I'm linking up with Jen at 525,600 minutes this Friday for a little flashback. I skimmed my flickr feed to see if there was a vintage JJ. To my surprise I found this gem...
This is JJ circa 2004, at the cute age of 3. That was his typical "cheese" face. He's so proud of all his loot. JJ always gets excited about Halloween, until it comes time to put the costume on, then he's not so keen. He complains that he gets hot. (Noted, but its just a little while). He hates, just HATES, to wear anything with a mask (although his choice in costume usually comes with one).
He's getting older now and Halloween isn't as cute as it use to be. We will be away for Halloween this year,so he won't get to trick or treat. But, don't worry JJ, I bought an assload of candy for you and your friends to enjoy while we are at the beach (and I got everyone's favorite, so there is nothing to turn your nose up at!)
Sunday morning we went to church with the in-laws. It was the 150th anniversary of their church. Its the church my Mother in Law grew up in, its the church Gene grew up in. We currently attend the church across the street, but for this occasion I agreed that we could go. (I only agreed because I knew it would score me points with MIL)
JJ was excited to go as well. He loves being shown off to the little church ladies. He's so polite to them, he lets them hug him and squeeze him and pat him on the head. (Although, his head is almost above theirs)
I usually pick out his church clothes and I was excited that the weather was a little cooler that day. Thankfully, JJ doesn't protest what I chose for him. We've had battles before, but its usually based on what he's chosen for himself. Its a hard lesson I'm learning, but if he's ok with what he has on, then sometimes (yes, just sometimes, because sometimes his choices are hideous) I'm ok with it.
Doesn't he look like a little J Crew model here?
I'm not really a portrait photographer and it shows doesn't it! This was totally impromptu. I told him to stand out on the porch and lean against the post. That angle gave me the best backdrop of the backyard. I wasn't going to venture out into the yard because I was still in my robe and someone might have driven by and seen me! He agreed to momentarily have his picture taken, at least he gave me a genuine JJ smile.
I should really stick with the action, right?!?!?!
As I was walking around, taking photographs of antique cars and hot rods, I noticed I could see myself in the chrome and I became obsessed with photographing that.
It all started with this one
I was looking for details and saw the mirror, then I saw my reflection, and then it was all down hill from there. I took several shots making sure I got one that I would like. Wouldn't you know, the first one was the keeper! Then I moved over a few cars and I saw a better mirror, I had to do it all over again....
I like that one better because it's a little more centered, the view of me is a little crisper. I also noticed I could see myself in hub caps
Went for the full body on that one. Then I noticed I could see other things in the hub caps, as well as myself...
Then I saw myself in the headlight and I knew I needed to stop
So last Saturday was the annual Scott Kelby Photowalk. Last year I participated and had a lot of fun. I met some new friends. And I was challenge to capture great photographs.
This year I didn't get to participate :( It was the same time as the standpipe run. They moved the walk from July to October. Which, I think is a great thing because it was hotter than stink in July, but I was said when I knew the walk would interfere with other plans.
However, I decided to create my own walk. The Standpipe Festival has a great antique car show and I thought I would challenge myself to great photographs of car things. I feel at times I get into a rut with taking exclusively soccer photos. I love the art of photography and believe that to be a well rounded artist, you need to explore all aspects of the art.
I began to struggle right away with my challenge because I felt that I was capturing the same shots I did the previous year. I feel at time I lack in creativity because I'm so technical. I lack that creative eye. You know, the one where you can foresee what things will look like before they are made. I'm thankful that Gene's creative eye is sharp because mine needs glasses.
It was a great day. It was blue skies and crisp air. There were a lot more cars there this year than in the past. Also a lot more people. But this was a noon on a Saturday.
I found some interesting hood ornaments
I found some interesting head lights
I saw some front ends that I liked
And some rear ends that I liked
Overall, I had fun. I didn't get to meet any new people this year, but I did get a lot of great captures. After I reviewed the keepers from this year, to the keepers from last year, my initial struggles for creativity were not evident. I just hope next year I can continue to show improvement in both technical skill and creativity!
Its that time a year again for JJ to hit the pavement for the annual 5K run. JJ is always excited to do this. For some reason he thinks running is fun. (Weird, I know!)
My dad signs the both of them up, even though my dad knows that JJ can run a lot faster than him.
