Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Adventures

I love the rain, especially when it rains during Christmas time.  Since we don't really have "seasons" here in Southern California, the rain is as close as we get to feeling like it's winter.  When "Stormwatch 2010" showed up on the news, I got a little excited.  It's never as bad as they predict, though, at least where we live.  Oh well....

Last Monday we were set to have my family over for Christmas dinner, and the power went out that day.  Normally that would make me happy (seriously, I think it's fun!) but I had the crock pot on and numerous items cooking.  Thankfully it only lasted about 20 minutes and everything got cooked.

Two days before Christmas, Jaden bit a huge hole in his last pacifier.  I have written for at least a year about our numerous efforts to get him off of the "binky", as we call it, but nothing (and I mean nothing) had worked.  When you have a child as LOUD as Jaden, the binky is a welcome respite to the noise and crying as it soothes him immediately.  I admit I was in no big hurry to get rid of it, as it has saved me many a headache.  But alas, he started to bite them and we only had ONE left.  He knew it was the end, and I think he had been prepared already for about a week since there had already been a small hole in it.

NICE, huh?!  He has now officially been binky-free for 5 nights!  He hasn't even asked for it once. However, the binky was the one thing that made him take his naps, and since it has been gone he has not taken one nap.  Oh well, you win some - you lose some.  At 3 1/2 years old, he finally did it!

On Christmas Eve we merged services with another church and had a candle-lit service.  It was the first night in over 5 years that we got to sit as a whole family together, since Martin only had to lead 1 song and not the whole service.

At midnight that night, Martin opened our bedroom window for some air, and when he went to close it, the wood separated from the window and it shattered.  There we were, at 12:01am on Christmas morning, duct-taping cardboard to our window.  Another fun adventure!  It is getting repaired this week, but the room has been a little cooler at night, especially because of the rain.

Christmas morning was full of laughter and wonder as the boys woke up at 7am, rushed out to the living room and opened presents.  Jaden got a new bike and took off on it like he had always been riding! (Unfortunately my camera malfunctioned and I lost the cutest photos and videos of the first time he rode - boo!!) :(

And no Christmas would be complete without our yearly bout with the stomach flu.  Jaden threw up in his Sunday School class, then a few hours later Micah got it, and then a few hours later I got it.  We've been in bed for about 2 days now, but thankfully I think it is passing now.

All of our Christmas decorations are put away now, and we are looking forward to the New Year.
I hope you had a beautiful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Each year I have my heart set on making some "Christmas Traditions" that my boys will always remember growing up with.  Yet each year I struggle to think of ideas.  This is the first year that both boys actually "get"  Christmas (well, semi-get).  They have been enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells of the season.  Each morning they have new wonder in their eyes wondering what is in store for today.  This Christmas just feels different, and I think it's because they are old enough now to really enjoy it.

Here are some fun things that we've done this year.  I'm not sure if they qualify as traditions yet, but we'll see which ones turn into traditions....

-We have a small collection of Christmas books that people have given the boys over the past few years.  We took the books out of a box in early December and we read one of them each night before bed.  They have about 6 Christmas books, and I'm hoping to buy them a new book each year to add to their collection.

-Martin starts every morning off with turning on KOST 103.5.  The boys love the Christmas music and Jaden says his favorite song is "Santa Baby."  He starts giggling and asks, "Why is she calling Santa a baby?!"  Micah loves every song that plays and always asks us to turn it up.

-We buy our tree from a lot and typically do that the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We all help pick the tree out and then eat dinner out somewhere.

-Each of the boys has an artificial small tree that they decorate themselves with a small string of lights and their own small ornaments.  (I got the ornaments at 75% off last year)  Each night we turn their trees on before bed and they go to sleep to the soft lights :)

-Near our house is a neighborhood that many call "Sleepy Hollow", and it is about 6-8 streets of houses that are all connected by lights, and they decorate extravagantly.  The line to get into the neighborhood is long and slow, but well worth it.  There are carolers, people selling hot chocolate and cookies, neighbors milling about, and groups of people sitting around campfires outside.  It is beautiful.  We've already gone 3 times this year and plan to go at least 2 more times.

