Monday, May 25, 2009

Cousin Tara

Tara and her sons (Nikko, 11 & Avram, 11 months) flew in from Minnesota to visit her friend, Joe, and his family in Downey, CA. This was our first visit to Downey (4 hours one-way drive).

My Mom had one sister (Auntie Amy, who now lives in Texas) and Tara is the youngest of her two daughters. I last saw Tara in 1997 while I in Chicago (she just discovered she was pregnant with Nikko). Kirk, Lauren, Norman and I drove down to see her (so she could meet Kirk & Lauren). It was fun getting to know her better and meeting her young sons.

We walked in the house and Tara was making chicken adobo. That's home food for Filipinos. Seems appropriate because we felt we were home. (Hey, Tara. Your adobo is just like your Mom's ... yummy!)

Lauren just met a new cousin, Baby Avram.
He wasn't sure what to make of us. Can you tell?

Baby Avram has huge expressive eyes

We met Joe, Jr. (#2 man in the house). For a 17-year old boy, he sure was attentive to us. He just met us but was so welcoming. Oh, he's a Junior at Downey High and a football/track star. Thanks, Joe.

This is Jacob (4 years old and Joe Jr's youngest brother).
Jacob likes Spiderman and LOVES Thomas the Train.
His bedroom is all about Thomas!

Chicken adobo. Although I don't think I ever saw it served with wine before. I don't think that's ever been Filipino-style. Maybe that's something Minnesota Filipinos do. Hey Auntie ... that's Tara's wine not mine!

Meet Nikko. Tara's eldest son. He's 11. He has a whole mopful of brown curly hair. He also has spectacular eyes ... beautiful and expressive. (He also knows something about photography. He asked me a couple times if my ISO was high enough ...)

Here's Tara. We were in the bedroom while she nursed Avram.
You look like your Mom here.

Nikko meets Uncle Kirk and Uncle Norman

Kirk (our Camera Dude and Driver). Thanks, Babe!

Nikko with new Uncle Norman

Tara and Joe Sr (#1 man in this house. There's four guys here). He just got home from work and wanted OUT of his uniform (snapped a couple quick shots first).

Lauren with Auntie Tara

Tara gives son, Nikko, a big Mama-Bear hug

Lauren with lens flare. While the Lakers game was on, I noticed the light coming through the front entrance (behind Lauren) and she was heavily backlit. The white and green light aberrrations are from lens flare due to light hitting my lens. I don't know how to control where the flare occurs on an image, but I thought the effect was cool.

Baby Avram was playing on his mother's lap on the couch. The sidelight from the door rimmed his hair while the windows behind me lit his face. He started to tolerate me after his nap. Is that a smile I see?

Joe, Jr. has a very best friend, Chris. He asked, "If I called my best friend, would you take pictures of us together?" We took LOTS of pictures (because he was so nice to us), but this was my fave. They were trying to be cool and friendly, without being TOO close. You know.

Then, Joe Jr. and Chris got Lauren in the mix

Joe and Tara playing with Avram outside

Group shot
Everyone in the front yard! Joe Sr (with Joe Jr, Jared and Jacob), Tara (with Nikko and Avram), Kirk, Norman, Lauren and me (with Chris behind the camera)

Now, all the cousins!

Norman with Tara & Abram on the porch

Cousins Tara and Norman

Tara, it was a good visit. Mom's gone now, but she'd be happy we all got together.
We shot a ton of pictures. To see all of them, click here

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Life Hurts God Helps (LHGH) Graduation

Earlier this month, Lauren graduated from LHGH at our church. (Oops, just found this in my draft folder). I'm proud of her for signing up on her own. She's almost grown now (sigh...)

I didn't know anything about this program until the Orientation Meeting for parents. It's a church-based (rather, Christ-based) program that helps teenagers overcome the difficulties in life they face. They met weekly in Small Groups for 13 weeks and had mid-week telephone conversations with their accountability partners.

I took a picture of the PowerPoint presentation

Lauren with her counselors (Kasey & Jenny)

Certificate of Completion

Congrats, Lauren. This was a big step and we're proud of you.