Sunday, September 20, 2015


So much goodness has been squeezed into our last month or so of summer. I've just been having too much fun to even go through photos, let alone sort them and post them and such. It's been a whirlwind of friends old and new, late nights of laughter and wine, dockside jam sessions, BBQ's, road trips, and so many happy memories.

Last month we traveled up to Woodstock, NY to attend the Summer Hoot music festival again. It was as magical and musical as the last 2 years. This year was especially sweet for me because I finally had a chance to attend some of the later at night music acts and events while the kiddos hung back with other adults at the camp site. Pure fabulous listening to beautiful music under the stars with friends.

 (Naia liked standing right up by the stage and talking to the performers between songs. She normally would say something along the lines of, "Excuse me, that was really beautiful. Will you play more music?")

 (There was a fabulous bluegrass performance of Peter and the Wolf, which had a surprise guest narrator... Kate Pierson from the B-52's!)

(Mike and Ruthy not only host this entire festival, but they rock out too!)


(Once again the big kids were off on their own adventures, and we mostly only saw them from afar or when they ran out of spending money.)

Oh yes, another brilliant performance by Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower. Naia was once again up at the edge of the stage, mostly telling Elizabeth and Dan's daughter Storey how beautiful she was. Then there was the part where I lost track of Naia after the set, and it ends up she was stalking Elizabeth and Storey back in the performers area. But we won't go there. After a set of sweet sing along songs, they were ready to walk off stage when a little girl started crying. "Oh no, we don't want any tears," Elizabeth sweetly said from the stage. Then she offered that she and Dan would meet any little fans who didn't hear songs they loved and sing for them over in a shady area.

Naia went and waited for them to sing to the 3 or 4 other kids who had requests. Including the little girl above who wanted to hear John The Rabbit. Such a beautiful and telling moment, seeing the way they gave this special girl such special attention.

Then Naia requested the song Blue Clouds. They sang it just for her, and she was in complete awe. It's a beautiful song that they wrote for their daughter when she was little, and I often sing it for Naia at bed time. When they were finished Naia asked, "Do you know any songs by Madonna?" Hilarious because I am not sure where she'd ever heard of Madonna. I asked them if they were going to publish more chords and lyrics on their web page because I like playing their songs on my ukulele for Naia. She asked which song I wanted to learn, I told her, and she said, "Ok, I'll teach you how to play it now." I was floored and a touch nervous since I've only been playing for about 6 months. She grabbed a uke, gave me a little lesson, and then said, "Ok, now you sing and play it for me." Uh... I am not singing in front of you guys. But I'll play and you can sing it. So that's what we did. It all ended in a big grateful hug and many heartfelt thanks. Seriously, such a warm, fabulous family making awesome music together.

That really personifies the whole vibe. So very giving and genuine and inspiring.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

the perfect pose

My kids don't know how to pose for photos. Once in a blue moon I get a looking into the lens, smile nice for grandma, sitting still like the people who come with the picture frame kind of shot. The fact is, they haven't been trained to pose.  I have seen and heard people bribe, cajole, order, beg, and even threaten their kids to pose for the camera. What kind of message are we sending kids when we tell them that they aren't good enough for a photo unless they act or look a certain way?

I take LOADS of photos of my kids. Too many one might rightly say. But I always try to disappear when I am taking pictures. The camera is just part of my hand, bionic shutter mom. When I take pictures of the kids I don't stop what's happening to get the shot. I keep talking. I allow them to keep moving and laughing and running and chatting. Or I get completely out of the way and hang back and just watch and capture.

Posing is mostly static and phony and doesn't really tell you much about who this soul is that you're trying to portray, especially when it comes to kids.

Children have so much magic in their nature that there's no need to force them to strike a pose in a dull and conventional way. Just stop and study their movement and the images will come. The way their arms express everything they say, the way they leap and skip everywhere they go, they way their wee faces reflect their inner self so truthfully.

It's the tilt of the head, the wrinkly of the nose, the concentration on a little face, the easy way they squat down anywhere. Pure, purposeful, beautiful little people just doing their thing. When I look back on photos of their childhood, that's what I want to see. I don't need to see a perfect smile, or adoring siblings, or coiffed hair, or clean fingernails (have yet to see those around here). I'd rather capture a moment and share a glimpse into a real person. Because as I tell my kids all the time, you're perfect just the way you are.

(This is how Zach hangs out often these days. Laying still. Contemplating. Or just shutting out the noise of his little sister. Not a pose with dimples and sparkling eyes, but very telling of where he is in this tween stage of life.)

(I could tell her not to swim in her clothes. Or I could just sit up the beach a little and watch. Even without a camera, the watching is so sweet. Pure joy, Exploring and discovering with every sense, every cell. This is what being 4 is all about.)

(More swimming in her clothes. Plus a friend who we have known since she was a baby. Seeing them together, little and big. Each stance so telling of who they are in that moment. Little is care free, uninhibited, silly. Big is changing, growing, hand on hip not sure what to make of the little crazy one, caught between big and little and not sure which way to go.)

(Another big and little moment. 4 year old little sisters running up and down the steps. 10 year old big siblings sit and chat.)

(Why stop a beautiful contemplative moment like the ones above for a posed smile? There is so much beauty in the quiet pauses.)

(None of these kids are looking at the camera and posing, and that's why I love it.)

(Looking right at the camera, but just happened to turn my way. Regal, tiny, real.)

(The look on her face, the way he's looking out at the water while holding her tight. It's a moment for sure. Stormy rough passage, seasick little girl, protective yet worried big brother.)

(Story of friends. And childhood. And the joy of a beautiful day. A pose can't give you that.)

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