She’s Going to Be a Handful!

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“May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you.  May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong and may you stay forever young.” ~ Bob Dylan

AllyEdPortrait2

It is the eve of her birth, thirteen years later.  In documenting our journey, I will tell you she sits upstairs as I type this post, in her newly updated “teenage” bedroom, FaceTiming (is that a word?) with her girlfriends. “We’re doing homework, Mom.”  Basically, “beat it”!

B and I are reminiscing, as we do every year about this evening 13 years ago; the dinner party with our best friends, Joe and Teresa.  Bets were on.  Joe says, “she’s going to have that baby tonight”.  Bryan says, “nah, we’re 3 weeks out, let’s break out this yummy bottle of Monticello”.  So they did. They partied on and I went to bed.  Joe almost won the bet and Bryan paid the price of a red wine hangover at 3:00 a.m. with the Bean on the way.  She arrived in perfect form.  As I stared at this little, almost alien looking being in my arms, all I could think about were the words of our French amnio technician telling us at 16 weeks when we asked if he knew what it was.  He a said, “IT is a girl, and she’s going to be a handful!!”  I emphasize he is French, because it’s sounds so much better with his accent.  Go ahead, say it with a French accent … much better, right?!

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In all seriousness and I know I’ve said this before, I often wonder how it came to be that I was so lucky to get you, Aya Bean. You are truly an amazing human being; you are kind, you are generous, you are loving, you are fierce and courageous, you care and are considerate, you love nature, you love animals, you love your friends and are interested, you are joyful and honest.

Happy 13th Birthday, sweet Aya Bean, my forever handful! ❤️ Enjoy the ride! #stayfierce #likeagirl #enjoytheride

and, Happy Birthday, Ed, the other love of our lives and the Bean’s best friend (the guy in the first picture). I can’t wait to see where the journey takes the two of you.  She’s a lucky girl to have you in her life ❤️❤️

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Catching Up

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Layla

With Thermal just a few weeks away, I have been mostly shooting horses and barn candids.  Thermal – the HITS Desert Circuit Horse Show begins today in Thermal, California and continues through March 17.  Ally and the Oak Haven crew will be competing during the second half of the circuit and our horses, trainers and riders head south in just a few weeks.  That means, I head south in just a few weeks and will be enjoying the warm desert sunshine while dedicating my next posts to Thermal.  Not to fear flower children, the gardens bloom and the garden shows gear up in March. But, for now, let’s catch up.

My goal this year is to post more pictures, shorten the stories and continue with the intended theme of documenting Ally and my journey to 2020.

2012 ended with the ten year old saying goodbye to two dear furry friends and a stuffed pony named Smores.  But, as the saying goes, “every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”  Two new furry friends have joined our extended family and she continues to ride the real pony named Mickey (along with her beloved, best friend Charly).  As she approaches the end of her 10th year she is gracefully saying goodbye to a few of her childish ways and hello to her tweens.  Fear for me.

I am saying goodbye to an old friend, my Nikon D70.  Great camera that simply hit the pavement too many times (thanks to the 10 year old mentioned above).  My tried and true Nikon D5000 will travel with me to Thermal for the dirty, dusty work.  He will be joined by a new friend who is en-route to Woodside as I type.

I dedicate this post to Layla and Darwin Murray.  We miss you, we love you, may you rest in peace.  xo!!

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Olympic Dreams

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“We all have dreams.  But in order to make dreams come into reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” ~ Jesse Owens 1936 Olympics ~ Photo courtesy of Cheval Photos

I have been saving this post for a few weeks because I thought today would be the perfect day to share this little story.  As you all know, my daughter, Ally, is a little equestrian with very big dreams.  Her dream, she will tell you, is to go to the Olympics one day.  While she is only 10, that dream, should it ever come to fruition could be as soon as 8 years aways.  2020 is the first year she would be eligible (you must be at least 18) for the equestrian Olympic team.  While Ally’s journey to 2020 may or may not take her to the Olympics, I can tell you this, without a doubt, many hours of training and many horse shows will fill the days of her future.  She is beyond horse crazy.  She has a passion that is her driving force.

Ally’s idol is Reed Kessler, who you see in the beautiful photo, above.  Reed Kessler is the youngest person in history to make an Olympic equestrian show jumping team, being selected on June 17 (while still 17) at Spruce Meadows in Calgary.  Reed celebrated her 18th birthday July 9, less than three weeks before the cutoff date to qualify for the Olympics in London.

The photo posted above was taken by my friend and fellow equestrian photographer, Selena Frederick, owner of http://www.ChevalPhotos.com.  Selena photographs many of the top riders in the world and travels to most of the high profile events in North America.  I feel very blessed to know her and call her my friend.  She inspires me artistically and has shown me that even in this small world of equestrians and professionals, there is room for everyone.

