Friday, May 31, 2013

Cael | Moab Baby Portraits Photographer

Cael Moab baby photographer

Sweet Cael. I’m tempted to break tradition and name this post JOY because that is what this boy and his sweet mama make me think of every time I look at these portraits.

I’ve been wanting to post this sneak peek for weeks now---and because I have a long list of things that HAVE to get done tonight, I’ve decided to blow off my urgent list and finally share these. Because we could all use a little joy, couldn’t we?

baby toddler portrails Moab Utah

Yes, of course he’s gorgeous with a beauty like that for a mother, but the fire in this boy! Pure light and pure joy too.

photo of baby in Moab Utah

Deirdre O. Keating photography

view from below Baby Photography Moab Utah

 Cael at 9 months by Deirdre O. Keating Photography

I adored spending time with this little guy. I admit, I’d forgotten just how busy a nine-month-old can be! But the best part for me was witnessing that mama-and-her-boy connection. So beautiful to see that same delight, that same abundant love at nine months that I see in the first days of motherhood. At nine months into parenthood, you know how not-easy it’s gonna be. At nine months, you can’t just impose who you think your child will be ---because by that age who your child really is----has shown up.

mother and child photography by Deirdre O. Keating

Maybe that’s why this particular shoot has stayed with me so. None of the naiveté of those early first days, but still so much love and joy. I am so moved when I meet parents who get it---that this moment is fleeting, that this time with this child who will grow up is a gift. Being with parents who get that always helps me “get it” more myself and I come home eager to relish the journey beside my own boys.

Mother and child on the footpath photo by Deirdre O. Keating

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Simple Things Sunday #14 2013

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I get to this point on the blog at least once a year---when catching up starts to feel overwhelming. I’m planning on short posts daily this week to chip away at that feeling.

Five weeks since the last Simple Things Sunday, but we’re back. Do you recognize the best buddies in the photo above? C3PO and R2D2, made by Aidan and inspired by Sean’s latest book purchase, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee: An Origami Yoda Book. I had a day full of wonderful on Mother’s Day, but the highlight was easily a trip to Back of Beyond Books with all my boys. Sean picked up the Wookie Book, I got a used copy of The Art of Possibility (my favorite library read of 2012), Aidan chose Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life, and Nolan picked a small stuffed animal.  I told Brian it was a fantasy come true---that my boys are at an age when they love browsing a bookstore as much as I do. They each had a gift card from their birthday so I didn’t have haggle over money with any of them. I think this should become a Mother’s Day tradition.

Tom Angleberger’s origami book has been the big hit with all three, even Nolan who’s at a stage where he’ll sit and stare at a page with no pictures, pretending to read. I love when the boys circle back to previous obsessions (you can see a glimpse of Han Solo Foldo here from last fall). Every pair of scissors in our house has disappeared again, There are little bits of paper everywhere, and debates over kirigami vs origami (I believe it has to do with whether you use scissors or not). Life is good.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Celebrating Friends, Family, and a Boy named Sean


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Three weeks ago today my mother-in-law, Marilyn, flew into Moab after a day of flight delays. The next day my dad arrived, as well as my soul sisters, Mary Alice and Angie, and their families. The occasion? This sweet boy’s First Communion on the weekend of his 8th birthday.

web2013 04 21_0377 Sean on his First Communion

It took me two weeks to fully recover from the whirlwind, the abundance of love and people, the party of over 40 friends and family who gathered to celebrate Sean. I talked to a friend in the days leading up to the celebration, sharing my anxiety about finding enough time to prepare the food, enough time to spend with so many of my favorite people here all at once, and enough time to focus on Sean. She had the most interesting response: “Wow, you’re going to learn a lot, I bet, about yourself this week.”  She was right.

Mostly I learned I am richly blessed.

Bear with me as I share the photo highlights, even the ones that aren’t in sharp focus or that might have high noise---because while they are technically flawed, some of them are emotionally perfect.

