Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

One-Word Wednesday

The boys and the Mister gave me lovely plants and a Chipotle gift card for Mother’s Day.

The boys and the Mister gave me lovely plants and a Chipotle gift card for Mother’s Day.

Mom!

Love my guys!

We saw “The Amazing Spiderman 2” and ate lunch at BJ’s. Love my guys!

My Sweet Sons

I’m surrounded by love!

I’m surrounded by love! (Photo by the Mister with my Nikon 1 V1)

I had such a lovely Mother’s Day yesterday!  I celebrated my 21st one with a refreshing four-mile walk, a movie (“The Great Gatsby,” which was pretty good), a barbecue lunch, and watching the “Survivor” finale (our family’s favorite TV show). Way to go, Cochran!

The best part of Mother’s Day for me is simply being with my sons and the Mister. We could be doing nothing, and I’d be happy as long as we’re together.

Sensitive and clever

Sensitive and clever

Well, that and the cards the boys make me. I love that they’re handmade—they’re so special. My younger son, whose card is on the left, said he went back to his kindergarten roots for his simple message (inside is a heart and the verbiage “Thank you for bringing so much joy into my life!” and “Also thank you for putting up with my singing.”).

My witty, older boy’s card on the front says, “It’s gonna be a great Mother’s Day! Especially because we’re using the right ‘it’s.’ Maybe we just know what we’re talking about.” (Yes, he’s a word geek like me.)

Inside he wrote, “Happy Mother’s Day! Since this is your 21st Mother’s Day, you can drink now.” Funny kid!

Gotta love this kind of emotional fuel. What a high!

A Wonderful Mother’s Day

I’m sandwiched between my older and younger sons on Mother’s Day.

Last year turned out to be a horrible Mother’s Day. My younger son, who was suffering from acute anxiety, and I argued vehemently. He hurt my feelings, causing me to run away from home (via the Pilot) and sit at a local park for hours contemplating my role in the parenting universe. It wasn’t pretty.

Fortunately, my older son pulled me out of my funk and made me feel special. He saved the day for me, and I’m eternally grateful.

My #1 son’s card is on the left (I bug him about using color), #2 on the right.

Apparently, last year was just an aberration . . . I hope! This past Mother’s Day—my 20th—was simply wonderful. We all enjoyed watching “Marvel’s The Avengers,” we ate lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings (a favorite of the guys), and we rooted Kim on to a well-deserved victory on “Survivor.”

As always, the boys made me cards. I laughed at my older son’s, but I could barely read the one from my younger son, because my eyes were filled with tears. This is what he wrote:

“I know this last year has been rough for the two of us, and there were many times where you could have given up on me. However, you kept pushing me and loving me, and I am so grateful to have a mom like you. Thank you for the wonderful things you have done for me. I love you!”

Hear that squishy sound? That’s my heart melting.

Mother’s Day Movie Treat: “Marvel’s The Avengers”

Saving the world by making a huge mess of NYC: The Avengers

Fair warning: If you’re an asthmatic like me, be sure to take a couple hits of your daily inhaler before you see “Marvel’s The Avengers.” Might want to pack the rescue inhaler, too. You’ll need all the breathing help you can muster for this excellent, action-packed movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

As usual, when it’s Mother’s Day, as it was yesterday, I take one for my testosterone team and pick the flick that my guys will enjoy (as in “Star Trek” in 2009, “Iron Man 2” in 2010, and “Thor” last year). So it was a no-brainer for me to opt for the new Avengers movie . . . especially since I really want to see it (probably because I’ve got a thing for Captain America).

Loki and Thor are brothers who don’t see eye to eye.

Long story short: We all loved it! Yes, there was an insane amount of destruction in New York City (clean up on aisles two, seven, 12 . . . oh, heck, all of them!), and too much bickering among the super heroes. But it was cool beans when they all worked together to defeat bad guy Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who was trying to rule Earth . . . with the help of some blasted (literally!) aliens. We especially liked the funny moments.

It was neat seeing the characters come together after having watched their individual movies (not that all of them had their own films, though). The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) added needed girl power, and Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) kept them all focused as a team. Kudos to Joss Whedon for co-writing and directing such a compelling flick.

Love Captain America’s updated suit.

After the movie (as always, be sure to stay through the credits), the four of us revealed who our favorite Avengers were. The Mister and our older son both picked Chris Hemsworth’s Thor (methinks the balding Mister is a tad jealous of those flowing, golden locks), while our younger son opted for Tony Stark/Iron Man (arrogantly well-played by Robert Downey Jr.). As for me, Captain America (Chris Evans) stole my heart—who doesn’t love a good-looking, patriotic guy?

I’m already looking forward to next Mother’s Day. Wonder if “Iron Man 3” will be in the theaters then?

