Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's been cooking up in our kitchen.

And what I'll be happy to have off my counter.

Teeth soaked in various liquids.

Lucy had a science project and well, we happened to have a source for teeth.

And so, without further ado:

After a six day bath in Coca Cola, a poor maxillary premolar went from this:

To this:

And this maxillary third molar? Well, it was lovely....

until it jumped into the deep end of the coffee cup.

To you Coke and coffee drinkers, sorry. We don't make the news, we just report it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tough as Nails

This girl.
Don't let the pink fru fru fool you.

She's a princess you don't want to mess with, especially if you happen to be a syringe-shaped pinata and Princess Cholita is holding the bat. Because she's had enough with syringes. Enough with blood draws. And on Friday, in honor of her very last shot of interferon, she smacked that pinata, and she ate junk food, and she laughed, and she partied.

And she blew out 12 candles, one for each month of treatment. Weekly blood draws and weekly shots are over, and we're thrilled. Daily naps are also now over, and we're nervous.

We love this little girl more than words can say. She's been brave and strong and no matter what life has in store for her, we can always remind her:

When you were little, you did something hard and you did it with grace.
You have people who love you and are cheering for you.
You're tough as nails

Monday, January 18, 2010

Panning--Not for gold, but for the perfect action shot

After an eternity of rain, the sun came out today. My girls dusted off their bikes and zipped through puddles up and down the driveway. I ruined their fun by asking them to zip at various speeds and from different angles so I could practice with my camera.

Motion is tricky. At least it's tricky for me. The quickest shutter speed on my lens is not lightning fast, but fast enough to freeze the action of my bike-riding girls.

What I really wanted though was to suggest motion in the background but keep the subject relatively clear. Tricky. I slowed the shutter speed, but that blurred the whole thing. It definitely showed motion, and was kind of cool, but wasn't exactly what I was going for.

Then I tried "panning". The photography book I'm reading says:

Simply follow your subject with the camera, moving in that same direction while depressing the shutter release button. The idea is to ensure that your moving subject remains relatively 'stationary' and in fairly sharp focus, while all of the stationary objects surrounding it record as either horizontal or vertical streaks.

I love how it says, "simply".

But surprisingly, some of my attempts worked.

But a whole lot more didn't.

I'll spare you the countless number of exposures that met with the delete button.
Thank goodness for digital cameras!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cho-a-lina Ballerina Take 2

Last Saturday, when I went to collect Cholita from dance, her teacher met me at the door and with wringing hands asked if my daughter might perhaps be better suited to...... oh, I don't know, maybe a tumbling class..... rather than a structured ballet class.

Combined with Cholita's ho-hum appraisal of the whole experience, I decided she just wasn't ready. I'd tried to fan the flames too early, and now I'd snuffed out the fire for good. Then a few days later, while running errands, a neon sign flashed past. DANCE, it said. I flipped the car around and saw that it was a brand new dance studio. A banner with the words "Grand Opening" was strung across the building front. I asked Cholita if she wanted to try dance just one more time. She enthusiastically agreed. The owner saw us coming and met us at the door. With enthusiasm equal to Cholita's, she described her vision of a four year-old's ideal dance class. "Fun," she said. "Just lots of fun." Not an hour, which is what we'd experienced, just a half hour. Instead of staying on an assigned dot (or in Cholita's case, NOT staying on her assigned dot), this class encouraged lots of free movement. And the kicker, the piéce de résistance-- she told Cholita that she did not have to limit herself to a pink leotard. "Wear whatever you'd like," she gushed.

And so today Cholita started. Can you pick her out?

It's so hard to decide.

If you guessed the red velvet leotard and sequined tutu, you were right.

Cholita was a little shy at first, but the music, not classical piano like the first studio, but a mix of Disney Princess theme songs, lured her in.
The teacher showed her not only how to walk on her toes, but walk on her heels.
Cholita did it with style.
She made friends. She skipped.
She chasséd.
She leap-frogged.
She twirled. She spun.
And she ended with a flourish.
A sticker from the teacher and her joy was complete.
The fire burns on.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cho-a-lina Ballerina

After a lifetime of waiting, today was the day.

She arrived at the breakfast table ready for whatever type of dance may be required.

At the studio, even in the excitement of the moment,
she treated the red shoes with the respect they deserve.

She was unsure of what to do at the barre......


But she did know one thing. Ballerinas dance on their toes. While the rest of the class stood flat-footed for warm-ups, she nearly fell on her face
attempting to do it all en-pointe.
Click on this picture to see it large. It looks painful.

The girls and I left Cholita to her calf exercises and walked through downtown Poulsbo.

It reminds me of Bedford Falls, except with a harbor.

There's the beautiful old Lutheran church with the clock that chimes out the hour,

the bakery,

oh, how we love the bakery,

and the bookstore.
With the restaurant next door and the bathroom down the hall,
we could move in and be just fine.

But the tutus on display outside reminded us that our ballerina was most likely battling some serious foot cramps by this time, so we hustled back the the studio.

And the verdict?
After years of begging?
Years of practice in the kitchen?

Cholita met us with her ballet slipper in-hand,
wearing a disappointed expression.

"I guess it was O.K."

Poor girl. I think she was expecting the Nutcracker.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Someday my Prince will Come

Cholita is always in formal attire, so it's rarely a photo-worthy moment. This morning though, I was impressed with the addition of the tissue paper peplum (thanks for the correct term, Teresa) held together with a lavender hair bow. She said she was on her way to the ball. While I focused the camera, her expression became so far-off and dreamy that I just had to ask:

"Cholita, are you thinking of the prince?"
"No," she said. "I'm thinking of the mice that made my dress."

Oh, well of course.
Someday my mice will come.

Not your typical dream on a New Year's Day,
but who am I to judge.