The ABC Challenge

During the month of April, Clickin’ Moms hosted their annual ABC Challenge. The idea is to take a photo representing a letter. You could submit 1 photo or 26; I decided to be ambitious and do all 26 and submitted my last letter just minutes before midnight at the end of the month. There were incredible prizes for the winners and though I did not win anything, 2 of my photos got an honorable mention (O and T). It was a fun project though and helped me get creative so I thought I’d share them all in one place here. Some of them you’ve seen before, sorry about that. A lot of my photos are inspired by my friend, Debbie, who lost her short battle with cancer on April 8th. I miss you, Deb.

A is for Archway. This archway begs for a couple to stand under it, doesn’t it? Taken at Mayfield Park in Austin.

B is for Bluebonnets. The famous Texas bluebonnets. I used a reflector on the gold side for fill light. Taken at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

C is for Camouflage. I shot this toad earlier in the month of April… it the first one we’ve seen this spring! Anna loves toads. I love how he blended in with the log.

D is for Display. I’ve been to Mayfield Park in Austin twice in April and they have the most beautiful peacocks there. On this visit, I had taken my daughter, Jenny, and Debbie’s niece, Kristi, there to talk about Debbie and her death. This peacock put on a full display for us and there were no hens around. It was a beautiful moment. See the letter F for a detailed explanation.

E is for Exotic Pet. Last week, I took Jenny to a new nail salon to get a pedicure. I was shocked when I walked in to see a very upscale place. They offered us complimentary drinks (even a margarita!) and had an incredible staff and surroundings. They even had a tiny alligator in a standard sized fish tank. This little guy was so cool, I didn’t even think he was real. Then I saw the exotic pet license on the wall. Wow! So cool!

F is for Flower. And this one represents a symbolic promise… of life, of hope, of renewal. I chose this as my Project 52, week 15 photo.

I took this photo at Mayfield Park, the same place that I visited the day before I said goodbye to Debbie. After she died, I had the strongest compulsion to reach out to her niece, Kristi. Those of you that know me realize that this isn’t my nature… I’m rather shy and introverted and not terribly social in real life. Kristi was leaving to go home to California on Tuesday, so I kidnapped her Monday and took her to Mayfield Park and told her how I visited there last week. We took Jenny with us too which was good since Jenny didn’t have a chance to see Debbie after her diagnosis. We walked around the grounds (I got another good peacock photo <letter D> and another flower shot <letter N> which are part of this ABC Challenge) and I took more photos of flowers this time. Kristi is a lot like Debbie, one of those unconditional lovers of life, a soul wise and sweet, and she was such a pleasure to get to know. I hope we keep in touch.

This particular flower captivated me. And as the week has worn on, I’ve come back to it many times. Here is this bud, on the cusp of blooming into something beautiful. As devastating as Debbie’s death is, life continues on. It’s hard to grasp that in the cold hard reality, but life does continue on. She would want us to celebrate the happy times and remember the good stuff. It’s hard to do, but I’m going to keep looking at this photo to remind me.

G is for Garden. This park is so pretty… I love this bench, it’s so very inviting. The gardens are luxurious and so beautiful. Taken at Mayfield Park in  Austin.

H is for Holly Tree. A holly tree… of course I HAD to take a photo! Taken at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

I is for Indulgent Ice Cream. The weekend after my friend, Debbie, passed away, my mom took me to Marie Callendar’s and I ordered a hot fudge sundae. Ummm… it was indulgent and beautiful and just what I needed. I only ate half of it before getting totally stuffed.

J is for Jenny. This was my P52 photo of the week for week 14. This is my beautiful daughter, Jenny. On this day that this photo was taken, I lost an equally beautiful friend, Debbie. I’ve been wanting to give my sweet girl extra big hugs because when Debbie and I were the closest is when Jenny was a toddler and preschooler. In fact, I had major abdominal surgery when Jenny was three and Debbie was mom for two weeks while I recovered… taking Jenny to preschool, cooking her meals, putting her to bed… everything while still helping me recover from surgery. So I wanted to honor Debbie on the day she died by taking a photo of Jenny. My heart is heavy but full of love.