Mother’s Day at the Movies Yet Again

Me and my guys! By the way, I’m NOT taller; I'm standing on the spa.

I love Mother’s Day! It reminds me of the best part of my life, which is all about my two sons who I love dearly. And, of course, it makes me think of my own dear mom in Chicago who I also love.

Gotta love the suit!

Like last year, we spent the late morning and early afternoon seeing a movie. Of course, it was the $5 show, because Mother’s Day is not about spending a lot of money when I’m in charge of making plans. The flick? “Iron Man 2.”

Like last year when we saw “Star Trek,” I picked a movie that I knew the boys would want to see. I really didn’t think that “Letters to Juliet” was a viable alternative with my all-male contingent. One year for my birthday I forced them to see the “Princess Diaries”; I don’t think they’ve forgiven me for that yet!

Robert Downey Jr. is a dying Iron Man.

Ready for a movie review? The boys, of course, loved it. It’s definitely a testosterone-driven flick. There’s so much violence and destruction. At times it even looked like a video game! I liked that Scarlett Johansson played a strong female role; however, her computer-generated male-disabling moves looked way too fake. For me, it wasn’t better than the first movie (sequels rarely are).

Oh, and be sure to stay until the very, very, very end . . . after the credits. Which take forever. There’s an extra scene. While you’re waiting, you can check your smartphone for e-mail, which is what I did with my iPhone. It allows your heart rate, which skies to high levels during much of the movie, to plummet back to the safe zone.

Poetry Corner

Both of my sons presented me with homemade cards (my favorite) as well as Chipotle gift cards (the way to Mom’s heart!) for Mother’s Day. Here’s what my #2 son came up with as his message to me:

M = Most awesome

O = Outstanding

M = More awesome and outstanding

To: My favorite mom

From: Your favorite son

Very cute!

My #1 son, who wants to be a lyricist, penned a rap rhyme using his alter-ego band Fyzikz (pronounced “physics”):

Yo, we Fyzikz

We writin’ this song

Today is the ninth

The day of the mom.

So good morning

And have a nice day

You can have what you want

It’s a-o-kay!

It’s your day

As you can see

But between you and me

We like the Black-Eyed Pea! (© the # son)

BEP just happens to be one of the #1 son’s favorite restaurants, and that’s where he really wanted to go to dinner. Mother’s Day isn’t just about doing whatever moms want to do; sometimes it’s truly about pleasing the ones you love. Know where we ate dinner last night?

Yep, the Black-Eyed Pea! Good thing I like it, too!

Mother’s Day at the Movies . . . Chicken!

star_trek_03_1024

Hope y’all had a great Mother’s Day! Mine was interesting, as always. First, the boys showed me my Mother’s Day gift, which was a PowerPoint slideshow they had thrown together carefully crafted the night before. It was very cute and much appreciated. I had challenged the boys to try to describe me in three words (as inspired by the In Three Words website). Here’s what they came up with:

#2 son: If I could describe you in three words, it would be . . . sweet, cool, and funny.

M = Marvelous mom!

O = OMG you are awesome!

M = Mother of the year!!!

#1 son: Can three words do justice? If so, perhaps they would be awesome, important, and resourceful.

M = Magnanimous

O = Outstanding

M = Musical

Another cute touch: They signed that it was from my “#1 and #2 sons!”

Ahh, I feel appreciated, short-lived as I’m sure it’ll be. 

Then the family boldly went where no one has gone before . . . well, actually, lots of people had gone there: Our local AMC Theatres to see the new “Star Trek” movie. When I told the boys that’s what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, all I heard were moans and groans. But when I said it was either “Star Trek” or the “Hannah Montana” movie, they wisely opted for space travel over the teenybop star. We attended the 10:10 a.m. ($5) show, and it was packed! Lots of cheap families taking Mom to the movies, just like mine.

The short Mom review: I really liked it (as did the guys)! Because it’s co-produced by “Lost” co-creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, there were several touches from our favorite TV show involving time travel and altering the timeline. We’re not Trekkies, but I think we’ll definitely want to see the planned sequels.

"Chicken" boys

"Chicken" boys

Those chicken boys

As a preamble to yesterday’s Mother’s Day activities, the boys decided to play chicken off our pool’s spa the day before. I balanced my feeling of foreboding that one or both of them would slip, fall, and crack their heads open with the desire to capture action photos of them with my Nikon D300 and Nikon 17-55mm lens. Surprise, surprise . . . the photo impulse won out! I grabbed my camera and documented the new BWF (Backyard Wrestling Federation).

Shall we chicken dance?

Shall we chicken dance?

I’d rate the choreography an 8, I think. The intense focus, the dripping clothes, the flashy ribcage . . . it all works well together.

