Morgan and Sam said I do on a chilly December day. Their winter theme was perfect, minus the snow. But in New England you never know what you’re going to get. They braced the day and let me say the details were perfect. From the winter bouquets to the bridesmaids dresses; Morgan and Sam’s details were stunning. Aqua Turf did not disappoint, either from the roaring fires and lit Christmas trees, the cozy feel of the day was perfect for their winter wonderland. The sweetest, nicest people you will ever meet and I was fortunate to capture their day.
So we got a puppy, a big puppy…..a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Without a ridge. Yes they come without a ridge. They are either born with or without a ridge. And my son, Stryder chose one without a ridge. He actually chose my son. He is named Hashtag. A name that was heavily debated in the Hanson household for several months while we waiting for Mr. Hashtag to be born and then anxiously awaited to meet him and wait again for him to be ready to come home!
So he finally came home a few weeks ago – he’s still getting acclimated, but we love him (especially when he sleeps). He’s very cuddly and super soft!
Here are some photos from his first photoshoot……without further adieu
The results are in – I’m slow and look ridiculous….but at least I’m laughing sort of! Okay so if you follow me you know that a little over a month ago I competed in a Spartan race. The Spartan Sprint up in Tuxedo New York. It was no lie, one of the hardest things I have ever done – like giving birth – but harder and more tiring. It took about 90 minutes to get to the place and then I started seeing these awesome signs finally so I knew I was in the right place.
I made my way up to registration and got my swag bag, actually it was an envelope, but it had my bib number, timing chip and headband to wear the entire race. Then I made my way to the spot where they take a sharpie and mark your arm, forehead, chest or whatever body part you choose with your bib #…I chose my arm thank you…and yes there is still some remnants of it the 8045 on there! Hoping another day or two it will come off. Now at this point it’s super official, and there’s no turning back now. Of course I never was going to turn back, I was into it for the long haul.
Next was the bag drop off point, the penalty for getting stuff out of your bag before your race once you checked it was 7 burpees…I promised I was good I didn’t need anything else out of it! These Spartan races take their burpees seriously 🙂
I made my way to the start line and started to get really nervous, but then I just tried to calm myself down and just have fun, get through it and ‘Let it Go’ channeling my inner Disney at this point…….
They call the 10:45 heat and they shove us into the chute but before we get to the starting line we have to all go over this wall (walls, ugh more to come on these later) and this is where I get my first injury, seriously, before the race even started – LOL! I smashed it on the corner of the wall while trying to hoist my leg over it – only me! I was able to shake it off and forget about it once the race started.
Basically we had to run up the ski mountain and do some obstacles then run down the ski mountain and do some obstacles and do that 6 times! Of course we worked our way across several mountains and woods, some were the actual ski slopes, but for the most part they were very off-road, steep and tedious. Now the obstacles ranged from walls – my kryptonite – literally I sucked at the walls, thank god I hooked up with the awesome Chris and Mario – they literally helped my big butt over every wall – to lifting and carrying a 65lb. ball of steel, dragging a rock through the woods, carrying a log through the woods, carrying a sandbag, a military crawl under barbed wire uphill, rope climb through mud, monkey bars, spear throwing and the elusive fire jump! I’m happy to say that I attempted all of the challenges. I did not however, complete all of the changes, and that is okay. I had a lot of help with some of the obstacles, and they actually encouraged that. They said right before we started that we could help each other out. It was really exciting to see the mile markers, what wasn’t exciting was I thought that it was a 5K, or 3.2 miles….but what I realized was that it was about 4.7 miles once I had already started!! Oooops!
The day was really hot and the hills were super dusty which translated to slippery. Then once we went into the mud obstacles, everything became super gooey, sticky and even more slippery. But I have to say once I fell off the monkey bars into the mud pit, it felt awesome, minus it going up my nose and into my ears. It really cooled me off. I did have an awesome time, and the beer after was fabulous, except after a few sips I wanted to puke! And the drive home sucked because it was just me. But now I get to call myself a Spartan and you can laugh at these awesome photos that the Official Spartan Photographers captured of me 😉
So I’m heading South…That’s right to South America, to Tena, Ecuador. Yikes! I’m wicked excited; and at the same time a little nervous. I’m going on a mission trip (Simply Love) with complete strangers (except for the organizer, Alicia from No Eye Has Seen Photography), to work for this amazing organization, Bless an Orphan. We will be staying at the orphanage working with the children and doing minor construction projects. We will also be delivering food and clothing to local villages and installing a water well in one village which will give them access to clean water – a major milestone.
I think the most anxiety I’m having right now is that my husband, who normally travels and leaves me home with the kids for weeks/months on end; has so graciously taken time off of work to take care of the kids SOLO. I’m not sure how this is going to work. Considering he doesn’t know where any of their things are – the only good thing is it is school vacation week! So he can’t mess up that bad…..or can he???
What I’m most looking forward to? Rolling up my sleeves and get dirty. I’ve never done something like this, sure I’ve done Habitat for Humanity while in college, but nothing quite like this. I can’t wait to see all the little smiling faces of the children we help, truly make a difference. Show my children that this is something they should be doing. And maybe one day the four of us can do something like this together.