Selena was at Spruce Meadows when Reed was named to the Olympic Team.  I called Selena and I asked her if she could possibly ask Reed for an autograph for Ally. A napkin with her name would do.  I hate to ask for these kind of favors and understood completely if she didn’t feel comfortable asking.  Selena said she would see what she could do.  The next day I heard from Selena and she told me she had something to Ally.  Later that week that “something” arrived ~

As you can imagine the small child is beside herself.  A frame has been purchased and a space on the wall selected for the note and one of Selena’s beautiful photos of Reed.  You can check out the rest of Selena’s photos of Reed on her blog http://chevalphotos.com/3129/every-little-girls-dream.

Thank you, Selena for your kindness, your art and your inspiration!  Reed, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful note to Ally.  Good luck to you and Cylana this week!  We will be cheering you on every step of the way!   You are a hero and inspiration not only to my little one; but, to many little ones with big dreams.  ♥♥

The Best Luck I Had Was You

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“Cause the best luck I had was you…and I know one thing, that I love you!” ~ Michael Franti

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since that 3:00 a.m. drive down the mountain to Stanford Hospital to receive what we thought would be a little eye rolling, a few chuckles and advice to go back home and relax for another 3 or 4 weeks.  Ah, the best laid plans.  A year ago my post was a tribute to the Bean, reflecting on the memories of the day she was born. Rereading it today, it still makes me smile and wonder where I drew the creativity to write such an almost humorous post. I’ll probably repost it at some point today; however, for the sake of nostalgia (mine), feel free to check it out at http://www.journeyto2020.com/2011/04/21/she-is-going-to-be-a-handful/

Instead of writing, yet again, about how enamored I am with my child, I’ve decided to switch gears and give her a voice by sharing a poem she wrote for her fourth grade class this week; a little piece of her soul~

MY SOUL

My soul is running free
Like a wild horse
My soul is the drumming
Of hoof beats on the
Burning sand
My soul is the sound of
Ear piercing whinnies
My soul is a bright
Place with the smell
Of thick leather
My soul is the sweat
And blood of a horse.

By: Ally Sinclair

Happy 10th Birthday, sweet Alexandra!  Your love, kindness, courage and beauty (inside and out) is the essence of an unbridled soul!  May you, forever, experience life exactly as you feel it today!!

p.s. And, never forget the best luck I had was you ♥   xoxo!!

A Few of My Favorite Things

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“Red colored ponies with blue satin sashes; snowflakes that stay in Tahoe on their nose and eye lashes;  sunny warm winters that melt into spring; these are a few of my favorite things!”   Original lyrics by Julie Andrews.  Edits by me.

This is my new favorite plant.  It’s called an air plant; no soil required!  It derives it’s nutrients from the air and rain water (or in my case, a little drink from the faucet a few times a week).  This is my kind of gardening!  The blessing of the green thumb bestowed upon my family turned brown after the goddess of horticulture was born.  So, in order to maintain good standing with the family tradition; I’ve learned to photograph the lovely gardens and blooms.

As much as I love posting photos of lovely flowers, my post wouldn’t be complete without a photo of my true favorite thing hugging her favorite red pony.

As we head to Brookside this week for another horse show, I sense some changes on the horizon for our little girl and her beloved pony.  The lessons in love, pain, accomplishment, defeat, poise and grace that this pony has taught our child have been priceless.  Watching these two beautiful creatures move together on this journey to the unknown has and will continue to be one of the greatest joys in my life.  ✌

Flower Power✌

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Quote of the Day:  “Open up for the Power of the Flower.” ~ Praga Khan

I have spent the last five days with the “flower children”.  This is how I refer to my friends and artists who thrive, in some capacity, in the world of horticulture.  Some are publishers of fine garden and horticulture magazines, some are garden designers, garden writers and garden photographers.  Their common denominator, they are all true gardeners.

The sun was shining on me a year ago when my favorite flower child, Patty Craft, Managing Editor and Publisher of Horticulture Magazine (also, my sister), invited me to join her at San Francisco Flower and Garden Show media pre-view event.  While I was not asked to “officially” shoot ” for her magazine, they ended up using some of my photos for their article on the show.   It was the blossoming of a new and lovely relationship.

Also on that day, I met my second favorite flower child, Rebecca Sweet.  Rebecca, is a landscape designer, author, freelance writer, garden blogger; and, unbeknownst to her, the complete force behind my leap into the blogging world.  Several months after our meeting, Rebecca invited me to a luncheon at her home with renowned garden photographer, Saxon Holt.  Sitting in Rebecca’s garden with these two revered artists, I gained a wealth of information and inspiration.  It was after that meeting that I turned the corner with Woodside Images .  From these two masters, I learned that I needed to create a unique niche for my style of photography, promote myself shamelessly; and, most importantly, start blogging about it.

Patty and Rebecca at Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto, CA.

I am a Gemini and my personality is true to its sign.  Gemini world is one of duality.  This can also possibly explain and help describe my style of photography; or, if you will, the unique niche I’ve created.  Some days it’s all about horses and other days it’s a walk in the garden.   It’s been whispered, that in order for me to be successful as an artist, it would be wise to choose between the two.  Flowers and horses have been good to me for a very long time.  Both are an inspiration to my art and to my soul.  In staying true to myself as an artist and a Gemini, I choose both!  Enjoy!