Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial / Birthday Weekend 2012

iPad Family 2 by erickpineda527
iPad Family 2, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Is it just me or is time flying faster than ever? I can't believe how amazingly quick the past year has gone by. Last year I decided to skip any celebrations in iieu of just time off for peace and quiet. I know El has been disappointed in me being hard headed about having any birthday celebrations, but I just feel weird about getting older now.

Sandbox by erickpineda527
Sandbox, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Isa Driftwood by erickpineda527
Isa Driftwood, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

This year I decided (against better judgement) to appease her and go somewhere for the weekend. She had all these grandiose plans of traveling somewhere (flying - too expensive for us right now or driving - I refuse to drive more than three hours in any direction for my birthday) exotic. Instead she planned a nice getaway to a new destination, Jekyll Island.

Driftwood by erickpineda527
Driftwood, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

We've never been, but it was marketed as the old vacation spot for the blue blood rich back in the day of the Rockefellars, Goodyears, etc. Now open to the public it had some very appealing characteristics in addition to its historic relevance. There was a Turtle Rescue Center for the kids, a watermark, biking trails and fishing pier, and Driftwood Beach. This is what sold me mostly.

The island is fairly secluded and is right across the water from St. Simon's Island. The lighthouse, shopping area and photo ops meant a great weekend. it didn't disappoint.

Turtle Rescue by erickpineda527
Turtle Rescue, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

At the crack of dawn we left Charleston on what seemed a very short drive (2 1/2 hours) and arrived in time for lunch at Jekyll Island Club after we checked into our hotel. Since it was still too hot blazing hot for the kids we let them spend some time at the Turtle Rescue Center and then to drive the perimeter of the island to get our bearings.

Driftwood Beach Sunset by erickpineda527
Driftwood Beach Sunset, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.


Laughing by erickpineda527
Laughing, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Me by erickpineda527
Me, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Driftwood Beach by erickpineda527
Driftwood Beach, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Nico Smile by erickpineda527
Nico Smile, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Isa Flying by erickpineda527
Isa Flying, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Sunset Driftwood Beach by erickpineda527
Sunset Driftwood Beach, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

As the temp went down we headed to Driftwood Beach for the remainder of the day where I got some interesting shots. Not so crowded, despite it being Memorial Weekend and a wedding on the island. By sundown I we showered off for an incredible dinner at Latitude 31. Fresh seafood anyone? Unfortunately, Nico Boy feel asleep literally while eating his fish sticks so we headed back to our hotel, but not before an evening sitting out on the beach to catch the night breeze.

Sabal Palm by erickpineda527
Sabal Palm, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Jekyll Island by erickpineda527
Jekyll Island, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

The next morning El disappeared for a couple of hours to walk the beach and do some great early light photography. By the time she arrived I had the kids dressed and ready for breakfast. Since Tropical Storm Beryl was heading for us we timed it just right for a walk on the beach and to do some more photography with the kids. By the time we checked out and over to St. Simons Island the wind had picked up and the sky turned grey. Fortunately, we were able to tour the island more and do some window shopping and more photography.

By 3:30pm we were back on the road to sunny skies and dinner at my folks house. 2 hours later we were pretty zonked out and gave the kids a quick bath and then off to bed.

Ellen and Kids by erickpineda527
Ellen and Kids, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

By Monday, Memorial Day, I was up early again with El to quickly clean the house and get the pork shoulder BBQ'd for the day's festivities with friends, Rya, Todd and Ninang Jen. Menu was simple with the guests bringing various cold fruits and El and I whipping together the Pulled Pork BBQ Sammies, Roasted Corn Salad with Blue Cheese and Cilantro, boiled peanuts, spiked lemonade and homemade Banana Pudding. You know the food is good when Jen says her stomach is about to explode from trying to inhale everything. I gotta admit that damn pulled pork was perfect. It's definitely going on the menu if and when I pull the trigger on the food truck idea.

Aftewards, we headed to the community potluck to hang and socialize with our neighbors. Did I mention what a great weekend it was? It was. Thank you El for your planning and hard work. You made it memorable for me, despite me being a pain in the ass about it! Love you!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Life ... Not As I Knew It.

While driving to work today El and I were listening to one of the local radio personalities talk about how she hasn't had a proper date since she moved to Charleston over a year ago. She only had one and as luck would have it she didn't have a second with the person. The real issue she explained was that the dating scene has changed so much in recent years. People have short attention spans and have lost a certain ability to socialize in a more appropriate manner. She was blown off by her date explaining he had forgotten the time and date of them meeting for dinner or whatever and could they just meet on a Sunday night instead. She said "hell no" - good for her. As she rambled on about the details and her thoughts on the whole dating scene Eleanor and I discussed how we have heard this same experience from another friend of ours recently.

