ll be turning around to see a fiancee. Maybe they’ll be neatly packaged like this for old time’s sake.

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I know this shot isn’t technically great but it captured such a sugar-rush moment. A dozen-donuts- a- piece challenge.

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Remember this failed experiment? Mckenna took the ridiculous amount of sugar found in soda and stirred it into plain water. This did not convince the kids how unhealthy it is.

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Sheer and utter misery. Sogginess on parade day.

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And I caught it all on film.

Because I’m such a good mom.

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Sometimes I like to try the opposite of what’s usually shot and see what happens.

This isn’t my favorite framing, but I like the idea. It’s a technique to explore later.

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Giving.

I love.

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Whining.

I do not love.

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This is what summer smells like.

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 I hope this expression remains in his repertoire forever.

It’s what makes Tristan, Tristan.

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You know how hard it is to capture teenage guys?

Bingo!

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It’s the blue. It’s the red. It’s the era before he turns the corner and the little boy is lost in a manly jawline.

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No jawline here. SO far from jawline.

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This is not a picture of the Mckenna I know. But it is a great expression for a photo.

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This is the Mckenna I know, with her best friend, Lea.

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And I think this shot encompasses what my blog is all about in a nutshell.

Thanks for reviewing 2013 with me.

Especially those of you who stuck around when nothing was popping up on your screen. I think 2014 is going to be a  year just fine for popping.

Favorite Shots 2013 – part 2

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Neither one of these guys is very happy to have their picture taken, so I was extra glad to get this shot.

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I just love the way the snow is gently falling. I remember this day because the girls were FREEZING but willing to sacrifice for the sake of beauty.

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After the party. Tired. Are they ever too tired to play video games? I remember saying, “Make your ‘after the party’ face.”

Perfect.

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What? Just par for the course around here. “What in the world” is our catch phrase.

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 Beauty shot.  It was a dull, left-over day. I was so happy to find this bit of happiness.

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I had to include this because the girl below did it…

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 She has a bit of mischief in her, can you tell?

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I’m not sure how much longer I’ll find a Buzz Lightyear overlooking a town in my backyard….

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But I hope this doesn’t disappear forever.

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Beauty shot.

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This was Tristan’s day. The butterflies couldn’t get enough of him.

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Cheers! I just want to eat up those little cheekies.

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Unbridled exuberance. Summer! Or just a warm day! In Canada!

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I love everything about this shot. The colors, the composition, capturing a simple act, and the expression on his face.

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 I had to include this because of the light shining out of his eyes. This is who I see in my heart.

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Favorite Shots from 2013 – part 1

I took 6,315 pictures this year. Mercifully, I’ve culled the herd.

DSC_0574-47  I’m starting off with a family shot. I like this shot because it’s the only one I have of my family.

Is that sad?

It’s sad.

For being together as much as we are, I sure don’t have the shots to prove it.

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20130811-DSC_0005This one cracks me up because Mckenna was frozen like that for quite some time. I didn’t learn what she was doing until later-

“God told us in the bible to ‘go to the ant”, so I thought I’d better watch them for awhile.”

I love that girl.

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20130528-DSC_0381Poor Greyson. Being in front of the camera is not his favorite thing, but this particular day he was my model. We had to go all over the building to find the best light for some publicity shots for Glorious Films.  He never wavered.  In fact, he kept me going.

I love that guy.

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DSC_0120This picture is a good representation of what it’s like to live in another country. Sawyer wanted to have a bowling party for his birthday so we showed up and found out that this is bowling in Canada.

Who knew?

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DSC_0071When I used to work on a horse ranch I learned that they trained movie horses by exposing them to the loudest sounds and strangest sights so they wouldn’t flinch on camera. They could have just sent them over to our house. Our cats sit calmly through all manner of absurdity.

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DSC_0474 If you had seen the amount of scrambling that went into this– I’m pretty sure Sawyer is barefoot, and I see pajamas and a robe, but we made it.  Daisy the dog even got in as a bonus, I had no idea she was in the shot.

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DSC_0030Shenanigans. If you have left over pumpkins, why not take a sledgehammer to them? This shot represents What’s Going On Here quite well.

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yard, tree, gingerbread house 042Beauty shot. Sometimes I take my camera out when everything seems ugly, just to find something unexpected.

This was a field of cardboard colored weeds against a particle board sky. Until the sun hit it just right.

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yard, tree, gingerbread house 050 These still amaze me. It’s like the color in your crayon box you accidentally use when you reach for the purple and find out you got this instead.

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yard, tree, gingerbread house 041I liked the movement in these lines. Delicate. Graceful grass.

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yard, tree, gingerbread house 118I hope I never get too busy to smile when I find their toys arranged like this.

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DSC_0249Every year we go home for Christmas to America. This is what we see when we turn the corner to Grandma’s house.  There’s always a red Christmas tree in the second floor window.

Can lights say hello?

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DSC_0458When we moved here we had to learn to do long winters. If you’ve never zipped down a hill lickety-split and had the snow fly in your face, this picture captures exactly what it feels like.

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DSC_0009This is permanent marker but I couldn’t get mad once I heard the story behind it. Remember that one? The one with the dreaded….

 

DSC_0013 BOX OF DOOM.