-I bought both boys an Advent calendar for .99 cents from Trader Joe's, and each afternoon they open a box and get to eat a small chocolate inside.

-I also saved an Advent calendar that I got years ago from Starbucks, and it is in the shape of a Christmas tree with 25 small boxes.  In each box I wrote on a little slip of paper a fun activity we will do for that day.  Things such as: decorate cookies, go look at the lights, go to Mimi & Papa's house, etc... I basically take events that are already on our calendar, and put them in the boxes to make it more exciting for the kids.  They love opening these boxes.

-We are also reading the Christmas story to them from The Picture Bible, but any Bible would do.   Reading it in different versions is also fun.  You can also show them this great video from Igniter Media that re-tells the Christmas story with images.

I know this sounds like a lot, but these are just small and easy things that we do to make Christmas fun and special.  What traditions or special things does your family do this time of year?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Things Not to Say on Photoshoots...

This month has been a whirlwind of photography sessions.  8 photo shoots plus 1 wedding to edit = total craziness.  I haven't exactly been thinking clearly, either.  Here are some things I have found NOT to say on photo shoots:

This family was so much fun; they told me up front that they wanted to climb in trees, roll down hills, and run together :)  Loved it!  At the end, after they had been smiling for over a half an hour and energy was going down, we needed one last family photo for the Christmas cards.  Not thinking, I asked the teenage boy to share "something funny that your dad does."  He smirked and said, "Um...I have something!" and proceeded to tell THE most embarrassing story about his dad.  I won't even repeat it here, but it involved sounds and bodily functions.  He went ON and ON and ON and I felt so bad for his poor dad!  I did not know the family personally, and we were all cracking up laughing.  I hid behind my lens and did not peek out until he was done :)  I just replied, "Don't worry, I have 2 boys myself..." not explaining they are only 3 and 5 and haven't discovered yet how to embarrass their father. (Oh, but they have discovered how to embarrass their mother - on Saturday in front of friends, Micah gave me a hug and then said, "Mommy, you smell like farts!")  Anyway, at the beginning of the story, they were posed like this:

During the story, they kept moving closer and closer.

At the end, when they were all laughing so hard, they all moved in closer and put their arms around each other, and this was the last shot.


Yesterday I was on another shoot with a family, where I found myself repeatedly saying "Oh, that's so cute!" after I took their picture.  I apologized that I sounded as though I were talking to little kids, but then I kept saying it!

Then when I went to get this photo, I overheard myself say, "Can you sit criss-cross-apple-sauce?"  Um, WHAT?!  This poor grown man.

At this photo shoot of a dentist office, the atmosphere was very reserved and quiet.  I wanted to get them talking, so I asked, "So, how many patients do you guys have?"  Hmmm...apparently that was not a good question to ask.  They looked at each other and then the dentist asked, "What do you mean?  Per week?  Per month?"  Well, I didn't know what I meant.  I was just making small talk :)  At least their picture came out cute.  I mean, good.

The most special photo shoot I did - ever - also happened last month.  Alyssa, age 6, is blind and was diagnosed with cancer at age 2.  Her best friend is named Trinity, and I am friends with Trinity's mother Shannin.  Shannin asked if I would do a photo shoot of these two girls before Alyssa had surgery to remove 45% of her brain.  I did the shoot on Sunday, and her surgery was on Tuesday.  Alyssa had a seizure on her way to the photo shoot, but you would have never known it by the time she arrived.  These two girls played tea party together and told funny stories, and it was the most precious thing I have ever seen.  When I met Alyssa, she did not want me to take her picture at first. But after I let her feel my camera, she was all smiles.  (Alyssa has the red hair)

When the girls play together, they hold hands since that is the way that Alyssa "sees."  It was beautiful.

Alyssa is still in the hospital, fighting infections, but recovering more and more each day. If you'd like to join her Facebook fan page to receive updates as to how she is doing and see current photos of her progress, you can visit this link.  She is a special, special girl.  I left that photoshoot in tears and felt touched by her smile and her joy, despite what she was facing.

