Bunny Love

From the moment she spotted him across the crowded playground it was love at first sight. A great big bunny had hopped on the scene and my daughter was on him like pink on Pepto. I’m thankful that the sweet girl who brought him, a little older and more proficient with sharing than my 20-month-old, was willing to let her run off with him for a while.

For 40 minutes or so my daughter dragged that bunny all over the playground. And I do mean all over the playground. On the swings and up the jungle gym and down the slide and around again and again and again. It was adorable. One of the sweetest things I have ever seen. And all I can say is, thank God for my iPhone. Without it I wouldn’t have a single one of these priceless photos.

I will admit I am a bit of a camera snob. Until very recently I had never taken a picture with my phone. Truth be told, until very recently I had never had a phone with a camera. It seemed completely unnecessary. If something was photo worthy I wanted a real photo taken with my real camera. If I didn’t have the big guns with me I simply didn’t take the photo.

That all changed when my daughter learned to walk, and then run. I realized I would never be able to keep up with her lugging around a big heavy camera. Shoot, I’m already weighed down by a 50-pound diaper bag full of everything but what I happen to need.

And so, an epiphany. I must make the most of the awesome technology that is the camera phone. I love these photos and the ideas they’ve sparked. Namely, I’m starting a new iGallery devoted solely to my favorite iPhone photos. It’s brand new so there aren’t many photos yet but you can find them under the iGallery on the main Galleries menu. Also, when I find a cool new photography app I’m going to tell you what it is and how you can use it too.

Let me know what you think. And if you have a favorite photo app please leave a comment below so I can check it out and share the love. The bunny love.

Pam Steffen - April 10, 2012 - 10:53 pm

Absolutely adorable Cindy, love them all! And, I agree, it’s incredible what great quality photos you can get with your iphone. Brian and I use ours all the time and we’re pretty snobby about photos as well!

Cynthia Roelle - April 11, 2012 - 5:33 pm

I’m pretty slow to come around to new technology but thank goodness I did. So glad I caught these!

Egg Hunt Schmegg Hunt

Bright and early on Saturday morning a hundred or so 2- and 3-year-olds lined the edge of a field, eyeballing the colorful eggs scattered about and wondering what was afoot. Parents too lined the field, holding kids back until the hunt began.

As I stood among them I overheard egg-collecting strategies being discussed in hushed tones. My kid, however, was nowhere in sight. I craned my neck and could just make out my husband weaving his way through the crowd, our daughter in his arms. Just then the horn went off. Kids and parents alike went tearing onto the field and I was left standing alone on the sideline.

The moment my husband reached me our daughter squirmed out of his arms. Her feet hit the ground and she turned on her heel, teetering off as fast as her wobbly toddler legs would carry her. Egg hunt, schmegg hunt. She had places to go and people to meet. Or make that one giant white bunny to meet.

When we caught up with her she was standing amidst a throng of older kids waiting to have their picture taken with the Easter bunny. She watched as a few kids had their turn, giggling and shrieking “Eeeser bunny” at the top of her lungs. I don’t know how she did it but in no time she had jockeyed her way to the front of the circle. And then, in a brief lull between kids, our daughter made her move. She stepped forward and waved, then made kissy lips. Then more waves and more kissy lips. She held up her hands for double high fives, then stretched out her arms and hollered “hug” until the Easter bunny picked her up. When he did she poked him in the eye, then leaned in and planted a kiss on his furry cheek.

She alternated hugs and kisses and pokes for a minute or two until the Easter bunny set her down to move on to the next kid. Our daughter, however, was not done with the Easter bunny. She hugged his legs and circled him, then hugged his legs some more. Despite the lack of attention she wouldn’t leave his side.

It was a regular Kodak moment if ever there was one and darn if I didn’t miss it. I wasn’t planning on taking bunny photos and didn’t bring the right lens for it. Dumb, I know. It’s some consolation knowing she’ll show up in the photos of at least a few dozen other families. Ha.

At the end of it all my daughter completely missed the egg hunt and I, a lovely photo op. But oh, just to be there to behold her delight. It was extraordinary. And to top it off, her sweet little friend with a basketful of eggs graciously shared a few. Next year I will be ready. I will not be bested by an Easter bunny again.

Gaby - April 4, 2012 - 1:21 pm

The pictures are Beautiful and reading the blog made me want to be there to see G with the bunny. So adorable!

Eat Me!

My friend Gretchen is the best. She is gorgeous and sweet and kind, creative and smart and funny. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe her. She is also a fabulous cook. Simply phenomenal in the kitchen. Visiting her is like taking a trip to heaven.