Those of you who know me, know that when it comes time for costumes for the Hanson clan, the kids have to match or at least have the same ‘theme.” One year we did pirates, one year Spiderman and SpiderGirl, another year Power Rangers…the only exception was one year we did a Swamp Monster and a Devil just because the Swamp Monster costume was AMAZING and the devil costume was too cute.
So this year when Stryder said he wanted to be a Vampire (no blood – LONG story) and Berkeley originally said she did too – I was like sweet! This is easy. Then of course she changed her mind. So we searched online for hours and hours and finally found something that was suitable – Baterina – Aka Bat Princess
Which totes works because Vampires turn into bats……..
I know it has been a while since I blogged, but that means I’m busy right? Sure, let’s go with that 🙂 Really I have been busy, three hair colors right? Let’s see I started with a reddish/brown hair color, then went blonde so I could go blue, then the blue faded really fast then I kept the blonde and the summer at the beach made it a nice blonde (according to my husband) then I got sick of that and went to a walnut blonde (which now is just gross) so it will soon be another yet to be named color.
So here I am 9 months after making the decision to go full-time into this crazy world of photography. Do I have any regrets? No, not yet? I’m loving my freedom, from my psycho ex-boss, who get this….has been even more psychotic, but also get this…is gone in two days because her interim-ship (is that a word), is over in two days!! Her position is being replaced by an actual person that knows how to run a non-profit organization, WOW imagine that! Anyhow, since leaving those 9 months ago, the stress of that chaotic world, has caused me to refocus and loose 28 pounds, well not just the stress, I’m eating better and working out much more. But the stress of not seeing that let’s call her a witch because it’s Halloween time, is AMAZING!
Plus I’m doing what I LOVE!!! I have the freedom to be creative everyday. What’s not to love? I get to capture people at the most amazing times of their lives – getting married, creating families, sharing family moments – the list goes on. I don’t know everything about photography, don’t claim to be the best, but I am learning, striving to be the best that I can and trying everyday to succeed.
This may have been the best weekend of the summer, which is kind of sad considering summer is almost over, well it isn’t officially over until September, but kids are going back to school in 9 days (who’s counting) although I have noticed some leaves are starting to change color and actually fall off.
This weekend was Stryder’s official weekend, as we had promised him he would get an entire weekend this summer because his sister at Pageant weekend. I had made a decision to not blog about pageant weekend due to personal reasons, however I will give you one quick photo.
So needless to say Stryder carefully thought out his entire weekend, wrote out everything on a piece of paper, mind you he had enough activities on this list for 12 days, not two! So it started out with camping! We camped out in the official Hanson campground (our backyard). Right before that we had s’mores (also on the list). Which is always a fun filled evening. If you follow my blog you will notice that I don’t sleep, ironically, that was the only night I slept and Justin was up all night! Perhaps I should officially move to the Hanson campground. Although my husband wouldn’t like it because we would have a permanent brown spot on the grass, oye. I was hesitant to do it, and the kids almost didn’t want me to sleep out, they know I have back issues, and I think they genuinely didn’t want me to hurt my back, either that or they thought I was going to yell at them for staying up all night. All I know is last year when I slept in the tent, I woke up with Berkeley on my face, it was not a pleasant experience.
Next on the list was fishing, so out to the back yard to dig for worms. Luckily Berkeley is an expert worm catcher. That girl can find worms in seconds, and not small little puny worms, I’m talking night-crawlers. We went to our usually spot in Fairfield, unsure if the fish would be biting this late in the season, but hoping they would be for each kid to catch a fish, as any parent would be, because it has to be even! First cast out to the running water and boom a hit, Berkeley helped me reel it in and it was nice little brook trout, yeah she was done! Literally, she lost interest and began digging for more worms, again this girl was destined to this this, amazing how she just finds them! Stryder kept feeding the fish with his worms! Luckily we had plenty due to our little worm finder. We actually had to break them in half they were too big for the hook. No worry says Berkeley, as she literally rips the worm in half! After baiting his hook a few more times, luckily he caught one, it had to be the smaller trout ever, but it still counts! Cross fishing off the list!
Then it was off to lunch and ice cream! (We washed our hands at lunch, promise)! After that we set up his arts and crafts table! Where we made necklaces, keychains and bracelets from his rock tumbler which was utilized earlier in the week. Glitter, glue, scissors, construction paper, beads, etc. everywhere, luckily we did it outside so the mess was easily contained.
Once that was cleaned up it was inside for some technology time, while I got ready for my fun shoot at Silver Hill Hospital, which the family joined me at. This was an amazing experience where 7 Monks from the Tashi Kyil Monastery in Tibet were creating a Sand Mandala. Before laying down the sand, the monks drew the design and then applied the sand granules using small tubes, funnels, and scrapers, until the pattern over-top is achieved. Sand mandalas traditionally take several weeks to build, due to the large amount of work involved in laying down the sand in such intricate detail. However, these seven Monks were only here for a few short days and were to finish the design on Tuesday. It is common that a team of monks will work together on the project, creating one section of the diagram at a time, working from the center outwards. A sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life. This specific mandala will be placed in the Silvermine River with a special ceremony this week.