I also took this experience as an opportunity to further explore something I love… photography. I bought a reflector and shot in full sun with it. There is a learning curve for sure, I see the catchlights may be a tad too bright, but I really like the light on Jenny’s face and the shadows too. I did very little to process this photo. She is gorgeous and so is the bokeh!

K is for Knee Joint. I graduated from physical therapy in April! I had a partial knee replacement in January. This is the model that my orthopedic surgeon used to show me what he was going to do to me… let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty.

L is for Labradoodle. This was my Project 52, week 16 photo.  Charlie is our almost-2-year-old-but-still-acts-like-a-puppy Labradoodle and he has a huge personality. This photo was taken at the end of a series where I was trying to get him to look up at me while making him stay on the couch. He was like, “Are we done yet?” Tee hee! He has such a range of expressions. He loves fetching, getting his rump scratched, going for a ride in the car, and escaping the house any chance he gets. When getting up on the bed for a cuddle, Charlie always lays his head on the pillow. He is one of the most intelligent dogs I’ve ever known. We think he’s more person than canine and we love him so much.

M is for Mt. Bonnell. One Sunday late in April, we took the kids for a short drive to just get out of the house. Dominic wasn’t feeling well. We ended up at Mt. Bonnell in Austin which has gorgeous views of the Colorado River. It’s an Austin landmark!

N is for Nature’s Glory. Taken at Mayfield Park in Austin. The bokeh and flower truly spoke to me in a spiritual way. See the letter F for a detailed explanation as to why. <3

O is for Obstreperous. This was my Project 52, week 17 photo.

Obstreperous: adjective
Noisy and difficult to control.
= my boy.

P is for Peacock. This was the very first photo I took for this project and is my favorite. I shot this at Mayfield Park here in Austin. This park is filled with peacocks and I got dozens of gorgeous shots. What I love about this one is that his long tail of feathers is part of the bokeh. And I love that the curve of his neck is matched by a curve in color in his tail feathers.

Q is for Quench. Anna taking a swig of water after the Special Olympics soccer practice. I love that I got a tiny flare of sun on the bottle and didn’t notice it until I uploaded the photo into Bridge.

R is for Real Baby. Anna LOVES babies, especially baby dolls. She has two reborn dolls that are collectible dolls that look like real babies and she has two other dolls that have been part of our family for over five years. She plays with her babies all the time… she has diapers, clothes, toys, gear… everything you can think of. In February, our neighbors had a baby girl and they come over with their toddler every other day to play with Anna. Anna got to feed the baby earlier in the week. Can you see her face? See that smile? She was so very, very happy.

S is for Siblings. We had dinner at the County Line in Austin last Sunday night and the light reflecting from the table was beautiful. Jenny and Dominic are so sweet! This is uber cropped because I had my 85mm lens on and had no space!

T is for Trellis. This was a huge, long trellis that ran the length of the main part of the center. In the center were smaller gardens. Taken at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

U is for Uniform. Curtis and I got to go out on a rare, grownup date night and we went down to Sullivan’s for dinner, then hit 6th Street for people watching. I got tons of great night shots (yay!) and the cops were kind enough to let me shoot one of them.

V is for Vines. This fence line of beautiful vines is located at the County Line BBQ in Austin on the Colorado River. We’d had dinner there and were walking the grounds and I said, “Letter V!!! Letter V!!!” My family just laughed at me.

W is for Wildflower. This red wildflower was on a walking trail on the outskirts of the center; I have no idea what it is! Taken at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

X is for X-ray. I finished up physical therapy in April from a partial knee replacement surgery in January. As I was leaving, I asked if I could see my x-rays… so here is my new knee! The bottom of my femur was replaced as was my patella. Cool, huh?

Y is for Youthful Apparel. Curtis and I went out on a real date recently and ended up on 6th Street in Austin. This is a store window display… it was really dark out and I wasn’t sure I could nail this in manual, but I did it! I needed the letter Y, it was my last letter and I thought to myself as I looked at this display, that I am old… hence the youthful apparel. 😉

Z is for Zilker Zephyr. This is the Zilker Zephyr… the train that runs around the outside of Zilker Park in Austin. I have ridden this train many, many times with my children. It’s an Austin landmark!

I think this was a super, fun project and would encourage anyone who is wanting extra creativity in their photography to try it. Thanks for looking!

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