JJ was upset this year that running the race meant that he couldn't sleep over at his friends birthday party the night before. We just didn't think it was wise to let him stay up all night and then try to run in the morning. He understood it the week before, but when we went to pick him up from the party around 11pm, he didn't think it was ok. There was a lot of pouting, but no tears. I told him we could have the boys over at a later time for a sleep over at our house.
The weather took a turn this Saturday morning. Fall really arrived and it was brisk out. JJ thought it was cold enough to snow. My northern raised parents thought that statement was hilarious. It was in the upper 40's!
We arrived with plenty of time to hang out. JJ saw a lot of kids he knew from school. Sometime I think that events like this in a small town are really more about the social scene! JJ eagerly awaited at the starting line
On your mark, get set, go!
My dad was little slower getting a start. He's been battling a nasty cold, but he told JJ he would do this with
him and he did!
This is the boring part of the race. You just get to sit around and wait. My mom and I did the one mile fun run/walk. This was a good time for us to rest, although, it was just one mile!
Then, from around the corner, at the end of the straightaway, a little black headed boy with red shorts appeared.
Sweat running down his face, he made it in 25 minutes (and some change). Holy cow! What a race. That's incredible for a kid that doesn't train for long distances running. I'm so jealous of his endurance. A few minutes later, Pappy Dan turned the corner and made it up the incline to the finish line
I'm always impressed to see my dad run. He just started running a few years ago. He had a mid life revelation and he turned his eating and exercise habits around. He lost over 100 pounds in the process and he was able to keep it off. He runs, bikes, swims. He has a rowing machine in the garage. He's hard core now!
Ok.. so its OPP, yes I know that. I'm showing my age!
But, I was correct in saying ODP, as in Olympic Development Program.
JJ had the opportunity to "try-out" for the ODP. The ODP is a program that provides promising young athletes with more intense training and skill development. They hold regional tryouts and then form a small team that trains several Saturdays throughout the year. There is also a summer tournament that the kids participate in,
JJ had no idea what he was doing. We told him he was going to practice with some new kids. We said some of the kids from his team would be there, but there would also be a lot of kids he didn't know. We told him we didn't know much about it, but we thought he would think it was fun.
He was given a jersey with a number on it.
He thought that was pretty cool. He's 448. There was probably 25 kids in his age division. This was the first year he was eligible to participate.
They spent time doing drills. We noticed that JJ was slacking when it came time to juggle the ball. Juggling is the one thing that he struggles with. I can't blame him, I can't juggle either. But, we've noticed that every coach so far has emphasized it, so it must be important. I told him he needed to practice juggling 20 minutes a day, just like he's suppose to read for 20 minutes a day!
JJ has always been told he has great ball handling skills. His foot work is always noted. He can easily move the ball with the left or the right foot. He actually prefers to use the left, even though he is right hand dominant. We watched from the side lines, farther back than we do for games. The parents stayed corralled far from the action as to not disturb the athletes. They would come over for water breaks,
JJ spotted me and the camera. I'm glad he is used to it in his face. Sometimes I actually think he likes having his own paparazzi. After an hour or so, the training was over and we were told we would hear something by email later in the week. JJ didn't quite understand, but he asked if he could do it again. In his words, "That was AWESOME!"
So, I'm already slacking again. After the weekend of soccer, the boys didn't play the next weekend because of labor day. I was really sad after returning the beast and I didn't pick up my camera. Soccer returned last weekend, but I haven't gotten around to editing those photos yet.
But, I do have a share from my instagram. I love instagram. I love my iphone. I love being able to capture photos and videos at a moments noticed. I've had a camera phone for several years, but the hassle of trying to get the photo off the phone and somewhere where I could use it was just too much of a burden. Instagram makes it easy because I can upload straight to my flickr account.
Last weekend we were invited to go to the Clemson football game with some friends. JJ loves it because he gets to hang out with his two best friends and a bunch of other boys. I love it because I am back in my happy place. And Gene actually loves it because he can sit around with the other men, drink beer and watch football out of the back of someones car!
This game was Military Appreciation Day, remembrance of 9/11. I had a surreal moment while standing in the stadium, arm to arm with my Clemson Family. The family that was there for me on that tragic day. The family that comforted me and supported me. The family that rallied on that same football field, that we wouldn't let terrorist treat us this way. I got a little teary, thank heavens for sun glasses!
After the fly over, the national anthem, a moment of silence, it was time for the 25 most exciting seconds in college football. After watching my Tigers run down the hill, I looked to the sky to say a prayer and saw this....
