Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo or NaNo for short.

I didn't win it this year - didn't finish, again.

It's my third NaNo straight without completing the 50,000 words in a month goal.  So I am not left with that victory and that can be pretty discouraging.

I even tried to set myself up to win over this past year by trying to condition myself to write 2,000 words a day so that by the time November came around again, I'd be set to do the 1,667 words per day goal automatically.

I still haven't mastered that goal.  Yet.

However, I am left with another kind of victory.

What NaNo leaves me with is momentum - strong momentum.

It happened last year and it's happening again this year.  I can feel it.

Having to push myself every day to put down words helps me get into the project.  It causes me to form a love for the story project.  By the end of the 30 days, a deep love.

A strong momentum and a deep love.  

Both will carry me to continue putting down words on this story project in the following months to come.  

It happened with last year's NaNo story project.  I am well beyond 50,000 words on that one - to this date so I'm sure it will happen again.

So as much as I would have liked to finish at 50,000 strong this time around for NaNo,  I'll just try again next year.

In the meantime, I go into next month with a zealous momentum and desire to complete the story project I just started.

And that's a good thing.

A very good thing.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Back Home...

About two weeks ago, I went back home to New York City for a long weekend. 

For a 25th high school reunion.  That in itself is unbelievable. 

To me, at least. 

It was good to be back home. 

To see the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero.

To see the two wave pools where the World Trade Center towers once stood...

To read the names of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and remember...

To ride the subways I used to ride...

To walk the streets of Hoboken where my husband once lived...

To see one of these rare birds again, plentiful in Hoboken and NYC
but not so much in Boulder...

To pass through Grand Central Station like I did often back in the days...

To walk the campus of Columbia University where I got married over a decade ago...

To visit the big church on Riverside that I used to work at...

To walk past Grants Tomb (where the famous Ulysses S. Grant is buried) where I used to sit and have lunch on some days...

To walk along Riverside Drive bet. 116th & 120 streets in Manhattan and marvel at the architecture like I used to...

And more...

Seeing my Mom. 

Seeing high school friends and classmates I haven't seen in fifteen years or more. 

Catching up with old friends I've known since grammar school (there were a few of us who did both grammar and h.s. together).  

Visiting my old church ministry and catching up with good friends there.

Eating at a typical city diner one afternoon with my Mom and husband.

Spending time with best friends and their kiddos in Hoboken.

It was good being back home. 

Really good. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On An Early Saturday Morning...

These days, I'm up early on Saturdays.

It's when I can have a three and half writing time uninterrupted.

Or when I can have a quiet moment to meditate, read or pray.

It's also when I can have a focus time for my photography.

So I go out and shoot.

One one of those early Saturday mornings 

I caught the sun rising 

and pulled my car over so I could capture a few of these: 

These early mornings.  

For this budding photographer, 

Completely and totally 

Worth waking up for. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tis' Soccer Season...

It's official.  

This urban girl is a soccer mom now, minus the khakis and the minivan.  

Soccer season has begun and my two older boys are wrapped up in it.  

It's the first time for the 5 year old. 

More practices, more games, more days of the week. 

But also, 

More memories. 

And who can beat that? 

(With all the rushing around, I have to say I am really grateful 
to have the camera with me to record it all!)

The 5 year old during his first soccer game ever!

The 7 year old (bringing up the rear) during his first soccer game 
of the year.

Joining in with Alison and Galit for this month's Memories Captured. 
Definitely stop by and link up! 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Practical Vs. The Time...

I am sitting here feeling discouraged about things.

About our situation really.

Our tight budget.

About us living far apart away from best friends and family.

There's a chance for us to travel to NYC/East Coast as a family this Fall but that chance may not happen and it's making me sad.

Really sad.

Really mad, too.

Colorado is an amazing place to live - it really is - but my kids don't get the chance to have friendships with our best friends' kids who live in other places.

That burns me.  A lot.

Time is flying and all of our kids are growing.  My sons barely know the sons and daughters of our best friends.  These sons and daughters are just people in photos on our fridge.

And to me, that is not enough.

It makes me wonder if there will ever be a friendship between my kids and those of our friends.  The chances of them becoming close don't seem likely.  We have good friends here in the Denver area and it's hard enough to get together with these friends and their kiddos so the chances of us doing this with the ones far away feels practically nil.