I have always thought that society's inability to properly interact with one another has been because of the internet and being plugged in too much., eHarmony, Facebook, smartphones, iPads, Twitter, LinkedIn. They're all to blame. Everyone has gotten so reliant on these social media networking sites they've forgotten how to actually go out and meet with other people to get to know them. Snap judgements are made based on what you look like on Facebook, what you're credentials are on LinkedIn, what you tweet about. It's terrible. You have to literally put your whole life online now to be judged in a few minutes by a complete stranger.

Recently I submitted a portfolio to an agency by actually printing one and walking my ass there and introducing myself to them. I apologized for my unscheduled visit, but felt compelled to actually introduce myself to them like the good ol' days. Her response? A nice and refreshing touch. WOW.

We put too much emphasis on our online persona we seem to have lost our persona. I've read alot recently about how hard it is to even get a confirmation from anyone hiring that they've even received your resume or portfolio via email. What happened to professional courtesy nowadays? The tell us to be sure to send a thank you email after an interview, but that's only IF you even get that far. For the most part people in the articles complained about how impersonal everything feels now. I couldn't agree more.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Soft Shell Crab Festival @ Port Royal

The last few weeks have been long. Really long. After speaking with my supervisor about weekend plans he mentioned this festival near Beaufort, SC. Soft shell crabs, antique car show, rides and games for kids and the weather was shaping up to be beautiful - sunny and warm. What's not to like about that?

El and I have been itching to take a short day trip somewhere to blow off some steam. We've both been having some pretty hectic schedules these last few weeks with getting the kids to adjusted to daycare, treating runny noses and coughing, working non-stop at home and work. This seems like the perfect opportunity to get some local seafood, be outside, shoot some photography and generally decompress.

Hopefully, we will all feel better by tomorrow morning to make the excursion to Port Royal, SC (right by Beaufort). Fingers crossed. I guess this means getting clothes and food ready for the trip and getting the kids to bed at a reasonable hour so we can start bright and early the next morning.

I'd love to get more shots for my upcoming book. Beaufort is also a very photogenic town and I hope to make it back out to the Tree Graveyard to reshoot if the tides are low enough. I should check on that now...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Happy Easter!

Dad and the kids by erickpineda527
Dad and the kids, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Earlier part of the week would have scared most into thinking the weekend was going to be a wipe. Cold and rainy. Nope this weekend shaped up to be pretty killer.

Easter Sunday we were up early and cooked (appropriately enough) Eggs in a Basket for breakfast. Afterwards we rolled into Easter Mass and then headed over to Triangle Char & Bar nearby for lunch.

Seeing this place REALLY makes me want to open my restaurant. It;s exactly what I would want. Simple, fresh, well cooked food with the right ambience of being outdoors, but not. Temp was just right with a slight breeze and the place was packed.

After lunch I decided to do a quick shoot with El and the kids, but Nico Boy passed out before we got home. I decided to photograph El and Isa and wait until later for the little guy.

When he did I got them cleaned up and got a great (rare) shot of me with them compliments of Ellen. Anyways, Happy Easter everyone! I'd love to hang out with the family doing gardening, but freelance work calls today (and tonight)...

Thursday, April 05, 2012


alarm-clock by erickpineda527
alarm-clock, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.

Maybe I'm out of practice or maybe my body just handle the regimented schedule as well as it used to. Monday thru Friday is basically the same. El and I are up right around 5am to get showered and dressed quickly and take turns rousing the kids up to get ready for daycare. We stopped making breakfast for the most part since the daycare makes a simple and quick one for the kids - it literally saves us 30 minutes off our time. We have to be on the road no later than 6:30am to beat daycare traffic and back on the road no later than 6:45am to beat bridge traffic downtown to get to MUSC. Since we carpool we walk to our buildings to get in by 7:15-7:30am.

We meet for a fast 30 minute lunch in the horseshoe if workload doesn't slow one of us down. By 5:30ish we are back fighting our way thru traffic to pick up the kids. We fight the rest of the way to get home before Bailey uses the bathroom on our floors. Kids are washed up and sometimes bathed before dinner (which may or may not be prepared already - depends on how we feel the day before).

By 7:30pm we have had dinner and usually followed by chores (if we have energy). By 8 the kids should already be bathed and in bed no later than 9pm.By 10 pm we are in bed ourselves if we are lucky.

