Sunday, June 19, 2011

{ june's triumvirate } ~ austin area photographer

It's our second summer without Avery. She is away at her 5 week camp having a grand time. We miss her, but we certainly take advantage of our time to run a little extra wild and have adventures all our own.

We have been good about sleeping in a little, but not too late. It's nice to get up and make breakfast for the littles and have some coffee, then I force myself to work out and let the girls play or argue or whatever they feel like doing while I jam out on the treadmill for a couple miles. Typically they have been fighting over Avery's iPod which she wasn't allowed to take to camp. Finally we've worked out a time agreement, they take 30 minute turns. Here is little Evelyn playing some very intense game during one of her half hours....

{ to play }

Super serious.

{ concentration }

My doober-doo is getting so smart and growing up so fast. I truly wish I could freeze time and just enjoy her this way for a long time, I'm not sure that I am ready to lose these days.

{ my doo is a deep soul }

I have been much better about taking pictures of our outings and even just our time inside lounging around. These moments where we can run wild at the pool, go hiking, sit and share treats at coffee shops, treasure hunt in vintage stores, and visit with friends are something I love. Summer is most assuredly my favorite time of year. I kind of just wish we could live like vagabonds and travel the U.S. on smiles and winks.

Here are some pictures of what "rest time" can turn into at my house. ;)

{ junebugs at play }

{ junebugs at love }

{ junebugs wrestling }

Much more to share but once again limited on time. I swear that I will get internet at home again, this having to drive places is ridiculously inconvenient.


Monday, June 13, 2011

{ vague + vivid } ~ austin area photographer

Always around this time of year I think about Waltonia. Waltonia was the place of my youth where I felt 100% myself even as a child. It was the trip my family took each summer and my favorite place in the whole world. I drove through it last summer when I dropped Avery for camp, that was my first time back in 11 years. I hope I can open the door for my girls to build memories like my family did for me.

So I leave you with this little rant that I typed up this morning while I was reminiscing about my summers in Kerrville. My littles and I are headed out to hike and enjoy a scalding day in Austin. A lot of silliness is about to go down.

{ from my past }

The Vague and the Vivid--

I have so many early memories, snapshots that are bright and poignant but fleeting, they have no background or dialog I can link. These flashes have emotion, I can connect them with a positive or negative feeling. I remember eating Ramen Noodles off the sidewalk in front of my house when I was about 2 or 3, the uncooked kind. I can’t say for sure, but I think my sisters and I snuck a few packages outside and they ran off with the little flavor packets and I remained right out front in full view just eating the little square of crunchy noodles and I was happy. In full contrast to that good but gross memory I also have the distinct picture of being cornered in our backyard while my oldest sister towered over me with a lizard in her fingers (taking a break here to go vomit) and threatening to put it on me. A deeply traumatic memory which I blame as the very beginning of my lizard phobia, I will find out the proper name for that soon. A negative moment in my past no question.