Will our kids even have the opportunity to really get to know each other?


I know I shouldn't have expectations or form these wonderful visions of our BFFs kids at play,  forming these wonderful friendships but I do have them still - of all of our kids growing up and knowing each other well or at least well enough.

How is that going to happen if we don't see them or vice versa?

Yes, that takes time and money (away from our tight budget) but isn't it worth it?

Money vs. Time.

Practical vs. Memorable.

The practical thing is to put "trip" money towards some other debt or expense, yes but time is flying and we won't get these years back.  We wait a few years to take a trip, it will be like eons in our kiddos lives.

It is already like that now.

And the expenses (unexpected ones, mostly) keep coming.

Kids grow fast.

We will continue to have the debt and expenses as we pay them off but tomorrow isn't guaranteed as much as we'd like to think it is.

To me that's a reality check almost as much as paying off expenses.

Just a year ago I was attending the funeral of one of my best friends - one who I thought we'd have time to spend together through the years with our boys growing up.

Not the case.

Though, it can still be so with her son, his dad and our family, but only if we make the effort to do so.

Will it ever be the "right" time to travel to see these friends or any of them who live far away?

Time is fleeting.

The moments pass all too quickly...

We've got to seize the moments and make them happen when we can.

Your thoughts on this? Honestly.  Please comment.  Would love to know. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

School Starts

Our Kindergartner on his First Day of School

It's the beginning of another school year.

The 7 year old is now in second grade.

The 5 year old in Kindergarten.

Full days of school for both, and a school bus to ride home on afterwards.  That part excites them the most.  It's been a week and a half and they are still excited: a cool bus, a nice bus driver, and a bus stop right at the corner of where we live (Mommy's excited by that one!)

Summer break is done, even though summer quite isn't.

I'm still getting used to school starting in mid-summer here in Colorado.

All in all, it's begun.

Here's to another school year...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Times Together...

The setting: the mountains

The occasion: our last family getaway before school starts

I normally like the subjects I photograph facing me but I couldn't help but capture this moment 

Of my four men walking casually along in front of me

On a main street in a Colorado mountain town

On a summer's day.

Our last family getaway

 Before school starts for the two older ones in two days.

Captured moments like the one above

Evoke what our times together have been like

During our trips this summer. 

Times together. 

A very cool summer indeed. 

Joining in with Alison and Galit for this month's Memories Captured. 

Definitely stop by and link up! 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Still In Love...

In addition to being passionate about putting words on a page, I found a new love almost two years ago.

Needless to say, I'm still in love with this new love, even during those tired, busy moments.

The desire to learn and grow with this new love gets stronger as the days go by.

I'm excited to see where this journey in photography leads me which in the moment includes the following...

There's a website in the making...

A thought/desire to capture those special moments for myself and others on a regular basis...

And of course, 365 project currently in progress...

It's been 85 days  of this 365 project and I'm still fired up to keep going, keep growing.

Here are just a few of my favorites: 

Feel free to join me on my journey at my Facebook page: Melanie Bates Photography

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Has It Really Been That Long?

Has it really been that long since I've written a post?

Three and a half weeks?

Amazing how time flies...

And in that time alot has been happening...

Like "Summer"...

And birthday parties...

A camping overnight trip in the mountains...

And there's gymnastics and baseball...

With playground time in between...

It's been baseball allegiances and a baseball game...

And time in CarsLand with Lightning McQueen and Mater...

And an eight-day family road trip to the Pacific Northwest...
(Here at Shoshone Falls, ID)

complete with a visit to Portland, OR and riding on the light rails...

Then on to the coast and beach time
at Cannon Beach with Haystack Rock as our background...

And visiting old forts and high columns overlooking the Columbia River...

Not to mention parking on the beach.  
Nice to drive to the water, literally.

And more beach time 
...complete with sand molds...

A stopover in Salt Lake on the way back...

Then back to home to a birthday that greeted us two days later.  
Our middle boy turned 5.  

A full three and half weeks, I'd say...

However, I've missed my blogging and missed you, my blogging community...

It's feels so good to be back.

Linking up with Alison and Galit at Memories Captured.