Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I love my job!

I'm fortunate. I really love what I do. I enjoy creating verbal images that move people and pictorial ones that capture a special moment in someone's life.

This week I had the latter opportunity several times!

First... It was the special award ceremony at the Princess Louise Park Show Centre during the Summer Sunrise Horse Show.

Amadeus Mozart Ara-Li* (pictured above left), a Morgan stallion bred and born in Lower Millstream, NB, owned and shown by Walter and Dawn Brown of Collina, NB, received the Supreme Justin Morgan Honour award from the National Canadian Morgan Horse Association.

Fadjura's Ajiba NA+ (pictured at right), an Arabian mare, was foaled at Najouba Arabians in Sussex Corner, NB, with stable owners Jessie and Oren MacLean. She is now owned and shown by 18-year-old Zara Morrison of Mt. Hebron, NB. The mare received the Purebred Arabian Legion of Honour award. Zara received the prestigious Rider of Champions award for her efforts.

Zara is my riding student so the sense of accomplishment was shared by all. She accumulated sufficient points for the award without ever leaving the Maritimes, a challenge in and of itself!

Her support team includes her mother Marion (next to horse) and friend Nikki as well among many others.

The versatile "Mo" competes in driving competitions and riding competitions. His handler, Dawn, also has an extensive support team, including her family.

Once the awards activities came to an end, it was time to get ready for prom photo shoots. Once again I had the fun of 'shooting' Zara and her horse, as well as her mom and grandmother as she gets ready to face the future.

They match!

Then I was off to another shoot with Coralie and her family.

She is also involved in showing horses and counts her mother, Michelle, among her backstage support team.

Photographing and writing about such happy occasions makes me thankful that I have the job I have! Who else can have this much fun?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Knowing I had a schedule to keep, sleep eluded me last night. I checked the clock every thirty minutes on my last night with my west coast family. Ten days goes by so quickly.

Finally it was time to get up, shower, finish packing and head out to the airport.

Just as David and I were going out the door the grand toddlers woke up and came to say goodbye. Mattias offered a big hug and an "I love you Gramma." Isla was less awake and so just shyly whispered "bye bye".

Leaving is always heart wrenching, especially knowing that it could be a year or more before I see them again, all depending on opportunity and, of course, money.

Sometimes being in a rush to leave is a good thing! No time for tears, as I fly over the big mountains, across the wide prairies, around the Great Lakes and on home to New Brunswick, Joel and our fur babies Hoover and Halo. Does that sound like a good opening for a story for the kids? Hmmm mm.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One more sleep!

Interesting how children measure time. I told my grandchildren last night that Gramma would have to go home after one more sleep and Mattias, the 3-year-old, responded "don't go to sleep yet, you won't have to leave." How sweet is that?

But, I've had a terrific nine-day visit with my little west coast family. It's been wonderful getting to know the kids so well and spend lots of time with them - through good moods and bad.

I've taken a ton of photos to sustain me until the next get together - probably a year away. This long-distance grandparenting leaves a lot to be desired!

So far, the best moment was yesterday when my son, David, and I took the kids to the park to play. As we set off up the street, Isla smiled sweetly at me and asked to hold my hand for the walk. Talk about melting your heart.

Later Mattias saved lots of time to play 'just with Gramma' which was wonderful!

This is my last full day with them. Sadly, the skies are weeping in sympathy which will make getting to the park a challenge, but the kids have of fear of getting wet, so we'll probably go anyway. It just makes it tough to take the camera gear.

So, my visit is winding down and there's only one more sleep.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's an adventure...

What busy lives my son and his family have. Two toddlers 10 months apart in age definitely keep things hopping. My daughter-in-law has the patience of Job in dealing with the daily mishaps that are all part of having small children - the inevitable tears when something goes wrong; the two-year-old tantrums from little people a bit over-tired or over-stimulated.

But, it has been quite a visit so far. Every day is an adventure as we explore parks, the neighborhood, special sites, the homes of friends and family. The advantage of living in the city like this is the unlimited list of places to go and things to see. The disadvantage is the cost of housing making having a quiet yard to play in a tough thing to have. Raising children in an apartment isn't easy, that's for sure.

The kids are a joy, though. They're cute, of course, but also so bright. Both have extensive vocabularies and speak well, in full sentences, and practically always have. No baby talk for sure.

My visit is winding down now. Two more 'sleeps' until I wend my way back to the East Coast. It's been great, but I do miss my hubby, my dog and cat, and, of course, my BED! Ten days on a hide-a-bed are a bit hard on the back! But, when you're tired at the end of a busy day with the grand toddlers, any horizontal surface will work!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Learning to slow it down

Spending all day in the company of a three-year-old and a two-year-old quickly forces you to change your perspective on things you take for granted - time, distance and urgency. At their age (and height) everything has the potential to be interesting with water fountains holding a particular fascination for small hands and minds.

When you walk, non, when you amble down the street with them, time stands still as flowers, windows, bugs and birds must all be investigated. Linnea spends most of her time with the kids and is totally tuned in the nuances of their behavior, knowing almost to the second when something will interest, distract or disturb them. The rest of us take wild guesses when things are going to change and a laughing, happy moment will become an emotional meltdown. Still, after a couple of days I'm beginning to clue in myself.

It's threatening to rain today so we'll see what that brings as far as outing, moods and activities means. Raindrops are no deterrent to an outing - just pull on the rubbers and a rain coat and head out - it is Vancouver after all.

Tonight will be my first ever time alone with the grand toddlers. I'm FINALLY being trusted with their care for a few hours while their parents go out to a concert. Perhaps they finally believe that I won't drown the kids in the bath, can manage to scrape the detritus from their teeth, get them into nighttime diapers and pajamas, read them a couple of stories and tuck them into bed successfully - or maybe not. Somehow, since my son survived my parenting skills to grow up reasonably unscarred, I suspect the grand toddlers will make it through a few short hours of my supervision. I guess we'll see ;)

Long distance gramma

It's a solid and exhausting 12+ hour trip when you trek from the Maritimes to the Mountains to see your grandchildren. Unfortunately, that means you are exhausted when you get there - before you even have a chance to say hello.

When I got to Vancouver this time, David and I stopped at their apartment to drop off my luggage and have a snack. Then, we walked over to the park where Linnea and the kids were playing. 

It was amazing to see their little faces light up when they saw me and to have them come running toward me on fast moving little legs yelling for all to hear, "East Coast Gramma... East Coast Gramma!"

After lots of welcome hugs - the joys you can't get when you only have webcam visits over the internet - they went back to their games, stopping frequently to make sure I was watching their antics. 

Isla is the brave one - at two she will courageously (and nerve-wrackingly) climb any obstacle and hurl herself down the tallest slide with no fear! 

Mattias, at three, is more cautious, preferring to check things out carefully before committing himself to a kamikaze run down the tall tunnel slide at the playground.

Needless to say, with much to explore and to show to ECGramma, the walk home was a long and winding trail. No surprise, the short-legged members of our party were quite tired by the time we got back to their apartment. But, a refreshing bath, some supper and a couple of story books read with great drama by their Mum did much to settle wee minds and bodies in preparation for a good night's sleep. 

Come to think of it, it worked on me, too!