The most prominent memories that I have center around Waltonia. The only real vacation spot I was ever taken to growing up and the highlight of each year for me until the age 17. Waltonia is a camp site that when I was younger had 15 or 16 rustic cabins. My family stayed in #12 until I was 16. We spent one week as a family floating the Guadalupe River, taking walks, playing games, napping, and more. Typically we’d start out with a breakfast of cereal and then run around or swing until the grown ups were ready to take out down to the river. We’d suit up, grab an inner-tube and hike down to the waterfront. It would take us a while to build the courage to jump in the cold water, but once we were in the games were on and we’d splash around for hours at a time, when I say “hours” I mean like 4 hours of just being in the water. Literally sundrenched we would return to our cabin and make a quick lunch, somehow I link it with bologna and mayonnaise that actually tasted incredible to me back then, I am convinced that swimming makes all food taste better. Even though I balked about it each day, a luxurious nap would follow. I’d sleep for at least 3 hours, heaven to me and to my parents I am sure! When I got older nap time was reading time, which could last even longer than 3 hours, I adored just laying next to an open window and smelling the trees while I got lost in a Baby Sitters Club or Sweet Valley High book. From the moment I woke up or found a chapter to hold my place it was beg-time. My sister Rebecca and I would plead to go back to the water. We had friends in other cabins and we’d go make plans with them too and beg their parents. Finally one of the adults would cave in and take us back out to swim. Another round in the water, often it would be a trip to the low water bridge, a section next to the entrance of the camp ground where the road cut through the river and the water rushed under it at a dangerous speed. We would make up stories about all the possible drownings it had caused and scream if we got near it. Eventually they crafted a grate over it, making it seem far less exciting to play around. On Wednesday the schedule was rearranged for a special trip into town, the nearest town was Kerrville, TX. Our family and several others staying out at Waltonia would go eat Mexican food at Mamacitas. All of us kids would sit at one end and then the teens were close, they’d make us laugh and I remember wanting to be just like my sisters and my friend Tiffany’s brother, they were the cool ones to me. Even as a kid I felt drawn to certain people. Thursday night was another special night for our little camp community. Again it involved town. In Kerrville there is an outdoor theatre called the Pointe Theatre. They would run a few shows each summer so we would buy tickets to the Thursday night performance each year no matter what it was. Some were well known and some were things I’d never heard of, but I developed a love for the stage and appreciation for amateur acting that I credit to those talented people at the Pointe Theatre. Even when packing for the trip we would plan a special outfit for “play night.” As little kids it meant putting on a dress instead of ratty shorts and tee shirts, but as I grew up it evolved to full on hot rolling of the hair, painting my nails, and putting make-up on. Fashion was something innate for me, I enjoyed the dressing up almost as much as the actual play. Friday was a bittersweet day, all our normal activities were present, we played a little longer in the water, finished eating all the treats we had purchased for the trip, made special trips to some little rapids, and most importantly we planned our annual night time walk past the haunted cabins of the old Waltonia campgrounds to the Ingrim Cemetery. The teenagers did most of the planning and haunting, I remember the first year I crossed the line from walking to scaring (truly, I was still scared myself). There were flashlights, water balloons, silly string, shaving cream, spooky noises, and oddly potato chip bags. It was thrilling to have the older kids try to spook us, they would make up stories all during the week building up to the big walk. Each year they would do one big scary thing, my favorite was they year they faked a car running over one of the guys and smeared his shirt with oil in the print of a tire, then he popped up and chased us. Brilliant sound and visual effects to a 6 year old, I was wowed. After we got back to the camp, we would jump in the river in our clothes for a night swim, I still love this. Saturday was such a hard day for me, we would pack up and leave by lunchtime, every year I cried a little. The drive home was always faster than the drive there and I would finish whatever book I was in the middle of and once home I would begin counting the days until the next summer....

Waltonia might very well be my favorite part of my childhood.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{ bumbling chapter } ~ austin area photographer

I tried this last week and I quickly realized I hadn't really evaluated all the content and given accurate credit where it was due. I had delivered a very biased and almost hostile view of portions of my upbringing.

The following is a roughly drafted excerpt from the memoirs I have long been working on and sadly haven't made much ground until recently. I have been writing more and more as of late, however it's difficult to post because I have no internet connection at my apartment, so I have to pack up the laptop and visit a wifi sharing facility in order to connect to the outside world.

All your patience and encouragement for me to write has prompted me to share this. Please let me know if you think it's worth pursuing.

{ the smile inside }


My story is divided. There are many parts that make up this Amelia. My life could have been very normal and I might have turned out exactly the same, but it wasn’t, it took a lot to make me this way.

From the beginning my life was unusual in some regard. I was the last of 6 kids, two of which were adopted. My sister’s who were adopted have always felt as close and even closer in many ways than my natural born sisters and my brother. For example of my siblings only the two which aren’t blood related to me are the only ones still trying to be somewhat involved in my life after divorce. Lyndsey, being 6 years older than me and looking nothing like me whatsoever, is my closest friend in all my family. She and I somehow understand each other. I have considered the possibility that I was also adopted or found somewhere, but my height and hairline link me too closely with my father and my thighs and ass prove I was born from my mom’s bloodline.