Along with viewing of the monks making the mandala, the community was able to “Travel to Tibet” to learn about the culture and religion of Tibet through chanting, song and dance. The show was amazing, even my kids loved it! However the show was a little hazardous for me to photograph. I made the mistake (not once, but twice) kneeling (in a skirt, reason #1,000 why I never shoot in a skirt) of being up front in the aisle to try and get some great action shots of the Snow Lion and the Yak…and um yeah I got ran over by a Yak….bet you can’t say that has ever happened before? Luckily there was a nice older man next to me that I literally jumped on didn’t mind! Here are some photos from last night’s performance. For more information about how to support the monks of Tashi Kyil Monastery please visit www.tmbcc.net/info/tour/tk_index.html
Today when I was running (after my husband convinced me at 7:30am that it wasn’t that humid out, yet….um yeah he was totes lying); I was debating about this blog topic. We all have fears, some of them were created from childhood like being afraid of the dark or maybe the basement, sleeping with the closet open (yep I passed that one down to my daughter, oops sorry Berkeley). Some are much more larger and complicated.
Tomorrow I will be facing a big fear, a fear of failure.
Lack of success.
An unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing.
As I head back to work one last and time for a job that I left months ago. In my other life I’m an event planner, I’ll be assisting a non-profit with their fundraising event for 200 people, outside, along the beautiful Long Island Sound.
So what does my fear of failure have to do with this situation you may ask? Well, I have to see my old boss. The main reason why I am no longer employed at said place. I briefly saw her yesterday when I popped in to go over final details. The funny part is, she didn’t recognize me. Once she did a double take with her jaw literally wide-opened, she immediately began grilling me on all the details for tomorrow’s big fundraiser. I was vague and polite, the best I could do under the given circumstances because I really wanted to reach out and slap her across the face or give her a pile driver. You know how there’s that one person that has that power over you; to make you feel insignificant, trivial, inconsequential, stupid, etc. yeah she’s MY one person. And tomorrow night, I have to deal with her, all over again. While I won’t be working the fundraiser for her per se, it is for the organization which she is leading, so I will have to please her, perhaps kiss her ass, or at least make sure she is happy, right?
WRONG! I decided, not only during my run, but since I left this place months ago, I’m going to face my fears head on. I’m going to do what I need to do to move forward. So tomorrow night while I’m working, I will make sure the person who hired me is happy, has everything they need to be successful and not care about her and her happiness. Tomorrow I will make a promise to not feel insignificant, stupid, trivial; I will stand up tall, feel important, valuable and not be afraid of failure.
Oh and I think I mentioned this event will be right on Long Island Sound, in fact, the event is benefiting clean water, so the back drop is the Norwalk Harbor; so if things start to go south, I am not above pushing her into the harbor, it will of course be high tide and my biggest finale of all time.
So for those of you out there with fears, no matter how big or small, stand up tall, look them in the eye and face them. Look under that bed, sleep with the closet wide open, go into that basement with the lights off and push your ex-boss into Long Island Sound. Because if you don’t you will live in fear the rest of your life.
This weekend I drove over 400 miles and loved every mile of it. Okay well that may be a little minor lie. I didn’t love the traffic that the lovely George Washington Bridge gave me both outbound and inbound, but other than that it was awesome. Weekends like this remind me so much of why I love to do what I do. Take photos of amazing moments in people’s lives.
My first stop was a in Matawan, New Jersey. A town I literally couldn’t pronounce and had never heard of…but it was the cutest place ever. I met with this great couple who had just had the cutest baby ever, Sophia. Or as I like to call her a 6 week-old little squeaker. Her little cries were squeaks. She was so angelic, very little peeps came out of her, except for squeaks. Mom had the best outfits chosen, and I couldn’t wait to dive in. It had been a while since I rolled my sleeves up and gotten to see and photograph a newborn.
I forget how many amazing sounds, faces, movements they make. Their tiny toes, fingers, coos, and sounds…all so breathtaking. Almost makes you want to have another one….ALMOST!
Fast forward to yesterday, an engagement session for one of my fun 2014 couples. The swelter of Summer…the sweat I should say. At the beautiful Wickham Park in Manchester, we trotted around almost all the beautiful gardens, my couple in their gorgeous clothes, and in me in my tank top and shorts, sweating as if in a sauna. It was so hot, I really think that I was melting, but my couple looked amazing. The heat didn’t phase them, but I was so drenched it looked like I ran a marathon….And boy did it feel like it after walking most of the 250+ acre park via foot!
Even though I was soaked and sliding on my leather car seats on the drive home, it really made me reflect (as I was stuck in the horrible summer traffic), on how far I have come in such a short time and how far I have to still go. So here I am nearly 4 months into this full-time adventure, and where am I at you may ask? Well I’m still loving what I’m doing, still making it work, still making daily/monthly to-do lists (and trying to stick with them) and still having FUN. 400 miles of fun…