They ought to make that a deterrent to street crime.

After the cops cuff the miscreant: “Okay, buddy, lets go. It’s the Box of Doom for you.”

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 Come back next week for the rest of 2013′s favorite shots. Until then, enjoy this one last shot I like to call:

“CAUGHT”

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Tree Flying

DSC_0024-1 - CopyHave you ever been tree flying? Maybe they call it zip lining. Earlier this summer our kids got to go as birthday guests of a family that I will just call The Christmas Morning Family, because that’s how they make you feel, all the time. They won’t be here long because they hail from Singapore, so we have to soak up every moment we can get.

We soaked up these moments in the trees. First, a trusty guide sees that all your equipment is on correctly.

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DSC_0028-2Then you walk over to get instructions from Tinkerbell.

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DSC_0030-3You think I jest?

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DSC_0031-4I jest not.

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DSC_0034-5It was a very serious session, as serious as a guy in a tutu can get.

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DSC_0035-6Sawyer just couldn’t bring himself to laugh when his very life would be on the line.

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DSC_0046-8“What was I supposed to do with this again?”

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DSC_0182-24It was kind of important to remember exactly what to do. After your instruction session, you were on your own. The guides left you alone and only responded to emergencies.

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DSC_0102-18Somehow in all the hubbub, Sawyer ended up going first on the course with the rest of the kids following gamely behind him.

This was great for a little brother. First? That hardly every happens.

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DSC_0064-10He’d never felt so important in his whole life. I see a hint of fear there, do you see it? I see it.

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DSC_0179-22But if you hooked yourself up correctly, you didn’t fall very far.

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DSC_0201-27We never found out what happened if you didn’t hook yourself up correctly.

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DSC_0084-15I’m kinda glad about that.

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DSC_0120-19We decided that if Mckenna had on pants as bright as her shirt, you wouldn’t be able to see her at all.  It’s a new look for deer hunters this fall.

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DSC_0196-26It’s Wipeout!, Canadian style.

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DSC_0210-28The course lasted 3 hours. Can you imagine being that careful for 3 hours? My muscles would be in tense knots.  The kids weren’t even phased. They LOVED it. Afterward we had the birthday celebration for…

DSC_0259-34The birthday girl, with apples fresh-picked from the orchard.

What did the boys do while the girls ate politely?

I’m glad you asked….

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DSC_0300-39Boys.

Could He Do It?

DSC_0654-56It all started with 10 sandwiches.

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DSC_0738-3Well actually, it all started with 9 pounds, 11 ounces, exactly 16 years ago. The doctor told me we needed to induce labor two weeks early so the baby wouldn’t be over 12 pounds.

I agreed.

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DSC_0758-5Here we are today, looking at his birthday wish for lunch. He asked for 12 Reubens, but could he eat them all?

They were taking bets in a back room, a pool was started at work.

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DSC_0755-4I had my doubts and didn’t start making the rest of the family’s sandwiches until we saw how it all panned out.

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DSC_0759-6It panned out at five.  He is sated.

That worked out perfectly since the rest of us each needed one.  But then somebody took two and somebody else was late to the table and didn’t get one at all, and I was interrupted with a last minute emergency and the one I started on got thrown away. So I ended up frying up 3 more. You know how it goes.

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DSC_0731-2Maybe the Baked Apple French Toast and homemade Eggnog he had for breakfast had something to do with it.

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DSC_0729-1Maybe the fact that his present was almost taller than his brother had something to do with it too.

What age do you stop getting excited over big presents? Are you leery of them as an adult? What could I possibly want that’s that big?

Greyson didn’t seem to mind either way. He got some nice additions to his growing cinematographer’s stash.

And we all got left-over sandwiches so everyone was happy.

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But I’m happiest of all that when I look at my strapping young man, my mother’s heart can still see this face.

 

The Christmas Goose

DSC_0243-1Our tree is up.

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DSC_0261-6Although, I don’t expect it to stay that way for long.

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DSC_0258-1It’s really just one, big, cat toy, isn’t it Pippin?

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DSC_0250-3I can’t say I blame him; it is his first Christmas.

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DSC_0272-3This is exactly where I would be if I were a cat.

I’d climb up there now, if I could. The kids would never find me.

Mom!

Mom!

Mom?

Where’s Mom?

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DSC_0297-1It will be our little secret, okay Pippin?  The napping tree.

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DSC_0265-2 We know how to do Christmas right.

“The Promise” DVD Winner is….

DSC_0060-1It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to give away Todd’s movie today. Like wearing a kitten under your chin.  (They make the best winter scarves.)

And you know I can’t just tell you who won.  At What’s Going On Here, I have to show you.

I tried to get Tristan to show you, but he got impatient…

“Come stand in front of the tree. Wait, no. You have to move forward, forward, no that’s bad light. Try over here.”

“Mom? Can Sawyer just do it?”

Yes, yes he can.

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DSC_0242-4Congratulations, Naomi!  We’ll get The Promise shipped out to you from the studio, pronto.

Thank you everyone, for giving it the ol’ college try. And here’s those links again so you can get your very own copy:

Buy The Promise at Amazon>>>>>>>>>>

But The Promise at Amazon.ca>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I’m thinking about kitten scarves for my next giveaway.