So I looked at my last blog post just not and saw that it was in May. May…June…it’s July…..that’s pretty good for me! I blogged just a couple of months ago! And then I saw that it said 2017 next to the month. WHAT?! I HAVEN’T BLOGGED IN OVER A YEAR!?!?? I’M THE WORST!!! All I can say for myself is….Facebook. I live there, in iphone land, while I pretend to parent Gracie and Hudson in real life.
It’s summer, so the kids are home from school and for the first time, I didn’t put them in any kind of summer camp. They just wanted to stay home like little slugs. Gracie, at 12, is really into making art. She draws, paints, sews and sculpts all day, every day. She lives in an online art community of kids who draw things for each other and send them online. It’s awesome. I can’t discourage such a thing. Even her friends from school are artists. She has a couple of little girl friends who come over and hole up in her room with her to make art. The only time I ever see them is when they make animated videos and need to film each other somewhere outside of Gracie’s bedroom. Really, I can’t complain. As long as I leave her alone to work on her art, she’s a happy girl. She never bothers me to take her places or buy her things. She just hopes I don’t drag her away from her nest to go on a Jeep adventure. She’s sick of my adventures. The kids are kind of Jeep’d out. Not me. My Jeep addiction is going strong.
Hudson is 8 now. He was diagnosed with ADHD. We tried changing his diet, using nutritional supplements and this light/sound therapy before resorting to medication. I was hesitant to give him any kind of prescription medications due to the fact that he was born addicted to opiates when I adopted him. He has a genetic history of drug addiction, so I didn’t want to put him on any controlled substances. When Hudson was a newborn, I held him every day in the NICU while his tiny body went through drug withdrawals. The doctors kept him very sedated so he wouldn’t suffer, but it was still a terrible time for me. I’ll never forget the way he would stiffen up, jerk and sneeze a lot when he was so tiny. He had a feeding tube the first few days because he wouldn’t eat. By the third day, he took a bottle from me and ripped his own feeding tube out, though, and showed the doctors he was healthy and strong. He was such a good baby. For the first month, he was so sleepy from the anti-withdrawal medications, I didn’t even know what his cry sounded like. He barely woke up enough to fuss over a dirty diaper or hunger. The rest of the time, I just held him or wore him in a sling, and he slept. Since then, he hasn’t had any developmental delays at all. He has done well in school, except for his hyperactive tendencies. To make a long story short, after trying several holistic approaches to treat his ADHD, I finally just asked our family doctor for medication. He prescribed low-dose Vyvanse and since then, Hudson has excelled in school and at home. He’s a pleasure to be around. He’s smart. He can read! Really well! He’s a changed boy. So….in spite of my hesitation to medicate a boy once addicted to controlled substances, doing so has been wonderful for Hudson. I’m just glad we don’t have a lot of the struggles with him that we used to.
He likes playing games – any kind of game – and he’s really good at most of them. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve played his first game of Monopoly, trying to go easy on him, only to have him make huge, bold moves and proceed to quickly beat all of us. He is so good at Connect 4, he teases his opponents saying things like “don’t let me win just yet….” and then his opponent is dumbfounded and has no idea where to go next. And damn if Hudson doesn’t do exactly what he says he’s going to do. Every time. He’ll be like “I’m gonna roll a 3 and a 4, take the pirate gold, and head back to my port.” And then he’ll do it. I don’t know if there’s some career in gaming, but if there is, Hudson will find it.
JPP is doing really well this year! With a lighter workload, I’ve been able to put more time and energy into each session. I filmed a commercial for my business earlier this year with the talented Jackie Palmer Films. She managed to capture everything about me and what I do in just over a minute-long film. Check it out here: commercial film JPP 2018.
Making the commercial inspired me to offer integrated film and photography sessions, which I’ve named Storybook Sessions. Now they are my absolute favorite sessions. It’s more work for me to make a slideshow incorporating film and the final images, but the results are so worth it. These slideshows will be cherished by my clients for the rest of their lives. I can see each one of them watching it ten years from now, saying how glad they are they had it done. In fact, I want it done for my family. Emily is a photographer now, and she’s really, really good. She’s helped me film my storybook sessions, and I’ve also hired a videographer a few times. They basically film my clients while I’m posing and photographing them. Later, the final images are worked into the film clips, which are slowed down and set to music. The emotional impact is intense. Every one of them makes me choke up with tears, and laugh, and smile. Imagine how the parents in the films must feel! I need Emily to help me do my own family’s storybook session. In the meantime, here’s one I made for the Lloyd family. This is one of my first ever Storybook Sessions. Judging by the parents reaction to the photos, I’d say it was a huge success! JPP Storybook Session
I’m trying to offer discounted Storybook Sessions to my former clients so they can try it. Even if it’s something you only do once, I think every family should do it. The memories we make last a lifetime. The only regret you’ll have is not doing it more often. It’s so worth the effort. If you’d like more info on our $250 for $500 summer storybook session, call Dani at 805-490-1180. 🙂
Here’s a whole bunch of recent sessions I’ve done!