It looked so beautiful. All the red, white and blue balloons, mixed in with the orange. Just one big family, hanging in there together. I felt at peace for that moment.
I'm thankful for the iphone and helping me capture these moments that might have never been seen.
Its hard to lose. Its even harder to see your kids lose.
We didn't know what to expect going into soccer tournaments. For years, we've played in a recreation league. A mix of skills and genders, Dads as coaches. When we signed on with a soccer alliance, we knew we took it to the next level. We didn't do it for us, we did it because JJ has shown more interest in the sport and welcomed the challenge that a tougher league might be.
Of course there was nerves before the first game. JJ was up with the sun. He stood at the foot of the bed, asking me if I was ready for my coffee, fully dressed in his uniform. We got going and headed over to the fields to meet up with his team. A gangly bunch of ten and eleven year olds that giggled and gossiped but couldn't resist the urge to kick around a ball. This was JJ's heaven.
Play started. I was positioned mid field with my mega beast (I rented the 100-400 L for the weekend). Gene was next to me, some place unfamiliar to him at soccer games. We watched the boys in orange scurry around the field and then magic happened.
You could see the weight lifted off his shoulders. All he wanted to do was score a goal. Winning or losing didn't matter (at this point).
Play continued. They won their first game, had a long rest during the rest of the day, and then played their first night game. They were smoking hot. They won the second game and recieved a place in the semi finals the next day. It was a late night with another early rising, but JJ was pumped and ready to go.
He looks so intense when he plays. The team played like it was the world cup. It was awesome to see them come together. They had only been practicing a few weeks and before the tournament had only played one game together. The semi's was a breeze and the boys won themselves a spot in the championship match. At this point, I didn't care if they won or not. JJ had just won his first athletic award. (Both first and second place received medals). For years, JJ had been awarded participation trophies or he's won first place because there was no one else in his division. This was his first real merit award. And he earned it, every drop of sweat.
They fell apart in the championship game. It was hot, they were tired. It was a mess, but it was fun. JJ was disappointed they didn't win, but he said it was fun and he couldn't wait to do it again.
Soccer season is in full swing. After practicing for a month, including a week long training camp, games are on the schedule!
This is JJ's first year playing in a competitive league. We decided it was time to give him the coaching he desires. The kids eat, sleeps, and breathes soccer. We wouldn't have done it if he didn't want to.
So far, we're impressed with his coach. A 20 something recent college grad with years of soccer experience. He's a little tough on the kids, but its nothing overbearing or uncalled for. We like that he holds the kids accountable and he follows up with positive reinforcement.
The team (club) colors are orange and white and I just have to say that I think JJ looks sharp in orange!
This weekend is their home tournament. JJ is pumped up. I'm pumped up because I've rented a ridiculous super telephoto. Lets hope I can manage it and I can get some great photos of his team in action.
The summer has come and almost gone. It seems to move by so fast sometimes. I've neglected this little place, mostly because work has been a chore and I haven't had the time. We've got some new staff around here, so maybe I can coordinate blogging back into my schedule (after all, soccer season has begun!)
So what have you missed.... JJ's 10th birthday!
He's a lucky kid to have a summer birthday! We had a day full of fun filled activities. We opened presents first thing in the morning, we had lunch with friends, and then we had a party on the lake!
JJ decided he wanted to invite from friends out on his Step-Dad's boat. We loaded up 4 10 year olds, 4 adults and 2 ski-doos and headed out.
The boys had a blast tubing around the lake
Gene had a blast driving the ski-doo
Me, I had a blast taking photos from the boat!
Do you think he's having any fun?
I'm so lucky to have such a great kid. I can't believe he's already 10 years old! He's getting into some tween behaviors. The attitude sneaks out every now and then. And eye roll makes an apperence occassionally. We're stuck right now between little boy and little man. Don't grow up too fast JJ!
Gene decided that Woody needed a haircut. He thought he was too hairy, that he was too hot, and too heavy when he was soaking wet. Gene's idea of a cut was a buzz. Take the guard off the clippers and have at it! I protested!
I finally agreed that he could have someone trim him up. With the idea being that his fur would remain about 2 inches in length.
Can you imagine my sadness when I saw my dog looked like this!
Its a bad cell phone photo, but you can still see that he's bald! His hair is not 2 inches long! WTF!
This was how he looked Sunday. Don't you love his life jacket?!? Safety first!
I know its only hair, and I know it will grow back. And Woody seems really happy with it. I just miss this Woody