A few days ago we were talking, making plans for our next get-together, and we got to reminiscing about some of our most memorable trips. One year we celebrated Thanksgiving in Turkey, Christmas in Germany and New Year’s in Austria. We’ve ridden camels in Tunisia, road-tripped across Poland, Slovakia and Hungary and train-hopped to Switzerland and France. Our trips are a little less adventurous these days but no less fun. This year we passed a quiet New Year’s at her home in Charlottesville.

Our lives seem to run a parallel course. We both lived in Germany (where we met), then Hawaii (our time did not overlap), and now Virginia (at opposite ends of the state). Her husband was tagged for a deployment to Afghanistan. My husband was tagged too. Déjà vu.

This time last year my husband was nearing the end of his deployment. Enter me, suitcase in hand, into Gretchen’s home and kitchen for a nice, long visit.

It was then, during that very trip, that Gretchen launched her food blog. Kumquat. It’s full of delicious recipes, beautiful photography and brilliant health tips. If you like to eat you must check it out. It is lovely.

Oh what a trip that was. We passed the time largely in the kitchen, a room for both of us synonymous with laughter and love. She cooked while I chilled, salivating and waiting for my chance to lick the spoon. We discussed blogs and food and photography at great length and photographed her creations to no end. And then we ate like kings.

Here’s what I came away with from the visit: 10 extra pounds and the revelation that photographing food bites. I mean, it is really, really tough. It’s surprising because you’d think food would be putty in your hands. After all you can mold it, touch it, turn it, taste it. But it’s fresh and fragile and sours easily. Full of self-preservatives, you have to sweet-talk it before it will whisper eat me.

Gretchen though, makes it look so easy. She is artistic and talented and, the icing on the cake, inspirational. She’s one of the reasons I revamped my photography website as a blog.

Though I’m happy to leave food photography to foodies like Gretchen, in honor of Kumquat’s one-year birthday I thought I would post a few of my photos from that memorable visit. Here’s to you my dear friend Gretchie!

And happy birthday Kumquat blog!

jill cordes - March 26, 2012 - 11:12 pm

Not only are the food pics beautiful, but so is the pic of your friend! I want you to make me look beautiful! (ha). Thanks for sharing.


I can’t believe I almost canceled this shoot. It was scheduled for a late afternoon and by midday the clouds had rolled in and all but covered the sun. I sat on the fence too long and in the end had no choice but to go. I figured if it just wasn’t happening we’d try again on a prettier day.

But there’s one thing about this little girl, Sol. She has an exceptional brightness about her.

Sol. The sun. The star at the center of the solar system.

Her father chose the name because of the sun’s importance in every culture. Her mother loved the name because she missed the ever-present sun of her native Venezuela.

Sol. A fitting name for a colorful, vibrant girl. Always shining. Always beautiful. She brings the sun with her.

Gaby - March 23, 2012 - 2:07 am

I said it before and I say it again, What beautiful pictures you took of my little angel! You really captured her inner shine and the words you used to describe the shoot were just so sweet. It was beautifully written.
Thank you so very much for such an amazing treat, these pictures as well as the blog are a treasure!

Scott - March 23, 2012 - 3:19 am

Incredible photos! So glad you didn’t cancel.

Lucky Charm

Short on ideas for a Saint Patrick’s Day blog post I decided to solicit some from a bunch of my mom friends. Wow. For a holiday largely associated with anything and everything green I sure got some colorful ideas. One friend suggested staging a mock bar scene with kids knocking back green milk from their sippy cups. My sister, in the throes of potty training her 2-year-old twins, suggested constructing a rainbow ending with a kid sitting on (this is bad) a potty of gold. While these ideas may be conceptually clever, both are hard to pull off.

One idea that held a lot of promise was taking shots of children watching a Saint Patrick’s Day parade, eyes wide and arms outstretched, catching strings of green beads and clapping for the bagpipes. In Old Town Alexandria, nary a holiday passes without a parade so this should have been a breeze. On the day of the parade I arrived early and staked out my spot along the route. As the festivities got under way though, I realized I couldn’t go around snapping pictures of other people’s kids lest someone call the cops on me. I hadn’t even thought to bring a stack of business cards to hand out. I didn’t take a single photo.

It just so happens this same mom-of-the-parade-idea has a lovely little red-headed girl. Her great-great-grandfather was from Ireland and that makes her Irish enough in my book to win a place as my Saint Patrick’s Day feature.

And what says Saint Patrick’s Day more than a bonny lass enjoying a fat green shamrock cookie? It was a winning idea if I ever heard one. There was just one small hitch. At 21 months, this sweet little girl is cutting her molars. Give her a sugary green cookie and you end up with an abundance of crumbs and green drool. Ah, that’s the luck of the Irish for you.

Despite the slobber it was a lovely shoot. Cheerful and inquisitive, she happily explored the garden while munching away. Somehow the cookie even held up. She must have been my lucky charm.

The delicious cookies are from the Firehook Bakery and Coffee House in Old Town.