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That’s me, Angie and Mary Alice. Friends for over 20 years. We’ve only lived in the same state for two of those twenty (not counting the 3 months Bri and I rented Angie and Jeff’s basement), but time and distance aren’t deal breakers for real friends. I came back from Russia for Angie’s wedding; Angie and I flew to LA for the premiere of Mary Alice’s first feature film. They took care of my boys when I had surgery for TN. So much of friendship is just about showing up, as these two have taught me time again.

2013 04 20_0754web2013 04 20_Angie and James2013 04 20_04 Meg and Nolan2013 04 20_0790sean and charlie

I love how Angie’s kids’ ages match so well with ours. Aidan and James are almost the same age, Sean and Charlie are only nine months apart, and Meagan is thirteen---just the right age to melt a five-year-old’s heart.

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I jest---Jeff was the Ping Pong organizer, coach, and ultimate champion of our single-elimination tournament. I just hope he finds the above photo as funny as I do! There were some tears, however. Especially when he defeated 2nd place winner, Wendy.

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I like to think Wendy is really just lamenting the horrid florescent lighting.

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I love this shot of Angie, MA, and Wendy---right after they realized James had been photo-bombing them. Wendy made us all an amazing dinner with her mother’s secret steak marinade, rosemary potatoes and grilled asparagus. The airlines lost their luggage at first, but the box of wine they brought made it just fine---glad to see Great Lakes Airlines has their priorities right!

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I know, we’re out of focus. As we were in the next five cutest-photos-we’ve-taken-in-forever. Oh well. I still love it.

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Love this shot of Jeff, Angie’s husband, getting interrupted while talking with my dad. Classic parenting moment. I think my dad really liked knowing there was a cardiologist in the house. That’s Brian’s mom on the couch. She spent the day on the river with the kids (those photos to come---I was home cooking!), and she did my least favorite job the next day (shredding all the pork for the party). I am so very grateful for the time, expense, and energy both of our parents put into being here. Every memory our children share with them is priceless.

Sunday morning was the big day. As the only 8 year old in our parish, Sean was the sole child making his First Communion this year. He spent the past nine months (and 8 years in a way) reading, learning, memorizing, and preparing. He was ready.

2013 04 21_0332help from dad with his tie

The Episcopal Church welcomes anyone, at any age, to share in the sacrament of communion. It’s a beautiful thing. But once a Catholic, always a Catholic…at least in some ways. I’d guess at least 50% of our parish are Catholic refugees as well, so they understood the value we place in this rite of passage. Fr. Dave, who also happens to be our town’s mayor, is such an inspiration to our three boys and made the entire mass a special celebration for the children.

sean and fr dave2013 04 21_0367 RockowFamily2013 04 21_0380 Sean and his Gramare Marilyngramare2013 04 21_0332help from dad with his tie2013 04 21_0382 Sean and John his namesakecollage2013 04 21_0424 our family2013 04 21_0486 big group 3

Can you tell I just embarrassed Aidan in the above photo by asking him to put his hand on Meagan’s shoulder? I love how it is just frozen in midair instead.

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Sean refused to take off his tie for the rest of the party. He knew he was stylin’!

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I wish we lived close enough for Sean’s aunts and uncles and all this cousins to be with us. Even though we aren’t able to give him that, I am so grateful for the community we have here, for all the people who love Sean as if he were family.

2013 04 21_0547 jimmy bean bag toss2013 04 21_0556 amy and Kathy2013 04 21_0561 sean and miss bobbie cropped2013 04 21_0572 Sean and mel

Miss Bobbie, as the boys call her, and Nurse Mel (who happens to be married to Fr. Dave). When she returned at the end of the party with the glasses a friend had left at the church, she also brought us two dozen eggs from her backyard coop. I love small towns.

 2013 04 21_0585 Sean and Grandad

Before all the festivities began, I made myself a promise--- in a post right here on this blog: “not to stress out about what isn’t done or however I see myself falling short compared to the phantom idea in my head of how to be a good host.”

Well, I did stress, of course, but I believe writing that here and in my head did help. Angie and I have joked that we’ve talked more over the phone from our different states in the week that followed than we did during that weekend. That’s just the nature of having lots of kids around.  But I did get at least one moment to soak in each person---my dad in his graciousness, the way he shrugged his shoulders for the punch line of a joke, or the way he connected with Wendy who not only knew “Double Indemity” but quoted it back to him. Catching Aidan and James moving a mattress together. The way Meagan taught Duke to roll over in less than five minutes. Marilyn’s big quilt for Sean in his favorite color green. The drive with MA back to the airport. Angie helping me set up the Sundae station---and her adoration of my dad that almost resembled my own.