I do feel fortunate to have grown up in a large family. There are many perks to having a lot of siblings. One thing positive is the level of distraction that they can offer. Many times I escaped certain strangling because one of my sisters had done something seemingly worse than I had or at least more attention getting than myself and I was able to fly under the radar. The drawback to that being that I often view my parent’s affection and doting as having been used up by the time I came to the world. Looking back and seeing the difference in involvement in my life versus my older sisters and my brother, there isn’t even a comparison. They had far too much going on in life by the time I came around. My dad was a farmer and was required to be out checking fields and taking care of the land through all the daylight hours and into the evening as well. My mom has always been the most entrepreneurial person I’ve known, I thought she was Superwoman. She owned several businesses and stayed busy helping others. Because of my parents devout work ethic my sisters provided most of the childcare in our house. I felt a bit as if I was raised by my sisters, most specifically my two oldest sisters. As a child I would watch movies in their laps and listen to them talk on the phone, gossip with their friends, truly I felt older just by being around them. Even though I was born in the early 80’s, I often feel as though I lived my teen years through the 80’s just because I spent so much time immersed in pop culture by clinging to my teenage sisters.

More than once I have pondered how on earth my mom took care of 6 kids and now that I am older and able to really evaluate my childhood, I see that she kind of let us raise ourselves and become self sufficient. I don’t remember her even being home much because she owned her own businesses and was really involved with multiple projects. Still, the financial aspect boggles me, I can hardly afford 3 kids, wait I can’t even afford 3 kids. There were luxuries that I absolutely had to forego, like classes of any sort. I remember wanting to be sent to modeling school like my older sisters had been, but not being able to go. College would have been great too, but my parents felt like my teenage pregnancy deserved eternal punishment and considered paying for Avery’s birth as my choosing healthcare through childbirth over a college tuition. I needed their help and they gave it to me as they saw fit, which was to pay for some necessities and then let me struggle to experience the life I “chose” by having sex at 16. I owe my drive and self motivation to my parents, at 17 I learned what it’s like to have to earn a paycheck and I have been working hard ever since. I don’t know what it’s like to relax and plan vacations, I don’t even remember what vacation is.

Even though I sound bitter (it’s because I am a little), honestly I am still working through some of that, I have cherished memories from my childhood. My recollection of youth starts very early because I had a traumatic overdose experience when I was about 18 months old, which I remember with vivid detail. I was supposed to be napping when I snuck into my mom’s bathroom and opened her Synthroid which she took to medicate her under active thyroid. I believe she had that particular container for about a week or so and it contained 90 pills or close. So when I opened the childproof bottle and ate the remaining tablets, I probably ingested close to 80. My mom found me well before any reaction occurred and she drove me to the ER. Once there they began to give me “syrup” which I begged for more of. It was Ipecac which is used to induce vomiting. It worked really well on my 18 month old system, I began to regurgitate tiny pink pills over and over into a mustard yellow plastic container. After a struggle, I was given an IV to rehydrate my little body and placed in a crib to sleep. My mom sat in a rocking chair and the room was dark. As I let myself truly remember and put myself back in that crib, I can sense her worry, I believe she thought she might lose me, it’s one of the only times I can remember actually feeling her love me. It’s weird to say that when I almost died is one of my best memories, but that moment when I felt true concern from my mother is something I will never let go of, it makes me feel better about the rest of my life. Like when Elinor Daswood tells her sister Marianne “whatever his past actions, whatever his present course, at least you may be certain that he loved you.”

My dad has always needed a great deal of affection and because of that he is a master at doling it out. From as far back as I can recall my father has been enamored with my mother, at least he always appeared to be and that president was set. He touched her and complimented her all the time and would tell us kids what a special lady she was. He would tell all of us kids how much he loved us and would openly hug and kiss us. Still to this day he leaves me the kindest voicemail messages just to let me know that at least one of my two parents cares for me even though they both heartily disagree with my life choices (meaning my divorce). I also have a twinge of sadness when I think about how my mom would always shrug him off or even push him away. I know that my season of distance is linked to my idolization of my mother and I was just acting how I saw her act and believing what she spoke about him. I regret those teen years when I wouldn’t accept his hugs. I’m trying to make up for it and learn from it, he is my best example of how affection should be freely given and the quota for loving words can never be met.