In ya go!

In ya go!

The #1 son gets the upper hand!

It's the #1 son's turn to take a dip.

It's the #1 son's turn to take a dip.

When the #1 son pushes his younger brother into the pool, he’s cool, calm, and collected. He prefers to turn his back on the big splash, just like the Power Rangers used to do when they vanquished a foe. Not Little Bro, though. He’s all about showing off for the momarazzo.

#9389-(#2-primps)

#9390-(#2-primps)

"Pump me up!"

"Pump me up!"

Shy guy? I don’t think so! In fact, he reminds me a lot of James T. Kirk, another “enterprising” young man!

Is the pool perhaps the final frontier for him, too?!?

Photo Friday: The “Perfect” Camera for Gift-Giving

 

Nikon D40

Nikon D40

My friend Kim asked me for advice: What kind of camera should she buy for her teenager’s birthday present? With Mother’s Day Sunday and graduation and Father’s Day around the corner, let’s ponder a key question: Is there a “perfect” camera for moms, dads, grads, and anyone having a birthday?

Of course, the answer is no. There’s no perfect camera for everyone, but there are excellent solutions. First, let’s talk category: Point and shoot, fixed zoom, and digital SLR (interchangeable lenses).

Nikon Coolpix S230 point and shoot

Nikon Coolpix S230 point and shoot

Point and shoots: There are lots of good ones, and they’re very-capable cameras if you’re not shooting action. Definitely the handiest of all the camera categories due to their size but also limited in their capabilities for the same reason. You can’t go wrong with just about any manufacturer’s P&S.

Canon Powershot G10

Canon Powershot G10

Nikon Coolpix P90

Nikon Coolpix P90

 

Fixed zoom: These compact digicams, which Digital Photography Review likes to call “enthusiast cameras,” are a big step up from the lower-end point and shoots. This category includes the Canon Powershot G10 and the Nikon Coolpix P90. They’re more expensive than a conventional P&S ($400-$500), and they can do almost as much as a dSLR. Almost. With their multiple settings (auto, manual, etc.), plenty of megapixels (at least 10), and a good zoom, they’re a great choice for an amateur photographer who wants to do more than just point and shoot. Plus they’re a natural progression for anyone who wants to eventually move up to a dSLR and lessen that more-complicated camera’s learning curve.

Canon Rebel XS

Canon Rebel XS

Digital SLR: Finally, there are the big kahunas, the top of the digital camera food chain: the digital SLRs. Every dSLR, from the least-expensive consumer model to the too-expensive-for-the-likes-of-us pro version, gives photographers great versality and potentially great results. The ability to change lenses from, say, a 50mm prime to a 70-200mm zoom enables you to get the most out of your photography and capture that terrific photo. And the consumer dSLRs, like the Nikon D40 and the Canon Rebel XS, cost just a little more than the fixed zoom digicams at $500-$600, which includes the low-end 18-55mm lens. They can be used on automatic or program while the confidence is building to get more hands-on.

You’ll notice that I’ve only mentioned Canon and Nikon for two of the three categories. That’s because I think they make the best fixed zoom cameras and dSLRs. Which one is better? That’s like the ubiquitous Mac vs. PC debate! The one that’s better is the one that you’ll use a lot! I started with a Nikon D70, because my buddy Deanna had bought one and let me use it. I fell in love with its ease of use (it helps that I have a film SLR background), bought one immediately, and have followed a Nikon upgrade path ever since (moving on to the Nikon D200 and then to my current D300). I have plenty of friends who have been happy with their Canon dSLRs, too. The best advice is to go to a store where you can hold both cameras; one may feel better in your hands than the other.

I’m told all the time that I’m a good photographer because my camera equipment is so good. Nice of people to discount almost 40 years of SLR experience! It’s almost a conundrum: Yes, the photographer needs to have good skills, but it’s almost impossible to take great photos with substandard or the wrong equipment. Tonight I’m going to be shooting an indoor dance show at the #1 son’s high school; I’d hate to try to tell its story with a point and shoot instead of my D300 and my Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens. Good photography truly takes good skills and the right equipment.

What’s most important in buying a camera is getting one that you’ll use. The more you use it, the more proficient you’ll become. Experience is so important in getting top-notch photos. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time you pick up your camera.

My answer to Kim is to have her daughter kick in some birthday money and buy a digital SLR. It will give her maximum flexibility and growth, putting her on the road to a rewarding, lifetime photography experience. As for which dSLR, Canon or Nikon, beginner or mid-range? Go to the store and check ’em out—one might just feel perfect!

Speaking of Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms; hope you have a wonderful Sunday that includes either taking pictures or having your picture taken, no matter what camera is used!