2013 04 21_0372 cake from St Clare Society

See that cake topper in the corner? It’s from Brian’s First Communion, some 35 years ago.

When the weekend was over, I kept thinking of all the things I had meant to do but didn’t. I have a bag full of white t-shirts & fabric markers for our boys and their god-cousins, which means we’ll have to gather again before they’re all bigger sizes!  The tags for the buffet table never got put out, nor the balloons, and we never did make s’mores. I made my mom’s 7-Layer-Bars but never even cut them until just before our parents left for the airport. At the end of the night I found the beautiful cake (see above) the St. Clare’s Guild provided, 3/4ths still untouched. Early in the day Brian had rescued it from the hands of a 12 year old who couldn’t quite carry it. He then left it (for unknown reasons) in our master bathroom. He was running the grill at the time and perhaps the vanity seemed like the only clear flat surface? I had to laugh remembering several people who had asked to use that restroom when the guest one was in use---- bad enough the tub still had river clothes in it from the boys’ rafting trip the day before, but how to explain the huge sheet cake next to the sink?

My friend was right---I learned a lot. I learned that you can’t be the host and the photographer for the same event. I learned that while a Life is Good t-shirt couldn’t be more comfy, it also couldn’t be less flattering in photos. That if you’re gonna spend all that time making the pulled pork, then the cole slaw really should be homemade too (and don’t believe the deli clerk when she says you’ll need 10 lbs. of it!). I learned my dad is more accepting and resilient than even I give him credit for. That you can’t trust a “self-defrosting” fridge (those quotes indicate a big lie). That grief can sneak up on you during the most joyful moments and the gathering of loved ones makes the absence of those no longer with us even more acute. That every thing is made easier by having a great partner to share the work and the joy.

2013 04 21_0475 Sean and Brian and Deirdre

Mostly I learned what I always learn when I pay attention: to be grateful. For this beautiful place where we gathered, for these people we broke bread with all weekend, for this community who embraced Sean, for the words and ritual passed down from generation to generation, and for this sweet eight year old boy, who completely forgot everything he’d practiced and just stared earnestly at our priest while keeping his hands tightly folded together until Fr. Dave finally offered him the sacrament the old fashioned way---feeding it to him. Afterwards he reported that he didn’t like the taste of the wine, and that once back in his seat, he had prayed to God for everyone in the church, “and Grandma too” he said.

I am grateful to be his mother.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shooting Through Glass

Leave it to a challenge circle to get me back on the blogging bandwagon. I have three posts sitting in my drafts folder, but they can wait. Today I am joining up with a group of photographers I admire to share our responses to this month's challenge: shooting through glass.

April was a whirlwind with nine out-of-town guests and so many good things, including several newborns to photograph, that I had little time for experimenting.

There was one subject that I knew I'd have ample opportunity to capture through glass: DUKE our dog.

Duke is a Labrador Retriever, i.e. he LOVES people. I am often lulled into thinking that he's perfectly trained, as he seems content to follow me to the mailbox each day, to chase whatever ball I throw, to come when called. All that training, however, goes out the window and out of Duke's head when another person is introduced. Not even introduced---it can be a complete stranger getting out of a car halfway down our block and then Duke is off. "New Person To Adore!" I imagine him thinking. When I call him back home, he looks at me like I'm the stranger and speaking in a language only cats must use.

Worse, when the new person is actually a friend entering our house, Duke shows his submission with what our boys refer to as his "happy pee." Our guests and their shoes get a shower of submission. So, our solution has been to keep Duke out back when people come to the door or stop by.

After a couple minutes of whining, Duke will resign himself to the unfair nature of life but eventually, out of the corner of my eye, I'll catch this interloper at our living room window:

To see how much-more-talented photographers with less amusing dogs interpreted Shooting Through Glass, head over to Janecke's site and then follow the circle all the way back here!

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