And this is Alyssa's baby sister, who was so adorable with her "O" face! :)

I hope you've learned what NOT to say if you are a photographer.  I have learned that I am probably best behind the desk (editing) vs. behind the camera :)   I am now officially finished with shoots for the next month, and so excited to be done and celebrate Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Write.

For me, I write.
Like hot tears falling on soft cheeks, they flow.
Words may stop for a few seconds while I catch my breath
But soon enough they are pouring again,
rippling down from the top of my head, down through my throat
where I just had that lump from holding back tears
and they bypass my chest, passing right by my heart,
where the feelings are all bunched together.
They run faster, faster still
Coursing through my veins, up towards my shoulders,
where I often bear the weight of the world.
They fall down my arms,
which carry my babies
and they trickle through my fingers,
which lovingly pluck at the keys
Like a romantic sonata is being played.

The heaviness I bore within starts to release,
as I feel the thoughts, the words, and the letters
being played in perfect harmony.
It is my sonnet, it is my breath.

Starting as hail, pounding harshly
Turning to rain, as I process
Becoming lighter, lighter still
Soon it feels like snow,
falling gentler and gentler on the page

What was a mixed ball of emotions
that was hard to make out,
has now become a soft song
that suddenly makes sense.

For the writer has released her love
and it flies forth across the page.
It is not for the reader that she writes,
but for herself.
For it is her truth, her life, her voice
that often gets lost in the noise.

She is in love with words,
with poetry and song,
and as she lets it out,
she breathes new life again.

© 2010 Jaimie Bowman

Friday, December 3, 2010

28 Things

So, these emails have been going around for years and just keep popping up.  Yet somehow they are still fun, because our answers are always changing as we get older.  Here is the latest version of "28 Things About Me" (as if you wanted to know) ;)

1) If I could have any job right this second, it would be traveling and speaking.
2) If I could not travel and speak, I would like to work with foster kids.
3) I am a total extrovert-introvert.  (Make that introvert-extrovert)
4) I have been known to hide in stores to avoid people I know.  (See #3)
5) I am currently obsessed with parking at the beach and staying there until I see dolphins.  (My kids aren't big fans of that unfortunately).
6) My love languages are: acts of service and gift giving.
7) My love languages are NOT: physical closeness and words of encouragement.  But they are my husband's and so I am working on it :)
8) If I could spend a day with anyone in the world right now, it would be Beth Moore.  (I know you're disappointed I didn't say you, but I would love to spend a day with you too).
9) My favorite place to vacation is in the woods, preferably near a lake.
10) I cannot handle being around people with lots of drama in their life, or who get offended easily.
11) I have lived in California all of my life, in both southern and northern parts.
12) I was a pastor's kid until I was 15, and wrote my Master's Thesis on "The Identity Formation of Pastor's Kids"
13) My main goal in life (up until college) was to be a professional singer.  That is, until I auditioned for the choir in college and found out that I was a very small fish in a very big pond.
14) I have not changed a whole lot since high school.  My hair is the same, my clothes are the same, and my favorite colors are the same :)  I have just toned my bangs down a bit.
15) I am more of a "glass half-empty" sort of gal, and am working on it.
16) Someday we want to adopt a little girl, age 7 or older, out of the foster care system.
17) In my photography business, I enjoy the editing of the photos more than the taking of them.
18) One of my most embarrassing moments happened at church last year, when I slipped in the lobby and did the full-on SPLITS in front of everyone in. a. dress.  (I put periods on the ends of those words just. for. you. youknowwhoyouare) ;)
19) The only movies I rent are comedies.
20) My favorite candy is See's Candy, preferably the raspberry truffle.
21) High maintenance people really frustrate me.
22) I might be a high maintenance person.
23) My favorite birthday tradition is going to the Old Spaghetti Factory with Heather and then going thrift-store shopping afterwards :)
24) I really have no hobbies except for blogging (and Facebook).
25) I also eat way too much.
26) I find my greatest joy when I'm ministering to others.
27) I married an incredible man whom God has graced with incredible patience for all of my weaknesses.
28) I love my life and am a blessed woman!

Now it's your turn!!