Usually thru the night one or both kids have found their way to our bed to wake us up momentarily. Then the cycle starts all over again. Note that thru the day I find myself TRYING to stay awake and usually have to step outside to get some air or a drink.

El has only 4 day work weeks so that last day I'm on my own, but at least I don't have to wake up the kids so early, Still at the end of the day my body feels like tapioca.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

About to Start Another Chapter

You know the old saying, "TIme flies when you're having fun?" Wise words. I'm stunned how fast these last few years have gone by in a blur. We've gone through alot and. After the kids were born I changed jobs three times and about to transition to yet another one (and as a career change kind of). We've moved to another state and built a new home. The kids have made new friends and seen new things. I watch as they outgrow their old clothes and the closet has gotten cluttered with old shoes that don't fit anymore. One has become a girly girl who loves princesses, unicorns and rainbows. She is as sweet as they come with a vivid imagination. The other is a headstrong little boy with a deep voice, but can melt you with his smile.

These past two years working from home has really allowed me to see these changes. Some are more subtle than others, but I don't think I missed anything. I'm grateful for that. I really love my children.

This year (because of Isa's late birthdate) they will be both starting school. Nicholas in preschool (he'll be four by August) and Isabella into kindergarten as a six-year-old. They seem excited about it and will be entering daycare very soon. It'll be good practice for them. I'm glad they'll be starting at the same time.

Like all brothers and sisters they quarrel, but it ends quickly. They're very close to each other. I don't remember me and my siblings constantly kissing and hugging each other. I like that they do. She's protective of him and actually takes care of him on occasion. She'll dress him, help him to the bathroom, straighten out his room when it's messy. Such a good sister, but I hope he doesn't rely on her too much as they grow older. They may be going to daycare as early as next week and me off to work again.

I know I'll miss them during the day. It'll be worse for me when they go to school. Consider it an early Empty Nest Syndrome. I've been attached to the hip to them the past two years and it'll feel weird that I go back to a regular job with regular hours and working in an office again. Bittersweet, right? They're growing up, but I'm glad I was there for their early years.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Must. Keep. Going.

running by erickpineda527
running, a photo by erickpineda527 on Flickr.
I'm a self professed desk jockey. I'm no longer in denial. At 40-years-old with two small kids and a paunch I admit I let myself go. Whereas I used to enjoy a fast(er) metabolism a few years ago I've watched that steadily slow down. Meanwhile I've watched my friends fight the good fight and hit the gym regularly and stay active. I'm ashamed of myself.

Last Fall I got it in my head I would start to get more in tune with my aging bones and do something about my blood pressure, weight and overall health. Proud to say I stayed strong during the holidays with very little breaking of my goal and managed to lose a respectable 15 lbs. during the hardest season of the year. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, El's birthday and a variety of parties and other events never stood a chance. By simply watching what I ate, cutting down on salt and carbs, and drinking plenty of water (and cutting out sugary drinks) I was able to lose it. In January during my checkup I still had higher blood pressure, but my doc was pleased with my weight loss.

For my 40th El got me a treadmill and I would once in awhile get into a groove with it and stay on it for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. I admit it got boring and luckily Ron's Christmas gift of an iPad helped me get through it via Netflix. A couple of weeks ago my sister, Cher, coerced me to walk/run the Cooper River Bridge with her. What a shock to the system!

Six miles of steep inclines with a freezing headwind and a blown out pair of Nike AirMax's sent me a clear message. I needed to get more serious about the health regimen. Soon after I recovered from that run (I ached all over in places I never knew I could ache from) I took to the task of researching better running shoes based on what I felt during that run.

After spending almost an hour and a half trying on multiple brands and styles I settled on a pair of New Balances with the proper bounce in the heel, support on the sides and better overall fit. I was done with Nikes and shoes based on looks. I could give a rat's ass if my shoes were fluorescent orange and green with pink hearts on them if they fit well. Shins still ache on runs, but feels nothing like that first run on the bridge.

I've done well with trying to squeeze in a run almost every night after the kids are put to bed. The cold night air suits me. I'm alone (unless El joins me) and it feels like a good way to unwind at the end of the day and get some solitude. I know where my limitations are now (I'm not naturally a runner) and have adjusted my pacing to keep my heart rate up, but not kill myself (thanks Cher).

I don't think I'll be running the Cooper River Bridge like my sister and I imagine I will still slow her down this coming weekend, but pride be damned. I. Must. Keep. Going.